At some point in our lives, we all experience sadness or anxiety. Sometimes it’s due to a clear cause – the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, chronic stress, and more. At other times, we feel sad and down, and we don’t know why. When our difficult times last for a little while, we may find ways to cope and rise again. But when symptoms persist, and we struggle to rise from the darkness, it may be more than a bout of the “blues”; it may be depression.
Depression is a mental health condition that is very distinct from feeling blue. It can contain a cocktail of emotions: anger, fear, despair, guilt, apathy, grief and more. Depression can affect our lives in many ways. It can affect how we think and behave; it can affect our body functions; it can significantly affect our health and happiness.
What we’ve learnt over our 25 years of helping and healing clients with depression is that it that can present itself differently in different people and it’s nearly always a result of multiple causes. A one-size-fits all approach is inappropriate; it’s important to recognise and work with every factor that may have caused it.
At least 1 in 10 people experience depression at some stage in their lives. If you are struggling with depression know that you are alone and that we can help you. By recognising the symptoms, you can take the first step towards a healthier, happier life.
Anxiety and depression are not the same, although they can be experienced at the same time. If you are experiencing five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, you could be dealing with depression*
You may be:
- Persistently sad, gloomy and prone to crying spells
- Disinterested in activities, friends or family
- Feeling helpless and hopeless
- Tired, lacking in energy, and/or experiencing sleep challenges
- Overwhelmed and in despair
- Feeling worthless and consumed by guilt
- Finding it hard to concentrate and function at work/college/school
- Eating significantly more or less than usual
- Experiencing a loss of sex drive and/or sexual problems
- Considering or inflicting self-harm
- Having recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
It can be hard to acknowledge feelings of depression, but please know that a diagnosis is not the end of your world; it can be the beginning of a new one.
* In our clinical experience, we recognise that children will show different symptoms.
There are many factors that could contribute to feelings of depression. These include, but are not limited to:
- A trigger such as divorce, illness, loss of a job, or death of a loved one
- Postpartum depression, history of trauma, or PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder)
- Existing mental health conditions, like a personality disorder, bipolar affective disorder, psychosis or a family history of depression
- Loneliness, low self-esteem, and a background of mental or emotional stress
- Hidden influences, like a hormonal imbalance, individual biochemistry, medication, and nutritional deficiencies
- Spiritual emergency: a sense of crisis from a period of intense spiritual growth or deep loss of purpose
Whatever the causes are, we are committed to working with you to identify and address them. Depression is treatable: there is always hope, no matter how bleak the landscape of your mind may seem.
Traditionally, antidepressants are used to treat depression, alongside psychological support. Anti-depressants are designed to balance chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain that affect mood and emotions. However, depression is not always the result of a chemical balance. This means that while antidepressants may help some; it may hinder others.
At IMI, we recognise that treating depression is highly individual and complex. The most appropriate approach is a personalised approach.
Which is why our integrated approach looks at you as a whole person. We work with you to acknowledge and address the seven different factors that may be impacting your mental wellbeing and contributing to your depression.
Meeting you where you’re at, we will put in place a tailored plan to help you rise again, and we will empower you with tailored approaches to sustain your mental health. It's about finding what's right for you.
Here are some of the main services that underpin our approach to depression.
Counselling, psychotherapy and clinical psychology
Our highly experienced psychologists and counsellors are committed to working – respectfully, compassionately, and at a pace that works for you – to understand the root of your depression and find ways to help you cope. Counselling and psychotherapy can provide you with a safe space to explore your thoughts, feelings and emotions deeply, freely and without judgement, or bias.
For mild depression, counselling and talking therapy may offer appropriate support. If your depression is more complex, is connected to a pre-existing mental health condition, history of trauma, or has been diagnosed as clinical depression, we recommend clinical psychology or psychotherapy. These provide a more structured and depth approach to support you to navigate the complexities of your depression.
Our naturopaths can run tests in order to rule out physical complications. Candida infection, thyroid malfunction, acute or chronic stress reactions, allergies, drug or alcohol abuse and dependence, recent surgery, and PMS can all contribute to depression.
A naturopath may also suggest ways to adjust your current diet and exercise regime in order to support your recovery. Studies prove that exercise is as good as antidepressants in alleviating some symptoms of depression. They may prescribe herbal and dietary supplements to treat deficiencies that may contribute to depression.
Acupuncture, osteopathy and craniosacral therapy
These skilled therapies and many more that we offer work to soothe the body and mind. Through gentle hands-on work, these therapies help to re-establish the flow of subtle energy rhythms, bringing balance to body and mind.
It may take time and patience to recover, but you won’t be alone. We will work hand-in-hand with you to support you to rise from depression with more strength, insight, healing and clarity.
Articles, blogs, videos and resources:
Many people believe that depression is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, and in particular, a deficiency in serotonin – our ‘feel good hormone’. The textbook medicine approach is...
Food is more than sustenance. Eating well feeds your body, soul, and brain. In fact, what you eat can significantly affect your mental health, and even decrease depression, researchers advise....
December and January can be hard. Really hard. The third Monday of January marks Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. Though these months are supposed to be...
Anxiety had become George’s way of life for over five years, but it was his rising blood pressure and heart palpitations that brought the 46 year old to IMI. Recognising...
Hong Kong is a vibrant and exciting city, with a fast pace of life. It is challenging. Pushy crowds, hot and sticky weather, noisy construction, dirty air and long working...
Postnatal depression: it can strike at any time, but sharing experiences allows women to help each other – an article featured in South China Morning Post
Melissa Shadforth, IMI’s Integrative Counsellor talks about the challenge of post-birth depression and stress which can hit at any time, even years after giving birth.