What to do if you’re suffering from chronic depression

If you’ve ever been faced with the loss of a loved one, terminal illness, or a failed relationship, the death of a pet, loss of a job, chronic medical issues, or a myriad of other difficult experiences, then chances are you may have suffered from depression.

Without even realizing it you likely experienced the five stages of grief and eventually bounced back even stronger. Those five stages of grief and loss are: Denial and isolation; Anger; Bargaining; Depression; and Acceptance. Not everyone goes through the stages in the same order, and it’s possible that some of us won’t experience any of them.

However, when dealing with several challenging issues at once, it’s entirely possible to find yourself spiraling into a state of chronic depression with little hope of seeing light at the end of the tunnel. You may become hopeless or feel lost, but rest assured there is help available and as difficult as it may seem while you’re going through this phase, you can get better.

No two people will experience grief and loss the same. Some people may grieve outwardly, while others may internalize their grief. Regardless, there is no right or wrong way to experience these emotions. And there is no time limit on how long you must grieve, nor a right or wrong way to deal with these emotions.

So how do you get yourself out of this funk and start to feel happy again? “That’s where talk therapy comes in,” says Elise Breen, LCSW, LCADC, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with more than 20 years’ experience treating addiction, anxiety, stress and PTSD sufferers. Breen is trained in EMDR, she is a certified Eriksonian Hypnotherapist, and a Master Practitioner of Neurolinguistic Programming based in New Jersey. “Sometimes just sharing your troubles with a trusted friend or family member, can be a big help and even get you through the hurdle. But it may not be enough. That’s when seeking the help of a licensed professional may be a better option to help identify patterns and work with you to resolve the conflict and emotions,” says Breen.

One in five adults have a mental health issue, according to a 2017 survey performed by the Mental Health America organization. Additionally, the rates of youth with severe depression is on the rise increasing from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015.

Oftentimes, those who suffer from chronic depression are prescribed anti-depressants to help work alongside talk therapy. The boost from anti-depressants can provide an extra incentive needed to help defeat depression and get through the difficult periods. If you’ve experienced this treatment regimen and still feel depressed, then it may be wise to ask your doctor to prescribe a different medication. It’s also helpful to work with a psychiatrist to monitor your medications until you are feeling better and seeing improvement in your recovery.

The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you and use the tools provided by your therapist to move through it. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing and in some cases, start the grief cycle all over again.

If you or a loved one are experiencing severe depression, or thoughts of suicide don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255. They are available 24 hours a day.

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