Do you struggle with unpleasant thoughts like negative self-judgment, feelings of hopelessness, or regrets or guilt from the past? Do you sometimes feel like the best times in your life have already happened and the future seems bleak? Have you found yourself becoming more isolated, staying at home rather than meeting with friends or family, or feel unmotivated to participate in activities you used to enjoy? Have you noticed increased irritability or sensitivity when you’re around others? Have you had thoughts, even briefly, about harming yourself or whether anyone would care if you were gone?
Depression has been associated with overwhelming feelings of shutdown, disconnection, and hopelessness, or likened to being in a fog or, as a client once described, “circling the drain”. Poor appetite, low mood, overeating, too much or too little sleep, low energy, or poor concentration are also common symptoms of depression. No matter how much you may want to resume activities that once brought you pleasure, your energy and motivation seem lacking and you can’t quite figure out how to move through this experience. At best, you may feel able to go to work, but even there you feel little meaning or passion for the work you do and your co-workers seem annoyingly happy in comparison to what you’re experiencing. At worst, you may wonder if anyone will even miss you if you weren’t there, or if life your life is really worth living.
Research estimates that at least 7% of the population have experienced a major depressive episode—depressive symptoms last for minimum of 2 weeks– in the last year (NAMI, 2019) and that, if left untreated, individuals may risk hospitalization, major chronic health conditions, shorter life expectancy, or death by suicide. While the very symptoms of depression can make it incredibly difficult to pursue help, the strength and courage it takes to connect with a professional for support can be significant toward movement in the direction of hope and improved mood. In fact, while our modern technologies (telecommuting, social media, texting, home shopping/delivery, etc) promise greater comfort, connection, and convenience, we are increasingly disconnected from others, and it is becoming common for individuals to seek treatment because of loneliness, isolation, and low motivation or low mood. Even when surrounded by others at home or at work.
As I work with clients experiencing depression, we typically start from a place where I get to know your current experience so we can collaborate on the best treatment according to your strengths (even if it doesn’t feel like it, you have unique, innate gifts that will help your journey!). My clinical orientation is grounded in theory that supports the subconscious aspects of your experience, such as where you might feel an emotion within your body because of a perceived sense of threat or of safety, and how you may or may not interpret those signals through thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. A session might involve a mindfulness exercise to get in touch with the embodied experience, and to help create some space and acceptance of difficult feelings or thoughts as we begin to manage distress.
We may also explore unresolved feelings of guilt or shame from the past that might be influencing your mood in the present. We might challenge unhelpful thoughts and learn strategies to reframe negative beliefs, introduce self-compassion, and further improve your life experience while living with a low mood. Ultimately, you will establish your goals for therapy, and, together, we will integrate the best, evidence-based techniques to help you manage depression while moving in the direction of a valued and more vital life. While change may not happen overnight and you may experience some distress while leaning into-rather than avoiding-difficult thoughts or feelings, my clients often report feeling incremental improvements soon after we begin our work together. These improvements might look like a better outlook for the future, improved sleep quality, more energy, or small activities that involve physical movement or social connection. Longer term, clients begin to participate in life more fully, live with awareness of the joy and experience of the present moment, and complete therapeutic goals that align with what is meaningful and valuable to them.
- If you are experiencing an emergency or are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please call 9-1-1 or The Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255 for help.
- If you are interested in learning more about treatment sessions, please click here. If you are feeling ready to take the first step toward the quality of life that you deserve, please contact Fresh Air Counseling today and we can schedule a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to discuss your experience and help determine if we are the right fit to meet you where you are.
- If you are feeling some anxiety or distress, but not quite ready to pursue professional treatment, here are a few resources that might help: