depression tip

Seek Safe Support

First, let me say what I mean by safe support. A safe support person is someone that you feel really understood and accepted by. Someone you feel respects you and welcomes all your feelings. A safe support person doesn’t judge you or try to fix you, and when you express your feelings to a safe person, you feel really heard and cared about. Hopefully, you have at least one or two safe and trusted people in your life. If you don’t, I hope you’ll seek out that level of support. You may also have some people in your life who you know are not safe for you to be vulnerable. That’s really important information. And you may know some people who have the potential to be safe if you decide to test the water and find out. I remember the very first time I decided to test the safety level of a friend with the topic of depression. I was deep in the thick of major depression at the time and I confided in my friend that I was having suicidal thoughts. Her response was complete and total silence. I’m talking not one word. We sat there in painful, awkward silence and I ended up feeling even worse than before. I know now that she had zero skills to deal with such intense information and we were both pretty young at the time, but it left me feeling even more alone and despairing and it would be years before I would risk sharing my dark secret again. The next time, however, I chose a professional counselor who really got me and really knew how to respond. And boy, did I feel the difference. So if you’re not sure if someone is emotionally safe to share your deeper feelings with, they may be able to meet your needs or hear your respectful requests and if not, there are many other potentially safe people to reach out to when you’re ready. A safe support person could be a friend, a family member, or a professional. If you are looking for a therapist, you might consider someone who has cognitive behavioral therapy skills as well as mindfulness training. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) will help you learn to challenge and upgrade your thinking and mindfulness will help you learn to live without becoming lost in your thoughts. In addition to CBT and mindfulness, there are many other modalities of therapy that can help with depression — too many for me to list here, but I will say and briefly explain a few of my favorites: IFS, EMDR, EFT, and hypnotherapy.

  • IFS stands for Internal Family Systems. It’s also known as parts work. IFS holds the view that our minds are made up of different sub-personalities or parts and an IFS therapist helps people understand and heal their wounded parts.
  • EMDR stands for Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. EMDR is highly regarded for treating trauma, but many people have been reporting a decrease in depression from it as well. An EMDR therapist will guide you through specific eye movements and other bilateral stimulation that may include gentle tapping or noninvasive movements.
  • EFT, or Emotional Freedom Techniques, is also referred to as tapping or psychological acupressure. EFT is a form of counseling that draws on alternative medicine including acupuncture, neurolinguistic programming and energy medicine. Once someone learns EFT, they can also practice the technique on themselves, which makes it very accessible, not to mention free of charge.
  • Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy used to deprogram and reprogram the subconscious mind. A hypnotherapist guides people into a deep, relaxed state and then give suggestions for relaxation and positive changes. So again, those are just a handful of my favorites. There’s many more, but it can really help to find a modality and a therapist that fits for you. Hopefully you have some safe people in your life already and if not, I hope you will seek out loving, compassionate, non-judgmental support, and eventually, you can also be that way towards yourself.