Depression is very hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it. It is not simply just being sad.
There may be a lot of other feelings that go along with it. Sometimes a common theme can be lack of action. For those who are really suffering, a basic action like brushing your teeth can feel insurmountable. When combined with other unhealthy or addictive behaviors designed to mask the feelings that come with depression, the symptoms can be magnified. While there are medications to treat the symptoms, we believe it is critical for clients to get to the root causes, and learn over time to take actions that lead to new, healthier feelings.
The ability to care for and love our authentic self and determine our sense of meaning and purpose are often key issues to be explored with a trained therapist. Learning to love and accept our authentic selves is one of the hardest, yet most important things we can do in our lives. Part of this journey is to deeply understand that we are worthy of love not because we have certain qualities, skills or accomplishments, but rather because we experience our thoughts and feelings authentically. Alice Miller puts in beautifully in her book: The Drama of the Gifted Child:
“One is free from Depression when self esteem is based on the authenticity of one’s own feelings and not on the possession of certain qualities.”