HEALING FROM DEPRESSION
Most people who haven’t struggled with depression have
little idea how hard you have to work to get through a day, keep the details of
life together, and be pleasant to the people in your world. With all the struggle to just cope, it feels impossible
to take steps forward toward a goal or dream.
Maybe you are yearning to be coping less and living more.
Are you experiencing some these symptoms of depression?
Lethargy and overwhelm
Changes in appetite or sleep
Despair about the future
Obsessive, self-critical thoughts
Not finding pleasure in usually pleasurable
Difficulty making decisions
Disorganization of material things and of time
If you are experiencing some of this list, I am so
sorry. I have been through depression
and have a clue of the burden you are carrying throughout your day.
I work together with clients as a team to do the detective
work to determine what feeds a particular client’s depression and what we can do
to unwind the downward pattern.
When we are not honoring the truth of how we feel, what we
don’t want, and what we do want, depression can arise.
I have found 4 key choices that can reverse the cycle of
ACCEPTING HOW WE ARE FEELING
Our culture shames us for having feelings. We get the message that having “negative
feelings” means we are weak or less-than.
“Big boys don’t cry.” “Don’t be a scaredy cat.” “She’s such
an uptight b%#&!” Being angry is
particularly unseemly for women.
Squishing emotions is a recipe for depression. Yet most all of us consciously or unconsciously
try to sweep negative feelings about our lives under the carpet. We all would prefer to feel positive emotions
and focus on gratitude and be optimistic.
But being willing to admit to yourself that a part of life
is actually not working is a huge step forward.
Maybe you need to see and accept that you are pissed at your partner, or
disappointed by your family, or bored by your job of many years.
BEING REAL WITH OTHERS
When we say to people in our world what we truly need or
want, it can be an anti-depressant.
Getting real about how we really feel about parts of our lives can be a
huge step forward in depression recovery.
Jessie was scared of conflict. Her partner Greg was being a jerk again, and
making subtle critical comments. She
kept silent in order to avoid a fight – to keep the peace. She was trying to keep positive and ignore
how disappointed and angry she felt. The
more she held her tongue, the more depressed she got.
With support, Jessie was able to tell Greg that she loved
him, but it wasn’t OK to speak with her that way. Whenever he started to say critical things,
she would point them out and leave the room.
Greg started apologizing for his behavior, and ended up no longer
talking to her like that. Jessie felt
empowered, feeling really good about how she had raised the bar in their
relationship. She started to find her
SAYING NO TO WHAT WE DON’T WANT
Another pattern that feeds depression is avoiding setting
limits in our world. Maybe we say yes,
even though it doesn’t feel right.
Our bodies are our reference point for knowing where our
true limits lie.
Imagine that Dirk, a frat boy comes up to you and tells you
to clean up after last Saturday’s keg party.
What would you feel emotionally? Maybe
you feel angry that he would treat you like a servant.
As you imagine considering saying “yes” to him, what
sensations would you feel in your body?
Does it make your skin crawl? Or a
sick feeling in your gut?
Or perhaps your mother-in-law continues to ask you to do
things for her that she is capable of doing herself. You keep complying because you think you
“should” in order to be a good daughter-in-law.
You know you much rather use that time for exercise than for placating
her. You find yourself getting more irritable
with your family and kids, and you start feeling depressed.
When we say no to what doesn’t really work for us, it is a step
forward to healing depression.
MAKING LIFE CHOICES THAT TRULY REFLECT WHAT WE DO WANT
When we make life choices that honestly reflect what we
truly enjoy, value, and love, depression can lift. James was a successful corporate lawyer. He found himself dreading going to work,
feeling like he was walking through mud at work, and noticed that he felt
better as soon as he left for home.
James knew deep inside that he really rather be working with
small business owners. He had a family
to provide for, so how could he give up his lucrative work? James felt trapped in a man-cage of being the
He started researching and planning how to start his own
small business law firm. As soon as he
started the process, his depression lifted.
A few years later, James followed
what he truly wanted and made the leap.
LOOKING AT THE PHYSICAL
Sometimes there is a key biochemical piece. My job is to do the detective work with you
to get to the bottom of it. If low
thyroid, peri-menopause, or anemia is fueling the depression, we don’t want to
get sidetracked with only psychological work without tending to what is needed
medically. Or maybe you are genetically
prone to depression. I have had many
clients who have seen great relief from working with their medical provider
whether it is an MD, nurse practitioner, or naturopath.
Maybe a key for you is that you are sensitive to the short
days of winter. Seasonal Affective
Disorder (SAD) can easily go undiagnosed.
A simple way to interrupt the depression cycle is making sure you get
time early in the day by a sunny window or outside without sunglasses or that
you use a special light box for 15 – 20 minutes every morning.
FINDING FREEDOM FROM THE POWER OF DEPRESSED THINKING
Depressed brains generate negative, distorted thoughts.
Do any of these sound familiar?
“I never do anything right.” - This
is the common pattern of over-generalized thinking of “always” or a ‘never.”
“I will always be depressed.” - Fortune
telling - as if you for sure know what will happen.
“I’m a mean person.” - Self-labeling
that isn’t anchored in time. Truly mean
people don’t really care that they are acting mean. What might be more true is: “Wow. I have been saying a lot of critical things
lately. I think I’m going to get help
changing that behavior.”
“I should be going to the gym every single day!” - We
focus on impossible “shoulds” rather than on the next realistic and doable step. Maybe what is more true and useful is that
you can start back to exercising by choosing to go on walks with a trusted
friend twice a week because it’s something you actually enjoy and have no
resistance to doing.
Depressed thoughts can be arrogant bullies. I use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with
clients to expose the fibs in these distorted, untrustworthy thoughts. It is possible to find the ability to not buy
“I’m finding it hard
to call a counselor. “
I know that taking the first step to relief can be
overwhelming especially with depression.
It takes courage. I have helped
many people find relief. There is a way
Our culture has a powerful, long-standing stigma around
depression. You can get help for
depression despite still feeling some of the stigma and shame. The shame doesn’t have to be gone before
choosing to get help.
“Will this actually
work? Or maybe it will be a waste of
time and money.”
That’s a really valid concern. Another thought that might have an equal
chance of being true is that this might work and might be really
worthwhile. When depressed, our brains
gravitate toward the negative future. It
seems to be some attempt to forecast doom so that we can protect ourselves from
it. But luckily our beliefs can be
flawed, and people can heal and lives improve.
I am available to speak with you either on the phone or at
my office for a free half-hour consultation.
You can check me out to see if working with me feels right. If not, I would be happy to refer you to
other counselors I respect.
If what I have written makes you feel I might be a good fit,
I hope you take the step of calling or emailing me today.
If you would like me to contact you please email me at email@example.com. Or you can call or text me at (303) 819-2099.
Wishing you moments of peace as you navigate your path out