See if any of the descriptions below sound like you:
Things have been stressful at work lately. Your boss is insisting you work a lot of overtime, but your mother is ill and needs a lot of care. You feel like you have been run ragged. You don’t have much energy and feel tired a lot. No matter what you do you feel guilty about something; the growing stacks of paperwork on your desk; not getting your mother to her doctor’s appointment yesterday; not being there for your husband and children enough. You feel sad and joyless a lot. Despite your stress you are usually able to take care of your responsibilities.
Mild Chronic Depression:
You have always felt kind of sad and outside of things most of your life. Your Dad was an alcoholic. Your Mom took care of him, and you took care of her. You felt different from the other kids. You just didn’t relate to the jokes, and the fun times they seemed to have. You loved school though, and became an RN. People see you as a skilled a professional, yet you feel insecure, and lack confidence. Emotionally, you feel numb and disconnected. You wonder if you will ever feel normal. Sometimes you need to take a day off or two to get your head together.
You feel it creeping back again; that heavy feeling in your chest, the weighed down feeling that makes you feel immobile. Your steps have slowed, and you find yourself shuffling along, not caring about getting anywhere fast. People keep saying that they can’t understand you, “you’re talking too soft”. You have been pushing yourself to go to work, but you have trouble concentrating and keep having to read things over again. You forget to eat, because you don’t feel hungry. People ask if you’re ok. You tell them yes, you’re just not sleeping well lately, which is true. During your last episode you just slept all the time. Odd, how that can change. You feel worthless. You know that you may have to go on disability once more. Your husband will be left holding the bag again. You feel like a lousy wife. He would be better off without you. Maybe you should just end it so he can have a better life.
There are times when you experience severe depression, but there are other times when you are just the opposite. You feel like you are at the top of the world and have tons of energy! You have never felt so confident in yourself, and know that you have a very special place in the world. You don’t feel a need for sleep. Instead you stay up much of the night completely involved in projects such as fixing the car, art, house cleaning, etc. You are also very active during the day. You talk rapidly, and have a lot to say, possibly talking longer than people want to listen. You get excessively involved in activities that put you at risk for painful consequences such as buying sprees, inappropriate sexual encounters, substance abuse, poor business investments etc. You may become agitated. Suicidal thoughts are a possibility. Your social and occupational functioning may suffer. You at may be at risk for hospitalization.
I have seen the devastation that depression can cause, and as a result I have chosen depression as one of my specializations. Depression comes in a range of severities, from mild to severe. It can be caused by stressful circumstances in a person’s life, and can be a one-time episode, or there can be many episodes over the years. Some people experience a low grade depression over much of their lives. Some women experience a post partum depression after their baby is born due to hormonal changes. This can interfere with bonding with the baby. Depression can be genetic in nature and has been linked to biochemical changes in the brain.
Some people are eventually able to get better on their own, and you may be one of them. But for many, depression can hang on and on. If your depression is persistent, it is a good idea to seek out treatment with a mental health professional such as myself. Treatment is molded to the individual client, but in general I will help you look at ways to reduce the stressors in your life; change the negative thoughts that feed into your depressed mood; look at adding structure and activities to your life to reduce your isolation and loneliness; and learn how to be as compassionate towards yourself as you are for others. Additionally, we will explore unhealthy family patterns and roles in your family of origin, in order to develop healthy functioning in your current relationships. If you are receptive, I may refer you to a psychiatrist so you can decide if medication might be helpful to you.
My name is Marie. If you would like to have a free 15 minute phone consultation, please call me at 707-210-4418.