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Challenge of Depression Extends Beyond the Individual
Coping with depression
requires oneís partner and family to understand the difference between
depression and sadness.
Sadness usually refers
to a sense of loss, grief or upset in response to an event typically recent in
oneís life. While sadness can be intense, it usually runs its course as the
person acclimatizes to the impact of the event or otherwise is able to change
the conditions related to the event.
Depression however, is
much more involved and may not even be brought about by a recent event.
Depression may come and go without any apparent trigger. Depression is usually a
more debilitating or overwhelming or engulfing sense of sorrow, grief or loss.
Depression may not wane fully with time, but fluctuate in terms of intensity
When there isnít an
obvious trigger, the depressed person and even those around him or her, may look
to make sense of the depression by seeking to connect it to some recent event,
although the connection involves quite a stretch in thinking to make work. This
too can be crazy-making for the depressed person and loved ones.
Because sadness is
more typically triggered by a recent life event, talking about the event and
being soothed by self or other can help dissipate, manage or accommodate the
feeling. This gives people the belief that depression, like sadness can be
talked out of or that just doing something different will magically bring
Depression is not
something though to be talked out of. Depression is mostly lived with.
Ironically though, people can learn strategies to make living with depression
easier and then almost paradoxically, depression for many, eases.
typically isnít necessary for sadness, medication can form an important part
of oneís treatment plan for depression. Medication can ease the lows that
accompany depression to make life much more manageable.
depression usually involves learning strategies to better cope and to address
the critical thinking that often accompanies depression. Counseling can also
address past traumas which may have historically given rise to todayís
depression and counseling can help an individual set boundaries with regard to
those who may contribute to bad feelings about oneself.
Very important and
most often overlooked in treating depression is couple or family counseling.
This counseling is more educational and provides loved ones with a better
understanding of depression as well as strategies to better support the affected
person. This in and of itself is invaluable to relationships which in turn helps
ease the impact of depression on everyone.
If you or a loved one
are challenged by depression, please seek help in the form of counseling and
support. Life can be so much easier than coping alone.
embarrassment are powerful barriers to seeking such help, but once overcome,
relief can be experienced.
I see so many people
where oneís depression and/or anxiety is misunderstood thus creating greater
conflict. Once understood, then partners can be more appropriately supportive of
each other and conflict resolves. Whenever a person seeks counseling from me on
matters of depression or anxiety, I rarely see the person alone. I always ask
that they attend with their partner or nearest loved one.
Depression has huge
impact on relationships and this in turn has huge impact on depression.
Addressing both individual and relationship challenges provides the greatest
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Call Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters. Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques and workshops.
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