Please note that I am open and accepting new online clients. You can reach me here.
Do you wake up feeling tired and overwhelmed by life right now?
Do you have difficulty motivating yourself to eat right and take care of yourself?
Is the trauma of everything happening associated with COVID triggering past traumas and losses? Is COVID triggering a depression?
Are you struggling with finding joy in your day or week?
Does it feel like you are helpless to do anything to impact your health, your depression or your finances?
Is it difficult to simply get out of bed?
Does life feel hopeless?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you might be suffering from depression.
There is help.
We are all living through an overwhelming time right now and it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious and numb. There is a tremendous amount of fear in the world and we are all trying to figure out how to cope. There are some who are experiencing a depression on top of this universal overwhelm. If this is you, please know that you don’t have to be alone as you figure this out.
Depression is defined in the dictionary as feelings of severe despondency and dejection. For some, their depression has been triggered by the COVID crisis while others live daily with this illness. The good news is that depression is treatable. Together we can find which treatment works for your individual depression.
What is depression?
The American Psychiatric Association defines depression as including the following symptoms:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
In my work with clients over the past 20 years, I have found that there are 2 types of depression – depression with a little “d” and depression with a capital “D.” The little “d” depression is what we struggle with after we go through a bad break-up, a loss, a large disappointment or a traumatic event. We have many of the symptoms listed above but we know what the cause of the feelings are; we know inside that this depression will abate once our heart heals.
The big “D” depression is a different story. This type of depression also has the same symptoms but it is difficult to find the precipitating event/s. Individuals are left feeling out-of-control, with an overwhelming sadness and hopelessness. People often ask someone suffering from depression: “what’s wrong?” as if there is a cause, and if we find it – you can heal it. But with Depression there is no answer – your depression has a stranglehold on you. Without a clear answer to why they feel so bad, many are left feeling that: I am wrong; I am bad; I am causing this feeling. I believe this is one of the most evil parts of this illness; that many who suffer from it believe they are the cause of their depression. Due to this, many don’t get the help and support they need. Please be brave and call for a free consultation – there is help.
What causes depression?
Depression can be caused by a big trauma, like a mugging, rape, violence in childhood or a break-up. It can also be caused by a series of very small traumas over a larger time period: misattunement by your parents, being ignored by your parents, or your mother’s or father’s own depression or substance abuse. Depression can also be a biologic disposition you are born with. There is no way to tell what might be the cause of your depression or to get a formal diagnosis without an assessment by a trained mental health professional.
What is the difference between sadness and depression?
While they seem similar, these feelings have a big difference – duration. Sadness is not as long standing or entrenched as depression. Once the loss or disappointment that triggered a feeling of sadness has passed – the sadness lessens. With depression, there is not usually a lessening of the symptoms for days, weeks or months. It can be very confusing for someone who has never experienced depression to understand why the depressed individual can’t simply distract themselves or cheer themselves up.
Is depression a feeling or an illness?
Depression is a medical illness. You cannot talk yourself out of it. You cannot distract yourself out of it. A promotion, a new job, a different girlfriend, a ring, losing 20 pounds nor a baby will cure depression. Being depressed does not mean that you are weak, lazy or stupid. You did not cause your depression. If you could think your way out of this – you would have already done so.
However, depression is treatable. While there is no “cure” – we don’t have a magic pill yet – depression symptoms can be managed with talk therapy, medication as well as a long list of alternative healing. Many people resist getting the help that they need because they feel they just know that their depression is caused by their own weakness, laziness or badness. You need to question this assumption – you are not weak. Please reach out for help.
Why would my depression be triggered by this COVID crisis?
Many of my client’s depressions are being triggered by the current COVID crisis because we have all lost so many of the rituals, routines and structures that hold us. Our routines are different; our eating has changed and we cannot escape into the world as we used to. We are isolated in ways that test us all. Paired with this is the overwhelming stress and anxiety about job security, the stock market, politics, illness, loss and money. I believe we are all grieving right now and for some, this grief triggers a depression.
Does therapy really work?
Yes. In my 20 years of working with clients I have seen how therapy can truly help relieve depression – even long entrenched depressions. Some of my clients need a referral for medication and I have some wonderful psychiatrists I have worked with. Therapy helps by giving you the experience, over time, of tolerating the intolerable feelings associated with depression. There are instances when a depression is a protective response, by the mind, to shield you from feeling truly intolerable feelings. Once you begin to feel these, your defensive response lessens. While this is not the only way that I work with depression, it is an important one. Please know that we can treat your depression using online therapy.
How long do I need to be in therapy?
There is no way to predict the timing of our work until we have an intake. I would love to say that I can cure your depression in 8 weeks but I can’t. Many of my clients have struggled with their depression for years or decades and we cannot “cure” them overnight. However, depression is treatable – there is hope.
How much does this cost?
My fee for individual counseling is $175/50-minute session.
Do I have to take medication?
No – medication is not the only treatment for depression. However, there are times when medication is appropriate. As a clinical social worker, I can not prescribe any medications. If we determine that medication is needed, I will help you find a psychiatrist who will work with you to find an appropriate medication.
What about suicide?
Suicide is something we will need to talk about. Depression is a medical illness and in some cases, it is fatal. Some people who suffer with depression feel like there is no way to end the pain they are in. Please know that there are many treatments for this illness and not everyone responds to the first one they try. My job is to hold onto the hope for you. I know that we will find something that works. I know that you will find a way to get you to the other side of this dark place.
If you are currently feeling suicidal – please know that there is help for you right now. You can call the National Suicide Hotline and talk with a trained counselor – their number is 800-273-8255. Parents, siblings, friends and partners can also call for you.
What if my partner is depressed but won’t come to therapy?
I have many couples who come to see me for couples counseling when the real issue is depression or anxiety in one partner. I am able to very gently focus the work from how the depression or anxiety impacts you both as a couple to how it impacts your partner. I use gentle humor and science based research to introduce the potential individual support. Please note: if I am working with a couple, the couple is my client. Because of this, I won’t be able to work with one of you as an individual client. However, I know many wonderful therapists and can help you with a referral.
Do you offer online therapy?
Yes, I am able to provide both individual and couples counseling using online therapy. It is a wonderful resource for our work as we all shelter at home and are safer at home.
What do I do now?
Please contact me for a free consultation so we can talk about your depression and potential treatments. I am open for online therapy. I look forward to hearing from you. Learn more about individual counseling with Ashley.