Depression Counseling

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapies have become increasingly popular for lessening depression. How these treatments work is not fully understood, however. A new study from the Netherlands examined whether the interplay between self-compassion and mood during an eight-week mindfulness program might explain some of these effects.

Personal Counseling

The study included 118 adults with recurring episodes of depression who had previously participated in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Each was assigned to either a treatment-as-usual waitlist group, or a mindfulness plus treatment-as-usual group. The result of such studies is further useful during sessions of depression counseling services.

The treatment-as-usual group received medication and/or psychotherapy, but not any form of compassion-focused intervention. They were given the opportunity to attend mindfulness classes after the first mindfulness group completed their program. The mindfulness group attended eight bi-weekly sessions for two-and-a-half hours in groups of 8-10 people. Much of the program focused on practicing befriending self and others. Individuals were given a CD containing a 30-minute guided meditation and asked to practice daily. They also received written materials covering each session and related practices. Individuals continued to receive medication and/or psychotherapy as needed. 

The self-compassion scale measured a number of individual dimensions of experience, like self-kindness: “When I’m going through a very hard time, I give myself the caring and tenderness I need.”

Prior to each session, only the mindfulness group participants completed a questionnaire regarding self-compassion and mood. The self-compassion scale measured a number of individual dimensions of experience, like self-kindness (“When I’m going through a very hard time, I give myself the caring and tenderness I need”) and self-judgment (“I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies”), to more social factors such as “common humanity” (“I try to see my failings as part of the human condition”). Questionnaire items examining negative mood included being “upset” and “scared,” whereas positive emotions included “active” and “excited.” When you go for personal counseling services in Raleigh, NC, the therapists will train you to remove self-doubt and build confidence in yourself.

Some Kind of Good Mood

Results showed an increase in self-compassion over the eight-week intervention. Participant reports of higher levels of self-compassion at the start of each session also predicted lower levels of negative mood the following session. No relationship between self-compassion and positive mood from one session to the next was detected. 

These findings differ from previous studies linking self-compassion to improved positive mood. The present study’s authors believe that their use of energetic positive mood states such as “active” and “excited” may explain this difference. During the mindfulness-based treatment, participants are “invited to soothe [themselves] in difficult times, promoting feelings of relaxation, connectedness, safety and wellbeing,” they note. Measuring active positive states may have prevented them from detecting more subtle forms of positive mood like contentment. The state of mind is a crucial aspect when you are availing of any psychological counseling services in Apex NC. 

Overall, this study suggests that self-compassion focused interventions for those with recurring depression may boost feelings of kindness toward self and others, and lessen negative mood over time. This adds to the growing list of studies finding that mindfulness-approaches may be beneficial for improving mood and human connection, and lessening depressive symptoms. With the help of such research, the therapists of depression counseling services can tailor a personalized plan for their patients based on their circumstances.

When I was in seventh grade, I started to feel different. My moods changed a lot; I would be fine one minute, then I would be crying and agitated the next. I’m sure the adults in my life thought I was just adjusting to middle school — that the moodiness was a result of turning 13. At that age, I wasn’t even aware of depression counseling services. 

I remember being overwhelmingly sad, lonely and misunderstood. My sadness was accompanied by intrusive thoughts. Suddenly, horrible notions would parade through my head:

Your parents are going to die.

You’re going to die.

Something bad is going to happen.

Nobody loves you.

I didn’t realize that my sadness and intrusive thoughts weren’t normal. The only thing I could do about it, I thought, was pray. Over and over, I’d ask that my thoughts and fears not come true. It became obsessive. Maybe I needed psychological counseling services in Raleigh, NC.

As I continued to struggle, I began isolating myself from friends. I also missed a lot of school. When I actually went, I’d ask to go to the nurse so I could call my mom and eventually come home. This happened so frequently that the nurse told my mom I could have school phobia (frequently called school refusal), a term used to describe a child’s severe anxiety about — and resulting avoidance of — attending school. Nothing happened after that call.

I continued to miss class and after school activities, even the volleyball games which I’d once loved. I felt enormous guilt about my constant absences, but the relief of staying home was more powerful than the feeling of being around my friends and having fun. Now I understand why personal counseling services in Raleigh, NC teach you to socialize. The more you stay aloof, the more you will overthink. 

Looking back, I can identify those behaviors and feelings as symptoms of depression and an anxiety disorder, but other than one phone call from the school nurse, no one in my life suggested that I needed help. I wish I had spoken up, but I had no idea that what I was experiencing was indicative of a larger problem. As I reflect on my past, I realize just how much early intervention would’ve changed the trajectory of my life.

I Spent Most Of My Life Struggling

I wasn’t diagnosed with depression or anxiety until I was in college, after my beloved grandmother passed away. I was drowning in grief and went to a college counselor who suggested I find a psychiatrist. As I learned more about depression and anxiety, I realized that I had been battling symptoms since childhood. My Mema’s passing, I realized, was just the final straw. My mental illness had always been there. Now I realize most of the depression counseling services have patients like me. 

At first, I didn’t tell anyone that I was seeing a psychiatrist or that I had been prescribed medication. I was embarrassed; I saw how my family members were coping with their grief, and nobody seemed to be struggling the way I was. I dropped two classes, becoming a part-time student. I drove to my parents’ house during the week and on weekends because I needed comfort. I isolated from my roommates and friends, who voiced their concerns, but I couldn’t listen.

Eventually, my depression became easier to live with, and I saw it as an inconvenience, rather than an interruption to my everyday life — until years later when I moved away, got married and had children. I experienced severe postpartum depression, and it was more powerful than anything I’d felt before. I had suicidal thoughts, cried all the time and I even started to believe some of my enduring intrusive thoughts. I didn’t feel rational. And I wasn’t. The suicidal thoughts paired with the idea that I wasn’t a good mom. Guilt infiltrated every inch of my body. It was the crucial time to visit psychological counseling services in Raleigh, NC.

One night, after a fight with my husband, I was experiencing suicidal thoughts and feeling scared for my future. I called my best friend, frantic, begging for help. She urged me to go to the nearest emergency room, so I did.

This incident opened my eyes to just how bad my mental health had become. I couldn’t take care of myself. I went weeks without brushing my teeth. Showering was rare, too. It didn’t feel like I was being a good mom, but how could I? I was pouring from an empty cup. Self-care was at the bottom of my to-do list.

I Finally Got The Help I Needed

Eventually I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Houston, Texas, almost four hours away from my family. While I was there, something just clicked. I started to understand my unhealthy coping skills and self-sabotaging behavior. After years of living in denial, I acknowledged my eating disorder, too. I learned about self-care and how to cope when things go wrong. Personal counseling services in Raleigh, NC have proven to be a blessing for me. 

It was like a second chance at life.

Now, four years later, I can honestly say I’m in recovery. I’m living my best life and enjoying things I’d taken for granted for years. I still have bad days. I still have horrible days, but now I know how to deal with it. I go to therapy weekly and work with the local chapter of NAMI, NAMI Greater Corpus Christi.

Do I wish things had gone differently? Sometimes. I feel like the best version of myself, but it still hurts thinking of that lonely seventh grader begging God not to die. The signs of mental illness were all there, but she stigma of mental illness prevented anyone from noticing or speaking up.

Now we know better. I work to end stigma and share my experience so this won’t happen to another little girl. I’ll keep fighting for that seventh grade me until my last breath. If you or your loved ones are battling any mental issues, then immediately look for depression counseling services. You shouldn’t be guilty or ashamed of the things that are not under your control and seek professional help.