If your work includes working with human peoples, chances are, a good number of them is struggling with depression or anxiety. I actually didn’t realize how widespread these conditions were, until I started coaching. Heck, one of the reasons I decided not to pursue clinical psychology was because I did not want to work with “clinical populations”. Whatever that means.
Instead, I focused on health psychology, positive psychology, coping with stress, resilience, and looking for the silver lining. My master’s thesis explored the benefits of negative life events. Talk about positive reframing.
Ten years later, ten to twenty five percent of my clients struggle with one or more mental health issues.
Oh, and I have experienced both anxiety and depression myself.
The joke is on me. It turns out you cannot run away from (relatively) universal human conditions.
I think I first wrote about SAD four years ago. “It is often not until we get something back, we realize how much we missed it.” I was talking about sunshine. One of the benefits of blogging for a long time is seeing the patterns. Rhyme and reason to our madness. Literally.
A dear friend of mine who likes to pretend that he is an asshole, but who has the heart of gold (you have a friend like that?) told me recently that he was grateful to learn about SAD, and depression in general. It helped him see it differently.
Another friend reminded me that I often give off this “I soooo have my shit together” impression. Not on purpose, I swear. I think it’s the biceps, mostly. So, I keep that reminder in mind, and keep writing, so you know about things OTHER than silver lining.
“Thanks, coach, for keeping it real”, one client told me recently. Yes. I think that’s it. I want to keep keeping it real.
Hence, the new article on the blog. It’s not flouncy-and-bouncy, but it’s definitely real. You might recognize yourself in it, or, perhaps, it might shed some light on one of your loved ones, or a client, who experiences something similar.
If you want to learn a bit more about depression, I really like the TED talk by Dr. Stephen Ilardi called “Depression Is A Disease Of Civilization”. He focuses on some specific non-pharmaceutical to-do’s for alleviating the darkness.
I have now managed to get through four winters of seasonal affective depression unmedicated. It’s not a source of pride, or a badge of honour of any kind. It simply is. For many folks, anti-depressants make the impossible possible. I wrote about that more here.
So, that’s it for now. I think Ontario FINALLY got the memo that it is almost May, and we hit double digits (that’s Celsius for those of you in ‘Murica), and I had my mandatory “I think she is finally here” spring cry yesterday.
Hugs (send hugs back!)