Over the last 30 years, I would have to say the condition that sits in my clinic chair more than any other is without doubt depression. Often individuals walk in knowing that they are depressed as they have been told by a professional. Sadly, many individuals are simply unaware of the fact that they are seriously depressed.
So, what is depression? To me, it is a set of mental and physical situations that we all have from time to time as a natural part of being alive. The real issue is when it becomes our daily method of operation.
Symptoms may include things like no interest in doing things. Constant feelings of being down, depressed or hopelessness. Sleep issues, too much, too little, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty rising. There’s a constant feeling of being run down and having little to no energy. No appetite or overeating. The constant rumination of “I am a failure’, ‘not good enough’, ‘I am letting my family or team down’. Issues with concentration. Moving slowly, speaking slowly, everything is accompanied with a deep sigh. The opposite can also be symptoms of rapid movement and agitation. Suicidal thoughts on an ongoing basis.
Now, as I said, we all have these symptoms from time to time. That is not the issue. The issue is when there is a disproportionate amount of time. What is that disproportionate amount of time? This will vary from person to person and situation to situation. The really sad part is that depression can be easily solved if you come at it from the right direction.
There is a stupid joke about a man standing by the side of his car with the bonnet, up and smoke and steam coming from the engine. The mechanic standing beside him states that the engine has blown up because there was no oil in the engine. Didn’t you see the red light on the dashboard? The man’s response was, “Yeah, I saw the light, so I used my chewing gum to cover it up”.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people use this approach to the whole subject of depression using drugs and other distractions so that they don’t have to look at the red light on the dashboard that is depression. The consequences of this are the distractions generally become greater and greater until something breaks — one’s health, wealth or happiness.
The symptoms of depression are just the red light on the dashboard. To solve them is easy enough. It is called dealing with your stuff. The stress and strain of life are just about internal conflicts. These conflicts come in the form of having an image or concept on the inside of your head that is different from the stuff that is going on, on the outside.
To use a mechanical term, you are attempting to drive around with your foot on the brake and the accelerator at the same time. Then we wonder why the car blows up. There is nothing wrong with the car, this is purely operator error. Constantly going and getting it fixed is not the solution. The issue, of course, is that you are very unlikely to recognise that you are doing this.
This is why NLP is so important in your daily life. It allows you to deal with your stuff in a productive, fast and efficient way, so you can get on and do the really important and fun stuff that makes a life worth living.