Did you know that depression is highly treatable, and that getting effective treatment is crucial to recovery?
There are many myths surrounding the topic of depression including what causes it, what type of person suffers from it, and how depression (as well as the person suffering depression) should be treated. I have written the following to offer you a perspective based on my psychotherapeutic approach which has been informed by current research.
It lasts longer and interferes with how you function on a day-to-day basis.
The reality is that people with depression cannot simply ”snap out of it” and feel better spontaneously.
There are many different shades and variations of depression and each person’s experience will be different.
Someone with depression may experience extreme sadness or despair along with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and consequently, may feel angry and blame themselves for having these very feelings.
You may experience sleep problems such as insomnia or alternatively you may sleep too much and suffer low energy and fatigue throughout the day (at times getting out from under the duvet may feel impossible). You may develop a poor appetite or you may take comfort in eating too much high fat and sugary foods. You may turn towards alcohol, substances or risky behaviour to feel better and boost your low self-esteem.
Working, concentrating on tasks and making decisions can feel much more difficult than usual and chronic pain such as headaches or stomach aches can accompany and be symptomatic of depression.
People experiencing depression can feel overwhelmed, anxious and exhausted and stop participating in certain everyday activities altogether. They may withdraw from family and friends. Sometimes depression may lead people to have thoughts of death or suicide.
Depression negatively impacts your capacity to look after and be gentle with yourself – your ability to practice self-care and self-compassion diminishes during a depressive episode (just at the time it is needed most!).
What are the causes?
A combination of our genetic, chemical and biological make-up, our early history, trauma history, general physical health, and psychological temperament, as well as social and environmental factors (the very things, experiences and relationships that create our day to day world) contribute to this disorder.
Getting help (or not)
For some people there is still a stigma attached to seeking help for emotional and mental health problems, including depression.
Sadly and mistakenly, feelings of depression are still perceived by a few as a sign of weakness. Such a disabling perspective can become a major obstacle in preventing a person who feels depressed from reaching out and receiving help that is both available and proven to be effective.
Depression often indicates that certain mental, emotional and physical aspects of a person’s life are imbalanced and need attending to. Unexpressed feelings and concerns accompanied by a sense of isolation can worsen a depression.
What sort of help?
There is no one-size fits all approach to resolving depression but the prospects for recovery are good for individuals with depression who receive appropriate professional care. Simply put, people with depression who do not seek help suffer needlessly.
Medication and support through a GP may be the right and necessary treatment for some. For others a combination of psychotherapy and counselling with medication has been proven to be most effective. And for others, psychotherapy and counselling on its own is exactly the right course, countless studies show that psychotherapy helps people living with depression and anxiety.
What I offer and how it can help
I can help you work through the conscious and less-conscious problems that may be creating and sustaining your depression and begin to support you in the journey towards living a happier, healthier and more productive life.
My practice of psychotherapy and counselling is based on a collaborative approach formed in the relationship between us and grounded in dialogue.
I will provide professional expertise and a supportive environment (I aim to be objective, neutral and nonjudgmental). We will work together to identify, understand, accept, and where necessary change the pattern of emotional responses, thoughts and behaviour that are keeping you from feeling your best.
Psychotherapy may prevent a person with milder depression from becoming more severely depressed. And although a past history of depression increases the risk of future episodes, there is evidence that ongoing psychotherapy may lessen the chance of recurrence.
And finally, to finish where I began… Please remember that depression is highly treatable, and the prospects for recovery are good for people with depression who receive appropriate professional care.
Source and acknowledgments: With thanks to The American Psychological Association and the work of Daniel J. Abrahamson, PhD, Lynne M. Hornyak, PhD, and Lynn P. Rehm, PhD.