At some point in life, you may experience mood swings, depression or gloom. Unfortunately, negative experiences aren’t always avoidable in life and they may impact your psychological well-being and immune system. It’s entirely normal to not feel fit, stable or happy under those circumstances. You may experience sadness, irritability or a sense of discouragement. How much time it takes to overcome these feelings differs from person to person.
Long term mood swings
If your agitation, anxiety, sadness or anger lingers and affects your day to day life, you may need to consider getting help. Not everyone feels supported by their environment. Therapy can help you heal after suffering a loss or traumatic experience. Counseling often doesn’t pay off until you truly feel heard and understood.
Meaningful reflection on your well-being through the course of conversational therapy will help you make progress. Do you have energy stealers in your life or do you feel stuck in a situation? There are ways to deal with it. Getting to the core of the problem is crucial. It takes time, but it’s worth it.
Patients suffering from mood swings usually are prescribed antidepressants such as Prozac. These pills help balance out your serotonin levels, which should ease your depression or make it go away altogether. For most people it takes about 4 weeks to notice the change. Still, many antidepressants are prescribed prematurely, meaning there wasn’t much time to assess the nature of your problems. A regular consult is often too short to really go into detail about your problems and sometimes, a second consult isn’t even offered. GP’s aren’t trained to distinguish a light, medium or heavy depression and often confuse the symptoms with those of burn-out. It’s not that they don’t want to help you- they simply find themselves ill-equipped.
Family practitioners prescribe about 80% of all antidepressants and according to recent statistics over one million Dutch people use them. That’s a lot! Because a lot of people use these meds, the term ‘depression’ has come to mean something else. It is now often perceived as ‘not being successful enough, not being outgoing enough and most of all not being resilient enough.’ We are expected to meet very high standards in today’s world: we have to be beautiful, cheerful, outgoing and bold. Being successful requires having a good job, looking good and maintaining a great social life, coming home to a nice partner and keeping up with trends and technological developments, all the while maintaining an increasingly busy schedule. We are all expected to be strong, unshakable, profiling ourselves as the hot shot we might not actually really be. Of course, social media helps us sell this image of ourselves and if we don’t succeed, we risk being considered boring or not good enough. It’s only natural that many of us feel sidelined. The remedy against this type of depression however isn’t medication to battle a serotonin imbalance, but therapy leading to self-acceptance.
These remedies may serve a temporary purpose when dealing with serious setbacks. Medication may help you get over the deepest blues so that you can begin to make your first steps towards healing. In case of a mild depression you generally don’t need medication- a few sessions of conversational therapy will prove much more effective. Antidepressants are generally not meant for long term use. Many people keep taking them for years without improving in any way, causing them to suffer more from side effects such as drowsiness and emotional blunting. Building up and then suddenly quitting the use of antidepressants, however usually causes severe withdrawal symptoms often mistaken for relapse. Not quitting at all avoids these problems.
It’s advisable to combine medication with conversational therapy. This combination helps you learn to develop coping strategies in life without medication, allowing you to move on with life’s challenges unmedicated. For a small part of the 1 million Dutch people suffering from depression, functioning without medication isn’t an option because either their problems are too severe or other forms of therapy have proven unsuccessful. This small population does require long term medication.
It might be interesting to know there is such a thing as a DNA passport for medication. You can get a referral to the Rotterdam Erasmus Center to find out if your body may be incapable of breaking down certain components of medication. Your body might, for example, be incapable of producing a certain enzyme, explaining why some medications may not work for you while you still suffer from their side effects.
Self-support in times of depression
Running therapy is a very effective method. Running stimulates the (hormonal) metabolism, improves your self esteem and running in a group will help you connect with new social contacts. Take your time to improve. Step by step.
- Practice self-compassion: don’t judge yourself for going through a hard time. Accepting things as they are will give you space. Patience, love and time to yourself is what you need right now.
- Meditation can teach you how to observe your thoughts. This distance will keep you from identifying with these thoughts, making them seem lighter. Your thoughts do not define you!
- Binge watching Netflix, lots of gaming or watching porn, staring at your smartphone for hours, shopping, deliberating on conspiracy theories on social media and neglecting yourself and your surroundings will not help you recover. Maintain your social contacts. Ask for help and support. Go outside often.
Therapy at NHA
Conversational therapy and counseling when quitting medication are a large part of the work at NHA. Orthomolecular therapy and homeopathy can help resolve a lack of mental energy or contribute to raising awareness of your problems so that you can start working on your recovery.
Research shows that breathing exercises, visualizations, mindfulness and EFT are very effective when treating emotional instability. Contrary to popular belief, nutrition can also affect your mood. I collaborate with a network of certified therapists so that the right therapist is always there for you when you need him.
Good to know!
Feelings of sadness or depression can also be a sign of other issues. An underactive thyroid, Candida infection or Lyme disease can also cause these symptoms. Please have an extensive doctor’s examination done before being treated for depression or resorting to antidepressants.