It has rained quite a lot over the past 3 days here on the south coast of England… I spoke to a chap yesterday who told me he was so fed up with the rain, and it currently felt like it was never going to stop… “It is torrential, and it is going to end up being a washed out Summer just like it was last year and the year before…”
He did a bit of a “harumph!” at the end of the sentence to further signal his degree of ‘fed-up-ness’ – As an aside, remember when the Beano comic had disgruntled characters? They would also say “harumph!” to show they were fed-up too….
So for this particular man, each day of scattered showers felt so familiar to our previous wet summer’s that he forgot that we have had some stunning weeks of sunshine, a heatwave and one of the most spectacular English Summer’s to date so far this year…
It is no coincidence that the man I spoke to in some depth has depression, because rather than just being English (i.e. Too much sun, too hot, too cold, too wet, etc, etc) he is actually metaphorically demonstrating a classical depressed mindset.
If you consider what happens to those who experience depression, for a moment… For most, depression feels like it’s never going to end. What’s more, I have encountered depressed people who are convinced they are always going to be depressed and find it tough to see any alternate future for themselves.
It is incredibly rare… (I was going to say impossible, but that would be inviting depressed people to write in and defend their depression) It is incredibly rare for anyone to be in a state of constant depression, that is, to always be depressed.
You know what though? Even if an individual was always depressed, never is that depression going to be exactly the same each day. If those depressed individuals were to take note, they would see that there are many moments of nondepression and many moments when the depression is less worse than at other times.
It is like thinking of the rain as being torrential when it simply has not been… When an individual feels depressed, he or she thinks about all the times they have felt that way, as if the feeling is always the same. They filter and process that incoming experience of life to fit into their internal perception… Which is incredibly inaccurate… When we’re just experiencing ourselves, we’re not evaluating how we feel.
Of course, many of my students would know this to situation to require the individual to step out of their current perceptual position, but that is a discussion for among ourselves, eh? 😉
So the depressed individual ends up with a lot of data about being depressed… and hardly any data about not being depressed… That comparison then makes the depression feel permanent and immovable…. And feel like it is always raining and is going to rain forever and be a wet, sad Summer….
I often advise clients to keep a journal for recording their state… Then they would see that there are many moments where we’re feeling good… Or even happy, god forbid!
When people do that, they see that none of us is literally depressed all the time. Noticing when we’re not feeling bad would naturally lead us to ask what the reasons we tend to feel bad at times and have an engaging line of enquiry into it. Mindfully considering certain questions should itself be engaging enough to erase many moments of the depression…. And notice the sunshine when it is happening!
I must confess, the Ashes Cricket Test series starts today, so I am hoping for dry weather conditions that will suit the England pair of spin bowlers… Also bearing in mind that Australia do not have an out and out spinner of any quality… Ok, I digress… Have a great day (and come on England in the cricket!) 🙂