Bert’s therapy (#19): Depressed

bert (1)

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Feeling depressed?

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A little.

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How bad?

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Mild.

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therapist (3)

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My energy is low.

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therapist (4)

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My appetite is off.

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therapist (5)

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I’m not sleeping well.

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therapist (6)

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I’m anxious.

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therapist (7)

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I’m irritable.

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therapist (8)

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My self-esteem is in the toilet.

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therapist (9)

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And I feel like crying.

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therapist (10)

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bert (11)

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Jeez, Bert. 

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bert (12)

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That all sounds pretty painful.

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bert (13)

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If you call this “mild” depression…

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bert (14)

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…what’s “severe” look like?

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bert (15)

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Oh.

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* * *

Want more?

The depressed person is imprisoned by unconscious barriers of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” which isolate him, limit him, and eventually crush his spirit.  Living within this prison, he spins fantasies of freedom, concocts schemes for his liberation, and dreams of a world where life will be different. 

These dreams, like all illusions, serve to sustain his spirit, but they also prevent him from realistically confronting the internal forces that bind him.  Sooner or later the illusion collapses, the dream fades, the scheme fails, and his reality stares him in the face.  When this happens, he becomes depressed and feels hopeless.

Alexander Lowen, Depression and the body.

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Here I talk about the clinical signs of depression because I think lots of folks walk around depressed and don’t know it. I also discuss what you can do if you are depressed or sense someone you know is depressed….

This is hard stuff. Let’s take care of each other.

Dr. Susan Giurleo, Depression: Let’s Blow Up the Stigma and Help Each Other Out (6:41)

 

 

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Recovering from depression requires action. But taking action when you’re depressed is hard. In fact, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like going for a walk or spending time with friends, can be exhausting.

It’s the Catch-22 of depression recovery. The things that help the most are the things that are most difficult to do. But there’s a difference between difficult and impossible.

From Dealing with Depression: Self-help and coping tips, a nice overview of ways to help yourself at the helpguide.org website.

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4 responses to “Bert’s therapy (#19): Depressed

  • john

    I so relate to the last paragragh saying something about “the things that help the most are the hardest to do” I have found depression painfull and when I am feeling depressed I cant do the things that are good for me so I get more depressed so I cant do the things that are good for me so I get more depressed, and so on and so on, thanks Bert,,,

    • fritzfreud

      Yeah, same with me. Lowen writes somewhere that people think they get exhausted because they’re depressed, but actually it’s the other way around: depression is a symptom of exhaustion (which comes from depressing instead of expressing yourself emotionally). That’s why the first thing I do with depressed clients is to help them give themselves permission to get more rest. It’s not a fix, but it’s a start.

  • Candycan

    This is weird because only last night I wrote a much less eloquent but almost identical description of myself in my life like the first guy Lowen explains. The only thing that keeps me going is the goal of getting through each day and keeping going until things get easier and then, sometimes I stop and look at my life from a distance and see no hope for things to ever be better and wonder why I am struggling this way.

    • fritzfreud

      Because that’s what we do. There’s something stubborn in us that keeps us alive even when it doesn’t seem to make much sense. At such times I remember Samuel Beckett’s line — “I can’t go on, I’ll go on” — which for me has always summarized both the illogic and the courage of hope-despite-everything. A beautiful thing, I think. Hang in there.

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