The Meaning of Severe Situational Depression: 4 Solid Insights
Severe situational depression differs from clinical depression, but case studiess know it can greatly impact the individual who is experiencing it.
Often, today, the attention of the public and of the media is on long-term, chronic depression, which truly is a serious issue. However, we can often lose sight of the fact that an intense situational depression can have a huge impact on a person’s life. Here are four solid insights around coping with severe situational depression.
1. Just Because Depression is Situational, Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t Severe
We tend to contrast depression that is caused by some specific event or situation in our lives with “clinical depression”, the on-going depression that can be a nearly constant factor in the lives of those who struggle with it. While clinical depression is often severe, it would be a mistake to think that there is no such thing as severe situational depression.
Severe situational depression exists because severe situations exist, such as job loss, difficult marital breakdowns, failure or setback in a major life goal, serious illness in a child, loss of a loved one. Any of these or many other circumstances can lead us into a situational depression that is severe, and that finds us asking very major questions about our lives.
2. Severe Situational Depression Needs Attention — Not A “Stiff Upper Lip”
Because situational depression stems from something that has happened to us, it’s easy to tell ourselves to “just toughen up.” We often feel that we should be able to simply power through these kind of setbacks by strength of will alone. On the other hand, we may tell ourselves that no one is going to be able to understand or feel what it is that we’ve been through, and so we just stay silent. These attitudes are widely present in our culture, but given the kind of socialization that boys receive, they are particularly prevalent amongst men.
Yet, it may not be easy or even possible to “power through” the wounds and the feelings that lie behind situational depression. Often, it’s essential to open up to another, in a safe environment such as therapy for depression, as a way of moving forward.
3. Severe Situational Depression May Well be Telling You Something Important About Your Life
The meaning of severe situational depression may not be what it initially appears. When a life event triggers severe situational depression, the depression is often connected to other important factors in life, and to the core ways in which we perceive and understand ourselves. It can be very important to examine the depression, and what it might be “saying to us” about how we approach our lives as a whole, especially where major life transitions are concerned.
4. Situational Depression Has An Unconscious Dimension
Often, severe situational depression can be connected to important and powerful things going on in the unconscious mind. Prof. Calvin Colarusso, of U. California, San Diego, and others have documented how deeply held beliefs and experiences in the unconscious mind can have a profound impact on depression that occurs when our life situation changes. Getting to the bottom of these unconscious factors can often enable the individual to move beyond the depression, and may bring very significant change to how the individual approaches life.
A severe situational depression may be more than just a liability or an obstacle. If dealt with appropriately, it may open important doors in a life, and show the way to renewal, as /a-midlife-transitions such as Jungian analysts are well aware.
Brian Collinson, Registered Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst
PHOTOS: © Nimish Gogri ; William Warby
© 2016 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)