Depression is a moving target. One day, my clients are sure they’re depressed (after all, they called in sick to work (something they never do), they’re still in bed at 2 pm, and they haven’t been able to quit tearing up all day) but the next day, they think that can’t possibly be true because now they’re back at work and excited about their plans with friends tonight and depressed people don’t do that – right?
Most people typically think depression = not caring. So when we first meet, my clients have typically concluded that whatever is going on with them, it’s not depression because they do care. They care about their partners, their children, their jobs, their friends, and their families. They have goals and dreams for their lives, they have beliefs and values they are passionate about and live by. They have hobbies and activities and subjects that interest them for crying out loud!
And yet, caring with their minds and even in their hearts doesn’t always result in the felt experience of joy and engagement they equate with a truly full and satisfying life. And that makes them feel bad. Like guilty-bad. Because they have a good life – so what gives?
Depression is unique to each person. For the women I work with, it usually looks like a valiant struggle to stave off indifference, ambivalence, and apathy. Yes, it can look like not being able to get out of bed (sometimes for days or weeks at a time) – but it can also look like getting out of bed every day but rarely feeling excited about what the day holds.
Depression can be low-grade dread.
Depression can be chronic-but-not-debilitating drudgery.
In therapy, I help my clients discover the roots of their apathy depression. Sometimes, depression is a way to protect against caring too much and winding up hurt. Or a way to make sure people don’t forget about them. For some, depression is left-over hurt from things that happened earlier in life – things they’d do anything to ditch and be done with already.
Whatever it turns out to be rooted in, my clients learn that the only way through…is through. Together, we find our brave pants, put ’em on, and listen to the story Depression is trying to tell. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it can make.