Just hours after I wrote my last newsletter, I found out that a friend of mine, who I have known for at least 25 years, had lost a long-term battle with depression, and taken his own life.
I’m still processing how I feel and, even though we hadn’t been in touch since before COVID, it’s still deeply painful.
The thing that stands out to me is that I didn’t even realise that he suffered from depression, he did a remarkable job of concealing it and always seemed to be the life of any discussions. He was animated, passionate and happy to make a joke, even at his own expense. That’s certainly how I am going to remember him, but it is seemingly at odds with this new thing that I learnt with his passing.
I did some research in my attempts to understand how I was clueless. In some part of my mind, I felt that my experience in hypnotism should have somehow brought warning signs to my attention even with our sporadic meetings over the last several years.
The official figures suggest that about 1 in 6 kiwis suffer from depression at some stage in their life and it can hit anyone.
It seems that women are more likely to be affected than men although women are also much more likely to do something about it and seek help. It can even affect children.
Depression presents a range of symptoms that are classed as mild to severe and can be recognised by constantly feeling down or hopeless regardless of circumstance, maybe losing interest in things you once enjoyed. Often this is combined with sleep problems or negative feelings in general.
There is some degree of stigma associated with depression which is why it can come as a surprise when the occasional celebrity admits to suffering from depression. I want to emphasize that it’s not a sign of ‘weakness’ to suffer depression and I would argue that it is a sign of strength instead to seek help.
I also suspect that the official figures are wrong. From anecdotal evidence alone, based on my interactions with clients who don’t believe themselves to be depressed but seem to exhibit those symptoms I suspect that a lot more than 1 in 6 battle with depression at some point in their lives.
The good news is that it is treatable. Embattled though our healthcare system is, there are various pharmacological solutions to the more extreme cases. The rest of the time a simple lifestyle change, or psychological therapy can make a world of difference.
And don’t forget, hypnotherapy can help too.
I would never suggest replacing conventional healthcare, but the reality is that I have different tools at my disposal that your classically trained psychiatrist does not, just as they can prescribe drugs that I could not. With an overworked healthcare system that is under supported though, I believe that hypnosis can be a valuable tool and supplement to beating many forms of depression.
Even though it saddens me that I failed to notice my friend’s troubles or help him, I can and have helped people that came to me for depression or depression symptoms.
I guess the thing I most want to share here is that it is not a failing if you have to, reach out for help when negative feelings threaten to overwhelm you. If not me, then someone is out there and willing to offer support.
Take advantage of them if you need to because no one will think less of you for doing so, and it could make a world of difference.
When you’re ready, let’s talk.