Depression is a massive global health problem which continues to grow. According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 300 million people struggle with the disease and according to the NHS, antidepressant use has more than doubled over the last decade. It’s clear that our current treatment methods just aren’t working. However, there is an alternative that is growing in popularity as it offers some significant benefits for those battling with the illness: retreats for depression.
By combining nourishing food, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, fresh air, workshops and therapies, these depression retreats can help you make it through those times when your mental health gets the better of you and provide the support you need to recover.
Today we’d like to talk more about depression and dive deeper into the reasons why those common treatments often don’t work. Then we’ll explore a powerful framework that can help you overcome your depression and take a look at how these wellness retreats can help you make this happen.
What exactly is Depression?
These days, people tend to use the word ‘depressed’ or ‘depression’ to refer to a sense of sadness or disappointment,
For example, they say that the grey weather in the winter is “so depressing” or that they feel “so depressed” now that their favourite line of makeup has been withdrawn from sale or their football team lost the championships.
However, true depression is much more serious than that. We’re talking about extended periods of feeling down that last for more than a few weeks and start affecting other areas of your life. The symptoms can vary widely from person to person but can include:
- Panicky or worried feelings
- Feeling tired
- Low self esteem
- Feeling frustrated
- Feeling hopeless
- Not getting enjoyment out of life (especially the things that used to bring you joy).
- Struggling to concentrate
- Comfort eating or appetite loss
- Insomnia or needing to sleep more
- Withdrawing from close relationships
- Feeling numb or empty
- Suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming yourself
Many people suffering with mental health problems like depression don’t seek professional help, either because they feel their symptoms are too mild or they prefer to try to cope alone. However, if they do, they’ll usually be offered treatments such as antidepressants or therapies such as CBT, psychotherapy, or counselling.
The problem is, many of these treatments don’t work as effectively as we’d like.
We keep needing to go back to our doctor to get our dosage increased, or we struggle with the side effects. Therapy often offers benefits, but it can take time to notice any real improvements.
Why is Depression so hard to treat?
With all this advanced medicine and these therapies we have at our fingertips, you’d think that depression would be relatively straightforward to treat.
That’s exactly what many of the experts would have us believe; that we can take a pill for a specified period or be under a therapy for x number of weeks and we’ll be able to put our depression behind us.
But this simply isn’t true. Depression recovery doesn’t work in the same way as treating a broken arm or taking antibiotics for an infection because there usually isn’t one clear cause or trigger.
There are a whole range of factors that can contribute to depression including stress, financial problems, family history, bereavement, chronic pain or illness. Sometimes there’s no obvious cause at all. Sometimes it’s a combination of factors.
Simply deciding that depression is caused by one thing like faulty brain chemistry and throwing some antidepressants at the problem clearly isn’t going to work on its own. Nor is just heading to the therapist’s office and expecting to find a cure.
If we want to treat our mental health problems and overcome anxiety and depression, we need a more holistic solution that considers the person as a whole, not a bunch of faulty parts.
The root cause of your Depression?
As we’ve just seen, depression can be triggered or worsened by a huge range of factors. But there is one underlying factor which forms the foundation for everything else, yet it’s often ignored. It’s spirituality. By using the word ‘spirituality’ here, I’m not referring to an organised religion (although that can also be part of it.)
I’m referring to the sense of connection you have with the world around you and how you find meaning in your life. I’m talking about your unique perspective on the world and how you feel about yourself and those around you.
When you ignore this important part of yourself, you’re more vulnerable to those lies you’ve heard about yourself and the world. You allow them to rule your personality, your emotions and your behaviour.
You start to lose hope and feel disconnected from life. You feel like you’re just not good enough and that you’re somehow flawed or inferior. You find yourself struggling to achieve your ideals, creeping towards burning, flailing under the grip of anxiety and making unhealthy life choices that you usually regret later.
Yet if you bring spirituality back onto centre stage and allow yourself to rediscover that connection, you can start to overcome your depression
You can find fresh hope for the future. You can find new perspective. You can learn how to survive through the darker days. You can discover your inner strength and move through your depression to the safer place on the other side.
By building a strong positive philosophy and set of beliefs, prioritising self-care and listening to your heart, you can take the first step towards healing from depression.
How Depression Retreats can help?
Building your new spiritual practice and moving towards the future isn’t easy to do alone, especially if you’re in a particularly vulnerable place.
That’s one of the many reasons why wellness retreats can be so effective, especially when the retreat has been designed to help support recovery from depression.
These retreats for depression allow you to surround yourself with supportive people who understand exactly what your body, mind and soul needs to recover from your depression and reconnect with the world.
Like regular wellness retreats, they offer the usual soothing and restorative self-care practices such as walks in nature, meditation and yoga, massage, healthy and nourishing food plus additional therapy sessions, workshops, creative activities and other practices that can help you find greater balance and get back on the right track.
Of course, it will take time, but a depression retreat can often be the first step in the right direction on that road towards recovery.
What are the best retreats for Depression?
Of course, there are many wonderful retreats across the world that can help with depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness.
But when it comes to depression, there is one retreat which stands head and shoulders above the rest: Secret Spirits.
Every day starts with a spiritual session and continues with workshops, creative activities, meals out, yoga, psychotherapy, shiatsu massage, healthy, comforting food. We love the fact that there’s no obligation to attend every activity if you don’t feel able to and attendees continue to get support for a whole year after the retreat has come to an end.
If you think that this is for you, you can find out more about Secret Spirits retreats for depression on their website here.
Depression is complex which can hold you in its grip and suck out every drop of joy and hope. But there is hope, even if every treatment you’ve ever tried has failed. Attend a wellness retreat for depression and you can start to find your feet again. You can move towards a brighter future where you’re not ruled by those darker days and you’re free to enjoy your future.
You may feel like you want to talk to a spiritual counsellor, we have teamed up with Sophie Nevill, a BACP registered Transpersonal Psychotherapist. So if you need someone to talk to, please click here and Sophie will be in touch.