Depression – overcome and Thrive!

DEPRESSION affects on average one in every five people during the course of our lives. That’s 20% of us – at one stage or another – who will go through this debilitating mental journey.

Some will come out the other end relatively unscathed. But many will dip in and out of depression at various points throughout their lives, never feeling completely free of its heavy, bleak yoke.

Every single person who goes through depression will have a unique perspective. The symptoms (see list) is merely an initial guide to what doctors look for when diagnosing depression.

J.K.Rowling described it as follows: “Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts, but it is a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.”

Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation, also described depression: “A human being can survive, as long as he or she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.”

Rob Kelly, of The Thrive Programme, says: “Basically, depression is a combination of feeling low, unhappy and negative, but also about feeling powerless to do anything about it. As well as being ‘external’ [having an external locus of control], people with depression tend to brood and obsess.”

The sense of hopelessness is a recurring theme. An over-riding sense of powerlessness contributes significantly to feelings of depression – Mirowsky and Ross (1990) determined that depression was associated with not feeling in control of either good or bad outcomes, or of both.

But what is it that can make one person depressed, while another simply feels a bit sad, or is going through ‘the blues’?

As winter sets in, a lot of you reading this may be starting to experience the onset of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Others among you may have come through the euphoria of childbirth, just to be coming out the other end into Post Natal Depression.

Possibly you have recently (or even not so recently, but its effects are still resonant) gone through a major trauma in your life, and are still reeling from Post Traumatic Syndrome.

Or you may simply have found yourself in a deep, black hole with neither the strength, nor the will, to climb back out of it.

Whatever form your depression takes, its grip is tight.

Maybe you are one of the millions now reliant on the deadening and souless relief of anti-depressants, or are self medicating with alcohol, cigarettes, food or drugs, feeding a self loathing that merely exacerbates your depression.

So if I were to say to you that depression is actually one of the easiest problems for a person to overcome, would this give you a glimmer of hope, a light at the end of the very long, dark tunnel? Possibly not yet.

Maybe you’re not ready to believe that now. But when you are, I want you to remember this – DEPRESSION IS ACTUALLY ONE OF THE EASIEST PROBLEMS FOR A PERSON TO OVERCOME!

Depression is not about what happens ‘to’ you, but about the way you think and feel about it. And once you are on a negative, obsessive, powerless cycle it is very hard to break it. You end up going round and round in circles looking for a reason for your depression, then finding that thing that validates it.

Which in turn contributes to the depression as you feel increasingly powerless to do anything about it.

The most important step anyone can take in overcoming depression is realising that you can do something about it. As soon as you feel a greater sense of power in a situation, you put in the effort.

If you feel powerless, you stop putting in the effort. Once you have got to the point where you WANT to do something to alleviate your depression, the Thrive programme equips you with the knowledge, insights and techniques to understand and subsequently overcome feelings and symptoms of depression.

Symptoms of depression:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in daily life
  • Loss of appetite – weight gain/loss
  • Disturbed sleep patterns – insomnia or oversleeping
  • Anger & irritability
  • Loss of energy
  • Self loathing, lack of self esteem
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Reduced/loss of sex drive
  • Unexplained aches & pains

Facts about depression

In 2011, 47.7 million prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed through the NHS, costing the British taxpayer over a quarter of a billion pounds. (NHS Report 2012)

Antidepressant usage has more than tripled in the US since 1986, reaching a staggering 235 million prescriptions in 2010. (Mojtabai,R. & Olfson,M. 2011).

The Success of Thrive

Dear Kate, I would just like to thank you very much for introducing me to Thrive. I find it has really helped me and currently I am possibly one of my busiest and possibly my happiest in my life.

I can’t really explain what has happened to me, I have the same issues as before, the same things happen to me as before, I still need a moan and a groan about life and circumstances at times but you know what?

It doesn’t matter anymore! I’m still stressed but in a far more positive way, I’m building a business that is really looking like a huge success story and sometimes I cannot believe how far I have come with it.

Things that used to scare me greatly still scare me but I can deal with it and move on with it….and I’m busy and I’m stressed and I don’t have time to do everything I want but you know, it’s ok!

The biggest thing that I find used to be a problem for me was how much I care what people think. Do you know what a relief it is and how much more time I have to be myself now I don’t care what people think! What a heavy weight off my shoulders!!!

I have changed my thinking, changed my approach to things and it has helped me in every aspect of my life.

As for my confidence with my business it has just unlocked the door to believing in myself and building something amazing. Thank you Kate for your guidance and inspiration.

The Thrive Programme

The Thrive Programme can help people overcome stress and anxiety once and for all. (To see evidence of this, watch some of the video testimonials on www.thriveprogramme.org.)

How can Thrive help?

The Thrive programme is a psychological training programme which equips people with the self awareness and working knowledge of the mind to help them flourish in their lives. There is no intervention with Thrive – no therapy, no analysis – rather it empowers people to strive for better health and happiness by building and strengthening themselves psychologically.

Key words for Thrive are resilience, bounce-back-ability, empowerment, and, crucially, evidence based. Thrive is not fairies at the bottom of the garden, wave a magic wand type of programme.

It is comprised of cold, hard scientific facts written in a highly understandable, easy to relate to format which requires commitment and effort.

We know that people live in a harsh reality sometimes – the key is not wanting to change something we have no power to change, but rather managing the way you think about it in a way that is powerful and positive.

How can I work with Thrive in Turkey?

6 x 1:1 private sessions either face to face at our Didim beachside clinic, or via Skype/Facetime (or a combination of the two), or a week’s residential course at our beachside clinic.

Free consultation

Kate Ashley-Norman ATPC is a fully accredited Thrive Consultant, supported by what we refer to as Thrive HQ, back in the UK (www.thriveprogramme.org).

She splits her time between her busy beachside clinic in Didim on the Aegean coast of Turkey, and Peterborough in the UK.  For a free and confidential consultation on any issues that may be troubling you, contact her via one of the following:

Contact Kate:

Email: thrive@kateashleynorman.com

Mobile/Whatsapp: 00 90 544 3298466 / 00 44 7904 345354

www.facebook/thriveandfeelalive

Don’t Let Your Inner ‘Twit’ Control Your Life

Let Thrive show you how to take control of your thoughts

I have recently been re-reading some of Roald Dahl’s stories with my seven year old son, and hooting at the antics of that rather repulsive couple, The Twits. I couldn’t help thinking though what kind of life Mrs Twit might have had if she had gone through a course of Thrive when she was younger.

Now Mrs Twit had a ‘fearful ugliness’. But as Dahl was quick to point out, she was not born ugly, she had actually had a nice face when she was younger. She had grown uglier the older she got, and Dahl had a very profound explanation for this. He wrote:

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly you can hardly bear to look at it.

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Now Mrs Twit is a particularly repulsive character being used by Dahl for comic effect, but his words are very wise and we would do well to remember them in the context of the Thrive programme. When someone walks into my office who has all the physical attributes of a successful attractive person, yet their whole body language and spoken language is negative and depressive and cloaked in failure and doom and ugliness, then I just know that their mismanaged ugly thoughts are compelling them to don their ‘ugly’, ‘shit-tinted’ spectacles. When turned onto one-self, these shit tinted glasses can have significantly negative effects on the way you feel about yourself, the way you feel about other people, and ultimately about the way you feel about life as a whole.

As we all know and experience at times, the more negative you feel about life, the more difficult it seems to extricate yourself from that downward spiral. As Lyobomirsky and Tkach (2004) so eloquently put it in their research, – “Numerous studies over the past two decades have shown that repetitive ruminations about the implications of one’s depressive symptoms actually maintains those symptoms, impairs one’s ability to solve problems, and ushers in a host of negative consequences.”

The younger, prettier Mrs Twit had so many ugly thoughts about herself and life in general, that her self esteem only allowed her to marry a man she thought she deserved – the ‘foul and smelly’ Mr Twit. And together they perpetuated each other’s ugly approach to life. Their only ‘joy’ in life was to play cruel and disgusting tricks on each other.

Poor Mrs Twit. You can only imagine how her younger, prettier self may well have once dreamed of leading a happy life. But for those caught in a whirlpool of negativity and stress and anxiety, any chance of happiness can only seem like an increasingly unattainable concept. And once on that slippery slope it is easier to just keep slipping down into a depressed and self-flagellating pool, than it is to stand tall and fight it.

And so you get caught in the vicious circle of unhappy, negative, depressive thoughts, feelings of powerlessness, feeling physically and mentally tired, anxious, stressed and unable to cope, and too weak and unmotivated to do anything about it. As a result your immune system is weakened, and opens you up to every bug and virus going. (Anybody who wants to look into the mind-body connection need just Google psychneuroimmunology, PNI).

So don’t be a Mrs Twit and let those ugly thoughts take control and ruin your life (and looks!). You can be powerful over your own thoughts, and the Thrive programme is uniquely positioned to make you understand why, and how you can take control.