What Is Depression?

While periods of sadness are an expected part of the human experience, depression is something more. When depressed, you may experience prolonged sadness and feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, or helplessness. Activities you previously enjoyed may no longer be interesting to you.

Depression can be a lonely, sometimes desperate, existence. It can make you want to hide from responsibilities that once felt simple. It can feel overwhelming. It can make you want to give up. The fogginess and inability to make decisions that often come with depression can make concentrating or completing simple tasks especially difficult. You may find yourself self-medicating with food, alcohol, drugs, or sleep to numb yourself or avoid emotional pain.

The suffering experienced when depressed can feel like psychological quicksand: you sink deeper even as you try your best to get unstuck. A mind that won’t let go of stories from the past – about how things have gone wrong and will continue to go wrong – is not your friend. Fortunately, there are effective treatments for depression that can help you re-orient away from suffering and toward what matters most to you in life.

You Are Not Alone

Depression has been referred to as the “common cold” of mental health concerns. In any given week, as many as 1 of 10 adults struggle with depression and up to 20% of the general population will contend with depression at some point in their lifetime.

Depression is caused by the combined effect of social, psychological, genetic, and biological factors. An episode of depression can be triggered by a major life change, a traumatic experience, or a sudden life transition. Sometimes an episode of depression has no obvious cause.

The experience of depression can vary widely from person to person. You may experience an ongoing sense of sadness, dissatisfaction or discontentment with your life. Or, you may shutdown or become overwhelmed by your day-to-day responsibilities. There can be sadness or a loss of interest. Guilt or feelings of worthlessness may become more significant. Irritability may be increased. Sleep can become disrupted. Energy may be decreased. Fatigue can become more pronounced. Concentrating may be more challenging and your appetite can change. Your mind may generate thoughts of death or suicide.

Treatment for Depression

As you struggle against the quicksand of depression, you continue to suffer and are robbed of joy and contentment. Depression is very treatable. Psychotherapy for depression can help you stop fighting a war against your thoughts and emotions and empower you to live a valued, fulfilled life. Working with a skilled, experienced psychologist, therapist, or counselor is important. Many people notice improvement after several (or fewer) months of psychotherapy.

As an experienced psychologist with expertise treating depression, we can work together in a safe, accepting space in pursuit of long-term change in your relationship with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. We will work together to uncover ways in which you can live a meaningful and productive life. We will work together to move you in life directions about which you deeply care. We will work together to help you more consistently focus on what you want your life to be about and what really matters.

By applying various evidence-based interventions – to include Cognitive Therapy, Behavioral Activation, ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), and mindfulness techniques – we will tailor your treatment to your needs and goals. Doing so will help us discover what you value most and enhance your commitment to living a vital, meaningful life.

If you are struggling with depression and interested in taking back control of your life, I invite you to call or email me to get started working together to get you back where you want to be.