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Understanding Your Feelings of Depression…

I often ask my clients to take time to observe their feelings of depression and listen for the messages hidden within the symptoms. In order to seek out these messages, you can ask yourself questions which may bring about further clarity as to the causes and possible strategies for symptom management. Some sample questions are below:

  • What makes my depression symptoms better or a bit worse?
  • Is there something that my depression might be trying to tell me?
  • What does my depression need me to do?

In my work with clients, I prefer to begin from a belief that depression is many times a normal human reaction to pain/loss and, for many people, it is a recurring response to the stress and struggle that life can bring our way at difficult times. If depression is externalized and viewed as something to engage with rather than run from, then the message inside the symptom can be more fully understood and worked with.

I begin by instructing my clients to attempt to view depression with curiosity, rather than something for which to be ashamed. Adopting this type of curious attitude allows you to see into depression’s core and learn about its underlying needs.

It is important to understand your depression by asking the following questions:

What caused these feelings of depression?

  • This may be a straightforward question but the answer is often obscure and challenging to identify. This question is used to begin or deepen a conversation about all the factors and conditions that contributed to the current slide into depression. Knowing these contributors allows for possible alterations in these conditions in the future.

What keeps you feeling “stuck”?

  • When you are in the midst of  depression, what do you do that makes it hard to move forward?
  • Many of my clients report to me that they find themselves getting very critical and judging themselves in a harsh manner for feeling down. This only serves to continue the cycle.
  • Perhaps you blame someone else and get stuck in feeling like you have been victimized.
  • The patterns of getting “stuck” are important to examine..understanding and awareness of your own patterns leads you to increased freedom and the possibility of trying something different.

Can you verbalize ways in the past in which you have helped yourself get “unstuck” and start feeling a little bit better?

  • Maybe you call a close family member who is supportive and can lend a helping hand.
  • Perhaps you are able to take control of your negative self-talk and put a stop to the harsh self-criticism.
  • Maybe you go for a run with your dog, or grab a coffee with a close friend.
  • Take time to examine what has worked in the past, what makes you feel just a little bit better off, and what you’d like to consider doing the next time you find yourself in this pit.

Hopefully taking time to think about these questions listed above will give you greater clarity and awareness…which in turn will offer you a sense of empowerment and freedom in your life.


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