The Many Faces Of Depression. How Many Faces Do You Have?
Depression can present a whole array of emotions and sometimes depression is numbing. Depression is complex and most definitely not a linear process, it’s up and it’s down.
According to the Mental Health Foundation (UK): “Depression is a common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.”
It is estimated that 1 in 6 people have experienced a mental health problem in the past week.
Depression is a mood disorder that can cause mild to severe symptoms, can affect how you feel, think and manage day to day activities. Depression has many faces and it may help you to recognise some of your faces because some of your faces may show up with such subtlety you start to question yourself as your faces change.
In no particular order is are some of the common faces of depression and some suggestions on how you might dig deeper and hopefully feel some relief.
It is important to recognise the whilst their are many commonalities with how people experience depression, it differs within us all.
Face Number 1: Sadness
Sadness is probably the heaviest emotion under depression but not always. It can feel dark, deep and as one client of mine stated: “Depression is suffocating”. The sadness can feel like a robber of all joy with no end in sight.
Dig Deeper: What makes you feel joy? Connect to a memory in the past and if possible allow that memory to support a shift.
Face Number 2: Lonely
Depression can make you feel lonely, alone and unsupported. The thoughts inside your head can be isolating.
Dig Deeper: The reality is you are not alone. The universe has your back! Send energy from you heart centre out towards someone you love, a family member, a friend, a pet. Create a bridge of love between you and them to create a sense of connection.
Face Number 3: Numb
Feeling numb is a challenging emotion, feeling held in its presence experiencing the nothingness. A complete head f**k! This face is tough to navigate through because many experiences and activities may not always be enough to break through but keep trying.
Dig Deeper: Keep moving, keep trying to get a shift. Moving your body really helps to release some endorphins which will help you to ‘feel’ something, connect with your physical body; feel your heart beat, your body heating up, fresh air on your skin. Get out in nature, do some QiGong, Yoga and as much as you don’t want to, very rarely to we ever regret doing it!
Face Number 4: Pain
Depression may create headaches, nausea, body aches and digestive pains. To name a few this can be due to; lack of appetite, an excess of appetite, lack of movement, the body constantly being in fight and flight and thoughts.
Dig Deeper: The body is listening all of the time. What messages are you telling your body?
Face Number 5: Fake
People experiencing depression can smile and this face can be a fake. At times I experience depression, people would describe me a ‘light hearted bubbly’ person but sometimes this isn’t the truth of where I am at. Why do I fake it? Sometimes because I don’t want to explore my depths with others, sometimes because I want to show up for family and friends, sometimes because faking it can shift it. Faking it isn’t always all bad if it isn’t disassociating or avoiding for too long.
Dig Deeper: Know when and why you are faking. Journal and explore when you put on a fake face and why, for how long, are you avoiding you truth, why?
Face Number 6: Demotivated
Feelings of “I just can’t” can be due to fatigue, poor nutrition, lack of self care amongst other things.
Dig Deeper: Use the 5 second rule, count to 5 and do it! Set yourself 1 or 2 goals for the day and do them, then once they are firmly established build up from there.
Face Number 7: Fear
Fear can lead to anxiety and it is your ego kicking off by wanting an end date! Thoughts such as: “When will this depression end?” “Will this depression ever end?” and “How much can I take?” are very common thoughts and this is where I ask you to dig very deep and trust.
Dig Deeper: Trust and have faith that you WILL get through this phase. Listen to podcasts that uplift you and remind yourself that you are not your depression.
Face Number 8: Shame
Depression’s shame face can show up when you look around at your life, the people in it, the things you have and you still feel depressed.
Dig Deeper: You have nothing to feel ashamed of, your mental health is your mental health, your journey. Would you judge another who felt depressed? No. Then why judge yourself?
Face Number 9: Guilt
Guilty for not going, guilty for going and feeling low, guilty for not feeling better, guilty for being here…. arghhhhh guilt is the gift that just keeps on giving…if you let it!
Dig Deeper: Guilt is a Mother F**ker, it truly is and acceptance of ‘what is’ helps to release it. You are doing your best, yes? Ok, then make peace with that and let go of the guilt my friend.
Face Number 10: Gratitude
It is possible to still feel grateful for it all even when you are experiencing depression.
Dig Deeper: Reflect on or write down what you are grateful for, connecting to each thing, person, memory emotionally to release some feel good hormones.
On a personal note: I experience depression and whilst sometimes there has been an obvious trigger, sometimes there has not and it creeps up on me. I tend remain highly functioning now but it wasn’t always that way.
When I was in my darkest days I took my life minute by minute because the urge to crawl into a deep dark hole was more of a pull than anything else. It was hard to get up and hard to stay up. It was hard to admit and it was hard to face. I felt all of the ten faces described above with numb for me being the worst. Being an emotional empath to feel numb was completely opposite to my truest self, it was tough going but taking it minute by minute and setting some small goals, moving my physical body and eating little and often all helped me to manage it. I now listen to podcasts, walked miles and try to stay present in my body. Whilst meditation is extremely helpful I used it to escape so grounding activities can be really helpful.
You are not alone. I am not alone. We are not alone.
Please let go of shame and guilt and reach out to someone when needed.
All My Love