Many people suffering from depression don’t even realize they have it. But if you’ve noticed that everything feels like a chore, life doesn’t have to be that way. People with depression tend to have problems with low mood, loss of interest, sleep, appetite, energy, and unhelpful thoughts, but a diagnosis is not required for therapy and you’re probably better off getting help before this point. The problem with depression is that the very things that might help you feel better, like catching up on tasks, hanging out with friends, and doing fun activities, are the very things that depression tells you that you don’t feel like doing. If you are entertaining suicidal thoughts, please seek help right now.

What to expect from treatment for depression

We might start by taking an inventory of your life and activities, since people who are depressed are often missing key elements and are feeling overwhelmed with stressors. We will generally talk about how you think about and cope with stressors. We look at things like diet, sleep, and exercise, since those are the foundation for your mental health. We’ll explore how you talk to yourself and identify common thinking distortions that can bring down mood. Other strategies might include learning how to let go of unhelpful emotions, building social support, and putting some distance between you and unhelpful thoughts.