Monday, 7 January 2013

Overhearing Depression

It is natural to feel sad sometimes (e.g. when you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s). But depression is different. Depression is a draining of colour from the world. It is the insidious seeping of malignant sadness and negativity until it infects and subdues your entire emotional life. I find that my depression loves to gorge on itself, like the snake that eats it own tail, to make itself stronger; negativity begets negativity. Depressive thoughts constantly try to convince you they are the only possible thoughts. They cause a narrowing of perspective that is difficult to resist until depression is all you see.

The key I found to coping with my depression is to overhear depressive thoughts as depressive and not just another thought. I use an analogy to help me visualise this: -

I am on stage reading the script my depression has written for me and sometimes I get lost in the role, reacting immediately to what the script demands of me. However, I am also in the audience watching the performance, free to critically appraise the thoughts and actions that are occurring.

Recognising you are performing the depressive role (“O, that’s a negative thought”) opens up the possibility of separating yourself from the depression and seeing a more rounded and balanced point of view. My depression can be very claustrophobic so gaining distance from the negativity is beneficial for me.


  1. I am diagnosed with Borderline PD and depression and have been benefitting from DBT which focuses on noticing our negative feelings and thoughts and letting our 'teflon' minds allow the impact to wash over us. Your blog really echoes my experience of this and I would echo your experience that it allows some control over the blackness which threatens to engulf at times. Thanks.

  2. I am really glad this mindful approach has helped you too!