Depression is a club with a large, but temporary, membership. 17.3 million American adults suffer from depression, so if you're feeling down right now, you're not alone.
It's important not to self-diagnose since there could be multiple reasons why you feel depressed, and you don’t want to spend time developing the perfect solution to the wrong problem. While it may feel difficult to reach out for help, you'll probably find that real progress is possible, and that taking that first step was well worth it.
What Are the Signs of Depression?
You might want to get evaluated for depression if you feel tired much of the time, are sleeping too much or too little, or feel sad, irritable, guilty, and/or worthless. Depression may also manifest itself as a feeling of heaviness in your body, or as inexplicable pain or headaches. Indecisiveness, difficulty concentrating, and not finding pleasure in activities you used to enjoy are also symptoms.
Depression can run in families, so it may be worth seeking a diagnosis if you have family members who are depressed. In addition, if you're in close proximity to someone with depression, this can be extremely draining, and can trigger or worsen your moodiness.
How Does Depression Counseling Work?
The most effective depression counseling therapies focus on identifying the underlying thoughts that trigger the negative emotions you're experiencing. Once we identify those thoughts, we can look at them from a variety of angles. For example, I may be able to help you re-frame certain thoughts in a way that's more positive and productive.
When trauma triggers depression, counseling can help you navigate the effects of that trauma. When day-to-day stressors have gotten out of control, I can provide you with practical, actionable techniques for reducing, releasing, and managing that stress.
How Long Does Depression Counseling Take?
It depends on the severity of your depression, the length of time you've felt depressed, and the specific issues driving your depression. It also depends on your willingness to participate in the process, to be candid in counseling, and to implement suggestions. Statistics show that clients who do these things tend to see significant improvements in three to six months.
Everyone is different, and how long you continue counseling is your choice. You're free to continue counseling as long as you're seeing the benefits, without attempting to put your well-being on a schedule, and it'll be apparent to you and I when you're doing much better and no longer need therapy. Counseling is about how you feel, how well you're functioning overall, and how to create a life that better reflects who you truly are.
Virtual Depression Counseling (AKA "Online" Depression Counseling)
My clients have been reporting that they're benefiting from phone and video conference counseling just as much as from in-person counseling here in Lafayette. The important elements are all there, including the ability to speak about your thoughts and emotions in a supportive and productive environment.
If you're thinking of getting started, you're welcome to contact me to arrange a 15-minute phone consultation at no charge to discuss why you're seeking counseling.