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Depression and Sadness

Depression can be difficult to pinpoint in our own lives. We all experience periods of normal sadness or disappointment from time to time. Where this becomes a problem is when your feelings start to interfere with your life.

If you find that depression is starting to affect a significant portion of your day, the best time to act is before it overwhelms your life. Patients interested in determining their level of depression and sadness can take the Patient Health Questionnaire or the Burns Depression Checklist as part of their treatment orientation.

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trample underfoot unfair

Why is Life Not Fair?

There's an old story that goes like this:  A man visits his doctor, complaining of pain when he raises his right arm.  The doctor, looking inquisitive for a moment, responds with, "So don't do that." But is that fair? It's interesting to find that we actively resist what we consider isn't fair. In fact, it's something that plays out endless times every day across the globe: If we feel that someone has wronged us, it's not fair. If we can't do what other people take for granted, it's not fair. If we want something that we can't have but others have...
Pain, Change and Growth like a flower in the wilderness

How Do I Deal with Painful Feelings?

In our efforts to escape pain, loss, and suffering, we often miss the very happiness that we are searching for in life. When painful feelings get pushed to the side, we find ourselves falling apart, our relationships suffer, and often we just simply "shut down" in an attempt to avoid feeling, experiencing, and changing. Paradoxically, our attempts to "not feel" robs us of our own growth, which requires us to be vulnerable in the present moment. Irritability, anger, tension, outbursts of temper are common during times of stress and problems. Sometimes we end up dealing with things by getting divorced, falling...

Caretaker Burnout, Compassion, and Fatigue

When a member of the family experiences problems, an illness, injury or disability, we tend to forget the impact that any of these problems have on other members of the family. Even short-term crises and problems can drain us as we try to be strong in our efforts to be caring and helpful. Taking care of others with chronic problems requires a lot of energy, love and concern. We all want to do it when problems develop out of love and concern. What we tend to forget is that over time, caretaker burnout can develop leaving the caretaker with a...
empty glass jar

Learning to Endure Conflict, Tension & Emptiness

One of the most important things that human beings can learn to do in life is to endure the hard times. This is not always easy because we are always hoping that things will be comfortable, easy or enjoyable. Other times, we just want to have something to keep us busy.  The reality of life is that these things do not always happen. As a result, it is important to think about a few issues as part of learning how to survive. Comfort Seekers We are all comfort seekers in life. We enter life as babies and hope that we can become...
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Feeling Discouraged, Lost, and Depressed

When we become discouraged, feel lost, are confused, and feel overwhelmed, it is easy to feel like we want all the pain and sadness to stop.  We want to run, to feel no more, and to have our upset, anger, and sadness removed quickly.  Understanding a few issues might be of help at these difficult times. Discouragement of Depression When we experience depressive feelings, it is easy to feel discouraged and to feel hopeless. Depression is many times anger turned inside because of things that has happened to us in life. At other times, depression is the result of a chemical imbalance. No matter...
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Growing Up with Emotional Abuse

When children's development of self-esteem, social skills or capacity for intimacy is jeopardized by their parents' behavior or neglect, they may be the victim of emotional abuse. Whether it is alcohol or other drugs, mental illness, compulsive behavior (eating, working, religion, etc.), or any one of a thousand other things that deplete a family's emotional life, the results are the same. Children are left to their own devices to make sense of the pain and loneliness in their life. In the end, they are the victims of emotional abuse: A pattern of rejecting, isolating, terrorizing, ignoring and corrupting behavior from...
Living with depression

How Do I Know if I am Depressed?

One of the most common disorders in the world is depression. It is the “common cold” of emotional disorders and no one is exempt from it. We can deny and run depression, but at a cost. Whenever we try to deny feelings, hold things in, it will come out in some manner, whether through physical or emotional symptoms. Through counseling and therapy, we can “grow from these feelings” if we take the time to “look and examine” what this means for our life’s “journey.” Identifying Depression Most of us hate to admit it, but we all go through periods of adjustment that...
medication pills

Do I Have to Take Medication?

One of the more common concerns expressed by patients is about taking medications for depression or anxiety. Many times, we want to be able to do things on our own without the need for something "artificial". Other times, we just have a gut reaction to the thought of having to take medications for something that's "all in our head".  The most important part, regardless of whether you take medications or not, is to have a comprehensive evaluation by a counselor or mental health practitioner. This ensures that you will have all the information you need in order to make an...

How NOT to Talk to Your Doctor

In order to understand how to best talk with your doctor (or psychiatrist, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, or other medical provider), you need to know one very important concept: Your doctor wants to help you! However, as healthcare costs continue to rise, there is a push for doctors to see as many patients as they can. This can frustrate even the best doctors, and happens more often than not. Also, doctors are human beings and despite our expectations, they tend to dislike displays of unpleasant emotions, disorganized patients or those that make them feel as if they must "fix"...
supplements over the counter pills

Supplements and Mental Health

Many people are interested in natural methods to help offset the symptoms of mental illness. And who wouldn't be? As such, many people are interested in seeing what might work before (or even while) pursuing a non-natural solution. Below are some of the more common supplements used. The difficulty in deciding what is useful by means of anecdotal evidence is one of problems. Primarily, the two issues of correlation does not imply causation paired with the placebo effect. However, when the medical industry has money invested in pharmaceuticals, very few (if any) research is done on non-prescriptive solutions. L-Methylfolate Folic acid is one...
Football Players

How Depression and Fear Affect Men

The psychology of men is hard for both men and women to understand. Some women think that men are chronically intense, angry and controlling. Men insist that they have no idea why women think that they are always intense angry or controlling in interactions. Men feel misunderstood in their efforts to be helpful. Why Men Are Misunderstood Men rarely discuss feelings with other men, let alone women. Men are taught that competition, work, sports, winning are all they should talk about. Men are told early in their lives that "boys don’t cry, and boys are tough." Men are expected to "just know" and as...
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How to Choose a Good Psychiatrist

At some point, you may find yourself in need of a good psychiatrist. There are three critical rules in doing this. Understanding the terminology in distinguishing between a psychiatrist, psychologist, and psychiatric mental nurse practitioner is the most important step. Setting your expectations appropriately and not sabotaging your approach is second. Third is the rule of not forgetting your ultimate goal. Rule 1: Know the Terminology If you are in need of general mental health medications, approaching your primary care physician (PCP) is a good first step. These tend to be general practitioners or family practice doctors. The advantage is one of accessibility; chances are,...