In The News
January 31, 2017
Are you Sad or Depressed?
It’s become quite common for people to say, “I’m feeling depressed today”, when
actually, they may just be feeling a little sad. It’s normal to feel sad every
now and then. After all, things happen in life which can make us feel a little
sad. Sometimes we feel sad for what seems like no reason. This may be for a
hormonal reason, or you may just be having a random “feeling blah” kind of day.
Nothing wrong with that. The key to dealing with sadness is to work through the
feeling, so that you are able to get to a place of peace. If you push away the
sadness without feeling the feeling, you end up repressing the sadness, which
can make it worse. The next time you feel sad, sit with the feeling, think about
it, feel it, figure out if there’s a reason (and solution!) for it, and then do
something that makes you feel better (such as going outside on a sunny day,
taking a walk, playing with your pet, reading, or doing a craft.)
How do you know you are depressed, not just sad? Clinically, depression lasts
for at least two weeks. Besides feeling depressed, you may notice something
called anhedonia, which is “loss of interest in pleasurable activities.” If you
used to love going to the movies, and now you just don’t feel like it anymore,
that is anhedonia. Other symptoms are changes in weight/appetite, sleeping too
little or too much, feeling restless or lethargic, feeling worthless, feeling
hopeless, or having trouble concentrating or making decisions. Some people have
suicidal thoughts as well. If this is you, please call the Crisis Line
immediately at 1-800-939-5911.
Sometimes depression is caused by a devastating life event, such as a loss.
Other times it may come out of the blue. Everything may be going really well in
your life, but you still may find yourself feeling not just sad, but depressed.
Some people have a family history of depression, while others feel depressed for
hormonal reasons (such as PMS for women, low testosterone for men.) If this is
the first time you have felt depressed, I recommend you see your doctor first,
in order to rule out any physical reason for the feelings of depression.
The good news is that sadness/depression is treatable. Sometimes people feel sad
because of something going on in their lives, and they see a therapist for a few
counseling sessions to help them cope. Some people are reluctant to seek therapy
because they think they should be able to figure things out for themselves.
Please remember it is perfectly fine to seek professional help if you need it.
That’s what counselors are here for. Would you feel guilty if you needed an
accountant to help you file your taxes? Of course not, that’s what they are
trained to do. So if you need help working through a past or present event, I
encourage you to see a therapist. We are trained to help you. I offer brief,
solution-focused therapy, so counseling doesn’t need to be long-term.
My favorite therapy technique is CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.) With CBT,
you change the way you think (cognitive) and change the way you act
(behavioral). The goal is to help you cope with, and even prevent, feelings of
sadness or depression.
When I counsel clients who experience sadness or depression, I use CBT and
sometimes one hypnotherapy session as well. It is helpful to listen to your
customized hypnotherapy CD/mp3 when you are feeling feeling sad or depressed, or
just starting to feel that way. The goal is to shorten the length of time you
feel depressed, and also to “nip it in the bud” if you listen to it as soon as
you start to feel depressed.
Another technique that works really well for sadness or depression is EFT
(Emotional Freedom Techniques). This technique is similar to acupuncture or
acupressure, except instead of using needles or pressure, you tap on 15 places
on your face and upper body. It only takes 1 minute and is remarkably effective.
Unfortunately, one of the symptoms of depression is feeling unmotivated or
stuck. So be proud of yourself that you took the time to visit my website and
read this article. You have taken the first step to feeling better! Let me know
when you are ready to take the next step of scheduling a session so that you can
feel happy and peaceful again.