54. SEX AND ADDICTIONS: Depressed? You May Have More Choices Than Your Realise.
Depression is more than just feeling down, sad or unhappy for just a few days.
Depression is usually long lasting and it can continue for months and months, even years. It can be debilitating and it therefore needs to be taken seriously.
Depression is not just about ‘pulling yourself together’ and getting on with it. Rather it’s a kind of emotional paralysis. And getting anything done can become impossible to achieve.
Even simple tasks like getting out of bed and brushing one’s teeth can become harder and harder each day. And then along with feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and tearfulness, many also report feeling constantly tired and physically drained. Often this results also in a loss of appetite and even a sex drive.
Finding things hard to do can eventually lead to isolation and loneliness. Friends and partners may stay around for a while but eventually losing patience – they may withdraw.
This can then lead to more hopelessness and an emotional downward spiral that can result in various cries for help, one being suicide.
But what causes depression?
When human beings experience any life-changing events, the emotions felt can be overwhelming and this could trigger depression and gloom.
Life changing events can include retirement, getting divorced, losing a job, declaring bankruptcy, having money problems, addictions, and also losing a partner or even a child, and so on. (By the way, there will a topic of grief and depression in the later section on Grief, Loss and Bereavement).
And sometimes current issues can trigger memories of past, unresolved issues.
If issues from the past have been swept under the carpet, if they have been hidden or if they have remained dormant and unaddressed, then when a life-changing event occurs later on in life, – what was not properly dealt with in the past, can make a sudden appearance in what may seem and feel like a magnified and very painful experience.
For some, the enormity of this kind of emotion can feel like it almost does not belong to the current situation – because often it doesn’t. The present situation has only triggered what was unaddressed and possibly even forgotten from way before.
When issues, often buried issues from the past, are remembered or triggered, this could possibly activate a whole series of emotions that can lead to depression and all that it means.
And issues surrounding self-worth and confidence can also be triggered.
Sometimes what is triggered is unconscious and therefore what is felt can arrive out of the blue – and it may not be immediately understood.
Also, many people can be affected by depression at some point in their lives.
However the length of the depression often relates to how distressing or how deep the trauma has been buried in the psyche.
It is at this point that we have a choice.
Doctors can prescribe antidepressant medication that can help alleviate sadness and feelings leading to stress and anxiety. This is usually offered as a solution. Medication can help many cope better – for a certain time anyway.
Unfortunately, this solution often puts a kind of symbolic bandage over the problem.
Medication can offer relief – however if the underlying issues are not addressed or confronted then the depression may continue. This is indeed unfortunate – as the depression can sometimes get worse.
As I have written so many times throughout my blogs:
‘Unaddressed and buried childhood trauma or experiences have a tendency to rear their ugly heads – often when we least expect them to and how they do this, often comes as a surprise’.
Past trauma can range from all sorts of situations: From loss, grief, and bereavement. It can range from children blaming themselves for a parent or sibling dying or for parental divorce. Or they may have experienced physical or sexual abuse and so on. And children can feel guilt and they can feel that it was their fault.
Trauma can also arise from emotional or physical abandonment. It can arise from a child being bullied at school or from receiving negative messages about competence, ugliness, deformities and all the dreadful things children sometimes say to one another.
These experiences may have become buried and forgotten.
And even years later, and depending on the severity of the trauma or experience, often adults prefer to hold onto what they know or what they understand.
Many may find delving into the pain of the past just too difficult. So they prefer to continue keeping everything buried and suppressed. Because letting go can be very frightening. In cases like these, it is really sad to see clients actively choose to hold on to their pain.
Some are also just not aware that what they experienced as children – can cause a range of feelings like depression to surface, later on in life. And joining the dots may take time.
The reality of this is that it can keep people stuck in victimhood and disempowerment. This choice allows them to continue underlining their feelings of worthlessness, helplessness and possibly a deep lack of self worth, even guilt – feelings that often lie behind depression.
In other words, by holding onto the ‘bad guilty feelings’ can help many adults punish themselves for what they may have ‘allowed to happen’ or what happened, so many years ago.
This is why depression is often referred to as depressed or suppressed anger or guilt.
Depression often results in the body becoming emotionally and mentally exhausted from constantly hiding and holding down all the negative feelings of rage, anger, fear, sadness or guilt from emerging.
This is what I wrote about in Blog 5: The brain can be our worst enemy. In childhood it helps us bury difficult memories in order to help us survive. Unfortunately, in adulthood burying memories often no longer serve a purpose as it often holds us back from achieving life’s goals.
Consequently, old memories can begin to slip out and what we then choose to do with them usually determines whether we hang on to them or whether we find relief by letting them go.
But for some letting go is just too frightening.
As a result, the body may continue feeling exhausted, very tired and heavy. Until for some, the only solution is to choose suicide. And this is so very very sad.
But there is also another choice:
If any of the issues discussed in this Blog relate to your experience then please do find help.
Join a support group, tell a friend and maybe you could also consider therapy.
You are not alone and there is help out there. You just have to find the right help.
And remember this too: ‘A problem shared is a problem halved. A problem shared is a often a problem solved!’
© 2017 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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