All Posts tagged depression

STDs CAN BLOW YOUR MIND

STdsIs there a correlation between the rise of “hookup” sites like tinder and the increase in STDs? How do you ask your new partner about their sexual health? Or, are we just a more hyper-sexualized society that just throws caution to the wind when it comes to protecting ourselves? Well, I’m not quite sure which is the right answer. However, we can take a look at a smaller sample size in the state of California, more specifically the county of Los Angeles for some possible answers.

Current studies are indicating that theses stds, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have consistently been the highest infections in California. This a real concern! It is also a difficult conversation to have or bring up with your partner. Now I’m not going to dedicate this space to exploring our sexual health, rather, it is the psychological effect that contracting an STD has on a person that I want to address in this blog.

Have you considered what happens to a person when they learn that they have an STD? What I have witnessed take place with many clients is that suddenly their emotional state of mind becomes unstable, their anxiety rises, and eventually depression follows. Simply put, the dominoes begin to fall. Rarely, do I get the client when they are newly diagnosed, rather, they have already been battling the depression, anxiety, and accompanying stress for quite some time.

In reality, when people receive their diagnosis, life is never the same again. This is extremely difficult to wrap their heads around. Many times, this revelation of a sexually transmitted disease literally brings to light previously undetected, repressed, or eschewed mental illnesses.

On the opposite spectrum, my experience with some teenagers and some adults has been a interesting choice to pursue extreme sexual activity with the knowledge that they are suffering from the effects of their mental illness related to their contracted STDs. Remember, depression can cause isolation, break off connections and make one feel like they are the proverbial “island.” The psychological impact of contracting an STD is far greater than what you think, so please think and educate yourself, partner, friends, and your family. To help, their are a number of good studies written here that I suggest you read, so click HERE

 

 

 

 

 

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Gun Control or People Control?

SB StrongIt’s horrible, unthinkable, and now fear and paranoia has taken a firm grasp on our society. Senseless violence against coworkers who are befriended for a time, a facade if you will, only to be eventually and brutally gunned down in the name of radical Islam (ISIS)? “San Bernardino Strong,” not one citizen of this wonderful community wanted to be put on the global map this way. However, they will be forever remembered for this tragedy, and I believe this will only serve to embolden more terrorists like these two radicals to commit more violent killings.

Gun sales were already at record levels with the recent mass killings in France. Now, we have been hit on our turf, it is real! Handguns and rifle sales are surging with gun ranges reporting all time highs in activity. We want protection, to be ready and safe. Meanwhile the President argues that disarming the citizenry is the best way to proceed. Interestingly, a recent Pew research study revealed that 57% of Americans believe that owning a gun helps protect people from crime. That it is up 48% from last year!

Our country is changing as is our mindset. The psychological impact that kicks in is that of “self-preservation.” On one level, this is our capacity or desire to anticipate dangerous situations and to respond to the cues that anxiety provokes in each of us. Also, this approach to self-care means that we become more self assertive in protecting ourselves and those whom we care about. This may well be one of the primary motivational reason people are buying their very first guns.

Where do we go from here? the Muslim community leadership admits that they are conflicted about having to come out and apologize for every incident that takes place with one of their own. Their people are afraid to come out in public because of the perceived and very real scrutiny. I do recognize their feelings and this is a polarizing point of growing contentiousness. There is increasing talk of possible internment camps to monitor all of the muslims, like there were with the Japanese Americans during World War II here in the United States. I’m a student of World War II and have read and known survivors who have personally sat me down and explained the horrors and atrocities of the holocaust. These discussions bring personal feelings of disgust and provoke deep swells of troubling uncertainty. The muslim community must police themselves, if not, this will quickly become something none of us wants or can stomach… EVERY LIFE MATTERS!!!

 

 

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Performance Anxiety

Excellent Average PoorThis time of year brings with it cheer and anxiety especially when it comes to those end of year performance evaluations. Yes, the dreaded sit down with your boss to discuss, explain, and defend why you should get that (fill in the blank %) increase for all the blood, sweat, and tears that were expended during 2015.

It’s always about the numbers, isn’t it? Well it is especially true if you’re in sales and trying to reach the all to often unobtainable quota. I remember the stress I felt even in the good years when I exceeded my quotas. The mental anguish that led up to the meeting was horrible. The idle chatter was excruciating, then came the evaluation, section by agonizing section with numbers attached to each one rating my performance from positive attitude to quota attainment to conference call participation to timely submission of paperwork etc. I’m sure that your review was similar.

There were horror stories of some going on for three hours, others being let go during their review. Still, there were those reviews that caused arguments to surface, yet, none achieved the intended purpose to challenge and motivate the employee. Why is that? Interestingly, it has taken companies decades to realize (with the help of the psychologists) that these reviews have a negative impact on their employees mental wellbeing.

Two corporate giants have already taken a different approach to how they will evaluate their talent which will dramatically reduce the negative mental impact while fostering personal growth in a low stress environment. Conversations need to take place all year long. For that matter, coaching moments needs to happen too. You cannot expect to show up at years end and expect a motivational conversation to unfold. Again, If these discussions are taking place throughout the year, communication increases, plans are adjusted, anxiety is reduced, teamwork is nurtured, and goals are realized. The article provides some valuable insight on what performance reviews actually do to employees receiving them…

Want to know if their review will be excellent, average, or poor then click HERE

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“Life Events,” What do these mean?

Life EventI’ve seen a tremendous number of clients who have come to me seeking understanding and healing either during or after serious life events. Sadly, some of these client’s relationships go painfully the way of divorce. However, most are at that point in their relationship where they realize that help is needed or there won’t be one.

So, what are “Life Events” and have you experienced them?” Well chances are, yes, you have! Here are the biggies: Chronic Illness (like Cancer), Unemployment (job hunting), Childbirth (who wanted the baby more), Living Apart (thinking about our men and women in the military being deployed), Trauma (could be death of loved one, serious accident, sexual assault etc), and Unfaithful partners. You’d be very surprised, but, this last one seems to be the motivating factor in bringing couples in for therapy. All the cards are laid on the table so to speak and everything can now be addressed openly and with honest candor.

These life events are terribly painful, deeply personal, they drain our mental capacities, and tax us physically. The truth is that none of us will be able to leave this life without experiencing most of these “Life Events.” Did you realize that there are also “turning points” with regard to these events, as well.  Let me explain. A turning point is not just a temporary change in our pathway, no, it is a permanent shift that only becomes recognizable to us as our life moves forward.

The psychological impact can be profound or subtle depending on our understanding of the turning point. Some of us may well experience a turning point that brings to us a much needed opportunity, or possibly brings one to a close. Others life events may create an environmental transformation that is more permanent. Still, one may feel that their life event has caused their turning point to be so deeply personal that it has provoked a complete restructuring of their self-worth, belief system, and expectations for themselves and the world around them. However, let’s remember that for  in many of us these life events cause a turning point in many individual’s lives, yet, for some it may be less severe and therefore the transition doe not transform them.

Life events can bring upon us stress, anxiety disorders, depression and physical illness. Importantly, all of the life events that we will experience do require some form of change or adaptation by us. It can be unpleasant or pleasant. However, these can be valuable life lessons, as well. Can we ask ourselves, “What can I learn from this, and what can I share with others about my personal experience that might help them?” If you are in pain, thinking that you are suffering from depression, anxiety or another psychiatric disorder, get help. You don’t have to do this alone…Be well.

 

 

 

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Gay? It’s in the genes

male hand holdingOk, a very interesting clinical study has been conducted that claims to be accurate in predicting our sexual orientation by how we are genetically wired.

Apparently, these researchers have put together a formula that essentially relies on identifying a person’s molecular markers. This really is fascinating and probably quite controversial, as well. If you are wondering have they discovered a “gay gene,” the answer is no, because one does not exist.

There is quite a bit of science at play here. For example, changes in our genetics are passed on from one generation to the next, or these can made in the form of a living fetus, a child conceived that transitions from adolescence into adulthood. The key concept here is epigenetic changes, basically how our genes express themselves. Ok, I know that some of you are already bored…moving on

The bottom line is that a biological basis for partner selection exists. Are you interested in learning about the psychosexual impact that this has on male fetuses, click HERE

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Seasonal Blues, is this you?

sad womanSo much chaos in the world, yet, on the lighter side, do you realize that Thanksgiving is just a little bit over a week away. Then Hanukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa are less than a month after that new shopping phenomenon call “Black Friday.” Yes, this truly is the season of giving thanks, spreading cheer, joining with friends and family in seasonal bliss.

However, this is also the time of year that my practice becomes very busy with overwhelmed and depressed clients. Why aren’t they out there enjoying the holiday season? Simply put, it’s the pressure, unrealistic expectations and seasonal blues that get in the way of the enjoyment.

Every year without fail, millions of us pull out the ornaments, prop up the trees, climb up the ladders to hang up the lights, roll out reindeers on the lawn (you know who you are). Let’s not forget the annual family letters that are written (still), cookies baked by the dozens and dozens, gingerbread houses artfully decorated with the kiddos. Then there are all the choirs, school, church and community festivities…oh my!

We are a busy society, did I forget to mention running around searching for this year’s must have gift! What about family visitors for the holidays, cleaning the house, buying all the food and having the carpets cleaned (and the dog needs to be groomed too). You see… seasonal blues!

If we don’t do it all we feel guilty. We look out the window at the neighbor’s house, their lights are up the minute the Thanksgiving turkey was finished.  These feeling create anxiety which in turn fuel what we call Seasonal Affective Disorder which is appropriately referred to as SAD This is characterized by apathy and a general feeling of lethargy. Yes, then comes the insatiable cravings for sweets (more brownies and fudge please) any carbohydrates will do! Naturally, your sleep becomes more excessive, concentration falls off, as does being able to collect your thoughts and sustain meaningful conversation.

All these symptoms lead you eventually to feeling sad, low and depressed. I find that for many of my clients the real triggers seem to centered on their present financial circumstances, or memories of holidays past compared with their sadness of the present season.

As we get closer to New Years, I see new clients who really have unraveled as they struggle with unrealized goals and too many opportunities never taken advantage of, so, their depression spirals. The good news is that all is not lost. The sun is a great disinfectant, tools can be learned that will help you cope and work through the seasonal depression. Therapy is a wonderful way to talk through your concerns and really get to the heart of your problems. So, don’t let the pain take away your holiday cheer this year, get help, and enjoy you!

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Fear or Not?

fear of heightsThe horror of the mass killings all over Paris this past weekend has literally paralyzed us. The media is awash in perpetuating what is around the clock fear. More information is coming out regarding the attackers and, as we all suspected, it is ISIS. Blame is being cast on the recent mass immigration of Syrian refugees to France’s rigid gun control laws.

Here in the United States, the Governors of both Louisiana and Texas have pushed back on President Obama’s effort to place up to ten thousand Syrian refugees in each of their states. Of course, this is strong reaction to the claims that thousands of radical Islamists have flooded into Europe under the guise of immigrants. The repercussions will be long lasting against the Muslim population as we will see as the weeks unfold. We did witness France take action by sending their air force to bomb Isis positions in the middle east. Across the world there was cry for solidarity as we mourned with the victims and their families in France.

Now, Isis is sending out threatening videos promising more attacks on the scale of those in France. Naturally,there is much fear and uncertainty in our populace and worldwide. Globally we are on high alert. I saw an article that described how this mass killing has now put the proverbial dagger in the heart of the liberal French society. Fear has taken over the mindset of the people. We are looking over our shoulder. If and when we see someone who looks or dresses like they are of the Muslim faith do we stare, become nervous, will our anxiety surge, will fear take hold. Now we are being told to be aware and report any suspicious behavior. Yes, it is really about fear!

Let’s look at why we fear. Of course, we need it at some level because it’s necessary for our protection from dangerous life events. Can you imagine sitting near a campfire and a spark touches your pant leg which then causes your pant leg begin to catch fire. Now, if you didn’t fear getting burned, you would burn to death, right? Again, protection and easy to understand. Fear creates a “fight or flight” mentality. Fear causes us to change our behavior, alter our routines, and diminishes our ability to trust. We become more cynical, suspicious and highly critical. Additionally, we become more prone to depression and anxiety. If we are not able to manage ourselves we may well spiral into an emotionally paralyzed state. Instead, let’s be more more cerebral about what types of fears there are and what we are dealing with. So educate yourself a bit with this article to determine your degree of fear and see if you’re slipping…There are 5 fears, which one are you suffering with…click HERE

 

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Depressed? I’m here for you.

Have you seen those commercials where two women are sitting at a table in one of their backyards, or walking side by side in a public park? Well, the conversation plays out like this, one women says to her friend, “Tom and I just found out Jenny has been doing drugs,” then comes the awkward pause. Her friend finally says, ” oh it’s probably just a phase, she’ll grow out of it.” Pan the camera to Jenny’s mother, yep, she has a stunned look on her face. The other scenario in the park plays out in a similar manner. As I said, they are walking, but then one woman stops and says (with a painful look on her face) ” We discovered that Jimmy(her son) has been stealing Bob’s(her husband) pain medication.” Again, the awkward pause, then her friend leans in and hugs the woman (who is not sure what is happening). The commercial ends with her friend awkwardly continuing their stroll without saying a word.

The above commercials, which are quite dated, serve to illustrate my topic. “Learn what to say to people who are depressed.” The above scenarios related to learning how to talk about drugs. I wish to address how we need to speak to coworkers, friends, and family members who are dealing with or we suspect are depressed. It seems that the stigma continues with regard to depression, however, as more celebrities come forward, the public appears to become more comfortable about discussing this topic and recognizing its effects.

Let me just say that depression is a battle. I treat a lot of depressed clients. I equate depression to a psychic blow that is so intense and emotionally paralyzing that you cannot fully understand unless you have been depressed. Sensitivity is critical, so, as my title illustrates let those you care about suffering with depression that you are there for them. Depression causes the sufferer to feel isolated, lonely, (and depending on their depth of depression) numb as they have lost interest in the world around them. Suicidal thoughts begin to be more common in their everyday thoughts. Remember, if you say it, be there for them. So, check in because it matters to them.

Do you get stuck sometimes? Not sure what or how to encourage someone who is depressed…click HERE

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Where are all the children?

depressedchildRemember when you would come home from school and couldn’t wait to finish your homework and go outside and ride your bike, doing tricks off a homemade wood ramp, skateboarding, or going to a friends house to play a game of nurf football in the street, or what about playing catch with your well worn baseball glove? Do you remember begging your Mom to go swimming at the neighbor’s pool, or shooting hoops until dark? Do you remember when kids actually played outside? I do, but, for  the vast majority of families that really never happens anymore.

What has taken over is video games and an increasingly busy lifestyle. Of course, our children are still involved in sports, however, going outside to play with other children their age in the neighborhood has gone the way of the Razor phone. What are the psychological ramifications for these millions of children who no longer play outside and what happens to their view of the world around them?

Certainly this varies, however, I’m treating more adolescents, teenagers, and college students who are presenting with more severe symptoms of depression and anxiety than ever before. The question is why? Well, I find that especially with teenagers and college students there is a sense of the loss of control. Goals are focused on external, meaning those things or possessions that set them apart from others, rather than internal development. There seems to be a poor focus on who they really are, personal insight is very limited leading them to feel quite empty, depressed and filled with anxiety.

Consider this, what playing allowed us to do when we were younger was experiment, explore, and discover who we were. It really was fun, liberating, and exhilarating to be withs friends outside playing. I guess it was our modern day adrenaline rush, our outlet. Now that has shifted dramatically and so has the mental state of our children, and not for the better…

The decline of play

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My Kid, I’m So Done!

Angry boy blowing steamNot only are kids tech savvy these days, but, they are also becoming more irritable, defiant, and exhausted! How often have you found yourself either battling with them over the amount of screen time and then using the screen time as a tool to punish or reward them? How much stress and divisiveness has this caused in your relationship and household?

More and more behavioral problems like depression, ADD/ADHD, and bipolar disorder are the prevailing mental illness labels that are diagnosed because of the electronic overload. Many parents just find it so much less confrontational to let their child play video games to calm them down or pacify the present situation. Most parents come in and feel their at their breaking point and need medication for the behavioral problems that have spun wildly out of control.

There is hope, yet, in a different way that will take some determination and willpower to follow through. If you think about it, when we arrive at a point that our physical health needs to be “reset,” the experts recommend that we “cleanse” with a fast. This actually shocks the body, can rejuvenate, detox, and reset our metabolism which are all positive effects. Well, it’s time to take the same concept and apply it to children who are wearing down because of the screen time overload. Now is the time  for an “electronic fast.” You can do this! You know it has to be done and for your own sanity. So, take take control and act!

If you think it’s time for a “reset” then read HERE

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