Depression is at its worst when we feel alone even when we're around people, isolating ourselves by not returning calls, bailing on plans with others, drinking or getting high to push things out of our mind and check out, feeling like we don't have the energy to get out of bed let alone get a shower and go to work, when we feel indifferent about things that used to get us excited. When we feel like we do not have any control over our current circumstances or hopeless about our future it's time to find a solution to pull ourselves out of the hole. Maybe this is the first time you've been this down or you feel like a lifetime card carrying member of club depression. I've worked with clients on both ends of the spectrum and the various points in between. When working with clients who are struggling with depression we begin with their thoughts and actions.
When we're depressed we are so stuck in our head and our own experience that we often do not realize how distorted our thinking has become. If it was so easy to just change our thinking once we realized it wasn't helpful then people like me would be looking for other ways to make a living. Since it's not that easy we have to look at the ways we're acting and begin to make changes in that area because these behavioral changes will help us start changing the way we are thinking. The only way to begin changing the negative beliefs we have about ourselves and the way the world works is to push ourselves to action on the fringes of our comfort zone or ability. Starting this process helps us have experiences or gather data that begins to disprove or reduce the strength of the negative self beliefs we are carrying around. Our sessions together will also help to externalize thoughts or get out of your head. We begin to pull apart these negative thoughts, identify their origins and start identifying actions that will help reduce their strength and impact on your behavior.
cognitive distortions, rigid filters, getting out of your head, behavioral plan to help cognitive change, real experiential data- maybe you just need a place to be heard without feeling like you'll be judged or be a burden like it might feel if you turned to friends or family members
The first level looks at elements that contribute to your overall anxiety baseline and how to begin making changes in these areas. Generally, level one consists of making lifestyle changes around diet, activity (social, physical and emotional self-care), and sleep hygiene. We start with small, realistic steps that enable the client to build positive momentum while reducing the likelihood of set backs and excessive guilt that can be triggered by falling short of goals that may not have been realistic based on where the client is starting.
The second level is focused on looking at the thoughts that are creating anxieties, increasing awareness of them and the beliefs that are driving them. We look to develop a habit of consciously and consistently working to change them so that they are more in line with the realities the client is facing and with their conception of who they want to be in their life. We also work to get a better understanding of situational triggers for the client's anxiety and develop ways to minimize their frequency and mitigate the intensity of the reaction to these triggers.
Avoidance is the lifeblood of anxiety. You may have recently begun to realize that the walls you have put up to create "safety" have actually become walls that have boxed you in and limited the the freedom you have in your life. You may have realized that by taking all these steps mentally and physically to gain "control" you see these things are are actually controlling you. In our work together you will start to sit with and move through the thoughts and feelings that have created these challenges in your life rather than stepping around or pushing them into little compartments in your mind and out of your awareness. The first step in really taking control of your life is to confront these things directly with a professional by your side who can actively support and challenge you in a way that is attuned with where you are and where you want to be in your life. Your next step is to contact me so we can discuss your situation and see if we're a good fit to move forward.