Windham & Leibovich PC
Heidi Leibovich, LCSW
Scott Windham, LCSW
1016 Greentree Rd Ste#102
Pittsburgh, PA 15220
It's Not How You Feel, It's How you Feel About How You Feel.
When I was an undergraduate, there was a fellow student in my department who from all
outward appearances would have met criteria for Major Depressive Disorder, everything
about his demeanor just screamed depression. We had several classes together in one
semester and I got to know him a little bit. One day when he looked especially down I
asked him if he was okay. Being the young psychology student that I was, I expected (and
maybe even hoped a little) that he would tell me a tale of woe and sadness. Instead, what
he did shocked me. He looked me in the eye, smiled, and said "Oh yeah, I'm good. I like the
gloom". This was, at first hard for me to believe, however, as the semester went on and I
got to know him better I discovered that he was telling the truth. He really DID like the
gloom, it was his comfort zone and the place where he felt best. Yes, if we are just looking
at symptoms, his qualified him for Major Depression no doubt, but he certainly wasn't
SUFFERING from it, if anything he was ENJOYING it! It wasn't effecting his functioning in any
negative way that he or I could identify. I'm certainly not saying that all of us should start
enjoying our depression, for most of us those symptoms would be incredibly debilitating
and unpleasant. This young man is for sure a rare case, and the only one of his kind that I
have ever met.

What his example DOES point out though is that it's often times our feelings about our
feelings that cause us to suffer or to not. This idea is often referred to as
meta-emotion.
When I work with people who are dealing with anxiety and/or depression they often tell me
that they are very anxious about how depressed they are, or depressed about their anxiety
etc. One of the first things that I often tell them is that having depression and/or anxiety is
hard enough, let's work to get back to just having those. Those we can treat. Internal
judgment statements like "this depression is so horrible" , "I can't handle this anymore",
"I'm falling apart emotionally" etc, seem to increase the suffering that we experience in an
exponential fashion.

This phenomenon is true most places too, not just when it comes to depression and
anxiety. The way that seemingly EVERYTHING feels is determined by the way that we judge,
label, and talk to ourselves about it, in other words, by our prejudice for or against it.  I often
give the example that I am horribly prejudiced against washing dishes. I say to myself "I
HATE this! It's TERRIBLE! It's going to take FOREVER!" and in doing so I set myself up to
have just that exact experience, thus further proving to myself that washing dishes is THE
WORST. If though I am able to calm myself down and let go of my prejudice and just
experience the task, I often find that the warm water isn't so unpleasant, the way the soap
bubbles reflect light is pretty cool, the feeling of satisfaction when the job is done even
makes me feel pretty good about myself. The task stays the same: clean the dishes. The
experience though, that is up to me.

**If you are in the greater Pittsburgh area and would like to discuss how you are feeling
about how you feel, please contact Windham & Leibovich at 412-937-0411 to set up an
appointment.