Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

How can you tell if you’re affected by anxiety or depression? If you are experiencing AT LEAST FIVE (5) or more of the following symptoms NEARLY EVERY DAY for a period of AT LEAST TWO (2) WEEKS, then you might consider getting help:

  • Feeling sad, empty, or hopeless for most of the day, or you are told by someone you appear this way.
  • Excessive anxiety or worry over the future (for example, work or school performance). The anxiety is difficult to control.
  • Diminished interest in activities you normally would enjoy doing for most of the day.
  • Change in appetite resulting in weight loss or weight gain.
  • Can’t sleep or oversleeping.
  • Can’t stop moving or you find it hard to move at all.
  • Irritability–little things can get really annoying.
  • Fatigue or loss or energy.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt or shame.
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate. Struggling to make simple decisions.
  • Recurrent thoughts about death or ending your life. There may be a specific plan to end your life or a history of suicide attempts.
  • These symptoms are impairing your personal relationships, your job, or your social life.
  • You feel these symptoms despite NO recent drug or alcohol use.
  • You have NEVER been diagnosed with a physical health problem that could have any of these symptoms.

Does this sound like what you’re going through? How did this happen to you? There is hope! This can be changed. Consider that the human mind is a powerful tool. It excels at providing the necessary information to motivate the body into action to enable survival in just about any environment. At the same time, when the mind is not needed, such as in situations of quiet and secure seclusion, prayer, or meditation, the mind continues it’s effervescent bubbling of useless information. Thinking “too much” becomes a bigger problem when we begin to identify with the thoughts that come from the mind. You can tell this is happening when you start to believe that the thoughts you have are mine. This is not new. In the New Testament, we are told by St. Paul in Romans

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (Rom 7:18-20)

The “sinful nature” which Paul is referring to is the thinking mind and the absurd nature of the thoughts it produces. For example, have you ever gotten so angry at someone that, in your mind, you fantasized about killing them? Obviously, you would never carry out such an act and having a thought like this is by no means an indication of insanity, but it does show just how over the edge our thinking can get if left unabated.

This leads us to the mood disorders of depression and anxiety.  The body will respond to your attention to the thinking mind.  If you continue to focus your attention on thoughts about a future that has a dismal outcome, you will get anxious.  If that future looks hopeless, you will get depressed.  If you continue to focus your attention on thoughts about unspeakable past events that you cannot change, your mood will be affected.

The point is this: You can think yourself into depression or anxiety. Your body will respond accordingly. As soon as sleep is impacted by overthinking, the stress on the body will extract an expensive toll. To change it, you learn to separate who you are from your thoughts. The thoughts can occur, but you can choose not to become identified with them. Thoughts become like the sounds of a child playing in the room when you are trying to focus your attention on paying bills, writing a letter, or other activity. It’s like background noise that you learn to live with. You can choose to NOT be depressed or anxious by simply changing how and where you put your attention.

Don’t let depression or anxiety determine how you live your life.   Take back control from these mood disorders and live the life that is being who you really are, the good that has no opposite.  You can choose to live in peace.

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(760) 566-8760

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