Life is full of ups and downs, and just like we can expect to feel elated during happy moments, we can also expect to feel sad or hopeless during difficult moments. However, when the sadness feels endless or all-consuming, you may be struggling with a mood disorder. Depression is a mood disorder marked by persistent sadness, numbness, guilt, loss of interest and/or hopelessness. It can be triggered by a stressful or tragic life event, but a sense of feeling depressed can also creep into your life with no clear cause. You might feel like you’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to be happy. While the negative thoughts that come with depression are not true, they may feel impossible to stop.
Depression is incredibly painful, but it is treatable. It’s one of the most common mental health disorders, and countless people have improved their symptoms dramatically with the help of therapy. For many individuals with depression, the hardest step is the initial step towards getting support.
What Does Depression Look Like?
Depression can cause many painful symptoms to be present, but no two people have the same experience. The following are some of the most common signs of depression:
- Feelings of sadness, guilt, or hopelessness
- Numbness or apathy
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Withdrawing from family or friends
- Feeling agitated, angry, or on edge
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Changes in appetite
- Thoughts of self-injury or suicide
When you have depression, you might feel like you’re floating through your life in a daze. You can’t find enjoyment in the things you once loved, and things can feel distant or detached. For some people, depression is characterized by numbness. For others, the sadness and helplessness feel overwhelming.
If you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide, it’s essential that you reach out for help right away. Call 911 or the suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Depression is treatable, but suicide is a permanent decision. Support is always available if you need to speak to someone.
Depression Can Affect Your Entire World
Depression is a mental health disorder, but its effects aren’t limited to your emotional state. Our physical health and mental health are entirely intertwined. When one starts to suffer, the other may follow shortly.
Because depression affects your mood and motivation, it can slowly take its toll on every aspect of your life. One of the most notable signs of depression is a lack of energy. This can lead to excess sleeping and a decrease in your ability to take care of your physical health. When you’re struggling with depression, tasks like brushing your teeth or eating a meal can seem pointless and impossible. As depression affects your mind, it also affects your body.
Cognitive problems are common with depression, too. You may notice that you’re struggling with your memory or with carrying on conversations. This can make it harder to feel connected to the world around you, and it can affect your performance at work or school.
Depression can affect your relationships as well. You may feel too sad or too tired to spend time with your loved ones, or you might lash out at them because you feel agitated or overwhelmed. Your depression may manifest as a negative inner voice that tells you that your friends don’t want to see you. We all need social support to stay well, though, so pulling away from those closest to you can be detrimental.
Types of Depression
Depression is an umbrella term for several specific mental health diagnoses. All forms of depression are difficult to live with, and all can be improved with therapy.
Major depressive disorder is characterized by extreme feelings of sadness or loss of interest for more than two weeks. Dysthymia, or persistent depressive disorder, causes less severe but chronic symptoms that last for at least two years. Seasonal affective disorder appears during the fall and winter months, but symptoms improve as the days get longer.
There are several other recognized forms of depression, too. When you meet with your therapist to discuss your experiences, they may ask you a series of questions about your symptoms to identify which you may be experiencing.
How We Work
At Sherman Oaks Therapy & Wellness, we use several evidence-based approaches for working through depression. We’ll begin with a discussion about why you decided to attend therapy and what you’re hoping to gain from the experience. Your therapist may ask you about your background and your day-to-day life to learn more about you.
Empathy and respect are at the foundation of our practice. We believe that our clients must be empowered to take an active role in the therapeutic process, so we aim to create a collaborative environment in the therapy sessions. Our therapists tailor their approach to each client’s unique needs, and they use feedback from clients to continually shape their process.
Depression is a pervasive and painful disorder, but you don’t have to let it control your life. Click here to schedule a free 15-minute consultation or an appointment.