Lost in oneself: A journey of self-discovery, insight and meaning

By J.P. Consiglio, LMHC

Picture this:
It’s a cool autumn afternoon. The leaves outside have been turning vibrant reds, yellows and oranges as they fall toward the ground below. Your family is outside, raking the leaves into a perfect pile that they will soon plunge themselves into over and over again. You hear their laughter and excitement build as they prepare for the first leap. This is something that you used to not only be a part of but unequivocally enjoyed. Instead, this time you find it hard to even make it outside. In fact, you barely changed out of your clothes from a couple days ago and nearly feel glued to your seat. You’re filled with a sense of dread and hopelessness and you ask yourself “why is this happening to me?”

Symptoms of depression typically present as persistent low mood, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, hopelessness, loss of appetite, rumination, issues with sleeping, irritability, isolation and potentially thoughts of self harm. These symptoms just scratch the surface of what one can experience when depressed. Depressive episodes can form in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. This could be a stressful life event, such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy or job/money worries. A series of small failures or disappointments can also trigger a depressive bout. Any of these can act in unison as well, making the weight of depression that much heavier. Whatever the cause may be, the effect is debilitating and harmful for the long term.

Where do we go from here? How do we regain hope and find a reason for us to push forward? There is an important saying in the mental health field that notes “insight is power.”

Cognitive/Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

We can start a journey toward gaining insight into our depression and what our stressors may be. Once we do the work of figuring out our stressors, we then can learn effective skills over time to cope with them. We can never remove our emotions as much as we would like to. However, by using the tools gained in therapy, it is possible to start to rebuild our lives in a way that is subjective to each of us. We cannot expect there to be one right way to combat depression and depressive thoughts. Hence why the ability to gain insight and use it constructively is an immeasurable skill.

The ancient Greek Philosopher Socrates once said “know thyself.” Meaning by having an understanding of your strengths, limitations, desires, weaknesses and dreams we learn a sense of humbleness that can ultimately lead us down a path of personal self-worth and subjective meaning that not one person nor one thing can strip away from us.

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