What is depression from the client’s perspective? Our clients often speak in metaphors when describing what it’s like to be depressed. Here is what they have to say.
First, our responsibility
They want to be understood. It’s our job to listen. As a therapist, my primary responsibility is to understand what my client is suffering from so that I can effectively treat it. When meeting someone for the first time, I spend most of my time simply understanding. In the case of depression, here’s how it’s described to me.
What is depression?
When people describe how they feel, they often speak metaphorically. Here’s some descriptive language I’ve heard about what depression feels like:
- living down in the dumps
- being in a permanent slump
- a weight too heavy to carry
- someone is sitting on my chest
- drowning and can’t swim
- lost something and can’t find it
- being pulled into a bottomless pit
- darkest time of my life
At Recovatry, we specialize in interventions proven effective in medical studies for treating depression. Most of them fall under the cognitive behavioral therapy umbrella, which consists of several techniques we use as therapists to help people recover. People do recover from depression. We see it all the time.
But first, we have to listen.
Listening to understand
The first step in the therapeutic process is spending quality time with someone, truly understanding how they feel. Most often people feel misunderstood. If we don’t make a genuine effort, listening to understand first, then we’ll lose them before we start.
Once a person is understood, a reliable diagnosis can be made. After that, the intervention begins. The first part of which is helping the client understand the clinical diagnosis and treatment, but that’s another article. In the meantime, remember that using metaphor is a good place to start when trying to put your feelings into words.