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5 Ways to Get The Most Out of Relationship Counseling

Some people believe you will know you are truly in love, when everything feels easy and falls exactly into place. However, the reality is that love, even true love, is not always easy. This is because relationships are not easy. No matter how much you like and love one another, and how compatible you may be, there will be times when you disagree or even argue. When you recognize your relationship is not all that you want it to be, you might consider relationship counseling. Many people use relationship counseling for many different reasons. Learn more about this approach and how it can help you:

What is Relationship Counseling?

It is highly likely that you have heard of relationship counseling and have at least some ideas of what it might entail. Relationship counseling is similar in some ways to individual counseling. One difference is that you attend with your partner or partners. Another big difference is that the focus will be on the relationship, rather than any one person. However, in some cases, relationship counseling might reveal that one or both partners could also benefit from some individual counseling to address certain issues.

Relationship counseling usually involves regular sessions with one or more mental health providers. Sometimes couples may benefit from meeting with a pair of counselors, perhaps a pair that are themselves in a relationship. The relationship counseling sessions may be weekly or every other week, depending on the counselors’ recommendations and the couples’ preferences.

Why Relationship Counseling?

Relationship counseling can be beneficial at different points in a relationship and it can be used to address many different concerns. Some couples pursue relationship counseling early on to start well and establish healthy communication patterns. Many couples choose to pursue couples counseling before they marry or make a big commitment to one another to smooth out any potential problems.

There are also many other common concerns that might lead a couple to seek relationship counseling. One problem that sends many couples into counseling is infidelity. Many couples want help moving past this and are able to either repair the relationship or let the counseling process assist in bringing the relationship to an end. Obviously, it is ideal to seek counseling prior to this, to prevent the infidelity.

Couples who experience a loss, such as through miscarriage or the death of a child, often seek counseling to help them cope with their grief. Aside from this type of unexpected challenge, parenting is generally difficult. Many couples use relationship counseling to help them co-parent effectively and to balance that with also maintaining their core relationship.

Other issues that can drive couples into relationship counseling can be ongoing disagreements, new changes and challenges, and a sense of growing apart rather than together. Moreover, research from John Gottman has suggested that individuals with relationship problems tend to share some common challenges. Gottman entitled these challenges, the four horsemen.

Gottman’s Four Horsemen

After extensive research, Gottman found four factors that, when present, suggest major relationship problems likely to cause the end of a relationship or divorce. Gottman described these using the analogy of The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. In the relationship arena, these represent criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Learn more about each:

In Gottman’s model, criticism is more than just a critique of a specific issue. Instead, it is described as attacks on one’s partner. These attacks may go after more than just a specific characteristic and instead target their entire core character. When partners are too critical of one another, it can lead to feelings of rejection and emotional pain. Overtime, the behavior and the resulting feelings can eat away at a relationship, until it dissolves entirely.

Gottman’s second horsemen is contempt. When someone is feeling contempt towards another person, they behave in ways that are downright disrespectful. This may show up in behaviors such as name calling, making sarcastic comments, mimicking body language, and eye-rolling. The target of the contempt eventually feels worthless and despised. Both are unhappy.

Defensiveness is another horseman. This typically appears when one partner is responding to critique. It may appear as excuse making or even playing the innocent victim. This is not helpful because no improvement or growth can occur in the relationship. It will often leave the partner who made the critique feeling as though their concerns are not being taken seriously. Ultimately, they may also start to feel hopeless about whether there can be any improvement.

The final horseman is stonewalling. In this, one partner withdraws and shuts down, rather than participating in discussion. Again, this keeps problems from getting resolved. If left unaddressed it can be deleterious for a relationship. The exhibition of this or any of the other three horsemen typically suggests that a couple needs the help of relationship counseling.

From Boredom to Growth

Another issue that can drive couples to seek relationship counseling is boredom. Often when couples become bored it is because things have become standard and routine. This may occur both in and outside the bedroom. When a couple is feeling bored, and perhaps as though they are stagnating, relationship counseling can give them the boost they need. A couples counselor can help the partners identify the areas for improvement to move away from boredom. In a healthy relationship, both partners should instead feel they are able to grow in the relationship.

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)?

Many couples struggle to communicate because one or both partners is unable to identify their own emotions and unable to recognize the way those emotions affect the relationship. For this reason, Emotion-Focused Therapy is a helpful approach in relationship counseling. In EFT, the partners are taught more about emotions, how to recognize them, how to express them, and how to manage them well as a couple, rather than letting those emotions run wild and negatively affect the relationship.

Relationship Counseling

5 Tips for Couples Therapy

If you choose to attend therapy, you want to make the most of it and get as much out of it as possible. Aside from finding the right therapist and attending regularly, there are a few other things you can do to make therapy as effective as possible for you and your relationship:

  1. Start Early

Like most things in life, relationship counseling is better late than never, but it truly is better to start early. You can always use couples therapy to address your struggles at any point. However, when you start noticing signs of problems, seek out relationship counseling before they worsen. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that your relationship will develop the detrimental four horsemen. It also gets increasingly difficult to resolve any differences and improve the relationship.

  1. Commit to the Time

Also, like most things in life, to get anything out of relationship counseling, you really must commit to the time (and the process). Couples counseling will not resolve every problem overnight, especially if those problems have been building up for a long time. So, it will likely take some time. This could be a few weeks or a few months—it all depends on your unique situation. Take your counselors’ recommendation for the time-frame and show up to appointments so you can get help.

  1. Do Your Homework

Relationship counseling takes more than just attending sessions with your therapist. If you only did that, you would likely struggle to take what you learn in therapy into your daily life. To help you take what you discuss and learn into your daily life, your therapist will likely sometimes ask you to complete homework. Now, this is different than the homework you did in school. Often, it involves practicing different newly learned skills and techniques, or having discussions about various topics.

  1. Focus on How You Can Change (Not Changing Your Partner)

In relationships, it can often be easier to see the faults in the other person and perhaps lose sight of the problems you bring to the relationship. This can lead many partners to enter relationship counseling with the idea that this will be the perfect setting for their significant other to see what they are doing wrong, and then make a bunch of changes that will fix the relationship. Ultimately, this stance will not be helpful. The reality is, usually both partners are contributing to the relationship problems in their own way. Each will need to take responsibility to see improvement.

  1. Go “All-In” On the Process

Finally, to really see success in relationship counseling, you need to fully invest yourself in the process. This means having the mindset that you want to work on your relationship and improve it. It also means being open and honest. Use the space of relationship counseling along with the unbiased support of the counselor, to discuss things you might otherwise hold back. Going “all-in” may take bravery and a bit of pushing yourself, but it will be worth it to improve your relationship.

Challenges of Relationship Counseling

Relationship counseling can sometimes be difficult. There can be some logistical barriers in trying to align your schedule, with your partner’s schedule, and the schedule of your chosen therapist. Then, of course, many people still feel a barrier from attending counseling due to a fear of others noticing. This may especially matter if you reside in a small town or have a high-profile relationship.

Beyond the logistical barriers, there can also be emotional barriers. Many people feel hesitant to attend counseling because it can seem scary to discuss your private life with a veritable stranger. The good news is that typically after a session or two, most people become very comfortable with their counselor. Other times, people fear that the process may not work. Here, the good news is that research shows relationship counseling can help most people to achieve the goal of improving their relationship.

There are some instances when relationship counseling may not and perhaps even should not be successful. In cases of abuse, relationship counseling will not necessarily be helpful or recommended. In these cases, the abuser will usually need individual counseling to improve their behaviors. There may also be other times when a counselor observes that one or both members of the couple actually needs individual therapy either concurrently with relationship counseling, or before couples therapy can occur.

At times, a couple may elect to use relationship counseling to facilitate the dissolution of a relationship when they have already decided that is the outcome they want. This can be helpful for divorcing parents, who want to maintain a working relationship, so they can effectively co-parent. This is not necessarily a challenge, but the outcome of counseling may appear different than is typically expected.

Relationship Counseling Online

Today, many people are choosing to seek relationship counseling through online platforms. This approach can offer many benefits over traditional face-to-face couples’ therapy.

For one thing, with online counseling, there is an increased level of confidentiality and privacy. If you are concerned about others (such as nosy neighbors or gossipy grandmothers) noticing that you are seeking counseling, then online relationship counseling can be the perfect solution. Since this approach can be done from the privacy of your home, no one will know you are seeking help.

Online counseling can also be much more convenient. If you and your partner have busy schedules, children to manage, and other barriers that might prevent you from attending weekly in-person sessions, then it may be much easier for you to regularly connect with a therapist online. You may be able to find a provider who can match your busy schedule and limited availability. This is also helpful if you live in a small town or rural area, where there are a limited number of or no qualified providers.

Thrive Talk

If you choose to seek therapy online, you want to choose a platform that will be convenient and confidential, with quality services. One option is Thrive Talk. This platform is simple to use. You simply set up an account and then get matched with a therapist. There are many different providers to choose from. Each is well-trained and appropriately licensed. After that, you can use the online platform to schedule an appointment at any time that is most convenient for you.

Click Here to Talk to a Therapist Now

 

 

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Find Your Inner Hero with a Mind, Body & Soul Connection

 

Navigating through life isn’t always a straight route of health and happiness. Life twists and turns… and veers off course more than you might like. Sometimes you may find yourself lost, stumbling onto a path of self-destruction or dysfunction. Or maybe you’re traversing through tough terrain with the wrong equipment. But every woman has a hero who can save her and get her back on track. It may just take a little work to discover that this hero is — herself.

You have the power and resilience to overcome any battle. You can heal your wounds. Shine and prosper. But it’s an interconnection of the mind, body and soul that creates this power. Positive intentions, treating the body well and being in tune with yourself all support your ability to stay strong and thrive among the chaos. The following provides insight on this trifecta of wellness, so you can uncover ways to grow your mind-body-soul connection, bring balance to your life, and unleash your inner hero.

The Mind, Body, and Soul Connection

Mind

“Our thoughts are just as powerful as our words,” says Lauren Unger, certified holistic health coach and Mind Body Green contributor. “What we think, we become.” If your thoughts and perceptions are negative and judgmental, then your world will suddenly seem against you. If you judge and think poorly of yourself, you have become your own worst enemy. Over time, this way of thinking becomes so habitual that it becomes your reality. As you start to regularly see the world through a negative lens, your mental health can start to break. Then stress, disorder or worries of daily life fill these cracks creating a harmful foundation. Once you invite emotional states like anxiety and depression into your life, your physical health becomes at risk, from toxic eating to loss of sleep. But you can cope with mental stressors like anxiety and depression by caring for your mind with gentleness. Meditate, go outdoors, cook a homemade meal or journal to soothe your head.

One way to take the wheel to drive your life toward good mental health (rather than idly watch life go by from the passenger’s seat) is to live with intention. First, let your mind wander. This place of aimlessness can actually provide direction, leading you to self-discovery. To live intentionally, ask:

  • Where do you choose to expend your energy?
  • What types of relationships do you want to grow?
  • Who do you want near your heart?
  • How will you respond to challenge, stress or anxiety?
  • What truly matters to you?

Answers to these questions can provide a blueprint for better mental wellness. The mind is powerful. It just takes practice and the will to eliminate threats and construct thoughts that help you live your best life.

Body

Just like we need to care for our mind, to care for our body, we need to do the reverse as well. Nurture your mind by nourishing your body. In cognitive terms, Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School puts it like this: What you put into your body affects your brain’s structure, function and mood. For example, refined sugars worsen symptoms of mood disorders and depression. Sinking your teeth into that cupcake will give you a high, but your mood will quickly plummet. Nutrient-filled fuel (like nuts, salmon, leafy greens and berries) will enhance your mental health more steadily.

It’s also important to nourish your body with endorphins. Get your heart rate up and exercise to fire off those feel-good hormones. The American Psychological Association refers to this as the “exercise effect:” moving the muscles benefits mental health, says Jennifer Carter, PhD. There’s an undeniable link between your mood and exercise. You feel good and energized after a workout, and more active people are less depressed in the long run. It also serves as a meaningful activity, providing a sense of accomplishment. Explore different ways to move that you enjoy. Find a challenge in training for a half marathon. Experience confidence or calmness through yoga. Build both mental and physical strength by weight training — or use hiking as an opportunity for social connection with others who love the outdoors. Fitness isn’t one size fits all.

Soul

Seeking vitality and wholeness completes the trio of wellness. It’s just as important to enliven your spirit with meaning and purpose as it is to care for your mind and honor your body. A thriving soul creates soundness and harmony. But it takes work to reach spiritual health, and it may be the most neglected area of self-care. Reflection, values and beliefs, compassion and empathy, acting for the welfare of others and living with grace among any adversity cultivate spiritual health. A fulfilled soul supports the ability to cope with mental distress, as well as shape our bodies into a strong, well-functioning structure.

Nourishing the soul can start by learning to let go. Free your mind of negative clutter to make room for peace, comfort and hope. Look deep within to discover purpose, which can relieve stress over the small things and foster self-worth. If you can see something great in yourself and greater than yourself, everyday problems and fears may pale in comparison to more meaningful aspects of life important to you. Seek supportive relationships that bring out your best self. Embrace gratitude and forgiveness. Chase change and opportunity. Be open to new people and experiences. Giving more attention to these emotional states will heal and grow your soul.

You Don’t Have to Journey Alone

Despite a diet overhaul or some soul searching, sometimes talking to a professional helps strengthen the mind-body-soul connection the most, which results in a healthy and better mind, body, and soul or spirit. A therapist can help you navigate your journey toward intention and mindfulness. Therapy serves as a tool for seeing food as nutrition, and not as a coping mechanism. Therapy can provide accountability for treating your body well with movement and activity. You can find a partner in exploring your spiritual core.

Take action on your health mentally, physically and spiritually! With professional support from ThriveTalk, you can find your inner superhero. Talk to a therapist today to help you on how to make your mind, body, and spirit work together and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle to balance your mind, body, and soul.

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As You Seek Grief Counseling, Recognize the 6 Needs of All Mourners

 

There’s no rule book for grieving. When someone you love passes, you may feel a wide range of emotions anger, sadness, shock, guilt even if the death was expected. Everybody mourns in their own way and go through the 7 stages of grief or the 5 stages of grief.

There are, however, certain things we all need to mourn in a healthy fashion. As you undergo grief counseling to cope with the loss of a loved one, keep in mind these six basic needs of all mourners, according to the Center for Loss & Life Transition:

Grief Counseling: Six Basic Needs of Mourners

1. Acknowledge the Reality of the Death

This means you understand that your loved one will never physically walk this earth again.

You don’t have to swallow this one whole, though. It’s OK to take it piecemeal; grieving is a process, not an event. The best way to meet this need is to talk about the pain of the death when it hits you, as often as you need to. This can be with a bereavement counselor or a friend, family member or partner. Journaling about your feelings also helps you acknowledge the reality of the death.

2. Embrace the Pain of Loss

Few people welcome pain and suffering with open arms, and you don’t have to. Simply open your head and your heart to the idea that grief is painful, and understand that it will hurt. Some days will be worse than others, but you embrace the idea that you must feel painful feelings as part of the process.

3. Remember the Person Who Died

Yes, you should tell stories about your loved one. Yes, you should keep pictures up. Death doesn’t wipe away your relationship with the person who passed, and these precious memories will be how you honor that relationship. Well-meaning people might tell you that you need to “move on” and not talk about your loss, but that’s not true. Keep their memory alive.

4. Develop a New Self-identity

People understand themselves in relation to the world around them — and the people who inhabit that world along with them. When a loved one passes, things (and roles) inside that world must be rearranged to account for the change that has taken place. Perhaps you were a wife, and now you are a widow, or maybe you were a daughter whose parent has now passed. Be patient with yourself as you reconstruct your self-identity. It will take time to get comfortable with your new role in life, but it will happen.

5. Search for Meaning and Purpose

Most people question the meaning and purpose of life after someone close to them dies. This is normal. You may find yourself asking any of the following questions:

  • How could a benevolent God let this happen?
  • Is there an afterlife? Is my loved one there?
  • What’s the point of going on?

Confronting your spirituality and doubting your belief system is a normal part of grief. As you go through this process, bring up these thoughts and feelings to your grief counselor, spiritual adviser or a trusted friend.

6. Receive Ongoing Support from Others

Not only is it OK to lean on others during this time, you should. Humans weren’t meant to live in a vacuum. We need the love and support of others to make it through trying times. Don’t be afraid to let others know what you need and how they can support you. People want to help. Recognize that this need for support will last longer than a couple weeks. You can start by searching for local grief support groups online.

Life is never the same after a loved one dies, and as sad as that fact is, that is how it should be. You will adjust to your new normal, but it will take time. Be patient and loving with yourself. As you navigate your grief, reach out to a certified grief counselor at Thrive Talk. Online therapy can help you in dealing with grief and loss.

If you feel that grief or depression is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

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Understanding Your Grief During the Healing Process

 

Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn how to swim. Vicki Harrison

Moving like the ocean is one way to describe grief, which is such a small word for such indescribable, overpowering emotions. Experiencing grief isn’t as simple as feeling sorrow or sadness. It’s a rollercoaster of a journey. Grief can be caused by a death or loss of something or someone. Recognizing the five stages of grief can help you navigate this journey, from shock and blame to despair and hopefulness.

Understanding Grief: 5 Stages of Grief

The five stages of grief (also known as the Kübler-Ross model) were developed by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and introduced in her book “On Death and Dying” in 1969. This model identifies grief as a series of emotions. This series, or the five stages below, serve as tools to help you comprehend your feelings, says David Kessler who co-authored two books with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, including “On Grief and Grieving.” Understanding yourself in these stages helps you gain knowledge about your grieving process and start to heal, learning how to cope with loss and death.

Denial

One way to respond to the initial shock of devastating news is to fall into denial. The numbness and disbelief become survival and defense mechanisms. This stage is protective, giving time for you to take in information at your pace while starting to make sense of it.

  • Internal dialogue: “This can’t be happening.” “He’s going to be fine.” “This isn’t real.”

Anger

Anger arises once the news sinks in; it’s a natural response in the grieving process and can be directed at a loved one, God, the world and yourself, says Dr. Christina Hibbert, a clinical psychologist and bestselling author. Beneath anger is pain, even guilt. But it’s an emotion that can provide strength, structure and can feel better than nothing at all.

  • Internal dialogue: “How could this happen to me?” “This isn’t fair!” “There is no God.”

Bargaining

You may move into thinking that you’ll do anything to change a death or the fate of the loved one. This stage is full of “If only…” “what if…” responses, shares Kessler. You may fantasize about going back in time to create a different outcome or wonder what you could have done differently. It’s a process of trying to negotiate the elimination of pain.

  • Internal dialogue: “I’ll do anything to make her better.” “I promise to be a better person to make her come back.”

Depression

Now intense sadness hits—or even an emptiness of feelings—as grief reaches a deeper level. Everything seems worthless and daily tasks can feel like huge burdens. Friends and family can’t help and life seems meaningless. You’re opening yourself up to mourning, a critical step in the healing process.

  • Internal dialogue: “What’s the point?” “Why should I bother with anything?” “Nothing matters.”

Acceptance

This stage is where you start to accept that the loss or forthcoming death is a reality. Here is a new norm that requires readjustment. It’s an evolution into a new life. You can see the light to move forward and embrace the forever change. William Worden’s “tasks of mourning” adds that overcoming or coping with grief follows an active decision to adapt to a new environment (not only accept).

  • Internal dialogue: “I’m ready to reconnect with friends and family and create new relationships.” “It’s time to move on.” “I’m going to be OK.”

Find the Support You Need

Although this model is widely accepted, grief symptoms aren’t linear or uniform. Health Guidance, wellness publication, explains that there is great variation with grief — individuals may experience stages repeatedly or skip ones. For some individuals may regress or even become lifelong grievers who can never come to terms with their loss. Our hope is that by sharing this model, you may engage in a process of introspection and eventually reach a hopeful place of moving on.

If you need help in your recovery or how to deal with grief, schedule a teletherapy appointment with ThriveTalk. Certified therapists will provide support and strategies to help you manage your grieving process. For more information call +1 (833) 348-6684. We’ll connect you with a counseling professional via video conferencing, so you can conveniently receive treatment in your own home, where you feel most comfortable or to fit within your busy schedule.

 

If you feel that the stages of grief are negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

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Keep Your Job When You’re Struggling with Severe Depression

 

If you suffer from clinical depression when you’re on the job, you know how tough it can be to keep things together on the outside when you feel like you’re falling apart on the inside.

Feeling depressed can also contribute to negative feelings about work, leading to excessive complaining, lack of cooperation, morale problems and absenteeism. Left unchecked, this can threaten your job and livelihood, making you more depressed and promoting a vicious downward spiral.

Fortunately, there are solutions or effective ways to deal with depression. Many people suffer from the same struggle you’re experiencing, with 1 in 20 workers experiencing depression, affecting at least 10 million people, often between the ages of 25 and 44, according to ValueOptions. The good news is that 80 percent of people struggling at work with depression can be treated quickly and effectively — but only if you recognize the problem and take appropriate steps. Here are a few strategies you can use to manage severe depression so that you stay productive and don’t lose your job.

Visit an EAP Counselor

Employers know that your mood can affect your productivity, so many companies have an employee assistance program (EAP) in place where you can schedule a visit with an EAP counselor. You can proactively seek EAP counseling by consulting information from your employee handbook or talking to your supervisor or human resources department. Your supervisor may also reach out to you and suggest an EAP counseling appointment if they notice changes in your mood or behavior that make them concerned, although your supervisor can’t diagnose whether you’re clinically depressed.

Schedule a Meeting with a Teletherapist

What if you’re too busy to visit a counselor? One alternative is to schedule an online therapy session at a time that’s convenient for you. Teletherapy allows you to talk to a counselor from a location of your choosing at a time that fits your schedule, which is a viable option for those who simply do not have time or means to make it to a therapist’s physical office. ThriveTalk is a teletherapy service that connects busy people with competent, certified therapists who can provide online therapy via video conference.

Take Mental Health Breaks

Taking a break can be a way to help manage depression, says U.S. News & World Report patient advice reporter Lisa Esposito. Depending on your condition, simply getting up from your desk periodically to walk to the bathroom may be sufficient, or if you have a major depressive disorder, you may need to take some recuperative time off to avoid a breakdown, get your bearings back or pursue therapy.

Check your employer’s policy to see how much sick time you may be entitled to. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, certain workers are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year, with a requirement that their group health benefits be maintained during their absence. See the Department of Labor’s website for more details.

Know Your Triggers

Knowing what triggers your depression can help you avoid and respond to situations that are likely to stress you out or that indicate you’re struggling with depression. For instance, you may find yourself engaging in negative self-talk when you’re in a depressed mood. Or you may find yourself spending time crying in the bathroom as a coping mechanism. Keeping track of your triggers can help you stay alert so you can avoid trigger situations or seek help when you find yourself getting overwhelmed. Seek a professional to help you on how to deal with depression at work.

Get Appropriate Treatment

Sometimes you can’t deal with depression on your own, especially if you have a major depressive disorder. In some cases, therapy alone may be enough to help you. In other cases, you may need medication. Don’t be afraid of trying therapy or medication due to stigmas associated with it. If it helps you restore your peace of mind and keep your job, it’s worth it.

Use these proactive strategies to keep your mood manageable so that you can stay productive while battling depression. Visit ThriveTalk.com or call (619) 630 7045 to get the help you need today.

If you feel that depression is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.
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The 9 Types of Depression

 

Most people feel sad and alone from time to time; it is part of the human condition. Humans feel thingsand we often react to life’s stressors by feeling sad or withdrawn. But depression is different. Depression is a debilitating mental illness affecting more than 16.1 million American adults, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. There are nine types of depression, but all are marked by extreme sadness and persistent feelings of hopelessness, guilt, exhaustion and/or irritability. People who are depressed lose interest in life and in their daily activities, often wondering if “any of this is worth it.”

Women are almost twice as likely to experience depression, according to a recent report by the Mayo Clinic. It’s not 100 percent sure why depression affects more women than men — it’s likely due to a combination of factors, such as a stronger genetic predisposition to developing depression, hormonal changes, and various sociocultural explanations. 

If you’re feeling like you may be suffering from depression, you are not alone. Help is available. Learn about the various types of depression, and then reach out for help.

The Nine Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder

When someone experiences persistent and deep feelings of sadness for at least two weeks, then they may have a major depressive disorder (also referred to as “clinical depression”). Common symptoms of this type of depression include a change in appetite (overeating/undereating), change in sleep schedule (insomnia/excessive sleep), excessive crying, inability to concentrate, and of course, intense feelings of sadness.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Also known as “dysthymia,” persistent depressive disorder is a type of chronic depression that can be difficult to diagnose. Dysthymia symptoms are not as severe as with major depressive disorder. If you have a pervasive, low-level depression that lasts for two years or longer, you may have a persistent depressive disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

People with the seasonal affective disorder experience the classic signs of depression at the same time every year. Most people with SAD feel symptoms come on in the fall and continue through the winter months. Symptoms include fatigue, sadness and social isolation. Light therapy (also known as phototherapy treatment) can help alleviate this type of depression.

Bipolar Disorder

This used to be more commonly referred to as “manic-depressive illness.” Someone suffering from bipolar disorder experiences unusual and large shifts in mood and energy levels. They cycle through manic and depressive periods; in a manic episode, they may have lots of energy, experience racing thoughts and engage in risky behaviors such as having reckless sex. In a depressive episode, they will experience the classic symptoms of depression, including feeling sad and hopeless and having little energy for daily activities.

Psychotic Depression

Also known as “major depressive disorder with psychotic features,” this is a form of major depressive disorder accompanied by psychotic symptoms. Someone with psychotic depression experiences the same feelings of sadness and hopelessness found in major depression as well as delusions and hallucinations.

Postpartum Depression

This isn’t the “baby blues” (mood swings, crying spells) that many women have in the two weeks after giving birth postpartum depression is a more severe, long-lasting form of depression. In addition to experiencing the symptoms of major depression, women with postpartum depression may have trouble bonding with their baby or doubt their ability to care for it. They may also think about harming themselves or their baby.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

This is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. All the common PMS symptoms may be present along with extreme sadness, irritability or anger. The symptoms of PMDD almost always resolve with the onset of menstruation.

Situational Depression

This is a short-term form of depression that comes about following a traumatic event — loss of a loved one, job loss, divorce, etc. Also referred to as “adjustment disorder,” someone suffering from situational depression will feel sad, afraid or hopeless. As you adjust to your new normal, situational depression usually goes away.

Atypical Depression

Atypical depression can occur in people with major depression or persistent depression. It’s a subtype of these types of depression marked by several specific symptoms, including increased appetite/weight gain, fatigue, moods that temporarily lift in reaction to good news, extremely sensitivity to rejection and headaches.

Please Reach Out

If you feel you may be suffering from one of the above types of depression, take heart. You don’t have to suffer alone, and recovery is possible. Start by scheduling a time to chat with a professional counselor at ThriveTalk.

If you feel that depression is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.
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5 Ways That You Can Fight Depression

 

According to the World Health Organisation, 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. If you’re one of those people, you shouldn’t feel any shame.  You should get the help you need and take action to start feeling better.  Here are 5 methods for fighting depression that might help!

Ways to Fight Depression

Talk To A Therapist

First of all, talk to a licensed mental health professional.  You may feel nervous about seeing a therapist for the first time.  You may not be sure where to find one.  It is now easier than ever to find and see a therapist, with the help of sites like Thrivetalk.com.  A lot of us may feel uncertain if therapy can help, but guess what? That self-doubt is your depression talking. The way that you feel isn’t something that you can battle alone.  Self-medication, like alcohol, drugs, or overworking, won’t help.

Like a broken arm, depression is a health condition that you must get treated.  You deserve the help you need to live a happier, more fulfilled life.  If you had arthritis or were suffering from chronic headaches, you’d talk to your doctor. Your depression is no different. You deserve to feel better.  In some cases, your doctor might recommend anti-depressant medications.  The most common drugs prescribed for depression are SSRIs: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.  Medication may help, but with your depression, but be aware that you might feel worse before you feel better again. Even with medication, it is essential that you undertake a comprehensive treatment plan for depression that includes therapy. Go to a therapist – talking to someone can really help you figure out what to do with the way that you’re feeling and work out how to express it in non-destructive ways.

Start Exercising

Exercise is something that can really help people with depression. There might be days when you’re full of energy and other days when you simply can’t get off the couch, and you should listen to your body to some extent. But the vast majority of the time, putting on your running shoes and going for a jog around the block will make you feel better. Not only will it release endorphins, otherwise known as happy hormones, that will flood through your body, but it will also make you feel as though you’ve accomplished something. Yoga has been proven to help in overcoming depression, so check out online videos or go along to local classes where you might even meet like-minded people that you can socialize with. Feeling better in your body will help you feel better in your mind too.

Find A New Hobby

Everyone has different ways of tackling their mental illness. However, one thing that strikes many people with depression is that they tend to get mired in their thoughts.  This can be like quicksand for your mind and keep you from taking action on anything. That means that it could be time to develop a new hobby. That might be getting really, really immersed in a new TV show, learning to knit or sew, making your own costumes so that you can cosplay at conventions, making your own elderflower wine, painting watercolor landscapes, or baking incredible cakes. The list goes on, but the point is that diverting your attention to something else, something that’s productive and keeps your mind busy, will absolutely help you when you’re starting to feel low.

Recognize Your Self Destructive Thoughts

When you have depression, your mind will be incredibly sneaky and start telling you things that simply aren’t true.  Some typical narratives include: you aren’t attractive, that you shouldn’t be alive, that you’re useless, that you’re bad at your job, or that your friends don’t like you. It’s important to recognize these thoughts for what they are, which is your sneaky depression telling you lies and making you feel bad about yourself. It can be difficult to break away from your self-destructive thoughts, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t make any decisions based on them.  It’s typically not a great idea to quit a job where you generally do just fine or missing out on seeing friends who love and care about you. Use concrete examples like messages from friends or results you’ve seen at work or the fact your parents love you to combat your self-destructive thoughts and remind yourself that you are worthwhile, loved, and worthy of happiness.

Practice Self Care

Finally, when you’re suffering from depression it’s important to remember that you must take care of yourself. However, that doesn’t mean giving in to every whim, canceling plans, and eating comfort food. Caring for yourself starts with the basics, like getting out of bed, showering, wearing clean clothes, and getting some fresh air. Contact your friends, exercise, and eat fresh food instead of ordering pizza. Remember that you don’t have to cook much to be healthy.  Carrot sticks and hummus are a great and easy snack.  Simple lunches like egg salad sandwiches on whole wheat bread and a banana are both easy and healthy.  No matter what you like to eat, ensure you get enough protein, vitamins, fats, and carbohydrates. Listen to your body – get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, keep yourself clean, and exercise frequently.

Conclusion

Depression can negatively impact your life, but you should ensure that it doesn’t take your life away from you. Listening to yourself and taking care of yourself are some of the most important things you can do.  Getting help from a licensed mental health professional is the best way to combat chronic depression.