There were mirrors in the house but I did not look into them. I did not want to see that version of myself looking back at me.
But in the cold light of day, in the shopping mall mirrors, I couldn’t miss my reflection staring back.
Who was that sad, lonely, young woman with eyes like a dead, black river?
That was me many years ago, a young mother isolated in suburbia with two young children and only a house for company. No job or future prospects. And a husband who clearly had no understanding about my suffering.
Depression is an unconscious cry for help.
To ignore the cry is to push down the pain into your soul so it can lurk there ready to pop back up when you least expect it.
Do you feel that somewhere there is a vital part of you that wants to live again, that wants to recover?
Or maybe you are just waiting for your
depression to lift and go away as it has before?
Depression is caused by unfinished psychological business.
And it is only until you deal with this business that you can ditch depression and get your life back.
Your depressed human psyche cannot see a future. You have no hope. You feel helpless. You have no personal power. You may be contemplating suicide.
But there is a way forward without having to end your life.
When you are suffering from depression nothing is as it seems. Yesterday you were feeling ok, not great but ok, and today the whole world is against you.
Everything is dark and bad. Your perception has changed over night but that is all that has changed. Everything and everyone else around you is just the same.
No matter what your depressed psyche believes, know that it is not real.
Understanding your depression.
1) Your depression is unique to you.
2) Depression has many causes.
3) Underlying emotions of depression are complex, powerful, primal and elusive.
4) There is no quick fix for depression.
5) All emotions are parts of a jigsaw puzzle of depression.
6) Each piece of the puzzle needs to be located and released before healing can begin.
7) Healing depression is hard emotional work and piecing together your past emotional experiences can be confronting.
8) Releasing painful feelings is a step towards unlearning and releasing the past to make way for renewal.
8 Ways to deal with the black dog.
1) Find a capable psychotherapist to help you piece together your puzzle of depression.
2) Therapy is team work. In between sessions try to become more aware of what is happening in your psyche.
3) Keep a diary to record your thoughts, feelings and dreams, which will be preparation for your next session.
4) Exercise daily, a short brisk walk or jog.
5) Practice meditation or deep breathing to release stress.
6) Treat yourself to a weekly massage.
7) Buy a dog or a cat but only if you like animals and are prepared to put the time in to look after it. You could borrow a dog to walk.
8) Consider therapy as an investment in yourself and your future happiness.
The black dog is a rare visitor to me now. But if I should face him on a lonely road, I cross over on the other side.
Carole Lyden is a writer and psychodynamic psychotherapist specializing in depression therapy at Teddy Bear Therapy Centre in Perth Western Australia. She is passionate about the power of psychotherapy and its ability to change lives.