The Depression Cycle by Erin Adams, MAMFT, LPC, NCC
The World Health Organization (WHO) says 350 million people suffer with depression worldwide. Symptoms include depressed mood, loss of interest in what used to be pleasurable, changes in weight or appetite, sleep difficulties, restlessness, loss of energy and motivation, difficulty concentrating (often with poor memory), indecisiveness and hopelessness or feelings of worthlessness. For some, thoughts of death or suicide are also factors. There are varying degrees of this disorder ranging from the functionally depressed to the incapacitated. Not everyone exhibits every symptom but there is a common cycle that many suffering with depression experience. *Each phase of depression builds upon the previous phase. Negative thinking becomes pervasive leading the sufferer feeling hopeless. Next, feelings of being helpless to effect change in their feelings or situation begin. Once helplessness sets in, a person can become a passive bystander just letting life just happen to them. It’s as if they stop believing they have any positive influence over their lives at all. Each phase reinforces and brings about the next. It IS possible to break this cycle by building hope, developing positive thinking and a sense of purpose and an ability to make healthy changes in your life.
So where do we start? If you or anyone you know is experiencing signs of depression, seek professional help. Visit your primary care doctor or schedule an appointment with a licensed therapist to help you learn how to break the depression cycle. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911 or visit your nearest ER. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
*Adapted from The Self-Esteem Program (Liptak, Khalsa, Leutenberg 2002)
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