Depression can be a crippling condition in which even everyday tasks start to feel unbearable. Common symptoms include:
- loss of energy and motivation
- inability to concentrate
- loss of pleasure in activities
- social withdrawal
A sense of hopelessness is often at the heart of depression, as people may feel trapped in their lives with no clear idea of how to feel better. In its worst moments, people struggling with depression may contemplate suicide. Furthermore, people struggling with depression often feel shame for not being able to pull themselves out of it. As a result of not wanting to admit their struggles to anyone, this shame can create a vicious cycle of withdrawal and hopelessness.
Part of depression treatment involves helping people break the cycle of hopelessness and shutdown that depression creates. The act of reaching out to a therapist is an important first step. Feeling heard and supported by a professional can reduce shame, and make it easier to start reaching out to others for help. Initial sessions may involve finding small tasks that feel manageable. Actively pursuing these tasks can help a person start to feel a sense of mastery and enjoyment in their life again.
Another important part of depression treatment is exploring underlying beliefs that may have contributed to the depression’s onset. Many people have had negative life experiences that make it hard to feel positively about themselves and the world around them. Exploring a person’s past can help bring to light previously unconscious beliefs caused by these experiences. In doing so, people can begin to reevaluate their life and the possibilities for their future in ways that feel less threatening and hurtful. As this happens the cloud of depression starts to lift.