If you know me, you know 3 things that I am obsessed with Martin (my dog), Starbucks and Kate Spade. When I heard the news that Kate Spade passed away, I was in shock. Of course, I do not know the details of how or why she ended her life, however my heart breaks over how much suffering she must have gone through to reach that point.
I can only know that depression was a factor in how someone associated with one of the happiest brands and slogan “live colorfully” could feel so desperate. Since my practice is primarily seeing girls and young women I have seen the toll depression and anxiety have played in their lives on a daily basis. I always say that depression and anxiety are BFF and you never know who is going to show up to the party. I can usually give so many tools around anxiety and when you find an effective tool, many start to feel powerful and back in control. Making anxiety a friend seems to be a great way for clients to prepare/plan and even expect anxiety to show up. Depression is a whole other story. Depression is like wearing really dark sunglasses, (I have a pair in my office for clients to put on) everything is dark, what comes in and what goes out, no hope, no energy. Depression is the trickster of all tricksters and tells you “let’s just sit alone in your room and watch another show/video and you will feel better” or “all we need is to be left alone” when we know the opposite is true.
When you are depressed, my job as a therapist I believe is to prepare you for the fight and to teach parents how to prepare for battle. I do believe that depression can serve a purpose in creating time and space for rest when needed, however, severe depression is a full on war with your mind and body. And to fight you need some amazing weapons and an army. Even Wonder Woman needed support and help from others, although she had a kick ass lasso.
In therapy we like to use coping skills however I am suggesting more survival skills in this scenario.
I’m going to start to the least popular one here. Get out of your room!!! Being alone on your room for hours on end is the WORST thing to do when depressed. Even if you can watch your favorite show/video out of room would be super helpful. AND…..
Go EXERCISE, so much cool research on how moving your body can increase serotonin and for some they immediately feel better after walking their dog around the block (cats are a bit more challenging, trust me I have tried). Exercise also reduces cortisol which is our stress hormone so it’s a double benefit.
Do something creative, distract yourself. Here’s one of our favorite videos about CBT ( Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and how to change your thinking. Since girls are so relationship driven sometimes we think “nobody likes me”, “nobody cares”, Is this really true or is this my depression speaking? Distract and Combat like the little otter.
For parents have a conversation about “what does my daughter need in the moment to help her feel better?” ask and do not assume to know what she needs. I love to have a list on my phone or tablet of my plan of attack.