Whether you're struggling with an intense depressive episode or a mild, but chronic case of the blues, you know first hand how challenging this condition can be. Depression can negatively impact all aspects of your life, including your career, relationships, social life, and especially your overall happiness. Common symptoms of depression include:
You may also notice a vague sense of heaviness in your mind and body that leaves you feeling lethargic, fatigued, and unmotivated. Possibly you experience guilt, irritability, and a deep emotional pain that seems to keep joy, pleasure, and happiness out of your reach. Maybe you struggle with low self-esteem or a lack of confidence. Or, perhaps you feel lost or unclear about your life direction.
Typical recommendations for depression treatment include getting more exercise, thinking positively, reaching out to your support system, and eating healthier. Theoretically, all of these factors can be helpful, but they can also lead to a sense of defeat for the depressed person who feels too lethargic, stuck, and unmotivated to consistently follow through on this kind of action.
The word "trauma" refers to a broad range of difficult, painful, or distressing experiences from your past that continue to cause uncomfortable emotional symptoms.
Unresolved traumas get trapped in your nervous system and create ongoing emotional pain and a sense of heaviness. This "heaviness" is akin to walking through life wearing a backpack full of rocks. All the painful experiences you've endured, but not resolved, weighing you down, making you feel stuck, and holding you back in life.
Some examples of the types of trauma that can be at the source of your depression include:
Your thinking has a significant impact on how you feel. Negative thoughts encourage negative feelings; positive thoughts encourage positive feelings. According to current brain research, whenever you have a negative thought, your brain releases chemicals that cause you to feel bad. Good thoughts have the reverse effect - making you feel good. Clearly, depression is strongly influenced by your thinking.
Negative thoughts come from many sources, most notably traumatic experiences. Were your parents, teachers, and other authority figures quick to point out your weaknesses? You may have heard statements like, "You're bad." "Can't you do anything right?" or "What's wrong with you?" Over time, it's easy to internalize these types of messages. Statements like these strongly impact how you feel about yourself and erode your confidence and self-esteem.
If you've experienced trauma related to grief or loss - such as the death of a loved one or a relationship breakup - you may find that as much as you want your depression to go away, it actually functions to protect you from further pain. Depression keeps you from getting your hopes up, from opening your heart again, or from feeling really passionate about anything. In this way, your depression helps you to avoid feeling disappointed or let down. Unfortunately, this comes at a painful cost to you.
While it's common for traumatic events to lead to depression, it's also true that many people experience very challenging circumstances without becoming depressed. In these situations, there may be other factors at play, such as certain maladaptive patterns of thinking or behaving, such as:
Another important factor that exists with depression treatment is the role that anxiety plays. When you experience ongoing worry, fear, and anxiety it's natural to feel trapped, discouraged, or disempowered - all of which are strong contributors to depression. In these cases, it's valuable to address your anxiety as a part of your depression treatment.
In my approach to depression treatment, I use specific counseling techniques to help you release emotional trauma and transform the negative thinking and behavior patterns that fuel your depression. This can help you to free up the energy that supports your capacity to feel alive, passionate, and fulfilled in life! Imagine if you could:
The function that brain chemistry imbalance plays in depression should not be overlooked. If this is a factor for you, we can discuss the possibility of taking antidepressant medication under the supervision of a doctor and/or working with a naturopath or acupuncturist to pursue natural mood support.
Depression can feel overwhelming. You may know what you need to do to make yourself feel better, such as thinking positively, socializing more, exercising, and eating right. But when you're feeling depressed it can be hard to take this kind of action. The goal of my approach to depression treatment is to help you release the barriers - emotional pain and trauma, as well as negative thoughts and behavior patterns - that hold you back from feeling energized, happy, and fulfilled in your life!
Office located in NW Portland, Oregon. Serving the Portland metro area, including Beaverton, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Tigard, West Linn, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Tualatin, Gresham, and Vancouver, WA.