Depression feels like a weight inside of you, draining you of joy, and leaving hopelessness and guilt in its wake. Doing anything, no matter how small, sounds exhausting and pointless. You’re not even interested in any activities that used to appeal to you. You feel completely alone, even when you’re surrounded by people. Perhaps you have considered what the world would be like without you in it, or that the world would be better without you in it. Friends and family wonder why you can’t just “snap out of it”, and don’t understand that it’s not that easy. Even you struggle with it, because you have no tangible reason to feel this way…but you do. So you keep it to yourself. You just want to lie in bed all day and close yourself off from the outside world, and it feels like you’re drowning on dry land.
You haven’t always felt this way, and you don’t want to continue to be in this rut, but it’s difficult to climb out of the hole of depression without a ladder.
Symptoms of Depression
Everyone feels down from time to time, but depression is different. Depression can last for weeks, months, or even years at a time, often reaching degrees of intensity that far exceed normal feelings of sadness. Brainscans have shown observable neurological differences between those who suffer from depression, and those who do not. Symptoms of Depression include:
- A nearly constant, depressed mood almost every day.
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt, both about unrelated issues and about being depressed. (“I have no reason to feel this way, what’s wrong with me?”)
- A significantly diminished interest or pleasure in activities that you used to enjoy.
- Inability to concentrate
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping all of the time, or barely at all).
- Loss of energy and fatigue
- A noticeable increase or decrease in appetite.
- Significant weight loss/gain
- Thoughts of death and/or suicide, regardless of whether or not you actually plan to go through with it.
- Loss of sexual desire
Seeking Help is a Huge Step
The exhaustion, helplessness, and feelings of worthlessness make the process of seeking depression treatment a very difficult one. The simple fact that you’re here, reading this, is an ENORMOUS step in the right direction. You do not have to fight this battle alone, nor should you.
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States, impacting 14.8 million adults. (6.7% of the US adult population) You are far from alone. Due to the prevalence of this disorder, depression treatment is one of the most well-researched topics within mental health. No matter how far down in a hole that you feel, you can climb out of it, and there are hands that are ready to reach down and help to pull you up.
How Do You Treat Depression?
I use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to treat depression. One of the fundamental principles of CBT is that our thoughts and perceptions have a great impact on our mood, and in the case of those who suffer from depression, those perceptions are often dysfunctional.
To put it simply, changing how you think can help greatly in changing how you feel.
CBT is a solution based depression treatment that addresses YOUR problems and attacks them. You are given skills that you can apply to YOUR life. CBT is not vague, and it is not particularly abstract. It is a no-nonsense, and easily understandable depression treatment. You will be required to work toward specific goals, and the rewards can be immeasurable.
Studies have shown that the most effective depression treatment is a combination of medication and CBT. I do not prescribe medication, but I do often work in conjunction with psychiatrists who do, and we coordinate care in your best interest. This is very common.
I don’t know if I can climb out of this hole.
What you’re feeling is hopelessness, and it’s the most dangerous element of depression. When you’re in a place where you think “what’s the point?”, you sink even deeper and feel even more hopeless. The cycle feeds itself.
But again…here you are, reading this. Maybe you’re by yourself, maybe it’s late at night, and maybe no one else knows that you’re here. But you’re looking for help right now, in your own way. You’re trying to break that cycle, and you certainly can do it.
In my years as a therapist in my own practice, at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and at UC-Davis Medical Center, I’ve participated in this process many times. The first steps are always the hardest, and just by being here, you’ve already taken one of them. Keep going.
I know that pills are often prescribed to treat depression. Do you prescribe meds?
I do not prescribe medication. The depression treatment that I offer is strictly talk therapy, focusing on changing your cognitions. If I feel that medication would help to facilitate your healing process, we would discuss your options, and I could point you in the direction of an effective medical professional that is authorized to prescribe medication, and we would coordinate your care.
How long does therapy take?
While I cannot speak to the specifics of your situation, CBT is intended to be a relatively short term therapy. As a general rule, it is a depression treatment that is intended to last for approximately 3-4 months. My approach is goal oriented, and focused in the here and now. Of course, your personal history can be of great use in informing your depression treatment, but you will not be sitting on my couch and telling me about your mother for two months at a time.
Once again, each case is unique, and I cannot guarantee a particular timeline, but I seek to help you solve your problems. My goal is to help you get to a place where you don’t need me anymore.
Please call, email, or sign up for my Depression Newsletter so we can stay in contact. I offer a free, 15 minute phone consultation at (424) 262-2014, where we can talk about how to help you out of your present situation and discuss what depression treatment is right for you. You are NOT too deep into that hole. Let’s build your ladder together so you can get out.