Depression is not a sign of weakness, a decision to be miserable, or a cry for attention. It is not simply a matter of not trying hard enough to be happy. It is not made up, invented, or imagined by those who suffer from it. Depression is not an issue of laziness or selfishness. If you’re struggling with depression counseling can help.
When we stop thinking of depression in these terms, we begin to see it for what it really is, a physical, mental, AND emotional condition. It can be chronic, draining, and life threatening at times. Depression is no more a choice than diabetes. It is a combination of factors, habits, genetic predispositions, and experiences that make up the causes for depression. It is for this reason, that the approach to treatment should be equally comprehensive.
While I believe in the power of positive thinking, the old adage “just look on the bright side” doesn’t always apply in cases of clinical depression. Depression counseling requires an integrative approach that includes the use of many other techniques that are dependent on your individual needs, concerns, and personality. Together we can find the combination that works best for you.
Here is a list of some of the techniques we cover that have been proven to decrease depression:
The ultimate goal of depression counseling is to help you get to a place where you regain control over your ability to alter your own mood. This happens over time as you try out new techniques and strategies and find what works for you. Once you’ve accumulated a solid therapeutic tool belt so to speak, most people find that they not only feel more in control of pulling themselves out of depression, but also more able to prevent depressive episodes in the future.
In order to truly benefit from depression counseling, you must first show up, give it a shot, and then take those new skills to practice outside of session and give them a chance to make a difference. Unfortunately depression can make this difficult with a lack of energy, loss of motivation, and general feelings of hopelessness. Anti-depressants can be a great addition to depression counseling by allowing you to overcome some of these hurdles to enable you to more fully engage in the process.
Anti-depressants have helped millions by boosting neurotrasmitters that are often diminished by depression.Research shows that while medication can be helpful, it is most effective to use anti-depressants in conjunction with depression counseling to help resolve the underlying issues. The benefit of this approach is that anti-depressants can be taken as a short-term solution until you have developed the therapeutic tools necessary to maintain your moods without the help of medications.
While there are some of you who have battled severe lifelong depression, many of you may be experiencing depression for the first time in your life.
If you struggle with chronic depression, odds are good that you’ve already tried anti-depressant medication and hopefully have found the one that works for you. Many people try several different types of anti-depressants in search of the one that works best. If you haven’t found the right one for you yet and you live in the Orlando area, feel free to contact me for more details on other possible options available through clinical research.
Often times I see clients who are experiencing depression as a result of some major life change such as a divorce, job loss, or death of a loved one. If you are new to depression or you are experiencing severe depression for the first time in your life, you may have not yet have given anti-depressants a try. Maybe you’re concerned about needing them long-term or maybe you never thought you would be the kind of person who takes anti-depressants.
It is common for major life stressors to result in depression. Luckily, this type of depression often decreases over time as you readjust to your new reality, find new paths, and explore positive outlets for your emotions. In the mean time, while you are in the eye of the storm so to speak, anti-depressants can be a great short-term option to give you the boost you need to get the ball rolling in a positive direction.
If you’re curious about anti-depressants and want more information, speak with your doctor about what medication might be right for you. You should also speak with your doctor if you are currently on anti-depressants and are considering going off of them to be sure you are aware of any special considerations with your particular medications. We believe in a team approach and will make every effort to collaborate with your psychiatrist if you have one. If you are looking for a new psychiatrist, there are a few we work closely with that we can highly recommend.
If you already know from experience that you need medication to help give you the boost to even begin treatment, you can ignore this section. Anti-depressant medications can be a necessary tool for some, but not for others. If you don’t like the idea of “fixing a problem with a pill” or maybe you worry about the long-term use of medications to maintain your mood, then you may appreciate a more nautral approach.
There has been endless research conducted that supports a holistic approach to treating depression. Research has shown that in addition to depression counseling, proper nutrition, regular exercise, restful sleep, and support from positive people in your life can all put a serious dent in depression.
With that being said, in order for any treatment to work, you must commit to practicing and implementing the techniques regularly in order to see any benefit from them. One hour of CBT is no more effective than one dose of medication. Just like with medication, the techniques must be applied daily, consistently in order to fully benefit from them.
Your depression will likely tell you it’s not necessary to actually write things down, to schedule them out, to do the activities. Resist the temptation to forego the active part of therapy in the hopes that you will benefit from passively reading and considering. Therapy is not a form of osmosis. If you take an active role rather than a passive one, you will see active results.
If you want to beat depression the natural way, without the use of medications, you may want to try thinking of therapy and the work outside of sessions as a part of your “daily dose.” For instance, we may discover over the course of therapy that a combination of spending time outside being active, keeping a gratitude journal, exercising regularly, and practicing the thought challenging techniques of CBT are an excellent arsenal against your depression. In order for the natural, non-medicated method to work, it is important to work these things into your daily routine just as you would take your pill each day.
I recommend for my clients to set aside a minimum of 15 minutes a day to engage in whatever activities we discover are helpful in battling your depressive symptoms. You are more likely to follow through with the activities AND more likely to notice the benefits if you make it a point to set aside the time, put it on your schedule, and not allow other things to take priority over this small window of time. Fifteen minutes is not too much. It is not impossible to fit into your schedule and it is not selfish to take 15 minutes for yourself out of the day. So find your 15 minute window and commit to spending that time on yourself, doing whatever combination of activities you find that help to reduce or prevent your depressive symptoms. If you can manage 30 minutes or even an hour, go for it! The more time, the better the results.
A big part of getting through tough times is having a good support system to turn to on the days between depression counseling sessions for reassurance and reinforcement. Sometimes we have to look outside our circle to find those people so here are a few places to start.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance has regular online meetings.
Join a local group with others in Orlando! Check out the Upward Spiral Depression Recovery Meetup Group.
Check out the Depression Forums online to connect with others. Here you’ll find information about different treatments, support for loved ones, and many other great resources.
In addition to depression counseling, there are many other things you can add to your defenses against depression.
“21 Tips to Keep Your S#!@ Together When You’re Depressed” is a great article written from the personal experience of a woman battling lifelong depression and the strategies she’s found most helpful.
“11 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally” touts some of the most common natural remedies for depression. While none of these are considered to be a cure in and of themselves, the combination can certainly help to shift your mood for the better.