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Recovering from depression is like fixing broken bones

5 July, 2010

I’m up for my second review session this Friday which means I’ve had eleven counselling sessions with my psychologist for depression since starting therapy and medication four months ago.

It has occured to me that therapy for depression — at least for the predominately Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) that I’ve been receiving — is much like fixing a broken bone. Actually it’s more than just depression, it’s any sort of trauma in your life that has not been addressed properly … much like a bone fracture that was never set properly. To fix an old and incorrectly set bone fracture the bone has to be re-broken and re-set. Thus it is with therapy for trauma.

My reason for this analogy is that whilst I’ve definitely showed an overall pattern of increased mental and emotional stability, contentment and happiness I’ve also been all over the place to the point where I was having suicidal thoughts again just three weeks ago.

As the saying goes, if it hurts then it’s working.

I say this because I just want to caution people that while I whole-heartedly endorse seeking professional help for depression you should be aware that you will likely suffer regression and lapse back into a depressive state because therapy for trauma requires digging into your past and reactivating that trauma so it can be dealt with properly. That means stirring up old emotions of fear, pain and anger that can drag you back down.

If this does happen to you while being counselled for depression (and I’m sure your psychologist will warn you of this, as mine did) don’t believe that the therapy is ineffective. It’s just a temporary slip on your way to freedom from depression and can mean the therapy is hitting the right raw nerves and sensitive spots that need to be accessed to disassemble and rebuild your understanding and feelings about your past.

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2 comments

  1. thanks friend ..
    you just helped someone a great deal ..
    been going it alone ….
    it’s a hard one …

    peace & love to you !


  2. Funny you should say that. Us psychologists are usually happy when our clients cry cos we know theyre processing stuff and not burying it. And we mean that only in the most empathic, supportive and caring way.



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