"Depression" is an umbrella term for various different problems with different causes.
Fortunately, for such problems you don't need to know the cause, to find the solution. Depression gets in the way of life, so you want to get depression out of the way. Here's how I help.
I have a straight-talking approach to my work, so let me start a caveat. I've a lot of experience working with depression, but I'm also wary of working with it. The reason is that the moment a problem is defined in medical terms, and then something goes wrong, out come the lawyers. That's why the mental health system is so conservative, the professionals so detached, and why all of it so ineffective. So I refuse to be identified as a mental health professional. As a counsellor my work is more relational, and more like a skilled and committed coach: I'm somebody you hire to help you to make your own changes, by helping you gain insight, solutions, motivation, and follow-through. I'm not your treating professional, responsible for monitoring your well-being, for assessing you and providing treatments. I'm somebody outside that whole system, whom you hire to coach you so you can create your own changes. It's up to you to see your GP if you also need assessment and treatment.
So I look at the problem in terms of what you can do to create solutions. This is tailored to you because the nature of the challenge differs between individuals. In classical depression there's a feedback loop between a bad mindset and a bad way of life. Perhaps something went wrong, perhaps it didn't and there was a pre-existing fault-line in your psychological architecture, but either way you started to think in ways that sent you down - I'm useless, I'm worthless, I'm bad, I'm stupid, I'm hopeless and this is permanent. And your life changed in ways that send you down, with your eating and sleeping and exercise and socialising and so on all entering bad patterns. It often frustrates guys because they feel that these explanations are too simple, given how stuck they are, but what you need is another man, a professional, who can see clearly, because you're currently too entwined. You're like a ram tangled in a barbed-wire fence. I help you disentangle yourself, at the level of your thinking, your emotions, and your action. And then I help you get yourself back into shape at all those levels. And more than that, I help you get into better shape so that this is less likely to happen again.
So we build more health, and we build more meaning and purpose, into your life. We focus on mindset, and we focus on action. The research is clear that a period of depression is never permanent. This is true even of those who are catatonic - who are much worse than you. But of course it feels permanent. And it does damage while it lasts. So I help you do the things which research and experience have proven to work. And I help you become more resilient toward it for the future. And I help you use your depression as a turning point to make yourself stronger in the long-term.
The coach Steve Chandler got to the heart of things when he wrote, "As you look back over your life so far, you will see that you always have had two basic ways of being. At any given time, you were either one way, or you were the other; you were either an owner of the human spirit, or you were a victim of circumstances."
The thing which traps most people is their sense of who they are: their personality. When we talk about our personality we often feel as though we are describing something objective: our inherent nature, something fixed. But as philosophers and psychologists have been pointing out for a century, our personality is little more than a made-up story. It only seems real because we keep repeating the it. Nonetheless its consequences are very real. Change your story and you can change your life. But how do you start?
I've noticed something about despair, and the way people speak when they suffer from it. They often talk as if they know how everything will turn out. But in fact they don't. The opposite of despair is hope, but there are other elements involved. In this case arrogance and delusion. Genuine hope does not always know what it hopes for. The hopeful person waits for things to reveal themselves. That might take a long time, and so hope is an act of endurance and courage. To hope in this was makes you more resilient now, but it also makes you a better person in the future. And so your present suffering - which you will get through - is also a training ground for something profound. That's the topic of this reflection.
Talk is cheap. You are what you do. The point of today's reflection is to help you take effective action. In the previous three posts in this series I've helped you clarify your strengths, then define your direction, and then your purpose, as well as create a basic map of what they look like as measurable actions. Today I offer two powerful techniques you can use every day to make those actions work.
This post is about becoming the kind of person you long to be. Regardless of what you do with your life - your direction in life - your purpose is about the meaning your life has, or will have. It is based on such things as your character, the values that define you, and the things that give meaning to your life.
The aim of this reflection is to help you:
Much of the meaning of life comes down to finding good work and love. Often enough when people ask about the point of it all, they are lacking something important in those dimensions of life. This is why it's vital to clarify your direction in life and to pursue it.
Your direction is what you do with your life, its contents - what do you want in terms of relationships (partner, children, friends and so on) and what do you do for work, for passions and interests. Today's post will help you to reflect more deeply on your direction in life, by tapping into your deeper desires.
Whether overcoming adversity, or striving to make things better, research shows you should focus on your strengths rather than trying to overcome your weaknesses. In this reflection you'll get an accurate assessment of your strengths and practical guidance in how to use them to succeed in daily life.