Is Depression Wearing You Down?
Feeling sad or depressed is something that we have all experienced at one time or another. Often, it is the natural result of going through a stressful life event, such as losing someone you loved, dealing with a chronic health issue, living alone for the first time, losing your job, ending a significant relationship, and so on. While it’s true that depression can also be caused by chemical imbalances in our brains, most commonly, it is a problem with many different causes, all of which impact and influence each other.
Depression can make us lose our footing and make us wonder where we are headed.
The reality is depression can impact us at every level, affecting our energy, sleep, appetite, and enjoyment in activities. While we are not entirely certain what causes depression, we know that the amount of stress we are under and how equipped we feel to deal with that stress can drastically affect our levels of depression.
Depression can sneak in.
All too often, when we are feeling depressed, we don’t recognize it. Maybe we find ourselves starting to isolate, stop engaging in our favorite activities, or feel exhausted all the time (sometimes, these physical problems are actually signs that we are experiencing depression).
If you are struggling with depression it's a safe bet that you are experiencing things like:
Feeling sad or down for periods lasting longer than two weeks
Losing your appetite or eating more than you normally would
Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Feeling restless or struggling with lack of energy and fatigue
Feeling excessive and oppressive guilt
Feeling hopeless or worthless
Feeling sad for no apparent reason
Having thoughts that you’d be better off dead or even thinking about taking your life
Further, when you feel depressed you might have thoughts like:
“What do I have to offer?”
"If I was gone, no one would miss me."
"Nobody cares about me."
"I'm a burden on my friends or family."
"I must be weak if I am feeling this way."
Although depression can be dominating and often leave us wondering if there is any hope, the truth is that depression can be treated, and you can get your life back.
How is depression treated?
There a many different treatment options for dealing with depression. Commonly, the first line of treatment is medication—we've all seen (or more accurately put, we've all been bombarded by) those commercials about how "this antidepressant" is going to finally make us feel OK again and fix all of our problems! The research on these medications suggests that they are not a cure-all for depression, however. What they can do is help to reduce depression symptoms, and at most, a person can expect to experience about a 30% reduction in overall symptoms (basically, most antidepressants work to keep your "feel good" chemicals hanging out in your brain a little longer).
This is why other options, like counseling or “talk therapy” have been so successful as either a standalone treatment or in conjunction with these medications. Reason being, depression counseling works on targeting the root cause or issues, instead of simply managing symptoms. In our work together, our goal will be to help you feel good about the life you are living—even if there are chronic health issues, losses, or a "new normal" that you are dealing with.
As Isaac's co-worker, I've seen how much he lives and breathes for his [clients]. I've referred many [clients] to him and all of them have told me about their positive experiences with Isaac - in particular, that he feels "human", very easy to talk to, and is someone that they can trust, connect with and open up to. In addition, I appreciate Isaac's approach to therapy - one that is holistic and focusing on mind and body. Patients are lucky to have Isaac!
- Laura Chan, MPH, PharmD
Remember: you are not your depression.
While experiencing depression is normal at times, living depressed doesn’t have to be your normal. With depression therapy you can break the cycle by learning new skills, getting more in touch with yourself, and tackling your problems head on.
The truth is, dealing with depression can make it hard for us to ask for help, but there’s help when you need it. If you find yourself feeling depressed and are interested in getting help (or you are curious about options other than, or in addition to, medication) reach out to me below.
Isaac Smith, MAT, LCSW, NTP is a holistic psychotherapist located in Sacramento and Fair Oaks, CA. He specializes in addiction, anxiety, depression and grief and loss. Isaac is trained in several modalities, including Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Problem Solving Therapy. He is passionate about the interplay between mental health and nutrition, and is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. To find out more about Isaac click here: therapy and counseling in Sacramento and Fair Oaks.