Have you been struggling with major life changes – a breakup, a job loss? Has depression started to interfere with your sleep cycle, keeping you awake at night, tossing and turning, feeling helpless and defeated? Conversely, you might be sleeping too much, yet wake up with no energy or motivation to start the day. Maybe nothing bad, in particular, has happened to you, yet you still feel “off.” Your normal routine may be suffering, and the condition of your home may be starting to look as disordered as you feel on the inside.
Perhaps you’ve thought, if I could just feel better, my life would fall back into place again. Fortunately, with a little work, you can learn to regulate your emotions better and operate outside of a perpetually negative mindset. In turn you can improve your relationships, happiness and overall quality of life.
The good news is, you are not alone in this struggle. Depression is a common issue for adults and teens, even if you think you have nothing to be depressed about. Depression doesn’t target anyone based on gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, or political persuasion: it’s an equal opportunity offender.
Think of clinical depression the same way you view a cold: it’s a condition that requires treatment. Just as a cold is a virus that affects the sinuses, depression affects the chemical balances of the brain. But for some people, depression can occur because of an issue with the thyroid. Therefore, I may recommend that you schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out that possibility. But no matter which organ the problem originates in, depression is still a legitimate medical problem, not a character weakness.
Fortunately, help is available – all you have to do is reach out.
Therapy is extremely effective at helping to manage depression in teens and adults. It’s often most effective when combined with antidepressants to address the chemical imbalance side of things, though not all individuals who suffer from depression need this. Before we begin, I will recommend a physical examination by your doctor to rule out any complications with the thyroid before establishing a unique, client-focused treatment plan.
In my sessions, I will help you learn effective short-term ways of dealing with depression. Some methods include getting outside, maintaining a regular routine (going to work, taking a lunch break, running errands, etc.), reaching out and learning effective communication skills with loved ones (especially if you are married or partnered), meeting with a nutritionist, practicing regular meditation, and mindfulness practices.
I also incorporate Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This technique is a type of psychotherapy treatment that alleviates stress from memories associated with a traumatic event.
My approach focuses on making tangible lifestyle changes, not simply discussing problems. I believe that making subtle shifts in your lifestyle can help lead to internal changes.
Once you start actively dealing with depression by addressing internal and external factors, you will see noticeable improvements. Otherwise, you could end up taking medication without actually addressing the problem.
As someone who has experienced depression and has seen it manifest in family members, I can attest that these methods of depression counseling have proven effectiveness in changing your life for the better: you can be happier, have better relationships, feel more confident at work, and do better in school.
I don’t think there’s any hope for me.
See if you can commit to coming for a short time – say, a handful of sessions – and then reevaluate your feelings after you’re more informed about how it works. Whatever you decide to do, I want you to understand that you are strong and capable of finding your way to happiness. My job is simply to guide you there.
I don’t want to be told how to live my life.
Fighting depression takes work. But if these methods aren’t for you, then by no means are you obligated to keep doing them. But depression therapy has been proven to help.
Can’t I just pray my way out of this?
You may have a spiritual community to turn to during times of hardship. Community is important, and a vital part of healing. While clergymen can certainly offer encouragement, they don’t always have the clinical background to help with depression. That’s where counseling with a therapist is different. Depression therapy has the added benefit of working with someone who specializes in this condition.
The renown psychotherapist Carl Jung once said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.” This is important to consider if you are struggling with depression—and in particular associated cognitive distortions. Oftentimes it’s more tempting to try to run away from the negative mindset of depression. Yet, …