Women Depression Treatment - Hilo, HI - Stephanie Dodge, PhDDo You Disengaged From Life?

  • Does it often feel as though you are falling behind in work, relationships and life in general because it is increasingly difficult to function?
  • Do you feel as though you have no energy or excitement, even for things you used to enjoy?
  • Are you spending a lot of time ruminating over things that have happened, which makes you feel guilty and worthless?
  • Have you found yourself crying without knowing why?
  • Does the future seem bleak and hopeless?
  • Do you wish you could live with greater lightness and ease?

If you are struggling with depression, you may feel as though you are moving through a fog. Perhaps it is difficult for you to concentrate or think straight, and you wonder why everyone around you seems to move through life so easily. Maybe you have been avoiding friends and family members because you don’t want to drag them down. You might be struggling with every part of your day, from getting out of bed in the morning to completing that important work assignment. Perhaps you have some unexplained physical pains, such as recurrent head aches or stomach issues. You may be experiencing changes in your sleeping and eating pattern, though nothing seems to help you feel fully rested, energized or satisfied.

Maybe you look at the day, week and month ahead of you and wonder if there is even a point to trying. You may be feeling a lot of guilt and feel stuck in a pattern of self-judgment and regret. Perhaps you can’t stop thinking about that embarrassing thing you said or that mistake you made. You might have wondered if the world would be better off without you. Maybe everything just feels so hard and heavy, and you can’t shake the hopelessness and sadness that is weighing you down.

Many Women Struggle With Depression

While depression affects many people of both genders, is two times more common in women than in men. Depression comes in many different forms and affects different individuals in different ways. We know that some forms of depression are genetic and run through families. This type often manifests itself in recurring bouts of depression, and even the times in-between can seem “gray.”

Depression can also accompany major life challenges and transitions. This single-episode depression often follows a break-up, divorce, loss of a loved one, chronic illness, empty nest syndrome, retirement or other stressful life situation. It’s completely normal to feel down when life seems to be out of your control. Sometimes strained familial relationships or a toxic work environment can cause sadness and hopelessness. After a period of extended stress and anxiety, it is not unusual to lose energy and to start to feel depressed.

You might also feel depressed if you recently decided to quit drinking or using substances, While this choice is ultimately good for your long-term well-being, it can temporarily deprive your body of familiar sources of dopamine (a natural chemical in your brain related to happiness), which leads to temporary sadness. After the birth of a child, many women experience symptoms of post-pardum depression, which is more intense and long-lasting than the average “baby blues.” Season Affective Disorder, or SAD, also produces melancholy during rainy or dark times of year, which do indeed happen everywhere, even here in Hawaii. These feelings are all very normal, and a thorough evaluation with a qualified counselor can help you better understand exactly which types of depression you may be experiencing, and what you can start to do to feel better. Finally, if you are noticing that you have deeply depressive periods accompanied by ecstatic upswings, it is very important that you seek an evaluation in case something more serious than depression is going on. Regardless of your symptoms and the ways in which depression is manifesting itself, there is hope for relief and healing.

Depression Treatment Can Help You Feel Connected and Productive Again

Therapy is an effective form of treatment for women struggling with all types of depression. As your therapist, I will help you better understand your symptoms and some of the reasons why you may be feeling the way you do. While people in the outside world may be telling you to snap out of it or just “get over it,” I will listen to you with the deep understanding that you are experiencing something real and complex. While you can’t just push away your feelings or emerge from them through willpower alone, with help and support, you can develop the tools you need to a live with greater ease and joy.

During depression treatment sessions, I will utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. By gently beginning to change your behaviors, you can start to fool your body into thinking that you feel better than you do. You can integrate fun things into your schedule even if you don’t yet believe that they will be fun. And, with guidance, you can start doing this in a way that won’t feel overwhelming or impossible.

During the cognitive piece of therapy, I can help you begin to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself and the world. You can begin to look at things a little more flexibly, and open up to new possibilities. This does not mean that I will force you into false positive thinking. Rather, I can help you see that things are not completely bad, just as they are not completely good. You can begin to make room for happiness and appreciate the richness of your experiences again. And, if you are struggling with genetic, recurrent depression, I can help you develop the tools you need to recognize the signs of depressive episodes before one can completely take hold again.

I offer a safe, warm, compassionate space for you to honestly explore your thoughts and emotions. I have many years of experience working in integrated care, so I have seen the ways in which depression can accompany physical illness or present itself in bodily symptoms. Because I also specialize in trauma and substance abuse, depression – so often related to these experiences – is one of my primary areas of focus.

Through depression treatment, you can begin to feel greater agency over your own life. You can begin functioning with greater ease and learn the skills your will need to prevent a depressive episode in the future. Even if depression does reappear in your life, you are likely to notice that each episode will be shorter and further apart. You can feel better equipped to handle all of life’s challenges as they arise. You can redefine the next part of your life.

You may believe that depression treatment can help you live the life you want, but still have questions or concerns…

I don’t really want to take mediation. Are there natural forms of depression treatment?

If you are struggling with single episode depression, it is very likely that you will see enormous benefits from therapy alone. For people struggling with genetic, recurrent depression, the gold standard of treatment is therapy accompanied by medication. However, if you are hesitant to try medication, I would never force you into that decision. You can try therapy alone. Sometimes, this is enough. There are some alternative treatments that some people find helpful, and we can incorporate these into our sessions. If, however, you have questions about medication as our sessions move forward, I am happy to check in with you and chat about options at every step along the way. I can also help you discuss medication with your doctor and navigate the medical side of things.

I’ve been put on everything and nothing works.

If you feel as though you have tried every single medication and your depression is as persistent as ever, it is likely that something else is going on. Sometimes, other medical issues present themselves as depression. With a thorough physical examination from your doctor and a thorough psychological evaluation with me, we can uncover the root of your pain.

How will I fit therapy into my busy day? I have very little energy.

By investing a little bit of time and energy to depression treatment, you can begin to enjoy more energy and a greater zest for life. As you feel better, you can also begin to feel as though life and your responsibilities are more manageable. If you are very worried about scheduling, I offer a wide range of time slots for your convenience, including times during the school day. If you have young children, you are welcome to bring them. I can make my therapy office incredibly safe and secure for children. Also, I invite you to remember that it is not selfish to take this time for yourself. By seeking help, you are working to enrich all of the time you spend outside the therapy sessions, whether that is time with yourself, at work or with loved ones.

If you want to live with greater ease, I invite you to call (808) 747 3445 for a free 15-20-minute phone consultation. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about depression treatment and my practice.

 

Other Information:

National Institute of Mental Health: Depression in Women

National Institute of Mental Health: Depression

National Institute of Mental Health: Depression: What You Need To Know

National Institute of Mental Health: Postpartum Depression Facts