Depression – What you need to know.

“A depressed person is very tough to be in a relationship with,” says Irina Firstein, LCSW, a New York City psychotherapist with 20 years of experience treating depression.

 

Loving someone with depression can be challenging. It can make you angry, frustrated and alone, as it can be an uphill battle to try and stay connected.

Depression has been largely misunderstood. It is a medical condition and should not be perceived as a weakness.

Depression can be from singular or cumulative events. The symptoms are present both internally and externally.

Physical symptoms are often more noticeable as their nervous system reacts to the high level of stress hormones produced. A depressed person may show the following external symptoms:

  • Constant tiredness.
  • Complaints of sore achy muscles.
  • Signs of low immunity such as skin breakouts and cold and flu symptoms.
  • Cramps and sore stomach.
  • Lack of sexual desire.
  • Insomnia.
  • Short-tempered and more argumentative.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Increased alcohol consumption.
  • Increase of screen time on their devices.
  • Takes longer to complete daily chores.
  • Loss of appetite or increase in food binging.

The internal symptoms are often harder to pick up on. This may include:

  • Lack of intimacy.
  • Look of sadness or unhappiness.
  • Constant sighing.
  • Feelings of anger and frustration over little things.
  • Often appear distant and not engaging in conversation.
  • Appear more clingy and anxious if they know they are going to be away from you.
  • Unwillingness to participate in family gatherings or social outings.
  • Constant negative view of their self-worth.
  • Overly critical of any decisions you make.
  • Talks of running away to a place where they do not have to care about others.
  • Asking doom questions of what you would do if they die.

There will be many questions that are currently going through your mind:

  • Why am I here?
  • Is it worth waiting for her to get better?
  • Am I the right person to help him?
  • Am I in danger?
  • Can I help fix her/his/their problem?
  • Am I still loved?

Before you can help others heal, you must first learn to heal yourself. Your mental health is equally as important as that of your loved ones’. You may want to unpack your current experiences and emotions.

Do your mental health check by taking an online assessment. It gives you a good measure of your mental health inventory. If you need to talk to an expert or would like to bring along your loved one for couples counselling, please feel free to contact me here. If you have any questions you can submit an enquiry to me directly.

Communication and Benefits of Online Counselling

The Communication Model explains the process of how the sender changes their thoughts and feelings into sounds and actions. Then the model shows how the receiver  decodes these sounds and actions back into their own thoughts and feelings.

Verderber & Verderber (1988) state there are seven parts to this process.

(1) Context – Very important to ensure the message is understood in the way it was intended.

There is a Psychological Context – How the person feels when they get the message.

There is a Historical Context – What has previous happened between the encoder and decoder.

There is a Physical Context – Whereabouts the message is sent and received.

(2)  Participants – The people involved with the communication process bring with them their own experiences, attitudes and values. 

(3) Rules – Set the boundaries on how we communicate and defines the words we use and when we should speak. These rules are often unstated. 

(4) Messages – Meaning or context of the communication.

(5) Channels – The five senses; touch, taste, sound, smell, & sight may all be channels used to communicate a message. When having a conversation we most commonly use only 2 channels; sound and sight. We use these channels by talking and using body language.

(6) Noise – This is something that gets in way of communicating and comes in 3 forms external, internal, and semantic. External are things such as a loud noise preventing the receiver from hearing all of the message. Internal can be things such as what is going on in the receivers head, thoughts such daydreaming and bias. Semantic relates to language problems such as using sentences with a lot of jargon.       

(7) Feedback – This is telling the sender what we as the receiver have heard.

How Does the Communication Model Help Us?

Think of the communication model as being simular to how a car engine works. You can drive fine without knowing how the engine works. However when that engine breaks down, the driving stops until someone fixes the engine. The communication model helps identify where the problems of communication lie. Identifying our areas of weakness in the communication model can help us strengthen our skills.