Depression — is like a leaky faucet

Young woman sitting alone looking out windowBy Jeanine Jantz

Depression. Sometimes a specific event can cause it to rise quickly but it can also creep up so slowly until you feel overwhelmed like there is no way out. Think of depression like a leaky faucet. Initially, the small things appear bearable and before you realize it, there’s an overflowing bucket of depressive feelings.

Depression is often correlated with the common feelings of loneliness and what one feels are unbearable mistakes or a general fear of an irreparable future. Those who have experienced depression seem to have in common a hopeless sense of the future. They begin with hurt and pain related to experiences. At times this is coupled with predisposition to depression due to a general chemical imbalance in the brain or family history. Experiences, whether inflicted by others or self-inflicted, often appear to be unbearable or embarrassing. As a result the beginnings of a wall are created. Bricks are slowly added to create their wall. These bricks are often composed of resentment, self-pity, hatred, rationalization, anger, jealousy, frustration and doubt.  Construction on this wall is done in a mode of survival to protect oneself. It occurs because at the time, these feelings are unbearable or there is not a safe place to allow these feelings to come out. The wall feels good because it’s a mode of defense and we feel protected.

However, as life continues it becomes much easier to add bricks to this wall. Before you know it there is a wall strong enough to defend any city from a breaking dam. At this time it begins to no longer be a defense. Rather the person no longer knows what to do or where to go. This wall that is strong enough to defend you also shuts you off from the outside world — the beauty and nature of others. We are no longer able to see that others want to help or carry our burdens with us because we are confined to the inside of our wall. This is when feelings of loneliness, depression and fear begin to overwhelm us. Almost like the water has come over the top of the wall except now there’s a feeling that you’re drowning inside with no way to escape. This in turn leads to a fear that we no longer have control of our situation. Taking control through suicide, an idea that is more peaceful and comforting than the fear of what seems like the unending pain, can start to seem like the only option. The person doesn’t see the small weakness in the wall they constructed that may allow the emotional pain to drain away or to allow other caring individuals to provide the help to create a new passage out and begin to break down the wall one stone at a time.

If you have fear and hopelessness I urge you to seek help. Professional therapy is your best way to break out of this wall. There are various therapeutic techniques that can help decrease this pain and allow for light to shine in through the wall. Cognitive based therapy, brief solution focused therapy, lifespan integration and dialectal behavioral therapy are a few techniques that can help. These techniques range from traditionally talking about experiences and feelings to re-setting your response to triggers and events through utilizing a simple timeline and providing specific exercises to learning new skills to manage emotions. I would encourage you to take the first step to ask for help. While this is often fearful, it can be liberating to talk with someone that is non-judgmental and it offers a great deal of hope. There are many individuals out there who have a desire to help you walk through this portion of life and can help empty your depression bucket.

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