Healing Depression ("Why Can't I Just Get Happy, once and for all?")

How I wish that healing sadness and depression was easy: followed a logical, sequential, 'one-size-fits-all' pattern. That's how it works on TV. Dr. Phil can solve these things in one single episode....with commercials! God help us, if we come across Dr. Laura, SHE not only clears it up in a 5 minute phone call, she adds guilt for all the ways we've screwed it up in the past. NOT helpful.

Having worked with clients suffering with depression for many years, and having suffered with it myself since childhood, I know that, SADLY, the 'cure' is not quick OR easy. It is certainly not 'One-Size-Fits-All': for some exercise, diet, success at work or fun and distracting travel can be just the trick. But for others, the opposite is true! Ask someone who eats for depression about diet and recovery, they'll tell you that diet is anything BUT helpful! For those of you who isolate and struggle to even MAKE it into work, 'fake it til you make it at work' is not a helpful suggestion. And to those too depressed to work and make money, hearing that 'travel will take your mind off of it' is just rude.

So what IS the solution? Well, and I'm biased here, but a trusted therapist is invaluable. We need someone objective enough to see our patterns, cries for help, unhealthy responses and unmet needs. We need someone to call bullshit when we swear that 'things are great, just great' but somehow we still seem VERY SAD. We need someone to care for us when we are overwhelmed by self hate. "Corrective emotional experience': love us until we can love ourselves.

Maybe we have issues with alcohol that MUST BE POINTED OUT. Maybe we need to look at unhealthy relationship patterns. Yet another boss has let us go even though we really are doing the BEST JOB THERE. Some friends will do this but they often look through their own unhealthy lenses. Like attracts like. Therapists can be both objective AND loving...and brave enough to make us mad.

But what if we can't afford a therapist or just don't want to go that route? There are myriads of great self-help options out there: fantastic books, podcasts, classes, prayer groups, 12-step groups, churches. Help truly is out there but we have to be brave enough to seek it out. My favorite self-help author/personality is Brene Brown. I highly recommend any and all of her Ted-talks, books, CD's, etc. I promise you will have fun while you work on your shame and self-doubt! Rent her stuff for free at the library. Help is there when you are brave enough and ready.

So don't let yourself be even more depressed by thinking you are 'doing it wrong' simply because you aren't getting huge improvement from following a '!0 Step Sure Fire Anti-depression Course!' Each of us is made up of a million little experiences, some of which caused SOME OF US to be depressed. Just as our paths to depression are individual, so are our paths to healing. It takes what it takes, timing is key, we most likely need the support of others and sometimes medications, and it's always possible to get better. Turn Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura off......they are (most likely) not the answer!~