Depression is a Form of Trauma

Depression is a Form of Trauma

Sometimes we think of our trauma as specific incidents from our past such as painful childhood experiences, injuries we’ve sustained, or abusive relationships we’ve survived. We might not think of our depressions as a form of trauma, but they definitely are. Many of us experience recurring depressions, cyclical depression and bipolar depression. Every occurrence of depression, even one isolated episode, can be extremely traumatic and destabilizing.

Depression is often accompanied by intense anxiety and panic. Our fears can cause us considerable pain and distress and are traumatic in and of themselves. When we are consumed with fear, we often adopt a fear-based perspective about everything- our thoughts, who we are as people, the world around us, our future. We can find ourselves afraid to leave our homes, venture out into the world, and be around other people. We isolate ourselves out of fear. We don’t necessarily question our fears and whether or not they are rational because they can be all-consuming, and we come to believe them to be true. This accumulation of fear can be traumatizing. The isolation we feel, the lack of support we so desperately need, and our disconnection from other people can all be traumatizing.

Because we attract things into our lives with the energy we carry, when we are depressed, we are manifesting with an energy of sadness and fear. We therefore find ourselves attracting more thoughts, feelings, relationships and experiences that reflect this painful energy. We often respond to these new manifestations with the same sadness and fear- we panic, we feel like we’re being hit from all sides, like we’re being kicked when we’re down. We feel like we’ll never be able to dig ourselves out of the hole. This build-up of more and more difficult challenges can be traumatizing.

We often come to believe that our addictions and mental health issues are proof that we are inadequate, weak, pathetic, and destined to suffer. We create all kinds of limiting beliefs about ourselves, and our painful thought patterns reflecting these beliefs can be so relentless we feel like we can’t escape the pain of our own minds. Our psyches are in distress. We might panic at the thought of having to live within these minds for the rest of our lives. All of this can be traumatic.

As we embark on our healing journeys, we can choose to feel compassion and understanding for ourselves and for the suffering we’ve experienced, rather than belittling or dismissing just how traumatic our depressions can be.

We offer therapy, mentoring, recovery planning and more at Enlightened Solutions. Call (833) 801-LIVE.


The Energy of Depression

The Energy of Depression

When we suffer from depression, it can take over our entire lives- our thoughts, feelings, intentions, behaviors and decisions. Our energy is a huge part of who we are, and when it comes to mental and emotional health challenges, our energy can often mean the difference between healing and staying stuck.

When we are depressed, we tend to focus on how depressed we feel. We have a very hard time imagining we might feel any differently someday, and we find it difficult to remember a time when we didn’t feel this way. We focus on the bad feelings we feel- the anxiety, hopelessness and despair. We believe these thoughts and feelings will always be with us, and we can’t even begin to imagine a future without them.

We dwell on how much we’ve lost interest in our hobbies, rather than trying to remember the joy they bring us. We focus on how long it’s been since we last did something we enjoyed rather than setting the intention to make the time to do it. We focus on how we can’t get out of bed, or can’t talk to our friends, or can’t will ourselves to go for a walk- rather than encouraging ourselves to keep trying. When we do take small steps, we beat ourselves up that they weren’t bigger.

Those of us with depression tend to be very hard on ourselves. We beat ourselves up for even being depressed, for not getting better fast enough, for not being able to cope with life. We feel ashamed of ourselves for our depression, for how much it has derailed our lives. We carry guilt and regret for all our mistakes and wrongdoings, and we think and speak of ourselves with hatred. We judge ourselves harshly for not accomplishing more in life, for not being where we expected we’d be at our age, for not measuring up. We believe we’ve let everyone down.

We have a tendency to compare ourselves to other people and assume they are better, stronger, and happier than we are. We create mental games of competition with other people, and the worse we feel about ourselves in relation to other people, the harder it gets to focus on our recovery.

Recovery requires that we take inventory of our thoughts and feelings. How is our energy affecting our depression and vice versa? The sooner we understand how our energy is impacting our mental and emotional health, the sooner we can make progress in our recovery.

The community at Enlightened Solutions has years of experience helping people recover from depression. Call (833) 801-LIVE for help.


Gratitude Practice as a Tool for Depression

Gratitude Practice as a Tool for Depression

If you search online for ways to deal with depression, one of the things you’ll find highly recommended is starting a gratitude practice. In our daily lives, we tend to take things for granted, the blessings of our families and friends, having a roof over our heads, having enough to eat. Depression can be exacerbated by focusing on everything that is going wrong in our lives, rather than all the things that are going right. Gratitude can help change some of the mental thought patterns that contribute to depression such as a scarcity mindset rather than an abundance mindset- feeling like you never have enough can be transformed into being grateful for everything you have. You have eyesight to read these words, you are able to read, you have a mind working to process and understand. You can choose to be grateful for anything and everything. With gratitude, painful experiences become lessons learned, challenges become opportunities for growth and empowerment.

When you first wake up, when you go to sleep, and/or throughout the day, try listing some of the things you feel grateful for. If you’re depressed or anxious, this might be really hard to do, but try. Maybe the sun is shining, and even if you’re feeling too depressed to go outside, even saying the words “I am grateful for sunshine” might spark the motivation to put your face in the sun, even for just a few minutes. Any steps you can take will help, and gratitude can often be the catalyst. If you woke up in a comfortable bed with pillows and blankets, or got enough sleep, or are waking up in order to get to work, be thankful for anything and everything- the bed, the pillows, the sheets, the blankets, the job you have that allows you to pay for the things you need, the family you’re supporting by going to that job, the love you feel for your family. Be grateful you got to eat today. Be grateful you made it home safe. Be grateful there are people out there who care about you and want you to be happy.

Positive thinking isn’t always easy, especially when we’re depressed and giving up hope, but try, and keep trying. The more you practice looking for things you’re grateful for, the more your mind will naturally direct itself to find more things to be grateful for. Gratitude helps program our minds to start seeing the good in things automatically. Having the energy of gratitude opens you up to receiving even more blessings. When we are feeling down and defeated, simply saying “Thank You” for the blessings we have can transform our energy and help lift us out of depression.

Let Enlightened Solutions help you discover new ways of healing. Call (833) 801-LIVE.


Affirmations for Depression, Anxiety, Panic and Addiction – Enlightened Solutions Aisling Peartree

Affirmations for Depression, Anxiety, Panic and Addiction – Enlightened Solutions Aisling Peartree

For many people, healing from complex, deeply rooted emotional issues can require a multi-pronged approach. A person’s healing is often an involved process, including unearthing buried memories and facing long-held fears. There are countless techniques, tips and remedies to try, but at the foundation of it all there must be the underlying belief that you can heal. It may sound simplistic, but for many of us, we simply don’t believe we can heal. We feel we are too far gone. We are so ashamed of ourselves we don’t feel we deserve to live. The depression has recurred too many times, for too many years, to hold out hope. Anxiety is a daily battle. Waking up in panic, being unable to sleep, finding it impossible to get out of bed, having persistent suicidal thoughts, inner demons that haunt you relentlessly… It’s enough to make anyone feel hopeless. But if we can muster even a little bit of strength to start the process of changing how we think, we can start rebuilding and regenerating our mental and emotional wellbeing. The thought processes that have become ingrained in our minds, our negative subconscious programming after trauma, all of it can be changed, if we believe it can.

Our subconscious mind responds very well to both repetition and to the written word. Try some of these affirmations or make up your own. Write them down and keep them somewhere you will see them often. Repeat them throughout the day, out loud and to yourself. When you feel the negative thoughts coming, replace them with your new affirming, empowering thoughts. Positive words alone may not bring about much change without the right energy behind them, but as you repeat the affirmations, make the choice to believe in the words you are saying, and to believe in yourself. Little by little, you will heal.

For Depression:

I am more than good enough.

I love myself.

I believe in myself.

I am healing every day, little by little.

I am aligning with my purpose.

I have the power to manifest the life I want.

For Panic:

Everything is going to be ok.

This too shall pass.

I am safe.

I am secure.

For Anxiety:

Everything happens as it’s meant to.

I trust in the divine plan.

I allow myself to stay in the present moment.

Be brave.

For Addiction:

I am strong enough to do what is best for myself.

I am powerful.

I can redefine my life and begin again.

One day at a time.

We listen, and we understand. Many of us have personal experience with recovery. Enlightened Solutions offers therapy, mentoring, and friendship. Call (833) 801-LIVE today.


Some History on Homelessness

Seeing Depression as a Deep Emotional Awakening

The way that depression is experienced is influenced by the way that it is defined. For many, depression is considered a static state. Depression is on or depression is off.  Sometimes this may be true, but often, depression is more like a dimmer light switch.  Depression is slowly turned on and is slowly turned back off.  The way that we related to it when it is slightly on is different than the relating that happens when it is at full throttle.  

When depression knocks on the door of life, it is time to adjust the way that we are living. It can begin as a slight numbness.  In fact, if one is not living in a daily relationship with their emotional world, depression may stealthily slip in unnoticed.  If depression is notice at an early stage, actions may be taken to enliven the spirit.  If the early beckoning goes unnoticed, depression will begin to call our names louder, like a mother from the 80s calling a child home to the porch from a neighborhood bike ride.  Depression will make sure that you have heard its call.  Until responded to, it will continue deepen its hold until you are listening.

Being hunted by depression is painful and exhausting - the running and hiding, only to inevitably surrender. Depression simply wants to offer you an opportunity to evolve in life.  In the same way that depression can slowly set in, it is often a slow process to find relief from depression.  It involves taking daily actions that allow the healing process to begin.  It is the daily consistency of these actions that moves you back out of depression.  The consistent, daily practices needed to produce freedom from depression cultivates one of depression’s greatest gifts, patience. With the expansion of patience, you become a person who perseveres. As patience, perseverance and daily mindfulness through practices are integrated in you, you have a heightened awareness the next time the fog of numbness rolls in. Although you have momentarily lost your sense of sight in this fog, you trust the strength of your other senses to guide you through it as you take immediate action.

Another potential outcome that a journey with depression fosters is the determination to live more attuned to your daily emotional state.  It can begin by simply pausing several times a day and asking the internal self: what do I feel? What do I need? These questions will amend the conditions that beckon depression.  

 

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.


Is There A Spiritual Side To Depression?

Is There A Spiritual Side To Depression?

Living with depression is a challenging life experience.  The experience of depression can feel like the attempt to run through waist-deep tar.  Even though you long to sprint through the day, every breath, every step, every thought is moving through the sticky toxicity of depression.  The dualism of depression is that there is a deep longing to be released from it, yet its very nature can block an individual from taking actions that will shift it.  

As we consider how to work with this dualism, it is important to acknowledge that two basic kinds of depression exist. These are depression that is contextually induced and depression that is clinical or chemical in nature.  In the following discussion, we are exploring actions that may influence change with contextual depression.  

The definition of the word ‘depress’ is to be in a lower state and when speaking in spiritual terms, the spiritual life can sometimes be discussed as the pursuit of the ‘higher’ self.  In these terms, the remedy for being relieved of depress-ion is to pursuit elevation of the self.  The self can be elevated by pursuing higher expressions of it self.

Becoming elevated can be accessible by simply choosing to look at our depression differently.  When an individual is dealing with depression, it may be natural and comfortable to look at the circumstances of life as happening to you.  Whether the context is a job loss, relationship ending or the bottom of an addiction, it can be easy to feel like a victim for those circumstances.  However, one can begin to choose our higher self when they pause and ask themselves what actions they might take to create a new situation for their lives.

Sometimes, depression can begin the process of shifting even by simply asking ourselves this question, even if we do not yet have the next right action to take.  The question allows an individual to embrace the possibility that they have access to the internal resources to change their experience and this is an un-depressed perspective.  Once one is willing to ask the question, the higher self will begin to emerge leading the lower part of you to the actions necessary to change the context of your life.  

 

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.


intensive outpatient program

Depression Can Become A Clinical Problem: Do You Know When?

The signs of depression aren’t always obvious. Symptoms can last a long time before they’re noticeably problematic.

When Your Appetite Has Taken A 180

Hunger and depression go together in confusing ways. If you are a normal eater you will notice a change either in the direction of eating more food or eating less food. Depression is being researched in its connection with gut bacteria which is created by the food we eat. Hunger can also be associated with hormones produced by the thyroid which affects hunger. A severe change in appetite can be a sign that something is imbalanced. If you are noticing serious changes in mood in addition to changes in hunger, that might be a sign of depression.

When Your Sleep Is The Opposite Of Normal

Sleeplessness in depression is common. First, the natural circadian rhythm can be altered by shifting hormones which cause change in sleep. Second, changes in sleep due to chemical depression can cause lethargy and sleeping all day, which can contribute to the natural sleep rhythm being off.  Third, depression can cause a different kind of sleep alteration. Instead of losing sleep during the night  due to being low energy all day one might lose sleep because they have too much energy. A little known and under recognized symptom of depression is high energy and productivity— the opposite of what is generally expected out of depression.

When Your Sensitivity Levels Are Off

Depression is characterized by heavy emotions of sadness and sensitivity. You might find yourself being more reactionary than responsive. Feeling as though you were an overfilled water balloon, you live as though you are on edge. The slightest offense— real or perceived— could set off waterworks and a slew of emotions. In contrast, sensitivity can also result in more demonstrations of anger. Depression and anger aren’t commonly thought to go together but they often can. Anger can be a sign of deep emotional pain which is stuck in its processing.

When You Think You’re Anxious

Anxiety and depression are often confused because they both share the characteristic of ruminating thoughts. Sometimes, anxiety is depressing and sometimes depression can induce anxiety. Experiencing anxiety attacks or feeling generally anxious about the future, or even the past, could actually be depression rather than anxiety.

Depression is a leading mental health issue around the world and one of the most highly co-occurring disorders with addiction and alcoholism. If you are struggling with depression and turning to drugs or alcohol to cope, there is a solution. Call Enlightened Solutions today for information on our partial care programs designed to heal mind, body, and spirit. 833-801-5483.


Nama’stick To Yoga Because It Helps With Depression

According to Bustle, Boston University recently released information from their study on the efficacy of yoga in treating depression. Published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the study followed thirty people of varying ages who were clinically depressed. Within the group, the participants were either medication-free or had been consistently taking medication for three full months or more.

One half of the participants were instructed to take a ninety minute yoga class in addition to four yoga sessions of thirty minutes on their own at home. In the other half of the group, participants took two yoga classes and three sessions at home each week.

The study lasted for three months. At the end of the three months, researchers evaluated the participants’ depression with the use of clinical depression questionnaires. For the half of the participants who had more yoga in their schedule- two group classes a week and three at home yoga sessions a week- there was a better improvement in score. Overall, the majority of participants in either grow saw a 50% more positive increase on their scores regarding their depression.

Yoga has been found to be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of many mental health conditions including anxiety, addiction, alcoholism, and post traumatic stress disorder. Skeptics of holistic healing arts and their effectiveness in treating mental health disorders have combatted years of research proving that yoga is helpful. This new study from Boston University shows that yoga is undeniably effective in alleviating symptoms of depression. A fifty percent increase is an astonishing and impressive advancement for those struggling with clinical depression.

Practicing yoga today is easier than ever. Many apps exist which can be downloaded to smart technological devices, full of yoga sequences and classes. Yoga instructions can be found online through streaming video services like YouTube. Yoga studios are plentiful and most major commercial gyms offer numerous yoga classes throughout the day.

For treatment of addiction, alcoholism, and co-occurring mental health conditions, yoga is becoming a primary practice. Regular practice of yoga helps increase blood circulation, improves heart health, reduces inflammation, and improves mood. Those who practice yoga find that they feel a greater sense of wellbeing, universality, and connectivity to the world around them.

Yoga is often a life-transforming practice. Recovery is about healing and transformation. Are you ready to make a change in your life? Enlightened Solutions is an integrative and holistic treatment program which draws on clinical and evidence based practices. For information on our treatment programs for men and women, call us today at 833-801-5483.


The 4 Common Types Of Depression

Depression is a globally experienced mental health disorder on every level. Coping with depression which goes undiagnosed or untreated can result in substance abuse or other harmful behaviors. If you are living with depression there is hope.

Major Depression

Major depression is the most common diagnosed form of depression. Also called chronic depression or clinical depression, it is the stereotypical type of depression which is ongoing. Major depression is characterized by feeling as though one is being swallowed by darkness. Feelings of being numb, emotionless, and uninspired are common. Other symptoms can include:

  • Weight gain
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and passions
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal Ideation

Treatment for major depression can include antidepressant medication therapy and traditional psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to be helpful for treating depression. Often, a change in diet, exercise, and wellness can reduce symptoms of depression.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Though persistent depressive disorder is as ongoing as major depressive disorder it is not the same in terms of severity. Symptoms of depression can last for two years of more but never reach the all-encompassing darkness that major depression can. People living with persistent depressive disorder are usually highly functioning, simply carrying the burden of depressing thoughts of feelings. Symptoms can still include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in energy
  • Problems with self-esteem
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder and depression are separate, yet connected. Formerly called “manic depressive” disorder, bipolar disorder includes bouts of mania and depression. After a manic episode, people with bipolar tend to come “crashing” down into depression. Their symptoms reflect the opposite of what they experienced during mania. Bipolar depression is often characterized by feelings of worry, discouragement, loss of self-worth and hopelessness.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Caused by a change in time and season, the brain creates more melatonin during the day because of a lack of sunshine. Low energy, low mood, and depressive symptoms like hopelessness are common for people to develop during the winter months. Usually, the depression symptoms disappear as the weather starts to change. During the dark days of the year, people can feel incredibly down and even suicidal.

Are you coping with depression by abusing drugs and alcohol? Enlightened solutions offers day treatment programs which are certified in treating co-occurring disorders for mental health and substance abuse. Start your healing with us. Call today for more information at 833-801-5483.


art therapy

Is Depression Caused By A Lack Of Expression?

Circus animals are prone to get depressed. Tigers, lions, bears, and elephants, are wild animals. They are meant to roam large and vast lands, hunt, mate, and explore. When they are put into the circus, however humanely they are treated, they are confined. Instead of being free, they are caged. Rather than explore and be the animals they are, they are trained and forced to perform in unnatural ways. Many animal rights activists criticize circus companies for torturing animals in this way because it rids animals of their autonomy to be who they are. Similar criticism is given to zoos.

Oppression and Self Expression

Humans face a similar tale. Oppression is a common story in a human life. Though the reasons are different, people get oppressed in their ability to fully express who they are. Whether it is due to cultural conflict, religious conflict, environmental conflict, or other means, people are not allowed to fully actualize who they are. Each human is a unique and different individual. Like snowflakes, humans have numerous similarities and commonalities, but at the core, not one of us is exactly like the other. When others find ways of repressing that, humans react in one of two ways: they act out or they shut down, a symptom of which can be depression.

Gbenga Adebamo is a counselor who wrote on the many ways depression is created out of a lack of expression, for The Good Men Project. He describes everything from lack of gratitude, to grief, to overparenting- and includes addiction. Depression and addiction are highly co-occurring disorders. Worldwide, depression is a leading mental illness. “One of the major reasons why people relapse back into addiction,” Adebamo explains, “is simply because they are unable to find positive expression for their energy.” Adebamo continues to describe the energy behind people’s addictions and how, after getting sober, that energy needs to find somewhere to go. Often, addiction is a coping mechanism for pre-existing depression or other areas which Adebamo might label as being resistant to expression.

Finding Your Expression

Recovery is a process of discovery. Through treatment and therapy, you have the opportunity to discover, or re-discover, how it is you express yourself. Expression doesn’t have to be creative, it just has to be you. After years of being told that your means of expression is wrong, you begin to believe you are wrong. You are not wrong. Now is the time to find out who you really are and live an authentic life expressing who that is.

Start with Enlightened Recovery Solutions on your path to sobriety. Our partial care programs are designed around the unique needs of each individual to help them become their authentic selves. If you or a loved one are experiencing difficulty with depression, addiction, or both, call us today at 833-801-5483.