The word ‘depression’ can refer to many different states of mind, ranging from understandable sadness to life-threatening mental illness. Sometimes depression arises in reaction to adverse life events, especially those which involve some kind of loss. Sometimes it is due to a physical disorder – for example underactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease, the unwanted effects of prescribed medication – impacting on the function of the brain. Sometimes depression develops for no apparent reason, and this form often has some genetic basis.
For mild depressive states, Bach flower remedies can work well on their own. In more severe cases it is always advisable to seek professional diagnosis and care, but the remedies can still be helpful as an adjunct to other forms of treatment and support. There is no one single flower for depression, but several different ones which could help to relieve various forms of the condition, for example:
Gentian for those who feel disappointed or disheartened in response to a setback, or who tend to have a pessimistic outlook on life in general. This remedy helps to restore faith, hope and certainty.
Gorse for those who, perhaps after a prolonged experience of illness or difficult circumstances, have abandoned all hope of improvement.
Mustard for the type of depression which comes and goes for no apparent reason and is often described as like a ‘black cloud’.
Sweet chestnut is the remedy for heartache, anguish and despair.
Other remedies might also be helpful for associated problems, for example Elm if there is a sense of being overburdened with responsibilities, Pine if there are exaggerated feelings of guilt and self-blame, or Willow for those who cast themselves as victims and harbour resentment and self-pity.
Up to six remedies can be combined in the same course of treatment. Please visit the Bach Centre website for details of the system and how it is used.