POWERLESS AND HOPELESS
Regardless of what precipitates it, a sense of powerlessness and consequent hopelessness accompanies depression – the feeling and mood state that nothing you can do will change anything. We may not have power over other people and events. But focusing on what you are powerless to change or control is the primary influence on the development and maintenance of depressive thoughts and feelings and a depressed mood. Your thinking affects how you feel, and how you feel affects how you think. It’s a circular process. Looking at your situation from a different perspective alone can alter how you feel because you are thinking about a situation differently. You can learn to change your thinking, and trust your thinking, so that you do not surrender your thinking to the powerful emotions that seem to have the validity that your thinking does not. And by changing your thinking, you can discover options you had not previously thought of or believed you could pursue. Your feelings and thoughts do not alone define you. You’re just having them, and they are not you. You know that because you can think about what you think about. That means there is more to you than just the thought or the feeling.
THERAPY OR MEDICATION?
The research is very clear that psychotherapy alone is very effective at alleviating depression and its symptoms. Depression medications are also effective at alleviating depressive symptoms. But the risk of using medication alone for depression is that you are using artificially produced neurotransmitters to make up for your brain’s lack of producing them in insufficient quantity. Without psychotherapy, you depend on the medication, and would not learn how to help your brain get back up to speed, to produce more of the needed neurotransmitters on its own. So you will either need more and more medication, or periodic changes in your medication, to continue to feel good. The side effects of some medication are of themselves reasons for depressive symptoms. Psychiatrists, who are M.D.’s or D.O.’s before they become psychiatrists, are the best trained to prescribe psychotropic medications for depression.
Psychotherapy using Cognitive Therapy (CT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) are psychotherapy models that have been shown for decades to be the most effective form of treatment for depression. Using Cognitive Therapy (CT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) strategies and techniques, and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), I can help you not only uncover the process involved in your thinking that contributes to the maintenance of depressed feelings, but how to use the strategies and techniques on your own to change how you think. And if you choose to use a medication, you can be confident that you are doing your part to help your brain become as self-reliant as it can be, and not becoming solely dependent on the medication.
If you experience symptoms like the ones listed below and the symptoms persist over weeks and months, I can help. If you don’t see an event or a symptom on the lists, and you want to discuss it, please call for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation:
• Extreme sadness or depressed mood
• Lack of interest in activities that were once pleasurable
• Apathy and low energy levels
• Recent unusual weight loss or gain
• Difficulty focusing
• Loneliness or withdrawing from friends and family
• Feelings of helplessness and guilt
• Not being able to sleep or sleeping all the time
• Suicidal thoughts and feelings
Events associated with depression:
• Grief and bereavement
• Financial problems, unemployment
• Abandonment, rejection
• Addiction (drugs, alcohol, smoking)
• Relationship problems
• Poor sleep habits
• Social media overload
• Concluding a satisfying project
• Where you live
• Too many options
• Information overload
• Poor nutrition
• Poor sibling relationships