Kate Barnes is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who holds a Masters degree in Psychological Counseling from Monmouth University. With many years of experience, Kate has helped people overcome their challenges with anxiety, bipolar, depression, gender Identity/transgender and trauma. Originally from New York, Kate moved to the Seattle area to expand her horizons and help those facing adversity in the PNW.
How Would you Define Depression?
“Depression is tricky, everybody gets depressed. It can be chemical, internal, situational, and so on. At the end of the day, however, it is a depressive episode when it affects a person’s daily functioning over a long period of time.”
What are some Signs and Symptoms of Depression?
“Depression and anxiety go together like peanut butter and jelly. There is some overlap between the two even though they result in feelings of one giving high tension while the other results in feeling weighted and unmotivated.”
“Depression also has a polarizing effect on a person’s appetite where they either eat much more than they normally would or not eat at all. Lack of motivation and interest in daily activities and hobbies is pretty common when it comes to depression.”
“Also, symptoms of depression might appear to be the case, but it could actually turn out to really be something else like PTSD.”
What is the Key Difference between Depression and Sadness?
“Length of time is the main difference between sadness and depression. However people can experience longer periods of sadness due grief from the loss of a loved one. If it’s been two weeks to a month and the person is still feeling this sense of overwhelming sadness that affects their daily functioning, is usually a pretty telling sign that they are experiencing depression.”
When Should One Consider Getting Help?
“It’s hard to say. Sometimes it's based on other peoples feedback. Other times it’s having feelings of sadness that can lead them to talk to someone; or it could simply come from education and learning about the illness.”
What Modalities do You Like to use to Treat Depression?
“Typically, I like to use CBT to figure out the relationship between the feelings and behaviors. I almost take a couples counseling approach where depression is personified asking the patient How’s your relationship with depression going today? I will often come at it from that angle to keep people from being defined by their diagnosis. Allowing them to separate themselves from their diagnosis, personifying it and approach it from a relationship point of view."
“Another modality I use is motivational interviewing to find the person’s interests and what the relationship and involvement between the two is. And the other one I typically use is DBT to know where their stress tolerance is at.”
How is Depression Diagnosed?
“Typically, an assessment is administered through the DSM-V. It identifies all the symptoms of depression. I also like to have a convo about the frequency and intensity of what they are experiencing. Essentially, I like to meet them at their baseline to have a better understanding of how to measure what’s a good day for them and what’s a bad day.”
“For some that have severe clinical depression, a good day for them is experiencing mild clinical depression instead of severe.”
“Also, depression can be easily misunderstood. Oddly enough, people believe they recognize depression through anxiety. Essentially, some people have a signal about an internal stressor that causes them anxiety and when that anxiety does not go away, they become exhausted leaving them to believe they have depression when it is really anxiety.”
What are Some Self-Help Habits that Help with Depression?
“Creating a routine is helpful. Funny enough, when we’re children we are kept to a routine and when we become adults we throw it away because we are not kids anymore. However, having a proper bedtime, for example, is helpful in switching gears when I’m awake and when I am asleep.”
“Keeping a list of coping skills and interests is also good. On a bad day when they don’t know what to do, they can turn to that list to guide toward an interest or activity.”
“Also, having depression can deplete a person of their energy. Planning meals based on one’s energy level makes it easier to stick to a diet and ensure that you are getting proper nutrition. For example, on a bad day where energy is low, having easy-to-make meals can make the eating routine much easier.”
“It’s more about what self-care routines can we create to move away from the all or nothing mindset that affects daily functioning.”
How do People Find Treatment for Depression?
“Some people go through insurance, primary caregiver, or internet. They want someone that works for their schedule. But it’s different for each person. Some need a therapist who is more personable, while others need a therapist that dictates what to do.”
“For the person who’s looking, it's about getting a sense of what they want/ need in a therapist. It’s similar to dating and finding that person who is compatible with how they operate.”