Feel melancholy, out of sorts, tired, cranky, a lack of energy, no enthusiasm, a sense of doom, a negative attitude, wake up early in the morning and can’t fall back to sleep, don’t feel like reading, writing, playing golf or any of the hobbies that you usually love?
Any of the above can be a sign of depression.
Should you immediately call your family practice doc for an Rx of Prozac or for a psychiatric referral?
I wouldn’t. Not yet…
I’d take some time to think about what’s going on in your life. Carefully go over the last few days before the symptoms started or got worse. What did you do? Who did you talk to? Did a friend or family member say something that hurt your feelings? Were you rejected? Left out? Disrespected?
The key underlying feeling that often triggers depression is ANGER.
Not expressing anger is usually the problem.
In therapy, a common dynamic in chronic depression is years of repressed anger. Parents who don ‘t have the time or inclination to help their children express themselves foster the development of kids who are continually sad. These sad kids grow up to be sad adults who wind up on therapists’ couches.
Together the therapist and patient work to discover what happened to cause the problem. Eventually they learn all about the repressed, hidden anger that has been a constant unwanted companion.
Self-analysis can be extremely helpful. If you discover who made you angry and deal with it appropriately there’s a good chance your mood will lighten and your energy will return.
Talking to the person who hurt you can often make you feel better. Sadly, you sometimes learn that the person you thought was your friend is insensitive and incapable of accepting responsibility for their hurtful actions. If they can’t change, you might need to find a new friend.
Resolving issues with a parent is more complicated. You can’t get a new one, but you can accept your mother or father’s limitations. You’re not obligated to take their words or actions to heart. Just because they think they’re right, doesn’t mean they are right. There’s a good chance your perspective is more accurate and helpful to the way you want to live your life than their perspective.
Whatever happens, dealing with your anger, can be very, very helpful.
Agree? Disagree? What do you think?
Art Smukler is the award-winning writer of Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.