Symptoms of depression, causes and help.

Wondering if you or someone you know has symptoms of depression? Do you notice that you have less energy; less joy in everyday life and that meetings with friends and family give you little? 

These changes may be symptoms of depression.

This article deals with symptoms of depression, the causes that often underlie symptoms and what can help with depression.

  • Signs of depression 
  • Physical symptoms of depression 
  • Causes 
  • Help for symptoms 
  • Why symptoms of depression occur 

Psykologvirke offers treatment for depression with a private psychologist in central Oslo. The psychologists at Psykologvirke specialize in various treatment models for depression. Read more about our psychologists and book an appointment here.

Signs of depressionn

There are several different ways to be depressed. You may recognize yourself in one or more of the symptoms listed here. And some you may not recognize yourself in. Depression can therefore look completely different from person to person. If you recognize any of the symptoms and that you have had them for some time, it may indicate that you have an episode of depression.

  • You feel that you are very sad and down, that you take tears lightly and feel despair. 
  • Tears are not perceived as redemptive, it can seem insignificant and you like to think critically about yourself. 
  • You may also feel the absence of sadness. You can feel flat and relaxed.  
  • You may also feel slightly irritable.
  • We may have a bad conscience and guilt. You feel worthless.
  • You may also notice that you get more tired. You notice that it is difficult to express your own needs in meeting others, you give up easily and feel helpless in meeting the demands of the outside world.
  • It can be harder to concentrate. You fall out of conversations more easily and you remember less.
  • Part of your thought content can ask questions about the meaning of life, whether it has value and you can ultimately have thoughts of just as easily being dead.

Physical symptoms of depression

You may also notice changes in your body and your physical health. Changes may point to an underlying depressive state. 

  • We notice a lack of energy. That the body can not withstand the same loads, to walk the same stairs, the mountain hike or be with the children at training. We can also be completely depleted of energy. Like the body has completely turned off. 
  • There may be more pain. A depressed body often has a lot of tension and stress in it. Which in turn leads to pain over time. The body says no.
  • Our sleep is affected. Having difficulty sleeping is common. The opposite is also common, that we sleep more than usual. 
  • It can also be difficult to eat. When we lose touch with emotions and needs on the inside, we also lose touch with basic needs such as absorbing nourishment. We feel a lack of appetite and motivation to eat. In addition, we may find that the food does not taste good.
  • Here, too, the opposite can happen and we eat more food than usual. We eat to feel something and fill the inner void inside. 
  • A common sign, especially of more severe forms of depression, is a change in motor skills and how we experience moving our body. This means that we can move and speak more slowly.

Causes of depression

Depression is a combination of some of the symptoms. 

But what are the reasons why you or someone you know gets one or more of these depressive symptoms? Why do these symptoms stop us from living the lives we want? 

Life situation

When we experience changes and symptoms, it is our human instinct to seek an explanation that creates meaning. Why is this happening to me? The most obvious thing is to give explanations for events on the outside or our life situation. We look outwards towards the world, situations, events and relationships. It may be that we are having a difficult time in the relationship, are not happy at work, are experiencing financial difficulties or that your spouse has passed away or that you have recently had reduced physical health. 

Situations and similar incidents as mentioned here affect our health. We get reactions to such experiences and changes. Nevertheless, such explanations do not always hold true if we are to understand depressive symptoms. There is not always a one-to-one relationship between what we experience and how we react. Something is common, but the important explanations are about you - what you have with you in the face of situations that arise in your life.

Depression is therefore about something inside you. Here, each of us is unique. All experiences and experiences we have with us give us unconscious maps inside us. The maps tell us about ourselves, the world and other people. The maps then affect how we relate to the actual terrain we encounter: when life meets up with relationships, joys, victories, sorrows and losses.

To gain insight into their maps, questions are to be asked: what happens to you when you face adversity, when you feel unpleasant feelings? That you do not get anything more? When you experience loss, are you being treated unfairly or rejected?

The answers to the questions gradually provide more insight into ourselves and our own maps. In how we meet and take care of ourselves when we are having a hard time. We can become more aware of what underlies the symptoms - an awareness that lays the foundation for a resilience in the face of life.

However, when causes remain unconscious, we have less chance of dealing with depression as best we can. 

In therapy, we work to get rid of the unconscious and inaccessible that create difficulties and depressive symptoms. One way we do this is that our psychologists are particularly well trained in detecting specific bodily signals about unconscious processes that may come into play. 

We will draw attention to these phenomena immediately and together test whether we actually see new, crucial pieces in the puzzle. 

Help for symptoms of depression

Therapy has proven useful and has a good effect on depression and should be tried before other treatment methods.

Several therapy models have proven effective in depression treatment and with us we treat depression with, among others, ISTDP and EFT. 

Here you can read more about ISTDP and EFT

Do you often criticize yourself? Or do you distance yourself from others when you feel more unpleasant feelings. Telling yourself that it is hopeless or that you doubt that you can? 

We see that these phenomena are both symptoms of depression. But we say it is also something we do to ourselves that creates symptoms in itself. 

Why? We can say that there are solutions to past problems. There is a logic in the symptoms of depression. 

If we do not experience experiences in the present that correct for us, the solutions and patterns of the past will also be solutions to today's problems.

An example: 

An example might be a man who has grown up with an authoritarian and violent father. The father resorts to violence if someone contradicts him. In such a situation, we can say that "saying against the father" was directly dangerous for the boy. 

In adulthood, the man struggles with conflicts. To stand up for oneself and set clear boundaries. This goes beyond the man's love life. Without the ability to set clear boundaries, true intimacy is impossible. He also struggles to assert himself at work and he stagnates in his career. 

What explains this? The man does not quite get the signal from the inside that he should stand up for himself or set boundaries. It has become a blind spot. He finds these situations uncomfortable and distances himself. He notices he is getting tired. He ponders how to solve this and criticizes himself for being silly and not good enough. 

Where has the signal gone? 

The signal we humans receive from within that we must stand up for ourselves that we are treated badly is innate. It comes from emotions. 

Underlying healthy self-assertion is an ability to feel one's own anger. It is anger that first gives us the signal and information that we have been treated badly or that we want to stand up for ourselves. What the next anger gives is power and motivation to turn desire into action. 

From the example we see that the man has unpleasant experiences with aggression and violence when he was a young boy. Anger is natural, but here the natural becomes dangerous for the boy. 

To protect themselves, the authentic and natural become dangerous. Inside the boy, anger evokes an anxiety reaction. 

Since anxiety is unpleasant, it motivates ways to avoid this experience. The solutions create an inner logic that effectively removes the emotional signals inside. 

In an unconscious way, the problem is located inside the boy. When he grows up, he becomes the one who is not good enough. He criticizes himself and ponders himself as a problem. He becomes obedient and distances himself from others. And he often goes inside with a guilty conscience because he feels that he is failing others. 

Why do we get symptoms of depression?

The symptoms at the top of the text refer to unconscious solutions to challenges in the past. It's about something and how your natural emotional signals have been attenuated. 

When symptoms occur in the present, it indicates that there is something inside you that wants to face life in a more authentic way. 

It is through this that we can have emotions rather than being depressed. 

The symptoms thus provide an opportunity to face life in a different and freer way. Processing underlying emotional conflicts provides the opportunity to live a freer life that you are the architect behind.

Psychotherapy researcher Leigh McCullough, who worked for a long time in the renowned depression department at Modum Bad, which you can check out here, wrote about emotions.

If you have long-term and recurrent depression without having had the effect of therapy, the depression department at Modum Bad can be an alternative.

read more about the depression department at Modum Bad here.

To more one can laugh when one is happy, cry when one is sad, use anger to set clear boundaries, love passionately; to be able to be vulnerable, as well as to accept others' vulnerability fully and openly, to larger steps one has taken away from suffering. Our own psychologist specialist Jonas-Sharma Bakkevig has written one self-help book on depression which you can find here.

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