Are you depressed? When you are depressed, it feels like you are depression and your depression is you. When I start working with clients, one of the first things I do is to help them separate their symptoms from their identity.
Defining the Enemy
I explain to new clients that they are experiencing depression; they are not depression. I want you to see your depression as an outside enemy that we will team up to fight together. If you have strep throat, you don’t start thinking that you have become strep throat. Part of the power of depression is its ability to make you believe that it has taken over your life.
Depression makes you believe you are worthless, that you are a burden to the people in your life. Depression brings on shame and guilt that makes you feel like you are alone in the world or should be, that no one could ever understand you or even want to try. It wants you to believe that you will never feel better. Depression makes you forget that you had a past when you felt happy and prevents you from envisioning a future that includes joy.
Drawing Out the Enemy
One way I help clients see depression as an outside enemy is to have them draw a picture of their depression. I have been amazed and surprised at the variety of ways people visualize feeling depressed. One client drew a picture of a dark cloud monster, keeping her trapped and weighing her down. Another client drew herself being tied up and kidnapped, showing how terrified and powerless her depression made her feel.
You can try this activity for yourself:
- Close your eyes and think about your depression as something outside of yourself
- What does it look like? What images pop into your mind?
- Once you have a picture in your head, try to get that picture out of your head and onto paper.
- Draw or paint a picture of your depression enemy.
Once you have a visual representation of your depression, you can begin to do battle against it. Talk to your depression, yell at it, let it know when you see the lies and damage it is doing. This can help you take back some control and advance on the enemy.
Launch Your Attack
If you are struggling with depression, I would love to try and help you defeat the enemy. Call or email me to schedule an appointment for us to start teaming up and fighting against this depression invasion in your life.