Written by Jordan Zipkin, LMFT
We all feel sad at times, but depression is when that sadness becomes something far more unpleasant and destructive.
Do you often find yourself feeling very down and continually obsessing on negative thoughts? Perhaps you avoid family and friends. Perhaps you regularly look at what your friends and family members are up to in their lives and you feel more sad, alone, and jealous because you’re convinced they’re living such great lives and you feel you’re not. Maybe you’re wondering why you don’t feel so happy and fulfilled.
Do you also feel isolated and lonely? Maybe you used to be more social, but these days, you regularly stay home -- often in your room.
Do you also find it’s incredibly difficult to focus on anything? Struggling with these experiences make it impossibly hard to do work, and for many, to even go to work. When our minds are occupied with such overwhelmingly negative thoughts, it’s quite challenging to complete assignments, engage in things we usually enjoy, and feel a sense of happiness, accomplishment, and pride.
You might also have friends and family members telling you that if you could just get out and talk with people and do things you enjoy, you’ll snap out of it. You wish they could understand just how hard that is to accomplish.
You wish they could understand that you want to be happy; you just don’t know how to feel that way. You don’t want to feel such low motivation and hopelessness, but you find that even when you begin to feel motivation, it doesn’t last very long at all. It doesn’t help when you find yourself sleeping and/or eating a lot more, or a lot less, than usual, as is often the case when we struggle with depression.
If you’re depression has gotten to such a dark place that you’re having suicidal thoughts, we strongly encourage you to get help immediately by first calling 911. Whether or not you are suffering from these excruciating thoughts and experiences, we want you to know there is always hope for a much brighter future.
You know you can’t continue to go on like this. If you did remain stuck, your sadness, hopeless, and disconnectedness will worsen. You would continue to have chaotic eating and/or sleeping habits. You would also continue resisting things that used to make you feel physically great, such as exercising. You would also keep resisting spending time with friends and family, avoid connecting with your partner, or continue avoiding the whole dating scene. Since you’re here, there must be a part of you that wonders whether you can regain your life again, and we’re here to tell you that you can.
Whether you’re experiencing sadness or much more limiting and unpleasant depression, therapy can help you feel much happier, accomplished, motivated, and hopeful.
We’ve been helping people feel enthused, excited, and proud for years. Many people think they aren’t normal for having depression, when the reality is that millions of Americans endure this problem each year.
Depression is a combination of genetics and several undesirable experiences. These experiences range from something as terrible as an assault to something as seemingly harmless as a move to a different state.
Regardless of the reason(s), there is always good reason that the event(s) that contributed to the depression did just that, and that’s a big part of what therapy will work to help you understand and appreciate.
We’ll also help you recognize that what sets depression apart from sadness is this: sadness is short-lived and usually not tremendously overwhelming or debilitating, while depression tends to last several days to months and inflicts significant damage on our lives.
One of the biggest obstacles caused by depression is that it makes us lose our drive, and when we stop doing the things that bring us enjoyment and rewards, we tend to feel even more down and even less motivated. We’ll work together to get you out of this vicious cycle as quickly as possible.
A critical part of any good therapy is recognizing where the symptoms began, as well as when they worsen. We’ll quickly work to help you learn this information, so that you can better notice when you’re feeling triggered to feel depressed. We’ll simultaneously help you develop the skills to better respond to these triggering events, so you don’t feel depressed in response to them.
Flawed, negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world are central to the depressive experience. Depression therapy will help you identify both where your thinking is causing you difficulty and how it isn’t always based on evidence. We’ll then help you challenge and replace these unhelpful thoughts and beliefs with more rational and desirable ones. You can expect to transform your thoughts and beliefs from pessimistic and defeated to positive and hopeful.
When we feel depressed, we tend to avoid the activities that previously brought us fulfillment, which only strengthens our feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and low motivation. We’ll help you establish and complete the best short-term achievable goals centered around participating in activities that make you feel good about yourself. We’ll consistently encourage you to engage in these healthy activities and to reflect upon the improvement in confidence, happiness, and pride that accompany them. To do so, we’ll assist you in reconnecting to your strengths, hobbies, and interests. We also may even help you develop new strengths, hobbies, and interests!
It depends. We have helped a lot of people eliminate depression from their lives solely through therapy. We have also worked with many individuals whose depression was so intense and limiting, that we recommended they also see a psychiatrist. In those instances, you should know that we have a list of several outstanding psychiatrists with whom we trust, and we know you will too. Within our first session, we will assess whether you could benefit from a psychiatric evaluation, and if we believe you may, we will then provide you with the necessary referral. We will also regularly evaluate your potential need for a psychiatrist’s help throughout the time that we work together.
Usually, therapy lasts for at least several months (which equates to about 10-15 sessions). You and I may collaboratively agree, though, that you would benefit from less or more therapy sessions. This decision depends on your goals for therapy and how quickly you seem to be progressing towards accomplishing those goals.
While we do not take insurance, we can provide you with a superbill. This is a document you send to your insurance company. Oftentimes, my clients find that their insurance companies reimburse them for anywhere between 40-60% of our sessions’ cost.
Jordan Zipkin, LMFT, is a licensed psychotherapist provides therapy in San Diego, California. If you’re ready to feel motivated, confident, and hopeful, schedule an appointment below.