16 Aug Depression Talk
Depression is a mental health concern that affects about 10% of our population. Depression includes a wide variety of symptoms, revealing itself in different ways for different people. For this reason, depression often goes unnoticed and is commonly left untreated. For many, depression can slowly progress, getting worse. Many simply disregard their body’s symptoms, shrugging them off and excusing them with statements such as “I’ve always been this way” or “Everything’s fine.”
While there is no singular cause for depression, it can often be triggered or caused by stressful life events that result in a sense of loss – such as: separation or divorce, loss of employment, financial problems, children moving away from home, death of a loved one, ending of relationships, retirement, etc. Feelings of sadness are a normal reaction to such events, but a prolonged sense of helplessness and low mood can be a sign of a more serious mental health concern: Depression.
Symptoms of depression can generally be divided into several subcategories:
- Feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, or hopelessness
- Recurring thoughts about self-harming, suicide, or death.
- Low self-esteem
- Inability to enjoy various hobbies or activities
- Chronic body pain
- Changes in sleep patterns (oversleeping/unable to get out of bed or insomnia/unable to sleep)
- Changes in eating patterns (over-eating/binge eating or avoidance of eating/loss of appetite)
- Disinterest in hobbies and activities
- Avoidance of close relationships/friendships
- Increased isolation
- Decreased productivity
- Lack of follow through with familial/financial/employment responsibilities
Depression is often addressed and treated with a combination of antidepressant medication, adjustments to one’s diet, increased amounts of exercise, and counselling. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a highly recommended, research-proven approach to treating depression. Within CBT sessions, individuals will be assisted and empowered to work out their problems on their own through developing healthier thought patterns, raising self-awareness, and practicing introduced tools. CBT will often incorporate homework assignments such as specific readings, behavioural thought tracking charts, and daily mood diaries.
While CBT is a commonly provided response for Depression, it is important to note that countless other therapeutic approaches can also prove beneficial for helping individuals reclaim their lives from Depression. Finding the right therapist or counsellor is like finding a good pair of shoes. While you might like the look of them, you might determine differently once you put your foot inside. The theoretical approach or framework implemented is less important than the developed therapeutic relationship between counsellor and client – which should be characterized by trust and safety.
Within the work that I do, I incorporate ideas from Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP). This approach works with an individual’s emotional states, looking find the root emotional causes that are contributing to the perpetuating state of depression. These emotional states may be feelings of shame, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, or insecurity – just to name a few. These feelings often become persistent experiences in which individuals feel stuck in, unsure as to how to find relief or do things differently. Through this approach, my job is to instill hope and encourage opportunity within their lives.
If you find yourself feeling stuck, down in the dumps, or just feeling lost all the time, it might be helpful to talk to someone about it. Please consider this an opportunity to reach out, connect, and make use of a caring, compassionate professional who would be honoured to walk alongside you in the darkness – determined to find a brighter tomorrow.