I realise I’ve returned to this website almost a year to the date?

I feel my issues don’t need a counsellor but here I am. I am privileged, lucky, successful relatively. But I have lost direction and am experiencing symptoms of depression for some time now. I never thought this would be me. I am in my late 50's, and feel I need to talk to someone who may understand. If it were me giving advice I’d say to pull myself together and get a grip of how lucky I am.
Asked by Henny

Hello Henny! Thank you for reaching out for support on the BetterHelp platform. I admire your courage and bravery for asking this important question on the "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum.

In regards to making the decision to return to therapy services on BetterHelp, I would be interested in hearing more about your experiences. I know that you mentioned that you have decided to revisit this platform about one year later. What has changed in the past year? Can you think of any major set backs, milestones or progress that stand out for you in the last year or so? Take some time to answer these questions through therapeutic writing or journaling. The writing process can be a helpful resource for you as you prepare to find your purpose and sense of direction through therapy. As you may already know, there are daily journal prompts on BetterHelp.

If you are interested in trying out some art therapy interventions in addition to talk therapy, that could be a great option for you. Art making directives can be a way for you to understand your own experiences as well as expressing your through to and feelings! Similar to the therapeutic writing process, therapeutic drawing can be a holistic and meaningful strategy for self expression. Scribble drawings are thought to be a great way to displace psychic energy. Simply find a surface to write on and draw a line or a shape or form. Look at your scribble and determine what you see in the design. Then, turn your scribble into the thing you see!

Kinetic drawings may be another possible option for you to try. Projective drawing assessments help individuals understand themselves and the people in their lives. An example of a kinetic drawing is the standardized art therapy assessment. This assessment is called the "Kinetic Family Drawing." You can certainly try this projective drawing technique or you can start by drawing a picture of you doing something!

In addition, I would be interested in hearing more about what you mean when you state that are unsure of or "thought this would be me." Would you say that you are having challenges with establishing your identity? I want to instill some hope that you are exactly where you are meant to be and that you are already who you are looking to be.

I realize that you mentioned that you are experiencing challenges with depression. How long has this been going on? What sort of symptoms are you having? You can utilize the self report assessment known as the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ 9), which is free online, in order to quantify the symptoms that you are having.

Other interventions for managing feelings of depression include: self care, self love and self affirming statements. The combination of these three "self" principles can be truly healing, calming and, at times, convincing. Self care is a pretty standard approach in the therapy field. From my perspective, self care means doing any activity that benefits mental health. Coping skills can also be considered self care. Take some time to research self care and coping skills online. There are many lists online with a variety of ideas.

Self love can be tricky because of societal, spiritual, cultural and even religious views that state that selfishness is inherently "bad." The truth is that self love is necessary for survival. We, as humans, have to be selfish in order to survive. Take some time to practice this idea of selfishness, not in terms of no one else matters but in terms of "I matter." The self affirming statements are a powerful cognitive behavioral therapy tool in which you can utilize to change your thinking. Look up positive affirmations by Louise Hay for immediate inspiration.

Lastly, I really admire how you added in your question the advice that you would give yourself. I would like to encourage you to continue to expand on this piece of advice. What would be the most gentle, kind hearted advice that you can imagine giving yourself? Would you be willing to make a plan to follow your own advice? You can start this process by checking out the concept of SMART goals if you are not already familiar with this technique.
It seems like you have the ability to recognize your strengths and see the positive aspects of your situation. You mentioned that you consider yourself to be lucky and relatively successful, which is great! I would like to encourage you to take a look at your other strengths. In addition, it may be helpful for you to write a gratitude list. Keep track of at least one thing that you are grateful for every day.

At this time I recommend that you attend counseling sessions. I realize that you are looking to converse with someone who may understand your specific situation. I hope that my response to your question has inspired you to get connected to a licensed therapist on BetterHelp and resume the journey of self discovery through the invaluable therapeutic process. In addition to resuming individual sessions, you may also benefit greatly from group therapy. Group therapy sessions are guided by a licensed therapist and are also on BetterHelp. For more information about the principles of group therapy, please look into the writing of Irvin Yalom, who has pioneered the field of group therapy.

Thank you again for your time asking this valuable question on the "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum. I hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey. I hope that you take good care and that you have a nice day.