Depression & Covid by Client A
Updated: Nov 20, 2020
2020 has been quite the emotional roller coaster, hasn't it? Withdrawing from the EU would have been the biggest news in any 'normal' year in the United Kingdom. Alas, Covid-19 had other ideas. So, it is any wonder that an increasing number of us are feeling anxious or depressed?
Depression has no face and affects people from all walks of life. It does not choose people based on age or financial stability. I am a thirty-something Yorkshire man who, to an outsider, might look like a happy, smiling chap walking his dog on a Sunday morning without a care in the world. Yet behind the calm exterior exists an inner turmoil; a constant battle against low self-esteem, exhaustion and guilt.
At the start of the first lockdown in March, I decided to document my experience of depression and anxiety as I knew it wasn't if it would happen, but when. I also decided to investigate the idea of private counselling, which led me to make contact with Rachel Hudson of The Therapy Shed (https://www.thetherapyshed.org/) and I will later discuss why I feel that this kind of treatment is better than anything a Doctor could prescribe.
First of all though I'd like to answer a few questions - from my own personal experience - that I think someone struggling with their mental health may have asked their favourite search engine.
Am I depressed or just going through a rough patch?
Am I depressed is a question i have asked myself many times over the course of my life. To me, the difference between depression and a rough patch is that depression drains the life out of you and can last for weeks or even months at a time. It is tiring and unrelenting. It is the inability to get out of bed on a sunny day. It is staring at the four walls in your house for hours on end and finding no enjoyment in the things you used to love doing. It is, quite simply, a nightmare.
What causes depression?
There are a number of obvious answers to this question (an unresolved traumatic event in your past, the loss of a loved one) but what I have learnt is that there doesn't necessarily have to be a triggering moment in order for my depression switch to flicker on. I could be having a perfectly pleasant day before all of a sudden being consumed by darkness and thoughts that I really don't want to be thinking. That can be one of the harder things to explain to people.
"But what have you got to be worried about?"
And most of the time I don't even know. It is both nothing and everything.
What are the effects of depression on my body?
The first thing that comes to mind is an inconsistent sleep pattern. It is extremely difficult to relax when 101 negative thoughts are running through your head. This lack of sleep leads to a lack of exercise, and a lack of exercise leads to aches and pains in random parts of your body that you never had before. I tend to get very stiff shoulders to the point of being able to hear my joints click when I move them. You then end up spending days feeling like a zombie, shuffling through crowds of people and dreaming of being able to rest properly.
I cannot stress how important being outside in the fresh air is for my recovery. There are times when getting out of bed feels like the hardest thing to do but once you take those steps it often feels like you are beginning to escape the personal prison. Even if those steps are into your garden whilst still dressed in your pyjamas. Anything is better than nothing.
The effect of COVID-19 on our mental health
If, like me, you have gone from working in a busy social environment to now having your very own private office in the living room, you may be finding the radio silence eerily deafening. Or perhaps it's the other way round and you're craving the peace and quiet you once had before your partner and young children were with you 24/7. These are testing times that none of us have faced in our lifetime before.
Heavy job losses. No pubs open to let off some steam and chat to your mates. For some people it's the fear and panic of even setting foot outside the house. Not being able to see family members who usually rely on your help for any number of reasons. The list is endless.
I would argue that if you have not felt any kind of low mood or anxious moment over the past 12 months then you are probably in the minority. Which is why more than ever you should feel absolutely no shame in asking for professional help.
How counselling and hypnotherapy can help with depression
If you are comfortable talking about your mental health problems with your family and friends, then brilliant. I am envious of you! But that's great that you have that level of support. For me this does not come naturally and I find it extremely difficult to open up to the people who are closest to me. It is a combination of not wanting to upset them and an inability to vocalize exactly how I'm feeling.
My experience of counselling has been more valuable than any other treatment when it comes to treating depression and anxiety. I always find that there are no barriers when I meet with a counsellor and the emotional brick wall that I encounter when trying to discuss my problems with a family member is knocked down. It is a freeing feeling to know that somebody truly understands how my mind and body are taking a bit of a battering and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
You may not feel like it now, but it is absolutely possible to change the way you think about things and come out of the other side feeling positive. And a counsellor can certainly help you work towards that goal.
Furthermore I would highly recommend Rachel Hudson at The Therapy Shed to anyone in and around the South Yorkshire area if you feel as though you are struggling with your mental health. I found her to be a very compassionate and understanding person to talk to and will be making use of her video sessions in Lockdown 2: The Sequel Nobody Wanted!