Sadness is a normal part of the human condition. The loss of a relationship, or the passing of a loved one can be extremely painful, yet viewed as within the range of normal human experience. Depression is something different. It might be experienced as feeling hollow, or empty for lengthy periods of time. Or a feeling that a dark cloud has descended and that there is no hope of it leaving.
Depression is surprisingly common. Being one of the most common diagnoses, depression can also be an indication of other, less visible, underlying difficulties. Think, for example, of someone who has become fed up with their life – their job, their marriage. Underneath those feelings of hopelessness there might be significant feelings of resentment towards family members, partners, employers that, for various reasons it has not been possible for that individual to allow themselves to feel. Perhaps because they are frightened of feeling angry because of previous difficult experiences. Unmasking these ‘forbidden’ underlying feelings can hold the key to experiencing a sense of being alive, and ultimately taking action in order to change one’s circumstances.