Your Questions Answered about Depression
What is depression?
Depression is a type of mood disorder, which occurs when our changes in mood are more than the normal ups and downs we experience each day. Depression can leave us feeling sad, down, or even hopeless, which can interfere with our ability to function. Some that are depressed describe themselves as feeling melancholy, unhappy, low, in a funk, or despondent.
Am I depressed?
Depression can take many forms and often involves a lot of symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be depressed:
-A long-lasting sense of sadness, hopelessness, loneliness, or despair
-Feeling worthless, inadequate, or guilty
-Little interest in life and/or activities you usually enjoy
-Changes in appetitive, weight, sleep, and/or activity
-Trouble thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
-Thoughts of death or suicide
You do not have to experience all of these symptoms to have depression, but we do look for a change in your level of functioning. Depressive episodes last at least 2 weeks and can be triggered by an event, or appear to come out of nowhere. These are signs you need to reach out for help now.
How do I know I’m not just sad?
Depression is more than just feeling sad. Sadness is our natural reaction to events, like the loss of a loved one, a breakup, or losing a job. It is normal for us to experience feelings of sadness in situations such as these and does not mean we are depressed. However, sadness can eventually turn into depression if these feelings don’t improve over time or start to interfere with our daily functioning.
Why am I depressed now? I haven’t been depressed before…
We can become depressed at any age. Changes in our environment or circumstances can affect our mood, which can lead to depression. Trauma and stress can also cause us to feel depressed.
Even if you live in ideal circumstances, you can be affected by depression. You may feel like you are sad for no reason and can’t control your sadness. It could be that you have a genetic predisposition to depression. Depression can run in families. Differences in brain chemicals can lead to depressive symptoms. Those who tend to be pessimistic, are easily overwhelmed by stress, or have a low self-esteem may also be more likely to experience depression.
What can I do to help my depression?
A few things we recommend trying include: tracking your moods, paying attention to your thinking (thoughts influence feelings, which influence behaviors), identifying your coping skills and thinking about how well they work (e.g. stress eating, drinking, running, listening to music), and seeking feedback from those you trust.
We also recommend regular exercise, sufficient sleep on a regular basis, a healthy diet, and/or avoidance of alcohol and isolation for reducing depressive symptoms.
When should I seek professional help for depression?
If the previous lifestyle changes or support from loved ones does not seem to be enough, consider seeking help from one of our therapists. The good news is that depression is treatable. You can give us a call at 704-664-1009, or Contact Us so we can call you for a consultation or to schedule an appointment.
How might my depression be treated?
It is important to know that there is no “one size fits all” treatment for depression and finding the right treatment for you may take some trial and error. One of our therapists will assess your personal situation and decide on a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs.
Our therapists utilize psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” when working with clients. They will help you view your symptoms without judgment, understand why you may be experiencing depression, manage symptoms, recognize your own strengths, and use these strengths to change and grow. Self-esteem development and client empowerment are important goals of therapy.
All Miracles Counseling providers are trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is often used to treat depression because of its effectiveness. CBT involves addressing the negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to depression.
Some of our therapists may also utilize internal family systems (IFS) therapy to help you address depression within your family or internal community, or narrative therapy, to help you understand how depression is shaped by your narrative description of your life.