adinaDepression is a pervasive mental illness that can occur for many reasons. The recent suicide of Robin Williams has catapulted discussions of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses back to the forefront of people’s minds. Of course, it is preferable that depression can be discussed without the unfortunate death of a notable figure prompting it; still, his death has given us an opportunity to take another look at depression and provide education to those who are less familiar with its effects.  

Depression can affect anyone of any social status

Many people were shocked by Robin William’s death, and one reason given is that he was rich and famous — doesn’t that mean he had it all?  Because he had money and was successful, many wonder why he could have been sad.

No one is immune to depression, and certainly not the wealthy.  Many people believe money is the answer and that the absence of  have financial woes will ensure happiness. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth and study after study has found that unless you are living underneath the threshold for poverty, money doesn’t have any affect on one’s happiness or well-being.  

Rehabilitation and therapy may not work immediately

Therapy For DepressionSeeking therapy for depression is a great first step in addressing your problems. Understanding you have depression and need help with it is a massive undertaking that many people resist acknowledging. It is important to note that depression is a serious illness and not all types of therapy or antidepressants work. Some people need to explore different avenues before they find the treatment that works for them..

It is also important to note that depression isn’t something that goes away quickly. When working with a psychologist for depression and/or other related issues, it often takes time before symptom relief occurs. This can be discouraging to those who are suffering, but persistent, consistent effort in therapy can yield positive changes, it just may take longer than one would like.

Even if you believe that therapy is not for you and that talking about your problems won’t change anything, there are hormonal and biochemical benefits associated with therapy.  A meaningful therapeutic connection and a secure attachment reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, as well as other markers in the body that are associated with depression and anxiety.

Support from others may not change depressed thoughts/feelings

dreamstime_12800527This fact can be tough to understand, but sometimes depressed people may attempt to take their own lives despite their popularity or open love from others.

Conditions like depression and anxiety can be so severe that the afflicted person may not consider how their actions can impact their loved ones, family or friends. Managing anxiety and depression can be quite difficult and the patient can feel hopeless or worthless if they can’t overcome those conditions on their own. They are impaired socially, occupationally, psychologically, and emotionally. In other words, they might not be thinking in their “right mind” at the time.

People who are experiencing such a severe amount of suffering can have difficulty believing that they will ever feel any better and may see death as the only way to put an end to their pain.  Often, its not that the individual doesn’t think about their loved ones, but instead believes that they are such a burden, that family and friends will truly be better off when they are gone.   

It is so important to acknowledge those who have been left behind by mental illness that ends in suicide.  It’s hard to understand and maybe even hard not to personalize, but know that people who commit suicide don’t do it to hurt the ones they love or to abandon them. They do it to escape pain and permanence and irreversibility aren’t part of a thought process clouded by suffering and extreme mental anguish.

Santa Barbara Therapist Dr. Adina McGarr-Knabke

As a Santa Barbara therapist, I work with people who struggle with the above and assist them in identifying and understanding their conflicting feelings and their origins, while also emphasizing and facilitating how to change their relationship with those feelings.

If you feel sad, stressed or out of control, keep in mind that therapy for anxiety, depression, food addictions and any other problems you may have can greatly improve your life and the way you approach suffering and negativity.  Being a Santa Barbara psychologist — I provide counseling for anxiety and other issues, drawing from psychodynamic theory and the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  Utilizing these two theories in conjunction with one another targets the underlying, often unconscious issues that manifest as symptoms or problematic behavior, while also providing hands on, immediate tools to address distressing symptoms.

Pain is inevitable, but you can live a valuable life even in the presence of those feelings.

About If you are looking for a psychologist for depression, anxiety, or any other mental health concern consider making an appointment with Dr. Adina McGarr-Knabke. The Santa Barbara Therapist also provides therapy for patients struggling with eating disorders, alcoholism, and other addiction related problems.  Her office is located at 1187 Coast Village Rd., Suite 10P in Santa Barbara.  Visit the website  at to download a complimentary PDF, the “Top 10 Ways to Cope With Depression and Anxiety.” “Like” the Facebook page to receive updates, tips, and information on sustaining good mental health. Appointments  may be made online or by calling 818-518-6775.