There is no single cause of depression; you can develop it for different reasons. The reasons for depression are from stressful events, illness, personality, family history, giving birth, loneliness, alcohol and drugs.

If you tick off more than five or more of the following symptoms it is likely you are depressed:

  • Feeling tired and lacking energy: doing less and less
  • Crying a lot
  • Being restless and agitated
  • Lacking self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Not eating properly and losing or putting on weight
  • Being preoccupied with negative thoughts
  • Feeling low-spirited for much of the time, every day
  • Physical aches and pains with no physical cause
  • Being unusually irritable or impatient
  • Getting no pleasure out of life or what you usually enjoy
  • Blaming yourself and feeling unnecessarily guilty about things
  • Waking up early, having difficulty sleeping, or
  • Feeling numb, empty and despairing
  • Feeling helpless
  • Distancing yourself from others; not asking for support
  • Taking a bleak, pessimistic view of the future
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Self-harming (by cutting yourself, for example)
  • Finding it hard to concentrate or make decisions sleeping more
  • Losing interest in your sex life * Experiencing a sense of unreality
  • Using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
You need to be willing to be totally honest and open about your problems. It can be hard at first and quite emotional. But with time it will get easier. You will learn so much about yourself and your life and understand why you are sitting on that chair and how you will see that light at the end of the dark tunnel. Sometimes just talking to someone you don't know who will not judge you is all you need to move forward to the life you are meant to lead.

Clients come to me feeling extremely down, exhausted and everything is an effort. In the assessment we will talk about how long you have felt like this and how you what you would like to get out of the counselling. For some depression is relatively new and others it can be a long term situation. In the first few session we will look back over your life and see what beliefs and ideas you have built up that may or may not be useful (low self esteem or being overly critical). Past experiences such as life changing events can have a dramatic effect on what is going on today.

In our work we will be looking at the thought process and what you are telling yourself. Many find that they have negative thoughts that create a downward spiral and the feeling of being out of control.

The ten forms of Negative Thinking

  1. All-or-nothing thinking. You see things in black-or-white categories. If a situation falls short of perfect, you see it as a total failure. When a young women on a diet ate a spoonful of ice cream, she told herself, I have blown my diet completely. This thought upset her so much she gobbled down an entire quart of ice cream!
  2. Over generalization. You see a single negative event, such as a romantic rejection or a career reversal, as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as always or never when you think about it. A depressed salesman became terribly upset when he noticed bird dung on the windshield of his car. He told himself, Just my luck! Birds are always crapping on my car!
  3. Mental filter. You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolours a beaker of water. Example: You receive many positive comments about your presentation to a group of associates at work, but one of them says something mildly critical. You obsess about his reaction for days and ignore all the positive feedback.
  4. Discounting the positive. You reject positive experiences by insisting they don't count. If you do a good job, you may tell yourself that it wasn't good enough or anyone could have done as well. Discounting the positive takes the joy out of life and makes them feel inadequate and unrewarded.
  5. Jumping to conclusion. You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusion. Mind reading: Without checking it out, you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you. Fortune-telling: You predict that things will turn out badly. Before a test you may tell yourself, I'm really going to blow it. What if I flunk? If you're depressed you may tell yourself, I'll never get better.
  6. Magnification. You exaggerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize the importance of desirable qualities. This is also called the binocular trick.
  7. Emotional reasoning. You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: I feel terrified about going on airplanes. It must be very dangerous to fly. Or I feel guilty. I must be a rotten person. Or I feel angry this proves I am being treated unfairly. This means I am a second rate person. Or I feel hopeless. I must really be hopeless.
  8. Should statements. You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be . After playing a difficult piece on the piano, a gifted pianist told herself, I shouldn't have made so many mistakes. This made her fell so disgusted that she quit practicing for several days. Must oughts and have tos are similar offenders. Should statements that are directed against yourself lead to guilt and frustration. Should statements that are directed against other people or the world in general lead to anger and frustration: He shouldn't be so stubborn and argumentative? Many people try to motivate themselves with should's and shouldn'ts, as if they were delinquents who had to be punished before they could be expected to do anything. I shouldn't eat that doughnut. This usually doesn't work because all these should's and musts make you fell rebellious and get the urge to do just the opposite.
  9. Labelling. This is an extreme form of all-or-nothing mistake. Instead of saying I made a mistake, you attach a negative label to yourself: I'm a loser. You might also label yourself a fool or a failure or a jerk. Labelling is quite irrational because you are not the same as what you do. Human beings exist, but fools, losers, and jerks do not. These labels are just useless abstractions that lead to anger, anxiety, frustration, and low self esteem. You may also label others. When some one does something that rubs you the wrong way, you may tell yourself: he's an S.O.B. Then you fell that the problem is with that person's character or essence instead of with their thinking or behaviour. You see them as totally bad. This makes you feel hostile and hopeless about improving things and leaves little room for constructive communication.
  10. Personalization and blame personalization occurs when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn't entirely under your control. When a women received a note that her child was having difficulties at school, she told herself this shows what a bad mother I am, instead of trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem so that she could be helpful to her child. When another women's husband beat her, she told herself, if only I were better in bed, he wouldn't beat me. Personalization leads to guilt, shame, and feelings of inadequacy. Some people do the opposite. They blame other people or their circumstances for their problems, and they overlook ways that might be contributing to the problem: The reason my marriage is so lousy is because my spouse is totally unreasonable. Blame usually doesn't work very well because other people will resent being scape-goateed and they will just toss the blame right back in your lap. It's like the game of hot potatoes - no one wants to get stuck with it.