Often, with the encouragement of family members and friends, a person will visit their family doctor to encourage common sense healthy habits and rule out any number of medical issues. Endocrine illnesses, various anemias, vitamin deficiencies, genetic illnesses, rheumatological conditions, infections, tumors and a variety of other illnesses are potential culprits. Please see; 'Are Depression and Inflammation connected?' If the work up is otherwise normal and you still struggle after attempting calls for a healthy diet, vitamins, exercise and sleep hygiene, a family doctor is likely to recommend an evaluation by a mental health professional. Occasionally, a family doctor with the time and necessary experience, may an antidepressant medication, however, given the importance of establishing all the factors involved in your life they often prefer to offer you the expertise of a mental health provider. You are a complex person! You have many layers! There is so much to consider and so much you want to accomplish in this life. And...there are so many options available to you!
When you have been through a careful evaluation a more focused response may include the option of a medication. Please see, 'Should you take psychiatric medication.' If the depression is moderate or severe, very often a medication will be recommended. Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of a complete evaluation including all aspects of your life. Many of the people who I have served were treated for “depression” for 10 years or more before we met. Unfortunately, this prolonged period of suffering proved unnecessary as a careful history provided a much more efficacious course of action. At times the use of an antidepressant medication can actually make things worse. As general rule of thumb, if in addition to therapy and a commitment to healthy living habits you have tried and tolerated two antidepressants for six to eight weeks, each without successful results, talk to your medical provider about the possibility of another diagnosis or treatment option. Also, if you have inconsistent results with an antidepressant, talk to your provider and reconsider the diagnosis. NEVER give up! There is a reason for your suffering. Please see, 'What makes getting help so hard'.
Psychotherapies for Major Depression
A wide variety of psychotherapies are available to help everyone involved in your life. In addition, every therapist adds their own flavor to therapy giving you even more opportunities to form the trust and rapport necessary to achieve your goals. Asking others about their experience with a therapist can help. Looking into the training and experience of the therapist can also provide direction. Being honest with yourself about how you feel about the therapist and letting them know is considered a part of therapy. Please see, 'The Oneness Approach: Controlling Your Therapy and Your Life'.
Depression is a family illness and often including various family members in your therapy in thoughtful ways can be incredibly helpful. Some times therapy brings up relationship issues that when addressed really help. Don't be surprised if your therapist recommends someone else help you with your spouse or children. This allows you and your primary therapist to have the intention necessary to bring your best to each relationship of your life.
Having an encouraging ‘treatment partner’ to participate in your efforts is also valuable. Charting daily efforts and any gains made towards each of your goals can be part of a valuable evening routine. All of this encourages wise use of your time and when you need to feel better you want to use all of your resources as wisely as possible. Charting can also help you communicate accurately with your clinician. (Can anyone really remember how we felt two weeks ago?) This also allows more time for true communication and therapy. (Please see “Getting the most out of your sessions”)
Important Daily Rituals
I would greatly encourage that we all carefully review the value of our daily rituals. Please see, 'Living richly with important daily rituals.' We all do well to start each day accompanied by a friend or family member with exercise, meditation and a review of our daily goals. We tend to respond to life stresses rather than take care of ourselves and build our relationships. It is very easy for us to see and respond to the demands of those around us. When living this way, it is just as easy to allow our own needs to go untended.
Beginning our day remembering who we really are and how we wish to grow and contribute to others can make for stronger relationships both in and outside our homes. Sharing this time with your life partner can add value to this effort as we include the next most often neglected part of our lives i.e. our intimate relationship. These relationships are often 'put on hold' for large spans of our life while we deal with ‘more pressing’ concerns including raising our children, tending to finances and advancing our careers. Having our life-partner next to us, encouraging us to get up each morning, exercising with us and thoughtfully considering each goal with us intensifies the intimacy and strengthens the bond. During the day we provide ourselves reminders of our intent for the day. We take even brief moments to meditate or pray. Maybe we buy an app for our phone that every so often has a bell call to us to take a moment and remember who we are. Each evening during the evening meal or before bed we can review of what we were able to accomplish that day with a gratitude prayer or meditation. Sharing such times can create precious moments that will serve for a life time. Please see: 'The Oneness Approach and SMART goals'.
Oneness Therapy and Major Depressive Disorder Treatment
The ‘Oneness Approach’ can offer additional perspectives that you and your team can consider. It encourages the appreciation and application of your spiritual or existential beliefs in all relationships of your life. It is strength based and sees many of our challenges as the need to integrate our strengths more fully internally and externally. It also encourages a form of deep listening in all communication throughout the day. It teaches the power of empathy and the appropriate use of compssion. It is goal oriented and daily looks to improve each relationship type one percent a day. Each relationship type offers another perspective of who we are, our strengths and our global purpose. Together they can allow us to have a richer understanding of who we are and what we are capable of and what needs addressed.
- Our relationship with our spiritual source
- Our intimate partner
- Our family
- Our friends
- Our relationships involved in our career
- Our relationships involved in our life interests
- Our relationships involved with our mentors
In each of these relationships we are looking to find 'the third choice', the place where both people find fulfillment and come to understand more about themselves and others. In this type of relationship, 'your problem is my problem', as defined by the parameters of the relationship.
As always these suggestions are to be used openly with your family, your therapist and all those who support you. Many groups offer their support and the Oneness approach encourages the use of multiple kinds of therapies and groups that may add 'just what the doctor ordered' for you and your family. Often you may be doing fair and the addition of an inspiring group that encourages healthy living gets you back on tract and 'taking names'! There are also different groups that will encourage you further your skills in a variety of ways to help you deal with specific challenges in your life. We will be looking into these options as we present interviews with leaders of these groups in the Oneness Summit.