Trauma and Depression

Woman Holding Her Head Suffering From Depression

Depression often has its roots in trauma. Emotional trauma can be overwhelming and have lasting effects on an individual. In my practice, I have routinely worked with clients who have carried the burden of emotional abuse and/or neglect, often times from childhood experiences. The result is adult depression or anxiety. Additional traumatic events such as death, divorce, accidents or illness can also be traumatic and result in adult depression.

Trauma is defined as: a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time (Merriam-Webster.com)

When people are traumatized, it creates a lense through which they view themselves and their world. This is to say that trauma often shapes an individual’s long term beliefs about themselves and their life. These trauma-induced beliefs— like “I can’t trust anyone,” “I’m unlovable,” “I’m not in control,” “I am powerless,” “I’m not good enough,” “I am worthless”—affect how people feel and often cause depression.

However, beliefs that have been formed during a traumatic event are locked in the brain and often times don’t have the ability to work themselves through – without assistance. Therefore, “I’m powerless in this situation” can become “I’m always powerless.” This underlying belief can cause depression and helpless behavior indefinitely. If this person doesn’t get a chance to talk about their helpless feelings and express their emotions, they could carry that belief indefinitely. It is trauma that turns time-limited events into a part of a person’s belief system and identity. It makes sense that people would be depressed when they believe they have no power to create the life they want.

Identifying long held beliefs that have created depression is the first step in alleviating depression. Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers offers highly trained staff that specializes in treating trauma.

If you or someone you know could benefit by speaking to a caring, qualified therapist, contact Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers at 248-244-8644.

by Pat Mroch, MA, LPC, NCC