Feelings of sadness and depression are among the most common reasons people seek out a therapist. While the most noticeable symptom is a pervasive sense of being down or having “the blues,” other common signs of depression include low motivation and energy, tiredness/fatigue, apathy, and difficulty concentrating. Additionally, for some people (particularly men) feelings of depression may take the form of anger and irritability. Individuals struggling with depression also tend to pull away from others and become more socially isolated, and often find that they are no longer interested in activities they once enjoyed. In some cases, depression may intensify over time and lead to a sense of indifference toward life or even thoughts of suicide.
While the symptoms described above are common signs of depression, everyone’s experience is different. For some, feelings of sadness might be triggered by a significant life event or may tend to occur during a certain time of the year. For others, depression may simply feel like a general sense of melancholy that pervades one’s life without any clear start or end. While depression typically colors our experience of all parts of our lives, the most painful aspects of it are often those that are connected to how we feel about ourselves and our place in the world.
In treating depression, I will work closely with you to begin to address the symptoms you are facing, particularly those that are causing the most disruption in your life. This may include working together to come up with specific actions you can take to begin to feel better, as well as developing strategies to cope with your distress. However, I think it is equally important to help you gain a better understanding of why you are feeling depressed. This often means taking a step back and looking closely at how you feel about yourself and your life, and how aspects of your past might be currently impacting you. I believe such an approach offers the possibility of not only helping you feel better in the short-term, but also helping you to make the changes necessary to prevent depression from reoccurring.