Edit 10/7: I believe the presentation went very well, and I underestimated the number of attendants. If you didn’t get a handout, you can download one here. Thanks for coming! I look forward to seeing you Monday, November 3rd when we talk about anxiety.
I’ve volunteered to speak at my local library about depression. I’ll be speaking there on October 6th from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. When I was thinking about how I wanted to organize the presentation, I knew I was going to need to practice it. After all, nobody wants to be boring and that was my main concern. Some of the stuff I had planned to cover is academic, and usually it’s anecdotes that make for a better presentation. Since I was practicing anyway, I decided to record the presentation for anyone unable to make the library event. Despite my efforts, the video is still much longer than normal YouTube fare. It isn’t geared for the 30sec attention span set. Sometimes you just have to accept that you’re not as interesting as the short-form stuff.
I still think it’s worth your time though. It is a lot to ask, maybe too much to ask, for someone to sit down and watch it all the way through. So, I thought I’d toss up a blog post that covers the main points in such a way that you would either get something out of it or be motivated to watch it.
At 3:25 we talk about why talking about depression does not cause depression. There’s a type of thinking that says if I talk about it, I’m somehow contributing to it. Usually the opposite is true. If we avoid talking about something we lend it power and it gets stronger. In the same way talking about a house fire doesn’t cause a house fire, talking about depression doesn’t cause depression.
At 7:05 we talk about the difference between sadness and depression. We use those words interchangeably and when we’re trying to understand depression that doesn’t help too much. Sadness is a fluctuating state where you may feel sad most of the time but can been cheered up. Across time the amount of time you’re sad decreases while the amount of time you’re happy or just feel normal increases. The point is, sadness abates and can come and go. Depression doesn’t do that. It is constant, doesn’t fluctuate and “just snapping out of it“ is difficult if not impossible.
Around 10:30 We begin to talk about the clinical definition of depression. In order to diagnose someone with depression we need to see a couple of things. We need to see a mood that reported as “sad” (haha see?), “depressed” “hopeless” etc. We also need to see that the person has marked loss of interest in things they once found important. If the avid golfer stops golfing and withdraws from his friends and family, this could be a sign of depression. Here are some of the other criteria listed out in bullet fashion.
- Appetite change
- Sleep disturbance
- Psychomotor changes
- Decreased energy
- Feeling excessively guilty or worthless
- Impaired ability to think
- Recurrent thoughts of death (suicide)
At 22:03 we start to talk about what causes depression. From a theoretical standpoint, something in the environment happens, we have a thought about that something, and subsequently have corresponding emotion and behavior. So for example I see a roller coaster, I think roller coasters are terrifying and will kill me, and I have a subsequent feeling of fear coupled with an avoidant behavior. We then talk about how it’s irrational thinking that drives those negative emotions and behaviors. We talk about how we don’t even realize we’re having the thoughts that drive those emotions (automatic thoughts) and the types of thought patterns that produce automatic negative thoughts and subsequently depression. I promise it’s interesting! If you’ve read this I encourage you to go watch!
Around 40min in we talk about the underlying core belief system that ultimately lies at the center of the way you think. Like a little engine it creates all those automatic negative thoughts that in turn create depression. We talk about the ones that I see most often. Usually they have to do with worthiness and “earning” love. Sound familiar?
I truly do hope that this video sits up on YouTube forever and helps people out over time. I really enjoy helping my clients and even though YouTube and blog posts are not therapy and I can’t do therapy with people I connect to over social media, I still love to help. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have!