One day Mr. Smith woke up with a strange feeling
Everything in his life suddenly seemed gray and heavy.
He could not get out of bed for many hours.
Finally he found his way into the day.
No feelings left
He stood in front of the mirror and said to himself: I can’t go on like this.
Then he called his best friend.
He couldn’t make a phone call at the moment.
So he went back to bed.
The next morning, his condition was even worse.
Now he finally reached his friend. He told him:
“Go to the doctor.”
The next day, Mr. Smith had an appointment with his family doctor. He was sitting in the waiting room. There he heard the stories of other patients. All of them did not seem very happy either.
After about three hours of waiting, the doctor saw him.
What is wrong with you?
I can’t enjoy anything anymore. Everything seems like gray.
No more joy, no more initiative.
Since when, the doctor asked.
I can’t say exactly. It’s probably been a few weeks. But yesterday I couldn’t get out of bed.
Wait, said the doctor, I’m on the phone with a psychotherapist. I have been working with him for years. He specializes in depression.
Depression, Mr. Smith thought to himself.
Do I have depression?
He didn’t dare ask the doctor at first. But then he got out his prescription pad and wrote down an antidepressant.
Now there was no longer any doubt. Obviously I’m sick, he said to himself.
Now I need psychotherapy and pills.
Three weeks later: the first appointment with a psychotherapist.
“I’ll help you fight your depression. But you will need patience, because depression takes a long time.
If you’re lucky, the antidepressant will help after two to three weeks.”
Mr. Smith told the psychotherapist, “I will follow your instructions.”
The days and weeks passed.
No improvement in Mr. Smith’s feelings.
He remained at home, sitting in his armchair. Again and again, he tried to distract himself from his negative thoughts by reading.
When will the tablets finally take effect? When will better feelings finally come so that I can get well again?
Mr. Smith went back to see the psychotherapist.
“Why aren’t the antidepressants working?”
“I don’t know,” the doctor said.
“But I’m glad you’re here.
It gives us a chance to talk about depression again.
So, are the medications helping at all? Aren’t you feeling better at all?”
“No, on the contrary. The longer I wait for the pills to work, the more despondent I become.
What do you recommend I do in psychotherapy?”
We stick with watchful waiting at first until we start behavioral therapy.
But I don’t want to wait any longer to see if my depression might go away by accident. Therefore, please let’s fight my illness starting now.
The psychotherapist looked at his watch, “Our session today will end in 10 minutes.
Let me tell you how we are going to start psychotherapy:
We need to find the causes of your behavioral problems. We need to find your thinking errors that keep leading to depression.
Oh, so it’s my fault that I’m ill?
Not only, but you already have your share. You need to change your thinking patterns.
I will show you a way to evaluate stressful experiences differently: in such a way that they no longer harm you.