Depression is a very dark and lonely place, this feeling in turn causes a person to be become reclusive making everything seem even more dark and lonely; which in turn continue to make a person reclusive, it can feel as though there is no way out.. the light at the end of the tunnel however is that there is a way out.
The first step is understanding the link between our thinking, our physical feelings and our behaviours. For instance if one thinks that the world is a lonely place this will have an impact on how they feel physically or emotionally i.e. sad, teary and this will have an impact on how they respond so they are more likely to avoid going out, meeting friends which will in turn make them think they are lonely. A person will soon find they are stuck in a vicious cycle with no way out.
The good thing about a cycle is that it can be broken! One way in which Cognitive Behaviour Therapy breaks the depression cycle is through activity. There is a well known link between activity and mood namely that a lack of positively reinforcing activities can keep the depression cycle going. The reason for this is that a person is reducing the amount of positive feedback in their life which creates emotions such as happiness and satisfaction. Examples of positively reinforcing activities are:
-Spending time with family and friends
-Exercise or other hobbies
-Necessary activities such as going to work or college/university
A reduction in positive reinforcement means an increase in negative feelings which keep one in the cycle of depression. Tackling avoidance behaviours therefore is a key part of the Cognitive Behaviour treatment of depression. It may feel overwhelming to think about facing the world again but therapy is not about exposing you to everything at once, it is a gradual process and avoidance in depression would be tackled in this way. In my experience many clients have benefited from an improvement in mood through gradually increasing their activity levels and thus positive feelings/experiences in their life.
If you are suffering with depression or low mood then why not have a think about increasing your activity levels, make a list of all the things that you used to enjoy doing before the depression which you have stopped and maybe try one activity at a time and start doing them again…. ?