Psychotherapy and Counselling for Depression in Edinburgh, London and Online
What is depression?
Pain and loss is an inevitable part of being human and experiencing sadness, and low mood is often a natural response to life events such as death, divorce, redundancy, and chronic or critical physical illnesses. As with all emotions, sadness, despair and low mood function as messengers that the organism’s needs are not being met, and a realisation that has the potential to mobilise us to take positive action on both personal and collective level. However, for some people, low mood and sadness can persist for weeks or years, interfering with their day-to-day living and making it difficult to live a wholesome life. In common language, this state of intense and persistent sadness has been labelled depression.
Symptoms of Depression
There are a set of commonly mentioned depressive symptoms that negatively affect people’s emotional, cognitive, behavioural and physical well-being. On an emotional level, people commonly experience feelings of sadness, loss of pleasure, emptiness, guilt, shame, resentment, hopelessness, worthlessness and anger. A gloomy and pessimistic attitude pervades the person’s emotional landscape, which affects his or her thoughts and emotions; thoughts are dominated by low self-esteem, and by worry and negativity about the self, the world and the future in general. In some cases, thoughts of suicide can manifest, a sign that the pain and suffering are unbearable. Behaviourally, people tend to become isolated and to withdraw from society and abstain from activities that were once seen as enjoyable and pleasurable. Making decisions often becomes a very difficult task, and one might find it difficult to continue to work. On a physical level, people tend to experience difficultly with sleeping and concentration, forgetfulness, loss of appetite for food and sex, unexplained bodily pains, digestive issues and, in general, a loss of energy and vitality that contributes to an overall feeling of apathy and hopelessness.
Depression can take many forms and, depending on the severity of the symptoms, can be classified as mild to severe. A type of depression that commonly afflicts women after pregnancy is postnatal/postpartum depression. The symptoms of postnatal depression can start after the first week of giving birth, or they may not start until several months later, and they may occur gradually or very suddenly. If a woman suffers from postnatal depression, she is likely to experience some distressing and confusing feelings and thoughts, such as difficulty bonding with the baby, and frightening and unreasonable thoughts – for example, about hurting the baby or that the baby is in danger. These feelings can often lead to the woman feeling guilty for having these thoughts, and she may even become fearful of being left alone with her baby.
Another type of depression that is often overlooked is existential depression. Existential depression is a form of sadness and despair that is characterised by a deep lack of meaning and purpose that arises when one questions the very foundations or their life and confronts basic issues of existence such as death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness. It has often been described rather poetically as the ‘dark night of the soul ‘, also denoting a spiritual alienation from life as a whole. People that experience existential depression are often bewildered by questions such as: ‘What is the meaning of my life? ‘, ‘What is the purpose of my job, marriage, friendships? ‘, ‘What is the point, of all my achievements if I am going to die anyway? ‘, ‘Why should I get out of my bed in the morning? ‘. From a philosophical perspective, existential depression is seen as an intense form of nihilism where the experience of meaninglessness makes a person come to see life as empty, pointless, and absurd. Existential depression can occur during major life crises and transitions, and in my experience, it tends to predominantly afflict highly intelligent, creative and emotionally sensitive people.If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and you believe that you suffer from depression, please get in touch so we can work together to help you find a way out of this sadness and despair.
How I help you overcome depression and low mood
Depression is one of the most complex mental health problems, as its symptoms affect all aspects of the person’s life, while its causes can be many. My personal experience, which is also further validated by recent research, is that in order to successfully overcome depression, a multiplicity of interventions and approaches are needed. Throughout the years, I have developed a holistic approach that targets body and mind and can effectively work on both your emotions and your thoughts to help you overcome depression.
My approach combines proven psychotherapeutic methods, such us Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Emotion-Focused Therapy, along with Mindfulness informed approaches specifically suited to overcoming depressive symptoms. Additionally, in collaboration with other practitioners, I use somatic psychotherapy interventions, such as supplements and nutrition therapy and exercise therapy, all proven to have a profound effect on the biological/hormonal causes of depressive symptoms. In cases of existential depression, I utilise Philosophical Counselling and Existential Psychotherapy, as these are both suited to work on the more existential, spiritual and often political causes underlying existential depression. Finally, in cases of postnatal depression, in addition to the above methods, we will also work to uncover and resolve unhelpful expectations that have often been internalised from society around you, such as pressure to be happy and excited about being a new mother, pressure to be on top of everything, and expectations that caring for a baby should be solely the mothers’ responsibility. In essence, we will try to dispel the myth of the ‘perfect mother ‘that is so unhelpful and that often intensifies and perpetuates the feelings of guilt and unworthiness, present in postnatal depression.
If you believe that you are affected by depression, please do not suffer in silence. Do get in touch so we can start working together to help you to heal. I offer depression counselling and psychotherapy in Edinburgh and online.
I look forward to helping you heal and flourish.