Depression affects many people and results in great pain for those who suffer from it and also for their families and friends. Since the 90’s depression has become the leading cause of lost days in the workplace. Many people who are depressed are not aware that they are suffering from this illness.
Signs of Depression
1/ Not enjoying life – lack of interest in activities we previously enjoyed
2/ Feeling tired all the time – constant lethargy, slowness
3/ Sense of despair – not looking ahead in life, can include suicidal feelings
4/ Appetite problems – eating too little or too much
5/ Difficulty with sleep – insomnia or sleeping all the time
6/ Mood Swings – quick change of moods for ‘no reason’
7/ Lack of concentration – can’t focus on tasks, difficulty remembering things
8/ Feeling disconnected from people – withdrawing from family and friends
9/ Constant anxiety – ever present state of worry or dread
10/ Self-critical feelings – Judgement towards self, feeling not good enough
Types of Depression
· Mild to Moderate Depression – This type of depression, even though it is classified as ‘mild to moderate’, can make day-to-day functioning quite difficult. It can include all the signs of depression and can go on for a short or long period of time.
· Serious Depression – This degree of depression includes the same symptoms. However, these are felt to such a degree that a person becomes unable to function in life. If you fit this profile then medical intervention is required. If you have suicidal thoughts that include a plan then medical intervention is required immediately.
· Manic Depression – People suffering from manic depression alternate between 2 states of feeling, the first is one of depression and the second is one of euphoria or feeling very high. Time spent in each state can vary from brief to long. Manic depression can be quite serious, as people in the manic state can feel a sense of invincibility that often leads to severe problems.
A number of the people who come to me are on some form of anti-depression medication. I am not a doctor and can’t decide for them whether or not they should be on medication. However, I tell them to use Internet research regarding the type of medication they are taking. I also tell them to make sure that they and their doctor monitor their medication as to its effectiveness, dosage and side effects. If the medication is too strong and deadens the person too much, they will not be able to engage in therapy.
A Holistic Approach to Depression
I work with depression in a holistic manner. I believe it is an illness that arises from difficulties that can encompass the emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual spheres of a person. I gear my approach to the individual and her or his specific needs and strengths. We begin with an inventory of different areas of the person’s life in order to understand the difficulties and challenges that we will face in our work together.
With my years of experience as a Toronto therapist, I use a variety of strategies and resources that are aimed at helping a person learn new ways of thinking about and dealing with their problems. In particular I use a type of whole person mindfulness training, which teaches a person a variety of approaches to self-awareness. I also help the person to better understand their life history in order to see what situations or events are related to the onset of depression.
Part of the strategic work deals directly with the essential matter of self-care. People who are depressed often treat themselves badly. This neglect is a key factor in the accumulation of the stresses that led up to the depression. In this area of the therapy we look at what small steps can be possible for the person in beginning to reverse this situation.
Throughout the therapy we will touch all the areas of a person’s life. In doing this we often run into related problems such as addictions, family difficulties, job stress, grief, and trauma or childhood abuse. The therapy will also address these problems since they can be major links to depression.
As the therapy progresses, the person is gradually able to understand their depression from a standpoint of the entire framework of their life. Through this holistic approach they begin to take the necessary steps to addressing these problems and feel empowered to move forward in their lives.