Depression is called “anger without enthusiasm”, and once this anger is dealt with together with cognitive restructuring, the depression seems to ease a great deal.

© Jorgan Harris. jorganharris.co.za

1. More than the blues

Life is full of emotional ups and downs and everyone experiences the “blues” from time to time, but when the “down” times lasts for a longer time or interferes with your ability to function at home, at work or any other area of life, you may be suffering from depression.

Depression affects your mood, mind, body and behaviour. Research has shown that 5 – 6% of the population will develop a depressive disorder during the course of their lives and nearly two thirds do not get the help they need. Treatment can alleviate the symptoms in over 80% of cases. Yet, because it often goes unrecognised, depression continues to cause unnecessary suffering.

2. What is depression?

Depression is not the same as a transient blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with depression cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years.

Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression.

2.1  Types of depression

Depressive disorders present in different forms. This article briefly describes a few of the most common types of depressive disorders. However, within these types there are variations in the number of symptoms, their severity and persistence.

Major depression is manifested through a combination of symptoms that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, eat and your enjoyment of pleasurable activities. These disabling episodes of depression can occur once, twice, or several times in a lifetime.

2.2  Criteria for major depressive episode

According to the DSM 5 (Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition 5), five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during a 2-week period and represents a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure in activities.

A.

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, almost every day, indicated by your own subjective report or by the report of others. This mood might be characterised by sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness.
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day nearly every day.
  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain.
  4. Inability to sleep or oversleeping nearly every day.
  5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day.
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day.
  8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

B.  Symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning

C.  The episode is not due to the effects of a substance or to a medical condition.

D.  The occurrence is not better explained by schizo affective disorder, schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, or other specified and unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.

E.  There has never been a manic episode or a hypomanic episode.

F.  A less severe type of depression, dysthymia, involves long-term, chronic symptoms lasting years that do not disable, but keep you from functioning at your full potential or from feeling good. Sometimes people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes.

Diagnostic criteria for dysthymic disorder

Depressed mood for most of the day and for more days than not, as indicated either by subjective account or observation by others, for at least 2 years. Two (or more) of the following should also be present while being depressed:

  • poor appetite or overeating
  • insomnia or hypersomnia
  • low energy or fatigue
  • low self-esteem
  • poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • feelings of hopelessness.

3. Who becomes depressed?

Depression affects people of both sexes and all races, cultures and social classes. It is estimated that 5 – 6% of the population may suffer from major depression during the course of their life.

4. What causes depression?

Just as depression takes many different forms, it has many possible causes. In fact, depression is often caused by a combination of factors.

Why does one person become depressed while another remains unaffected under the same circumstances? There is no clear answer. For each individual, there is a complex, individual pattern of factors that work together to either allow or prevent depression at any given time.

Sometimes it is possible to point to a specific event (or events) that seem to have triggered a depression. Other times depression emerges for no apparent reason, even for individuals whose lives are going well.

Personally, I do not believe in genetic or bio-chemical factors as a cause for depression. It is easy to say that because my grandfather was depressed and my father is depressed and I am depressed, it means it is genetically inherited. The truth rather, is learned behaviour. My grandfather grew up in unstable times just after the Second World War. The world was at the time a bad place to live in. When my father was born, he was conditioned since childhood by my grandfather that the world was a bad place to live in. When I was born, I got the same conditioning until I realised that it was not the case. This is the moment where I would start to see things in a different light and where I would overcome my depression.

5. Anger without enthusiasm

Somebody once said: “depression is anger without enthusiasm”. Once a person suffers from depression, it might mean that he or she is angry at something or someone, but for some reason incapable of doing anything about it.

Such a person is suppressing anger – to de-press it for several reasons:

  1. They often feel helpless and powerless to deal with the anger related to past experiences. It is over and done with and yet they feel helpless.
  2. They may be angry at someone in a superior position, like a father or a mother, even a boss or the government.
  3. They may be angry with God, but unable to do anything about it, rather suppressing their anger.
  4. They may be driven by guilt, therefore unable to express anger. It is a sin to be angry with God, parents or the government.
  5. They are conditioned to be meek and to turn the other cheek, forgetting that even Jesus turned tables and chairs around in the temple.

6. Is depression an illness?

Depression is often described as the illness of our time.

First of all: depression is not an illness. People are not depressed because of genetic factors, circumstances, other people, history etc.

You can never be depressed. You can only become depressed through the choices you make. You can decide to be a victim or an ingenious survivor. The first step being healed from depression is to recognise that you are not a victim, but that you are angry and that you have a right to be angry and to act out your anger.

7. Treatment

Depression is one of the most treatable disorders. Between 80 and 90% of all people “doing” depression respond to treatment and nearly all depressed people who receive treatment see at least some relief from their symptoms.

Many people think that depression will go away if the sufferer just makes an effort to think positively or to go out and enjoy him or herself. This lack of understanding can itself make the depressed person feel even more helpless and isolated. It also means that people with depression are often reluctant to tell their friends and colleagues about their condition.

Hypnosis is an excellent way to uncover your anger and to empower yourself again by allowing you to experience your suppressed anger, to act out on it and – literally to give your anger enthusiasm again. To put you back in control again. Only after you have expressed your anger then only forgiveness is possible.

8. Conclusion

Depression is not an illness – it is a choice. You can choose to do depression and to feel like a victim, or you can choose to do victory. Not only are you a survivor, but you are much more than that – you are not a victim, but a victor!

Psychotherapy will help you to discover this miracle.

A.1. Depressed mood most of the day, almost every day, indicated by your own subjective report or by the report of others. This mood might be characterised by sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness.
2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day nearly every day.
3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain.
4. Inability to sleep or oversleeping nearly every day.
5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day.
6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day.
8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
B.Symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning
C.The episode is not due to the effects of a substance or to a medical condition.
D.The occurrence is not better explained by schizo affective disorder, schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, or other specified and unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.
E.There has never been a manic episode or a hypomanic episode.
F.A less severe type of depression, dysthymia, involves long-term, chronic symptoms lasting years that do not disable, but keep you from functioning at your full potential or from feeling good. Sometimes people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes.