The lies on TV about Depression.

I have this bad habit of critiquing television commercials when I am watching television. One particular boring night of reality television I saw an ad for a new antidepressant. In this commercial a well dressed woman wearing white is standing in a clean kitchen with her back to her husband and child laughing at the table. The message being that she was isolated in the kitchen because of her depression.  This is not the reality of depression.

Depression is dark. For someone who is struggling with depression the light streaming in the windows would be too much. Also, the house would not be clean. Many people struggling with Depression can not find the motivation to keep up their personal hygiene much less keep the house clean. This leads to shame. Shame keeps people in the dark. It keeps people from talking about how they can’t get out of bed on time or at all on some days. It keeps people from taking a shower, brushing their teeth, or caring about what they are wearing.

There is also, gender inequality in this commercial too. Men can become depressed too. They may have many of the same symptoms as women except men often present as irritable and angry as opposed to sad. The commercial I saw is perpetuating the stereotype that women are more depressed than men. Women are not more depressed than men. Men’s depression presents differently is all.

If I were to create my own commercial about Depression the woman in the commercial would be lying on the couch. The house would be messy and dark. The husband and child would be watching from the doorway. The woman in the commercial would be looking at the wall with no expression wearing pajamas or sweatpants. Her hair would be messed up, and she would not have any make up on. The phone would ring. She wouldn’t notice it. If she did notice it, she would pick it up, look at it, and put it down.

This woman could have high functioning depression meaning she leaves the house to go to work every day. She may be able to hold down a job, but at home is where the Depression manifests itself.

Depression is treatable. As the commercial indicates medication can help. It is not the only answer. You must take that first initial step to speak with a counselor about your Depression. A good therapist will not judge you for the messy house, messy clothes, or your never ending sadness. They will walk with you through those dark spaces you don’t share with anyone else. How can you share those dark thoughts? They scare you. Don’t worry that is what I do. I walk with you through dark. I have been there before. If you are struggling with Depression, give my office a call 605-490-4229

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What does it mean to be authentic?

Do you know what it means to be authentic? I didn’t for a very long time. When I first graduated from school with my Master’s Degree I was told “Not to give away so much of myself.” What did that even mean? I had no idea. I continued being me as I gathered experience and worked on becoming a better counselor for my clients. My friends, coworkers, and clients describe me as honest, direct, and straight forward.

When I moved to the South, they told me “Cristi, you are so country.” Again, this terminology kept showing up about what many were considering a character flaw. In some ways it is a character flaw. For social relationships are often dependent on tact, indirectness, and being fake. In reality most people don’t want to hear your truth. Try this experiment the next time someone asks you “How are you?” Answer them honestly. If you are having a bad day, say so. Missing someone, say so. Now, watch the reaction of the person asking the question. How does their facial expression change? Do they change the subject? Do you feel heard?

Most of the time the person asking the question looks confused. Wondering if they heard you right? There were asking a question that social norms dictate. They did not want an honest answer.

Being authentic means to answer the question in the moment. No more no less. For example, you could say it has been a bad day, how was yours? That is being authentic. You were honest. There are those people, who take it one step farther and explain why it has been a bad day. This is oversharing. Think of it this way. The person asked, “How are you?” Not, “Why are you having a bad day?” Big difference between the two.

Being authentic means being true to you. For me it comes a naturally as breathing. I don’t have to think about how to be authentic. I just am. For others it is harder. For a deeper, closer relationship with others it is imperative to be authentic.

Working with me as your counselor means I will always be honest with you. Many of clients report to me that this is the quality they most value in our counseling relationship. I have learned it is one of the greatest assets I bring to my counseling. I am here to help you, not judge you. I can only do that by being authentic. I laugh to myself when I think about that first counseling supervisor that tried to tell me to not be authentic. I can only be who I am, and I am authentic.                                                      blue-button-close-up-1176618 Photo by Julia Kuzenkov from Pexels Continue reading “What does it mean to be authentic?”