As you are reading this sentence, nearly one person in ten is suffering from some form of depression.
The depression they’re experiencing can range from a chronic, low-grade sadness (dysthymia) to an intense, all-engulfing emptiness (major depressive disorder).
People suffering from depression have described their experience like this:
“I lost interest in doing the things that I once enjoyed.”
“It felt like a heavy cloud of hopelessness.”
“Sleep was a real problem for me. I had trouble falling asleep. Once I fell asleep, I had trouble staying asleep.”
“I felt tired all the time. No energy. People asked me why I was always moving or talking like I was in slow motion.”
“Food tasted bland. I had no appetite. I lost weight and my clothes hung on me like a sack.”
“When I looked in the mirror, all I could think of was how much of a failure I was. Like I was always letting myself or my family down.”
“I couldn’t concentrate. I’d start to read a news article or a blog, but find my mind wandering off.”
“I couldn’t sit still. I felt restless – and agitated – all the time.”
“When things were at their worse, I wondered whether if I would be better off dead.”
IF YOU ARE HAVING THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE, CLICK HERE TO OPEN A CHAT WITH SOMEONE AT THE SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE, OR CALL THE LIFELINE AT 800-273-8255. THERE IS HOPE.
Over the course of a lifetime, one in four women will suffer from major depression. One in ten men will experience major depression.
As unfortunate as that is, the greater tragedy, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, is this: “Most people with a depressive illness do not seek treatment.”
Instead, for any number of reasons, many people experiencing depression will suffer unnecessarily. Some believe that admitting to having depression is a sign of weakness; others believe that getting help for depression is the weakness. Doing nothing only prolongs the suffering.
Does that sound like someone you know?
Sometimes, people who try to ignore, or wait out their depression, look for ways to alleviate it with drugs, alcohol, or various mood-altering activities such as gambling, pornography or hypersexual behavior.
Is that person you?
When people are experiencing depression, they are more likely to attempt suicide. While women are more likely to attempt suicide, more men will complete the act. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, click here to talk with someone.
What Depression Is Not
Depression is not the same as a passing mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a character defect.
Well-intended friends or family members may have been urged someone experiencing depression to “pull themselves together,” cheer up,” and look on the bright side.” Well-intended, but misguided.
Depression is not something that can be willed or wished away. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years.”
Without treatment, depression can worsen. Without treatment some people may begin to think about or attempt suicide. If you are having suicidal thoughts, click here to talk with someone.
Here’s good news: Depression is treatable. People recover.
One of the most effective tools for helping people recover from depression is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
CBT is based on the understanding that problems we experience in our moods or emotions are a result of the thoughts, beliefs, or interpretations that we have about the events we experience.
People suffering with depression may over-estimate the challenges they are experiencing. At the same time, they may under-estimate their ability to cope effectively.
If you’re experiencing depression, CBT teaches you to ask – and answer – strategic questions that can help challenge your depressive thoughts and beliefs, and change disabling behaviors.
CBT uses powerful questions like:
- What’s the evidence that your thoughts (e.g., helpless, hopeless, guilty, etc.) are true?
- What’s the evidence that your thoughts might not be true?
- Is there another way of looking at your situation?
- How would you advise a friend facing similar situation who is having this thought?
- How could you make use of that advise to help yourself?
(questions adapted from Judith Beck’s “Essentials of CBT: The Beck Approach”)
CBT offers you a powerful and effective tool to defeat depression and regain control over your life.
Contact me to learn how I help people recover from depression.