Am I Depressed?

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Many people ask themselves this question every day.  You notice a change in yourself, or maybe your loved ones point it out to you; could it be depression?

Our society likes throw around clinical terms such as “depression” in everyday language to describe someone or characteristics of themselves. The reality is, that this term is very real, psychiatric diagnosis.

So… how can you determine if you are suffering from depression? Here are some symptoms to consider:

  1. Depression is a word to describe your mood. Are you feeling down, sad, lonely or irritable?
  2. When our mood changes, we tend to lose interest in parts of our lives we used to find joy in.
  3. Changes in our sleep, appetite, activity levels, attention span and weight may also indicate depression.
  4. Feelings of guilt, low self-esteem and worthlessness are common in people who struggle with depression.
  5. Suicidality or thoughts about self-harm or death can also be experienced by someone with depression..

 

If you read the above tips and found any one of them to be true, you would probably not be alone. As humans, we experience emotion on a continuum- and just because we experience sadness or changes in our sleep, does not mean we suffer from depression.

It is important to consider that when the above symptoms become difficult to handle and are impacting different aspects of your life, you should seek out a professional’s support.

Any licensed mental health professional can help you determine if you struggle with depression. As it is the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorder, there are plenty of options for treatment and support.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thinking, please contact your local emergency services or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at :  1-800-273-8255

 

Be Well,

Valerie Spiropoulos, LCPC

 

 

7 Ways to get the most “bang for your buck” in therapy

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Hopefully I don’t put myself out of a job, but I will be the first to admit- Therapy is expensive! In Naperville, Illinois (a Western suburb of Chicago), a 50 minute session can range anywhere from $150-$280.  Insurance is an option for some, but we all know the status of our healthcare system these days and who wants an insurance company telling them how many sessions they’re allowed to attend?

Although costly, there is great value in the therapeutic process. Clients often experience emotional relief, a sense of support and learn tools to cope with the issues that brought them to therapy.


A guide to get the most “bang for your buck” when you start counseling.

 

1. Before you start…STOP and commit!

Understanding the befits of counseling and working to overcome some of the stigma  associated with it, will save you tons of time and money. This can be challenging- be sure to reach out to people you trust.

2. Be an educated consumer!

With instant information at our fingertips, we have unlimited options.

  • Learn the difference of counselor credentials in your state
  • Ask people you trust for a referral (ie: your doctor, a trusted friend or family member)
  • Think about the type of therapist you would connect best with: male/female/passive/directive/younger/older

 

3. Try before you buy!

The relationship between you and your therapist is a major catalyst in helping you work towards your goals; ask if they can provide a free phone consultation. This will give you an opportunity to see if they’re  a “good fit” before the first session.

 

4. Therapy is not magic, nor is it a “quick fix”

If this was the case, I would wear a cape to work and you could get therapy at your local Starbucks Drive Thru!

  • Be patient first with yourself- you are a complex and unique individual, exploring your issues and learning to cope with them takes time, patience and understanding.
  • Secondly, be patient with your therapist- our top priority is to help you. We can’t, unless we understand you- and that also takes time and patience.
  • There is no “magic number” of how long it will take you to overcome your struggles- that is a very personal and individual process.

 

5. Just because it hurts, doesn’t mean it is bad for you.

If change were easy and pleasant, we would all be living ideal versions of ourselves! The reality is: change can be an uncomfortable process that can stir up some emotions that can be tough to handle. At the same time, having an expert in your corner, who can support you in managing these feelings and challenge your fears is very re-assuring!

 

6. Come prepared.

We love our clients and the work that we do! We put all else aside when we meet with you. For that one hour, we give our attention, focus and care 100% to you. Please come prepared to do the same for yourself. Honor the time you spend on bettering your life by being present and open to change.

 

7. If it is not helping~ please say so.

If you bought a pair of pants and they didn’t fit, would you keep trying them on every week?

  • Maybe, but you would bet it would be pretty frustrating! The same goes for therapy.
  • Treatment is an extremely individualized, unique process for everyone; it can take some time to find what works best.
  • Don’t assume that just because your therapist is an expert in counseling, they are an expert in what works specifically for you.
  • Be vocal about what you find helpful and what you do not… trust me, we appreciate the feedback!

Keep these tips in mind and you can save yourself a ton of money! But don’t forget that it’s not the dollar amount that defines the value in therapy- its you.

Best of luck,

Valerie Spiropoulos, LCPC

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www.thecenterelifetherapy.com