Expert therapy by Nicola Illsley

Don’t Suffer in Silence. I Can Help.

Sometimes people use the word depression or the phrase ‘I am depressed’ to describe an occasional low mood, frustration, disappointment, sadness or tiredness. If you have ever been depressed, you will know it is much more than that.

How do you know if you have depression?
Look out for changes in these 4 areas



Physical State

Social Changes


People describe a low mood that persists. Even if there are some positive experiences which lift you briefly your mood may fall again as soon as there is even a minor disappointment. Your mood may be so low that you gain no enjoyment from anything – even things that used to give you pleasure. You might be full of feelings such as self-loathing, guilt and shame. Your emotions may feel uncontrollable and swing wildly from one thing to another.


This tends to be of a kind that we can view as ‘faulty’. You might see yourself in an overwhelmingly negative light, you might feel that your future is hopeless and be unable to imagine anything getting better. This might be verbalised as ‘What’s the point?’ Often our self-esteem and confidence become very low. You may think you know what others are thinking of you and that it is bad.

Physical State

Sleep patterns can change, appetite may decline or increase and you may lose interest in sex. You may have unexplained aches and pains. Energy levels can be so low that you may not have the motivation to complete normal everyday tasks such as bathing, washing up or opening letters. There can also be changes to the menstrual cycle for women.


You may feel lonely and isolated but at the same time feel unable to reach out to others. You may suffer from an increasing amount of anxiety. You may find yourself neglecting your hobbies and interests, avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities. You may have difficulties with the relationship at home, at work or in your wider family.


Depression can be caused by biological factors such as a genetically increased susceptibility, the over or under production of certain hormones or a reduction in some activity in our brain chemicals.
Psychological factors can also play a large part. This can include:

  • Inflexible rules about how we should behave
  • Thinking that we know what others are thinking of us and that it is bad
  • Loss of all kinds including a loved one through bereavement or separation, a job, a friendship, health etc
  • Sense of failure – having expectations that are too high of ourselves
  • Stress of all kinds including unemployment, financial worries, difficulties with partners, parents or children, illness and changes in life circumstances.


Depression can be treated in a number of ways. Medication can be helpful but so too can therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a recognised and effective form of therapy but I believe that therapy is always best when tailored to the individual. That might mean CBT but it might also mean using a mixture of approaches alongside it such as hypnotherapy mindfulness and creative therapy interventions.

If depression is affecting you, reach out to someone. If you would like to see whether therapy could help you, contact me to arrange a no obligation first session so that we can talk about how it might work for you.


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National Council of Psychotherapists
National Council of Psychotherapists

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