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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

What Depression Really Is

Depression and anxiety may seem similar, but they are two different conditions that commonly occur together. Feeling down or having the blues now and then is normal, especially if the feelings are due to painful life situations. Everyone feels anxious from time to time—it’s a normal response to stressful situations. It is also possible to have both depression and anxiety at the same time. A worldwide survey from 2015 found that 41.6 percent of respondents reported having both major depression and an anxiety disorder during the same 12-month period. The good news is that the conditions of both can improve with support from a mental health professional (psychotherapy), medications such as antidepressants, or both. Few therapists understand the subject better than Jennifer Vear Hoy, MS, owner of Peaceful Summit Counseling, LLC, in Naples, because she knows firsthand.


Vear Hoy’s experience came in the form of deep grief and loss she felt when her husband died from complications related to Parkinson’s disease. “After the love of my life died, I realized that I had no husband, no business and no family here, as we had moved from Chicago to Naples. I’d sold my consulting firm in Chicago in order to be my husband’s full-time caregiver, which was time I am so grateful for. In the past, I used to always say that if anything ever happened to David, you could just lock me up in a padded cell, because I would never be able to handle it. And now it had."


She shares, "Friends suggested I go to grief counseling. It was only two weeks after he died, and my feelings were pretty raw. The group I chose met in my church and had been meeting together for five years. At the end of the meeting, the counselor asked everyone how they felt. The comments ranged from hopeful to optimistic and ready to get on with life. I was the last one to comment. I answered through a lot of tears that I felt totally broken. The counselor looked at his watch and said, ‘Well that’s all the time we have. See you next week.’ And he promptly walked out the door. That’s when I thought you don’t open up somebody like that and not be there to help them. You have a responsibility.”


Vear Hoy still feels the sting of those words. "I never want another person to feel like I did. That was my motivation to eventually go back to graduate school to get my second Master of Science degree. This one was in clinical mental health counseling, so that I could help people and make sure that anyone in my care would never be treated like that. After receiving my MS in counseling, I felt there was so much more that I could learn. So I chose to go on for additional certifications in grief counseling, depression, substance abuse, anger management, crisis management, domestic violence and anxiety," she says. "This is such an important area, and we have such a big responsibility to be the best we can for our clients. The more I know, the better I am at helping people that come to me." 


She holds workshop on subjects such as anxiety and depression. "People are able to learn so much in the time that we spend together. Not only from me, but from sharing with one another, she advises. "The workshops on depression are being held in September on three separate Saturdays—part one on 10th what depression is and how it affects us, part two on the 17th is about the key findings on depression, and part three on the 24th is about ways to deal with depression for ourselves and others. I keep it the groups small—11 plus myself. I choose to keep it small so it is comfortable for everyone to talk and share with each other.” 


Peaceful Summit Counseling, LLC, is located at 1048 Goodlette Rd. N., Ste. 201, in Naples. For more information call 239-450-8090 or visit