Even Mental Health Professionals Get Depressed
I have been a psychotherapist for some years now, although I haven’t worked for a while due to my health conditions including depression and anxiety. I never really understood chronic depression until I had it myself, and always thought of depression as an external issue causing internal symptoms.
Depression is an inability to cope with life situations… so the answer is to look at making changes, find acceptance of situations and choose how to move forward feeling more in control and able to manage this new chosen life. Textbook right?
What about those who have no choice, no way out, no change to be able to make? Sure one can always try to manage how we deal with the things we can’t change or choose, but what if it’s something that is soul destroyingly endless? What if it’s something that won’t ever improve? What then?
These are all my questions to my own therapist who has no answers for me. Because there are none. There are no fixes or positive mantras to change the fact that my depression comes from a deep sadness of a life I now find painful and difficult without a cure. No matter how many things I am lucky enough to be grateful for, I cannot get past this negative energy that comes from this body that feels broken. It has a hold on my emotions I can’t break.
A wise friend once told me there is no fix, only love. To listen and hold a person when they need it and to accept them.
This has been the most powerful knowledge to me as a therapist and a human, purely to know I can still have value as a person even though I won’t be able to assist recovery in all people. This, in turn, has helped me to educate those around me of what I need from them in supporting my depression battle.
Support is always possible. I’ve learned this is the absolute key to being in a therapeutic role.
So if there is anyone reading this who cares and supports people with long term chronic depression, let go of all you want to do for people, and focus on being a human with empathy and kindness, because for me and possibly others, this will be enough to support someone through making it to another day and stop them from feeling alone. We can’t always take away someone’s feelings or make them well, no matter how upsetting this might be, but it’s still so very important to just be there for others in any way we can.
From a patient and a colleague in the caring profession.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Thinkstock photo via AnastasiaRasstrigina