Mild depression

Don't confuse 'sadness' with 'depression'

Feeling down is a perfectly natural and understandable reaction to life events like loss or bereavement


Feeling down is a perfectly natural and understandable reaction to life events like loss or bereavement

I take the view that "becoming depressed" can for many people be an entirely natural response to some life events. There are some circumstances, like the death of a loved one for example, where we would expect the bereaved person to become very sad, to withdraw and to reflect on their loss. 

Grief is not an illness; it is more usefully thought of as part of being human and a normal response to death of a loved one.’
Editorial (unsigned)The Lancet 18 Feb 2012

I believe that the world we live in often puts enormous pressure on us to 'fit in', to be 'normal', to 'bounce back'. I sometimes watch TV (especially American TV) and see the hero fall in love in one episode, only to lose her at the hands of a villain. He's sad at the end of the episode but by the following week it's another case, another city, another girl! We all know this isn't real life, but to what extent do we truly allow ourselves the time to adjust to the major changes that life can throw at us? The truth is, we need time to process things in our mind -- and modern life often doesn't recognise this.

‘Sadness is not an illness; it is a normal response to loss.' Pete Sanders, Psychotherapist & Author

You don't have to be depressed to benefit from talking

In days gone by we might have talked our feelings over in confidence with perhaps an older or trusted member of what might of course have been quite a large extended family. Or we may have sought counsel from a priest, imam, rabbi or other religious or spiritual leader. Many people are still fortunate to be able to do this, however, many of us do not have this facility, or would feel uncomfortable with it. In such circumstances, an alternative is to speak to a counsellor. Many people prefer this, valuing the confidentiality. Some people say that it is easier or preferable to speak to an 'impartial' third party. 

In such cases the counsellor's role is to offer you a safe and non-judgmental space, to listen and to reflect with you on what they are hearing. They will listen out for and support you to be aware of, your feelings. They will support you to acknowledge all of your feelings, including any that you feel may be 'inconvenient' or which you perhaps do not wish to have or acknowledge. It is a gradual process that takes place at your pace. The emphasis isn't on 'problem solving' but on allowing you to 'take stock' of things. 

If life adjustments are necessary, it is for you to come to this in your own way, in your own time. The counsellor won't get tired of listening because clients sometimes have to back over things many times in order to 'straighten things out' in their heads. Sometimes, nothing can be done about what has happened, or will happen, yet talking about things allows you to move towards acceptance, or to gently adjust your perspectives or expectations and therefore to live more comfortably with your situation. 

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