We are living through a Depression epidemic with diagnosable mental health illnesses on the rise especially in young people. Statistics suggest that nearly 80,000 children and young people are seriously depressed with about 8,700 of those aged between 5 and 10. This is a debilitating experience that can disable anyone. Andrew Richardson, a Human Givens accredited practitioner explains that depression as experienced by the vast majority of sufferers, is not a biological illness; neither is it ‘anger turned inward’; nor is a ‘chemical imbalance in the brain’ and it is not usefully divided into ‘clinical depression’, ‘post-natal depression’ and ordinary ‘depression’. He explains what actually causes most depressions and what can be done.
Understand why you dream and you will understand Depression
“Tonight you will dream, even if you don’t remember doing so”. What is going on is that your brain will act out in story-like form the hopes, fears and reflections that occupied your mind today. Today’s concerns are tonight’s dreams. In simple terms, dreaming is our brain’s emotional toilet flush. This extraordinary process refreshes our emotional brain, leaving it better prepared to deal with tomorrow’s stresses.
But dreaming is exhausting. And if we need more dreaming because we are worrying too much then we will slip into a vicious circle – of worrying, exhausting over dreaming, reduced motivation and energy and thus even more unproductive rumination. And this is a depression. Many describe it as being locked in their brain, unable to escape from useless and obsessive rumination – a terrifying trance state of inward obsession.
Why people get depressed
People sink into a depressed mood when their innate physical or emotional needs are not being met and, instead of dealing with this situation, they begin to worry about it and so misuse their imagination. All depressed people worry. This increases the amount of dreaming they do, upsetting the balance between slow-wave, recuperative sleep and dream sleep. Consequently they start to develop an imbalance between energy burning dream sleep and refreshing slow-wave sleep. Soon they start to wake up feeling tired and unmotivated. This makes them worry even more as they feel that “something is wrong with me”. To be depressed is an added layer of piled upon genuine challenges, further reducing the person’s ability to cope with their difficulties.
And then what feeds the depression
It can be a number of things. They would include how difficult is the situation someone finds themselves in. From a Human Givens perspective, the question would be put this way – how possible is it to live a life where essential needs can be met, around safety, control, relationships and satisfying work. And what is the nature and extent of the crisis that might have triggered depression? Finally there are the resources of that client – how well are emotions, habitual patterns of thinking and responding helping or not to get these essential needs met? And finally it is important to discover if there is trauma lurking somewhere in the past as often it is the active reliving of past traumas that is the main inhibitor to a person’s capacity to get their life working better
Helping Depression clients – my experience
The challenges often lead to two courses of action. First, to get arousal levels down so that sleep improves and second to help the client problem solve so that they can take the action needed to get their life working better. And this in turn may require the healing of emotional resources caused by past trauma and strong emotional patterning.
These two directions are obviously closely connected. The high arousal of a depressed person is a trancelike self obsessed focus, which destroys the capacity to problem solve and so correct the underlying lack that caused the depression in the first place. And the mere fact of being able to problem solve and so take control gives a sense of hope and movement and is therefore a highly effective way to reduce arousal.
But one thing that I will not do, at least not until my client is beginning to feel better – is to allow any extended talk that focuses on the past and all the bad that seems to be there. Indeed at that first session I tend to do more of the talking, which often is a great relief for my client.
Andrew has been practicing as a Human Givens accredited practitioner for ten years now and has a thriving private practice. As the approach is still new (dating from the late 1990s), he is one of the more experienced HG therapists.
Andrew sees clients face to face or over Skype. He also has tailor made audios as part of his healing programme.
Andrews work with depression works effectively alongside nutritional therapy which can help to restore energy levels and support quality sleep. For more information about nutritional therapy visit The Food Teacher Clinic and book a face-to-face or Skype consultation.