Recovering from Depression or GriefReaching out for help is often the first step to getting better
What is happening to me?
Have you been struggling with sadness so deep that it is frightening you? Or, have you been feeling so overwhelmed with the circumstances in your life, that you have no energy or motivation to do anything? Are you having trouble sleeping, concentrating or finding any pleasure in the things you used to enjoy? You may be losing weight, because of no appetite; or struggling with increasing weight, because of compulsive eating that is out of control. Perhaps you hate being in the place in which you find yourself, but when you try to get back into life, you feel too paralyzed to change. If any of these are true for you, you may be suffering from Clinical Depression. There is help! Reaching out is the first step to getting better.
Can I really get better?
Clinical depression, which is tied to an imbalance in the biochemistry in our body-mind, impacts the lives of an estimated 120 million people worldwide. Although enduring sadness is a symptom for most people, some do not even realize they are struggling with depression, because they don’t feel particularly sad most of the time. These people may be suffering mainly with sleeplessness, irritability, inability to concentrate well, a declining ability to find pleasure in anything, fatigue and lack of motivation, feeling guilty or otherwise bad about themselves or even impulsive behaviors. Whether their brain chemistry reactions are chiefly from genetic factors or from their life experiences (or both), the symptoms are the same. Often, sufferers of depression feel ashamed, thinking they should be “strong enough” to step out of what feels like a downward spiral of out-of-control thoughts, feelings and behaviors. When the biochemical reactions in the brain associated with clinical depression reach a certain level, thoughts of not wanting to live or wondering if “everyone would be better off without me” are common. Some people are even plagued with suicidal thoughts. Therapy can provide a place of hope and change. With the help of someone who understands what is happening and provides guidance and support, a multitude of people with clinical depression have “come into the light from a place of deep darkness”.
What if I am grieving a loss?
No one, who experiences the death of a loved one, escapes the sadness and loneliness of missing that person. Other losses can cause grieving as well, such as divorce, breakup of a serious relationship, chronic and serious illness, death of a beloved pet, loss of usual functioning and independence, job termination – the loss of anything that gives us a sense of meaning, happiness or safety. It is common to experience anger and other difficult emotions at some point in the grieving process. This is an individual experience, and people do not all grieve in the same way. An important part of the process for everyone, however, is that they face and allow themselves to go through the difficult emotions of grieving, rather than trying to bury them. When the pain of grieving does not gradually begin to improve, then complicated grief or major depression may have replaced a normal grieving process. When this happens, it becomes very important to call upon the services of a therapist, who can provide help in resolving the complications of a deep sense of loss that will not abate. It can even be extremely helpful to consult a therapist early in the grieving process, who can provide a grounded and empathic base, from which to travel the very painful path of grief.