We all go through loss at one time or other in our lives. It is completely normal to have feelings of depression over the death of a loved one, loss of a job, an illness, accident, separation from a loved one, or from other significant loss.
Psychotherapy can offer support in these situations, but it has no magic wand to wisk away normal grief.
Still, normal grief will sometimes morph into a more serious depression that treatment does help. Grief can trend downward into a spiral that is hard to get out of. At that point, outside help can help.
You might be wise to seek expert help when:
- You have been feeling normally depressed over a loss or upsetting event, but the feelings are starting to feel like they have been going on for too long. People often find psychotherapy helpful once they realize that their depression has gone on for what seems too long, or that the loss has caused them to adopt negative patterns of thinking and feeling which self-feed in a downward cycle.
- You are have serious thoughts or feelings about suicide. If you are at all suicidal, it is time to get into treatment today. Pick up the phone and make an appointment.
- When depression is so severe that it is getting in the way of your work, intimate relationships, keeping physically healthy, or leading to abuse of drugs or alcohol. Get help before it gets worse!
- When you are socially isolated, or have alienated those with who are usually close to the point they no longer give realistic and meaningful support and feedback about your condition. Without others around to give you an old-fashioned reality check, the distorted thinking that is a natural part of depression can start to dominate your entire way of thinking. Depression and isolation feed on each other. Break the cycle by seeking expert help.
- If you have severe symptoms, for instance:
- you have lost your appetite
- you are not sleeping
- you have lost all sense of pleasure in your life
- you have no energy
- you are unable to concentrate
Often severe symptoms indicate that anti-depressant medication is called for, in addition to talk therapy. Anti-depressant medication alone is not as effective as talk therapy and medication.