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Friday, 29 November 2013


"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be!" ~ Patanjali

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Dark Cloud of Depression

Many people suffer the effects of depression privately and silently. I did for many years.  I know now that my journey along the dark landscape of depression began in my tween years.  By 23, I crashed, bewildered that I had "lost control".  I had started a new, exciting career, was living in this awesome city (having moved from a small town), and all off a sudden I was unable to cope.  All I wanted to do was hide under my covers and never get up or cry my eyes out till they were swollen shut.  The world was all shades of grey and I walked through my life putting on a happy face which ultimately cost me the very energy I needed to get up every day.  And I kept it to myself, fearing that I would be labeled "crazy", "unstable" and "too emotional".  I feared losing my job , my credibility and even my friends.
I recall walking into St. Paul's Hospital after work on late fall night in 1988 and crying at the registration desk as I didn't even know how to tell the administrative staffer what I was feeling!  Thus began my foray into Out Patient Psychiatry and the  world of medications.
Even with the major strides in society today, many people, including family members, friends, employers and employees perceive depression as a stigma, that it means the depressed person is unstable, imbalanced... mentally ill.   I know that the common statement given by the well intentioned to my clients who have come to me because of depression is that “it’s all in your mind”.  And it is.  I learned that first hand.  However, it isn’t something you can just talk yourself out of or decide to quit one day. 
Depression in and of itself is not an emotion.  It is a state of mind caused by a symptom of an emotion or emotions that affect the mind and body negatively.  It is sometimes described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps.  But we all feel that way at times in our lives.  It’s usually short lived.  Depression that is NOT short lived and continues over weeks, months or years can be debilitating. 

Many suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  I was labeled with SAD in 1991.  It hits around early fall.   SAD is more common in women than in men, often appearing in young adulthood. People who live in northern latitudes, as we do, also have an increased risk of developing SAD.  Source:

Here are cited statistics according to Health Canada and Statistics Canada:

·        Approximately 8% of adult Canadians will experience a major depression at some point in their lives, and around 5% will in a given year. Depression continues to be Canada's fastest-rising diagnosis. From 1994 to 2004, visits for depression made to office-based doctors almost doubled. In 2003, that meant 11.6 million visits to doctors across Canada about depression.

·        Rates of depression are especially high among Canadian youth. A nationwide survey of Canadian youth by Statistics Canada found that 6.5%—more than a quarter million youth and young adults between 15 and 24—met the criteria for major depression in the past year. In a 2003 survey of BC teens, about 8% of students felt seriously distressed emotions in the past month such as ‘feeling so sad, discouraged, or hopeless that they wondered if it was all worthwhile.' But all ages are affected.

·        Depression can affect children, seniors and adult men and women of all socio-economic backgrounds," says Ed Rogers, President of the Mood Disorders Association of BC. The stress of unemployment can make some people more vulnerable to depression, yet many people with depression also have prestigious and highly demanding careers, including former Ontario premier Bob Rae.

·        Twice as many women as men are diagnosed with depression. However, this may simply indicate that men are less comfortable seeking help or do not get an accurate diagnosis since depression in men often manifests itself as a substance use problem.

Symptoms of Depression

  • feeling worthless, helpless or hopeless
  • sleeping more or less than usual
  • eating more or less than usual
  • having difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • loss of interest in taking part in activities
  • decreased sex drive
  • avoiding other people
  • overwhelming feelings of sadness or grief
  • overwhelmed when making simple decisions
  • loss of energy, feeling very tired
  • thoughts of death or suicide

Sleep is critical to both mind and body and is one of the major contributing factors of depression.  It begins with the logical mind becoming overwhelmed with processing too much information at one time.  It is often when an accumulation of events are happening at once.  When life’s circumstances inundate us, such as imminent unemployment coupled with financial obligations such as mortgages, or when a relationship is unstable and there is little or no emotional support, we begin to unravel.  This is when the mind is in the anxiety mode. When the mind is overwhelmed, it begins to shut down (depression) and that affects the body. With symptoms of tiredness, digestion problems, etc.  Typically, people who suffer depression may also have sleep issues. That's because the mind, when anxiety driven with many thoughts, does not shut down enough to rest in sleep. This is the time when the conscious mind vents naturally.  If this anxiety of the mind continues (when you can’t shut down the mind at night or even waking with anxious thoughts during the night), it then goes into retreat over time. Retreat = Depression.  When working with clients with depression, I ensure we deal with the issue of sleep.  Once the mind vents, it resets to its natural processing rhythm.

Hypnosis is a safe and effective technique to relax the mind but to also regress to the event that caused the feelings associated with depression.  Symptoms can be alleviated with hypnotic relaxation techniques but it is through hypnotic regression to the cause that will reframe the event with which the original feelings accumulated and make permanent changes.
 I know it helps people to move from survival mode to thriving mode.  It wasn't until 2006 when I was taking my Clinical Hypnotherapist training, that I began to examine 'my depression".  And as much as it hurt to go into all the sadness that had accumulated over YEARS, I finally came to the place where I felt free.  That I could trust my own mind to guide me positively.  I was able to still the voice that said I wasn't worth much so why try to prove otherwise.  That was 6 years and was also the last Effexor pill I popped.
If you or someone you know suffers from a depressed state of mind, pass on my name.  Because I know how they feel and will do my best to help them be me!