Depression can take many forms. Common symptoms of depression are:
- Feeling down, lack of energy, interest or pleasure in life
- Feeling worthless and self-critical
- Socially withdrawn, feeling lonely, isolated, unloved, or unlovable
- Excessive sleep or inability to sleep
- Difficulty thinking and concentrating; memory problems
- Chronic irritability or moodiness
- Loss of interest in sex or becoming hyper sexual
- Loss of appetite or increased eating when not hungry; excessive weight gain or weight loss
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
Most people have experienced depression at some point in their lives. For some, a life event may cause a period of depression. The death of a loved one, a breakup, job loss, or illness are just a few of the many life situations that can cause someone to experience one or more of the above symptoms for an extended period of time. Such a reaction to these kinds of life events can be normal, and may or may not require depression treatment, especially if the depressive symptoms are mild or short in duration.
For others, depression can be long-standing or very debilitating. Often times when you feel really depressed, it can be difficult just to get out of bed in the morning. The world can feel like it’s too much to deal with and staying in bed may seem like a comfortable and safe cocoon. Depression can cause low energy, and you may feel lethargic and unmotivated to do even the simplest of tasks. What’s more, being around people can feel overwhelming, causing you to avoid socializing with others. If everything seems negative and gray and you start to feel as though nothing is worthwhile in life, then serious depression can ensue.
Causes of Depression
Depression can be caused by one or more factors. Physiology can play a part. You may have a genetic component that can leave you vulnerable to bouts of moodiness. Hormonal imbalances or chronic pain conditions can also contribute to depression.
Painful, early life experiences can also result in depression later in life. Depression often stems from child abuse, neglect, or trauma from your past; growing up, one or both of your parents might have abused drugs or alcohol or suffered from their own depression, causing you to feel powerless as a child. Alternatively, the loss of someone close to you, either through a death or break up, can bring about a debilitating sadness that never seems to go away.
Effects of Depression
Depression can lead you to shut down emotionally and withdraw from others. However, this is only likely to cause you to become more depressed, causing you to want to shut down and isolate even more, and so forth.
Depression can also result in behaviors that make depressive symptoms worse. For example, many people suffering from depression attempt to self-soothe through excessive or addictive use of alcohol, drugs, food, caffeine, sex, shopping, the internet, or even working. While these activities may provide temporary relief, they can ultimately leave you feeling more depressed.
Do you want to enjoy life rather than suffering through it? Do you want to take pleasure in relationships and activities rather than feeling weighed down and alone? Thankfully, depression treatment can be extremely helpful. With the help of a safe, supportive, and compassionate therapist you can learn how to manage the difficult feelings of life so that you can be freed up to enjoy the good.
So what is depression treatment?
A vital component to depression treatment is establishing a safe emotional space where you feel able to talk about difficult and sensitive feelings without criticism or judgment. To be able to talk about everything and anything with another person who is actively engaged in exploring and helping to make sense of what is going on can be a very powerful and healing experience. Putting feelings into words and having them witnessed and experienced with another can help free you up from feeling weighted down and all alone.
Depression can leave you feeling trapped in a negative state of mind, unable to see or feel much good in your life. However, therapy can help you regain perspective and be able to feel both pleasurable and painful feelings. In sessions, you can learn better ways of coping and managing negative feelings, thoughts and perceptions so you don’t end up stifling them or expressing them in destructive ways.
Sometimes having someone to talk to who is outside your family or social circle can be very helpful. An “outside mind,” someone who has some emotional distance from what is going on, can help provide perspective. In various kinds of emotional situations, it’s easy to get caught up in a particular way of looking at something. Therapy can help you learn how to step back and look at different aspects that you weren’t aware of before, which can be very useful in managing feelings. In therapy, you can also learn to identify and explore self-defeating patterns that may be standing in your way of connecting with others and having a healthy, fulfilling life. You can develop new problem-solving strategies, like thinking through your feelings before jumping to conclusions or taking action, which can help you avoid problematic responses.
If I’m depressed, does that mean I need medication?
Many people find that talking about feelings in therapy helps lift depression and that medications aren’t necessary. For others, when depressive symptoms are severe, medications may help to turn the volume down on painful feelings so that they can be more effectively addressed with depression treatment. Often people find that medication and therapy together help change attitudes and behaviors that were making them feel depressed in the first place. Over time, medications can be gradually decreased and, if improvement continues, they can eventually be discontinued altogether. For others, a longer, ongoing course of medications may be necessary.
Depression Treatment Can Help You Find Relief
Setting up an initial consultation is usually a good way to see if I can be of help to you. Typically during an initial session, as we talk about what is going on, I will get some sense of what you’re dealing with, while you will get a sense of how I think and work. This gives us a chance to see if we’re a good fit. At that point, we can figure out how to best move forward. Please call me at (415) 255-6213 or email me at email@example.com. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have or set up an appointment.