How a Good Night’s Rest Affects Depression

A good night’s rest is not something you do; it’s something you experience.   Depression interferes with the healthy production and operation of serotonin and melatonin, neurotransmitters used for the body’s sleep-wake cycle. As you work toward recovery from depression, you will want to assist your body in any way you can to achieve this restful sleep.

Try intentionally preparing for rest. This means allowing your body and your mind time to transition into sleep. Far too many of us carry on a stress-filled day right up to the time we climb into bed and then expect sleep to automatically arrive. This winding-down period could consist of listening to relaxing music, reading for enjoyment, listening to soothing natural sounds on an MP3 player or CD, or quiet meditation.

Give yourself enough time to get adequate rest. Eight hours, granted, is an average, but be aware of when your body might require more sleep. Anytime the body is under stress, physical or emotional, it will require more rest to rebuild and replenish. Five to six hours a night is probably not going to provide what you need. Resting adequately may require you to make choices about activities so you can establish a healthy routine of getting to bed on time.

Establish a set time to go to bed each night, whether weekdays or weekends. Studies show that it is far better for your sleep cycle to go to bed and get up each day at approximately the same time. You are helping your body to establish a biorhythm. If you swing from ten o’clock one night to two o’clock the next, your body is under stress having to adjust to wide swings of time. Do yourself a favor and find a time that works well for each day of the week, and then stick with it.

Cut out caffeine in the late afternoon and evening hours. Caffeine, as a stimulant, can interfere with your body’s ability to know when it is actually tired. Instead of drinking coffee or caffeinated soda at dinner, drink some of your water or an herbal tea.

Reduce the activity, noise, and light levels as you go into the evening hours. Televisions blaring, lights blazing, and people running around frantically at ten o’clock at night is not conducive to rest. Start turning off lights, turning down volumes, and putting away activities as the evening progresses.

Another way you can help your body relax and ease into sleep is by not eating late in the evening. Evening snacking leaves food in your stomach that must be digested, and your entire body cannot fully rest if your digestive system stays up late to process your ten o’clock snack. One exception can be a small cup of hot tea, the kind that promotes a calming emotional effect.

Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 29 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.

Coming Out of the Darkness

One of the remarkable similarities of those who suffer from depression is the common image of darkness they use to describe their depression. In an effort to articulate the unexplainable, they speak in terms of feeling burdened, weighed down, and oppressed. The overwhelming reality of depression manifests itself in recurring themes of despair and hopelessness. Though each individual may take a different route into that despair, the description of a hollowed-out destination of helplessness is universal.

The whole-person approach recognizes these individual paths to depression, its universal signatures, and the reality of individual routes to recovery. In helping each person to identify and work toward his or her recovery, the whole-person approach acknowledges and addresses the common emotional contributors to depression. We are emotional beings, and whatever the reason for the depression, its expression comes through our emotional state.

When a person is depressed, it is vital to discover the emotional roots such as anger, fear, and guilt that firmly lock depression into a person’s mind-set. Something is arguing against optimism, hope, and joy. In order to address the emotional component of depression, the root cause must be uncovered, understood, and addressed in a positive, healing way.

Taking a multidimensional approach to recovery increases the rate of success. While some use medication alone to get a handle on their depression, research shows a higher degree of healing occurs when therapy is combined with medication. Therapy or counseling provides individuals with a safe place to talk about feelings and discuss past and current events in life that have contributed to who they are now. Therapists can also make suggestions about positive actions people can integrate into their lives.

At The Center • A Place of HOPE, we have found that when the whole-person approach is utilized, including an understanding of the body and the appropriate use of medication, the rates of recovery are further enhanced. We strive to include the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional elements of each individual into the recovery process. Also, because each person’s story and situation is unique, we create unique recovery plans for each person that comes to The Center.

If someone you know is suffering from depression, remember that it’s important to seek professional guidance when diagnosing and treating depression. For more information about depression treatment, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today. The Center • A Place of HOPE Depression Treatment Facility was recently ranked as the #1 treatment facility in the country for depression, and our team is standing by to help you and your loved ones.


Hormonal Causes of Depression

Depression can be caused by a variety of different issues including genetics, a traumatic event, PTSD, substance abuse, and other various physical imbalances. One common cause for depression can be hormonal imbalance. People of all ages experience changing hormonal levels. Some of these shifts are normal, and others can cause imbalances and other symptoms such as depression. Here are some of the major hormonal causes for depression that can happen during a person’s life.

Puberty. The onset of puberty in both girls and boys can result in depression. Boys may actually experience decreased depression. Girls may experience increased depression as puberty progresses. Pubertal depression can be due to physiological, hormonal, and cultural changes experienced during early adolescence. Simply put, puberty is a time of difficult transition, both physically and emotionally. The combination of societal and physical factors is potent and can be overwhelming to young people fighting to emerge from childhood into adulthood.

Postpartum Depression. This is also known as “the baby blues.” Many new mothers experience mild depression after the birth of a child. Symptoms usually fade within a week. While the cause has not ben definitely linked, a drop of estrogen and progesterone levels five days after delivery may bring on feelings of depression. In a very small number of women, postpartum psychosis can result, causing severe depression and hallucinations. Studies indicate that if you have a history of depression prior to pregnancy, you are at a higher risk for developing postpartum depression.

Premenstrual Syndrome. This syndrome is increasingly linked to the depressive symptoms of despondent moods, irritability, exhaustion, and bouts of crying. Research is being done on the link between depression in PMS and lowered levels of melatonin and serotonin. Because of the link between PMS and depression, if you are a woman, you will want to beware of how your monthly cycle coincides with your feelings of depression.

Menopausal Phases. During menopause in women, the body produces less estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone — all vital hormones. Progesterone and testosterone production can decrease at a faster rate than estrogen, upsetting the proper balance, causing estrogen dominance. With this imbalance, mood changes can occur and depression may result. These hormonal fluctuations can also affect the operation of the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism.

Low Testosterone. During the natural aging process in men, testosterone production is decreased. Higher testosterone levels are known to produce vitality, lean muscle mass, lower body fat, and enhanced sexual performance. The lowering or loss of these functions can produce depression in men as they age. This influences the physical as well as psychological changes in men. One study found a significant link between low testosterone and depression in older men.

These various hormonal imbalances may be difficult to detect without the help of a professional. If you think someone you know is suffering from hormonal imbalance and subsequent depression, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today. The Center • A Place of HOPE was recently ranked as the #1 treatment facility in the country for depression, and our team is standing by to help you and your loved ones.



When Grief Turns Into Depression

“I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me.” – President Abraham Lincoln

These words of President Lincoln illustrate the profound sadness that we can experience over the course of a lifetime. Losing a loved one or dealing with a traumatic situation can understandably cause such feelings of sadness and despondency. But when does this grief settle into depression? And how can a person distinguish between the two?

Grief by itself is not a “disorder”; it is a human experience caused by a traumatic experience of loss of a loved one. While speaking with a therapist or counselor may help a person work through these emotions, grief does not require treatment. Common symptoms of grief include sadness, tearfulness, sleep disturbance, decreased socialization, and decreased appetite.

During the first few weeks following the grief-inducing event, it may be hard to distinguish between grief and depression from observations alone. However, overtime grief may evolve into clinical depression.

Clinicians often use the following guidelines to differentiate between non-clinical depression (general feelings of sadness that can be caused by grief) and clinical depression.

  • Severity (extreme feelings of hopelessness including suicidal thoughts)
  • Duration (most of the day, nearly every day, for at least 2 weeks)
  • Pathology (clinically significant distress or impairment on a person’s daily function)

Because they are distinct conditions, grief and clinical depression can occur together, further confusing the differentiation between the two. Most importantly, however, there is clinical evidence that concurrent depression may delay or impair the resolution of grief. This means that depression can interfere with a person’s natural ability to overcome grief, and continue to perpetuate the cycle.

It is therefore imperative for individuals struggling with depression caused by grief to seek professional help.

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression caused by grief, The Center • A Place of HOPE can help. In addition to physical, mental, and emotional treatment of depression, The Center • A Place of HOPE offers Christian support to address the spiritual components and struggles in a person’s life that affect grief and depression. For more information, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a depression recovery specialist today.


Excerpts of this blog were taken from Dr. Gregory Jantz’s book Turing Your Down into Up: A Realistic Plan for Healing from Depression.

Other sources:

Distinguishing Grief, Complicated Grief, and Depression. Medscape. Dec 26, 2014.

Pies, R. (2011). The Two Worlds of Grief and Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 23, 2015, from





The Many Faces of Depression

Many people who have suffered from depression describe it as a dark cloud that hovers over them, clouding their capacity to feel joy, hope and live life to its fullest. How this cloud manifests itself can be as unique as the people who suffer from it. There are, however, some reoccurring “faces” to depression that can help us identify its presence and acknowledge when professional help is needed.

Here are some common faces of depression. Depression shows itself through a prolonged period of sadness or anxiety. It leaches interest or pleasure out of activities that would normally be enjoyable. Depression alters appetite and sleep patterns. It promotes feelings of guilt, shame and hopelessness. Depression interferes with the ability to make decisions to concentrate, to remember things, and to focus. It steadily strangles the will to act, sometimes producing a frantic and anxious state, or an apathetic lethargy. Depression may lead to recurrent thoughts of suicide and death.

In times past, depression was considered a weakness, suffered by weak people, as evidenced by the higher rate of depression among women. The chauvinistic, repressive attitude toward depression and its sufferers has been changing, allowing the depressed to come out from under the cloak of shame and to seek help for their illness.

At The Center • A Place of HOPE, we have found, with whole-person treatment, approximately 90 percent of our clients experience long-term recovery. Over the past 20 years of working with depression recovery, we have developed the keys to unlock the secrets of “why people get depressed.”

Clients come to our clinic with concerns about anxiety, hopelessness, and feelings of being overwhelmed or increasingly isolated. They do not use the term depression to explain their concerns. Either they are fearful of any lingering stigma, or they simply have been unable to place a label on their nameless dread. Some are at the point of suicide, without really knowing why they feel that taking their own life is the only way to end the pain.

Others come to our clinic with difficulties in relationships; they have become moody, irritable, isolated form loved ones, sometimes even abusive. Clients are concerned about their inability to concentrate at work, and they lack productivity that threatens their employment. Sometimes it is not the depressed person who makes contact with us; it is loved ones concerned about that person’s behavior. They are concerned about the withdrawal they see, or the risky, thrill-seeking behaviors some depressed people will use in an attempt to jolt themselves out of their depression.

If you are struggling with a dark cloud of depression, or you have observed warning signs of depression in the life of a loved one, seeking professional help may be the quickest, easiest, and safest way to find healing. The Center • A Place of HOPE was recently voted in the Top 10 depression treatment facilities in the United States because of our holistic and lasting approach to depression recovery. Our team at The Center • A Place of HOPE cares, and we can help. If you are ready to regain true joy and happiness in your life, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak with a depression recovery specialist today.


Evaluating Past and Present Relationships Contributing to Depression

Depression can come when we feel bound to repeat the negative patterns of our past. Through an honest evaluation of our past and present relationships, we come to understand who we are and what we bring to each of our relationships.

Often times, the greatest joys, but also the greatest insecurities, traumas, and scars can come from our own family. The intentions of adults in a family may not be to pass along negative responses to their children, yet through their own inability to control these responses, they set up negative patterns for their children to follow. As children follow these patterns, the negative perceptions that accompany them become grounded in their lives.

Without ever being told, children develop a working model for life based on the suspicion, insecurity, perfectionism, self-centeredness, frustration, or oppressive behavior of their parents. This model produces feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, all of which suffocate optimism, hope, and joy.

You may have a background where emotional abuse of this type, or worse, was evident in your family. It will not be difficult for you to pinpoint how these negative experiences have impacted your ability to balance yourself emotionally. Or, you may look back at your childhood and conclude your family can’t be a source of your depression because you didn’t have an abusive experience. Take time, however, to really examine the patterns you learned from your family.

This is not a search through your past to assign blame, but rather a mature look at the learned responses from your family to discover those that might be contributing to the strength and longevity of your depression. It is so important for you to be able to identify the burdens from past relationships that may be slowing down your rate of recovery. Once you discover these hindrances, you will be equipped to develop a plan for moving forward.

As you review past relationships, also take some time to examine your current relationships. Many times, our present relationships are a direct reflection of the quality and content of our past relationships. If our childhood experience was negative, we often choose to engage in similar relationships as adults.

Write down the significant people in your life today that are not included in the previous group of family, listing each person by name and relationship. Special people in your life need not be confined to family. They can be coworkers, friends, mentors, or acquaintances. How does each person relate to you? Is it in a positive or a negative way?  Does the present relationship mirror a past relationship?

Take time to reflect on the relationships in your life and how you engage with them. This process alone could reveal the reasons for your depression. While it is important to acknowledge the past and understand its effects on the present, it is also important to note that you have the opportunity to make positive changes for your future.

If you are struggling with depression and you are ready to change your life for good, The Center • A Place of HOPE can help. Recently voted in the Top 10 depression treatment facilities in the United States, The Center • A Place of HOPE not only helps ease the symptoms of depression, but seeks to heal its root cause. If you are ready to regain true joy and happiness in your life, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak with a depression recovery specialist today.


Are You Depressed?

How do you know if you’re depressed? When does sadness become depression? How many “bad days” can a person have in a row and not be considered depressed? How can you tell that what you’re feeling is something that’s going to get better on its own? These are excellent questions.

Below are two types of indicators: yellow indicators, which signal caution and should be monitored, and red indicators, which signal identified symptoms of depression. Red indicators are certainly important for you to be aware of, but watch for the number of yellow indicators present. Yellow tend to turn into red over time, if not addressed. It is important to note that these indicators are not scientific tools, but rather a way for you to identify contributing conditions in your life. If you believe that you or someone you love is suffering from depression, seek professional help.

Yellow Indicators

  • A loss of enjoyment with established activities.
  • Feeling restless, tired, or unmotivated at work.
  • An increase in irritability or impatience.
  • Feeling either “wound up” or “weighed down.”
  • Feeling overburdened with life and its activities.
  • A lack of spiritual peace or well-being.
  • Finding relief by controlling aspects of your personal behavior, including consuming liquids or food.
  • A fear of expressing strong emotions.
  • A constant anxiety or vague fear about the future.
  • Feeling unappreciated by others.
  • Feeling a sense of martyrdom, as if you are constantly asked to do the work of others.
  • Exercising a pattern of impulsive thinking or rash judgments.
  • Sexual difficulties or a loss of interest in sexual activities.
  • A sense of enjoyment at seeing the discomfort of others.
  • Anger at God for how you feel.
  • A recurrent pattern of headaches, muscle aches, or body pains.
  • Feeling social isolation and distancing yourself from family or friends.
  • Feeling trapped during your day by what you have to do.
  • Displaying a pattern of pessimistic or critical comments and/or behaviors.
  • Feeling like your best days are behind you and the future doesn’t hold much promise.
  • Feeling “left out” of life.
  • Binging on high calorie foods to feel better.
  • Apathetic upon waking about how the day will turn out.
  • Feeling it is easier just to do things yourself instead of wanting to work with others.
  • Experiencing recurring gastrointestinal difficulties.
  • Feeling trapped inside your body.
  • Dreading the thought of family get-togethers or social gatherings.
  • Feeling overweight, unattractive, or unlovable.
  • Feeling old, discarded, and without value.
  • Unmotivated to try new activities, contemplate new ideas, or enter into new relationships.

Red indicators

  • A significant change in appetite, lasting longer than two weeks, resulting in either marked weight loss or weight gain.
  • Disturbances in your sleep patterns for longer than two weeks, resulting in difficulty falling and staying asleep.
  • Increased agitation or inability to relax, occurring for an extended period of time (longer than two weeks).
  • Feelings of fatigue, lethargy, or loss of energy, occurring for an extended period of time (longer than two weeks).
  • Feelings of sadness, despondency, despair, loneliness, or worthlessness, ongoing for an extended period of time (longer than two weeks).
  • Inability to concentrate, focus, or make decisions, recurring over a period of time (longer than two weeks).
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Planning or attempting suicide.

If you answered “yes” to one or more red indicators, do not ignore the signs and just hope they will go away. Talk to a counseling professional that can help you work through these issues in a responsible, thoughtful way. The Center • A Place of HOPE has been consistently ranked among the top treatment facilities in the country for depression. If you answered “yes” to the red indicators, or are struggling with multiple yellow indicators, call 1-888-771-5166 / 425-771-5166 to discuss treatment options. Know that you are not alone during this struggle, and never lose hope.

Excerpts of this blog were taken from Dr. Gregory Jantz’s book Turing Your Down into Up: A Realistic Plan for Healing from Depression.


Physiological Conditions Causing Depression

The body is not merely along for the mind’s ride into depression. The body is an active participant with the capacity to aggravate or improve symptoms of depression. Understanding the complete picture of an individual’s depression, including the physiological conditions associated with depression, can help elucidate causes and factor into effective healing.

Below is a list of several known causes of depression. We have seen them demonstrated in the lives of countless clients. Many times, individuals came in suffering from depression without really understanding why. Other times, clients who initially came to us because of an addiction or eating disorder sought help for depression as well. Take time to read through this list of possible contributors and note any that seem relevant to your life.

Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is more commonly known as low blood sugar or the “sugar blues.” The body’s main source of fuel is glucose, which is a form of sugar. Glucose is produced by the body through the consumption of carbohydrates, sugars, and starches. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream during digestion. Glucose that is not needed is stored in the liver as glycogen. When the amount of sugar in the blood is insufficient to fuel the body’s activities, hypoglycemia occurs. While this condition has not been universally accepted as a cause of depression, even skeptics will agree that hypoglycemia can cause weakness, mental dullness, confusion, and fatigue All of these symptoms, when taken together, can exacerbate depression.

Heart Disease: A recent study has shown that one out of every five people who suffers a heart attack will become depressed. It is understandable how such a traumatic event in one’s life could contribute to a state of depression. Conversely, a link between depression and heart disease was found in a study at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, which reported that 1) those with heart disease were more likely to be depressed than healthy people, and 2) depressed people who had heart attacks were four times more likely to die within the next six months as people who were not depressed.

Anemia: This condition is also known as iron-poor blood. Symptoms of anemia, similar to depression, include fatigue, weakness, and lethargy. It is difficult to experience mental alertness, optimism, or energy when your body is physically run down.

Apnea: Sleep apnea is a condition where the air passages in the throat close off during sleep. It is more common in those who are overweight and older, as the muscles in the throat lose rigidity and become limp upon relaxation. The resulting symptoms are fatigue, mental confusion, and lethargy—all associated with a state of depression. Though this is a serious condition, it can be treated successful through surgical and nonsurgical methods.

Celiac Disease: This is a condition in which the immune system attacks the food protein gluten. In the process, the small intestine is damaged, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the body to absorb zinc, tryptophan, B vitamins, and other essential nutrients. The absence of these nutrients affects the body’s ability to produce serotonin, the deficiency known to be linked to depression.

Diabetes: This is the body’s inability to regulate its own blood sugar. This constant up-and-down stress of elevated versus low blood sugar levels can compromise the body’s ability to regulate important nutrient absorption and hormonal levels, which provide protection from depressive mood swings.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: This is also known as “the winter blues.” This depressive cycle is tied to the body’s pattern of melatonin secretion. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s biological clock and coordinates the sleep-wake cycle, including temperature control. Melatonin is produced in the dark and is in greatest production during winter months. However, due to winter’s shorter days, melatonin may be produced either earlier or later in the day, thus throwing the body’s cycle off track.

Heredity: Simply put, depression appears to run in families. While no definitive study pinpoints a depression gene, there is research that suggests a family link.

Dehydration: Most people don’t drink enough water. When the body is dehydrated, one of its main detoxification methods is compromised. Dehydration can cause fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and mental dullness.

Reactional Hyperphagia: It’s no secret that we tend to crave comfort foods when we’re stressed. This doesn’t bode well for people whose stress stems from their inability to lose weight, particularly if they’re experiencing reactional hyperphagia. In this condition, emotional stress affects brain chemistry and hormones in such a way that the body craves “fullness,” even if there is no physical basis for it.

Endocrine Disorders: When the endocrine system, comprised of the thyroid and adrenal glands, is not working properly, through either over or under-functioning, depression has been a result. However, doctors rarely check the thyroid, so its connection to evident depression often goes undiagnosed.

Impaired Homocysteine Conversion: Homocysteine is a nonprotein amino acid, the presence of which in the body must necessarily be converted into the amino acid cysteine. The conversion requires adequate amounts of folate, B12, B6, and zinc in the body. So it is deficiencies of these nutrients that impair the homocysteine-to-cysteine conversion, resulting in homocysteine build up in the body, the overabundance of which has been linked to depression.

After reading through the aforementioned list of physiological conditions, you may immediately recognize some as being present in your life. However, to accurately diagnose yourself and others, you may need to obtain the professional expertise of a medical doctor who understands the role of physical conditions in depression. The Center • A Place of HOPE has been ranked by a third party in the top ten of all treatment facilities in the country for depression. If you would like to speak with depression specialist, please call 1-888-771-5166 / 425-771-5166 or fill out our contact form and someone will be in touch with you.


10 Ways Unfulfilled Expectations May Be Bringing You Down

Life can be challenging enough within the context of real-time, everyday circumstances. But add to that unexpected expectations learned over the course of a lifetime, and even the simplest of daily experiences can look and feel insurmountable.

1) Do you feel like things need to be perfect in order for you to be happy?

You may see the expectation of perfection reflected in how you see yourself, your family, your home, your job, your past, your present, your future. Rarely is anything good enough, and even when it does come close, the subsequent satisfaction is short-lived.

2) When you are upset, do you feel like it is the responsibility of others to make you feel better?

When you’re feeling bad, it feels like you’re out of control, with no way of willing yourself to feel better. Convinced only an external source can do the trick, you may lay the responsibility on those around you — family, friends, and colleagues who you expect to acknowledge, understand, and alleviate your pain.

3) When other people are the source of your pain, do you feel like it is intentional?

When you’re hurt, you may mask the pain with anger. And when you’re angry, you need someone to be angry with. The problem is, it’s tough to be angry with someone who didn’t mean to hurt you. Giving the other person the benefit of the doubt means letting go of the anger, which may be the only thing you feel is keeping you from falling apart.

4) When you cause others pain, do you feel like it is a mistake?

When people hurt you, it’s on purpose. When you hurt them, it’s an accident. Living under this set of circumstances, you are always the victim and never the one to blame .

5) Do you feel like it’s okay to break “the rules” when you are hurt or upset?

When you’re feeling bad, it can feel like the end of the world; like it will always be this way, with you enduring painful circumstances that no one ever should. Under these circumstances, you may feel entitled to behave whatever ways you can find to feel better, from lashing out at loved ones, to abusing alcohol or drugs, to illegal behaviors, all of which will only compound your problems.

6) When you’re angry, do you feel like nobody else has the right to be angry too?

Anger is a seductive emotion that can easily convince you it’s the most important and pressing thing in the world. Not even someone else’s anger can compare, especially if the person you’re angry with is angry with you too. Your anger tells you that you’re right, so their anger must be wrong.

7) Do you feel like no one works harder than you?

Whether it’s at home or on the job, it’s easy to build up resentment toward people who you don’t perceive as doing their fair share. How is it fair that you should have to do so much when they can get away with doing so little?

8) Do you feel like the people who are in your life now must make up for the pain caused by others in your past?

We all naturally have some unresolved issues lingering from relationships in our past. The danger lies in transposing these issues onto all similar relationships going forward. The irony is, you will continue to attract into your life the kind of people who treat you as you believe you deserve to be treated. This sets you up for a never-ending cycle of stop-and-go relationships in which the players may change, but your pain stays the same.

9) Do you feel like people are always taking advantage of you?

You do this, and you do that, but no one on the other end of all this “doing” seems to appreciate the fact that you can only do so much. The last thing you want to do is so “no,” so you wait for someone else to notice you’re doing too much, only they never seem to and you just keep getting roped in to doing more.

10) Do you feel like other people’s needs are more important than your own?

You pride yourself on being someone sensitive to the needs of your family, friends, and co-workers. But how long will you have to sacrifice your interests, feelings, and desires before someone notices that you have needs too?

All of these unfulfilled expectations have one thing in common — the mistaken belief that your happiness and worth is dependent on external circumstances. The key to overcoming is acknowledging the fear underneath these expectations and making choices accordingly.

Positive Affirmation: I am brave enough to understand my pain. I am strong enough to go beyond it.

Are you or a loved one living with depression? A Place Of Hope can help. Call 1-888-771-5166 / 425-771-5166 or fill out our contact form and someone will be in touch soon.

Taking Inventory of Your Life: 6-Step Journaling Activity

“We get caught up in life’s flow, whether good, bad, or neutral. Wherever the current takes us we go. It’s as if we’re on autopilot, but depression happens when our autopilot gets stuck in a negative descent.” ~Turning Your Down Into Up: A Realistic Plan For Healing From Depression

Now and then, it’s a good idea to check in with yourself about how you’re really feeling about the way you’re spending your time, especially if you’re feeling drained or dissatisfied. It’s important to identify these draining activities, to be honest with yourself about why you’re engaging in them, and to take intentional action to make a change.

1) Make a list of all the types of activities in your life.

This is a pretty universal list, so you can probably start with something like family, friendships, home, work, recreation, religion, and community. But feel free, of course, to edit these areas, or add to them, as feels most appropriate to you and what you do.

2) Write each type of activity at the top of its own separate page.

Taking inventory of your life can feel like an enormous undertaking. The more you can do to break it into manageable sections, the more helpful and enjoyable this activity will be.

3) For each type of activity, make a list of the individual activities that fall into that category.

Write down anything and everything that comes to mind. There are no right or wrong answers. Watching television is just as valid an activity as balancing the checkbook, for example.

And don’t worry about shooting for any arbitrary number, or feeling pressured to think of everything at once. That’s the beauty of lists like these. You can make them all in one sitting, if you feel so inspired. Or you can go about your day, adding to the list with every new activity you find yourself engaged in.

4) Write each activity at the top of its own separate page and answer the following questions:

  • Why did you start this activity in the first place?
  • Why are you doing this activity now?
  • What does this activity say about you?
  • Is this activity one you really want to do, or do you feel pressured to do it?
  • Is this activity filling or draining?

5) For each of your filling activities, answer the following questions:

  • What about this activity makes it feel filling?
  • Would you like to do more of this activity?
  • What action(s) can you take to move in that direction?

6) For each of your draining activities, answer the following questions:

  • What about this activity makes it feel draining?
  • Is this an activity you can let go?
  • If yes, what action(s) can you take to move in that direction?
  • If no, why not, and how can this inform a means of at least modifying it?

While it may seem to you now there is nothing in your life you are currently doing that you can possibly let go, no matter how much it drains you — keep the following in mind.

You are intended to live a life of purpose that brings you fulfillment and joy. Anything that is not serving you in this regard is something to be carefully considered with a plan — as short- or long-term as it may be — for modifying it, or letting it go. All that this journaling activity requires of you is taking the first step in that direction.

Are you depressed? Take our depression survey. A Place of Hope can help.