'Depression is a thief that robs you of relationships'

'Depression is a thief that robs you of relationships'

Portarlington psychologist and Operation Transformation Expert Dr Eddie Murphy writes about depression.

Awhile back I was delighted to hear a talk by the inspiring Conor Cusack, Cork hurler and mental health advocate.

Conor talked about the uniqueness and preciousness of each of us. His perspective on depression is incredible insightful.

“Depression is difficult to explain. There are no words adequate to describe its horror. It permeates every part of your being, from your head to your toes. It is never ending, waves and waves of utter despair and hopelessness and fear and darkness flood throughout your whole body. You crave for peace but even sleep doesn’t afford that. It wrecks your dreams and turns your days into a living nightmare. It destroys your personality, your relationship with your family and friends, your work, your sporting life, it affects them all. Your ability to give and receive affection is gone.”

For many experiencing depression, they feel sadness, hopelessness and despair. It is like wearing a pair of glasses that only let in negativity. A black hole that sucks in all positive energy.

Depression is a thief

In my book ‘Becoming Your Real’ I describe depression as a thief robbing you of relationships.

Take John who saw me, I remember him slumped in the chair in my office saying ‘I would prefer a broken leg or cancer; my depression is invisible. Cancer has a treatment pathway; in depression that is unknown.’

The Power of Hope

Fostering hope is critical. Hope generates new energies. It is a stepping stone to connect you with loved ones. If depression sees the world as dark and miserable, hope bursts in with light, possibility and change.

It grows slowly through actions and goals. For example, small exercise goals, walking, swimming or cycling for 20 minutes 3 days a week, or even a smaller goal, putting on your runners and getting out for 5 minutes, all help grow the seed of hope.

The critical question is what keeps the depression going? Often ‘automatic negative thoughts ‘ are that fuel. The good news is that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a powerful treatment, and mindfulness is effective at preventing a relapse. It targets hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness and despair.

As relationships are a central loss in depression, try to connect to someone with depression. By helping them to think and act differently, you will help them banish depression.

Conor Cusack says “there is no situation that is without hope, there is no person that can’t overcome their present difficulties. For those that are suffering silently, there is help out there and you are definitely not alone.”

The first step is the hardest, seek help from to your GP, psychologist or recommended counsellor.

If someone rings enquiring to set up a session it’s mostly a woman. Mums and wives ring for adults sons and for their husbands. Men are disastrous when it comes to seeking help. I appeal to men to mind their health, physical and emotional.

Pic: Cork hurler Conor Cusack