What is depression?

We all go through “emotional rough patches” in life. Sometimes it’s a full depressive episode and sometimes its’ not. We usually distinguish one from the other by the length of time the emotional state lasts. People with depression usually feel:

  • lack of energy,
  • sadness – many times for no reason,
  • difficulty concentrating,
  • apathy,
  • they sometimes stop participating in daily self-care like showers, eating, exercising,
  • they often sleep too much,
  • there can be thoughts of suicide,
  • avoid social situations they would normally attend,
  • lack of appetite, or over-eating (some people “stuff” their emotions, some people starve them),
  • physical pain that has no physical origin,
  • easily angered or irritable,
  • lack of sexual desire,
  • feelings of low self-worth

I think many people can relate to having felt some cluster of those symptoms at different times in their lives. There are both biological and situational causes for depression. Situational or “environmental” causes for depressive symptoms can be things like: relationship or job stress, financial pressures, feeling stuck when you want to make changes.
Whether due to biology or environmental factors, if the symptoms are left untreated, they can get worse over time and it can feel overwhelming to try to overcome them.

Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.
-Dorothy Rowe

What does depression feel like?

When depression hits, it can feel like nothing matters anymore. You might feel like you don’t want to get out of bed, you might lose your appetite (or conversely, you may begin to overeat) and you may feel like you are “faking” your emotional engagement with others. Depressive episodes can last a few days to a few months. More severe cases of depression, especially recurrent and without any obvious environmental trigger may be helped with medication management in addition to talk therapy.

Who gets depression?

There’s been a long-standing statistic that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men go through a depressive episode at least one time in their lives. That doesn’t sound all too different and it’s not, but depression can present itself differently between men and women.

How is it depression treated?

Depression can be treated in many ways. Talk therapy is one of the most effective strategies for treating depression.
Focusing in on what the triggers (or predictors) are and how you react to them is usually where we will get started in our work together.
We utilize strategies that pull from several known effective theories for treating depression. Depression is usually helped through building or strengthening coping skills, expanding our support network and emotional work that leads to behavioral changes.
We use Cognitive behavioral therapy, Strategic interventions, Mindfulness practices and Solution-Focused perspectives to help you move towards an emotional place of well-being. We can help you learn ways to retrain your brain to combat your depressive or negative thoughts and get moving towards the life you want to live.
We recognize that people have a wide range of opinions as to whether or not to also seek anti-depressant medication treatment in addition to their talk therapy. We are focused on helping you best help your depression in a way that is in line with your beliefs. If that includes medication management, we can coordinate care with your psychiatrist and/or help facilitate a referral.