Viewing Depression with Compassion and Hope
Everyone feels depressed at some time in their life. This is not to say everyone experiences depression in a clinical sense, but everyone has had the experience of being down. Sadness, discouragement, hopelessness, disinterest: these are all part of life. You might think that the fact that everyone experiences these feelings can help to foster compassion and understanding, a sense of “I’ve been there.”
But the opposite often is true. People commonly use their personal experiences to justify judgment of a friend or loved one experiencing depression. You might hear something like, “Yeah, I’ve been where you are, and you just need to shake it off.” Or “You should get out of bed and do something!” When suffering from deeper depression, the “just do something” is easier said than done. And the lack of understanding can increase shame, leading to more depression.
Whatever your level of depression, there is hope. There’s hope that you will find pleasure in your activities again, that you will be able to re-engage in your life. Many people who experience depression in any form eventually feel better. How? Some people just get better naturally, sometimes from a change in their life, perhaps a new job, a move, or a new relationship. Many studies have shown that people using one or a combination of individual counseling, group counseling, and medication have better results than those who seek no treatment.
What is it about counseling that helps? Some people in counseling want to just be heard, to feel supported and appreciated, and to have someone who cares. Some clients want homework, making a detailed plan each week. Each person is different, so what works for one person may not work for someone else. Whatever your therapeutic needs, you can work in counseling to meet your needs, moving towards life satisfaction.
Other resources about depression:
For immediate help for suicidal thoughts, please contact:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
From the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), Depression
From the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), Depression
From the NIMH, Depression: What You Need to Know
From Psychology Today, Depression