Depression & Anxiety

While depression, anxiety and high stress can be unpleasant and even unbearable, this is your body’s way of saying it needs your attention. Think of it as the ‘check engine’ light going on in your car; a skilled mechanic can help you to understand and resolve the issue.

When Jeff* came in to Thrive, he’d been feeling exhausted for months. He told me that he’d started to feel that nothing much mattered anymore, and had stopped putting effort into keeping up his relationships for so long that he’d become isolated from family and friends. Our starting goal was basic relief through self-management strategies. While states of depression and high stress often resolve naturally within a few weeks to a few months, we brought him through to a healthier place much faster by creating realistic plans together for diet, sleep, exercise, and social connection. 

Once stabilized, we moved to the harder work, addressing the hidden factors setting Jeff up for depression. He related to the imagery of a boat travelling through arctic water, filled with submerged icebergs. Our work would shine a powerful light into the icy waters, revealing concealed dangers so that his trip could be made safely and efficiently.

Jeff became aware that earlier life experiences and unprocessed stressful events made him more vulnerable to depression. He was surprised to hear that parts of our brains ‘store’ painful memories until the proper conditions (work with a skilled professional being just one example) allow us to ‘drop the baggage.’ He first felt a bit daunted, but was relieved to know that his story is just like that of all men, and that walking through the door was the hardest part.

We learned that as a child, Jeff was punished for expressing sadness, and so that with the recent death of a friend and breakup with his partner, there was no healthy avenue to process his grief (besides anger and alcohol). Our work consisted of techniques that I have used with men across the agespan, informed by my training in AEDP and the Veterans Transition Program. We also used elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, as Jeff had a number of automatic thoughts and behaviours that kept him in a cycle of lethargy and self-defeat. As we learned that disrespectful coworkers made him dread going to work, we practiced highly effective ways of communicating and conveying himself instead of shrinking away of being passive-aggressive.

As he learned to put actions and words to his grief, Jeff found himself feeling lighter in the mornings, drinking less in the evenings, and better able to connect with others. He was particularly pleased with his stronger social presence, which commanded more respect in his workplace. I was perhaps happiest to hear of his renewed and boyish excitement in archery, something he loved doing as a kid.

Because so many parts of Jeff’s story can be seen in myself and my clients alike, I look forward to the work you and I may do as well.

-Your Thrive Consultant

*Jeff’s story was used with permission, and names and details were changed to protect his identity.


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