Sadness is a normal, healthy, human reaction to troubling situations. With depression, however, there's a lot more to the story. In fact, for some people, depression can present without any sadness at all, but rather a persistent sense of emptiness, anhedonia (losing all pleasure in life), or even irritability and restlessness.
In all cases, when a person has depression, it interferes with daily life and normal functioning to a significant degree. Depression is a real illness, and it affects different people in different ways.
Depression can happen at any age, to anyone. It does not discriminate by class, intelligence, fame, capability, or circumstance. While trauma, loss, or stress play a role for some, for others it's genetics, biology/chemistry, or a physical condition. Shame and self-blame are often present, but rest assured, depression is not your fault.
If you've been experiencing 3 or more of the below for at least 2 weeks, you may be suffering from depression. Please contact us. We can help.
Depression affects different people in different ways. Not everyone will have every symptom, or the same combination of symptoms. Though there are no rules governing what specific symptoms of depression a given person will experience, there is a tendency for Children, Teens, Women, and Men to follow certain common patterns - not all of which may match the popular perception of what depression looks like.
Depression is diagnosed in Women more often than Men, but that does not mean actual incidence is different. Women tend to have more easily recognized symptoms, like prolonged sadness, feelings of worthlessness, guilt and shame. Women are also more likely to attempt suicide.
Depression in Men often presents in the form of irritability, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and losing interest in activities they used to enjoy. Men are also more likely (though this can occur with anyone) to turn to alcohol or drugs, to become frustrated, discouraged, angry, and sometimes even abusive. Some throw themselves into their work to avoid facing their depression, and some behave recklessly. And although more women attempt suicide, more men die by suicide in North America, partly because they are less likely to seek help when they need it.
In pre-pubescent Children, boys and girls are equally likely to suffer from depression. Children with depression may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die. Most chronic mood disorders, including depression, begin as high levels of anxiety in children.
In Teens, depression can make an already difficult phase in life downright intolerable. In teenagers and older children, depression may look like sulking, getting into trouble at school, general negativity/pessimism and irritability, or feelings of isolation. While a lot of these are common in adolescence, it's a matter of degree and duration - consider how long these changes have been taking place, and how severe they are. Teens with depression may also be suffering with anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse. They may also be at a higher risk for suicide. Stress, moodiness and struggling with change are all normal parts of being a teen; depression is not.
In Older People, depression can be difficult to recognize because they tend to show less obvious symptoms. Often, older people will feel tired, have trouble sleeping, or seem grumpy and irritable. Confusion or attention problems caused by depression can sometimes look like Alzheimer's disease, or be otherwise written off as just part of aging. Living like this doesn't necessarily have to be their new normal - it's absolutely worth investigating whether therapy could be beneficial.
There are several types of depressive disorders, and treatment plans differ accordingly. All types of depression are treatable, with the right combination of treatment approaches for each specific case. If you think you are depressed, contact us to make an appointment, and we can help you decide what the best path forward might be for you.
Major Depression: Severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life.
Persistent Depressive Disorder: A depressed mood that lasts for 2 years or more. This timeframe can include episodes of Major Depression, along with periods of less severe symptoms.
Postpartum Depression: It's estimated that 10-15% of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth. This is more than baby blues, in that hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn become overwhelming and interfere with your ability to get through your daily life.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Characterized by the onset of depression during the winter, when there is less natural sunlight, and generally lifts during spring and summer. Light therapy can help some, but nearly half of those with SAD do not get better with light therapy alone.
Bipolar Disorder: This is different from depression, but those with bipolar disorder can benefit from depression counselling to help them deal with the depressive phase of their condition.
The counsellors at ALCG are professionally trained, certified, experienced and objective experts on guiding and supporting individuals with depression throughout the therapy process. We won't blindly tell you what to do, pass judgment, or dole out useless platitudes. Every person's situation is unique, so your process and eventual course of action will be unique to you. We try to meet you where you're at, and help you make the best of the tools you have, to start.
Your first session is typically an opportunity for your therapist to get to know you, to learn about the challenges you're facing, and to discuss your goals and any major obstacles. Remember we're not here to judge, so try not to be nervous. You're doing this for you, so the more honest and open you can be, the more you'll get out of it. Even if you don't know what to talk about, that's completely fine. Start with how you feel and what you'd like to be different. Or just show up. We'll help you through the process.
There are a number of therapeutic approaches your counsellor may use, depending on what works best for your personality and situation. These can include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Problem-Solving Therapy (PST), and a number of other modalities. What works best for you is something you will explore together with your counsellor.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world. You are not broken, defective, or hopeless - despite how depression may make you feel.
This isn't what your life has to be like. You're here because on some level, you know things can be better.
Let us help.