The very first post on this blog was an article I did not write. The woman setting up my social media outlets simply found an article that seemed informative to help me get things going. No harm intended and I actually appreciate her help. The article inspired one reader to share her critique of the article which got me to thinking: I’ll write my own view of depression. So here it goes.
Depression can be a bit of a slippery fish. Its origins vary from life experiences to physiological to even a combination of both. It can come and go without notice. It can hang on for interminably long periods of time. Sometimes it responds to medication and people report “getting their life back.” Sometimes the quest for the most effective drug can seem worse than the depression itself. There are people who find that “the power of positive thinking” actually helps. For others the mere thought of changing their perception of things catapults them into even deeper depression. There are no simple answers when it comes to depression.
Some may disagree with me. I have found in my life as a counselor that “always” and “never” have no place in the world of psychology. It seems there are more theories and therapeutic strategies than one can master in a lifetime. There are specialties that come just short of promising a cure. In this field, therapists are advised not to offer a cure because, as we all know, every person is unique and the reasons for their particular issue complicated by that fact. Not to mention that the brain, though far more understood now than in years past, posits a vast realm of mystery.
Therapists want to be able to free clients from the pain that cripples and paralyzes them. Most of us are in this field because we genuinely care about people and want to present what limited knowledge we have to improve their quality of life. In my experience, the one constant I can offer, is myself. My presence, my heart, my compassion and understanding. For my most profoundly depressed clients, that is the one thing that seems to help. Not overnight. There is talking and listening, and often there are tears. Sometimes there are skills involved and sometimes not. I encourage being gentle with yourself. Allowing the depression to be there. To understand it as a part of you but not necessarily as something that defines you. I can’t promise that these will “cure” depression. What I believe is that sometimes a portion of relief is found in someone sitting across from you confirming what you already know: there are no simple answers.