Mary was having trouble making sense of what she was experiencing. Ever since the birth of her son, she felt fatigued, irritable, and weepy. She snapped at others for no reason, including when they were offering to help. Lately, she’d even had some thoughts that scared her.
Jeremiah was a born leader, and everyone knew it. His natural good looks and sharp business sense made him a star in his field. But inside, he never felt good enough. No matter how much he achieved, he couldn’t seem to measure up to his own standards, and the toll it was taking on him was heavy – he was having difficulty sleeping, feelings of overwhelming guilt for mistakes, and found himself increasingly withdrawing from those he loved. In the past he always seemed to push through, but more and more, he just felt like giving up.
Pursuing job change, Nancy recently moved. She’d initially been excited about the possibilities for new friends and an entirely new lifestyle. But she was beginning to think she might’ve overestimated her ability to adjust. She couldn’t seem to connect well with new friends, and the more she tried, the worse she felt. She’d always been a little prone to the “blues”, but being alone in a new city was taking her to new lows.
Depression can affect anyone at anytime.
Feeling blue, sad, down in the dumps or just low is something we all experience at times. People are often prone to depression while coping with the multiple pressures of school, work, friends and family. We all can be pressured to a point where nothing seems to give us pleasure and it becomes hard to get interested in things or just to get started. When we experience these feelings, we may also notice other changes as well.
We may slow down, experience changes in appetite, become irritable, neglect responsibilities and/or self-care, and have difficulty remembering things. Students may notice an inability to concentrate in class. Employers may notice we do not seem to be as productive as usual. Family members may notice changes in our appetite or sleep patterns. We may experience tension and tend to dwell more on our shortcomings than on our achievements. This can become a vicious cycle. The more we focus on negative feedback, the more depressed we become and the more negative feedback we receive.
You don’t have to be trapped in this cycle! Let us help.
How do we begin to break the negative cycle and learn to overcome depression? Depression can be overcome with help. Counseling and, at times, (non-habit forming) medication can provide relief. Counseling can help people become better able to cope with their problems by providing support and help, examining the underlying causes of depression and working out possible solutions to problems.
Practical suggestions for right now.
- One: Recognize that your life is perfectly set up to get you exactly what you have. If you want something different, you will need to do something different.
- Two: Act while you have the energy. Don’t wait till you’re in the pit of despair again to get help, telling yourself, “Oh, it’s not that bad right now.” When you’re at the bottom of your depression cycle, you’ll have the least ability to act because you may be too emotionally or physically fatigued. Act now!
- Three: Make contact with someone who understands. Well-meaning family and friends may see you feeling depressed and try to “fix” you. Find someone that will listen as much as they give advice.
- Four: Watch what you tell yourself. Many people believe feelings arise out of situations in our lives or things that have happened. Of course, the situations that happen to us have an impact on us. But your feelings are a product of your thinking. What are you telling yourself throughout the day about you, your life, and the events that have happened to you? Are those thoughts hurting or helping? When you find hurtful thoughts, replace them with thoughts that are productive!
Even if you’ve been depressed for so long you’ve feel you’ve forgotten how to live, we think you’re ready to draw a line in the sand.
You’re not alone. We can do this together.
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