Someone once explained their experience with depression to me in the following way:

“It feels like being underwater in a swimming pool… and I can see people on the pool deck, but they’re blurry and just out of reach, and I can hear them, but what they’re saying is incoherent.”

This powerful description has always resonated with me, as the pain and isolation the individual felt was truly tangible through the analogy. Depression has many components and is the sum of many “parts.” It is composed of feelings, thoughts, memories, behaviors, and physical symptoms. Together, these “parts” can cause in individual to feel overwhelmed, however, through therapy and (at times) medication management, finding one’s way back to homeostasis is possible.

Feelings associated with depression can include (but are not limited to) sadness, despair, helplessness, hopelessness, loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, numbness and loneliness. Experiencing these feelings often causes an individual to struggle to maintain positive thoughts about themselves, others, and their circumstances, which only perpetuates the cycle of experiencing more depressive feelings and thoughts. Memories, both positive and painful, can become melancholic for an individual, leading a person to struggle to remain present in their life. Behaviors (what we do) are impacted by how we feel and what we think and depression can lead an individual who feels poorly to detach from friends and family, avoid social interaction, and struggle to engage in typical day-to-day life activities.

In addition to psychological and behavioral symptoms, depression is often accompanied by physical symptoms that exacerbate both. An individual may experience fatigue, body aches, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, changes in sleep cycles, and even panic attacks. When a person experiences these challenging physical symptoms of depression, it only further perpetuates the cycle of depressive feelings, memories, thoughts, and behaviors. Though separate, all components or “parts” of depression discussed are truly interrelated and synergistic in nature.

The sum of the “parts” that compose depression, by their nature, often cause an individual to avoid seeking help until it becomes problematic across life domains or until a loved one urges them to seek help. Depression can be self-defeating, isolating, and physically challenging to manage, however, with help, it is possible to do so. Taking the first step towards managing this diagnosis involves bravery and strength and therapy offers a supportive environment to begin this process.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with depression, please call me at (910) 216-0194 to schedule a free phone consultation for outpatient therapy services. I accept several insurances and offer an affordable sliding scale for those who prefer to self-pay.

Find out more about Natalie Gomes here.