How To Recalibrate Your Mental Health And Be More Hopeful For The Future

I used to be in love with Tyler. There was a considerable age gap between us (ten years), but it did not stop me from wanting to be with him. In the first couple of years that we were together, he was full of charisma and elegance. He seemed so different from the boys that I liked in the past.

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Source: pixabay.comUnfortunately, before our third anniversary, Tyler’s life hit a rough patch. The fall of his stocks in the market forced him to sell half of the company to anyone willing to buy it. He also had to let go of some employees and work double-time to accomplish his customer’s orders. Although those workers were willing to stay without getting paid much due to Tyler’s kindness to them over the years, he encouraged them to find new jobs.

During all this dilemma, I rarely saw Tyler. He was either cooped up in his office, bent over the accounting books, or driving a massive truck to deliver fresh meat to various restaurants. Even at night, whenever I asked if we could meet, he was always too busy thinking of ways to take his company off the ground again.

I missed Tyler during the three whole months that I only heard his voice. However, I understood why he wanted to focus on the company. He was a self-made man, you see. That was his bread and butter, and seeing it take a dip might have been too scary for him.

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Noticeable Changes

In truth, Tyler’s busy schedule did not become the reason for our breakup. I never got jealous of it or acted like a bratty girlfriend who needed his undivided attention. No, the reason was that his outlook in life started to change in those three months that we didn’t see much of each other.

I should have known that something was up based on the increasing shortness of his replies to me. Before the business problem came, whenever I asked, “How are you?” his response was always an entire paragraph. He was still like, “You wouldn’t believe what happened today, babe. I closed this deal that I had been trying to get for weeks. Then, after that, I…”

Somewhere along the way, though, when I asked the same thing, he would merely say, “Good” or “I’m okay.” I chalked it to exhaustion every time because he was indeed working from 7 A.M. until God knows what time. So, imagine how surprised and hurt I was when I received a text from Tyler one morning, telling me that he wanted to break up.

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The Heartbreak

The bitterness that I felt that day remained unmatched up to this day. After all the patience and understanding that I showered Tyler, he wanted to crush my heart – through a text, the biggest jerk move than a man could ever do.

I was livid, of course. I wanted to curse Tyler repeatedly and tell him how awful he was. However, my anger slightly melted when I called him and heard him say, “You deserve to be with a better man. I am a loser now.”

Man. How could you beat up a guy with words when he was already beating himself up too much? Even if I still had many things to tell Tyler, I kept my mouth shut and accepted the freedom he gave me.

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But before he turned his back to me, I said, “We may no longer be together as we speak, but you should let me help you recalibrate your mental health so that your views about the future could change.”

How To Be More Hopeful For The Future

Tyler didn’t want my help at first. It was expected because he just ended our relationship. But I told him to try the following to be more hopeful for the future:

Lower Your Expectations

Stop thinking that everything will go as well as it has been in the past. Things change, and there’s nothing else you can do but accept it. If you don’t, you’re only making your life difficult.

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Find Out Why Awful Things Happened

There will always be a reason why you experience awful things. However, it is often because you need to learn a lesson. Figure out what lesson you have possibly missed and understand how to fix your problems.

Look For A Hobby

It would help if you also did something else with your time. Working on the same things without rest will make you lose sight of your goals. Try reading, knitting, skydiving, or whatever fancies your interest.

Bottom Line

After a few months, Tyler came back to me to tell me that he followed my tips and that his mental health was more stable than ever. I couldn’t be happier for this man, and we became close again. Maybe – just maybe – we can be together once more in the future. One can hope, right?

When Depression Takes A Toll On The Family

 

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When someone in the family is depressed, the entire family is significantly affected. Depression causes irritability, which evokes disagreements among family members, which consequently destroys family dynamics. The negativity spreads among the members and ripples its pessimism in everyone. The self-isolation that breaks relationships and instills generalized feelings of neglect and denial. Ultimately, the whole situation is stressful and burdensome.

On the contrary, the family is a major source of comfort, cure, and love. Family members are crucial to proper acknowledgment and a treatment plan for a common yet debilitating mental health illness such as depression. Families are proven to be effective caregivers, whether they’re unwilling or willing to help. They strongly reinforce the emotional environment that the depressed loved one resides, thus making them agents of healing – or they may not.

Depression And The Family

A Harvard Professor named Nassir Ghaemi argues that it is not proper to diagnose depression without consulting the family. First off, many people, especially those with existing medical conditions and within both ends of the age spectrum, do not often acknowledge that they are depressed. They may also point these symptoms to other factors, which is why the insight of family members is truly beneficial. But ultimately, Ghaemi says it is significantly important for making prescriptions, as one has to know whether the type of depression is bipolar or unipolar. According to studies, half of the patients diagnosed with depression have no idea whether they are manic or depressive. It is the family members that recognize these symptoms initially.

There is also a need for continuous diagnosis. One depressive episode does not eliminate the possibility that a manic episode will develop as well, particularly those below 30 years old. The typical onset of bipolar disorder is a depressive episode, where the average age is 19. However, an initial manic episode occurs only after 25 generally. There is a greater risk for younger individuals to be diagnosed with a bipolar disorder.

 

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Standard antidepressants can hasten mania, and in these cases, it is crucial to inform patients and their family members about the manic symptoms. Professor Ghaemi stresses the importance of family intervention in the early detection and treatment of manic depression. When possible, patients come for a primary evaluation, he suggests that they bring their family members with them. He then asks them to call any time when they notice developing symptoms from their loved ones. Additionally, the approach of the family towards the patient’s medications can also make a difference in compliance and continuing illness. If the members are not agreeable to the prescription medications and the treatment plan, they are taught to deal with that. But ideally, the entire family should support the general treatment, especially playing a role in reminding the patient to take their medicines regularly.

The Concept Of Expressed Emotion

Undoubtedly, there is a vital need for the treatment of any type of depression. A reputable psychologist, David Miklowitz, created a treatment that focuses on the family, on the principle that family dynamics tremendously impact mood disorders. He explained the concept of expressed emotion, which he describes as a measure of personalities expressed by a caregiver concerning a mentally ill individual. This consists of hostility, emotional over-involvement, and criticism. All these create an environment of high expressed emotion, and this increases the incidence of relapse threefold.

Expressed emotion typically brings about a conflict between a family member and the patient, which affects the patient biologically. He may become hyperaroused, as seen often in imaging studies. The fear centers of the brain are stimulated when patients catch a family member talking about them judgingly.

Family-Focused Therapy

This type of therapy is one that Miklowitz devised specifically for families with bipolar patients, although it is currently also being used by unipolar patients. It is used to decreased expressed emotion by providing families about the whole gamut of depression and teaching them skills in problem-solving, effective communication, and increasing self-esteem. In the 90s, there have been studies demonstrating a significant reduction in the relapse rate of patients whose medical professionals were integrating family-focused therapy in their overall treatment programs. This, which Miklowitz refers to as psychoeducation, must be considered part of every treatment, especially those with intermittent mental illnesses such as depression.

 

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Yes, families play a vital role in helping a depressive patient go through life with fewer stress factors and triggers that might make him more miserable than ever. Families do have a tremendous impact on depression. This is why mental health professionals agree that the family should always be involved in the diagnosis and treatment plan of depressive and manic patients. In a way, they ‘make or break’ the prognosis of a family member suffering from depression.