Depression is such a tricky thing. Most people who have never been depressed, can’t really understand it. But those who have lived it understand it’s awful impact on one’s life, relationships, work….It can be devastating.

I’ve learned a lot about depression over the years as a therapist, and find myself sharing what I’ve learned with so many clients who come into my Atlanta counseling practice. I’ve studied depression in school. I’ve talked with clients about ways to overcome it. I’ve read books…I’ve really tried to become educated on ways to work with it. One book I read was written by an author who suffered with depression,  another was written by a psychiatrist who suffered with bipolar disorder. Both struggled with mental health issues, and experienced the devastating impact of a depressive episode. Both learned to treat their issue, and survived to tell about it. Even with all that I’ve studied, I’m still learning more.

As I sat in my office today, contemplating all of the ways I’ve seen therapy work for depression, I figured I might share some of the best with you. This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive. Rather, it’s meant as a helpful tool.

Tips for Dealing with Depression – From an Atlanta Therapist

1.       Deal with any trauma – Trauma can be big or little. If you’ve been through a scary, life threatening, self-esteem shattering, rough, or difficult event or time in your life, you could be dealing with trauma. Trauma can manifest itself in your body in so many ways and has been linked even to physical illness. I am trained in trauma therapy (EMDR), and have helped many people work through their trauma, and experience freedom from the pain of the past.

2.       Express your feelings – Stifling feelings can certainly impact a person’s ability to feel normal, and the body has a tricky way of responding when a person has not appropriately expressed feelings for a long time. Learn to express your feelings in appropriate ways, with appropriate people, and in appropriate places. This doesn’t mean sharing them with anyone and everyone. Doing so can lead to more trauma or invalidating experiences. Find someone who can validate you, and knows about trauma. If you don’t know someone, why not see a therapist?

3.       Build self-care and coping strategies – If you haven’t been taking care of yourself and your body, it’s time to change that. You need rest. You need care. You need love. If you’re going, going, going….this can impact your body. If you’re not eating healthy and exercising, this can impact  your body. You get the message. Be kind to your body, heart, and soul.

4. Work on your chemicals- Depression brings with it an imbalance of chemicals in the body. So, even if nothing is wrong in your life you can still be depressed. If you are chemically imbalanced, eating the right foods, exercising, meditation, positive self-talk, and psychotropic medication can help. You’ve got to work on getting your brain to produce the right chemicals so you can feel better.

5. Control those thoughts – Depression is linked with unhealthy and negative thought patterns. It’s so difficult, but so necessary to work on your brain. If you notice negative thought patterns, force yourself to realign with healthier and positive thoughts. The brain is a big part of working to manage or defeat depression. If you aren’t sure how to do this, see someone who knows how. Atlanta therapy for depression is a great start.

If you suffer with depression, know you are not alone. And know there are lots of options out there for you. It can feel hopeless and overwhelming, but with the right steps you can improve. There isn’t usually a quick fix, and this process takes time, but you are so worth it.

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