Does this sound like you?
Feeling down, more days that not
Frustrated and irritable or crying frequently
Not doing the things you used to love
Sleeping more than usual or unable to get to sleep
Avoiding time with others
You want to do things, but just don’t have the motivation or energy
Difficulties concentrating or focusing
Eating more or less than usual
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
If you answered yes,
you may be experiencing Depression
The days feel darker, having fun seems to be a distant dream that has become impossible to find. Depression takes all of the things you used to enjoy and turns it into something bland, hollow, and grey. Listening to music, drawing, reading, and talking with friends quickly starts to feel like more of a task than a way to feel better. You find yourself deciding to avoid time with friends, family, and others, to binge Netflix and sleep. While it feels like this is as much as you can do with the energy you have left, you’re painfully aware of the fact that this only delays what you need to do to be feeling better.
Feeling depressed is exhausting. The fading hope that a positive change might be possible, is weighing heavy. Your best efforts haven’t solved the problem and the suggestions of those you love haven’t helped either. The growing fear of becoming a burden when talking about how you feel with family and friends stops you from saying much of anything. You are realizing the need for a serious change.
How will Therapy for Depression help?
Your experience is unique to you, as are the emotions that come with it. Feeling depressed is no different. Therapy helps you get control of your mood again with tools to overcome feelings of hopelessness, overthinking, and self-criticism that have kept you from enjoying life. Creating a trusting, working relationship with a therapist is an extremely powerful step in the process of developing a deeper understanding of the problem itself and building a plan of action to address the symptoms of depression. As therapists we use a variety of techniques to create a strategic, coordinated, focused plan that takes into account where you are, what you have tried, and what resources that could give you an edge in overcoming the obstacles in your way.
No matter where the sadness has come from, you don’t need to let it define your life. Fortunately, feeling depressed is not a permanent state. We can change our mood, even when we feel as though we have exhausted all the possible ideas that we have to improve how we feel. While challenging, the process of therapy is a unique space for renewing your dedication to reorganizing your mind, heart, and action.
Uncertain about starting therapy?
Uncertainty about starting therapy is a common concern people have when considering whether or not to treat depression. Of course attitudes toward therapy vary between people and cultures, but beyond fear there are many valid questions about the use and effectiveness of therapy in resolving depression.
“Talking about my problems will only make me feel more depressed.”
Talking about how you feel is difficult, especially because the feelings you have to share are painful and draining. Talking with family and friends, you find yourself trapped in an endless retelling of why you are stuck, why their suggestions aren’t working, and your growing doubts that a better day is ahead. The usual suggestions for what to try, which are typically very helpful, are not going to cut it because your feelings of depression are not only unique, but complex as well. Therapy is different than talking with your family or friends because it can be a place for both being heard or understood, without judgment, as well as a place to collaboratively build a plan of action that meets you where you are. What you share in the process of therapy is not aimless retellings of old pains, but a conversation focused on change that builds on your personal strengths.
“Therapy will make me feel pressured to change. It will be too much work.”
One of the best things about therapy is that you can move at your own pace. While being in therapy is accompanied by both specific as well as general goal setting, you are in charge of what those goals are and how ready you are to act on them. Building the foundation for change is a very important part of the early phase of therapy, so it can be extremely beneficial to take time for you and your therapist to develop a working relationship before moving into an action oriented phase of therapy. The pace of therapy can always be scaled back if it moves too quickly as well. Communicating about what you need from your therapist, your readiness level, and the pace you need to work at, are all critical ways for you to direct therapy, if you prefer.
“If I tell my therapist I have thought about not wanting to be alive anymore, they will hospitalize me.”
Depression, especially if it has been going on for a long time, is often accompanied by a desire to have emotional relief. When you have tried to find relief in the usual ways, or that you have been suggested but they don’t work, it is not uncommon for a person to see the idea of suicide or not being alive anymore as a way to find this relief. Sharing such thoughts or feelings with your therapist is an important part of the healing process and while necessary at times, hospitalization is considered only when absolutely necessary. If such a situation occurs, you and your therapist will discuss the nuances, risks, and potential benefits of hospitalization.