Counselling for Depression
An individual experiencing depression is struggling with feelings of severe despair over an extended period of time. Almost every aspect of one's life can be affected including mental clarity, emotional state, physical health, relationships, and work. Individuals experiencing depression do not describe a sense of hopefulness or pleasure and often describe negative thinking patterns with a low self-regard.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mental health disorder that affects an individual’s emotional state. Our emotions impact the way we think about ourselves, connect with others and interact with the world around us. Depression impacts an individuals ability to take care of basic needs and function on daily tasks. Symptoms of depression include feeling sad, worthless, hopeless, guilty, shame, anger or irritable most of the time.
Who does depression affect?
Depression can affect anyone and are likely caused by many different factors such as family history, genetic disposition, environment, life experiences, personality and physical health.
What can I do about Depression?
Individuals can experience depression as very challenging as many direct blame at themselves and experience guilt for not healing quickly on their own. Some individuals hide deep emotional feelings in fear of what others may think if they were to ask for help. Individuals who are experiencing depression tend to engage in isolating behaviours, making it difficult to seek support from others.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) teaches individuals how their thoughts, feelings and behaviours work together and how to gain more self-awareness about this process. CBT also teaches important skills such as stress management, realistic thinking, relaxation, solving problems, behavioural change and identifying emotions.
Focusing on self-care during the recovery process from depression is imperative. Consistent exercise will help in boosting one’s mood and provide as a coping strategy for managing stress. Forming healthy eating habits and developing healthy sleeping habits are also essential in the recovery process. It is essential to spend time on finding things that bring passion and joy, to spend time with loved ones as well as, to engage in relaxation and mindfulness strategies.
How can I help a loved one who may appear to be experiencing depression?
When someone you love is experiencing symptoms of depression or has received a diagnosis of depression it becomes important to learn how you can be part of the solution and engage in providing healthy support. Support can come in the way of emotional support or practical support.
Here are some tools for supporting someone you love:
- Take the time to educate yourself on depression and learn how to effectively listen to what your loved one is experiencing.
- Important to remember when a loved one is experiencing a depressive episode that they may want to spend time alone or act out in frustration, which in return you can experience as very hurtful. These are symptoms of depression and it is important to remember this is not about you.
- Ask your loved one what you can do to help and create a practical list for day to day tasks.
- Identify expectations and make sure they are realistic. Recovery from depression takes time and effort. It means a lot to the individual experiencing depression for you to take time to recognize your loved one’s effort towards wellness, regardless of the outcome.
- Establish healthy boundaries and discuss behaviours you are not willing to accept or deal with.
- Seek support for yourself and possibly family counselling.
In all, seeking professional help becomes essential for individuals experiencing symptoms of depression in order to change one’s self-perceptions and behaviours.
Heather Kempton from Optimal Life in Coquitlam, BC can help people engage in recovery from depression allowing them to experience and live a more fulfilling and joyous life.