torment

Accepting Depression

Accepting Depression? “Are you kidding!? Why would anyone want to accept it!?”

slide2Depression can be brutal. You have no energy, no passion. You feel like crap pretty much all the time. It’s the hardest work of the day to find the juice to get out of bed, but you spend so much time in bed, you hate being there. You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.

But wait there’s more! In addition to having zero energy to do 40% of the necessary things in life (like “eating”, or “bathing”, or “walking”), there’s all the guilt that comes from not having the energy to do them. You feel like you’re dropping the ball, doing life wrong. The voice in the back of your head keeps saying, “You should be able to handle this, but you can’t. If you were a stronger person, you’d be able to get past this more easily. Don’t be such a complainer!” It seems like the very fact that you’re depressed means that you’ve screwed something up.

This is the double-whammy of depression. Not only is the experience awful, but the fact that you’re having it in the first place means you failed somehow.

I have just emerged from a 3-month-long tunnel of depression. One might think that Mental Health Professionals should have their shit together well enough to not get depressed, or at least to know how to handle it when they do. I know I kept coming back to that particular refrain. Therapists make lousy patients I guess, because that philosophy is a load of crap.

The hard work of “handling” depression is learning that there is no such thing as “handling” depression. It exists, it’s real, and it’s not something anyone in their right mind would choose. It happens. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that depression is a state that 10 out of 10 people will experience in their lifetime, whether they would call it “depression” or not. It is something that is utterly common to humans.

Therefore, the internal accusation that “I’m doing it wrong” is utterly false. It is work to grasp this when you’re in the thick of it. It’s hard to believe that being depressed is not wrong because it sucks so much. Being depressed is a normal human experience.

We spend vast resources on not being depressed. What if we could accept that depression is a common thing for humans, and that even when we’re depressed, we’re OK? Don’t get me wrong, depression sucks, and it is perfectly appropriate to hate both depression and being depressed; but don’t hate yourself at the same time.

Of course, circumstantial depression and clinical depression are different animals. I do not suggest that anti-depressants are bad, or that there is no need for them. If your depression lasts longer than a couple of months, it’s time to think about getting medical help. There are real biological causes and effects of depression that Pharmaceuticals can alleviate.

I do believe that we can learn to live with and accept Depression as a common experience. I do believe that especially circumstantial depression can be prolonged and deepened by the self-attack trap that we commonly fall into when we’re depressed. We don’t necessarily need “fixing”. It doesn’t make us feel better, but accepting depression can help us not feel any worse than we already do. And for anyone who is depressed, the freedom to be depressed without the extra guilt or shame might just feel …”better”. – by Jonathan E. Hart, LPC

A Soul in Torment: Living With An Addiction

By:  Lianne Johnson, LPC
Sitting with someone in the throws of an addiction causes my soul to ache.  The reality of many who struggle with an addiction is this: they desire to be free from their addiction is, yet they literally feel chained to their addiction – unable to get away.  And no matter what special techniques I use as a counselor, or what their family does or doesn’t do, they will remain chained until they alone choose to risk leaving their addiction in order to learn what life would be like without their addiction.  For those of us caring for a person with an addiction, this truth is hard for us to accept. 
It is hard for us to except that no matter what we do, what we say, or how we act, we have no control over freeing the one we care for who is being tormented by their addiction. 
Often as I sit with individuals they are in the midst of fighting to be freed from their addiction.  I see sitting before me a soul in torment.  Webster’s Dictionary defines the word torment as,  “1) the infliction of torture, 2) extreme pain or anguish of body or mind.”  I believe using the word torment to describe the experience of the addicted fighting to break free from their addiction is fitting. 
The Apostle Paul expresses this idea of the tormented soul in Romans 7, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

I found this picture in Google images.   This picture depicts for me what I perceive the life of an addict to be as they fight to be freed
from their addiction. 
The face on the far left is the side of the addict that rages inside of them and wants the rush and momentary fulfillment that their addiction provides to them.  The face on the far right is the face the addict has once they have succumbed to the allurement of their addiction – they are tired, sad, and feel shame over what they have done.  The middle face represents the small pockets of time they feel human, free, and love themselves (to an extent).  This is the face they get to experience the least, yet long to experience the most. 
Patrick Carnes describes the cycle of addiction this way:
Family Wounds / Life Wounds
|
|
Shame
|
|

An addict spends so much time in the cycle Carnes depicts above, that they are virtually unable to live their life.  They are continuously moving through the cycle.  Once an addiction takes root into someone’s life it has power and control, but it doesn’t have to remain that way. 
Freedom from the bondage and torment of their addiction is possible. 
I have listed some resources regarding addiction and healing from addiction on our resources page.  Take a look if you are in need of some help/knowledge.  If you’d rather talk to a live person give us a call.  We’d be happy to help you find the help you need.  Avenues main number is 314-529-1391.  Our email is:  info@avenuescounselingcenter.org