Depression and Emotions
Depression is a mental health disorder that causes overwhelming feelings of sadness, lack of energy, and inability to work productively. There are many emotions connected to depression including anger, frustration, shame, sadness, and anxiety. Some individuals have a difficult time addressing and expressing negative emotional states, which can make it difficult to properly treat the depression. Some even have a hard time expressing the difference between their own anger and frustration, treating each as a similar emotion.
To treat depression, it might be helpful for individuals to be specific about the negative emotion they are experiencing. Research indicates that it can be difficult to decrease the symptoms of depression if a person cannot distinguish between sadness or anger. The emotional gauges that help us to understand feelings of sadness or shame may not work appropriately, therefore an individual may not be able to distinguish between two emotions when depressed such as anxiety or frustration. The research also indicated that non-depressed individuals were able to distinguish between two negative emotions.
These findings have implications for how depression is treated. If an individual is unable to decipher anger from frustration, they may confuse the two when they are distinct emotional states. A mental health professional working within this context would need to ask the person to share examples of anger and examples of frustration. This may help to separate these emotions in terms of effective emotional management. The mental health professional could ask for clarity and help the person define what anger is and possibly give examples.
Individuals can learn to understand what anger is and what it looks like, as well as other emotions through understanding what each is and what behaviors are exhibited when feeling a certain way. Specificity is important when treating depression and getting to the underlying feelings associated with it. Sometimes when a person feels one way, they may not know how to express this feeling. The only way to learn emotional management is to know what each feels like and how it is expressed. An understanding of frustration, anxiety, anger, or sadness goes a long way in treating depression. Part of the reason is once an emotion can be appropriately recognized, it can be changed through new ways of coping. Recognizing frustration will not affect how one processes and expresses anger or any other negative emotion.