Depression and Finding Your Way in the Dark

There may be times in our lives when depression takes hold of us and makes things feel impossible, hopeless, or very very dark. Depression, sadness, stuckness, anxiety, immense overwhelm, whatever you want to call it, is a form of being lost in the dark. It isn’t a momentary experience of sadness but a perpetual one that diminishes how you engage in this world. One of the most common mental health struggles in the US is depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2017, “an estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 7.1% of all U.S. adults.” 

Depression is a form of stuckness, and an ingrained or habituated mental pattern that is hard to break out of. Although it may feel this way, you are not alone. Major depression is not something that can just be switched off and it isn’t a weakness. While what exactly causes it is still unknown, the MayoClinic suggests that factors may include changes or major events in your life, biological differences (physical changes in the brain), brain chemistry, hormones, and inherited traits. Because there may be a variety of factors, medications/treatments combined with psychotherapy may have the greatest impact.

Treatment-Resistant Depression

Treatment-resistant depression is different than major depression in that someone has tried medications, herbs, dietary changes, various kinds of therapy, etc. but still feels depressed; or it helps slightly, but the darkness has not yet lifted. An energy of hopelessness may also encompass the person as nothing is seeming to work. This may perpetuate the issue as people sink deeper into the depression as months or even years of effort provide little relief. But, this also may mean that they haven’t found the combination of what works yet. With the emergence of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy within the mental health field and its proven efficacy in treating treatment-resistant depression, there is hope.


Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried. You’ve actually been planted.

– Christine Caine
 

 


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Our approach to treating depression

Psychotherapeutic Support

Because our wounding often happens in relationship, it is also in relationship where healing best occurs. Psychotherapeutic support and guidance is key to supporting the healing process. We are not meant to heal alone; humans are simply not designed that way. Our practitioners provide a compassionate and understanding place for you to be yourself and to explore healthier ways of being in-relationship with both yourself and others. Whether it’s through art therapy, somatic trauma work, mindfulness-based counseling or any other modality we offer, the therapeutic relationship is an important component in recovering from depression. Our assessment specialist is also available to meet with you to do a deep dive into what has been experienced and tried over the years to create a comprehensive story to be reviewed and understood on a deeper level. 

We encourage you to reach out, even if doing so feels a little scary, edgy, or vulnerable. We will meet you wherever you are in your process, and we are not afraid of the dark. 

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy for Depression

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is gaining ground as a promising treatment for some cases of major depression, which is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Although still in the research phases of understanding how ketamine works, it may be able to support people in successfully managing their depression because it stimulates an antidepressant effect through a new mechanism. When ketamine binds with specific receptors in the brain, it stimulates a process called synaptogenesis, a process that may affect mood, thought, patterns, and cognition.

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy works to break through the stuck patterns and circularity often associated with depression, and tends to serve as a solver of impossible problems. If ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is recommended, our Medical Doctor will sit down with you to review your history and other information to ensure confidence when stepping into this medicine. We recommend 1-3 preparatory sessions prior to the ketamine treatment and 1-3 integration sessions after to continue supporting you throughout the process.

Learn more about our ketamine-assisted psychotherapy treatments. 


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“We’re all just walking each other home.”- Ram Dass

 

When to get emergency help

While Medicinal Mindfulness is not available for 24-hour emergency crisis support, your community does have a wonderful pool of resources available to you if you are in need of urgent help. If you think you may harm yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Also consider these options if you’re having suicidal thoughts:

  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.

  • Call your doctor or mental health professional.

  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.

  • If in Colorado, call the Colorado Crisis Line for support and local resources at 1-844-493-8255

  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.

If you have a loved one who is in danger of suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.