Browse Author: Beth Nichols

Why Self-Help Tips Work When It Comes To Depression

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I am a survivor of depression. I was diagnosed with this mental disorder when I was 19 years old, during my final semester in college. It happened around the time I had been working non-stop to fund my thesis. In truth, that was also when I was more convinced than ever that I should drop out because my heart was not in the field I was preparing for (Chemistry). The problem was that I did not know how to tell my parents, who were extremely eager to see their firstborn wear a graduation cap, that I wanted to quit. So, without realizing it, I was sleeping less, almost not eating daily, and staying in my unlit room.

The more weeks passed by, the worse my depression would get. Since I could not bear for my folks to know what’s happening, though, I kept on lying to them about my condition. Every time they’d call me, I would say that I was making progress with my thesis. I stopped going to my classes as well and told different alibis to my friends. It only occurred to me to see a psychiatrist when I started hearing voices in my head. Although their words were hard to understand, I knew something was wrong.

After the diagnosis, the mental health professional said that I could take antidepressants for six months. She also mentioned recommending me to a psychotherapist while getting medication as a complementary treatment. What did I do? I excused myself, paid the consultation fee, and got puzzles instead of pills or therapy sessions. I went through a total of eight puzzles — one for every time the voices would come back. Not only are they all hanging in various parts of the house now, but they have also helped me regain my self-consciousness and overcome the illness.

Why Do Self-Help Tips Work When Treating Depression?

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The first reason why self-help tools work is that they are not old wives’ tales at all. Not everyone may believe it, but it is a fact that many of them are science-based. Meaning, there have been actual research conducted in the past that have proven their usefulness. For instance, studies showed that listening or playing music could increase a person’s happiness level and improve their cognitive function. Working on puzzles (like I did) could have a similar effect.

Another reason is that you know yourself better than any psychiatrist. Yes, they can pinpoint what your disorder maybe after running a few tests, but they need to make money, too. It is rare for such people to offer self-help tips to their patients right after giving a diagnosis. They may say, “You have to take these prescription drugs for faster recovery” or “You need to get therapy with this widely known therapist.” On the other hand, you are aware of what’s happening in your head, so you should know what’s best for you.

Final Thoughts

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Do not be afraid to try self-help methods before taking any pill or paying for therapy. If you put your heart and mind into it, they will work for you as much as they did for me. Then, you will not be at risk of becoming dependent on drugs and therapy.

Good luck!

Tips To Overcome Money Depression According To Therapists

Financial problems are a regular source of anxiety and depression for many individuals. They feel that they won’t be able to get out of the slump of paying their debts or being broke, so they tend to stress out too much on this aspect. Once you get off this slump, the tendency is that it will also boost your overall mood and lessen or even take away your depression. Here are some tips on how you can overcome money depression according to therapists.

Do Not Ignore Your Financial Problems

If you keep on pushing back this problem, the more it will haunt your daily life. At the same time, you will more likely feel worse if you tune out this serious problem.

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The best way to start addressing your money depression is to recognize that there is a problem at hand. Look at your bill, open your emails, compute your monthly expenses, and start calming your mind. This exercise will not only bring you back to reality but will also decrease the ambiguity in your situation.

Identify Your Stress Points

There are different kinds of areas when it comes to money problems. You might be having trouble where to get the tuition fee for your kids, or you might be facing a high credit card balance. Whatever these are, you have to know these stress points. Start by writing down your top two most significant financial sources of stress. From here, map out what action points are you willing to take to be able to address these problems.

Do Not Isolate Yourself

When you are in a financial slump, the tendency is that you will force yourself to isolate yourself and cut back on everything, may it be material or non-material. However, this should not be the case. You can still make way through your budget by retaining some low-cost activities which can be value-adding to your life.

An example of this exercising. You don’t need to shell out cash in this activity, and it will also make you feel better. You can also engage in cheap activities with your friends, such as going to the park or hiking the mountains, to help you overcome your loneliness.

Volunteer

“Go out and help someone else. The act of volunteering or helping someone out actually has a chemical effect on the brain and will often raise your spirits,” shares Lisa Kindel, a multimedia consultant from Kentucky who experienced financial depression as well. “When I’m feeling insecure, unsuccessful, I sit at the info desk at my local farmers’ market to talk about local foods, produce, weather, recipes. Talking to other people about food and recipes can pick me up because I’m not dwelling on what’s wrong with me that day.”

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A London School of Economics study in 2008 found a positive correlation between volunteering and happiness. The results showed that people who volunteered once a month are 7% more likely to be very happy. On the other hand, those who are weekly volunteers have 16% more chances of being in the same state.

Don’t Spend A Lot Of Time On Passive Activities

Passive activities, such as watching the television, increase your level of depression. There are a lot of storylines that revolve around panic, anxiety, and depression. Hence, these are the things that you will most likely see when you turn on the TV. These are not good for your mental and emotional stability.

Another example of a passive activity is surfing the Net. Some individuals who are in financial difficulty tend to place their remaining money in the money market. Once they do so, their primary instinct is to watch the stock market prices go up and down every minute. Don’t do this since this will worsen your condition.

Engage In Creative Activities

You can paint, study a new language, take cooking lessons, or create a journal. These kinds of creative activities help you clear your mind. It also enables you to vent out your stress on a calmer avenue.

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If you are a foodie, you can engage in what we call a random cooking exercise. Look around your refrigerator, get three to five random ingredients (remember not to think while picking!), and try to create something different from the said ingredients. Believe it or not, it will not only relax your mind but your heart as well.

No matter how problematic your financial situation is, your attitude and the way you handle yourself can make a difference in your money depression. Try several activities on this list, and you’ll be out of your emotional slump in no time.

Psychologist Explains The Psychology Of Depression

It is no surprise that depression can often get misunderstood. That is because people rarely talk about it. That even if a lot of individuals know the condition is prevalent; they ignore and sometimes don’t do something to address it. That explains why healthcare professionals, such as psychologist entirely want to help out. There is this eagerness to explain the psychology of depression to aid the stigma of mental illness.

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One out of ten individuals worldwide experiences some diagnosable depression. That is pretty alarming, to be honest. Considering its signs and symptoms are sometimes misdiagnosed, things can get pretty much overwhelming. Yes, everyone experiences sadness from time to time. However, not because someone is sad; it does not mean he has a mental illness. So, when does the condition tip the scale? When can we call the psychological crisis as a depressive disorder?

What Is With Depression?

The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual that mental health professionals use to diagnose a condition defines significant depression as something that impairs an individual’s occupational, social, or other areas of functioning. There is this unexplained mood crisis, considerable weight loss or gain, fatigue or loss of energy, insomnia, psychomotor agitation, diminished ability to concentrate, as well as recurrent thoughts of death. People usually refer to major depressive disorder when they think about depression. However, there are other diagnoses. Apparently, in general, all of the depressive conditions share the same signs and symptoms. These include emptiness and sadness. There is the presence of physical and cognitive dysfunction as well. Overall, the state affects a person’s capacity to function for at least two weeks.

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So What Causes Depression?

Unlike neuroscientist, psychologist places a lot of focus on social and cognitive factors that play a role in depression. They believe that what a person thinks will say something about his condition. That explains why there is a lot of particular questions that guarantee a result in finding someone susceptible to the disorder. Some of these questions are the view of the individual of himself and others, and the way he chooses to cope with problems.

Usually, depression comes from repeated failure in life. It includes failed decisions, disappointing results, and even mishandled relationships. There is this intense feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. In unfortunate cases, there is an abandonment of self-trust and self-confidence. But we must understand that not everyone who faces difficulty life problems becomes depressed. The situation still varies from one person to another. However, prolonged exposure to stressors can entirely preempt depressive episodes. The condition can escalate quickly, especially to those individuals who do not have a strong foundation of social support such as friends, family, or concerned community.

On the cognitive side, depression, specifically centers in negativistic thinking. It is the condition’s foundation. It is a takeover of an individual’s thoughts that is overly critical and pessimistic. With that, there is often an expectation of disappointment and failure at every turn of life events. The co-existence of these two unwanted mental states make a lot of people wonder what comes first. But research shows that even an optimistic individual is also at risk of depression after exposure to too much stressful life events. Therefore, it seems like the negativistic thinking is more likely a result of the depressive disorder and not the other way around.

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Is There A Solution To The Condition?

Of course, there is. Like so many other disorders, comprehensive research says that depression is treatable. As long as there is a combination of medication and therapy, a positive result is achievable. These two are more equally effective in treating depressive symptoms. Although, therapy promotes longer-lasting effects after completion compared to medication alone. Yes, medicine does an excellent job of managing the signs and symptoms of depression. But therapy is the one that is best in addressing the condition’s underlying causes. With a specific type of therapy, there is knowledge of what leads an individual to feel persistent loneliness and sadness.

Depression is an ongoing mental health battle that most of us are experiencing. There are things that we think we know about it but seem complicated to address adequately. It is entirely essential that we don’t just rely on what we know and should start learning and understanding more of it.

 

How To Deal With Depression And Anxiety Without Spending Too Much

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I am usually forgetful when it comes to dates, but 2014 is the year that I will always remember due to bittersweet reasons. For one, that is when I have managed to prove to myself and to everyone else that I am a tough cookie, that I can overcome whatever challenges that life throws at me. Before coming to that conclusion, however, I have had to deal with depression first, which has comorbid with a minor case of anxiety later.

My situation at the time was similar to what many other mental health patients are probably going through right now. No one knew that I was in such a dark place, not even my housemates. I smiled every time they chatted with me, although I practically felt dead inside. The more hopeless I felt, the more I got scared of being around people, too. There were a lot of occasions in which I would turn off the lights in my room for a couple of days and text them that I was at my parents’ place so that I could avoid having to talk with anyone.

I had too many worries back then. I was afraid of my loved ones getting wind up of my mental instability. No matter how welcoming the community may be to individuals with depression and anxiety, after all, I assumed that that’s not true for anyone. There was also the fear of going in an event one day and seeing folks talk behind their hands while looking at me. I realize now that they are silly thoughts, but such worries have seemed too valid for comfort at the time.

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Now, I have a secret to tell you. After getting diagnosed with the two disorders, I have never come back for therapy or medication. The psychiatrist who wanted me to do so was sweet and friendly, but I could not honestly afford all of that as I was still studying then. Nevertheless, I got better with sheer determination and by doing the following activities that did not cost me much, money-wise, but gave me hope to fight for myself again.

Work On Puzzles

The first thing that I did when my brain was getting overloaded with negative ideas was to buy a box of puzzles. I tried downloading games on my smartphone before that, but it made me unable to concentrate more. I turned to books as well, yet the words merely caused me to feel nauseous. So, I considered all my non-digital options during a quiet moment and came up with the thought of trying to put puzzle pieces together when the voices in my head didn’t want to stop. And it worked for me.

Puzzles are one of the objects that you can use to distract yourself when your depression or anxiety is on active mode. There is undoubtedly a plethora of things that will allow you to focus less on the dark images that cross your mind. As soon as you find it, you should keep it by your side until you are ready to expand your horizons.

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Open Up To Friends And Family

When your anxious or depressive episodes lessen, you will have time to consider when’s the proper time for you to open up about your ordeal to your loved ones. That’s an idea that may never give you peace if you think of it during the onslaught of anxiety or depression, you see. Worse, your troubled brain might even feed you with darker thoughts and crush your hopes further.

Nonetheless, the revelation will have to come at some point. You may try to deal with the problem on your own, but why bother? Let your friends and family members help you; fill them in on what’s happening in your life. They would surely love to know about it from you instead of from acquaintances. They. Want. You. To. Live. Happily.

Recover At My Own Pace

Another reason why I did not want to get therapy was the fact that no psychologist could guarantee how long the treatment would take. They usually have a guesstimate, but it may extend if you don’t respond well to their program. While my therapist was explaining that to me, all I could think of was, “Gosh, I don’t have thousands of dollars laying around!”

By doing the two things mentioned above, there was no need to think about the money that I would have had to spend on therapy. I did not have to pressure my loved ones to help me out financially either. Thus, I managed to recover at my own pace.

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Final Thoughts

As a disclaimer, I do not encourage you to quit your treatment merely because such activities allowed me to get better without spending too much. It’s impossible to guarantee that my fate would be similar to yours. Not to mention, the severity of our conditions may not be the same. While you are getting treated for your depression and anxiety, though, it does not hurt to know all the other healing methods you can tap into.

Good luck!

Tips In Overcoming A Mental Health Problem

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There are many things that you have to consider when it comes to handling matters involving your mental health. It can be disheartening to find out that you have a mental illness that you have to deal with. It will be challenging on your part to handle the situation, especially if you have no one to help you in this difficult moment of your life. Do not worry because everything is only temporary, which means that things will get better soon. Below are some of the tips and tricks to keep in mind if you want to overcome your mental health problems smartly:

 

Educate Yourself

 

The first thing that you must do is to educate yourself more about your current condition. The best way to do this is to ask your doctor for an explanation. Listen to what he has to say so that you can have an idea about your sickness. At the same time, you can also check resources from the Internet. Fortunately, many journals and publications are now available online, which means that it is not possible to get easy access. However, it is crucial for you to be careful in verifying the sources of your research to ensure that you will not get wrong information.

 

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Find Someone To Talk To

 

Things are going to change in your life the moment you start to suffer from a mental health problem. Your days will be darker because you will find it hard to accept your situation. Because of this, it would be convenient on your part to be a loner. You would rather be alone than to talk or bond with someone else. Take note that this option is not ideal because the right thing to do is to be with a person whom you can trust. Make sure that you discuss the problems that you experience in your life. By opening up about these issues, you start to free yourself from some burdens.

 

Seek Professional Help

 

The next thing that you must also take into consideration is to start looking for the right therapist or psychiatrist who can help you with your case. Keep in mind that you cannot do the treatment on your own. There is a necessity to get in touch with a professional who has proven expertise and experience in the field of mental health. Remember that you cannot entrust your safety and mental condition to someone who is not licensed to cure or treat patients like you. As such, it is imperative or crucial on your part to connect only with trusted and reliable mental health experts. Do not be careless in choosing the professional who will take good care of you. Otherwise, you may end up experiencing more complications instead of proper assistance or supervision.

 

Always Choose To Cooperate

 

Take note that treatments to mental health problems take time before you can fully recover. Hence, there may be a need to keep on coming back to the office of the mental health expert. At the same time, you may also be required to participate in different activities. What you need to do is to make yourself available for all the requirements that the therapist or psychiatrist may order you to do. Aside from this, you must find a way to maintain an open and honest relationship with the said professional. Keep in mind that your cooperation in professional engagement is the key that will help you get over your mental health problem.

 

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Conclusion

 

Above all else, do not forget to care for yourself no matter what happens. Take note that you are a fantastic person who deserves all the love and care in this world. Just because you are mentally sick or ill does not mean that there is no more hope left in your life. Do not forget that there is always a solution to your problem. As long as you follow the tips and tricks mentioned above, everything is going to be okay in your life. Be brave enough to ask for help from the right people. Most importantly, you have to start putting yourself as a top priority so that you can become better.

 

Overcoming Depression And Anxiety Brought About By A Disastrous Marriage

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“No doubt about it, Sarah. You are clinically depressed. And those tremors and flashes that you’ve been experiencing, those are brought about by your anxiety. Yes, you have panic anxiety, as well. I’d call my psychiatrist partner right now to come here, with your consent of course, so that she could prescribe you an antidepressant. I think you need it.” That’s what my psychologist said to me eight months ago when my sister brought me for an assessment. It was all a blur. I may have heard them saying words like online therapy, counseling, depression, panic, and all those medical terms. When she said antidepressant, I just went blank.

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When Anger Becomes Depression: What To Do

 

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I often talk about depression to other people, and most of them would enumerate the signs and symptoms that they all feel – loneliness, sadness, low self-confidence, lack of enthusiasm to live, erratic sleep patterns, no or too much appetite, and suicidal thoughts. Their family members would attest to seeing these symptoms inside and outside of their homes. These are some of the most common manifestations of depression.

However, there are some individuals diagnosed with depression who are very irritable and have sudden bursts of anger or deep-seated feeling of rage within them. It seems that they are angry with anything and everything about their life. Their co-workers trigger their mood swings, their children piss them off quicker than usual, and even their friends provoke a temper.

So how are irritability and anger associated with depression? Are they connected in some way?

 

Depression And Anger

Some psychologists would say that depression is ‘anger turned inward.’ But when that deep-seated anger manages to lurk outward, it is highly likely that a more heightened kind of reaction is seen, especially when depression is accompanied with rage.

Perhaps it would be more helpful if we do not think of depression as a mental illness or a complex mood disorder, but to look at it as a loss of reasonable control of one’s emotions. A group of researchers summarized their findings on the relationship between depression and anger:

 

Source: thebodyisnotanapology.com

 

“Evidence has shown that there is a close connection between depression and anger for both the normal and the patient groups. The normal person showed less anger and irritability than the patient diagnosed with depression. The patient also presented with less suppression and control of his anger. This outcome indicates that depression theories are explaining that arrested defenses of the fight (anger) and flight (feeling of being trapped) may be vital components of depression.

“On the other hand, it is also recognized that people who are depressed also show more anger, although residual symptoms of frustration and anger seen in the treatment phase might be associated with poor therapeutic results. Depressed individuals also show more hostility than normal individuals.”

Therefore, depressed people are more likely to go through irritability and anger issues in ways that others would not understand. Also, some signs and symptoms of depression may be due to other factors, including environment, culture, and upbringing.

 

Depression And Negative Emotions

As researchers continue to explore the link between depression and anger. They did a study on 90 depressed individuals (60 men and 30 women) and gave them a test to evaluate their negative emotions (depression, anger, irritability) and how efficiently they can handle them.

The results of the study revealed that feelings of rage and depression are connected through the role of controlling or regulating emotions and anger rumination. This means that people have the likelihood to manifest irritable or angry signs in depression if they are the type who contemplate on past situations when they were angry, or if they have trouble handling their emotions. Those who are quick-tempered, for example, would be more prone to express their depression through their anger.

 

Treatment For Depression Through Anger

Since this type of depressive disorder is centered on two components – rumination and emotion regulation – the said components should primarily be treated. Rumination somehow triggers the depression to come back. This makes psychotherapy the appropriate choice of treatment.

One form of psychotherapy that can be utilized is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, a customized form of psychotherapy that integrates mindfulness techniques like meditation and breathing. MBCT practitioners teach patients how to free themselves from negative behavioral patterns that cause them to spiral downward into a more severe depressed state. They also use these on people who are on the brink of relapsing.

 

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Emotion regulation can be helpful in decreasing feelings of irritability and rage in depression. The fundamental strategies used in emotional regulation include:

 

  • Reappraising the situation. The person is allowed to think about the feeling or circumstance that is causing him to be angry or more depressed.
  • The person is taught and encouraged to prevent expressing his emotions outwardly but to control them and experience them in the inside.
  • He then attempts to accept the emotions as they feel them internally and being conscious and making sure not to act on those emotions.

 

Conclusion

Anger does isolate and damage a person’s relationships, more so if he is already depressed and frustrated. More effort must be made on increasing awareness on how these negative emotions play in depression.

Ultimately, the key to fully comprehending the concept of depression is to acknowledge that it is an intricate illness that presents itself in varying ways. Some people may hide their depression, and some may be so blunt and emotional to show them irritability and anger. This is why any form of depression – whether it is simple or complicated – needs our attention and help.

 

 

 

Why Hypnotherapy Is Not Good For Managing Depression

Some people I know discouraged me when I told them I wanted to try hypnotherapy to see if it could help with my depression.  Each has different opinions about the process.  I searched online for reviews and found out that some find it effective, but others not.  Out of curiosity, I looked for a hypnotherapist and tried it to see what it can do for me.

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I found myself sitting in that room, waiting for the secretary at the office of the hypnotherapist to call my name.  I was clutching onto my bag when I overheard the woman beside me talked about how she had tried hypnotherapy once right at her home.  She really felt good and relaxed after that, so she decided to come over.  Hearing her story gave me hope.

 

Like Any Treatment, There’s A Danger Too

I actually have no idea what hypnotherapy was aside from what I read on google.  Before the session starts, the therapist talked to me about possible dangers, like the conception of false memories and a feeling of distress.

 

Source:  en.wikipedia.org

Hypnosis can be an assistive therapy to make other forms of treatment more effective.  With hypnosis, your mind and body can be in that area of tranquility.  But to be in that moment, you got to visit the past to find what causes you to be depressed and addressed that.

 

Depression Can Bring You In And Out Of That Place Of Chaos

Hearing what hypnosis is from the therapist made me think that negative emotions like depression could also bring the mind and body into that peaceful state.   It was the world that used to be my own.  Only, it was taken away, replaced by nothing but its opposite, a place of chaos.

During the session, we visited the past.  It felt like there’s no way out in this world of loneliness I was trapped in.  I didn’t want to move because it makes no sense to do so.  Fighting hard to survive makes me feel like just burying myself more in-depth into the pit.

The depression I was in made me feel numb.  That to stay still and do nothing is the best thing to do.  I felt like I have no strength to escape from that moment.  Being disconnected from reality is exactly how I felt at that moment.

 

Brings In More Agony

Hypnotherapy dragged me down the memory lane of pain.  It made me get in touch again with the past I’m trying to forget.  It was really traumatizing.  But therapist said that’s part of the process.  They hope that if that repressed memory is faced and tackled, it could result in better mental health, only in a harrowing and traumatizing process.

After the session, the therapist talked me into realizing that there is nothing more I can do to change the past.  And I have to move on.   He hopes that I would heal and will start to make changes after the realization.

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But because the process brings in more agony, it left me more depressed (worse situation) than I was before the treatment began.  I can’t take my mind off the painful things that had happened.  I just find it hard to focus on the perspective of what is right.

That was my experience with hypnotherapy.  I found my answer, and I’m a bit discouraged about doing it again.  It wasn’t able to take away my depression, even disabled me more from functioning normally.  Maybe for some, they find it useful.

Now, I got to go back to doing clinical tests, medications, and CBT again.  My present doctor and therapist encouraged me to go back to a healthier lifestyle, do more social and physical activities, manage my stress, and if things become unmanageable, time to visit my therapist.

Disclaimer:

I’m not saying that hypnotherapy is a hoax.   It’s just that I think it’s not for everybody.  Just like any form of treatment, it doesn’t fit all. It may work for some, but unfortunately, not for me.  It may have been able to make me feel relaxed for a moment, but was not able to target my depression.

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