I talk a lot about depression, anxiety, and stress on this blog, as I do in person. They’re deeply important issues to me. I routinely encounter a number of people who could be receiving treatment and leading fuller lives. The CDC reports that about 1 in 5 Americans experience depression and/or anxiety.
However, when people visit me, it’s not often the case that they call and say “I have clinical depression and would like treatment.” In my experience, the recognition that one is suffering from anxiety or depression often comes after working with a professional that can properly diagnose these. So, what kinds of symptoms cause someone to send me that first email?
I haven’t formally collected the data, but here are some of the most common reasons that people choose to come in:
- I’m feeling burned-out at work. I really can’t stand my job.
- I feel stressed all the time, even though I don’t think I should.
- I’ve lost the “spark” — the creativity and passion I used to have.
- I’m in conflict all the time with _____ and I’m not sure why.
- I feel like I’m drifting apart from _____, and I don’t know what to do.
- I seem to be irritable with people, short-tempered.
- I keep procrastinating important things.
- I feel aimless, purposeless. Why am I doing what I’m doing?
- I can barely get out of bed in the morning, and I dread my day.
- I’m using (alcohol, drugs, sex, computers, …) a lot, and I’m worried about it.
These are just a few. There are others.
My job is to start with what you’re experiencing and help you develop a more complete picture, and then work with you to begin treatment. Sometimes we discover that, yes, you’re experiencing a diagnosable illness like depression; sometimes we don’t. But no matter what, we figure out what you’re going through, and work together to take smart steps that will lead you to growth and change.
Bottom line: you don’t have to know exactly what you are experiencing in terms of a diagnosable illness. In fact, self-diagnosis often results in its own added stress or depression! Instead, you just have to know that you want some help, and take the first step to get it.
Stay tuned, because next time we’ll tackle how to take that first step.
Looking for mental health counseling or therapy in the Seattle area? I’m accepting new clients and would love to talk with you. Head over to my Contact page to get started.