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.
<NEXT ISSUE – PART 2>