What is Depression?
The term “depression” has become common language in modern society, and it’s no surprise, considering its prevalence. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people in the United States have a depressive disorder.
Common symptoms include:
- Lack of interest or pleasure
- Poor appetite
- Low sex drive
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Low energy
- Suicidal thoughts
- Lack of motivation
- Feelings of guilt and shame
While most people can relate to the experiences above, some people struggle with many of the symptoms at the same time. This typically leads to trouble functioning in day-to-day life, and can often be debilitating (i.e. trouble getting out of bed, missing work, etc). Clinicians categorize these types of symptoms as depressive disorders.
Depression lasts for varying amounts of time. It can be episodic, or hover at a low level for long periods of time. It can be related to a specific event, life circumstances, or it may appear without a specific or known cause.
Tendencies of People Who Struggle with Depression
People with depression tend to focus on the past, harboring feelings of guilt and shame, looking back at regrets, or self-pitying behavior. When faced with obstacles or stress, the mire of depression causes people to retreat or withdraw out of a sense of hopelessness.
Tearfulness and sorrow may always be on the forefront when struggling with depression. The blues” just won’t go away, and difficult emotions tend to cloud every situation, which continually reinforces the hopelessness and low self-esteem.
Sometimes depression can lead people into a sense of numbness or apathy. Rather than feeling intensely sad or angry, they might have the absence of emotions, leading to very few enjoyable experiences in day-to-day life. Food may not taste good anymore, music or other artistic outlets that were once pleasurable become dry and uninteresting.
What can be done to treat depression?
Every individual’s experience of depression is different, and mental health professionals work with clients and their families to establish unique interventions. Oftentimes, medication can be a helpful way of mitigating the symptoms of depression, either with short-term or long-term usage.
Across the board, these things tend to be helpful in overcoming depression:
- Caring for the body – No doubt about it, depression has a biochemical component. A healthy body is key to a healthy mind, so it’s important to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Recognizing and evaluating thoughts – We all have internal dialogue, and what we tell ourselves matters. Counselors will often work with clients to bring the internal monologue into the open to be examined.
- Dealing with fundamental issues – Buried beneath the hard emotions and thoughts that lead to depression are deeper issues of the self. Beliefs carried from childhood (shame, grief and self-hatred) are the areas that eventually need to be addressed in order to move through depression.
Counselors at Charis recognize the need of every client to address the areas above in order to move to a healthier place. We know that life is harder in isolation, and will always encourage our clients to move toward others, whether it be family, friends, or spiritual leaders.
The counseling process allows clients to express themselves in a safe, unbiased, and confidential relationship.