Depression Recovery: Expressing your Needs
Awareness of life’s ever changing situations and feelings can be helpful steps. Even more helpful is recognizing the need imbedded in the feeling. Being able to express needs can be especially beneficial when managing symptoms of depression.
Sheila is struggling with depressive symptoms. She feels overwhelmed, unworthy, indecisive, irritable. She is married and has 2 teenage sons. Although she uses words like overwhelmed or irritable, she suspects her family gets tired of hearing them and no one seems to feel very satisfied with the communication.
What is a need?
A need is a fundamental human longing. Here is the list of needs from a website called CNVC (Center for Non-Violent Communication).
The following list of needs is neither exhaustive nor definitive. It is meant as a starting place to support anyone who wishes to engage in a process of deepening self-discovery and to facilitate greater understanding and connection between people.
acceptance affection appreciation belonging cooperation communication closeness community companionship compassion consideration consistency empathy inclusion intimacy love mutuality nurturing respect/self-respect continued safety security stability support to know and be known to see and be seen to understand and be understood trust warmth
air food movement/exercise rest/sleep sexual expression safety shelter touch water
authenticity integrity presence
beauty communion ease equality harmony inspiration order
choice freedom independence space spontaneity
awareness celebration of life challenge clarity competence consciousness contribution creativity discovery efficacy effectiveness growth hope learning mourning participation purpose self-expression stimulation to matter understanding
(The contents of this page can be downloaded and copied by anyone so long as they credit CNVC as follows:
2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication Website: www.cnvc.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +1.505-244-4041)
As you can see these are needs that all humans share. Beginning to familiarize ourselves with these needs can have a great impact on our interactions with others.
Sheila is trying to make dinner as the family arrives home. In a few short minutes she is feeling scattered and overwhelmed. She is near tears. As she begins to share with her family she includes that she has a need for greater quiet and order. She and her family negotiate how to meet that need to everyone’s satisfaction.
Sheila is feeling irritable. She is afraid that she is going to lash out at her family. She shares with her husband that she needs some space to “reboot.”
Sheila and her husband are on their way home from a dinner party. Sheila is feeling tired and worthless. She believes she did not contribute to the conversation at the party. She shares this with her husband and notes that she is really needing some reassurance and acceptance.
Sheila’s awareness of what need she is experiencing helps her take better care of herself. Her more specific expression to those who love her gives greater clarity.
1. Contemplate the list of needs. Which ones are generally met? Which ones are not?
2. Become familiar with the language of needs. When you are feeling particularly good or particularly bad, explore what need is being met or is not being met. Ask yourself what is my need right now.
3.Explore the CNVC site. See how observations, feelings, needs and requests are connected.
For more info about bipolar and other mood disorders please visit my website SupportforDepression.com