Talking about depression can be a thorny subject, I say thorny as sometimes people can become very attached to depression, quite often you hear people talk of ‘my depression’ as if it is some sort of possession of theirs, something that they own. But I will talk about this notion of ownership and why that might be the case later.
To start with I want to look at the commonly accepted causes of what depression could be. I say could be, as the causes of depression are quite complex and individual. A person may have got to the place where they are now due to one, or two, or a combination of what are the main accepted causes of the issue. Or they may frame their reasons in a different way.
With the definitions below, I have attempted to drill down as deep as I can as well as to leave room for a wide selection of possibly interrelated reasons.
So, what are the four main causes of depression?
So, it makes connections between events, memories etc and the emotional response that they elicit as a kind of warning. It’s like the subconscious is remembering situations and saying to you “you don’t want to do that, or go there” etc “you remember how it made you feel, what a happened last time?” But it does all this on an emotional level. One such way it may do this in some people is to make them feel down as if you are feeling down, you may avoid certain situations, primarily the situations that the subconscious mind is warning the person against.
(1.B) Another interpretation of the deep-seated guilt explanation is that the individual is in inner turmoil over something they may have done, caused, or believed to have done, and their internal moral compass is wanting them to either make amends for what they have done, or to suffer for it. This latter explanation also connects with the first one above, in the subconscious is warning them not to do ‘it’ again.
It is equally possible that the main battlefield in this case for both the individual and the hypnotherapist is the notion of their self-belief as well as perhaps the effect of a specific incident. The question that must be asked here is, why does the individual believe this about themselves? And what is the effect of the belief on them? As strange as it may sound. What are the benefits of this belief? Is it a situation like the subconscious actions and processes as outlined above?
A person is angry with a someone or something, or a particular situation for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps they know or feel that what is making them angry is either unresolvable, or unreasonable. But rather like the process I outlined in my article on how stress works (see my website blog or previous article). The subconscious mind has somehow perceived a threat and has generated chemicals to deal with it that need to be expressed somehow. Usually involving some form of physical action. But if for a whole load of reasons, it cannot be expressed. The chemicals must go somewhere, and that somewhere is inward. So simply put. If you are angry, but for various reasons you cannot express this anger. Then that energy must go somewhere, and that is inwards.
There are of course other perspectives on the way that depression works. Such as the lack of the meeting of various needs, love, validation etc, but from my perspective all the specifics can be included in one of more of the 4 main causes of depression with the effect of anger being, in my view the most profound and deciding factor.
What are the hidden benefits of depression?
I know it sounds strange to say, but when considering and dealing with depression a hypnotherapist must look at each case of depression individually and what positive effects may come from someone who has depression.
Now, remember when I said above a little on how the subconscious mind works? In that its only function is to protect the individual. If someone is depressed, then the person is cocooned in a protective shell where they have emotionally shut down and therefore are no longer vulnerable. In some cases, rather like the TV program “After Life”, the individual may feel that seeing as they are so depressed, nothing can hurt them anymore and they have a kind of ‘superpower’. This is because they do not care about the consequences of their actions and are no longer tied to any form of ‘comeback’ from anything they say or do. Some people enjoy this feeling as it makes them feel powerful, special, and liberated.
Another benefit, that is also connected to the point’s above, is that having depression could give them something to say about themselves and something that they may feel makes them stand out and to be noticed. In some cases, people can factor depression into their personality, and this can be, in a strange way, quite comforting. I once knew someone who used to use the phrase “I can be taken into account”. Meaning that they were considered, listened to, they were noticed and noted. This feeling once again can be enjoyed by a person.
There may be many more hidden benefits to a person keeping their depression, again a hypnotherapist will help the individual to discover them and to seek resolution.
So how can hypnotherapy help?
Firstly, a hypnotherapist will view each person as an individual and each treatment will be specific to each person’s particular depression based on their individual personality.
Secondly, the hypnotherapist will go slowly and gently to remove the aspects of the issue that is dragging the person down. Rather like pruning back the jungle a bit at a time until the path is a lot clearer.
How they will do this is to use (depending on the individual) a combination of regression to cause (where a person is taken back in their mind to a time and place where a problem started.) And or to set up a ‘parts’ session where the hypnotherapist enables the person to ‘talk’ to different parts of their subconscious mind that are in conflict over this problem to seek a resolution. (Remember what I said above regarding the ‘hidden benefits’ of this condition)
Alongside the above the hypnotherapist will use powerful positive suggestions specifically designed to help the mind heal and come back to its natural non-depressed state using special hypnotic language that the subconscious mind in its hypnotic and suggestive state will respond to.
The individual may need a few sessions to attain full clearance, but with time and work. This is entirely possible.
If you would like some more information on the above topic or would like to book some sessions with me. Please contact me.
Trevor Bamford MA
Does anyone out there suffer from this?
If so, you will know it is debilitating, depressing and can make you feel really bad about yourself as you internally beat yourself up over how you may have behaved, or if you have offended anyone and once your mind focuses on these negatives, it can spiral downwards pretty dark and pretty fast!
OK, how does it work?
The mind, (particularly the subconscious mind) has evolved over millions of years to do many, many things. One of these things it has evolved to do is to keep you safe, to protect you! One of the mechanisms that has come out of this evolutionary process is the mind’s propensity to prioritize negative thoughts.
So, it goes like this:
Whilst you were ‘under the influence’ the usual social inhibitors that we all have in place were relaxed by the alcohol, as that is what alcohol does! Relaxes inhibitions!
Alcohol also effects the way we process data, i.e., information, sequencing of events, complexity of things etc. and part of this process is the way that we lay down memories. They will be hazy, perhaps out of sequence, or perhaps not fully remembered at all!
Guess what? Not having full recall can produce anxiety as the mind has not fully created a full and sequenced record of events and the unknown element of this situation causes your subconscious mind to ‘fill in the gaps’ with a sort of worst-case scenario.
Also, anxiety can be produced if you DO have a reasonable recall and you remember that you may have acted out of character or conversely you may feel anxious because you DID show an aspect of yourself, your character, that you may not have wanted too!
So, if all the above is true, then why doesn’t everybody feel post drinking anxiety?
Well, rather like how people are affected by stress, we are all different and in the case of this issue, some people don’t dwell on things, or simply don’t care. Others are really sensitive and are affected by the situation.
Why does the mind concentrate on negative thoughts?
The reason for this is once again evolutionary. In any given day, our minds swirl with millions of thoughts, and our minds have to make a decision as to which ones are the most important to us and our survival. One way it does this is to make a beeline towards any thoughts that produce an emotional reaction, as the subconscious mind reasons that if there is an emotional response to something, then that something must be important to the person, and if it is important, then it must be connected to a person’s survival!
So, when people ruminate over what happened or may have happened ‘the night before’, the subconscious mind is getting all these ‘importance’ signals which makes it focus on them. If the mind cannot recall details, it reasons’ that the worst must have happened and build’s these notions into any memory or emotional construction that the mind puts together.
The result is alcohol anxiety!
The subconscious is only wanting to keep you safe. So, it is doing what it can to ensure that you don’t put yourself into a situation like this again. And or (depending on the situation) it constructs a series of things you can do or say to limit the ‘damage’ that it thinks that was caused whilst the person was drinking. A sort of ‘get out of jail free card’ for social situations. This behavior of the mind is linked to the way stress works (please see my blog post related to stress for more information)
So, what can be done about this?
Well, the first and most obvious is to stop drinking all together (which is what your subconscious would like as then there would be no danger that this situation will ever happen again!) But you may not want to do that.
If that is not an option, then what could be done is to book some time with a clinical hypnotherapist who will work out what the best approaches could be based on your personality and needs and will work with you whilst you are in hypnosis to combat any kinds of anxiety or stress caused by this situation. If you want to inbox me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would be more than happy to discuss bespoke treatments to help you cope with the issues and possibly to even rid you of these negative feelings for good! And as we live in a world run by technology, I can conduct hypnotherapy sessions either in person or online.
Part of dealing with the feelings ignited by post drinking anxiety, I usually recommend the use of what is known as an anchor.
What is an anchor?
It is a well-known and respected technique that anyone can use, even if you are not actually in a state of hypnosis!
This is what you do:
Take some deep breaths and focus on relaxing for a few moments. Perhaps go to a ‘happy place’ in your mind. Breathe deeply and naturally until you feel pretty relaxed. Take as much time as you want.
Then, remember a time when you felt fully in control, confident, invincible, and totally ready to take on the world! Really focus on that memory, bring that time into focus, make it clear and bold, build the feeling and the memory up until it is so strong and at its peak. Then squeeze your thumb and forefinger together for the count of 5 whilst you put all your focus on that memory. Then let go and think of something else entirely. Give it a minute or so then go through the whole process again.
Do this 5 more times. Not forgetting to have a rest between each session. Then, just check your anchor and allow the rush of confidence and power to flow through your body from your thumb and forefinger.
Once in the waking world and you feel you may need a ‘boost’, in this case if you feel anxious after drinking. Just gently squeeze your thumb and forefinger together and let the positivity flow!
I hope the above helps people, and if anyone wants some more treatment, not forgetting that the anchor is only part of a holistic and bespoke package of hypnotherapeutic techniques to help with this issue. Just contact me.
Trevor Bamford MA
The issue of stress in our society has never been greater than it is right now! Let me say this right off the bat, stress is a killer! If you don't deal with it effectively, it can make you very ill indeed, and may even be the cause of your premature demise.
So why is stress such a problem and what can we do about it?
First up, what stress actually is, is our own individual response to the demands put upon us in any situation, which we feel we can't cope with. Stress is different for everyone, some people can take a lot of demands on them and cope quite well, others feel stress with far less demands on their abilities and time. Stress is actually a naturally evolved reaction designed to help us in times of threat or harm.
So how does it work?
Millions of years ago, we as a species evolved a very effective survival system. When a woolly mammoth, let’s say, walked over the hill, our ancestors evolved a response that goes like this;
Do I fight, flight (i.e. RUN!) or freeze (play dead, or at least blend into the scenery). Our ancestors had to make this decision very quickly and once they did, their body and mind was flooded with chemicals that would give them all the strength and energy they would need to deal with the threat.
These chemicals shut off some of our systems such as digestion (the body does not want to waste energy digesting a dinner when you need to run from some big hairy beast!) our higher thought processes (no need to be pondering the nature of the universe when facing having to go fang and claw with that mammoth!) as well as our sleep/rest cycle (nature quickly learned that sleeping during a fight would not end well).
Essentially, whatever response decision we made, our mind and body ensured that all non-survival bodily processes were shut down, and the ones we need to deal with the threat were supercharged with chemicals.
So once the subconscious has decided what to do, the whole process evolved to play out like this:
We now live in a world which is quite different to the world of our Neolithic forbears, but the subconscious process of dealing with a threat is still with us, and it can cause issues for us now in the form of stress.
So, what’s the situation these days?
Our subconscious does not distinguish between types of threat, it sees, say a demand from your boss to do extra work when you had not planned for it, or the fact that your computer has decided to not save an important document, or the feeling of dread you may get if you must give a presentation. As a threat, and your body and mind get flooded with the aforementioned chemicals as per the ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ survival response. But guess what? It is not appropriate in our society to decide to chase after your boss with a spear, to challenge your computer to a one-on-one fight! Or to run away from a meeting or to freeze and ‘play dead’ in front of your boss and work colleagues just before a presentation!
So, what happens?
Your body and mind, apart from not being sure exactly what response to take, floods your body with a whole cocktail of different chemicals to help you deal with the threat, but they then have nowhere to go! You can’t leap into action as I have already said, so you can burn off all that chemical energy, equally you can’t go for an 8-hour sleep to restore the balance once the energy has been spent dealing with the ‘danger’.
This then causes a build-up of un-spent chemical energy, which gives rise to all the usual symptoms associated with stress. i.e., brain fog, memory issues, digestive problems etc. The very worst thing about stress is that energy MUST go somewhere, and it usually goes inward and affects the whole body and mind as it tries to burn up
It gets worse.
As we all know, the modern world gifts us with one thing to deal with after another in quick succession. In any given working day, our subconscious mind may see several ‘threats and will act accordingly. Putting us in a mental state of ‘threat response’ and releasing all the same chemicals to get us through, repeatedly!
As you will expect, these unspent chemicals and the effects of these chemicals build up and up and up and will, if not dealt with, cause a whole multitude of health problems as I stated at the start of this article.
So, what can I do to deal with stress?
This is where hypnotherapy comes in and is widely considered to be the most effective method when dealing with this problem.
Some people are very good at self-hypnosis, once they master the skills to do so, and this can be a very effective way of dealing with stress. However, for other people, it is hard to shut off and ‘get in the zone’ or they find their mind drifts and wanders. As a matter of interest, I am also one of these people! But for more information on self-hypnosis look here.
A method I recommend if you find self-hypnosis techniques difficult is to listen to guided audio recordings. This way you can enter the world of hypnotic relaxation at the touch of a button, and you will have the benefit of hearing a hypnotherapist taking you through the relaxation and de-stress process. One such collection of recordings I recommend can be found here!
But the very best way to deal with stress in regards hypnotherapy is to book a session with a professional hypnotherapist as they will be able to guide you through a session and be responsive to your needs, plus they will have a great deal of knowledge and suggestions to help you deal with your individual stress issues.
So how does Hypnotherapy work when dealing with stress?
Once you are in a hypnotic trance, which can be achieved via any of the methods above, the conscious mind can be ‘put to one side’ thus leaving the path open to talk directly to the subconscious mind.
With the use of self-hypnosis, audio recordings or the skill of the hypnotherapist. It is possible to communicate directly with that part of the mind that generates the stress response and to get it to ‘let go’ of any stored-up stress and to re-frame any residual or future stress to help the person get control of their stress levels and responses to heal and to head off future attacks.
One final word.
The key to dealing with stress long term, is deep relaxation, letting go and reframing. With practice and or the help of a skilled hypnotherapist, stress levels will improve or go away completely, as long as the de-stress practices become part of your permanent routine!
For more information, please comment below or drop me a message.
T.E. Bamford MA