Don’t Be Held Hostage by Depression
What may start out as feeling sad, lonely or “down” can become overwhelming and chronic over time. There are some common symptoms that go beyond the garden variety “feeling blue”, and it is important to pay attention to these so you know when to seek help for depression:
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness and pessimism
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Irritability, anger, restlessness
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts/li>
Do any of these sound familiar? If depression is left untreated it may worsen and it can be debilitating and life threatening. The right therapist recognize how hard it is to seek help when you are feeling low and need it the most. We want you to know that in taking this step you will be on the road to recovery, as depression is highly treatable.
Depression is a complex illness with many contributing factors. Some people who have experienced dysfunctional family backgrounds may be more vulnerable to depression. Other contributors that may put you at risk are: history of abuse, certain medications, personal conflicts and disputes, major positive or negative events, social isolation, death or a loss of someone close to you, serious illness, substance abuse, and anything that affects your thinking, behavior and mood in a significant and persistent way.
Depression is not a character flaw in you, and it can’t be overcome by sheer willpower. There are many treatment options available, and in evaluating what is best for you it is important to identify the type and severity of your depression, and tailor your treatment to your individual needs.
Therapy has been found to be most effective and have the longest lasting results in treating depression, either by itself or in conjunction with other treatment modalities.
When you are depressed you are held hostage by constant negative thoughts. These self-defeating thoughts may have a grain of truth, but they have become exaggerated and distorted to a point where you believe they are the entire truth. In therapy you will learn to recognize and correct these deeply held, but false negative, automatic thoughts and beliefs that contribute to depression.
Making small changes in your thinking and behavior every day will lead to lasting improvements in both mood and how you view your life going forward. Therapy will also help you get to the roots of your depression, as there may be deep, long held relational and family of origin issues that need to be resolved.
Your therapist will also evaluate current lifestyle, and work with you to improve healthy habits such as better sleep, a balanced diet, increase of exercise, limiting alcohol and/or drug habits in conjunction with learning relaxation and visualization techniques.
Sometimes clients consider medication to help them cope with their depression. A good therapist can help you examine the best treatment options for you, and as appropriate, work with your doctor and psychiatrist, or refer you to someone for medical evaluation and treatment in conjunction with your therapy and lifestyle changes.
With the right therapist by your side you can navigate these complex issues so you can get the most out of your life. You do not have to face this alone.
Questions for Thought
Below are a few questions that are intended to help you consider your personal situation more closely. If your responses cause concern and you want to make changes, we encourage you to seek help. We can help find the right therapist for you.
- Does it take great effort for you to do simple things?
- Do you often feel fatigued?
- Do you feel like a failure?
- Do you feel uninspired and that everything is blah?
- Have you noticed changes in your sleeping patterns?
- Do you feel trapped and stuck in your life?
- Do you feel sad even when good things happen to you?
- Does your future seem hopeless?
- Is it hard for you to concentrate when reading?
- Do you have difficulty making decisions?
- Have you lost interest in an aspect of your life that you used to find important?
- Do you have thoughts of suicide?
If you are experiencing a medical emergency or have thoughts of harming yourself, please immediately call 911 or 1.800.273.8255, Suicide and Crisis Intervention Hotline – www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org