Control is a big topic in most of my therapy sessions. People usually fall on either side of the line of trying to take too much control or feeling so overwhelmed they take no control. Today I’m going to talk about the side in which we are so overwhelmed and drowning, we just don’t even know where to turn…. also known as depression.
The truth of the matter is that storms happen. All the time. Set out to sea for a few days and I’m sure you will encounter some storms.
Life is the same.
We have hurdles, bumps, hills, mountains, valleys, etc. to combat often. One thing I CAN guarantee is that these challenges will continue to happen in life.
Sometimes storms seem never ending and they can happen consecutively.
When this happens people sometimes experience learned helplessness. This is common in depression when people cannot improve their situation, cannot get out, and feel stuck.
When people get stuck it is really hard to try and take hold of the wheel. Sometimes we just run in circles exhausting ourselves and look in all the wrong directions for the answers. That usually makes things worse and the learned helplessness and depression becomes stronger.
The problem is, if you don’t grab a hold of the wheel the ship, car, bike, what have you, the situation can be dire. I don’t know anyone that would set his or her car on cruise control and go in the back seat and take a nap. You know your car will eventually go off the road and you will end up in a ditch, or worse. So why live your life this way?
OK. So I have to take on the wheel of life, but Stacey, I don’t know where to begin?!?!
Well the answer to that is more complicated because it is different for everyone! A therapist is a trained professional who can help you to navigate through your situation in a few different ways.
Here are some areas that I may focus on with you in sessions:
Work through your ambivalence
People who struggle with depression do not move forward nor make decisions because they’re stupid. Rather, it comes from feeling overwhelmed and valuing two or more options (ambivalence). Therapy will help you to fully explore your feelings about your ambivalence to get a clearer picture of what is your strongest value and what it is that you need/want in your life right now.
PROS and CONS
This might sound simple, but it is actually really helpful. Making a PROS/CONS of EACH situation you are exploring can be eye opening! Beware of quantity over quality. Just because you have MORE listed on one side doesn’t mean it is of more VALUE. Try rating each item on a scale of 1-10 and add up the value in the column for more insight.
Understanding the Deeper Meaning
Therapists get a bad rap for making things more complicated, but hear me out. Our wants and desires are sometimes influenced by deeper psychological needs that often go back to childhood attachment. It can also go back to other relationships and significant life events. Therapy can help people to understand how events in life can shape current feelings, thoughts, desires, and needs. Once a deeper understanding occurs, one can make a more informed decision (and decrease depression!)
Those are a few examples of what I may explore with you if you come into my office with symptoms of depression. It is nice to know there are ways out and that you’ll be steering your ship once again.