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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Psychotherapy Blog: Depression: Overcoming Guilt and Shame About Feeling Depressed - Part 1

It's not unusual for people who are feeling depressed to feel guilty and ashamed about their depression, as if they're to blame for their depression and they remain depressed because they want to feel this way.

Depression:  Overcoming Guilt and Shame About Feeling Depressed

For many people, who are depressed, this is one of the most frustrating aspects of depression.

Unfortunately, these feelings are often unwittingly reinforced by well-meaning friends and family members who make tactless comments to the person who is depressed, like "Why don't you just snap out of it?" or "Why are you depressed--do you want to feel this way?" or "You don't have any reason to feel depressed" and other similar comments.

We also live in a society that is sustained by the myth that everyone, no matter what's going on with him or her, "should pull themselves up by their bootstraps" and overcome their problems on their own, and if they can't, they're "weak" (see my article:  Common Myths About Psychotherapy: Going to Therapy Means You're "Weak").

What is Depression?
At some point, anyone can feel "blue," but that's different from being depressed, so before we go any further, let's define depression.

The most common form of depression is major depression, which affects a significant percentage of the population at any given time.

The symptoms of major depressive disorder, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), can include five or more of the following symptoms for at least two weeks or more where at least one symptom is depressed mood or loss of interest and pleasure:
  • depressed mood most of the day and nearly everyday
  • a significant decrease in interests or activities that were once pleasurable
  • a significant decrease in appetite and weight loss 
  • insomnia or oversleeping almost every day
  • agitation
  • fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
  • feeling worthless or excessively guilty
  • feeling helpless or hopeless
  • problems with concentration or indecisiveness
  • recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation or suicide attempt or specific plan
To be considered major depression, the source of these symptoms cannot be otherwise accounted for by a general medical condition.

Depression:  Overcoming Guilt and Shame About Feeling Depressed

In my next article, I'll continue discussing this topic.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you think you're depressed, especially if you're having thoughts about suicide, you're not alone and you should get help from a licensed mental health professional as soon as possible.

Many people who have suffered with depression have been able to recover from their depression in therapy with a licensed psychotherapist who has expertise in this area.

If you're unsure about how to go about finding a psychotherapist, see my article:  How to Choose a Psychotherapist.

Depression:  Getting Help in Therapy
If you're close to someone who is feeling depressed, you can help your loved one, who might feel too hopeless and helpless to seek help, by helping him or her to find a qualified therapist in your area (see my article: Are You Concerned About Your Husband's Depression?)

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me.

Also, see:  Depression: Overcoming Guilt and Shame About Feeling Depressed - Part 2.
















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