Successfully Overcoming Grief and Depression
Life is full of ups and downs, good times and bad. However, if you find yourself feeling “down” for more than a couple of weeks, or if you have difficulty functioning in daily life, you may be suffering from clinical depression. If so, you’re far from alone…
Believe it or not, more than 19 million Americans suffer from clinical depression every year, and it can affect anyone regardless of their age, race, gender, income, or physical health.
But, how do you know if you’re just “feeling down” or you’re “depressed?”
Are You Struggling with Depression?
Clinical depression is not simply feeling down or sad for a few days and then feeling better. Clinical depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, think, and behave for long stretches of time.
It is not uncommon for people suffering from clinical depression to:
- Lose interest in activities they once found enjoyable;
- Feel hopelessness or despair;
- Experience drastic changes in eating habits;
- Find themselves unable to concentrate;
- No longer want to interact with people they used to enjoy being with; or
- Feel they “just aren’t themselves” anymore.
Yet, depression often goes untreated because people don’t recognize the nature of the symptoms they’re experiencing.
Some people incorrectly believe that only those who’ve been depressed for months on end or those who’ve completely lost their ability to function are suffering from clinical depression.
Others believe that depression is “normal” for older adults, new mothers, teenagers, those suffering from chronic illness or physical disabilities, and other such categories.
However, clinical depression is NEVER normal, regardless of one’s age, gender, or life situation.
Fortunately, help is available and there are ways you can cope with the symptoms of your depression and even overcome the illness…
Getting Help for Depression
Clinical depression is one of the most treatable of all psychological illnesses. In fact, more than 80 percent of people with depression can be treated successfully with psychotherapy, prescription medications, or a combination of the two.
Unfortunately, people often try to resolve their depression by themselves. While this may work for some, it’s rarely enough.
If feelings of depression or sadness are seriously affecting your life, if you find yourself experiencing any symptoms of depression, or if you have questions about how you’re feeling and whether or not you’re actually dealing with depression, you should seek professional help.
Only qualified mental health professionals (such as psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists) can determine if you or someone you know is suffering from clinical depression, and professional counseling or psychotherapy is often the best place to start looking for the help you need.
While many people view psychotherapy – commonly known as counseling or talk therapy – as just one form of treatment for depression, psychotherapy actually consists of a variety of treatment techniques.
For example, psychodynamic therapy can help you understand the underlying causes of your emotions and be extremely helpful in treating depression that is the result of unconscious, unresolved conflicts stemming from early childhood experiences.
On the other hand, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you identify and change unhelpful or inaccurate perceptions you may have of your self and the world around you that are enabling your depression, as well as help you establish new ways of thinking about and perceiving your self and others.
And, then there’s dialectical behavioral therapy, which can help you overcome depression by learning to better regulate your emotions, increase your sense of self, reduce feelings of crisis, and focus on meaningful activities and relationships in your life in order to regain control and experience joy.
These are just a few examples of how different forms of depression counseling and therapy can help… And there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment approach that works equally well for everyone.
We will work together to determine which of the various theoretical orientations and techniques will best meet your specific needs and goals.
Regardless of the specific techniques we use in our work together, I can help you:
- Understand the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that trigger and contribute to your depression;
- Identify the problems or circumstances in your life that led or contribute to your depression – such as a job loss, the death of a loved one, or a traumatic incident – and help you recognize what you can and can’t do to resolve these issues;
- Learn coping techniques and problem-solving skills; and
- Regain a sense of control and restore joy to your life.
What If You’re Coping with Grief or Loss?
If you’ve recently experienced the death of a loved one or some other form of loss, the grieving process can be a painful, emotionally draining, and sometimes devastating experience.
While the tears of sadness, sense of immobility, and feelings of hopelessness can sometimes feel overwhelming and leave you wondering if you’ll ever be able to move forward again, working through these feelings is what allows healing to occur.
Grieving is a very personal process, but this doesn’t mean it’s something you should keep to yourself. In fact, it is healthy – and even necessary – to share our grief with others.
If you’re currently grieving, you need to find someone with whom to share your feelings. This person can be a friend, family member, or a professional grief counselor.
Fortunately, as with depression, some form of professional grief counseling can help you acknowledge, work through, and overcome the shock and denial, anger, guilt, and sadness that are normal parts of the grieving process, as well as provide the support you need as you learn to accept your loss and move forward again in life.
Just remember, whether you’re struggling with grief or depression, talking to friends and family may be helpful, but a trained mental health professional can provide the objective perspective and clinical resources you need to understand the difficulties you’re facing and the steps necessary to overcome them.
It’s also important to note that psychotherapy’s success depends as much on the therapeutic relationship that is developed between the client and the therapist as it does on any particular technique being used during treatment. This is why I encourage you to contact me to ask any questions you have and find out whether or not we can work together.
Therapy is not a “quick fix” and it will take your time and commitment to be effective. However, professional counseling and psychotherapy have been shown time and time again to be the most effective treatment for those who are looking to overcome their depression and experience all of the joy life has to offer!
If you believe you’re depressed, there’s no need to feel alone or embarrassed about discussing your feelings with a professional who can help. Clinical depression won’t just go away on its own. Fortunately, help is available and the sooner you seek help the better your chances for a fast and effective recovery.
For more information about how the grief counseling and depression treatment services I provide can help you, I encourage you to contact me at 408-309-5957 or email Talks2people@yahoo.com to ask any questions you have and schedule an initial consultation. I look forward to speaking with you.