If we use the three circle-model, we can see that what happens when we get depressed – our emotions can become severely out of balance.

First, we can see that the threat system has become overstimulated so the dominant feelings are increases in anxiety, tension, frustration, irritability and anger.

Second, many of the things that give us pleasure don’t seem to any more . So it is as if our capacity to experience pleasure and excitement and look forward to things has taken a dive. When this happens, life can feel flat and we can feel hopeless or even despairing.

Third, we often have a feeling of disconnectedness from others, which can be associated with intense loneliness . Sometimes we feel as if there is a barrier between us and other people; we are emotionally cut off from the.

It may be difficult to feel affection for others , even if we want to or they are showing affection to us.

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We might then feel sad or guilty about that, but again that is not our fault- it’s how the system is working in this moment. We can still try to behave in caring ways though (assuming we want to), even if we don’t fee;l it. So this is the connectedness and soothing system taking a bit of a dive. Once again this is not your fault , but is to do with the way in which our emotion system have got out of balance.

Looking at this way helps us to stand back and see that there are certain patterns in our emotions that are related to depression.

Of course, there are different types of depression with slightly different patterns .

For example, some depressed people are more focused on the loneliness and sadness, and can be tearful and yearn for connection.

Others feel a deep sense of inner deadness . Yet others are more dominated by feelings of anxiety or anger.

Indeed , increasing irritability and ‘scratchiness’ can be an indicator that we are beginning to become stressed or even depressed . Sometimes that anger has been around a long time. But whenever pattern seems true for you, the key thing is to see it as a pattern in your brain and then think about what you can do to change this pattern.

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