Depression is often called the common cold of mental illness. However, clinical depression is more than normal sadness or feeling down in the dumps. It is a serious disorder, which disrupts lives and relationships and puts sufferers at increased risk of accidents, homicide or suicide.
If you experience five or more of the following basic symptoms for at least two weeks, then it is likely that you suffer from clinical depression. It is time to seek help from a mental health professional.
- A depressed mood most the day.
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities of the day.
- Significant weight loss or weight gain.
- An inability to sleep at night or you sleep too much during the day.
- Your body is slowed down or agitated nearly every day.
- Feelings of fatigue or loss of energy.
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt every day.
- A diminished ability to think, concentrate, or indecisiveness.
- Recurrent thoughts of death or recurrent thoughts of suicide.
In spite of this list, depression is not a fixed thing. And despite the oversell of drug companies, treatment centers, talk shows, and books that suggest you think of depression as an illness "just like diabetes,” the best evidence to date suggests that for most people depression is not a biologically based disease. The "disease model” of depression and the value of the anti-depressant medications have been grossly exaggerated. Biology is only a part of the depression story, and at best, anti-depressant medications are only part of the total solution. Research shows that changing the way you think offers the most lasting solution. And if you need medicine, which some people do, combining it with therapy offers the best hope of lasting abatement.
For most people, depression is the product of a hurtful way of interpreting and responding to life experiences. Depression involves an intricate set of projections about yourself, life, the Universe, everything. By projection, I mean the way you interpret the meaning of something that is ambiguous or unclear.
For example, a person leaves a message on a friend’s answering machine. After two days they get no reply. This is an ambiguous situation. A healthy person would think to himself or herself "maybe the person didn't get my message" or "maybe the person is really busy. That is why they didn’t get back to me." While a person prone to depression would think: "That person is mad at me, I did something wrong and that is why they didn't call me." In their mind they would go over and over the last time they saw or spoke to their friend. Thinking of everything that could be interpreted badly, they get depressed.
Here taking action, and calling them up again, rather than rumination, would help alleviate the self-inflicted tortuous thoughts. You would find out one way or another and then be able to forget it!
Dr. Albina offers brief individual therapy, active guided meditation, and seminars for people prone to depression, a complex pattern of thoughts and actions. The following are examples of some of the patterns she covers in her interventions:
- It is important to realize that what you think, do and whom you get involved with now, has consequences in your future, and can cause depression.
- A hallmark of depressive reasoning is “all or nothing, black or white, and either-or thinking”. So if a person received a 95 on an exam, hoping for 100, they say “I am stupid, a failure, I’ll never get what I want in life.”
- Another common pattern of depressed people is there inability to set boundaries and say no to peoples’ requests which leads to them feeling overwhelmed, used and abused.
- Not knowing what is expected in a relationship and drawing the line because of it, is very tied into a forth-powerful depressive pattern of people thinking and acting like victims and becoming depressed because of it.
Dr. Albina teaches you how to manage these difficult situations and solve these and other depressing problems effectively.