Depression is more than just feeling sad. It can become so heavy that a person can become emotionally immobile. Kim provides some understanding and information about depression as well as some sources that can assist with the pain.
By: Kim Openo, LAPC, NCC
“When you’re lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered off the path, that you’ll find your way back…Then the night falls again and again, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from what direction the sun rises anymore.” –Elizabeth Gilbert
She is sad…so desperately sad. She never feels like eating. Sleep is a luxury during the week, but she can’t wake up on the weekend. Nothing seems to make her happy. But, everyone gets the blues, right? It will get better, won’t it? “I’m OK”, she thinks. And she keeps on going without even realizing that life could be better…happier…more full of joy and feeling. What might have started out as a walk along the edge of the forest to see the autumn leaves has now become a lifetime of night in a haunted dark wood that has no end and no sunrise. There seems to be no way out. This is depression. It is endless and hopeless. It is being lost in an endless dark forest.
Depression is not just feeling blue or reacting in grief for a few weeks to a great loss, such as the death of a loved one. There are some that are affected so severely that it is obvious that they are depressed, such as those who attempt suicide. Others feel generally miserable and unhappy without really knowing why and without knowing what to do to stop those feelings. Depression is a paralysis of one’s will, a loss of concentration and motivation, a feeling of hopelessness, and can even give one thoughts of suicide. It often affects relationships and ability to want to be social. Depression can touch every part of a person’s existence.
Typically because most people do not realize how bad it is getting or they do not want to seek help for fear of the stigma of being crazy. However, the time to get help is as soon as it is realized that the sadness is not getting better over time. A therapist can help you explore your feelings of sadness, help to sort out the emotions you are feeling and assist in learning new coping mechanisms for when the feelings get overwhelming. If this step is too difficult, then talk to a friend that you trust.
The first step to the girl lost in sadness leaving the forest of darkness is to take one step back onto the path. The path can lead her back into the life she enjoys.
For further self-help resources, continue to receive A Place for Me Counseling’s newsletter, and check out the following blog: Storied Mind-Recover Life from Depression (www.storiedmind.com). If feeling suicidal, please utilize the National 24-hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.