Understanding Feelings and depression

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Feelings and depression

by Dr. David Burns.

Most of us would recognize classic signs of depression, with its heavy veil of sadness and hopelessness. But what if you just started getting stomach aches or were suddenly very snappy? Could you be depressed without knowing it? What about just feeling low? Feelings and depression are not as simply understood as one may think at first. 

And then the big question, does depression cause addiction or does addiction cause depression? Id it that feelings and depression go hand in hand, or does one effect the other, and if so, how do we stop the madness of the cycle?

Because depression has been viewed as an emotional disorder throughout the history of psychiatry, therapists from most schools of thought place a strong emphasis on “getting in touch” with your Feelings and depression. Our research reveals the unexpected: Depression is not an emotional disorder at all! The sudden change in the way you feel is of no more causal relevance than a runny nose is when you have a cold. Every bad feeling you have is the result of your distorted negative thinking. Illogical pessimistic attitudes play the central role in the development and continuation of all your symptoms.

Intense negative thinking always accompanies a depressive episode, or any painful emotion for that matter. Your moody thoughts are likely to be entirely different from those you have when you are not upset. A young woman, about to receive her Ph.D., expressed it this way:

Every time I become depressed, I feel as if I have been hit with a sudden cosmic jolt, and I begin to see things differently. The change can come within less than an hour. My thoughts become negative and pessimistic. As I look into the past, I become convinced that everything that I’ve ever done is worthless. Any happy period seems like an illusion. My accomplishments appear as genuine as the false facade for the set of a Western movie. I become convinced that the real me is worthless and inadequate. I can’t move forward with my work because through my low feelings and depression I become frozen with doubt. But I can’t stand still because the misery is unbearable.

You will learn, as she did, that the negative thoughts that flood your mind are the actual cause of your self-defeating emotions. These thoughts are what keep you lethargic and make you feel inadequate. Your negative thoughts, or cognitions, are the most frequently overlooked symptoms of your depression. These cognitions contain the key to relief and are therefore your most important symptoms.

Every time you feel depressed about something, try to identify a corresponding negative thought you had just prior to and during the depression. Because these thoughts have actually created your bad mood, by learning to restructure them, you can change your mood. Understanding Feelings and depression is key!

You are probably sceptical of all this because your negative thinking has become such a part of your life that it has become automatic. For this reason I call negative thoughts “automatic thoughts.” They run through your mind automatically without the slightest effort on your part to put them there. They are as obvious and natural to you as the way you hold a fork.

Addiction and depression

The relationship between the way you think and the way you feel is basically a no brainer these days. Addiction kills the feelings that is what the person knowingly or ignorantly intends to do! This illustrates the first major key to understanding your moods and feelings and depression: Your emotions result from the way you look at things. So if you change the way you look things, they can and do change. It is an obvious neurological fact that before you can experience any event, you must process it with your mind and give it meaning. You must understand what is happening to you before you can feel it.

Mark L Lockwood, Clinical director for Pathways Plett Rehab and Wellness Centre puts it like this. “There are so many views on depression and its causes. Some say they are entirely neurological, others behavioural, others cognitive and others feel that depression and addiction alike come from learning disorders. Truth is no one know one hundred percent. What we do know is addiction and depression can be treated by learning to get back in touch with your feelings. Your feelings, stunted by addictions, help you grow, recover and evolve. They are the short hand of the brain and all its thinking, most of which is mindless and automatic. In any given day you have 60 000 thoughts racing through your head. Problem is they are the same 60 000 each day, generally speaking. Worse still is the scientific fact that if you overthink something it becomes negative.”

Contact Pathways Wellness Centre for more information about Feelings and depression and recovery, growth and personal wellness. 

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