Depression Answers

Will I ever feel happy

Thank you for asking your question. It seems you have a lot of changes in your life right now and possibly were expecting to see other outcomes or feel differently with your changes. That’s understandable. When changes happen, we enter those changes with certain expectations for outcomes, especially if we receive messages (such as in your interview) that you can anticipate certain events to unfold. When that doesn’t happen, it can understandably feel frustrating. It seems that you may internalize your feelings, which results in feeling sad, unmotivated, and isolated. Talking to someone – a trusted friend, family member, or therapist – can help you release some of those feelings and find some relief. A licensed therapist can help you better understand patterns in your life and help you find solutions and new ways of thinking/feeling about events. One possible area for self-reflection is feeling more comfortable with yourself, where you are at this stage of your life (recognize what is going well in your life), and where you see yourself in the future so you can establish a plan to get there. This type of self-reflection can help you bring your strengths/positives into your conscious awareness, as well as identify some areas in your life that you want to strengthen/change for the future. Since you’ve been through so much in your life, your coping skills may be taxed. Integrating new/different healthy coping skills may help relieve some of the stressful feelings you’re experiencing. Building on your coping skills may help reduce your crying and lessen your feelings of “being a wreck”. Regarding happiness, looking within to what does make you feel happy is a place to start…and build on that. For instance, what hobbies do you enjoy? Are you engaging in those hobbies? If not, how can you start to do so? What else makes you happy? How are you fitting those items or experiences into your life now? Look within for some of the answers, as your happiness is inside of you – finding it may require some introspection (looking within) to unlock it and release it into your life. Positive affirmations and gratitude may be an idea to consider adding to a daily ritual. We “see” what we look for… Have you been looking for what’s “right” and “positive” in your life? Your therapist can help you with that idea if you choose to add those to your daily routine. He/she will listen to your concerns and offer ideas and perspectives to help with your feelings.   Another suggestion is a groupinar at BetterHelp. There’s currently one called “Building Blocks to Happiness” that seems to fit with your concerns. The Groupinar topics change every so often, so it’s helpful to check back every couple of weeks to see what’s been added. I wish you well on your healing journey. Better days are waiting for you! You are not alone – help is within reach at BetterHelp. So, please reach out to your therapist for more help. In wellness – Dr. Sally Gill, LMFT
(PhD, MS, LMFT, C.C.T.S.I.)
Answered on 10/21/2021

I'm broke and need help

I would want to introduce myself and find out what part of the country you live in and start with finding resources for employment. I would think given your circumstances that self-work and depression are plaguing you also. I want to talk about your options and what job skills you have.     I would want to ask about your life and how you got started in Better Help. I would want to talk about grounding skills and how to support you with the most effective and supportive coping skills that you need at this time. I would like to offer my support and assistance to help you with the unemployed. Has the sadness been something that has been going on since you became unemployed or was it before that? I would want to talk about ways that your sadness has changed, have ever tried therapy before. I would want to know what was beneficial to you. I want to know what kind of help you are open to? I would want to know about your job skills and education as each county has job resources as well as provide you support on Better Help to develop these skills and just be a supportive listener. I would to always provide a safe space for clients to feel heard and cared for. I like to provide skills to reduce the symptoms that are causing these issues in your life. That is why I ask what has helped in the past or has never worked. This way we can work together for a positive solution to help with your life and goals. I want to ask what help has been denied to you and hopefully provide support to help you find the life you want to live. I would want to ask do you have any friends or family in your life that does provide support in your day-to-day life. I want to know have you apply for benefits so that you are not at risk for further issues in your life. I want to make sure you are provided a safe place to help in any way that is possible      
(LCMHCS, CCS, MAC, ;, LCAS, CCMC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

What's happend with me?

Hello Eryka, I am glad you reached out for support at this time.  I am sorry you are struggling in this moment.  I would encourage you to start to work with a therapist to help you learn skills to help you overcome your struggles.  If we were to meet I would first talk to you about the counseling process through our site and how together we could help you obtain your goals going forward, how I work as a counselor and how I would try to help you through the counseling process.  I would also take the first session to get to know you by asking you a few questions to get a better understanding of your struggles, so that I am able to focus on a plan and goals to work on going forward. I want you to know that you are not alone during this time even through you may feel like you are alone at this time.  During the therapy process you can have support 100% of the time as you are able to reach out and talk to a therapist 24 hours a day 7 days a week.   A few of the questions I would ask would include the following:Can you tell me more about your past history?How long have you been feeling struggling with these feelings?I am going to send you some skills and tools to help you at first with some of your depression, however, after reading your questions, it seems you maybe struggling with other things like self-esteem and finding happiness. If we were to work together we would be going over these and more tools to help you through your struggles and be able to ask for support from others. How To Get Out Of Bed When Depressed? 12 Effective Ways To Tackle Morning DepressionDepression and mental health is that topic of discussion that majority of the people tend to shy away from and why? This constant stigma of not being vocal about mental health is often the main reason why people fail to get the help they need to get better. Morning depression is one of the most common forms of depression and if you are constantly wondering how to get out of bed when depressed, you have come to the right place.It is time we break the stigma and talk about the struggles and how to overcome them.How To Get Out Of Bed When Depressed?As boring as it might sound, bringing a routine to the life is often times an easy way to get over the morning depression. And let me remind you that the process is anything but easy, nothing you imagine or even think of will come easy and just as a cakewalk. Even making an effort to waking up in the morning does take time and it is important that you first acknowledge that.1. Start SlowThe very first thing to do when it comes to how to get out of bed when depressed is to understand that you are suffering from a problem. When you acknowledge the problem, curing it becomes quite easier.If you have a set morning routine and you have been suffering from morning depression, the best way to combat is to start off slow with the process. Don’t rush into things because that is what often ends up making it feel like a chore. Instead of jumping over the activities, tackle one after the other.Start by opening your eyes and just roll around the bed for a few minutes, prop yourself against the bed and finally when you feel better, rip the band-aid off and get up from the bed and get ready to get on with the day.2. Let Your Pet Be Your MotivationHaving a pet is possibly one of the best ways to tackle depression and even science backs up the claim. If you have been consistently suffering from having the will to simply get up, it is time that you let your pet motivate you in that aspect.When you have an animal like a dog or even a cat relying on you for their needs, it becomes a wakeup call in itself because you know that if you don’t wake up, chances are that they will stay hungry till they are finally fed.Let that be a motivation and get up to feed your dog in the morning. Many people often get that extra push thinking that even if they are not capable of taking care of themselves because of their mental health, they just can’t abandon their pet and not take care of them.3. Sometimes, Be A little HarshSometimes, all you need to do is be a little harsh on yourself and even if you can’t wake up in the morning, all you need to do is force yourself up and start with sitting up on the bed.Assure yourself consistently that waking up is important and something you just can’t afford missing out on even if the day ahead is scaring the hell out of you. Once you are awake and ready to get on with the day, remove the blinds of the room and let the sunlight seep into the room and let yourself have that little dose of Vitamin D.Brew yourself a coffee and just let the day come along as it wants to.4. Sometimes, Music HelpsMusic has therapeutic abilities and that is definitely not something that is a bluff but in reality, it is an actual fact. Many people who suffer from morning depression have found their solace in music.Majority of the people tend to state saying that listening to an upbeat music or song first thing in the morning is actually quite amazing to lift their mood up and get them going along with their day and that is what you need to adhere to as well.Put the speakers on or even just plug in some earphones and that should do the trick to get you going with the day. Once you have the burst of motivation you need to get on with the day, wake up and roll out of the bed.5. Think About FoodIf you are here wondering about how to get out of bed when depressed, the best way to motivate yourself is by thinking about food and the breakfast you are going to make for the day.This is especially fruitful for people who have to take medicines with their or after their breakfast. If you are here wondering what or how you can get yourself out of bed, think of the obligation you have to feed yourself and then take the medicine and that should actually get the job done.But, that being said, this method is not always applicable, mainly because situational or morning depression often times bring about loss of appetite that is hard to boost back. So, just think about the necessity of the meds and let that be the speck of motivation you need.6. Think About The PositivesAs hard and cliché it might sound, this actually does make the changes that everyone needs to get on with their life when they can’t wake up in the morning. Often times, being stuck in a place, be it your bed or even your house can ignite a trail of negative thoughts in your mind which is why it is necessary to ensure that you think of what kind of thoughts you can avoid by keeping yourself engaged.Often times, this is the kind of kick-start that many people need to get on with their day and trust me, it does actually work and work quite effectively. Once you have everything sketched out of what your entire day is going to look like, it becomes quite easier to handle the day and waking up might not seem like a chore anymore.7. Try An Alarm And Keep It AwayOften times, one of the easiest things to do when depressed in the morning and when you have no will to get on with the day, the best way to change that for good is by setting an alarm.And before you revolt saying that it is the same old thing which you have tried but hasn’t worked out, have you ever tried to set an alarm and keep it out of your reach? That is where the trick is. If you are suffering from morning depression stuck in bed, the best way to get over the problem is by setting an alarm and keeping it away from your reach.When you keep it away from your reach, it becomes mandatory for you to walk over to the place where you have kept the alarm to finally switch it off. And once you get up from the bed, it becomes quite easier for you to overcome the unwillingness to get up and get along with what the day has in store for you.8. Think Of TodayWe are all so caught in thinking about the future as well as repenting over what has happened in the past that we forget to live the present moment that we are in and sometimes that is one of the biggest contributions to morning depression.If you keep procrastinating the situation and try to get yourself out of it, chances are that you won’t be able to get out of bed when depressed and that is exactly what you need to change. Instead of thinking about the overwhelming feeling of the negatives that are adhering to your mind, try and give yourself a quick pep talk in the morning and try to think to assess and think about the things you need to get done for the day and let that drive you to get up and get going.9. Include Some CheatsSometimes, promising yourself some cheats can actually do you good and help you combat the morning depression and help you get out of bed when depressed.If the routine of the day is making you burrow back into the bed, it is best to lure the mind with some tricks and cheats if everything around the day goes well. One of the best ways to achieve that is by promising yourself an afternoon nap and an hour of chilling time later in the day when everything gets ways too overwhelming.10. Talk Yourself Through Each StepAll that being said, at the end of the day, it is your degree of motivation and your enthusiasm that helps instil the changes that you want to witness. When you are hit with a bout of morning depression and the simple act of getting out of bed seems like a lot, it is necessary that you don’t rush into anything and rather take it slow and let the activities take its normal course.Start by talking yourself to open up your eyes and simply sitting up on the bed. The next thing to do is get out of the bed and assess the situation of what needs to be done today and talk yourself into doing just that. Get up in micro moments, sit up on the bed, roll over to the edge, wear your slippers, get up from the bed and so on and so forth.Think of the goal you need to achieve in the day and be adamant in achieving it and that’s when you will be able to get the same done effectively.12. Sometimes, It’s Okay To Not Get UpYou will have those days when even the burst of every form of motivation and pep talk won’t be enough to get you up from the bed and that are when you need to understand the severity of the situation and let it go. It is sometimes okay to not worry too much about the consequences and just let it be the way it is.Every once in a while, it is okay to have one of those days when the depression consumes you to the point that waking up starts feeling like a chore and in those days, all you need to do is just let go of the course and let it be and just sleep in.Remember this, your mental health is just as important as your physical health, if not more. If you are constantly assembling the thoughts of how to get out of bed when depressed, it is best to start with the small steps and let the bigger picture fall into place and by that, I mean the routine that you have set for the rest of the day. Sometimes, it is actually okay to not be okay and that is what you need to understand before anything else. Small steps, big impactDepression can drain your energy, leaving you feeling empty and fatigued. This can make it difficult to muster the strength or desire to seek treatment.  However, there are small steps you can take to help you feel more in control and improve your overall sense of well-being.1. Meet yourself where you areDepression is common. It affects millions of people, including some in your life. You may not realize they face similar challenges, emotions, and obstacles.2. If you need to wallow, wallow — but do so constructivelySuppressing your feelings and emotions may seem like a strategic way to cope with the negative symptoms of depression. But this technique is ultimately unhealthy. If you’re having a down day, have it. Let yourself feel the emotions — but don’t stay there. Consider writing or journaling about what you’re experiencing. Then, when the feelings lift, write about that, too. Seeing the ebb and flow of depressive symptoms can be instructive for both self-healing and hope.3. Know that today isn’t indicative of tomorrowToday’s mood, emotions, or thoughts don’t belong to tomorrow. If you were unsuccessful at getting out of bed or accomplishing your goals today, remember that you haven’t lost tomorrow’s opportunity to try again. Give yourself the grace to accept that while some days will be difficult, some days will also be great. Try to look forward to tomorrow’s fresh start.4. Assess the parts instead of generalizing the wholeDepression can tinge recollections with negative emotions. You may find yourself focusing on the one thing that went wrong instead of the many things that went right. Try to stop this overgeneralization. Push yourself to recognize the good. If it helps, write down what was happy about the event or day. Then write down what went wrong. Seeing the weight you’re giving to one thing may help you direct your thoughts away from the whole and to the individual pieces that were positive.5. Do the opposite of what the ‘depression voice’ suggestsThe negative, irrational voice in your head may talk you out of self-help. However, if you can learn to recognize it, you can learn to replace it. Use logic as a weapon. Address each thought individually as it occurs. If you believe an event won’t be fun or worth your time, say to yourself, “You might be right, but it’ll be better than just sitting here another night.” You may soon see the negative isn’t always realistic.6. Set attainable goalsA lengthy to-do list may be so weighty that you’d rather do nothing. Instead of compiling a long list of tasks, consider setting one or two smaller goals.For example:Don’t clean the house; take the trash out. Don’t do all the laundry that’s piled up; just sort the piles by color. Don’t clear out your entire email inbox; just address any time-sensitive messages.When you’ve done a small thing, set your eyes on another small thing, and then another. This way, you have a list of tangible achievements and not an untouched to-do list.7. Reward your efforts All goals are worthy of recognition, and all successes are worthy of celebration. When you achieve a goal, do your best to recognize it. You may not feel like celebrating with a cake and confetti, but recognizing your own successes can be a very powerful weapon against depression’s negative weight. The memory of a job well-done may be especially powerful against negative talk and overgeneralization.8. You may find it helpful to create a routineIf depressive symptoms disrupt your daily routine, setting a gentle schedule may help you feel in control. But these plans don’t have to map out an entire day. Your schedule could focus on the time before work or right before bed. Perhaps it’s only for the weekends. Focus on creating a loose, but structured, routine that can help you keep your daily pace going.9. Do something you enjoy…Depression can push you to give into your fatigue. It may feel more powerful than happy emotions. Try to push back and do something you love — something that’s relaxing, but energizing. It could be playing an instrument, painting, hiking, or biking. These activities can provide subtle lifts in your mood and energy, which may help you overcome your symptoms.10. …like listening to musicMusic can be a great way to boost your mood and improve symptoms of depression. It may also help your reception of positive emotions. Music may be especially beneficial when performed in group settings, such as a musical ensemble or band. You can also reap some of the same rewards simply by listening.11. Or spend time in natureMother Nature can have a powerful influence on depression. People who spend time in nature have improved mental health. Exposure to sunlight may offer some of the same benefits. It can increase your serotonin levels. Consider taking a walk at lunch among the trees or spending some time in your local park. Or plan a weekend hike. These activities can help you reconnect with nature and soak in some rays at the same time.12. Or spend time with loved onesDepression can tempt you to isolate yourself and withdraw from your friends and family, but face-to-face time can help wash away those tendencies. If you’re unable to spend time together in person, phone calls or video chats can also be helpful. Try to remind yourself these people care about you. Resist the temptation to feel like you’re a burden. You need the interaction — and they likely do, too.13. Try something new entirelyWhen you do the same thing day after day, you use the same parts of your brain. You can challenge your neurons and alter your brain chemistry by doing something entirely different. Doing new things can improve your overall well-being and strengthen your social relationships. To reap these benefits, consider trying a new sport, taking a creative class, or learning a new cooking technique.14. Volunteering can be a great way to do bothKnock out a few birds with one stone — spending time with other people and doing something new — by volunteering and giving your time to someone or something else. You may be used to receiving help from friends, but reaching out and providing help may actually improve your mental health more.15. You can also use this as a way to practice gratitudeWhen you do something you love, or even when you find a new activity you enjoy, you may be able to boost your mental health more by taking time to be thankful for it. Gratitude can have lasting positive effects on your overall mental health. What’s more, writing down your gratitude — including writing notes to others — can be particularly meaningful.16. Incorporating meditation may help ground your thoughtsStress and anxiety can prolong your depression symptoms. Finding relaxation techniques can help you lower stress and invite more joy and balance into your day. Activities like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and even journaling may help you improve your sense of well-being and feel more connected to what’s happening around you.17. What you eat and drink can also affect how you feelThere’s no magic diet that will treat depression. But what you put into your body can have a real and significant impact on the way you feel. Some people also have more energy when they avoid sugar, preservatives, and processed foods.  If you have the means, consider meeting with a doctor or registered dietitian for guidance.18. If you’re up for exercise, consider a walk around the blockOn days when you feel as if you can’t get out of bed, exercise may seem like the last thing you’d want to do. However, exercise and physical activity can be powerful depression fighters.  For some people, exercise can be as effective as medication at relieving depression symptoms. It may also help prevent future depressive episodes. If you’re able to, take a walk around the block. Start with a five-minute walk and work your way up from there.19. Getting enough sleep can also have a noticeable effectSleep disturbances are common with depression. You may not sleep well, or you may sleep too much. Both can make depression symptoms worse. Aim for eight hours of sleep per night. Try to get into a healthy sleeping routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help you with your daily schedule. Getting the proper amount of sleep may also help you feel more balanced and energized throughout your day.10 Natural Depression TreatmentsBeing depressed can make you feel helpless. You're not. Along with therapy and sometimes medication, there's a lot you can do on your own to fight back. Changing your behavior -- your physical activity, lifestyle, and even your way of thinking -- are all natural depression treatments.These tips can help you feel better -- starting right now.1. Get in a routine. If you’re depressed, a daily routine is helpful for you to set up and try to manage your thoughts and feelings.Depression can strip away the structure from your life. One day melts into the next. Setting a gentle daily schedule can help you get back on track.2.Set goals. When you're depressed, you may feel like you can't accomplish anything. That makes you feel worse about yourself. To push back, set daily goals for yourself.Start very small, Make your goal something that you can succeed at, like doing the dishes every other day.As you start to feel better, you can add more challenging daily goals.3. Exercise. It temporarily boosts feel-good chemicals called endorphins. It may also have long-term benefits for people with depression. Regular exercise seems to encourage the brain to rewire itself in positive ways.How much exercise do you need? You don’t need to run marathons to get a benefit. Just walking a few times a week can help.4. Eat healthy. There is no magic diet that fixes depression. It's a good idea to watch what you eat, though. If depression tends to make you overeat, getting in control of your eating will help you feel better.Although nothing is definitive, There's evidence that foods with omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and tuna) and folic acid (such as spinach and avocado) could help ease depression.5. Get enough sleep. Depression can make it hard to get enough shut-eye, and too little sleep can make depression worse.What can you do? Start by making some changes to your lifestyle. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom -- no computer and no TV. In time, you may find your sleep improves.6. Take on responsibilities. When you’re depressed, you may want to pull back from life and give up your responsibilities at home and at work. Don't. Staying involved and having daily responsibilities can help you maintain a lifestyle that can help counter depression. They ground you and give you a sense of accomplishment.If you're not up to full-time school or work, that’s fine. Think about part-time. If that seems like too much, consider volunteer work.7. Challenge negative thoughts. In your fight against depression, a lot of the work is mental -- changing how you think. When you're depressed, you leap to the worst possible conclusions.The next time you're feeling terrible about yourself, use logic as a natural depression treatment. You might feel like no one likes you, but is there real evidence for that? You might feel like the most worthless person on the planet, but is that really likely? It takes practice, but in time you can beat back those negative thoughts before they get out of control.8. Check with your doctor before using supplements. There's promising evidence for certain supplements for depression.  Those include fish oil, folic acid, and SAMe. But more research needs to be done before we'll know for sure. Always check with your doctor before starting any supplement, especially if you’re already taking medications.9. Do something new. When you’re depressed, you’re in a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Go to a museum. Pick up a used book and read it on a park bench. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take a language class.When we challenge ourselves to do something different, there are chemical changes in the brain.  Trying something new alters the levels of [the brain chemical] dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment, and learning.10. Try to have fun. If you’re depressed, make time for things you enjoy. What if nothing seems fun anymore? That's just a symptom of depression, You have to keep trying anyway. 6 BRAIN-BOOSTING REASONS TO EXERCISEWe know that exercise is great for our bodies, but what about our brains? Does going for a run or picking up some weights really affect the health or strength of our brains? The answer is a resounding yes!   1) Improved MoodBelieve it or not, exercise can help to reduce the feelings and symptoms associated with both short- and long-term depression! In studies done with people currently suffering from depression, physical activity was show to increase feelings of hopefulness and decrease depressive symptoms. It's also been found that people with anxiety tend to suffer less panic attacks when they begin a regime of exercising regularly. So if you tend to suffer from anxiety or depression, or just have had a stressful day and are looking for a boost, look no further than your gym shoes!2) More Resilient To StressExercising regularly can also help you're brain better adapt to stress! We talked about the negative effect stress has on the brain here, but exercise can not only help you better deal with present stress, but it can make you more resilient when it comes to both physical and emotional stressors in the future as well.3) Memory BenefitsExercise has incredible benefits when it comes to improving and preserving your memory. One particular study found that moderate, aerobic exercise significantly improved people's spatial memory (the kind of memory you would use for directions or finding your way through a maze), as well as increased the overall size of the hippocampus (an vital brain structure when it comes to learning and memory). So forget playing those 'brain boosting' games on your phone and just head to the gym! 4) Improved Social SkillsResearch from the University of Michigan suggests that exercise can help improve overall social function, especially in adolescents. Team sports specifically can help to build a sense of self-esteem, leadership and even empathy. To get the most out of your exercise, try joining a basketball or volleyball or softball team! 5) Better SleepWhen it comes to getting a better night's sleep, scientific studies have yet to find a better activity then exercise! Exercise raises your core body temperature and then, after exercise, that temperature falls again which can help promote a better nights sleep. Weight lifting has been shown to be an especially effective form of exercise when it comes to falling and staying asleep.6) New Brain CellsExercise, especially cardio exercises like vigorous walking, running or dancing have been shown to actually help your brain to create new neurons (neurogenesis) in areas like the hippocampus, which is a vital brain structure when it comes to learning and memory. So the next time you head out for that walk or run or bike ride, just think about all the new brain cells you'll be getting! So what's the best form of exercise for our brains?The answer is everything! The best exercise routine for our brains will involve at least 20 minutes of physical activity (elevated heart rate) 4+ times a week. The key is to it up. Our brains are more challenged when we step outside of our routine, and that includes our exercise routine! If you walk everyday, try alternating walking with light weight training or even core and stretching. A balanced exercise program will include elements of cardio, weight training, balance, stretching and core. At Faithful Workouts, we try to incorporate all of those elements into our faith based exercise videos. How To Deal With Anxiety And Depression When You Don't Have Energy   I wanted to give you more information and strategies on coping and managing stress, anxiety, and depression because it can be quite draining. The process in therapy helps you to recognize what is causing your challenges. Learning how to recognize the symptoms can be one of the first steps in getting help and ultimately feeling better. I know we have been talking about triggers and different things you can do to feel better. I know these feel like redundant strategies and techniques, but they are helpful, and I want to ensure I am supporting you in every way. Anyway, take care and enjoy the rest of your day, and I hope these are helpful.   Thoughts and Anxiety Part of managing anxiety and depression is decatastrophizing catastrophic thoughts and the habit of ruminating. This causes you to overthink and feel overwhelmed about different things and create irrational beliefs about yourself. However, in the moment, they are so real, and you can physically feel it in your body. In sessions, we are working on your thought process and what leads to the anxiety.   Some of the common symptoms of anxiety and depression include: Feelings of hopelessness or negativity Loss of interest in hobbies and activities Changes in eating or sleeping habits Decreased energy level or feeling exhausted Lack of motivation and decreased productivity Physical symptoms such as headaches, chronic pain, or digestive issues Anxiety in the Body   You can also experience and feel anxiety and the impacts of depression on your body. Here are physiological strategies to practice. Even though they may seem redundant, with effective practice, it can work. If you need help, we can practice this together in our next session. With that being said, here are ways to manage feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.   Practice Deep Breathing   Deep breathing is an effective form of treatment for both anxiety and depression. It can help lower your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and regain your focus. Deep breathing also helps increase the amount of oxygen you're taking in, improving circulation in your body. This can help to increase your energy levels. While there are several different types of deep breathing techniques, you don't need a specific strategy to benefit from this. You can focus on taking slow deep breaths through your nose, holding it for a few seconds, and then slowly breathing out through your mouth.   Develop A Sleep Schedule   Anxiety and depression can harm your sleep schedule. You may find that you're sleeping more than usual and still feeling exhausted. Or, you may find that you struggle to get any sleep at night. Either way, you may end up feeling tired and not having the energy you need to make other improvements in your life. Working to get on a sleep schedule may be able to help address this problem. Most adults should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. Focus on trying to go to sleep at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning. This can help your body adjust to the new routine. You may also find it helpful to create a good environment for sleeping. This could include keeping the temperature cool, keeping the room dark, and using white noise like a fan to block out any other sounds. If you struggle with falling asleep, you may benefit from trying a meditation app that can help you relax as you fall asleep. Make sure this is discussed with a doctor so you are well informed of the potential side effects.   Set Goals For The Day   Struggling with anxiety and depression impacts your self-esteem and confidence. If you lack the energy to get the things done that you want to do each day, it can get frustrating quickly. You may find it helpful to begin by setting small goals that you can focus on each day. Depending on the impact that depression and anxiety are having on you, these goals can be straightforward, such as making your bed when you wake up in the morning or eating lunch at a certain time of the day. Doing this can help set you up for success, and when you start to have these small victories, it can help you feel more energized to tackle slightly larger tasks.   Pay Attention To What You're Eating   The food you eat can have a big impact on the way you feel and your energy levels. Many people turn to caffeine or sugary drinks and snacks if they start to feel their energy dip. However, this can have the opposite impact than what you're looking for. You may find that this type of eating puts you on a sugar roller coaster. It can be beneficial to maintain a nutritious diet. Focusing on clean eating and avoiding processed foods can help increase your energy levels.   Turn To Your Support System   If you're struggling with energy levels because of your anxiety or depression, it can help build a strong support system around yourself. This could be made up of family and friends, or you could join a support group of others going through similar experiences. It can help people who care about you who can check in on you to see how you're doing.   Exercise   If you feel like you don't have a lot of energy, exercising may be the last thing on your mind. However, it can boost your mood and help you to feel more energized. When you engage in physical activity, it can release your brain chemicals that help boost your mood. It also helps prepare your body for taking action, and you don't have to be engaged in a rigorous exercise regimen to benefit from this. So, if you feel like you don't have the energy to do the things you need to, going for a simple walk may help turn things around for you. Once you're done exercising, you may find that you feel just a little bit better and have the energy to tackle the next thing on your list.   Go Outside   You may not have the energy to tackle your to-do list for the day or jump into a workout, but even just going outside can help improve your energy levels. You may even notice that you have a decrease in stress and lower blood pressure when you start spending more time outdoors.   Journaling   You may find that you experience an increase in energy levels through journaling. Taking time to write down your thoughts and concerns in a journal may help you relieve some of the anxious thoughts that you usually have running through your mind. When you spend most of your time and energy worrying about things, you may find that you have more energy to do the other things in your life that you desire to do. I hope that these skills have been helpful for you in your struggles you have been facing at this time. I am going to give you my information if you are wanting to start to process through and work on your struggles going forward, please reach out to Betterhelp and ask to be matched with Crystal Westman. If we were to work together we would work on more skills and tools to help you when you are struggling and get back to a positive space.  I encourage you to reach out for support at this time to help you get to the best version of yourself.
Answered on 10/21/2021

Is this depression?

This is a good question and one I think a lot of people might be thinking about right now. Often times when people talk about depression they talk as if there is only one kind of depression or as if it is a blanket term, but this sounds a bit like what we would call high functioning depression. High functioning depression is a very real thing and something that frequently doesn't get enough attention, leaving those experiencing it without a clear strategy for how to deal with those feelings. It is important to have a bit more information before any diagnosis is given but you could very well be experiencing high functioning depression. Common signs of this could be inexplicable periods of sadness or "getting down", even when things seem good, feeling like you have to always be in control of yourself at all times, needing to please everyone, or feeling overly responsible for everything that is going on around you. I do think it is worth highlighting that the last year (almost two years) has been really challenging and almost everyone has seen an increase in symptoms of sadness, isolation, or anxiety. Mental health issues/feelings that were very manageable on your own precovid may have been pushed into a place where it is important to get assistance with symptom management. You may have also experienced a decrease in your access to coping skills in the last year especially if your coping skills were centered on social activities or things that you can do outside of your home. Depression and coping skills are complex issues that are very unique to each individual, it could be that what you need is just some help to sort out these moments and develop different skills or tools to navigate those feelings. Being able to acknowledge these moments and feelings is a huge first step into being able to change them to create a new thought/response pattern to the world for your brain. Reaching out for help with these questions is a great first step, hopefully, there were some helpful thoughts or information here for you! 
Answered on 10/21/2021

How do I get past this stage?

Hello Sam,  Thank you for taking this huge brave step in your journey to try to get your life in a better place for yourself after what has happened to you. As a therapist It is not unsusal for me to hear from people who have experienced such traumatic events to have symptoms like - nightmares, feelings of sad and depression, shame and a sense of poor self-worth.   I acknowledge your hesitation at wanting to meet face-to-face with a therapist at this time.  There are some other options for you I would like for you to at least consider which I will bring up later in this response. After a trauma like rape or sexual assault, it is crucial to you take care of your body - even when you do not want to. Aside from healing from any physical injuries, you want to be sure you are eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Some effects which my clients who reach out for counseling support with their trauma often express following of a sexual assault include: Feelings may include of loneliness, distress, vulnerability, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, guilt and shame. Physical reaction's include - breathing difficulties, chest tightness, sweating and shaking. Sleeping difficulties may include problems going to bed and to sleep, nightmares, fear of sleeping alone or sleeping with someone. Let's take a moment to address your nightmares.  The trouble with nightmares is that they can not only be unsettling in and of themselves, but can bring back painful, upsetting memories associated with the assault.  However, are some ways of managing some of the symptoms you are currently experiencing when they occur: Reassure yourself that you are safe and that the traumatic event that you are remembering is NOT happening now. Breathe slowly and deeply. Be aware of and understand your body’s response as natural physiological reactions to a traumatic experience; try to slow these physical reactions by continuing to breathe deeply and slowly, try to see and imagine your muscles relaxing. Being Present.  Stay in the moment - check your present reality by looking around, touching things, stamping your feet, looking in the mirror or talking to yourself. Confirm your physical safety – turn on the lights, walk around the house, check the locks. Take a drink of water. Wash your face or have a warm bath or shower. Focus on something else: read a book or magazine, watch TV, listen to the radio or relaxing music. Talk with someone - maybe your partner, friend or relative who is supportive. What you can do if nightmares persist - If, in the morning, you can put aside the nightmare and concentrate on getting on and doing what it is important to you then do. If, however, a nightmare persists or becomes particularly disruptive you might try the following: Some people find it helpful to write out the dreams and their reaction to it in a journal or in their phone, as a way to get it out of their head. If you continue to be disturbed by nightmares or feel there is something you wish to work out, it can be useful to find an experienced counsellor who you can work with. Your Road to Recovery There are many emotional and psychological reactions that victims of rape might experience including: Depression Thoughts of suicide Flashbacks Post traumatic stress disorderTo find healthy ways of coping with what happened, you may need to reach out for some professional support.  There are some things you can do to see if you can reduce some of your symptoms of the sadness and depression: Relaxation is a way to manage depression - which as mentioned will aid with any ocurance of nightmares and help you sleep better too.  Relaxation helps us unwind, which can improve your overall. Exercise Routine - Talking walks, light jogging, joining a group fitness class, yoga, or other forms of movements or workouts will raise the dopamine level in the brain, which in turn will lift your mood. You might want to avoid anything too strenuous exercises like running - it might wear you out quickly if your energy levels are low. Do something you enjoy! - You can avoid being alone or lose interest in previously pleasurable activities. Instead, you can work at it to make it feel like fun again.  Go to for a walk in a park, read a book, go for dinner, watch a good movie.   Over time, you may start to enjoy your favorite things again. Accept responsibilities - Depression may push you towards self isolation and move away from responsibilities at work or home.  However, attending to your responsibilities may provide a distraction from your worrying thoughts. Set yourself a routine - Depression can take away a well-structured daily routine. Setting a routine of the things you will like to do each day and sticking to it can be a huge help in managing sadness and depression. Talk to someone - Seeking help not a sign of weakness, and this is often underestimated. Talking to someone can be a huge gain in recovering from depression.   Professionals are here to help during such trying times in life. Join a support group - Meeting people and sharing your experience may help in your way to recovery. Having a trusted person to share your difficult time with is a good way to healing quickly. While will be helpful and important to surround yourself with supportive people, it is also wise to get some professional support through support groups, individual counseling, and recovery programs. The most important thing is to find what suits and works for you.  There are there are many in person support options available to people who have gone through such a traumatic event.  You mention that you do not want to talk to a therapist face-to-face - have you considered online option?  These give you different avenues to seek support - including a live chat with a therapist via messaging or a phone chat session, video options are also an option for down the line if you choose.   Some on line platforms such as BetterHelp also offer group sessions where you would be join an online event and talk with other people in similar circumstances. I do hope you are able to get to that place where you can reach out for some support with your journey of recovery.   In Kindness, Gaynor   
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 10/21/2021

what’s wrong with me?

Hi Butterfly,   There could be a number of things and possible diagnoses to explain what you are going through.  My first thought is potentially bipolar disorder as you described signfiicant mood swings, though you don't describe signficant manic symptoms so it would be bipolar type 2 if anything.  It sounds like you have more issues with depression than up/manic kinds of moods, as you stated you feel sad undertones even when happy.  Impulsivity and making reckless choices are also part of bipolar disorder so that is another thing that is consistent with that diagnosis.  Take in mind, it is really hard for me to make any formal diagnosis just based of a few sentences you wrote, so I highly recommend getting a formal evaluation from a therapist, psychologist, and/or psychiatrist.  In terms of bipolar disorder (if that was the condition), there are medications that can help even out moods and that may be an option.  Therapy to learn new coping skills to deal with depression and make better choices would also help.     You also described a signficant amount of anxiety and panic attacks.  It's entirely possible that there is a second diagnosis of panic disorder or some other anxiety disorder that is accompanied by panic attacks.  I do not want you reading this and thinking you have so many serious diagnoses and there is so much possibly wrong with you.  Mood disorders and anxiety overlap substantially and it's really not uncommon for people who have one or the other primarily to develop secondary or concurrent problems with the other.  People wind up becoming anxious that they have depression and then they become depressed over being anxiou and this occurs in a vicious cycle.     Depressed people tend to isolate and not practice social skills regularly.  You may feel you have to force yourself to get through social situations and thus, feel anxious and have panic when you have to attend them (as you don't feel safe and may be avoiding people due to mood swings).  Also, you do not sound like you are in the most secure an self-confident space - Hence, it's sort of normal that you'd be questioning yourself and feeling anxious in novel social situations and where you having seen certain people in a while.  Of course there are medications that help to treat anxiety as well and some of those may be the same medications that help to treat moods.  Again, I caution that I do not know enough about you to say this is what you need for sure but it's just a possibility.   Mostly, I would want you to know that all the symptoms you described are treatable and that there is reason to have hope.  I would suggest finding services I mentioned above so that you don't continue to suffer/have problems that could be treated.   Hope this helps!
(LMHC, CAP)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How to live happily when you are introvert, lonely, never understand others and never feel enough?

Dear Mandy,   Thank you very much for your message.   I understand that we are going through some fluctuations with our emotions and often it can feel like we are going backwards. However the reality is that the night is always darkest before the dawn. The reason you are feeling discouraged is because you are trying to move forward in this healing process, therefore when you do experience any kind of anxiety or depression you begin to doubt yourself in this process.   Meanwhile, as a human being we will always have times when we feel anxious or depressed. That is normal and natural. Just like there are days that it rains, there are also days that the sun shines. This isn't a problem to be fixed.    We will only feel more depressed if we constantly compare ourselves with our old selves in the past that seemed to be happier, while we forget that back then we did not have this much on our plate to worry and we did not experience what we have experienced recently that gave us hurts and pain. Therefore it isn't fair to our current self if we always think about how to go back in time, that isn't possible anyways.   To further recover from feelings of depression and anxiety, we must constantly be thinking about how to develop a healthy, positive interaction with ourselves.   Happy relationships all depend on how happy we are with ourselves. So how happy are we?   If you feel like you're on a constant quest for inner bliss, you might be asking yourself: If there was one secret on how to be happy in your relationship or marriage, workplace, home life and family wouldn't you have learned it by now?   Are you constantly searching, asking people who seem happy, reading articles and watching videos on how to be happy? If so, you're certainly not alone. Online search engines get millions of people asking this question, and the internet is full of promises that this strategy or that formula will deliver you to a place of lasting happiness. Yet, many miss the main point: they never even touch on the fact that the real key to happiness with others is happiness with yourself.   If you haven't noticed or been here yourself (most of us have), an insecure person's need for constant approval is exhausting. Those who are happy and love themselves don't hang around with that kind of negative energy. Since we can't change other people, lead by example and others will follow in your footsteps, becoming good role models themselves. Here are 5 lessons that I learned (still learning) to find peace within ourselves and enjoy true happiness that does not depend on others.   1. Forgive Yourself   Forgive yourself for anything and everything you think you caused that was bad in your or someone else's life. You can't go back for a do-over, so learn the lesson and move forward, promising to better handle any similar situation that may arise. Now you're freed up to relax more and have greater peace of mind without beating yourself up over guilt and resentment.   2. Understand That You Are Complete   And understand that, "You complete me," was just a cheesy line in a Tom Cruise movie. (I loved that line at first too... for a few seconds, until I realized how inaccurate it was. Keep reading to learn why!) The reason most of us don't feel complete, and latched onto that line like it was the end-all be-all relationship concept is because we're waiting for someone else to be or do something that makes us feel whole.   First of all, as mentioned, we are already complete. But even if we weren't, no one else would be able to complete us anyway - it's impossible. When we put our happiness in someone else's hands we set them up for failure. Why would we do that to someone we care about? Because we don't realize we are the only ones who control our happiness.   Does this mean if you're unhappy it's your fault? Yes. Does this also put you in a position of power in your life? Absolutely. You want your relationships to be the joining of two complete individuals to create a third, larger entity so that you're a part of something, not just half of something. The whole "my other half" thing just breeds insecurity, which leads to the most painful relationship challenges like jealousy, abuse and infidelity. Why on earth would you want your happiness to be determined by someone or something outside of yourself?   3. Get To Know Yourself   When do you feel you're at your best when you're alone? Are you reading your favorite book overlooking a beautiful view? Enjoying your favorite tea, watching a movie? Shopping outside at the farmers market? Listening to your favorite music? How does your body feel? Healthy? Need some work? No one will be happier than you when your body looks good and functions well. This is a good confidence builder and when you have more confidence, you look better and healthier, and carry yourself in a completely different way that attracts confident people to you.   Here's a personal example: I had a spider vein on my lower leg and didn't feel comfortable in shorts for years. I finally had it removed and couldn't believe how much better I felt. My posture and confidence in shorts was much improved. Some things are easily fixable and for the others we may need to adjust our perspective a bit.   What are your favorite parts of yourself - your appearance, your character traits, your values or your personality? Do you get a kick out of your great sense of humor? I get a kick out of mine. I laugh to myself quite often! Are you really excited that you value honesty, which has attracted honest, genuine people to you? Are your eyes or hands or knees your favorite part of your body? Get to know your favorite parts and love them all.   4. Take A Good Look At Yourself   Take a look and notice how amazing you are. Keep your self-talk positive. There are things supermodels hate about themselves, so don't go thinking you're the only one who has dislikes. You can be happy with yourself even if there are things you'd like to change. I've always been shorter than most other people and would have given anything to be "normal" height. It took me 27 years of hating my height when many other people always wanted to be taller and would have traded me in an instant. Look how many years I experienced self-induced suffering. (This describes all suffering by the way. Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.)   What are you good at, best at and want to improve at? What are your talents and what skills have you developed? What would you like to do in your life that you haven't done yet? What is the best thing you've ever done? Are you noticing that you might ask some of these questions on a date to get to know someone and determine if you like them or not? We get to know people by asking questions although we rarely ask them of ourselves. And when someone else asks, we sometimes answer differently than when we're asking ourselves.   5. Ask Yourself Questions   To find out more about yourself, ask yourself the questions you would ask on a date. The quality of your relationships is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Ask good questions and lots of them (more than you would ask on a date; it's OK to be a chatterbox with yourself) to build that strong, healthy relationship with yourself.   Take time away from other people and be happily alone. At first, it might feel weird choosing to be alone but being alone and being lonely are two very different things. Dr. Wayne Dyer says, "You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with." I went from being scared to sit alone in Starbucks for fear some stranger would think I didn't have any friends to loving going places alone. I have attracted wonderful friends by learning how to like myself and since like attracts like (energy), they happily do things on their own too. Yes, we do enjoy each other's company as well; we don't just talk about all the things we did by ourselves (although that would be funny).   Welcome to your inner power. You are qualified, capable and worthy of being happy with yourself regardless of anyone else on the planet so lead by example and show others how it's done. You will see that you can have much more fulfilling relationships without putting the responsibility of your happiness on someone else.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Can depression be really cured.

Good day Sunlight, and thank you for reaching out for help with regards to the distress you are experiencing as a result of the depression you are experiencing. I can understand how distressing feeling like a failure and not trusting anyone can be, and for what it’s worth, I assure you that depression CAN be cured, albeit you will still experience periods of sadness at times. It is important to know that while the way you are feeling did not all of the sudden happen overnight, nor is changing out of the “slump” that you are in, and simply by taking small actions each day you can surely improve your functioning and overall experience in life. Below are just a few tips and small actions that you can take that have been empirically shown to have a positive effect on alleviating depression, increasing self-esteem, and improving one’s life experience from an emotional, cognitive, and psychological standpoint.   1) Wear black and invest in nice-smelling cologne or perfume. How you dress (and how you smell) can make a difference. According to a 2015 study that assessed what colors people associate with different personality traits, black was voted as a "confident" color that makes people think of attractiveness, intelligence, and confidence. Additionally, the clothes you wear can have an impact on self-esteem and self-perception. In another study, men were divided into three groups: one group dressed in suits, another in casual attire and the last group dressed in sweatpants. They were then asked to roleplay a negotiation scene for getting a raise at work. The results of this study prove the men dressed in suits (dressed for success) scored higher levels of dominance, job performance, and confidence, which ultimately resulted in them getting better negotiation deals in the roleplaying scenes. Another study has proved that how we smell greatly affects our self-confidence. Not only that but how we smell can also have an impact on how others view and treat us, which can also have a positive impact on our self-esteem.   2) Listen to bass-heavy music. Did you know that the type of music you most frequently listen to can subconsciously be driving your insecurity? Music with a louder baseline can make you feel more powerful, dominant, determined, and motivated.   3) Take more photos (including selfies). Researcher has shown that taking photos of yourself (or seeing yourself in a mirror, paying attention to the way you look) can actually raise your self-confidence. In the study, a group of 41 students took three types of photos every day: one of themselves smiling, a photo of something that made them happy that day, and a photo of something they believed could make someone else happy. Each type of photo had positive effects on the participant's self-esteem levels, but the photo they took of themselves reported the highest levels of increasing self-confidence.   4) Talking to yourself in the second person will help improve your confidence. While it's important to take note of how we think about ourselves (because this says a lot about our self-confidence), did you know that positive self-talk (actually talking out loud to yourself in a positive way) is scientifically proven to help with self-esteem? If you have ever tried to psych yourself up for a job interview with the phrase "you've got this!", you're on the right track, according to science.   5) Self-awareness and positive affirmations help. Confidence can come from being honest with yourself, but that is much harder to accomplish when your feelings of worthlessness are telling you there are no redeeming qualities about yourself. According to new brain-imaging studies published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, when people practice self-affirmations (positive self-statements), the brain's self-processing (medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex) and valuation cortex (ventral striatum and ventral medial prefrontal cortex) are both activated. The results of these scans highlight the positive neural processes that happen when we self-affirm, proving that self-affirmations work.   6) Identifying and challenging your self-criticism. We all speak to ourselves, and when we do it in encouraging ways we can feel pretty good. People with low self-esteem often have a harsh and critical inner voice though. Some therapists like to call this a ‘bully voice’. The psychologist Paul Gilbert often uses an analogy about the kind of teacher you would want for a young child: would you want one who is harsh and punitive, or one who is kind and supportive? One way of overcoming low self-esteem is to change the way we speak to ourselves, or to have a different relationship with your inner voice. Some of the techniques that psychologists teach include monitoring your self-critical thoughts using self-esteem worksheets like a self-critical thought monitoring record (can be found on the internet), challenging your negative thinking using thought records, and learning about your unhelpful thinking styles.   To get you started on your process of recovery and regaining a life of happiness, enjoyment, purpose, and more positive and pleasurable experiences, I recommend doing many, if not all, of the following coping skills and techniques once a day when experiencing any of the symptoms of depression you identified and I (hopefully) elaborated on and clarified from a clinical perspective. It’s important to know you probably won’t be motivated to do any of them at first because depression frequently saps motivation. In other words, know that it’s normal to feel unmotivated until you’re halfway done. Individuals who frequently practice these coping skills do get better. The seven techniques can be memorized with the acronym MY PEERS. 1. Meaning: Find small ways to be of service to others. Find personal meaning by serving something larger than yourself. Remember service doesn’t have to be big to count. Consider this, “Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue… as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself.” – Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning 2. Your goals: Find workable goals that give you a sense of accomplishment. Most people feel guilty when talking about goals because they set unreasonable or unworkable goals. A goal is workable if it’s: Something you can control (i.e., it doesn’t depend on others) Manageable (i.e., not overwhelming) Realistic for you (not for someone else) Measurable (i.e., you know whether or not it is done or getting done) If something goes wrong with your goal, adopt a “what can I learn from this?” attitude (versus a judgmental, “this is why I’m horrible” attitude). Also, be careful when comparing your progress with others. We usually compare our biggest weakness with another person’s biggest strength. This is unfair (and usually not accurate anyhow). 3. Pleasant Events: Schedule pleasant activities or events. Don’t wait for yourself to be “in the mood.” For example, give yourself permission for a 30-minute “vacation” or schedule a healthy hobby every day. Just remember to do these activities with the right attitude (see Engagement). Also, practice gratitude — take time to notice what went well today, not just what went wrong. Consider keeping a gratitude journal. Know that being grateful for your blessings doesn’t mean you have to discount your problems. 4. Engagement: Stay in the present. This practice is sometimes called mindfulness. As best you can, during activities try not to be in your head with self-judgment. You may not be able to turn off the self-judgment, but you can notice it and bring yourself gently back to the present. Research shows that people with higher self-compassion also have higher self-worth or self-confidence. For those who have difficulty with self-compassion or healthy engagement, you can find self-compassion exercises and Mindfulness Based Stress reduction courses online. 5. Exercise: And, eat right too. Doing moderate exercise about five times a week (30 minutes a pop) can dramatically help your mood. Moderate exercise is a level of activity where it is difficult to sing from your diaphragm while doing it. Also pay attention to how the type of food or drink you’re eating influences your mood. You don’t have to do fad diets, but anyone will be depressed if they frequently binge on carbs, junk food, and energy drinks. Remember the virtue of moderation. Also, avoiding alcohol (a depressant) can also help reduce symptoms of depression. 6. Relationships: Focus on people who lift you up. Interact frequently with others that bring you up (not people that bring you down). While it’s OK to have some alone time, find a balance and don’t isolate yourself or the depression will linger. 7. Sleep Regularly: Try to keep a regular sleep schedule. Keep a balance with not too little and not too much sleep. Staying up late one night and then sleeping in excessively the next day is a sure-fire way to feed depression. Also, don’t try to solve problems late at night when your brain is half-asleep. As you practice these coping skills, know that you’re on the path to overcoming depression In contrast, depression tends to linger when patients make up a reason why they can’t do these things. No matter what medication you’re taking, doing several of these activities every day — especially when you don’t feel like it — is vital to the treatment of depression. These positive coping skills may take time and practice, but if we don’t take the time to be well now, the periods of “unwellness” may be forced upon us later. I hope this response provided you with some answers and hope in your desire to change your present experience, and please feel free to reach out to me should you wish to engage in individual talk psychotherapy or have any other question pertaining to the alleviation of depression.
(LMHC, MCAP, TIRF)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Sometimes I would feel so irritable and angry and I want to know what's the root of it.

Hello! Some of us just tend to feel more than others.  We live in what is called an emotional mind a lot.  It's not bad or good, it's just simply the way you are.  As humans, we have emotions, and thank goodness at that!  What would our lives be if we didn't have emotions?  We would feel nothing!  However, it's this strong negative emotion that is hard for most of us.  Please do feel your emotions.  I would never tell anyone not to feel their emotions.  However, we can try to bring our emotions down just a bit if they are causing much distress.  A quick tool you can use is a technique called "checking the facts".  This comes from a treatment model called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.  The technique involves you thinking about the facts in the situation.  What are the facts?  Write them down.  If you are feeling angry, you can acknowledge that you are feeling angry, but when you check the facts without imposing judgment, oftentimes you can still feel angry but to a lesser degree which then helps you respond the way you intend and want to.   When we are offended by others, it is often because of the story we are telling ourselves about the other person or about ourselves.  For example, let's say you are at a party and your good friend walks past you and doesn't acknowledge you.  You then get really upset and do not speak to them all night.  What is the story you may be telling yourself?  They are mad at me, they don't like me.  It's important that you get quiet enough in your head that you can ask yourself, what am I telling myself about this situation?  Then you can separate what is yours from what is the other person's.  Again, when you do that, then you can respond the way you want to by may be asking, "Hey, I noticed you walked right past me".  They may then say, I did not see you!  This is a very simple example, situations are usually more complex than that.  However, the concept is the same!   Being alone is sometimes needed, it's helpful in small amounts.  However, if you find that you are alone and empty, that is concerning.  If you are alone and joyful then alone is fine.  I understand that this may be where you are comfortable however it's the emptiness that can really lead to depression.  During the time that you are feeling empty, please do two things; go outside for a few minutes and practice mindfulness.  Using your senses, notice what you are seeing, what you are hearing, feel the sun on your face, the breeze in your hair, hear raindrops if it's raining.  The second thing is to practice gratitude.  Take a look at your day, write down three things that you are grateful for that day.  Some days are going to be tough, and we have to look for smaller things like taking a shower or brushing our teeth, and other days will be easier to express gratitude.  Make this a daily practice and you will feel better.  Hope this helps!  
(LCSW)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How to handle my life during pandemic and political issue?

Dear Shiny,   Thank you very much for your message.   I understand that we are going through some fluctuations with our emotions and often it can feel like we are going backwards. However the reality is that the night is always darkest before the dawn. The reason you are feeling discouraged is because you are trying to move forward in this healing process, therefore when you do experience any kind of anxiety or depression you begin to doubt yourself in this process.   Meanwhile, as a human being we will always have times when we feel anxious or depressed. That is normal and natural. Just like there are days that it rains, there are also days that the sun shines. This isn't a problem to be fixed.    We will only feel more depressed if we constantly compare ourselves with our old selves in the past that seemed to be happier, while we forget that back then we did not have this much on our plate to worry and we did not experience what we have experienced recently that gave us hurts and pain. Therefore it isn't fair to our current self if we always think about how to go back in time, that isn't possible anyways.   To further recover from feelings of depression and anxiety, we must constantly be thinking about how to develop a healthy, positive interaction with ourselves.   Happy relationships all depend on how happy we are with ourselves. So how happy are we?   If you feel like you're on a constant quest for inner bliss, you might be asking yourself: If there was one secret on how to be happy in your relationship or marriage, workplace, home life and family wouldn't you have learned it by now?   Are you constantly searching, asking people who seem happy, reading articles and watching videos on how to be happy? If so, you're certainly not alone. Online search engines get millions of people asking this question, and the internet is full of promises that this strategy or that formula will deliver you to a place of lasting happiness. Yet, many miss the main point: they never even touch on the fact that the real key to happiness with others is happiness with yourself.   If you haven't noticed or been here yourself (most of us have), an insecure person's need for constant approval is exhausting. Those who are happy and love themselves don't hang around with that kind of negative energy. Since we can't change other people, lead by example and others will follow in your footsteps, becoming good role models themselves. Here are 5 lessons that I learned (still learning) to find peace within ourselves and enjoy true happiness that does not depend on others.   1. Forgive Yourself   Forgive yourself for anything and everything you think you caused that was bad in your or someone else's life. You can't go back for a do-over, so learn the lesson and move forward, promising to better handle any similar situation that may arise. Now you're freed up to relax more and have greater peace of mind without beating yourself up over guilt and resentment.   2. Understand That You Are Complete   And understand that, "You complete me," was just a cheesy line in a Tom Cruise movie. (I loved that line at first too... for a few seconds, until I realized how inaccurate it was. Keep reading to learn why!) The reason most of us don't feel complete, and latched onto that line like it was the end-all be-all relationship concept is because we're waiting for someone else to be or do something that makes us feel whole.   First of all, as mentioned, we are already complete. But even if we weren't, no one else would be able to complete us anyway - it's impossible. When we put our happiness in someone else's hands we set them up for failure. Why would we do that to someone we care about? Because we don't realize we are the only ones who control our happiness.   Does this mean if you're unhappy it's your fault? Yes. Does this also put you in a position of power in your life? Absolutely. You want your relationships to be the joining of two complete individuals to create a third, larger entity so that you're a part of something, not just half of something. The whole "my other half" thing just breeds insecurity, which leads to the most painful relationship challenges like jealousy, abuse and infidelity. Why on earth would you want your happiness to be determined by someone or something outside of yourself?   3. Get To Know Yourself   When do you feel you're at your best when you're alone? Are you reading your favorite book overlooking a beautiful view? Enjoying your favorite tea, watching a movie? Shopping outside at the farmers market? Listening to your favorite music? How does your body feel? Healthy? Need some work? No one will be happier than you when your body looks good and functions well. This is a good confidence builder and when you have more confidence, you look better and healthier, and carry yourself in a completely different way that attracts confident people to you.   Here's a personal example: I had a spider vein on my lower leg and didn't feel comfortable in shorts for years. I finally had it removed and couldn't believe how much better I felt. My posture and confidence in shorts was much improved. Some things are easily fixable and for the others we may need to adjust our perspective a bit.   What are your favorite parts of yourself - your appearance, your character traits, your values or your personality? Do you get a kick out of your great sense of humor? I get a kick out of mine. I laugh to myself quite often! Are you really excited that you value honesty, which has attracted honest, genuine people to you? Are your eyes or hands or knees your favorite part of your body? Get to know your favorite parts and love them all.   4. Take A Good Look At Yourself   Take a look and notice how amazing you are. Keep your self-talk positive. There are things supermodels hate about themselves, so don't go thinking you're the only one who has dislikes. You can be happy with yourself even if there are things you'd like to change. I've always been shorter than most other people and would have given anything to be "normal" height. It took me 27 years of hating my height when many other people always wanted to be taller and would have traded me in an instant. Look how many years I experienced self-induced suffering. (This describes all suffering by the way. Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.)   What are you good at, best at and want to improve at? What are your talents and what skills have you developed? What would you like to do in your life that you haven't done yet? What is the best thing you've ever done? Are you noticing that you might ask some of these questions on a date to get to know someone and determine if you like them or not? We get to know people by asking questions although we rarely ask them of ourselves. And when someone else asks, we sometimes answer differently than when we're asking ourselves.   5. Ask Yourself Questions   To find out more about yourself, ask yourself the questions you would ask on a date. The quality of your relationships is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Ask good questions and lots of them (more than you would ask on a date; it's OK to be a chatterbox with yourself) to build that strong, healthy relationship with yourself.   Take time away from other people and be happily alone. At first, it might feel weird choosing to be alone but being alone and being lonely are two very different things. Dr. Wayne Dyer says, "You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with." I went from being scared to sit alone in Starbucks for fear some stranger would think I didn't have any friends to loving going places alone. I have attracted wonderful friends by learning how to like myself and since like attracts like (energy), they happily do things on their own too. Yes, we do enjoy each other's company as well; we don't just talk about all the things we did by ourselves (although that would be funny).   Welcome to your inner power. You are qualified, capable and worthy of being happy with yourself regardless of anyone else on the planet so lead by example and show others how it's done. You will see that you can have much more fulfilling relationships without putting the responsibility of your happiness on someone else.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Do you think I need to see a therapist still or not?

Therapy can be helpful when you find the right fit in a therapist and you are feeling the movitation to work on the treatment plan.  If you are asking if your situation could be addressed in therapy, absolutely!  You are carrying with you an experience impacting your mental health.  Resentment is like drinking poison every day and expecting the other person to get sick when really the person suffering is you.  Let's talk about developmental trauma and healing from adverse childhood experiences.   Developmental trauma is more than experiencing a tragedy or traumatic experience.  When a child is exposed to abuse or neglect and the person who is responsible to take care of them either doesn't do anything to resolve it OR doesn't keep them safe when they could have OR contributes to the experience a child is impacted negatively.  Through these formative years they may develop complex emotional, cognitive and physical ailments.  Developmental traumas can range from divorce to imprisoned parents to any type of abuse or neglect including being threatened they will be victim to sexual abuse. These experiences can impact everyone differently. In general though, trust is broken and the way you find yourself navigating the world and the people in it can be challenging because maybe you find yourself with low trust for yourself and other adults.  This might then lead to a resistance to the painful experience of living in an unpredictable world.  What does that mean? It means you might find ways to control your experieces such as drinking to briefly escape emotional pain; This leads to suffering, far worse than the original emotional pain.   How does one find joy and happiness in their adult life after adverse childhood experiences?  Every person has their own unique journey to their best life.  The resentment and anger you carry with you contributes to YOUR suffering.  It is time to relieve yourself of the burden and find your happiness.  We cannot untoast bread, we cannot change the past.  We can choose happiness despite the history of being violated and abandoned.  There are several approaches to take including cognitive behavioral therapy and narrative therapy.  You are in control of your life and your happiness.  Please feel free to continue your education on this topic at the better help online article:   https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/ > Trauma > Development Trauma Disorder Is Not As Complex As It Sounds Recovery from these childhood experiences requires you to find safety in your life and hope in your future. Bessel van der Kolk quoted, "The single most important issure for traumatized people is to find a sense of safety in their own bodies." Safety is found in trusting one self through difficult situations, developing resiliency or an ability to bounce back from difficult times, and feeling competent in navigating your world.  Recovery includes forming hobbies and social connnectedness that brings you a sense of wellbeing.  You can explore all of this in therapy! I wish you all the best and hope you find your pathway to recovery.    Be well ~ Terra   
(LSCSW, LCAC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Is it possible to survive in an emotionally abusive relationship?

Hello! I am glad that you reached out. I am sorry to hear that you have multiple concerns happening all at once (being in an emotionally abusive relationship, pregnant, and financially unstable). Situations like this can affect your self-esteem and bring on symptoms of depression as it has for you. This indicates that it would be very beneficial for you to seek professional support. Depression and anxiety symptoms can be difficult to deal with on your own and therapy can be an effective treatment for a host of mental and emotional problems, including reducing feelings of depression and building your self-worth! Talking about your thoughts and feelings with a supportive person can often make you feel better. It can be very healing, in and of itself, to voice your worries or talk about something that’s weighing on your mind. And it feels good to be listened to—to know that someone else cares about you and wants to help. While it can be very helpful to talk about your problems to close friends and family members, sometimes you need help that the people around you aren’t able to provide. When you need extra support, an outside perspective, or some expert guidance, talking to a therapist or counselor can help. While the support of friends and family is important, therapy is different. Therapists are professionally-trained listeners who can help you get to the root of your problems, overcome emotional challenges, and make positive changes in your life. You don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from therapy. Many people in therapy seek help for everyday concerns: relationship problems, job stress, or self-doubt, for example. Others turn to therapy during difficult times, such as divorce. But in order to reap its benefits, it’s important to choose the right therapist—someone you trust who makes you feel cared for and has the experience to help you make changes for the better in your life. A good therapist helps you become stronger and more self-aware. Finding the right therapist will probably take some time and work, but it’s worth the effort. The connection you have with your therapist is essential. You need someone who you can trust—someone you feel comfortable talking to about difficult subjects and intimate secrets, someone who will be a partner in your recovery. Therapy won’t be effective unless you have this bond, so take some time at the beginning to find the right person. It’s okay to shop around and ask questions when interviewing potential therapists. As you start to resolve your past and current issues you are more likely to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and build your self-worth and be on a path to a healthier future. I wish you the best as you move ahead!
Answered on 10/21/2021

What should I do if I feel so lonely and don't have any friends in my city?

Good day booboo and thank you for reaching out for help with regards to the distress you are experiencing as a result of the loneliness from being bullied and believing that you don’t have any friends. Let’s first discuss the loneliness that you mention experiencing. Simply put, loneliness has been defined as “the discrepancy between what you have and what you want from your relationships." It’s not necessarily about being physically surrounded by people, because you might feel especially lonely in a crowd, but about your mentality. When you feel lonely, it’s usually because you aren’t quite satisfied with what you have, whether it’s in that moment or throughout your life. And until you're able to pinpoint and then address what you're dissatisfied with, you'll feel isolated, left out, and in need of companionship. The upside: Feeling lonely isn't necessarily a bad thing, Cacioppo notes. It's a reminder that something's off about your social environment and that you need to prioritize your happiness, as it appears you have done by reaching out for help in this matter. Chances are, though, you're not too grateful for loneliness while you're experiencing it. In fact, the feeling makes you more likely to interpret reality negatively, which can bring on a ton of self-loathing and self-criticism, she says. The key to turning your mood around? Adjusting your social lens to one that’s more positive. Easier said than done, right? I mean, if it were so easy you might have figured it out by now and wouldn’t be feeling the way you are feeling. But that’s ok, we all need help sometimes and while I do not personally know you, I am sure that you have the capacity to work through this issue with some things you can actually do to feel a little less lonely, a little more confident, and way more connected.   Though there are things you can do to help yourself feel less lonely, they're not all foolproof. Sometimes you won't succeed. People won't want to make connections with you, they'll be too busy, or you'll still end up feeling lonely. It happens. Those moments will be tough, but the key is to persevere anyway. You won't want to at the time, but if you set out to tackle your loneliness knowing it's a win-some-lose-some game, you won't be so quick to give up.   Don't deny or distance yourself from people in your life, specifically potentially healthy people. Certainly it might be wise to distance yourself from those who have bullied you in the past, but surely not everyone in your city has bullied you. There must be some “good apples” somewhere. We just need you to find them. Because of all the shameful and self-critical feelings that accompany loneliness, a common reaction is to kid yourself into thinking you don't actually need anyone, things are better this way, and you'll do just fine on your own. You might actually believe that for a while, too. Down the line, however, this response will be harmful, to your mental and physical health. People need people, and everyone needs to feel loved. So, as soon as you can put a label to your loneliness, it's time to try and do something about it.   One thing you can do to start with addressing the negative feelings you are having is to write down positive memories. This is one of those pieces of advice you've perhaps been given before, but never actually committed to. Now's the time to give it a real shot. Just dedicating 15 minutes per day to jotting down special moments you've shared with friends and family can be enough to overcome negative feelings. The process will remind you you're not alone, and the memories are bound to improve your mood.   Smile. Smiling at yourself in the mirror is an unusual ask. I recommend closing your eyes and thinking of the last time you made someone smile or laugh and let your body do the rest. Will it feel strange? Yes. But, will it help? Also yes. Just thinking of a time when you were feeling giddy will automatically bring a smile to your face, a move that will set off all those feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain and trick you into feeling happier than you were just a few secs before. Once you're feeling a little better, hold onto that feeling by leaning into something that makes you feel really good, such as cracking open your favorite book or going for a run.   Take note of all the things you're grateful for. When you're lonely, you'll bury yourself in your thoughts, usually bummer ones, but, as they say, "gratitude turns what we have into enough." To get yourself out of that headspace, write down a few things you're grateful for (think: your job, a roof over your head, and a supportive family). Doing this will shift your thoughts from ones about you and your slump, to those about other people you care about and positive factors in your life.   Volunteer. Loneliness isn't dangerous by itself, it's what we do with it and how we recover that can be dangerous for our physical and mental health. To make sure you're letting loneliness drive you toward the right thing, consider signing up to volunteer. Dedicating a day to working with the elderly or making meals at a soup kitchen will fulfill your desire to feel needed and draw you away from the self-centered mindset that loneliness brings on. Plus, the time you spend getting to know the people you're serving will bring out some of the intimacy and connection you've been craving.   Join a club or take a class. It might make you uncomfortable at first, but it might also be totally worth it. Sign up for a pottery class or a club for fellow true crime documentary lovers, for example. Oh, the club you want doesn't exist? Start one. Interacting with people with whom you share a common interest makes for a better chance at forming meaningful connections, which is usually what lonely people are missing from life.   Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Yeah, you probably already have waking up, working, eating, and exercising down pat, but maybe your life's in need of a little more structure. Feelings of loneliness often feel like they'll last forever and there's nothing you can do to escape the dark cloud hanging over your head, but that's not true. It can be hard to remind yourself that loneliness is usually temporary, so I recommend a strict schedule. It's harder to feel alone when you have a plan and a purpose. So, set alarms for an early-morning meditation, a phone call with your sister, and an evening face mask. Pre-planning them will instill you with a sense of control, too. Once you've come up with a schedule, stick to it as much as you can. It'll be tough sometimes, but as long as you take it one day at a time, the structured routine will feel more and more natural.   Go for a walk. It gets your body moving, gives you a chance to clear your mind, and even offers opportunities to run into a neighbor for a quick chat. Even if you don't interact with anyone, studies show walks have significant effects on mood. Just a few minutes outside can stop your mood from worsening and can help combat feelings of dread that loneliness brings on.   Pick up the phone and call someone you love and who cares about you. Rather than exchanging the same old how are yous and fines, actively listen to and really engage with the person on the other line. When they mention something about their lives, ask them for the backstory and let them talk. People are thirsty for this kind of interaction. Everyone wants to be heard, so give someone in your life the gift of really listening to them, and let their stories take you out of your lonely headspace for a while.   Talk to a mental health professional. A psychologist won't be able to bring you out of your loneliness, only you can do that, but they can help you come to terms with the situation. They'll remind you of how much power you have to move forward from this by helping you pinpoint what in your life might be off-kilter and contributing to your loneliness. Once you isolate the cause, a therapist will help you come up with a game plan to address it.   Take a social risk. If you're feeling lonely because you don't believe any of your relationships are substantive, now's your chance to do something about it. Yeah, you might get rejected, but eventually you'll find a someone or even a whole tribe who ~gets~ you. Start off somewhere you feel comfortable. Take your workout class, for example: Approach the person who high fives you after each segment or notices when you miss a class. Strike up a conversation as best you can, and you may just hit it off. (Yes, new friends!) Stuck at home? Try reaching out to an old friend via Instagram DM to see what's new with them.   Turn your loneliness into solitude. While they might sound the same, solitude is different because it's a choice. You could let your loneliness consume you (let's face it, sometimes you can't help it), or you can turn your loneliness into solitude, time spent alone doing something that's meaningful to you. Maybe you express how you're feeling by painting, writing a short story, doing a puzzle, learning a dance routine, or recording a cover of that song you can't get out of your head. Since loneliness can stick around for a while, it helps to have an outlet. At-home workouts are an excellent outlet for solitude, too.   And finally, don't busy yourself. Many people try to run away from loneliness. They'll busy themselves with needless things like second jobs or extra hours at work when they don't need the money as a way to stifle loneliness. That's not the right move. It might help you forget you're lonely for a bit, but you'll only end up feeling worse in the end. The key is to slow down for a bit and focus on something you really love or something you've always wanted to do but never did because sticking to the mundane won't help much.   I hope you found this information helpful, and should there be anything else I can do to help or support you through this process please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can do this!
(LMHC, MCAP, TIRF)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How to know if it's depression or just a bad period in life. How can I manage it?

Hi! This is Danielle, a Better Help counselor. I hope that I can provide a helpful response. You asked an excellent question! You are right- sometimes depression can be chronic/ongoing, but it can also be episodic. Usually, we call chronic depression Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Some of the hallmark features of MDD is having a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day. One might report feeling sad, helpless, empty, hopeless, etc. Others might notice this too. Additional symptoms include sleep difficulties, lack of energy, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness, lack of motivation, and morbid thoughts about death and dying- to name a few. These symptoms can cause significant distress or impairment in work, school, relationships, or other important areas of functioning. I think it's essential that a person rule out biomedical factors first. If you can see your primary care doctor, they can help determine if medical factors contribute to the depressive symptoms. However, depressive symptoms may also correlate with ones' environment, other medications, life circumstances, and significant life stressors. Being a college student these days is not easy. But, regular counseling can help with ongoing check-ins of the various domains of functioning, safety and stabilization, maintaining positive connections, motivation, and exploring referral sources. I commend you for recognizing the value of counseling. However, I also understand that there are barriers to accessing treatment at this time. Some colleges and universities offer free or reduced rate counseling or comparable resources. I wonder if your school can provide some support. If this does not exist at your school and you cannot receive therapy with Better Help, it might be helpful to establish a solid self-care plan in the meantime. Self-care plans do not have to cost anything. I recommend that your self-care plan involve regularly checking in with these various life-domains: Relationships, physical fitness/exercise, sleep, nutrition, pleasant activities, emotional health/wellness, professional/academic development, spirituality/purpose/faith/reason for being, and anything else you find meaningful. Consider how well you rate the way things are going. If there's anything you're unsatisfied with or would like to change, consider making short and long-term goals for each domain concerning to you. For example, what specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic goal could you make about broken or lost relationships? Another example could be setting a goal to see a primary care doctor to explore the possibility of medical concerns or even medication if that interests you. Creating a self-care plan might also give a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. You do not have to resolve everything all at once. Just a little at a time will make a difference. Again, I commend you for asking questions and beginning the steps toward your healing.  Thank you,  Danielle 
(LCPC, CAC-AD, NCC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How to cope with my depression and my PTSD?

HI, I hope this finds you well. it seems that you have been managing a lot and taking that initial step to get that support is incredibly brave and I commend you for it. When it comes to our emotional health and well-being it's hard to know how or when to begin especially if we have been carrying our depression/ anxiety around like armor for longer than we haven't. Taking the first step in seeking support and taking an active role in your healing is where you begin. There is no timeline or appropriate way to heal: healing is not linear and looks different for everyone. Therapy gives you the opportunity to explore your feelings in a safe/ non judgemental way and identify strategies to understand and manage your feelings. It's a safe place to objectively reflect on where you have been, what you have gone through, and identify where you plan to go. Often times it's the middle piece of being able to be in the here and now is where people struggle. Counseling can support you in gaining the tools/ insight to navigate this journey called life. Counseling cannot undo what has happened to you but it can help you gain perspective on how to proceed forward. Counseling can teach you to be more responsive rather than reactive in situations moving forward and it gives you the space to check in with yourself and ask 'how are you feeling really?' It's okay to not be okay and having the self-compassion to ask for and receive that help is key. Feelings of panic and anxiety when left unchecked will show up as an unwelcome guest more and more frequently in your day-to-day living from your relationships, to your career and to even impact your physical health. During the pandemic feelings of anxiety and depression felt magnified and we are still left to pick up the pieces. Let me help you do some of that heavy lifting so you can begin to focus on making room for the better days that are ahead of you. First things first I want to support you in achieving your optimal emotional safety and well-being. Here's to the beginning of a new chapter of self-discovery the opportunities are endless. I'm rooting for you! You are not alone in this journey!  Tara Denneny, LCSW
Answered on 10/21/2021

Chronic depression

Dear Krish,   Thank you very much for your message.   I understand that we are going through some fluctuations with our emotions and often it can feel like we are going backwards. However the reality is that the night is always darkest before the dawn. The reason you are feeling discouraged is because you are trying to move forward in this healing process, therefore when you do experience any kind of anxiety or depression you begin to doubt yourself in this process.   Meanwhile, as a human being we will always have times when we feel anxious or depressed. That is normal and natural. Just like there are days that it rains, there are also days that the sun shines. This isn't a problem to be fixed.    We will only feel more depressed if we constantly compare ourselves with our old selves in the past that seemed to be happier, while we forget that back then we did not have this much on our plate to worry and we did not experience what we have experienced recently that gave us hurts and pain. Therefore it isn't fair to our current self if we always think about how to go back in time, that isn't possible anyways.   To further recover from feelings of depression and anxiety, we must constantly be thinking about how to develop a healthy, positive interaction with ourselves.   Happy relationships all depend on how happy we are with ourselves. So how happy are we?   If you feel like you're on a constant quest for inner bliss, you might be asking yourself: If there was one secret on how to be happy in your relationship or marriage, workplace, home life and family wouldn't you have learned it by now?   Are you constantly searching, asking people who seem happy, reading articles and watching videos on how to be happy? If so, you're certainly not alone. Online search engines get millions of people asking this question, and the internet is full of promises that this strategy or that formula will deliver you to a place of lasting happiness. Yet, many miss the main point: they never even touch on the fact that the real key to happiness with others is happiness with yourself.   If you haven't noticed or been here yourself (most of us have), an insecure person's need for constant approval is exhausting. Those who are happy and love themselves don't hang around with that kind of negative energy. Since we can't change other people, lead by example and others will follow in your footsteps, becoming good role models themselves. Here are 5 lessons that I learned (still learning) to find peace within ourselves and enjoy true happiness that does not depend on others.   1. Forgive Yourself   Forgive yourself for anything and everything you think you caused that was bad in your or someone else's life. You can't go back for a do-over, so learn the lesson and move forward, promising to better handle any similar situation that may arise. Now you're freed up to relax more and have greater peace of mind without beating yourself up over guilt and resentment.   2. Understand That You Are Complete   And understand that, "You complete me," was just a cheesy line in a Tom Cruise movie. (I loved that line at first too... for a few seconds, until I realized how inaccurate it was. Keep reading to learn why!) The reason most of us don't feel complete, and latched onto that line like it was the end-all be-all relationship concept is because we're waiting for someone else to be or do something that makes us feel whole.   First of all, as mentioned, we are already complete. But even if we weren't, no one else would be able to complete us anyway - it's impossible. When we put our happiness in someone else's hands we set them up for failure. Why would we do that to someone we care about? Because we don't realize we are the only ones who control our happiness.   Does this mean if you're unhappy it's your fault? Yes. Does this also put you in a position of power in your life? Absolutely. You want your relationships to be the joining of two complete individuals to create a third, larger entity so that you're a part of something, not just half of something. The whole "my other half" thing just breeds insecurity, which leads to the most painful relationship challenges like jealousy, abuse and infidelity. Why on earth would you want your happiness to be determined by someone or something outside of yourself?   3. Get To Know Yourself   When do you feel you're at your best when you're alone? Are you reading your favorite book overlooking a beautiful view? Enjoying your favorite tea, watching a movie? Shopping outside at the farmers market? Listening to your favorite music? How does your body feel? Healthy? Need some work? No one will be happier than you when your body looks good and functions well. This is a good confidence builder and when you have more confidence, you look better and healthier, and carry yourself in a completely different way that attracts confident people to you.   Here's a personal example: I had a spider vein on my lower leg and didn't feel comfortable in shorts for years. I finally had it removed and couldn't believe how much better I felt. My posture and confidence in shorts was much improved. Some things are easily fixable and for the others we may need to adjust our perspective a bit.   What are your favorite parts of yourself - your appearance, your character traits, your values or your personality? Do you get a kick out of your great sense of humor? I get a kick out of mine. I laugh to myself quite often! Are you really excited that you value honesty, which has attracted honest, genuine people to you? Are your eyes or hands or knees your favorite part of your body? Get to know your favorite parts and love them all.   4. Take A Good Look At Yourself   Take a look and notice how amazing you are. Keep your self-talk positive. There are things supermodels hate about themselves, so don't go thinking you're the only one who has dislikes. You can be happy with yourself even if there are things you'd like to change. I've always been shorter than most other people and would have given anything to be "normal" height. It took me 27 years of hating my height when many other people always wanted to be taller and would have traded me in an instant. Look how many years I experienced self-induced suffering. (This describes all suffering by the way. Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.)   What are you good at, best at and want to improve at? What are your talents and what skills have you developed? What would you like to do in your life that you haven't done yet? What is the best thing you've ever done? Are you noticing that you might ask some of these questions on a date to get to know someone and determine if you like them or not? We get to know people by asking questions although we rarely ask them of ourselves. And when someone else asks, we sometimes answer differently than when we're asking ourselves.   5. Ask Yourself Questions   To find out more about yourself, ask yourself the questions you would ask on a date. The quality of your relationships is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Ask good questions and lots of them (more than you would ask on a date; it's OK to be a chatterbox with yourself) to build that strong, healthy relationship with yourself.   Take time away from other people and be happily alone. At first, it might feel weird choosing to be alone but being alone and being lonely are two very different things. Dr. Wayne Dyer says, "You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with." I went from being scared to sit alone in Starbucks for fear some stranger would think I didn't have any friends to loving going places alone. I have attracted wonderful friends by learning how to like myself and since like attracts like (energy), they happily do things on their own too. Yes, we do enjoy each other's company as well; we don't just talk about all the things we did by ourselves (although that would be funny).   Welcome to your inner power. You are qualified, capable and worthy of being happy with yourself regardless of anyone else on the planet so lead by example and show others how it's done. You will see that you can have much more fulfilling relationships without putting the responsibility of your happiness on someone else.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Why do I feel this way

Hello,  Thank you for your question. I am so proud of you for reaching out for help. The most important question I need to ask first is are you having thoughts of harming yourself or others? If the answer is yes, do you have a plan? If the answer to this is yes please call 911. We all have moments when we are in a darkness that often times we feel as though it will never go away. Our brains like to tell us lies when in a depressed state, these are called cognitive distortions, or stinking thinking. I am happy you have a coping strategy of listening to music, that is a really great one! What other coping strategies have you tried? Identifying triggers of depression as well as coping strategies are essential for safety planning in our lives. There are hundreds of options but the key is to find one that works best for you. Perhaps visualizing your "happy place" like a favorite place, for example, when you are feeling this low will assist you in distracting the negative feelings and assist you in feeling safe in the moment. Another strategy is journaling, and writing down your feelings, thoughts, and passions on paper. Finally, another strategy could be to exercise as it has been found to reduce depression and anxiety as much as 26% according to one study. Exercise For Depression : Benefits, Do's And Dont's| How To Cure Some treatment options for depression are medications, under doctor's closeful monitoring, and psychotherapy, which is what I provide here on BetterHelp. Talking about your feelings with someone who is unbiased can be very helpful, along with positive feedback and psychoeducation, all of which I wuld be happy to provide you in a session. Sessions can be online or via messaging, and are 45 minutes in length.  Therapy is a great first step to feeling better, so if you are willing to give it a shot I would be happy to help in anyway I can. Feel free to send a request on my page and we could begin your journey to healing.
(MPA, MSSA, LCSW)
Answered on 10/21/2021

I’m not sure if therapy is something I need.

Dear Ving,   Thank you for your message.   Let's understand a bit more about anger.   Anger is a response we have when we don't feel understood, don't feel listened to, don't feel respected. At first, we might just feel disappointed or irritated, however, it escalates often when others add fuel into it by saying words that are hurtful, misunderstanding, and dismissive. We then become even angrier and at last, we turn our anger into rage.   To control anger we must understand how anger works within us. Anger is almost like a volcano when it erupts, it releases a large amount of energy and often is destructive. However, this energy is often accumulated for a while before it erupts. If we can understand what accumulates this energy with us, and find ways to release it, then we can be assured that our volcano will not erupt.   Anger is the natural emotion created in a fight-or-flight situation by the physiology of your mind and body. When you sense a threat your mind generates fear and anger.  The fear you generate is part of a flight response from your physiology. Anger is the emotional energy you generate for the fight against that perceived threat.    What can be confusing is that your mind creates fear and anger even when the threat is just imagined.   Emotions like anger are natural and real.  Even if the threat is imagined the anger you create is just as real and powerful. However, the reasons you generate anger aren't always real. If you aren't aware of how your mind is imagining scenarios of hurt your anger will appear irrational.   Real vs. Imagined Anger   It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish a real threat from an imagined threat because they can happen at the same time.  For example, someone is cutting you off on the freeway and a car briefly maneuvers in a way that could cause an accident and possibly injure your body.  There's a natural fight-or-flight reaction to your emotions and you create a combination of fear and anger. The reality of this harm usually passes very quickly and so do your emotions.   However, your imagination may take over and create worse scenarios.  You begin to consider that you or someone in your car might be hurt or killed. You might recall similar events from your past, project those into your mind, and add more emotion.  After the real physical threat passes your mind still projects scenarios in the imagination. Your emotions then respond to those imagined scenarios.   Even later that day when you replay the event in your mind, your emotions respond to the imagined version. The emotions you create from your imagined scenarios are no longer based in anything real.  Because of the natural response of emotions to what you imagine you can amplify fear and anger to the degree that they become out of control. However the fear and anger are natural consequence of the imagined scenarios. The problem is that the imagined scenarios in the mind are out of control and no longer based in reality.   Awareness   If you are not aware of how your imagination is projecting these scenarios you will blame other people unnecessarily for your emotions.  Understanding how your mind dreams images and scenarios of outcome is critical to understanding your anger and other emotions.   The initial moment of fear and anger resulted from a very real scenario that could have caused you harm.  However, most often the anger and fear people generate are sourced from their uncontrolled beliefs and imagination.   Anger is Rational   Anger is the natural emotional response designed to protect us from danger. It is part of our instinctual system for protection and preservation.  Notice how a dog growls and bares its teeth in response to a threat to its territory.  A mother bear will also go into ferocious anger if you were to come near her cubs.  Anger is a force of energy that we project in order to push away or combat a threat.  However, anger ceases to be a form of protecting your life and becomes a means of destroying your life and relationships when the threat isn't real.   Your emotions respond the same whether a threat is real or part of your imagination. Anger itself is a completely rational emotion to have when you perceive the thoughts and scenarios in your mind. There is nothing irrational or wrong with the anger from imagined scenarios and beliefs. Your emotional response system is working properly. The problem is with the thoughts, beliefs, and scenarios in your mind that generate an anger response.  The scenarios the mind projects are often not rational at all.   Other problems are created when you do not have the awareness and will power to refrain from outbursts of your anger.  These reactions and consequences often distract us from the root cause of the problem.   It's easy to assume that your anger is the problem because it is what you notice.  It is the outbursts of anger that we see and that cause destruction.  The assumptions and interpretations in the mind are less noticeable amidst this emotional drama.  However your emotions of anger are just a natural response to what the mind imagines.  If you perceive and believe what the mind imagines you will create emotions as a natural response.   If you accidentally touch a hot stove and burn your hand you will feel pain.  Naturally you would want to pain to stop, but the pain in your hand isn't the problem.  The pain is just a natural response to touching a hot stove.  The physical touch on the stove is less noticeable, but yet it is the real problem.  Touching the hot stove is the cause of that pain. The pain won't go away until you take your hand away from the hot stove.   The same is true for your emotions such as anger.  You may want to stop your anger, but anger is just a reaction to something else. Anger is the natural emotional reaction to what the mind and imagination are doing.  The way to overcome anger is to change how the mind imagines stories and how much you believe them.  When the mind imagines painful scenarios you naturally produce anger.  To reduce and eliminate the anger it is necessary to shift the stories that the mind imagines.   To effectively reduce or eliminate the anger in our life, we can practice changing the core beliefs, assumptions, and interpretations of the mind.    The Reaction to Emotional Pain   Your mind can generate anger and fear even when there's not a physical threat of pain. Your emotional response mechanism can generate anger just as easily by imagining a scenario involving the threat of emotional pain. When your mind is out of control imagining scenarios of emotional pain, your anger goes out of control. For anger to happen the emotional pain doesn't even have to occur. If you just imagine that you will be hurt in the future, you can become angry before anything has happened.   Understand is the first step towards managing. We can't control what we don't understand.   I am curious to learn if these words have been helpful in guiding us to a better understand of anger, and reduce our fear towards it. After all, it is something that can be controlled and changed. :)   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

4 years suffering from this symptoms alone About anxiety, depression, bipolar anger fear

Hello Bob, First off, I want to say that I am glad that you reached out for support.  It can be very difficult to be transparent especially to someone who you do not know.  I appreciate your honesty about what you are struggling with. Secondly, you are not alone; millions of people are suffering from depression and anxiety.  It seems that you have an awareness of what you are experiencing.  This helps when you decide to start therapy so that you are able to know when you are starting to feel better. The emptiness that you feel can be a result of multiple things.  It sounds like maybe your depression and anxiety are affecting your relationships and friendships.  Perhaps you don't want to interact with your friends as much or when you do, you aren't having as much fun as you thought you would.  The important thing to know with depression is that the only way to "cure" it, is through being active.  You have to get out and socialize, exercise, etc. to decrease the negative symptoms.  You have to find something that you think you will enjoy. This will, in turn, increase your positive feelings. People will notice that you are happier and want to engage with you more.   Having anxiety is something that can be helpful or unhelpful depending on how one looks at it.  It seems that for you anxiety is also in some way affecting your friendships and relationships.  Utilizing skills such as meditation and deep breathing can be very helpful for anxiety. For example, if you are starting a job for the first time you may experience anxiety during your first day such as: heart racing, sweaty palms, and shaking.  In this situation, using a deep breathing technique where you breathe in through your nose, hold for 3 seconds, then let out slowly through your mouth and repeating until you are calm, can be very helpful in that situation. This skill is something that can be practiced and utilized at anytime and overtime can become useful in any situation. All in all, these challenges that you are experiencing can be managed. You can have meaningful relationships while managing your depression and anxiety.  As long as you are willing to work it is possible. Good luck to you.
(M.A., LMFT)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How do you know what type of counselor you need?

Hello, great question! Generally, a therapist or counselor (typically, these 2 terms are used interchangeably-- though some might say that 'counseling' is used for more short-term assistance while others might say that 'therapy' is for unraveling more complex issues for long-term help, but mostly, the terms are often used synonymously). Having said that, a therapist/counselor is a good professional place to begin. That way, the therapist can help you sort out the nature of what you are experiencing/dealing with. Therapists are uniquely trained to assist with mental health issues, especially for sorting out deeper issues, mental health disorders, and relational problems (to name a few things). Then, if the therapist and you decide that a peer counselor might be best for helping with a certain issue, the therapist could suggest that. Likewise, if you and the therapist determine that you need a higher level of care (like, medication and/or evaluative psychological testing) then the therapist could refer you to a psychiatrist (who is an MD-level practitioner), a psychologist, or another specialist. This excerpt below, content quoted in italics, is directly from this Website: https://www.mentalhealthcenter.org/understanding-the-different-types-of-mental-health-professionals/ When facing mental health problems, it can be difficult to know who to ask for help. There are so many mental health professions and titles associated with mental healthcare that it's hard to distinguish between them. There are differences in the roles that the psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, and counselor play when it comes to healthcare, even though the each seem involved in providing psychotherapy and counseling services. Knowing the differences will help you determine which type of healthcare provider is ideal for you. #1: The PsychiatristPsychiatrists are actually medical doctors who pursue a specialization in psychiatry. One of the key differences between psychiatrists and other healthcare providers who perform psychotherapy and counseling service is the fact that they are trained doctors and are licensed to prescribe medication. Psychiatrists see patients for both mild and severe mental illnesses and work in all types of healthcare settings ranging from hospitals to private clinics. #2: The psychologist is not a trained medical doctor. They have degrees in psychology they may range from a bachelor's degree to a Ph.D. Psychologists provide counseling services to support patients' mental health and well-being, but they may also conduct psychological tests and evaluations and research.Frequently, psychologists work in tandem with psychiatrists. While psychologists can diagnose disorders in their clients, they require a psychiatrist to authorize any pharmaceutical treatment that may be required. #3: The TherapistTherapists can provide patients with support and guidance. A therapist may have any number of degrees including psychiatry, psychology, social work, or family counseling. The term “therapist” can include people who are also psychiatrists, psychologists, or counselors within its spectrum. #4: The Counselor  A licensed counselor has a master's degree in counseling. They work with individuals, groups, or even families. Because a counselor cannot prescribe medication, they often work in conjunction with psychiatrists or degreed therapists who can. Counselors work with people to help them cope with their problems, which may include marital problems, addiction, or anger. Most states require counselors to be licensed in order to practice. Which Mental Health Professional Is Right For You? Some issues are straightforward. Someone suffering from a mental illness like schizophrenia or psychosis certainly needs to be overseen by a psychiatrist; although, they may also benefit at some point by working with a therapist too. On the other hand, someone suffering marital problems or addiction may benefit from working with a counselor with special training in those particular areas. Each professional is degreed and has a specialty for helping patients overcome their issues. If you visit one but really require the help of another, a good healthcare provider will recommend you to a colleague who is best suited to provide you with the care you need. Knowing the differences between these mental health professionals is helpful as you research your treatment options. It's also good to know that each of these professionals has highly specialized degrees and training. If you aren't sure about what type of therapist you need to see, your doctor may be able to make a recommendation.   Happy therapist-choosing! Thank you for asking this question!
(LMHC, LMFTA, NCC)
Answered on 10/21/2021