- Do you feel sad most of the time?
- Are you having head and body aches? Sick more often than usual?
- Do you feel like you’ve lost interest in things you used to enjoy?
- Do your emotions feel “blunted?”
- Has your life begun to feel like an ordeal instead of an adventure?
- Have you been isolating yourself? Not really participating in life?
- Do you feel like you need drugs and/or alcohol to have fun?
Depression has been described as a dark cloud that just doesn’t go away. It has also been described as a deep, dark, suffocating reality that seems to have no relief in sight. Even things that you know would help seem unattainable. If you are here, please let me help.
Depression can act as a magnifying glass — it can take even the most simple problem and magnify it, while completely obscuring the positive or best ideas that could help. Somebody living with depression may find themselves feeling like ‘not wanting to bother’ to do things they know would help, or that they used to enjoy doing. They may describe their life as feeling like a ‘black cloud,’ where one bad thing seems to be consistently followed by another bad experience. This kind of depression can be triggered by life’s circumstances (divorce, grief, etc.), or by one’s genetics, or a combination of multiple factors.
Fortunately, we are learning that depression can be managed, and the more effort and follow through you put into your healing, you will likely find that the results are longer lasting and become more accessible, even when you find yourself in a backslide.
A few tips to start with
1) If things are extremely bleak, feel free to check with your doctor. Your family doctor is a great place to start. . . He or she may refer you to a psychiatrist for further evaluation. But don’t panic, nobody thinks that you’re crazy — a psychiatric referral is just a logical step; consider this–you wouldn’t just stop with your family doctor when getting your heart looked at, you would follow up with a specialist. . . a cardiologist; A psychiatrist is just a specialist in the human mind and its chemistry. Your doctor/psychiatrist will be able to talk to you about these next ideas:
2) A healthy lifestyle that includes nutrition and exercise – Always check with your doctor before beginning any change in eating and exercise habits. Upon approval from your doctor, you will find that eating a healthy diet (this does NOT necessarily mean eating less!!) that is balanced in protein, carbohydrates, fat and vitamins/minerals helps to balance your brain chemicals. Exercise also has a direct impact on your brain chemistry. When you exercise, you are causing your body to produce very healthy endorphins, you are pressing out toxins created by stress and anxiety, and helping your brain to metabolize (process) oxygen, protein, etc. in more effective ways. The result? You literally think better, you literally begin to feel better. If you are on any medications (including antidepressants) you will find that your body is also better able to use these. NOTE: A study at Duke University showed that 60% of a group of subjects that exercised 3 times per week, for 30 minutes each session, for four months, were able to completely manage their depression without medication. This is a substantial finding encouraging what our bodies have known for thousands of years–that a healthy lifestyle creates a healthy experience of life.
3) Counseling – As difficult as diet/exercise can be to accomplish (due to depression’s impact on motivation), some may find asking for help to be even more difficult as it may feel like a weakness. . . but do it anyway, in spite of it being easier said than done. . . living in depression is also difficult, or else you probably would not be reading this page.
Learn more about Counseling in Austin.
Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s has worked in the helping profession since he started college in 1990. After completing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin in 1994, he attended the highly-regarded University of Minnesota to earn his Master’s degree in 1997. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is recognized as a Board Approved Supervisor by the State of Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Jonathan is a Gottman-trained Couples Counselor, and in 1998 received training by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Advanced Critical Incident Stress Management & Debriefing. To learn more about Jonathan’s practice, click here: Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s.