Browse Category: Self-Help Tools & Techniques

Saving Your Kids From Depression Before They Even Get It

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Hearing parents say that they want the best for their children feels reassuring. It implies that they care for the youngsters’ future and that they will support them in any way possible. It is also a sign that they will do anything for their sons and daughters to make sure that they have an excellent life that others will envy. So, they work day and night as soon as the baby comes to the world and prepare for their future. “If you’re trying to figure out if a teen is depressed, the thing to look for is a change of behavior or mood,” says Lori Hilt, PhD.

The problem with such words starts to arise when the child goes to school. Even from their first day in kindergarten, the mom or dad may say, “You should show your classmates and teachers that you are the best. I will give you a prize if you get a lot of stamps.” In a youngster’s mind, they connect a good deed to a reward, so they may try to do what they’ve been told.

The more the kids’ grade levels move up, though, the more the parents’ expectations grow. When I was still in middle school, I had a classmate named Jason, who’s used to being on top of the class every year. He graduated from elementary school as a valedictorian, from what I heard. He managed to do the same thing during our 7th grade as well. Unfortunately, when 8th grade came, Jason lost to another classmate CJ, whose grades were not even close to his in the past. It made Jason’s parents frustrated, so they pushed him to do better by comparing him to CJ. The result was that his mind snapped at some point, and Jason got so depressed that he needed to take some time off school for treatment.

There’s no doubt about the love that you have for your children. So, if you want to prevent them from getting depression like my former classmate, you should know the following:

Celebrate Achievements, Big Or Small

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The first thing that you should do is to celebrate your child’s achievements. You should do it whether they have come second in class or they have gotten a Gold medal in track and field. Both of them are great results — something that not all kids will be able to achieve. Recognizing their success will push them to work harder next time.

Stop Having High Expectations

It is not acceptable to set the bar too high for your children as well. That will be all that they will think about, after all, and forget how to be happy. If they fail, therefore, they will take the failure too hard. The result will either be depression or, worse, suicide. Kristen Roye, PsyD talks about suicide which is chilling – “For many people the initial reaction to hearing about suicide is discomfort or fear. Often time, our behavior is to automatically deny that suicide is an issue that affects us personally; or we may simply ignore it and hope the problem goes away on its own. Unfortunately, denial will not solve our problems.”

Give The Kids A Mental Break

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Some overbearing parents force their kids to study in advance even during summer break to “get ahead of everyone else.” Well, don’t be like them. Allow your children’s minds to rest. School vacation is the time for playing, not studying. If you don’t do that, they may lose interest in education overall.

Final Thoughts

Parents need to set their priorities straight. The welfare of your kids should come before any success that may bring to the family. Insisting on the opposite of that may strain your relationship with them later or become the cause of their depression. I am sure that you don’t want either to happen, so kindly follow the ideas mentioned above. The key to living with depression is ensuring you’re receiving adequate treatment for it (usually most people benefit from both psychotherapy and medication), and that you are an active participant in your treatment plan on a daily basis.” Says John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Good luck!

Things That May Push Depression Back In Your Life

 

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Depression is too big of an obstacle to tackle, irrespective of how cool you think you may be. This mental health condition can naturally force you away from your goals and loved ones. It can also drain your positivity and energy. Hence, winning over it is worth celebrating at any time.

Despite being out of the depressive state for months, however, the disorder can still wound its way into your world. That is if you don’t become attentive to your surroundings and your actions.

So, in hopes of keeping hope alive in your heart and mind, be wary of the things that may push depression back in your life.

 

Stress

Staying under pressure for weeks on end can easily trigger a relapse for anyone with a depressive history. The stressful events may enable your brain to overproduce specific chemicals that you just need in small doses. For that reason, you may experience hormonal imbalance that can lead to another bout with depression.

 

Physical Injury

When you’re seriously hurt physically, there a lot of activities you may not be able to do. That put so much burden on a person, especially if you love your independence and don’t want to rely on others. You’ll have plenty of time to overthink as well, which isn’t favorable when there’s a mental disease you wish to thwart for good. “Minor physical injuries can be managed with little to no disruption in activities of daily living (e.g. working, self-care) and rarely trigger psychological impact or emotional trauma,” says Shawna M. Freshwater, PhD.

 

Irreparable Relationships

A split with your boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or even a long-time best friend is enough to make you extremely sad. Crying about the matter is only OK for a couple of days. Once you let yourself wallow in misery longer than that, however, it’ll be like welcoming depression with open arms.

 

Distance From Loved Ones

Missing your beloved family members to the point of becoming depressed isn’t impossible. It can occur, especially in case you’re a parent whose child leaves for college or work for the first time. You may feel lost as you sleep and wake up without seeing the face of your loved ones, except the pictures. Emotional distance can develop from months or years of unresolved conflict and life stressors in your relationship. As time passes and circumstances change, it is not uncommon for couples to express dissatisfaction with the level of emotional connection that they feel with their partner,” says Dr. Melissa Estavillo, PsyD.

 

Criticisms

Bullying can push depression back in your life too. Once you stay on the receiving end of it, it’s effortless to think that everyone wants to judge you and that you have no one on your side. There may be instances as well wherein you feel too weak to go out of the house and face others’ critiques again.

 

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Death In The Family

Grief is like a magnet for mental disorder as well. You tend to hit rock-bottom if someone close to your heart passes away, and the process to overcome it isn’t – for lack of better term – rainbows and daisies. You may get angry, in denial, and very gloomy. But that’s better than bottling up your emotions and brewing depression.

“You have to enter into a partnership with the grief. This means acknowledging that the transformative process will be hard, that you will most likely have to let even more things in your life go, but that in the end your voice will be clearer and stronger,” as reminded by Jade Wood, MA, LMFT, MHSA to the followers of her blog.

Lack Of Treatment

Assuming you’re not entirely well yet, and you stopped receiving treatment halfway, you may return to a depressive state in an instant. The mental health experts tell you to get therapy or medication for a specified period based on the severity of the depression. When you discontinue it, though, you might say hello to hopelessness soon enough.

 

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Acknowledge every single factor that may trigger the mental illness relapse. You have to be aware of such matters so that you can prevent depression from messing up your life again.

Various Therapies To Ease Depression Unconventionally

 

 

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How did you feel the moment your mental health physician confirmed that you were indeed suffering from depression?

Most likely, you knew even before you got the assessment. It’s quite impossible not to have even the tiniest idea about it because the disease makes your colorful life seem and feel gray. The activities you used to enjoy, e.g., swimming, laughing, and hanging out with friends, drop down the bottom of your priorities too.

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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. “Those who have worked in counseling centers for the last decade have been consistently ringing a bell saying something is wrong, things are getting worse with regard to college student mental health,” says Ben Locke, PhD.

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. Depression affects 1 percent of the population. More than three-quarters of these people experience visual or auditory hallucinations at some stage of the disease,” according to a psychologist, Dr. Łukasz Gawęda.

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. This is also seconded by Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D. “The best progress happens when you apply what you’ve learned outside that setting, in your real life.”

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. “Don’t allow yourself to become isolated by shame, which is very common,” says Liza Gold, MD, a psychiatrist.

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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. Everyone deals with stressful situations at some point in their lives, how we are affected by these stressors, all depends on how we learn to deal with them and manage our way through the tough times,” says Dr. Ilene S. Cohen, Ph.D.

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. “There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,” Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD says.

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?

Depression is not a weakness of character, laziness, or a phase. Tough love, like telling someone to ‘buck up’ or ‘try harder,’ doesn’t work, and worsens the illness,” says Deborah Serani, PsyD.

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.

“Depression is serious. The World Health Organization ranks depression as the third most common burden of disease worldwide and projects that by 2030 it’ll be number one,” says Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen.

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So What Causes Depression?

“The fact is, despite decades of research into this question, scientists at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and research universities around the world still don’t really know the cause of depression,” says John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

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. From what I read online, “Depression is a disorder that develops from environmental and biological issues that are unique to each person,” according to Deborah Serani, PsyD. 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. According to Susan Fletcher, PhD “Many people function well with depression in front of others. It’s when they start their day, end their day, or isolate themselves from others that the symptoms are obvious.” And that’s me.

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. “No one likes to hear bad news, but the truth is that the consequences of refusing to listen or talk about upsetting issues can be far more painful and damaging than the experience of discussing them,” says therapists Linda Bloom, LCSW, and Charlie Bloom, M.S.W.

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. “One in four people will suffer a mental health condition in their lifetime,” says Simon Pestell, clinical psychologist, and 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. “People often don’t realize that depression isn’t just one thing. It can have different causes and presentations. Some people look sad, others are more irritable, some withdraw, and others seem restless,” according to Lisa Moses, PsyD.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.

The stigma is such a challenge, according to licensed clinical psychologist Monnica T. Williams, Ph.D., ABPP, “Talking about problems with an outsider (i.e., therapist) may be viewed as airing one’s “dirty laundry,” and even more telling is the fact that over a quarter of those consumers felt that discussions about mental illness would not be appropriate even among family.”

But you’ll have to make that choice.

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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