Anyone who struggles with depression has heard the line, “Snap out of it!” or "just think more positively". If it was only that easy to snap out of depression.
For many young adults, depression is a deep hole that is very difficult to get out of. Depression for a young adult can be a result of genetics and how the brain develops and performs. Depression, as a result, may not be a quick fix by snapping out of it or simply by thinking more positively.
Depression for some young adults can also be the result of a toxic environment. Young adults stuck in abusive relationships cannot alter their moods in a day.
Young adult depression can also be fueled by adverse experiences. The death of a loved one or the end of a relationship can make getting over depression difficult.
Depressed young adults I see in therapy get tired of others telling them to snap out of it. I get their struggle. Depression is hardly that simple to conquer.
At the same time, depression also has cognitive and behavioral components. Without taking away the complexity of depression, what we do matters! In fact, in combination of what we do, what we think also matters while changing up what we do.
If a young adult stays in bed all day or doesn’t exercise, the depression will get worse. Depression is a feedback loop that feeds on our lack of motivation. When we don’t engage in the things we love to do, the more we’ll struggle.
Thoughts: What we think affects how we feel
Feelings: How we feel affects what we do and think
Behaviors: What we do affects how we think and feel
Young Adults Taking Small Steps: Breaking The Depression Cycle
Depression leads young adults to stop doing the things they once loved. Men who loved to play basketball stop going outside all together. Women who loved dressing up and putting on makeup stay in their sweats all day.
These behavioral decisions result in more negative thoughts and feelings. When young adults start having more intense negative thoughts and feelings, they shut down. When they shut down they do less and less of what they love to do. The depression cycle continues.
One strategy to improve depression is to encourage young adults to take small steps. Small steps can lead to larger leaps forward and a break in the depression cycle.
One way to change negative thoughts and feelings is to change the behavior. This is not the same as telling a young adult to “snap out of it” or simply to "think more positively". This is a more nuanced and therapeutic approach.
Incremental Goals: Start With Small Steps
Peter: Example 1
Peter is a 22 year-old young adult who is living at his parent’s home. He’s not sure what the future holds for him. In college he played basketball. Although he was not good enough to play pro, he was very good. He loved the sport!
Peter is now depressed. He spends most of his time in his room playing video games. In young adult therapy, Peter learns about the behavioral component of depression. Peter works to establish incremental goals to help him out of his depression.
Peter starts by putting on his basketball clothes. The next week Peter commits to going outside and shooting one basket. Over the following weeks, Peter starts practicing basketball everyday. Peter ends therapy with a coaching internship at a boy’s basketball camp.
Shelley: Example 2
Shelley is a 23 year-old young adult. She’s living with a roommate but is very depressed. A year ago she was the life of the party. She loved going out to dance, meeting new people, and connecting with friends. Shelley studied fashion design in college and worked part time as a make up artist. She loves creating clothing and experimenting with make up.
After a serious relationship ended, her world collapsed. She stopped taking care of herself. She didn't shower regularly and lived in her PJs. Make up and fashion were the last thing on her mind.
In therapy, Shelley learns about the behavioral component of depression. Shelley works to establish incremental goals to help her out of the depression.
Shelley starts by getting a shower once a day. She progresses by putting on makeup- even if she doesn’t go out. Her next goal is to dress up even if she goes to the grocery store. Shelley ends therapy with an online dating profile and a job as a cocktail waitress.
Begin Therapy for Young Adults at Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Serving Young Adults in Katy, Tx
Depression does not have to rule your life as a young adult. Life awaits you and adventure is around every corner. Depression can suck the enjoyment out of life but there is a way through.
If you are ready to start your healing journey at Katy Teen & Family Counseling, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Speak with one of our young adult therapists
Let us help you remove the barriers in your life to help you succeed as a young adult
Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Serving Katy, Tx & Houston
At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, our young adult counselors can help. You don't need to struggle any longer. We have helped others like you seeking a happy, bright, and successful future realize that future.
Below are a few of the other counseling services we provide for teens, families, and young adults in Katy, Tx and Houston:
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
About the Author
Quique Autrey is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and family therapist. He is a seasoned young adult therapist who has helped many overcome their struggles.
He also is a family systems therapist. He views each individual through that lens and provides therapy for the family system which includes: teen therapy, young adult counseling, family counseling, marriage counseling & couples therapy.
Quique also has a passion for helping teens, young adults, and adults who may be on the Autism Spectrum. He has a talent for connecting with and helping people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
If you're ready to start your healing journey in marriage counseling or couples therapy, you can call us at 346-202-4662 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.