Depression: Walking in the Shadows [Part 1]

PART 1  Depression – Walking In The Shadows

            Her moist eyes were large and sad as she stared at the floor.  The corners of her mouth drooped as if in a perpetual frown and her shoulders hunched, as though she were carrying a huge burden.  Sue also had a difficult time meeting my eyes. 

            I felt a real compassion for this wounded spirit.  I knew she was suffering intensely, and I hoped to change that.  I was free of this dreadful condition and I wanted her to be free, also.

            Before the session ended, I needed to know one thing for sure: how serious Sue was  about ending her life.  All deeply depressed people entertain some thoughts about escaping the unrelenting pain.  For some, it is death-wishing, while others have a very detailed plan for how they will kill themselves.

            At the beginning of the session I had given Sue a Depression Inventory.  This test gave me a vital piece of information, the level of depression that Sue was experiencing. 

            Having talked to many depressed people, I knew that Sue characterized herself as uniquely and unredeemably flawed.  Hope would be mostly, if not entirely, gone, a victim of this debilitating, intensely painful condition.        

            My mission today was to listen and try to find a foothold into the dark recesses of her thoughts and perceptions.  There was little doubt that they were mired in hopelessness.  I would lean on my training, experience, and the silent prayer to God with which I begin sessions.   If all went well, this client would leave with a small glimmer of light at the end of a very dark and dreary tunnel.  She would begin the process of doubting her doubts, the road to recovery.


Counselor:      How are you doing today?

Client:              I have been feeling terrible lately.  I can’t seem to do anything right.  I think the worst, constantly.  I feel so empty, everything is such an effort.      


            She began to cry as she poured out her tale of misery and despair.  I listened carefully, while taking notes.  At times, I felt tears begin to form, even though I had heard similar tales many times.  As I listened, I knew that she was really convinced that life would always be this terrible, that things would never get better.