Is Depression Closing You Off From Yourself And The Life You Dream Of?
Do you lack the motivation to accomplish simple tasks? Are you stuck in an unhealthy cycle of sadness or low energy but don’t know how to get out of it? Have you given up hope that there is any way to change how you feel, so you’ve stopped trying?
When you no longer enjoy the things that used to make you happy, the world can feel like a very dark place. Perhaps you have abandoned the dreams and goals you once had and now you feel like your life lacks meaning or purpose.
When you’re dealing with the symptoms of depression, you may experience a sense of heaviness and loneliness that keeps you from enjoying life. It’s as though you’ve collapsed into yourself and lack the energy to take care of your own needs and the needs of your loved ones. Maybe you’ve stopped basic self-care routines such as regular showers or eating well. You might sleep excessively just to numb yourself from the pain you’re in. Or you may rely on distractions—like social media, gaming, TV, or alcohol—to feel better in the moment.
Depression makes it hard to concentrate and regulate your emotions. Perhaps you feel unproductive at work and you’re making more mistakes. Moreover, you might be angry and irritable around your family members and easily lose your temper. You might feel like there is no way to please anyone and worry that you’ve become a person others don’t enjoy spending time with.
Fortunately, dealing with depression doesn’t have to be so difficult anymore. With proper depression treatment, you can learn ways to address your symptoms so that you will see things more clearly and positively.
Depression Is On The Rise, But The Majority Of Us Don’t Seek Treatment
The state of mental health in America is in crisis. A staggering 9.5% of American adults ages 18 and over will suffer from a depressive illness at some point in their lives. Youth mental health is getting worse, and even before COVID-19, the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation among adults was increasing.
Depression occurs when the disappointments we experience in life—and with ourselves—become overwhelming. We lack the safety, support, and resources we need to make sense of these disappointments and rise above them. And when we don’t have what we need to work through them over a prolonged period of time, we often become flooded by negative emotions. We begin to numb ourselves from our feelings as a way to minimize the pain. But numbing ourselves only adds another layer of heaviness. When there doesn’t seem to be a way to escape the pain, many people who are depressed have thoughts of suicide.
Whether we seek help for depression is often dependent on whether we have the social, cultural, and financial resources available to do so. According to Mental Health America, “While the majority of individuals with depression have a full remission of the disorder with effective treatment, only about a third of those suffering from severe depression seek treatment from a mental health professional.”
Because our culture values independence so highly, some of us were raised to figure things out on our own without a lot of support. This laissez-faire approach may foster independence, but its downside is that we aren’t taught how to get through challenging experiences with our emotions intact. As we become adults, we lack the skills necessary to process our pain in healthy ways, which makes us more susceptible to depression.
The good news is that, by seeking treatment for depression, you can begin to share your burden and lighten the load you’ve been carrying by yourself for so long.
Treatment For Depression Can Help You Find Self-Compassion And A Fresh Perspective
Believe it or not, your symptoms of depression are your brain’s way of protecting you. The brain is hardwired to stifle negative emotions because it doesn’t want you to feel sad or hopeless. Nonetheless, becoming numb to your emotions only enhances your depression. True healing can only happen when you are safe enough to work through the underlying pain. In therapy, I will help you understand and appreciate the ways you have protected yourself from pain and suffering. I will provide the safety and support you need to understand, validate, and work through your layers of protection and release the pain.
In our first session, we will review your personal history together. You will get the opportunity to talk about what’s been happening as well as share your goals for therapy with me. I aim to provide you a safe and supportive environment to share your story so that you can begin to process and make sense of your experience. Additionally, I will provide you with some education about how your nervous system works. You will learn how its responses to safety and threat affect your physical and emotional reactions.
In ongoing sessions, my goal is to help you get to the root causes of any unresolved trauma and experiences of rejection or abandonment in your past. I will join you in your experiences so that you don’t feel alone and help you organize and make sense of the effect trauma has on your life. You will get the chance to receive protective support from me in sessions so, eventually, you will be comfortable receiving it from your partner (when applicable) and others in your life.
Internal Family Systems (IFS), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), and Polyvagal Therapy are all effective modalities for treating depression. In IFS, you will learn to identify and accept the parts of yourself in conflict with each other, such as the part of yourself that has shut down and keeps you numb and the part that beats you up for not being a better person. In EFT, we will look at how your insecure attachment style (anxious, avoidant, or fearful-avoidant) has developed to protect you and how it keeps you from receiving care and support from others. Our therapy will be polyvagal informed, to help you understand, recognize, and regulate the ways your dorsal-vagal nervous system shuts you down to protect you.
I find that it can be highly effective to include your partner in therapy sessions. Your partner probably wants to help but is unsure how best to support you. Helping you both face your depression together can make your treatment far more successful than going it alone.
After therapy, you can expect to develop deeper awareness and appreciation for yourself as well as compassion and understanding for your experiences. My hope is that you will feel understood, accepted, and appreciated for who you are.
But you may still be wondering whether depression treatment is right for you…
My life feels hopeless. Why bother if I won’t see much change?
With help and support, you can become empowered to see, feel, and think differently about yourself and your possibilities. Overcoming depression is possible. You can rediscover the motivation to make positive changes in your life. Furthermore, I work in an intensive format, allowing you to experience a significant shift in a short period of time.
What if there’s a defect within me that can’t be fixed?
If you’ve been stuck with symptoms of depression for a long time, it’s natural to feel that there must be something wrong with you. One of the delightful benefits of working with me is that I aim to help you understand what is at the root of your feelings. When you understand what’s wrong, you will be able to see it through new eyes—not as a defect, but as a form of protection that you needed in the past but you don’t need anymore.
Do I have to feel sad all the time to be suffering from depression?
Absolutely not! Depression covers a wide range of symptoms and severity. You may struggle with fatigue, lack of motivation, irritability, and a desire to withdraw from others. Your symptoms may be mild or severe, however, it’s important to get treatment if you feel stuck with whatever level of depression you’re experiencing. Regardless of how your depression manifests itself, you deserve to experience relief from your symptoms and move through life with greater ease and assurance.
It’s Possible To Leave Depression Behind You And Find Joy
Trusted Journeys can be a pathway to restoring meaning and purpose to your life. For a free, 30-minute consultation, please contact me.