Unfortunately, depression often causes you to feel like you can’t reach out. It tempts you to feel like no one understands your pain. This is a lie the devil tells us to cut us off from the community that can heal us. God wants to heal us not only through his loving presence but through the kindness and compassion others can share with us. When you dare to reach out for help, you can find relief from your depressed feelings.
Other disorders often mask depression, such as anxiety, codependency, substance abuse, and more. A qualified Christian counselor can make a diagnosis that will tell you the root causes of your depression. Many people find healing through talk therapy, and several sessions with a caring counselor can give you much-needed perspective and hope.
Depression Signs and Symptoms
For the past two weeks, if you have experienced persistent feelings of sadness and isolation, you may be suffering from depression. These signs and symptoms indicate that a call to a counselor may be needed.
- Little to no interest in favorite activities
- Inability to concentrate at work or school
- Lack of desire to attend normal social engagements
- Frequent teary episodes
- Irritation or uncharacteristic angry outbursts
- Marked increase or decrease in appetite
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Pacing or restlessness
- Slowed movements or speech
- Lack of energy to complete daily tasks
- Loss of concentration
- Loss of short-term memory
- Feelings of excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Recurring thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or death
If you have at least three of these symptoms for at least two weeks in a row, you may have Major Depressive Disorder or clinical depression. A qualified Christian counselor can make this diagnosis.
If you are grieving a recent loss, depression is a component of the grieving process. Even if you have not experienced the death of a loved one, you may be grieving something else that requires a depression stage so you can reach acceptance. When you seek help for depression from a Christian counselor, you can gain clarity about the issues you face and start addressing them at the root level.
Dealing with Depression
You can learn to handle your depression in proactive ways with the following tips.
Don’t fake it till you make it.
You can’t just “turn off” sad feelings when you are depressed. These feelings must be allowed to progress so you can reach a point of healing. Don’t try to fake happy feelings when you don’t feel them. A counselor can help you deal with your real feelings when you have depression.
Don’t repress your feelings.
Depression has been described as pain turning inward. But if you hide your negative feelings inside, they can cause further damage to your mind, body, and spirit, and your depression could worsen. In the counselor’s office, you can learn to safely identify and release your feelings.
Depression feels isolating, and it’s tempting to retreat. But humans are social beings and isolating yourself only exacerbates the problem. Reaching out to just one trusted person each day, whether by phone or online, can help you see things from a different perspective. Making contact with others will help you see the hope that lies behind the dark clouds of your depression.
Don’t minimize your problem.
Depression affects almost every area of your life. You can’t just brush it away; it demands to be processed, or it can cause more problems in your relationships, work, and other obligations. A compassionate Christian counselor will affirm your feelings and help you sort through them.
Don’t quit treatment too soon.
If you decide to get treatment for your depression, commit to several months of sessions so you can tackle the roots of your problems. It takes several sessions to get to know your counselor and open the depths of your problems. This requires an investment of time, but it very well may be the best investment you ever made in yourself. When you deal with the problems at the root of your depression, you can be healed for good.
There are simple ways to alleviate the symptoms of depression on your own. Regular routines are very soothing for your brain. If you stick to regular rhythms of eating right, exercising, getting the right amount of rest, and connecting with others, you’ll have a better chance of getting over your depression faster than someone who doesn’t practice these rhythms.
It’s important to stay connected to others in your fight to overcome depression. Don’t let a day go by without calling a friend or seeing someone in person. You need to be proactive against the temptation of isolation when you are depressed. Seek out a support group, such as Celebrate Recovery, which meets regularly so you can look forward to interacting with others.
People who are depressed often don’t treat themselves well. But you can take steps to be kind to yourself in your quest to overcome depression. It’s wise to lower your expectations, engage in gentle self-talk, and minimize stress points. You can also treat yourself well by not taking on new projects while working through your depression, and breaking tasks into smaller portions so you don’t drain your energy.
You can reduce your depression by identifying your triggers. When do you feel the lowest in the day? That’s when you need to reach out for someone’s help and encouragement. Which situations cause the most stress? That’s when you need to guard your heart and reduce your exposure.
When is the loneliest time for you? That’s when you need to practice self-care or call a friend. By looking at these triggers, you can engage in the opposite behavior to offset your depressed feelings.
It’s important to look ahead rather than focus on the past as you work to overcome your depression. Build little rewards into your days, weeks, and months to propel you forward with hope. Remember that your emotions do not need to control your behaviors – instead, you can ask God to help you be mindful and intentional with each step forward. Cling to the hope he promises in his Word, and you will find yourself moving ahead in your fight against depression.
Therapy for Depression
If you’ve never visited a counselor for your depression, this is what you can expect. Most counselors start with cognitive-behavioral therapy, in which you talk about your problems and discuss different ways to handle them. Your counselor will ask questions about your family background, current struggles, personality, and relationships to learn about the root causes of your depression.
Often, depression is anger turned inward. Your counselor will help you identify areas in which you have unprocessed hurt, fear, or frustration that is driving your anger, and then you can be set free from its grip. With a counselor’s help, you can discover blind spots in your thoughts, words, and actions, and learn to practice self-control in your reactions and emotions.
Some people benefit from using prescription drugs to regulate brain chemistry which is thrown off by depression. Your counselor will work with your doctor to determine whether a prescription drug will help you, if cognitive-behavioral therapy is sufficient, or if both should be used in tandem. By forming a custom treatment plan, you can overcome the depression that holds you down.
When you meet with a Christian counselor to discuss your depression, you can find perspective and healing. Your counselor will introduce strategies like problem-solving skills, addressing unconscious thoughts, and being intentional in your actions to help you overcome the thoughts and actions that keep you stuck in depression. Reach out to us today to discover the treatment plan that is best for you.
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