Lift Depression Book

by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell

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Control manifests itself in the choices we can make and the responsibilities we are given.

A simple way of making people feel helpless and inadequate is to take away control over how, or whether, they live. (Hence taking away control by imprisoning or executing has, throughout the ages, been the ultimate treatment meted out to wrongdoers.) Removing choices, or raising the amount of choices to an unmanageable level, is always hugely stressful.

If you live in a situation where your ability to control it is taken away, it also means your responsibility has been taken away. A common cause of depression is falling into debt. Losing control of your finances is a great source of worry and easily induces depression in people, as does losing control of bodily functions due to illness or decrepitude.

You may be in a position of holding a great amount of control over others, as an employer or civil servant for example; if so, you must always be careful not to take away all responsibility from them – which raises stress levels all round and is very destructive.

Examples of questions to ask when considering the need for control:

  • Do you feel you can take responsibility or at least have serious input into decisions in the family or at work?
  • Do you feel like you have choices about what work you do, where you work and what you do?
  • Do you feel like you should be in charge of events that are outside of your control, for example; your children’s exam results?
  • Are you struggling to meet unrealistic deadlines?
  • Do you feel out of control of your body and your thoughts, for example; panic attacks, trauma?
  • Are you a control freak? (All needs have to be met in balance; so trying to control everything is unnatural and will raise other people‚Äôs stress levels.)