Depression, What Do I Do?
Well, if you typically read my blog posts you may have noticed that it has been a bit since I have posted. Since the holidays, things in my home have been a bit chaotic and unpredictable. Unfortunately, my writing took a back seat, but I am back and am hoping to begin to post on a weekly or biweekly basis again. This week’s blog post is very relevant to myself and many of my clients, so I thought I would take some time to talk through what I have experienced that works and what does not work when it comes to depression.
Quite simply, lots of things can work and lots of things do not work because there are so many factors that go into managing depression and what is most effective for the individual. Let me start off by stating that what I share here is not going to cure your depression, but will hopefully allow you to feel heard and seen and also find some helpful ways to support your loved ones who may be struggling with depression. The next thing I want to mention is that depression is much more than just sadness. Depression is more chronic and affects your daily functioning. I know this term can be thrown around a bit, but depression is much more serious than sadness, which we all experience at some point, and is completely healthy.
I have a history of chronic depression myself and have struggled to uncover healthy and effective ways to cope. One thing that I, and many of my clients, have identified is that being told what to do by those around us who are not struggling can feel very frustrating. Telling us to go for a walk, take a shower, eat something etc., can trivialize our depression and boil it down to a simple walk as a cure. If you are not struggling with severe depression then going for a walk may seem simple and easy, but for those who are burdened with depression, going for a walk may feel like the hardest thing they could possibly do.
Okay, let me pause for a moment and clarify. Eating healthy foods, exercise, and daily hygiene are all great things to do for self-care and can create motivation for healthy choices to continue and I would encourage my clients who are struggling with depression to attempt to make space for these activities to occur, but those are just the tip of the iceberg for many people. Depression is a spectrum and some people are more on the severe end and others are closer to mild or moderate. In therapy, my approach with each client is different and unique and tailored to them. What works for one individual, may not work for another. What I do know is that individuals want to feel heard and validated. They want someone to sit with them and hold their burden for a little while so it can feel a bit lighter. I will never fully understand what my clients or loved ones may be going through, but I can listen and support. I can be present and patient as they navigate the dark, rough waters of depression.
I have had many times in my life where people around me did not understand the severity of my depression and labeled me as lazy, angry, or unmotivated, when deep down I was in so much pain and felt unseen and alone. My hope is that I can help my clients to feel seen, have space to heal, and develop their own coping skills and strategies to navigate the challenges of life in a healthy and successful manner.
To those with loved ones who are struggling with depression, please, please, please be patient! Depression can ebb and flow and there are days where motivation is within reach and other days where getting out of bed can consume every ounce of energy. Depression is heavy and watching someone whom you love dearly suffer is heavy too, and may feel unbearable at times, so to you, I see and hear you too. I hope this brings you a bit of peace this week!
Please schedule a free consultation if you have further questions or want to schedule an individual or family session to create space for you or your loved ones to heal and learn some healthier ways to navigate depression. This takes time and vulnerability, but it is worth it! You are worth it!
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