Depression always has a history.
When a person becomes depressed it seldom happens all at once, but develops gradually, sometimes so gradually and insidiously that we can’t make sense what has happened. Sometimes, however, it is only when some new or unexpected difficulty arises that a person can come to acknowledge that they are depressed. This new event, some disappointment in life, or in love, or in how the person sees themselves, can bring about a loss of hope, a feeling that there is little or no point in life. Life itself can seem like a burden.
What often happens when we become depressed is that the unhappiness that we all encounter through the difficulties and disappointments of life, now spills out and overwhelm us. For much of our life till now, we may have mostly managed to keep these disappointments at bay or may have even put them behind us. Now however, as all these spill in upon us we can come to feel hopeless, flattened, without the energy or the resources that we all need to keep going.
In these circumstances we can easily begin to think about our life in a way that drags us even lower. Past successes can seem pointless, past failures and disappointments are dwelt upon and exaggerated. The feelings connected to things that we did or that we failed to do are felt again, often with even more intensity. We feel again the embarrassment of what we might have said, the shame of what we might have done. We can paint a picture of ourselves in our own mind as unworthy, as hopeless, and as pointless. Often we do all this in an almost automatic way, without really being aware of how we have turned upon ourselves.
When things come to such a pass, it can seem impossible for a person, without help, to find a way out.
So what does one do in the face of depression?
Actually, one of the most effective ways of addressing these debilitating effects is to begin to speak. What helps is to find a place where we can put into words all the difficult and disturbing thoughts that assail our mind. This is what psychotherapy provides.
Psychotherapy can and does help a person to get a clearer perspective on the difficulties that they have encountered, and it will help in finding a way of addressing these difficulties.
Psychotherapy is not easy, but it is not impossible either. Often when a person has become depressed there are aspects of their life that they will find difficult to talk about. So, what effective psychotherapy requires is time, a commitment to speak about everything, and an experienced and properly trained psychotherapist who will guide the person through their difficulties and back to a life that offers hope.