I speak to people on a regular basis who are struggling with various levels of low mood (depression). There is of course a huge spectrum of low mood ranging from a feeling of ‘something just not being quite right’ to a full on, deep, dark clinical depression, and everything in-between these 2 points. I fully appreciate that people who have, or suffer from severe clinical depression may take me to task about seeming to minimalize just how tough their lives are or have been, by calling low grade depression ‘a feeling of something not being quite right’. It’s important to remember that low grade depression can develop into something more serious or just be short term and low level and if people come in at that point I can stop low mood developing further.
When I see people with low mood at any level, my first point of call is to asses where they score in terms of the 3 constructs of engagement, fun and achievement. Without fail, people with low mood have a very low score across at least 2, and usually all 3. So what do each of these 3 things actually mean?
You will often hear me talking about engagement and it’s a word I need to replace with something more descriptive; just a habit from years of using the same word. I am actually talking about engagement with people, or closeness to other people around you. Engagement can be as little as a passing chat with the woman in the post office about ‘how cold it is’ to having a heart to heart with an old and trusted friend. Low mood means that sufferers will avoid people as much as possible which further contributes to the downward spiral. We’re not all lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of people who love and adore us, but we all still need to engage with people on a daily basis.
Fun seems to be very old fashioned these days, I’m beginning to think that having fun has become some sort of social faux pas. I know I have a very loud laugh, but I honestly notice people looking strangely at me when I’m having a good old chuckle about something that really tickles my humour. Fun doesn’t just mean having a good old belly laugh about something, it can just mean a walk on a sunny day or indulging in a hobby you enjoy. The point here is about doing something for yourself that you enjoy.
This one always seems to be ‘the biggie’ for people. It’s not just about having a job you enjoy, as some people mistakenly believe. Achievement is really about feeling that you contribute something to the world and that your contribution and purpose is worthwhile. This contribution can take any form; being a member of a group, regularly tidying up litter from your street or spending a little time supporting people on forums or making a point of talking to an elderly neighbour when you see them. It doesn’t matter what this is at all, the only thing that matters is that you feel you are adding value in some way.
Dare to dream big and Wendy’s THE person to help get you there.
X Factor winner with a long list of sell out tour successes under her belt.
The most exciting thing in the world is getting a chance to tear it all up and start again. Keep all the things you want and throw out everything you don’t.
Beauty, lifestyle and fashion blogging sensation Becky Sheeran (TalkBeckyTalk)
It’s great to have a leading psychologist such as Wendy in the Manchester area, outside of her Harley Street practice. After publicly raising awareness of mental health issues and myself recovering from depression, I know how immensely life-changing expert intervention can be.
Retired ex-professional football who played for Bury, Wigan, Stoke, Preston, Norwich, Leicester and Brighton during a 14 year career. After leaving professional football, Jason battled depression and recovered with the help of therapy and family support.