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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Feeling Depressed? What Really Helps...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Feeling Depressed? What Really Helps...

It seems sometimes when you are really feeling down, and your depression is acting up, that very little will really help. We have more day light now, and the cold air is starting to feel more refreshing than freezing, but is this helping those of you who are suffering from moods that are in the ditch, or anxiety that is flying high?

Not so much, actually.

So what then? If you are among the walking wounded today? Functioning outwardly just fine, but inside feeling like you are black and blue, or numb, defeated or deflated? And tired. Really tired.

Let's say you've gone through the check list of pick-you-ups, like a long walk, or a hot shower, or good talk with a good friend. You've put your face to the sun, taken some quiet time, and even put pen to paper to sort out what's bothering you. And nothing seems to be helping much. What do you do when the old standbys don't seem to be making a dent in your down? What if your mood seems to be going on and on, and sadness seems to be edging its way toward real depression?

So lots of people have been telling me lately, when I ask, that in addition to giving themselves permission to feel how they feel (since the effort it takes to suppress your feelings often just adds to the pain), that they are willing to consider two things.

First, that maybe somewhere under the low mood, or above the high anxiety is anger.

It may take some digging, or some talking to uncover what's lurking underneath, but it's usually worth it. Sometimes anger, painful as it can be, can help turn moods around. We don't have to stay angry, but if we are angry, it helps to know about it.

And Second, maybe somewhere under the depression is an old belief still standing its ground and talking its talk. Maybe some quiet message about your self worth, or your abilities, or your future. Probably something negative and disrespectful to your sense of self.

And well, you know me, it helps to unpack it, to study it, to bring out into the light of day. Better feelings are not always fast in coming, but if we know what's getting in the way, then we have a good chance of clearing things up. And actually, this can really help.


Flannery said...

Yes, this really helped me.

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Thanks for stopping by Flannery!

Nainja said...

I felt the bad mood creeping up again today (with bright sunshine outside) so your post came just at the right time. It's good to know, that I am not the only one dealing with these problems.
And it's mostly anger underneath for me too, a very generel anger about life circumstances as they are. It's good to remember that but it's still difficult to do anything about it (the anger as much as the low mood).

JJ said...

So obviously you encourage people to go to therapy, to talk, to figure things out. You talk about low mood edging its way towards real depression... I would think a person would wait until it was real depression not just low mood to get help. Is this true in your practice? Obviously people can benefit from therapy at any level of distress... but shouldn't the distress have to cross a certain threshold to justify the whole thing? And if so, how do you know where that threshold is?

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Good of you stop by..

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Good question and thanks for your thoughts!

And yes, I do tend to encourage talking about things!

Everyone's threshold is different and personal of course...there does not always, even, have to be pain or distress to benefit from talking a situation or feeling through.

Glad you you stopped by.

Stephanie Adams, MA, LPC-Intern said...

Great post, and wonderful timing for me personally! I was discussing something very similar with a client today. She was so intent on suppressing feelings that when she unpacked and dealt with them, tears of relief came to her eyes. Of course, with depression there's ups and downs, but for right then that was what she needed. I love your writing style, very approachable and clear.

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks, and thanks for stopping by... and yes...agreed...being in the moment, in the "right then" is so spot on!


Mehdi A. said...

Hope whoever deals with depression or anything like that...comes out of it before it's too late.
For whatever reason you are posting here, thank you.