I love all things personality. I love getting to know others’ personalities, I love reading about personality traits, and I have a confession… I am a personality quiz addict. ‘Hi, my name is Sasha and I am compelled to take any sort of questionnaire starting with ‘what’s your……’. Hello, Cosmo.
Aaaaand we’re back! Another Thursday tidbit. Last week we looked at everything anxiety, this week let’s turn the focus to anxiety’s close cousin, depression. Something that I think many, if not all, of us have seen- either directly experiencing it ourselves, or watching others go through it. Just like anxiety, depression is ok, it’s normal and it’s common. And you are not alone at all!
What is depression?
It’s important to know what depression is, and how it turns into an actual disorder. We can all feel low, and have cruddy moods from time to time, but depression is more ingrained. A clinical episode of depression lasts at least 2 weeks, and has many different features; from crying, irritability, to apathy, hoplessness to flat mood, negative thinking, to sleeplessness/oversleeping, loss of appetite/over-eating. It is the pits! Depression can come at key points in our lives, stick around for a bit and cause havoc, and then bugger off. Or sometimes it can stay for a very long time; years even. In its extreme, depression can cause psychosis (hearing and seeing things that aren’t there), or suicidality, and that can be very scary for all involved. Clinical depression is all encompassing. It affects our minds, our emotions, and even our bodies. Like anxiety, it becomes a problem when it’s over and above what would be expected for that person at that point in their lives. And when it starts to eat away at a person’s overall wellbeing .
Today was a hard day at work. It comes with the territory I guess. I think for the most part I can switch off to everything I hear, and everything I see, but there are some days that are harder than others. Today was one of those days. We psychs tend to take more on board than maybe we should. It’s absolutely nothing compared to the pain of those in front of us, and then at times we can feel guilty for feeling that heavy feeling, when all we’re doing is listening and talking. You can literally feel the hurt and the pain some days, and it can become all-encompassing. I think all the training in the world can’t teach you to switch off 100%. We all identify when we’re training our ‘red flag’ zones- the areas that just hit us too hard. I haven’t found my red flag yet, but I’m sure it’s out there.
My beautiful honours supervisor once talked about having a point that you specify to flick the switch on the ick, and her advice has stuck with me for all these years. She used to tell the story of when she was counselling, and she’d had a particularly heavy day, she gave herself a designated spot where she would have to switch off. For her, it was the big roundabout a few km’s at the end of the main drag to our uni. That was her point. If she had driven to the roundabout and couldn’t flip the switch, she had to go around the roundabout, drive up the road and turn back around to try and hit the roundabout again. There were times she would have to go around that roundabout 10 times, but she left it all there, and drove home to enjoy her evening.
I missed my jog yesterday. Because I am hopeless and continue to pursue my ‘mutton-dressed-as-lamb’ love of heading out to a gig and jumping around and trying to appear hip and staying out carefree…. Until I get home and have to wake 4 hours later to children jumping on me, and I realise I’ve bunged my bad knee and my god, is my head meant to feel like it’s suck in a vice??
OK, so I thought what better day to flag as a bit of an ideas day than a Thursday. Mainly because I am a nerd and love me some alliteration. And I originally thought of ‘Therapy Thursday’ but that’s kinda creepy and makes me feel like we should all be laying on couches talking about our Mothers and Oedipal complexes (sorry Freud, I still love you!). So each Thursday I’ll chat about a topic around wellbeing- from mood and mental health issues, to relationships, to kids, to therapies that could be helpful- the whole shebang. And then the rest of the time I’ll regale you with my tales of dysfunction. Sounds good? Let’s begin!