Depression is characterized by feelings of hopelessness, indifference, a lack of feeling satisfied in daily life, trouble connecting with others, irritability, feelings of sadness, feelings of emptiness, changes in appetite, changes in sleep, feelings of worthlessness, and frequent thoughts of death. These symptoms are made worse when we are isolated. By reaching out to a qualified therapist depression can be reduced.
The treatment of depression involves breaking isolation, having a safe place to be honest about the real feelings you are experiencing, developing specific coping skills, and increasing feelings of hope and clarity. The first step in that process is often talking to a therapist who has experience, like myself, in treating depression. We will talk about your specific symptoms of depression, what feeds it, the things that seem to make it reduce or go away, and we will develop a plan for you that makes sense and gives you hope. Part of that process may involve me referring you to your primary care physician or a psychiatric nurse practitioner for medication. I am not an anti-medication therapist while at the same time I don’t think medication is for everyone. We will discuss the details of your depression and find solutions that work for you.
Depression and Feelings of Hopelessness
Often times a sense of shame comes with depression. The hopelessness, thoughts of death, and feelings of disconnectedness that depressed folks feel can lead to a feeling that they are damaged goods, unacceptable, or somehow flawed as a person. Sometimes it seems as if everyone else has it all figured out and the depressed individual feels inferior as a result. Bringing these intense feelings of hopelessness to a therapist can in and of itself be a freeing experience. I am trained to be able to handle these intense feelings and truly be a witness and sit with you while you talk to me about your experience with depression, as hard as you think it might be for another person to hear, I want you to know that I can handle it. In fact, some of the most beautiful moments I’ve experienced as a therapist have been when clients have shared their most deep and what appear to be dark feelings about their experience with hopelessness. And, something that appears to be so dark and scary can feel lighter and more manageable after talking to a trained clinician.
Integrated Mental Health and Addictions Work (Dual Diagnosis)
Dual Diagnosis is a term that refers to folks who have both a substance abuse diagnosis and a mental health diagnosis. I have specific experience working individually and running groups for folks with a Dual Diagnosis. It is extremely important to work with a clinician who understands the intricacies of integrating mental health and addictions work, if you fall into this category or if you have concerns about yourself in this regard. There are a number of specific skills, ideas, and ways of doing therapy that are particularly helpful when working with both depression and substance abuse. Dealing with trauma related work, anxiety and panic, and other mental health concerns in conjunction with addictions work is one of my passions and areas of expertise. One of the main ideas is that both the addiction and the depression need to be treated at the same time. This is why we call it integrated mental health and addictions treatment. When depression symptoms are running high and feel intense then the addictive behavior is likely to return after a period of sobriety, and visa versa when the addiction is not under control the depression has a way of returning if it was previously being treated properly. This relationship between addiction and depression is really at the heart of Dual Diagnosis work. Using my extensive experience in the field of Integrated Care we will work together to help you improve both your depression and your addictive behavior.