Depression - a profound sense of unhappiness | depression | Blog

There is a plethora of emotions on the depressive spectrum: inadequacy, loneliness, isolation, deep sadness, helplessness, a sense of exclusion, meaninglessness, futility, despair, fear, anxiety, panic, dread, flatness, lethargy, heaviness, emptiness, obsessiveness, a feeling of paralysis, self-loathing and anger.

Depressives exhibit an outstanding capacity to self-punish, to perpetuate a cycle of pain. That something once experienced as painful – a trauma perhaps from childhood – is re-experienced or re-enacted over and over. In psychoanalytic terms this “compulsion to repeat” forever entraps the wounded individual in a cycle of repetition as desperate (unconscious) attempts are made to rectify the wound, make it right or expel it once and for all. The accompanying internal dialogue (how else can we think things through without internal dialogue) is punitive and self-denigrating. This critical internal voice encompasses both the projections of parents and something more explicit in terms of the child's lived experience. The projections could relate to “dos and donts” or “thou shalt nots” for living, as well as what an individual feels they “should” do or how they “should” be. I should be responsible and strong and a caretaker to those around me . . . I should not feel anything that is my own or that might cause disharmony around me . . . Feelings are enigmatic, difficult feelings more so.. how do I put them in order? Where do I put them? 

That we may say that there exists a direct correlation between depriving and/or abusive (physical and emotional) childhood experiences and a very loud internal critical voice. The volume of this voice vacillates, often tilting into what might be experienced as full-blown depressive episodes or “melt-downs”. The overwhelming feelings during such episodes tend to spiral from inadequacy, to not feeling good enough, to worthlessness. In its most extreme form, this translates into thoughts of self-destruction, self-harm or suicidal ideation: a quagmire of knotted and unbearable uncontainable intense feelings that the bearer seeks to be rid of, purged, evacuated.

“I could feel something simmering, building up inside me . . .” Perhaps like a nausea that requires an episode of vomiting. The pre-conditions for this might be an inability to make sense of and articulate internal  experience, mood states, felt senses. The pre-condition for this might be a total alienation from one's feeling life, as emotions, generally, are experienced as overwhelming and frightening. 

So the question might be why on earth might one be seeking to reconnect with the feeling self and how might this be achieved? The fear that if I let myself go, how do I get myself back? Is living in a bubble of one's own creation a self-preserving mode of living, or rather half-living?  With so much noise in one's head, navigating living (and relating) becomes difficult which ironically tends to make the sufferer even more unreachable. Negative hypotheses about the self are ratified in this place of retreat and disconnection from the world. No-one can reach me (or wants to) so I must be unlovable, undesirable, lacking in worth.. the empty shell that I feel. Often there is a tendency with this devalued experience of the self to focus on external world “achievements or successes” in a desperate attempt to create some concrete sense of meaning, via purposefulness or goal-orientated living. “Doing” is infinitely less complex than “being” as it reaps results that are tangible and measurable: academic prowess, professional status, sporting achievements, accruing material wealth are quantitative punctuation marks in the stories of people's lives. Beyond these concrete anchors, there’s a relational riddle that is seeking to be solved.