Most of us may experience depression for days or months.
But when it feels like it will last forever, it’s time to get help.
The good news about the neurobiology of depression may surprise you.
Those feelings of heaviness, brain fog, lack of motivation, procrastination or sadness are part of a biological strategy, known as the Freeze state. Your biology, in trying to help you manage overwhelming stress, starts to turn down the thermostat.
Like a dimmer switch, your biology softens the shock of too much to process.
What was too much, too soon or too fast, needs less, not more input.
It needs support for stillness, invisibility, even immobility . . . And these are the superpowers of Freeze.
But they don’t feel like superpowers.
Many people call this depression, but from the point of view of your biology, this intelligence – by – design strategy, supports and preserves valuable inner resources.
But it doesn’t FEEL that. It feels awful.
But why would your nervous system turn down the aliveness thermostat?
- Especially when your kids need their breakfast
- The bills need to be paid
- The laundry taunts you from the pile on the floor
- Work beckons
- The world needs us to step up
Sometimes getting out of bed in the morning feels like a monumental task when your biology leans toward Freeze.
Accumulated stresses that your biology has had to face over a lifetime, add up in your “overwhelm bank account.” If you’ve had some or all of these common life experiences, your overwhelm may be depleting your ability to cope:
- Difficult medical or dental procedures
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Emotional hurt
- Being bullied or betrayed
- Setbacks such as losing a job, a pet dying, financial or academic setbacks
- If you’re a minority, micro-aggression and physical threat
Add to these painful life events, childhood neglect, loss or abuse, military service, death of a loved one, being the victim of an assault, gaslighting or other inescapable double binds, your biology has a remedy: The Freeze State.
These experiences demand a lot from your body and nervous system because they are “saved” in a kind of nervous system database, waiting for the opportunity to be “righted.”
Because you may have had to endure bullying or were powerless to resolve a betrayal, or had to survive a difficult childhood, you may have entered adulthood with some feelings of “I can’t,” feeling of helplessness and confusion, and shame.
The biology of Freeze tries to turn down these distressing signals that tell us that “the world is not a safe place,” or “I’m in danger.” And when there is so much accumulated distress, we can’t even tell when we are actually safe, because we feel unsafe.
And somehow, you override these feelings, and function when you must.
And it’s exhausting.
Some people with Freeze patterns, feel a strong impulse to avoid pain, loss and hurt by isolating or avoiding things, using drugs, food, alcohol just to get some relief. They may mistakenly think they are introverts in some cases.
But in our modern, busy lives, most of us can’t take a time out to rest and process dangerous or stressful experiences, especially when we may have already had a series of setbacks. So we override the biology of Freeze and heroically meet the challenges of daily life.
But we pay a price.
We get tired, exhausted, then feel embarrassed or ashamed that we can’t rise to the sometimes even simple tasks of everyday life. And this double-bind makes it hard to rest, hard to recover, and worse yet hard to get help, thinking that we’re broken beyond repair. Another word for this feeling: toxic shame.
The Good News.
Freeze can be completed.
The natural rhythm of Freeze has a beginning, middle and an end. It has a rhythm, unless we get stuck. Using the principles of Somatic Experiencing® (and polyvagal theory) we can help your body find and return to that natural rhythm. And you can return to easeful readiness.
We gently help your body experience, the beginning, middle and end of feelings of overwhelm, fear, eren terror.
In a somatic therapy session, we support your body to complete, or as we like to say “re-negotiate” these stressful events that accumulate in our lives.
People experience this process sometimes as:
- “Depression’s letting go of me.”
- “I feel more like myself.”
- “I can breath again.”
You may be surprised how enjoyable and “easeful” this “re-negotiation” work can be.
How does this work?
We work directly with your biology and its natural cycles, and how we humans are designed to live. We gently awaken your animal intelligence so you can survive and thrive. Rather than being heroic, you can recover your natural impulses to experience sustainable flow in your daily life.
You might be interested and surprise to read the blog article “Is It Really Procrastination?”
Common Symptoms of Depression and Freeze
- Trouble concentrating on tasks, remembering things, and making decisions
- Decrease in your regular amount of energy – feeling fatigued
- Feeling guilty, worthless, hopeless, pessimistic, or helpless
- Trouble sleeping or change in sleeping habits
- Irritable or more restless than normal
- Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy doing
- Change in eating habits – over or under eating, not by your choice
- Aches, pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive troubles
- Feeling sad, anxious, or “empty”
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling disconnected from your body