Depression is more than sadness. It saps your energy. It causes physical pain. And it can feel never-ending.
The causes vary. Sometimes depression is a reaction to something that’s happened in our lives. Sometimes it’s a matter of family history, or genetics, which could have made it more difficult to form the neural pathways for joy.
Depression can cause real problems in your life. It can impact your ability to pursue a career, or even to hold down a job. It can cause relationship difficulties with family members and friends. And because it can be hard to take care of yourself when you feel so unwell, it can impact your physical health, too.
But there is help for depression. And it doesn’t even have to take forever to implement!
“I just take the weight of the world on my shoulders.”
Feeling low is one of the biggest signs of depression. You may feel pessimistic, or as if you can’t ever imagine your life getting any better. You may feel helpless to take any steps which might help you.
You may also find yourself withdrawing from friends or family members. You don’t want to burden them. You worry they don’t like you anyway. Or you know you’re not at your best, and just don’t feel up to it.
“It doesn’t matter what happens. Somehow I take it on as being my fault.”
Negative core beliefs about ourselves or our situation are very common when experiencing depression. Thoughts like, “I’m just not good enough,” or, “it’s all my fault,” or “I don’t even deserve to be happy” can make it very hard to live a fulfilling life.
One common belief is depression can’t ever go away. But with treatment and support, it can.
“I’m tired all the time, and everything feels like a chore. Even things that used to feel good.”
Poor sleep, either too much, or too little, is a big warning sign. And even if you sleep too much, you may have low-quality sleep that leaves you dragging your feet in the morning.
This may in turn make you feel guilty, or plague you with feelings of worthlessness, especially in workplace cultures that value “high energy performers.” You may also have a very hard time concentrating or remembering details, which can make it even harder to perform or to socialize.
You could experience other physical symptoms, too. Muscle cramps, unspecified aches and pains, headaches, and stomach cramps or digestive problems all go hand and hand with depression.
“Everything feels bad. I can’t even imagine getting excited about winning the lotto.”
All of these symptoms together can make it impossible to feel any pleasure in life. And when that happens, you may even start to wonder if it’s all still worth it.
Ideally, you’d seek help as soon as you realize you’re experiencing something more than healthy sadness.
But the main thing is to look at how these thoughts, feelings, and symptoms are impacting your life. Are you having trouble getting to work or school, or performing once you get there? Are your relationships getting strained?
The impact doesn’t have to be major. You don’t have to wait until you’re on the verge of losing your job or your marriage. If you notice part of your life isn’t functioning optimally and you think depression is contributing to that, then call and make an appointment.
Many of the therapies I use are helpful for depression. Depending on what’s causing your depression we might employ Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. If your depression has a traumatic origin we might employ Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as well.
One way I help is to help you listen to the ways you talk to yourself and about yourself, your relationships, and your world. When you’re aware of these stories you can begin challenging them, finding the places where they don’t make any sense. When you see those, you will be empowered to choose a different story.
Another way I help is to dig deep into what’s causing the symptoms. What’s keeping your depression alive? Usually, it’s something that happened in your past, something that caused you to decide something negative about yourself. You turned that into a belief about who you are, and that belief has persisted.
When you create a belief, the belief then creates you. If that belief is that you’re stupid, or unworthy, or a loser, you may even sabotage yourself or take actions which create outcomes you don’t want. This, in turn, reinforces those negative beliefs, creating a vicious cycle.
It can be hard to break free of the cycle without help. Contact my office today to discuss how I may be able to support you as you pursue a more satisfying life.
Counseling for Anxiety and Depression