Are you having trouble coping with depression?
Do you lack energy or struggle to get out of bed in the morning?
Does it feel like the future holds no hope or excitement and nothing you do seems to change it?
Have you lost interest in spending time with people or activities you once enjoyed?
If these are symptoms you are experiencing then you may be struggling with depression. Depression is an awful, insidious thing that can rob the joy and meaning from life. Sometimes you feel numb, and other times it can feel like there is a giant gaping hole in the middle of your body, like a black vortex, and nothing you do seems to fill it. Or maybe you cry more easily than you used to in unexpected situations. Or snap at people/pets/get frustrated over little things like dropping your peanut butter knife on the floor.
Depression looks a little different for everyone, but these are all signs that your brain and body may be struggling more than usual with everyday tasks. What you’re dealing with might be more than a just a bout of sadness or grief. If your symptoms are persistent, then it might be time to seek help.
Some common signs and symptoms of depression:
Sadness - crying more frequently than usual, feelings of emptiness
Negative thoughts - harsh inner critic, negative self-talk, getting down on yourself
Hopelessness - a sense that your life is pointless and nothing is going to change
Loss of interest - you don’t enjoy things you used to
Sleep disturbance - sleeping too much or too little, struggling to get to sleep or wake up
Fatigue - tiredness, exhaustion, lack of energy, feeling like you’re wearing a lead blanket
Irritability - getting easily frustrated, snapping at others or yourself
Trouble concentrating - forgetting things easily, difficulty focusing, struggling with decisions
Changes in eating - eating more or less than you normally do
Physical symptoms - headaches, aches & pains, digestive issues without explanation
Suicidal Thoughts - wishing you didn’t exist, or actively thinking of harming yourself (Please seek professional help immediately)
You are not alone
If you checked off several of the items in the list above, do not despair, you are not alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Clinical depression affects more than 16.1 million American adults in a given year. Depression touches people from all walks of life and is the leading issue causing people to seek mental health treatment. It’s more than just feeling sad or blue sometimes, it is an actual imbalance of the chemicals in your brain that regulate aspects of your mental, emotional, and physical health. Major depression is not the result of laziness or personal weakness, and struggling with depression doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It often develops as the result of factors you didn’t know about or couldn’t control at the time. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it now.
Change is possible with depression therapy
Millions of people struggle with depression at some point in their lives and there are things you can do to help overcome the pain. I know sometimes it feels like nothing you do ever helps and you will feel this way forever. But depression doesn’t have to be permanent. With treatment, depression can get better. I have seen many people successfully work with their depression and turn their lives around in ways they didn’t think was possible. But you don't have to take my word for it...
According to the National Institute of Health, up to 80% of people who seek treatment for their depression show improvement in their symptoms within four to six weeks. Treatment could include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Multiple studies have shown that Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are as effective as antidepressant medication for people suffering from depression. I can help guide you through these.
What does depression treatment look like?
Therapy is individualized based on the needs of each client, but there are several approaches I typically draw from to help you work with your depression. First and foremost, therapy is a safe space for you to come and share your experience, whatever it may be, in a non-judgmental environment. We will work together to identify strengths you already have that can be leveraged in dealing with your depression, because you are the expert on you. I will offer tools and strategies for helping you overcome your depression, including steps that can be started immediately.
Many people wonder what the best therapy for depression is. Studies have shown that there are many effective approaches, and I include some of the best research-based ones in my practice. My approach is influenced by mindfulness and nature-based therapies, both of which have been shown to reduce depressive symptoms and boost mood. (And no, that doesn’t mean I’ll force you to go on a backpacking trip or climb to the top of a mountain and meditate.) I use simple practices that can be incorporated into your everyday life.
We will also work with some of the thought and behavior patterns that might be part of your depression (like challenging the inner critic) using research-backed techniques like compassion practices and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to shift what isn’t working anymore. Together we will find your unique path to healing.
Now, I know you may still have some concerns or questions about treatment…
I’m not sure I have “full blown” clinical depression, do I really need Counseling?
That depends on how much your symptoms are interfering with your life. Only you can decide when it’s too much. Many people find therapy beneficial, even if they are high-functioning and can push through life and make it to work. Just because you can get by doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt like hell to push through. Is just getting by enough for you? Or would you like to get back to a place of looking forward to your days and being able to experience joy again? Studies show that talking to a mental health counselor can help relieve symptoms of depression.
I often describe depression treatment like preventive maintenance for your car: if you have an oil leak, you don’t wait until all the oil is drained out and your engine seizes, causing you a costly and time-consuming repair. It’s best to bring the car in for regular maintenance and fixes before it’s not drive-able anymore. I invite you to treat your body and mind with the same care and respect you do your vehicle. They will thank you later.
I should be able to handle this on my own without depression therapy…
I know all too well there is still a lot of stigma in our culture around reaching out for help or going to therapy, so I will say this: First of all, be careful not to “should” yourself, nothing good ever comes from it...trust me. It only results in shame and feelings of failure - and that’s not what this is - you are not a failure. Knowing when to ask for help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and many of the best world leaders survive by knowing which areas to get support in because no one can do it all.
Secondly, therapy is kind of like a back massage: it’s awfully hard to do it for yourself. And yes, I know you could roll around the floor on a tennis ball or get one of those self-massage machines, but you get my point - it’s not the same as receiving a massage from a trained professional. Self-help has it’s value in many places, and usually seeking professional help can speed up the process because we can act as a guide to show you the ropes and support you through the change process.
What about antidepressant medication?
Some people find antidepressants to be helpful in their depression treatment regiment, and some don’t. This is as individualized as people are. If you are already on an antidepressant medication, I will work with your prescriber to coordinate care and make sure we are working together to provide you the best treatment possible. Studies have shown that while medication can be helpful for some people, pursuing combined treatment with medication and psychotherapy together is more effective than when medications are taken alone.
What if you could stop feeling down & be happy again?
I have helped many people find relief from their depression. Schedule a free consult call now to see how your life could be different if your depression wasn't weighing you down.