When dealing with depression there are many recurring themes at the root of this condition. Stories of depression often unveil varying forms of losses and disappointments, such as never feeling valued, loss of status, loss of control, feeling trapped or engulfed in adverse environments, early childhood trauma, or possibly unhealthy lifestyles.

To help understand depression/low-mood, it is helpful to recognise that the aforementioned types of situations are all important mediators of mood states. This is when a chemical change or imbalance occurs in the brain and this can result in one feeling defeated. We can end up feeling as though we are no longer able to manage our emotions or affects. Possibly it feels unclear as to how one is able to relocate that rational voice of reason, that measured part of ourselves that makes sense of things, or indeed to challenge unwanted situations, in order to help one make the right choices and healthy necessary changes.

Mind-Body Link
In short, we need to integrate the many facets of ourselves that play different roles in different situations, in order to recognize that there are different choices, or ways of evaluating the situation. It is also helpful to recognise that our brains function differently when we are feeling depressed, and it is the stubborn facet of ourselves that overtakes, in an attempt to block our whole outlook and we become shrouded in negativity. It is well known that our "thoughts" influence our "feelings", and in turn these negative feelings and messages are being relayed through neuro-transmitters which control appetite, sleep and motivation. Therefore it is key to regularly challenge these negative thoughts and ways of thinking, in order to recover ones very own "voice of reason".

Working with Depression/Low Mood
This is approached through monitoring depression, anxiety, stress and the triggers that cause it.  Through learning coping strategies and the exploration of hidden, unbearable, often unexpressed feelings. Catharting through self expression helps us to work through the pain, as well as looking at triggers that start to alter our brain chemistry towards a "depressed state". It may be possible to do some things differently, in order to avoid some of these triggers. Or possibly challenge extreme ways of thinking through questioning the validity of a thought. For example it is good to try and detect when we are starting to feel depressed, as we may think in different or more negative ways than we would normally. This will help to counter those intrusive thoughts and to minimize the impact of depression. It is a well known fact that long term stress adversely affects our mood chemicals. Cortisol is an active hormone that increases the sensitivity to and the detection of threats, and when under stress, there is invariably an increase in cortisol levels, causing harm to our health.

The more acceptant we are of seeing these bouts of depression as a part, or facet, of ourselves, but NOT our entire being, the more adept we may become at challenging our rational side of the brain to switch the depressed side of the brain back, in order to regain equilibrum. This is facilitated through working on the inner self, developing a more compassionate, friendly, helpful, acceptant self.

Depressed people can also become negligent with self-care. In addition sleep depravation may need to be addressed. Through making many small changes, it is possible to make headway, in order to achieve more significant changes.

By (Debera Dias)