It’s not just you! In 2014 the Anxiety and Depression Association of America stated that approximately 6.7 of all American adults had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, and as many as 2 out of 100 young children and 8 out of 100 teenagers suffer from serious depression.
When you consider that depressive feelings exist on a continuum, from momentary disappointment, to chronic low-grade depressed mood, to major depressive disorder, to suicidal depression, the numbers are much higher than those above.
Life stages and depression
Does one of these descriptions of depressed mood through the stages of life sound like you?
You’ve graduated from college and are in your first adult job. No more leisurely summers. You’re going to be working for most of the rest of your adult life. Now what?
You’ve just become a parent and the adjustment is hard, even though starting a family is what you’ve looked forward to for years. Will you ever sleep again? What about sex? Or do you feel trapped by your baby, feel too tired or upset to properly care for your newborn? Do you alternate between tears and rage?
You really wanted a partner and kids, but you didn’t find the right person and your clock has stopped ticking.
Your last child has left home and your life feels empty.
You’re older and haven’t had the success you expected to have at this point, and your achievements aren’t satisfying.
You’ve retired and though you planned well for the financial aspect, you feel an unexpected lack of purpose.
Your struggle makes sense.
Growing up maybe you were told that success and happiness are synonymous. You’re successful by external standards, but you’re not feeling happy.
Or others had high expectations for you and praised you, but you’re learning that you’re not invincible after all, that you’re not going to get everything you wanted.
Or you did everything you were supposed to do and in the correct order, instead of living with verve, and it feels empty. What’s the point?!
Loss followed by depression
You may have gone through divorce, death of someone you loved, infertility, multiple miscarriages major illness, the end of your chosen career. And the loss has been so stunning that you can’t begin to think of how to move on in your life.
Depression can be so complete that it seems like you’ve always been depressed and will be forever, but that’s just part of the depressive mindset.
You can actually learn to feel better, through working with a warm and highly-skilled therapist.
There is hope!
Let me help
A compassionate and experienced therapist can help you learn to deal with the symptoms, such as being overwhelmed by feelings, low energy, and negativity, and help you understand the causes at the root of your depression.
Reduce symptoms and understand causes
I deal with helping to reduce the symptoms and understand the deep causes of your depression. Through listening and talking in a warm and understanding way, I’ll help you develop effective coping methods and feel better.
The good news is that it will not be the sterile, remote experience of you doing all the talking while I nod and ask how you feel. My approach is interactive and warm! The real and empathic relationship we develop will help you feel comfortable, so you can confront your hopeless feelings, know you’re deeply understood, and learn to take an active role in your life.
Compassion and commitment to learning
My treatment approach is based on compassion and over thirty years of theoretical study and clinical experience.
Compassion without a theoretical basis is insufficient, as is theoretical knowledge without compassion.
Rather than tell you what to do, I work with the orientation of helping you approach your issues as an adult, to think through how you want to solve your problems in a logical way. I don’t feed dependency by making decisions for you.
I’ll teach you plenty of ways to feel better, as well as explore and help you understand what you learned growing up that has made depression such a large factor in your life.
You can learn to break the depressive cycle and feel better, just like so many people I’ve treated since 1985. Though you may feel alone, even with children and a partner or a great group of friends, you won’t be alone in treatment. I’m right there with you all through the process of treatment.
It’s important to recognize your need for professional help—and to get it! It’s the first step toward feeling better and making a truly satisfying life.
If we both work hard, you’ll feel better. And I’m a hard worker! If you don’t get depression treatment, depression will steal more of your life. Isn’t satisfaction in your life is worth some hard work? And remember: I’m right there with you!
Is help affordable?
Not getting help is expensive!
Depression steals joy from every part of your life:
your overall satisfaction
your ability to demonstrate a robust sense of optimism for your kids, if you have them
your productivity in the workplace
your pleasure in friendships and romantic relationships
your physical health
Treatment for depression is an investment in you! Sure, it benefits your friends, family, and your career, but it’s ultimately for you. How can you not afford to treat your depression?!
Is medication involved?
For some people, yes. For many others, no. This is not a one-size-fits-all treatment.
Some people benefit from therapy without medication. Some benefit from therapy and medication for awhile.
Studies show that people who need medication do better with a combination of medication and talk therapy, than with just medication. Together we’ll decide what makes the most sense for you. If we add medication to the talk therapy, I’ll refer you to a trusted psychiatrist or nurse practitioner who will prescribe the appropriate medication and monitor the medical part, and I’ll continue the talk therapy part with you.
Marc was referred to me by one of his friends who was a patient. He was a writer who had gone through a messy divorce from a very cold and critical woman, and their daughter had been put in the middle so often that she wanted nothing to do with the warm woman Marc began seeing. Marc had a chronic low-level depression and felt “stuck” in his personal and professional lives. He didn’t feel that he could move forward with the woman he loved because his daughter saw that as being disloyal to her, and the woman he loved wasn’t going to wait around forever. His staff writing job was interesting, but there was no room to move up and because it was in a non-profit, it paid about 40% lower than the private-sector equivalent.
These were valid problems, but their roots were very old, as I learned when we explored his early childhood experiences. His mother was a socialite who wasn’t really interested in meeting her baby’s needs. When Marc was an infant, his mother left him with a neighbor and went on a trip around the world for the first year of his life. He bonded with the neighbor, and when his mother returned and took him home, the only nurturing figure Marc had known and was replaced by a cold and critical stranger: his mother. That early experience had profound implications for Marc, it took patience and a warm and gentle therapeutic approach to help him process the effects of his Fifth Avenue childhood neglect and deprivation.
Over time Marc realized that he had replicated his parents’ horrible marriage, with his daughter’s mother. His father was a talented, depressed performer who never fully achieved what he was capable of, and was bossed around by Marc’s imperious mother, who believed she had “married down” and wasn’t interested in being a mother. Marc’s wife had looked down on him, been highly critical, and was an angry and neglectful mother. Marc was there for his daughter, which is the reason her lack of acceptance of his new relationship was so painful: he didn’t want to emotionally abandon her, since her mother wasn’t interested in her life, but he also wanted to have a satisfying life of his own. His new love understood his dilemma and waited for him to find a peaceful resolution with his daughter.
During our many years of work together, Marc learned to take a more active role in making a satisfying life for himself, which helped his chronic low-level depression. After a lifetime of his mother’s unrelenting criticism, Marc set boundaries with her and spent less time in her presence. He moved forward in his new relationship and eventually made a deeply satisfying marriage. He left his staff job as a writer for a well-paid job as an editor of a magazine covering his dad’s creative field, which Marc had always loved. He developed empathy for his passive, depressive father and formed a closer relationship with him before his father’s death. He was eventually able to help his daughter with her proper place in his life.
These major changes took building a trusting relationship with me, so that he would feel able to face the pain of his childhood, knowing that I was squarely in his corner, years of work, and incremental progress. Along the way, Marc learned that taking productive, well-planned action in big ways and small ways helped his mood, and that while the tendency toward “stuckness” and giving up was there, he could manage his mood through thinking realistically and taking appropriate actions.
“I came to see Nancy because I was depressed that I had made a mess of my life. I was unhappy and felt trapped—in a bad marriage, in a dead-end non-career, in a life I hated and didn’t see the point of continuing. Over time and with frequent sessions, I learned that the passivity and idea of myself as a victim I had copied from my mother were keeping me stuck in a similarly unsatisfying life.
Nancy encouraged me to set goals and make plans to reach them. It wasn’t easy or quick, but I now have a rewarding life that I value, and I see myself as incredibly lucky.
Nancy was the fifth therapist I worked with and the only one who helped me make the deep changes necessary to make a good life. Previous therapists had done some version of what I call
“Oh, poor baby” therapy. Nancy is a master at finding the right mix of warmth, compassion, and tough love to reach a particular patient. I am forever grateful to her and have referred many friends to her. And I have a successful career as a therapist because of her encouragement and personal and professional generosity.”
Depression keeps you from enjoying your life to the fullest. But treatment with a warm and skilled therapist can help you develop coping skills today, while digging into the root causes of your difficulties, so that you can start to make real progress toward an optimistic outlook and the resilience to make the most of every day. A satisfying life with meaningful relationships, career, and leisure is ahead. Feeling better is possible!
To schedule an appointment, give me a call at 212-749-0694 or contact me here. I look forward to hearing from you and starting the process of helping you make a satisfying life.