The Root of Depression

   Written by on May 25, 2017 at 9:59 am
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Does your day start with you feeling down?  Have you noticed that you don’t seem to have any energy?  Have you told yourself you feel this way because you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep?  Is it hard for you to make yourself get out of the house?  Have you given up on the things you love to do?  Are you feeling hopeless about life?

What would you think if someone said you were depressed?  The American Psychiatric Association publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which provides the definition and criteria used by medical professionals to identify depression.  The DSM describes the symptoms of depression:  depressed mood, diminished interest or pleasure in anything at all, significant weight loss, significant weight gain, insomnia, agitation, fatigue, inappropriate feelings of guilt, inability to concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death.

Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?  Depression includes the feelings of sadness or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.  Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems; these problems can reduce your ability to function at work and at home.  Even though it may feel this way, you are not alone.  The American Psychiatric Association reports that one in six people will experience depression at some time in their life.

So, what causes depression, you ask.

First, you have may a medical condition that can initiate the symptoms of depression.  Diabetes, hypothyroid, other medical problems maybe directly connected to the depression you feel.  It is important to rule out general medical causes that may be underlying your depressed feelings.  Your medical doctor can help you understand if  medical issues are the root of your depression.

Dr. James Coffield, Professor of Counseling, and Clinical Director of the Masters in Counseling Program at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando offers another source of depression.  Dr. Coffield suggests that a root of depression is the way people deal with what he describes as an irretrievable loss or blocked goals.

A blocked goal would not be the goal to get a parking spot in front of Wal-Mart or a minor loss.  An example of an irretrievable loss would a desire for your Dad’s approval that was not received before his death.  Or, a blocked goal may be your goals for your child’s life, which have not been realized.  Often when a goal is blocked or a loss starts to feel unattainable, a desperate feeling can begin to grow inside.  A deep longing for the goal or the loss can develop.  This desperate feeling can build into depression.

A friend may have told you or you are telling yourself that you should just try harder.  But what does “try harder” mean?  Dr. Coffield uses the statement that we should all follow Grandmother’s rule.  That is, eat right, get lots of fresh air, make sure you exercise and, of course, get enough sleep.  All the healthy things grandmother told you to do.

However, dealing with depression is more than developing a healthy lifestyle.  Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation.  Your can’t just “snap out of it” by sheer force of will.  Dealing with depression requires helping people see the thing that is driving that depression.  This means uncovering the loss or goal creating the block that is driving behavior; finding the deeper issue of the heart that is underlying the symptom of depression.

If you are depressed, seek help.  Asking for help can be difficult because it makes you feel like you can’t cope.  Depression is a situation that is bigger than you could handle on your own.  If you break your arm, would you expect to able to put a cast on it yourself?  Depression is also a condition for which you should seek help.  Talk with your pastor or your doctor; ask them to help you find the help you need.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Psalms 40:1 

Call us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions; our phone number is 434-808-2637.

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or


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