Is my depression all my fault, or is the world contributing to how I feel?

Is my depression all my fault, or is the world contributing to how I feel? This, dear reader, is a question that is much easier to answer today than at probably any other point in our generation. First we need to begin with a short definition of depression (I’ll try not to get too deep on this one, but just give something to suffice for this blog). When we’re firing on all cylinders we see possibilities everywhere. You know what I mean, those days (however long ago they may seem to you now), where we wake up on a sunny Saturday morning and feel the world is our oyster, what we’re basically experiencing is possibility. Opportunities. Options. We look out our windows at the world and see a hundred different doorways each with their own special promise for the day. The only real question becomes “Which one do we want to walk through today?”. Do we go into London and walk along the Southbank, head out to the coast to walk along the beach and each fish and chips out of a tray (while fighting off attack seagulls), or do we go to find a place where we can row a boat down a river for an hour followed by a pub lunch somewhere?

When we’re not feeling depressed, in the most of simple terms, we are able to sift through these possibilities and choose the best one for us today. Oh sure, there are some doorways that automatically close on us as time goes by, but that is par for the course. For example, I used to have a doorway (when I was a child), that had the words: Become an astronaut! written in big blue letters across the top. That doorway, I can assure, you, has long since been painted shut, but you get my drift as to all the others. When we become depressed, more and more of of these doorways shut automatically. Eventually, all we’re left with is a big blank wall that seems to surround us and hem us in. Annoyingly, for those who love us, but who are not depressed, these doorways still appear to be viable. Not to the depressed individual however, the wall just seems to loom higher and higher and all we end up with is a sense of futility and pointlessness.

But, coming back to the title of this blog, how much of this is our fault, and how much of it stems from current world circumstances? Well, I think this is an important question and one worth looking at a bit. Brexit, Donald Trump, Putin’s plans to dominate the world, the unsettling reunion of Westlife….. All of these things are actually happening. There is a whole bunch of world stuff happening right now that is hard to swallow. Real life events that are almost completely out of our control but will have real impact on our lives. This is not imagined powerlessness. This is not made up futility. This is real, and it is happening whether we like it or not.

Many who have attended my counselling rooms in Bishops Stortford over the last year have found it very difficult to tease out the crap that is happening in the world today from any sort of depression or pathology within them. I don’t blame them for this difficulty…. its hard to do! I’ve come to believe that much of what is happening for the depressed of today is a combination of the two. For many (but not all), there has been a slight history of depression, but it has always been more or less manageable. Today’s world is just pushing things over the top of stuff we can cope with.

There are solutions though, and there is no need to suffer endlessly against a world over which we are powerless. We don’t have to stuff antidepressants down our throats just to get through the day either. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by life right now, and you would like to find a way through these feelings, then please do give me a call on 01279 834467. You may well find that you don’t need months of therapy anymore than you need 100 milligrams of happy pills. Having said that, you may well find that being able to talk through what is specifically happening for you in your life during all this will provide just enough to get you back on track.