By Kitty Waters, podcast host of Kitty Talks and creator of the Do Your Dharma Course, empowering women to step into their highest potential. Connect with Kitty on Twitter @KittyWaters
One in four people will suffer from depression at some stage in their lives, a number that seems low considering the recent huge peak of depression and suicide rate.
I had a nervous breakdown at 22, and suffered on and off with depression for ten years. Having come through that experience I am now a huge advocate for raising awareness around the topic.
Women like me are more prone to spot early signs of depression because we have been through it, and it is crucial to give a helping hand once you see them. I have seen many women get severely depressed after a certain age, and strongly believe some early signs were not spotted at the right time.
How to spot early warning signs of depression
Everyone should do a self assessment of their own mental health once in a while. Be honest with yourself. A good thing to do initially is to ask yourself how good you are at expressing and feeling your feelings.
Ask yourself: Is it natural for you to cry? Do you journal or talk to a friend is your are feeling down and disconnected? If you answer no to any of these, you may be at risk of developing early signs of depression.
This coupled with strong beliefs about life can be a recipe for disaster.
This proves very often true for women over 50. At this critical age, we have a lot to cope with: menopause could be upon us and children may have flown the nest, and this can be a time of life when women start to question their purpose, feeling lost and confused about where to go next.
Quite often we self-deem ourselves a failure and when any form of anger or hurt is internalised, we risk falling into depression.
Louise Hay calls depression ‘internalised anger’: our view and model of the world is stuck in the past (depression) or in the future (anxiety). As human beings, it is important we realise that we are energetic. What we think and feel has a real impact on us! If we don’t let negative emotions out they can get stuck, making us feel stuck.
When we get jammed in our heads in blame, shame and guilt, we are at the lower end of the emotional vibrational scale. Our negative thoughts literally weigh us down.
The key things to recognise are that we are stuck in a story of our own doing and that we need to release the emotions that are causing us harm.
What you can do
Talk to a friend, as a problem shared is a problem halved.
Examine how you are talking to yourself: usually we would never talk to a friend the way we are talking to ourselves.
Use a journal: write down what you are feeling. Free-write just to see what comes out!
Feel your feelings: many of us were brought up being taught to swallow our feelings. Instead, let them out for once. That way you will keep your nervous system clear. Crying is a huge release, hence why you feel tired afterwards but always better!
Have a look at the beliefs you have that are bringing you down. Most of them will be unfounded. For example, you are never too old to do anything! This is just a limiting belief. Start to look at the things you are telling yourself, and see them for what they are: beliefs rooted in fear. In my book, fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real!
Working with a coach or in a group coaching program can really serve you. Their accountability can help you move through what is holding you back.
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