Many people suffer from depression, which can really have an impact on their lives and t families and friends. Depression can range from mild to severe, from being a drain on energy and focus to being debilitating, where it can make it impossible to function in life and work.
Symptoms of depression
There are a number of common symptoms that characterize depression. The main symptom is an ongoing feeling of sadness or emptiness along with feeling hopeless or pessimistic. A person with depression may often have feelings of unworthiness, helplessness or guilt. No longer being able to feel pleasure in the activities they used to enjoy, including being social or intimate can be hard for them and those close to them. Often a person with depression has sleep disturbances either having insomnia or oversleeping and having a hard time getting up in the morning. Generalized fatigue can add to this feeling of heaviness. Another common symptom is loss of appetite and losing weight or the opposite of overeating and weight gain. Difficulty concentrating and making decisions is common with depression as well as restlessness. With severe depression frequent thoughts of death and suicide can happen.
Treatment of depression
All of these symptoms make life so much more difficult. If depression is getting in the way of living and enjoying your life, know that you don’t have to stay stuck in it, there’s help and support available. Psychotherapy, at times combined with antidepressant medication, is the most recommended treatments for depression. Sometimes depression is purely biologically based and antidepressants are the best route to take, but more often there is a situational or emotional underlying cause for the depression that can best be treated in therapy. Depending on the severity of the depression, medication may be helpful or needed to balance your mood while you start working with the underlying causes in counseling, aiming to decrease medication use as you do. There can be many different causes for depression such as adjusting to a life transition, experiencing hormonal changes, criticizing yourself relentlessly, or struggling with an unresolved trauma from your past, as well as others. Whatever the cause of depression, in individual counseling sessions I can give you support and tools to get some relief now and then to get clear on what gets in the way of your enjoyment of life and growth. I create a container for you to safely examine, choose and take effective actions past your hurdles, internal or external and toward the life you want to live.
What you can do now
Since depression throws off many daily basic living functions, such as eating, sleeping, energy and movement, creating a regular rhythm and routine for these things can have a big impact on the depression and can create a good of foundation for balance. Any effort you can make towards having a more regular routine around healthy mealtime eating, daily exercise and regular sleep times will help. A calm time before going to sleep with low lights and no screen time can make it easier to fall asleep. I know it isn’t easy or usually what you want to do when you feel depressed, but even small step you can make in this direction can have good results.