All of us go through times of stress, sadness and irritability . For those who have been affected by depression , though, the downward spiral of anxiety , exhaustion and despair will be all too familiar.As we described in Dawn’s story above, what can begin as an ordinary bout of low mood can quickly tailspin into a full – blown depressive episode.
One of the most common strategies we use to make ourselves feel better is to try to think our way out of our problem or mood . When it doesn’t work , this can become an endlessly looping tape and we start asking ourselves questions such as , ‘Why can’t I just get on with it? What is wrong with me ? Why am I such a failure?
This looping rumination is the mind’s understanable attempt to solve our emotional problems and feel better, but it usually has the effect of making us feel worse.
No matter how hard we try to use thinking to fix things, no matter what we tell ourselves , nothing seems to work , at least not for long. Indeed , our attempts to find a cure for our depression often drag us further away from the happiness that we want – and that other people seems to grasp so easily. Cognitive therapy and mindfulness can both help us use our minds in a constructive way , to respond to negative thinking.
Research has shown that at least 50 per cent of those who have experienced depression find it comes back. After a second or third episode , the risk of further episodes rises to between 80 and 90 per cent . Why is this the case? Simply put , depression creates a pathway in the brain between sad mood and negative thoughts that spiral into depression.
For people with a history of depression , this can happen extremely quickly and lead them to feel quite helpless . Miindfulness provides a way of becoming aware of , and stepping out of , these patterns.