Many people experience some depression and/ or anxiety at some point in their lives. It can be hard to seek help for these issues because of attitudes that these are problems that should be taken care of oneself or within the family. People are also often reluctant to invest the time or money in themselves, not realizing that they are actually a better resource to their friends and loved ones when they are doing well and getting the help they need.
Depression is characterized by frequent sadness, hopelessness, apathy (or not caring about anything), loss of pleasure in daily activities, and sometimes feelings of wanting to hurt of kill oneself. People who are depressed often have trouble knowing that they have not always been depressed, and do not have to stay depressed forever. It can be very difficult to get out from under the negative thoughts and see the positive in one's life. However, the truth is that most people begin to feel better after a couple of months of therapy. In other cases the depression is more persistent, and longer term, more intensive treatment can make meaningful changes to these long-standing depressive patterns that may have been with someone for many years or since childhood. In these cases it is often a fundamental change in how one relates to others that unleashes a greater capacity for contentment and joy.
Anxiety is a given for us humans, and we all experience it from time to time. There is an optimal level of anxiety that fuels ambition and playfulness. However when the level of anxiety is too high it can lead to painful symptoms such as unproductive worrying, preoccupation with body states or illness anxiety, OCD behaviors like frequent checking or hand washing, excessive thoughts about the wellbeing of loved ones and phobias such as being afraid to drive over a bridge or having trouble going out in public spaces. Many people first come to therapy after having panic attacks, in which they experience a host of bodily symptoms, a feeling of complete terror, and often feel that they are dying. Psychotherapy can guide you in how to manage these symptoms and cultivate a sense of control, reducing fear of panic. Additionally, it can address underlying causes of the anxiety to prevent further outbreaks and bolster your capacity to manage overwhelming experiences as they continue to come up throughout the course of life.