Depression Counseling

3 Key Ways to Support a Loved One Suffering from Depression

Posted by Be You Counseling on October 8, 2019

depression counseling support encouragement lonely

Depression is the most common mental health issue in the world. But because it affects everyone differently, it can sometimes be difficult to fully know how you can help or support a loved one who is dealing with it.

You can’t just tell someone with depression to “get over it.” It’s not like a superficial physical wound that will heal on its own over time.

Instead, depression often needs to be managed with the help of a professional. Sometimes, depending on the severity of the symptoms and the person’s capacity to function in the world they might even need medication for a short period of time.

But having support from friends and family is often a key component for someone suffering from depression to get the help they need and learn to manage their symptoms.

So, how can you support your loved one in this struggle?

1. Learn More About Depression

One of the best things you can do to help someone with depression is to educate yourself. The more you know about how depression affects people, the better you’ll be able to handle it when someone you love is having a hard time. Learn more about depression.

As mentioned before, everyone experiences this condition differently. For example, some people might lose their appetite entirely while others will turn to food for comfort. Some might have trouble sleeping while others seem to sleep all the time. 

Learning about common symptoms and understanding that you can’t “fix” someone’s depression will set a solid foundation of support. You can be a listening ear and the person your loved one can turn to when they’re really struggling.

2. Say the Right Things

There is no “perfect” statement that will automatically make someone’s depression better. But there are things you can say that can help. At the same time, there are also things you should absolutely avoid saying.

Assuring you loved one that you’re there to support them will be a big help. Tell them how important they are to you. And ask them what you can do to help.

Your loved one might sound like a broken record when they tell you what they are experiencing. It may be the same struggle over and over again, but the feelings are real and the thoughts are continuous.

They are just as frustrated as you, but by listening to them you are assuring them that they are not alone with their feelings. Giving them space to talk without judgment or a desire to fix “it” is all that is needed.

What should you avoid saying?

Don’t try to tell your loved one that they’ll be able to get over it or that everyone goes through hard times. Plus, you shouldn’t make them feel as if something is wrong with them or tell them to “snap out of it.”

The fact is, you’ll never be able to fully know what’s going on inside their mind, and you don’t have to. Even if you’ve dealt with depression before, no two cases are the same. So, be supportive and encouraging, and be patient with your loved one as they work through their struggles.

3. Encourage Them to Get Help

depression counseling support encouragement soothing

One of the best things you can do to show your support is to encourage your loved one to get help. When depression becomes severe, it can lead to thoughts of self-harm or even suicide. No one wants to see someone they love struggling with those ideas.

Make sure you approach your loved one the right way. Offer to help them find a professional counselor or therapist to talk to. If they refuse to speak to a counselor/therapist, offer to go with them for the first couple of visits until they feel comfortable.

If your loved one does decide to get treatment, you can continue to be supportive throughout the process. Be a positive influence around them, encourage them to take part in activities that are uplifting, and make sure they know you’re with them to help however they might need it. 

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It’s important to set realistic expectations for the person you love, and for yourself. The symptoms of depression don’t go away overnight. Even if someone does get a handle on their symptoms and is able to manage them, it doesn’t mean their depression is totally gone.

When you’re supportive throughout the process—no matter how long it takes—it can help your loved one to respond better to treatment.

If someone you know is struggling with depression, or if you need support with living with someone with depression please contact me to schedule a free consultation. I would like to help. You can also visit my Depression Counseling Page to learn more.

Together we can work on more ideas you can use to help the person you care about to deal with their depression and to get them the treatment they need. We can also work together to process the thoughts and feelings that might be emerging for you.

Has Feeling Lonely Become an Epidemic? – Factors That Contribute to the Issue

Posted by Be You Counseling on August 13, 2019

loneliness epidemic depression therapy feelings

Communication surrounds us 24/7. We live in a world where connection is constantly at our fingertips. We can talk to almost anyone we want to in a matter of seconds.

So, why is loneliness such a problem?

Studies have shown that nearly half of all Americans would say they’re lonely. That seems like a staggering number, considering how easy it is to talk to people, right? Unfortunately, the ease of different types of communication may be a contributing factor to why loneliness is such a big issue.

What’s really causing this potential epidemic, and what can be done about it?

Why Loneliness Can Be Damaging

First, it’s important to understand that loneliness can have lasting negative health effects. When you feel lonely, the issues that arise go far beyond that specific moment.

Feelings of loneliness can lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. People who are lonely may have trouble sleeping or may sleep all the time. They may further disconnect from life by binge watching a TV series on Netflix or HBO. This helps them connected to an alternate world that isn’t their own. As a result, they become isolated and less likely to feel motivated and productive at work, home, or school.

Because extreme loneliness is so often linked with mental health issues, people who suffer from it may also start impulsively partaking in harmful risk taking behaviors as a way of numbing the pain they are feeling. Overeating or not eating at all, drug and alcohol use, constantly staying busy with tasks to do, or sleeping all the time are some of the ways in which we try to disconnect from our feeling. Unfortunately, these strategies are only short lived, and leave you feeling worse off then before.

What Are the Contributing Factors?

So, why are people feeling so lonely? It doesn’t have anything to do with location, gender, or even age. Loneliness has started to become an epidemic because fewer people have meaningful relationships.

Even if you live with someone, you may only have a surface relationship with them. The same goes for friendships and even some romantic relationships. If you don’t fully invest your time and energy into your relationships, they’re never going to become meaningful. Surface relationships don’t foster strong connections.

That lack of connection leads many people toward digital relationships. It’s easier than ever to have 1,000 friends on social media but NOT feel truly connected to any of them. At first, seeing someone “like” your Facebook post can make you feel good. But when you start to realize that your relationship with the person mostly occurs behind a computer screen, it can make those feelings of loneliness kick in even harder. 

Unfortunately, social media plays a huge factor in the loneliness epidemic. It tends to keep people in those surface relationships. As a result, we don’t dive deeper into relationships we might truly care about, and we end up feeling lonely.

How to Combat Loneliness

It’s important to think about quality versus quantity when it comes to stable relationships. The first step in overcoming loneliness is to recognize it. 

Loneliness is subjective—it’s not a fact. It’s okay to accept that you’re feeling lonely. Doing so will help you to better learn how to get through it and find the help you need.

Once you’re willing to admit that your loneliness is a problem, you can create a mental health plan for yourself that keeps you from going down the dangerous path of other potential mental issues, like depression or anxiety attacks. This plan could include learning to sit and lean into your feelings as they emerge instead of moving way from them, fighting back against your negative self-sabotaging self-talk, and/or finding others who might also be struggling with loneliness.

As you bring awareness and curiosity to how you feel and think, instead of judgment and shame, you will develop insight into who you are now and how you arrived at this point. With awareness comes choice. With choice comes power. Instead of being a victim of life and circumstance, become an active participant that is in charge of their life and capable of asking for what you want.

Above all, reach out for help if you need to. Sometimes, that’s the only way to take the first step out of the darkness that a feeling of loneliness can often cause.

If you’re struggling with feeling lonely and you don’t know where to turn, please contact me to set up a free consultation. You can also visit my Depression Counseling Page to learn more. We can talk about what might be causing the issue. From there, we can work on how to better overcome feelings of loneliness. When you’re able to do that, your life can start to be more fulfilling once again.

Exploring Natural Treatments for Depression

Posted by Be You Counseling on April 22, 2019

Depression is a mental health condition that can impact any age, gender, or ethnicity. In fact, nearly 20 million Americans will struggle with depression this year alone. 

Meditation Natural Depression Counseling

However, many of these same people never actually seek treatment. Depression, like various other conditions, can be treated successfully in several different ways. 

More and more people have turned away from prescription medications, relying on holistic methods to help them fight depression. And the benefits of these methods stretch far and wide.

Remember, though, it’s important to discuss any type of depression treatment with your healthcare professional first. 

With that said, here are a few ways to treat depression naturally.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Research suggests that a low intake of omega-3s contributes to depression. Needed for normal brain function, your body can’t produce omega-3 fatty acids. Rather, you get them from your diet.

Increasing these essential nutrients has shown to decrease the impact of depression.

Some of the more popular foods containing omega-3s include salmon and sardines. You can also take fish oil or cod liver oil to help boost your intake.

Exercise

One of the least expensive and yet most effective ways to decrease depression is simply to exercise. Even the 5-minute run is becoming increasingly popular because of its proven impact on one’s overall health.

Furthermore, exercise aids in the battle against depression by releasing mood-boosting chemicals. Especially during aerobic exercises, such as running or dancing, the positive impact is unrivaled.

To get started, find a physical activity that you actually enjoy, which will make it easier to establish exercise as a habit. No need to force a jog on yourself if you strongly dislike jogging. Exercise should bring you joy in addition to offering health benefits.

Reduce Sugar and Caffeine

Sugar and caffeine are “easy come easy go.” You can chug them both in a soft drink, for example. It provides a quick pick-me-up but then leaves you feeling let down once the “high” wears off.

Often, this plummet worsens mood swing, insomnia, and depression. By removing sugar and caffeine or reducing your intake, you help your own body fight depression. Plus, cutting them will help you get rid of wrinkles, too!

Magnesium

Even though a large part of the population doesn’t get enough magnesium, most people are unaware that they are magnesium deficient. And those dealing with depression are the most affected by the deficiency.

Almonds, cashews, and dark chocolate are among the most common ways to increase your intake of magnesium.

Plus, you can even make your own magnesium oil to spray on your skin. Just make sure you purchase magnesium chloride flakes as your body absorbs this type the best.

Light Therapy

sunlight natural depression counseling

Exposure to sunlight has an impressively positive impact on your mental health. Unfortunately, during the winter months, this may be difficult to accomplish because the days are colder and shorter. Often, spending time outside simply isn’t on the agenda.

Yet, light therapy can have a profound effect on your mood and overall well-being. Plus, it helps to calibrate your body’s natural circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle).

To get the most from light therapy, aim for spending 15 minutes per day in natural sunlight. When the sun hides or sets early, try a lightbox. But, increase your daily dose to around 20 or 30 minutes.

Meditation

Both meditation and mindfulness have grown in popularity as a cure for depression (among other conditions) over the past several years. Unsurprisingly, the two go hand in hand.

Mindful meditation is often beneficial because it allows dark thoughts to pass through your mind when you would normally try to reject them. This practice offers a great deal of acceptance and validation, empowering you to overcome depressed feeling.

Establishing a meditative habit doesn’t have to be spooky or “out there.” It’s simply a matter of finding a quiet place in which to dedicate a few moments of mental focus.

Often, depression can make you feel too overwhelmed to start one of these daily habits. That’s where a counselor/therapist can step in to offer support.

If you’re ready to address the depression in your life, schedule a free consultation so we can get to the bottom of what is causing your depressed feelings. You can also visit my depression counseling page for more information. I’d like to help you live life to the fullest!

 

Depression Hurts – Practical Tips to Help You Ease Emotional Pain

Posted by Be You Counseling on April 17, 2019

Depression can have a big impact on your mental and emotional health. Pessimistic thoughts intensify. Feelings of sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and despair deepen. There is an ache inside that feels like it will never end. These thoughts and feelings interrupt your life and the lives of the people around you. 

However, not everyone understands just how deeply the wounds of depression can go in terms of causing emotional pain.

A practical way to think about emotional pain is to compare it to physical pain. The different factors and symptoms associated with depression can create emotional bumps, bruises, and scarring. 

In fact, emotional pain can hurt more and be even more damaging than physical pain. If it’s not taken care of, it can also lead to health problems like a weakened immune system, inflammation, or high blood pressure.

So, how can you ease the emotional pain caused by depression?

Consider a few practical tips for dealing with emotional pain.

 Lean Into the Feelings

The human body is wired to move away from pain and toward pleasure. Emotional pain is no different. People have many different strategies for dealing with emotional pain. They may redirect it, minimize it, avoid it, internalize it, etc. Regardless, emotion paid does not loosen it grips when it is ignored. Instead, it is stubborn and digs its heals in even deeper.

It might seem counterintuitive to lean into emotional pain, but the more light you can shine on it the less intense it will feel.

Depression is the result of not being able to express emotional pain. Feelings are drawn inward, instead of expressing them outward and releasing them.  Inward movement leads to feeling stuck, heavy, paralyzed, and disconnected from life. Outward movement results in feeling light, mobile, energized, and connected with life.

To begin, find a quiet place where you can close your eyes. As you begin to bring awareness inward approach your feelings with curiosity, not judgment. At first you may not know what you are feeling, and that’s ok. Become aware of the body sensations that are emerging. Does the feeling sit anywhere? If so, focus on that area. Notice how long you are able to sit with your feelings before you distract yourself. Ask your body questions such as, “If you can express yourself right now, what would that look like?”

Be sure to listen for the answers to your questions. If possible keep a journal nearby to record your experience.

The longer you can sit with your feelings the greater your tolerance will be, and the quicker you will be able to move through your emotional pain when it emerges.

Fighting Loneliness with Positive Self-Talk

Many people who are dealing with depression also feel lonely. In fact, this might be the reason you yourself are depressed, or you might isolate yourself because of your depression. Relationships and support are extremely important in everyone’s lives, but even more so if you’re currently struggling with overwhelming emotions and thoughts. 

If your depression makes you feel lonely, you might also feel helpless, as though you’re not good enough for healthy relationships. This can lead to a lot of doubt and negative self-talk. You might think that you’re a burden to people or that no one really likes you.

One of the best ways to battle this emotional pain is to fight against that negative self-talk. Think of your self-esteem as a muscle that needs to be “worked out” in order to get stronger. Ask yourself practical questions to challenge your all or nothing thinking about your loneliness and why you feel the way you do. 

As you continue to work on positive self-talk, make every attempt to reconnect with friends and family, even for short periods of time. Doing this will help you to realize that you’re worthy of love and have the ability to love others, despite your depressed feelings.

Healing the Scars of the Past

In a depressed state, it’s not uncommon to ruminate over things you’ve been through in the past. Thinking about unpleasant situations throughout your life can cause you to fall deeper into a hole of darkness. For some people, it’s even easy to make up negative situations and dwell on them.

It’s important to heal these scars so they don’t keep clinging to you for the rest of your life.

One of the first things you can do is to realize that you’re internal dialogue is far more critical than any else’s, and most likely you are the only one in your life who is dwelling on your failures. If you lost your job, had a bad breakup, or even if you made an embarrassing mistake at work, there’s a good chance no one is talking about it or even remembers it the way that you do.

When you realize that these negative situations aren’t important to other people, you can start to make them less important to you as well. As a result, you’ll think about them less and less. 

If you’re still having a problem with these emotional scars, lean into them and acknowledge them. Remind yourself that whatever you are feeling has already happened to you and it can no longer hurt you in the way that it once did. Remind yourself that you are currently safe, and that you are not alone.

Acknowledging, instead of distracting yourself from your emotional pain can make a big difference in not letting yourself get sucked into the past.

Easing the Pain of Trauma

Depression can often be linked to emotional trauma. Maybe you’ve gone through a particularly traumatic event. Or maybe years of repeated trauma have brought you to a state of depression and anxiety.

Whatever the case, dealing with trauma can hurt and make you feel unsafe.

Everyone has different coping mechanisms when it comes to trauma, but seeking out help from a professional counselor or therapist is one of the best ways to get through it. A counselor/therapist can help you identify what triggers your pain and learn different ways to manage and relieve your symptoms.

If you’re struggling with emotional pain due to depression, having someone to talk to can make a big difference. Schedule a free consultation or visit my so we can get to the bottom of what is causing your depression. You can also visit my depression counseling page for more information. From there, we’ll work on different ways to find comfort and healing.