‘It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me…” said William Styron in the book, “Darkness Visible,” where he clearly paints a picture of depression. If he would have encapsulated what many depressed people feel, he would have stated that he felt alone, misunderstood and hopeless, or that every fiber of his being had been sucked out of him. Depressed people struggle to find joy in anything they do and they have no desire to do anything.

In a perfect world, all one would need to stay mentally positive is proper nutrition, adequate sleep and exercise. But, depression is a chemical imbalance of the brain, therefore, these steps are simply not enough. Counseling and/or medication can rewire the brain, creating positive change.

Much has been written about antidepressants. Naysayers of antidepressants make statements such as “antidepressants do not address the cause of depression, do more harm than good, and are handed out like candy.” It goes without saying that most people who have negative opinions regarding antidepressants have never been seriously depressed. Had they ever suffered from this debilitating illness, they would not be so judgmental.

People opposed to antidepressants often throw out a couple of negative studies to prove their point. First off, any time anybody has an opinion there will usually be a study that supposedly proves their point.

Having come from a pharmaceutical background, I’ve discovered that people who conduct studies often have an agenda.

As a therapist in private practice, I can tell you that many of my patients have greatly benefited from antidepressants. Some studies show that 70 percent of all patients who commence with antidepressants will benefit from them.

I have personally witnessed individuals, who seek counseling and/or are prescribed antidepressants, find joy and embrace life again.

If you, or someone you know, feels hopeless and finds that each day is a struggle, call a qualified counselor to help you find the tools you need to make you feel hopeful again.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Kristina Welker is a doctor of psychology and a licensed professional counselor in private practice. She is a member of the Ahwatukee Behavioral Health Network. Reach her at (480) 893-6767 or drkristinawelker@cox.net.

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