Depression Awareness Month
October is Depression Awareness Month. And this October, there’s quite a bit going on that could send many into a tailspin. (Perhaps oversharing but I suspect many can relate.) Given the timing of everything, I reached out to my friend, neighbor and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at A Safe Perch, Orly Jalowski, for her thoughts on ways we can keep our collective heads above water when we feel the tides of depression trying to pull us down. Orly just opened her own practice in Takoma Park and was happy to share this guest post on the signs, symptoms and ways to treat depression.
Top 5 Signs & Symptoms of Depression
Depression looks different for everyone. Here are some signs of depression to look out for in yourself or others:
- Mood: Daily or frequent low mood;
- Motivation: Feeling lethargic, hopeless and/or worthless; Sleep Difficulties; Difficulty Concentration; Loss of Interest in Usual Activities;
- Appetite: Changes in Appetite;
- Irritability: (We all get irritated sometimes; this refers to a level of ongoing or frequent, unwarranted irritability where anything or nothing at all can set us off);
- Despair: Thoughts about Death or Dying
As noted, depression takes many shapes and forms. You can do this anonymous screening to help determine if you or someone you care for may be depressed.
5 Ways to Treat Depression
While there are many ways to treat depression, doing so can feel like an uphill battle after, especially when feelings of lethargy and hopelessness set in. Here are some suggestions that you can try to help alleviate what you’re going through:
- Verbalize: Say your feelings and thoughts out loud. Amazingly, you can derive some of the benefits even if you are the only one to listen! Whisper them, say them, yell them, scream them – get them out! You’ll be amazed at how much insight you can glean by hearing yourself say out loud the things that have been swimming around your head.
- Move: All kind of good things happen in your mind when you move your body. Moving gets the blood, oxygen and energy moving and reduces stagnation which is a breeding ground for depression symptoms.
- Say “No”: Overextending yourself is a surefire way to invite stress, anxiety, exhaustion and other emotions associated with depression. Setting boundaries can take time to learn. Start by saying “no” to something that feels easy to let go of.
- Get Light: Especially in the colder months, a lack of sunlight can bring on or exacerbate depression symptoms.
- Connect: Depression is isolating by design, that’s why it’s so hard to reach out! But there are many ways to connect with others. If in-person is not possible, connect with others online, whether with people you know or join an online community such as a Facebook depression support group. Alternatively, you can call one of the hotline numbers listed below.
University of Maryland Help Center Hotline: 301-314-4357
Community Crisis Services: Dial 2-1-1 for Information and Referral
Prince George’s County Crisis Hotline: 301-429-2185
A Safe Perch’s Approach to Alleviating Symptoms of Depression
As a mental health therapist, I believe that when you partner up with a therapist, you feel good with, the benefits of therapy can be life changing. “Get help” is often one of the first recommendations made for people experiencing depression. But what exactly does that help look like? Here’s my approach to helping my clients alleviate symptoms of depression.
|Inside cozy space of A Safe Perch|
- Create a safe space for you to be as you are. When we are depressed, it becomes an exhaustive process to get through the day-to-day tasks that necessitate us not looking or acting “depressed.” When you are at A Safe Perch, you don’t have to pretend anything. You are welcomed exactly as you are and without judgment, so that you can channel your energy into actually feeling better and not using up your energy to pretend that you are well for the benefit of others.
- Listen without judging, but also without buying in. As a therapist, I have the training and experience necessary to dive into the dark with my clients but not get sucked into it myself. This way, I can help them walk out of the darkness by doing it together, hand in hand.
- Help you uncover underlying themes and patterns. Sometimes it can feel like we are going around in circles. I help my clients wade through the confusion and help them gain insight into unproductive behaviors in a ways that will allow them to move forward and overcome their challenges.
- Teach you new strategies and tools. It’s important to have a one-on-one connection with someone who is trained and has experience sharing, teaching and utilizing tools to help manage and overcome depression.
- Be your lab partner. I like to think of the therapy room as a laboratory, where we get to experiment with new thought patterns and new behaviors, all within the safety of this “lab.” We can then take it out and try in real life with more confidence and comfort. Then we can go back into the lab and get continued guidance about how to iron out the wrinkles that came up when we applied a particular strategy in a specific situation.
I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Maryland. I have worked with a diverse array of clients over 6 years, helping address a variety of behavioral issues including anger management, difficult life transitions, depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, addiction, trauma, grief and loss.
A Safe Perch, Mindful Mental Health Therapy
Orly Jalowski, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Address: 6411 Orchard Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912
Psychology Today Profile, Orly Jalowski
*Call to Schedule a free 15 minute phone or video consultation with me where we will have a chance to see if we feel good about meeting in person.
*This post is sponsored by A Safe Perch.