Depressed Feelings and Depression

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“It’s so hard to describe depression to someone who’s never been there because it’s not grief. I know grief. Grief is crying and feeling. But it’s that cold absence of feeling – that really hollowed out feeling.”

—J.K. Rowling

“I was so scared to give up depression, fearing that somehow the worst part of me was actually all of me. ”

—Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

Depressed Feelings

Depressed Feelings are a normal response to difficulties. After a few weeks, the shower usually blows over. If mood is abnormally lowered over a long period of time and this adversely affects daily functioning, depression may be involved.

It is not always clear where the boundary lies between depressed feelings, mild depression (several weeks) and major depression. They are more or less in line with each other and the transition is gradual.


However, if one cannot get over feelings of severe sadness after a long period of time, there is a depression and it is recommended to seek professional help. Thus, a person suffering from depression suffers from a prolonged gloomy mood and a decrease in interest or pleasure. Depressions can occur in adults, but also in children and young people.

Nearly one in five people is affected by this most common psychiatric illness. Both young and old, because the condition is of all ages.

The Difference Between Depressed Feelings and Depression

Depressed FeelingsDepression
A feeling, a temporary change of mood.A mood disorder, a serious illness. Someone who has depression is not only gloomy but also has other complaints.
The situation is experienced as temporary. Things are not going well at the moment, but people are confident that things will get better again later. After a few days, the rain drifts again.The situation is experienced as ‘forever’. There is no improvement in the future.
Clearly identifiable cause: a painful event, an important loss.Not always clear cause. The feeling that that whole situation happens to you dominates.
Others can be a source of comfort.Well-intentioned advice from the environment only help you feel more down.
Some things make for fun and pleasant experiences: a nice meal, a good conversation, your hobby, a nice walk.Nothing can be fun.
Pleasant things can positively influence the mood. There is still control.The feeling of losing all control predominates. Nothing seems to help. Nothing is tried anymore.
The gloomy feelings do not get in the way of daily functioning, but everything takes more effort.Depression interferes with daily functioning: there is no longer any interest in work, hobby, others … and it jeopardizes functioning in all kinds of areas.
Different emotions are experienced: anger (on ones self or others), annoyance, tension. Different feelings dominate in different situations.Whatever happens: one feels nothing. There is no longer a reaction to what is happening around you, not to the fun but also not to the less fun.

Consequences in daily functioning

So when you have depression, you see everything gloomy. You lose interest in work, school or people around you. You can only worry and your thoughts often circulate in circles. You can feel very tired and think negatively about yourself. Social contacts decrease because you don’t feel like doing anything anymore. This way your world is getting smaller and you get more and more tired and depressed.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Physical symptoms

On a physical level, depression expresses itself through inhibition:

  • the return on efforts is reduced;
  • people tire more quickly;
  • appetite decreases or increases;
  • the sleeping pattern changes (sleeping badly or having difficulty getting out of bed);
  • there is less need for sex.
  • Other common complaints are irritability,

Sometimes depression can also be the cause of other vague, inexplicable complaints, such as dizziness, head, abdominal or back pain.

Psychiatric symptoms

The patient usually expresses the psychological consequences as: “I can no longer, I am in the pit.”

The Subject:

  • has lost his self-esteem (the feeling of being worthless) and the structure in his life;
  • cherishes a negative self-image; or guilt;
  • is more difficult to concentrate; thinking and making decisions, worrying a lot.
  • is overcome by fear, indecision and insecurity and in some cases often also think of death.

Appropriate interventions for disorders related to depression include:

  • Individual Therapy: In bodymind integration and body psychotherapy, in addition to talking, experience and action take a central place. In individual work, the therapist can explore with you the cause of your depression and feelings of depression, such as perhaps a negative self-image or a profound event that still bother you. In body-oriented psychotherapy you actively work with different exercises and working methods, which literally get you moving again. You can visualize and symbolize the emotions and thoughts associated with the depression through (role) play, movement or pieces of work. That way you view the depression from the outside and you have more possibilities to get a grip on your thoughts and emotions. This way you can break through your sense of inability and discover new ways of acting and thinking. During the therapy you can also focus on releasing suppressed feelings such as anger or fear, and you will receive help in the fight against stressors and your low self-esteem. Depending on the severity of the problems, treatment can vary from a few months to several years.
  • Movement, body awareness, grounding and emotional expression: Like individual therapy, movement, grounding and body awareness works by teaching specific management skills to the client. Through breathing and bioenergetic movement exercises you learn to come into contact with repressed emotions, your inner “no” and you learn to regulate yourself better. We use techniques that make you aware of the inner processes that contribute to your dejection, and thus we teach you to have better control over these processes. Alternative behavior and dealing with relating are also discussed: in what ways can you safely bring yourself out and expand?
  • Group Therapy: Groups provide safe and appropriate social training where the client can receive feedback from other group members and professionals on how to regulate their behavior. A prevention plan with clear agreements on how to act like your depression, feelings of guilt, feelings of inferiority, victim role, etc. can be discussed. The support to yourself, from the therapist and from any group members will come in handy.

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Individual therapy sessions

Dirk Marivoet psychotherapist in Belgium

Dirk Marivoet, MSc. is a European certified psychotherapist (ECP). He studied physiotherapy as well as psychomotor therapy at the University of Leuven. Next he worked in the clinics and taught for 11 years at this university. For over 30 years now he has worked in a holistic way and is especially interested in the integration of body, mind and spirit in service of individual, collective and global development.

Dirk Marivoet and his colleagues at the IBI (International Institute of Bodymind Integration) offer individual therapy sessions for those interested in this mind-body approach.

In Ghent (Belgium), Europe, the rest of the world and online.

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