Depression Answers

Anxiety and Depression?

Everyone can benefit from therapy. Therapy would be a good support for you during this time and transition in your life.  It sounds like you have been through a lot of changes. It always helps to have someone objective who will listen; someone you are not close to who can listen without judgment and help you set amd prioritize goals and implement coping skills.  Depression can occur suddenly and cause you to lose motivation for simply engaging in the things you typically enjoyed. The anxiety can contribute to our body's physiology; such as, over thinking, shaking, sweating palms, upset stomach, difficulty breathing or feeling out of breath and worry/overthinking. The symptoms can be temporary and meeting with a licensed therapist through a venue like BetterHelp can assist you by teaching coping skills and how to implement them in your daily life. We go to a doctor when we are sick so why not talk to a therapist when dealing with anxiety, depression and/or any other mental health issue or symptom. When we are overcome with anxiety and depression these can also affect our day to day activities such as work, school, relationships, and even self care.  Best practice is catch it early before things get worse. When being away from your loved ones after making changes in your life, can contribute to possibly experiencing feelings of loneliness as well. Everything starts inside us. So it is imperative to learn how to openly express your thoughts and feelings.  Additionally, a therapist can help you learn how to effectively communicate and express your inner most thoughts and feelings. I would love to assist you or anyone else currently feeling lonely or overwhelmed. Overthinking and worrying can keep us up at night; which, both are part of anxiety. Sometimes, just talking things over with someone can help us develop clarity and organize our thoughts better. Having a therapist can help you reach your goals, as well as, organize your thoughts, set goals, sleep better and increase motivation. A therapist can listen, provide support without judgement. It is a safe way to put yourself first.  
Answered on 02/07/2023

How can I get out of this hole?

Hi Cat!  I am glad you reached out. It sounds like you are going through some rough times right now. I agree that coping with the loss of loved ones can be especially challenging.  Grief is a difficult thing to manage, but you can do it. It is normal to go through ups and downs when grieving but please keep in mind; it does get better! When you find that you are having a good day, pay attention to what is happening that is making it better. Be aware of your inner voice on those days and write the positive things down. Refer to them on your days that are not so great. Practice making those thoughts your inner voice. Talk to yourself like you are your own best friend.  On the bad days, write down those thoughts too. Pick out the thoughts that are cognitive distortions. A cognitive distortion is a thought that is based in feeling instead of fact, and is sometimes inaccurate. Look at your thoughts, pick out the cognitive distortions. Ask yourself why these thoughts exist and explore what the facts are. Try to reframe your thoughts to the facts.  Don't overwhelm yourself. Getting one dish done instead of an entire sink full of dishes is still progress. Allow yourself to think of small accomplishments as progress. Set small goals for yourself that gradually increase every day and soon enough, you will be feeling better and being more productive.  It can also be helpful to look at the positives. Our brains are naturally wired to focus on the negative but the good news is that we can rewire them to be more helpful. Every day, write down a few things that you are grateful for. It's okay to be sad about some things and grateful for other things at the same time. Small shifts to focus on what you are grateful for will add up to positive thought changes.  The biggest key here is that it does take effort, which is hard to put in when you are feeling this way. When you are struggling, remind yourself that you will feel better if you push through the negative feelings. I wish you the best!  -Melissa
Answered on 02/05/2023

I am feeling so depressed I can’t get out of bed and function - how can I make this better?

Hi Tomas!  Depression is a very difficult thing to deal with. I notice it to be especially difficult this time of year for a lot of people. Winter can be dreary and the lack of sunshine can be depressing in itself!  I am so glad that you reached out for some help. That shows that you do have some motivation to make positive changes and change is hard so that motivation really comes in handy!  Your feelings are linked to your thoughts, and your behaviors. That's good news because it means that there is more than one avenue you can take to start feeling better. This concept comes from cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. It is very likely that either your thoughts or behaviors are leading to this feeling and the feeling of depression is leading to the behavior of staying in bed. It is very possible that the behavior of staying in bed is leading to the feelings of depression and likely some negative thoughts. Do you see that cycle there?  So what do we do about this? You have to start changing a thought, a feeling, or a behavior and the other two will follow. Let's start by working on identifying some thoughts that you are having. Write down all of your thoughts for about two minutes. Write them down exactly as they are happening in your mind with no fear of judgement or questions-no one has to see it except you. Look through these thoughts and see if you can identify any that might cause these feelings of depression. If you can. be aware of them and work on processing them on your own, with a trusted person or with a therapist. Okay so now that you have done that, let's focus on the behavior. It sounds like just staying in bed all day with nothing to do except focus on your negative thought patterns is not super healthy! I know you said that you can't get out of bed but the good news is that you actually can! (Assuming you have the physical ability to do so because you did not mention otherwise.) The first step is to stop telling yourself that you can't, or at least stop believing yourself when you say you can't. Today, give yourself a goal of one task to complete. It can be as small as getting out of bed and taking a shower. Showers are actually very helpful when it comes to feeling less depressed so I like to try this first but the goal can be as small as getting out of bed and walking around your room for a minute. You make the goals based on your own needs in this moment. Tomorrow, make a goal to go a little further. For example; maybe you have some chores that need to be completed, if you just do one load of laundry or one dish in your sink, that's still progress. It's okay to take it slow, just make sure you are increasing your goals a little bit each day. You may have to push yourself a little and that's okay!  Another thing that can be helpful is reaching out to family or a friend. You don't have to talk about how you are feeling. You can reach out and ask them about their day and how they are doing in this moment.  These are just a couple of techniques to help manage these feelings! I wish you the best with everything!  -Melissa 
Answered on 02/03/2023

How do I take my life in control and fight my anxiousness and sad moments?

Hi Robin, Thank you so much for taking the time to ask this question; I am sure you are not alone in wanting to know a little more on how to take control back from anxiety and low mood.  It sounds like there have been quite a few things that have gone on recently which are impacting on how you are feeling. Firstly, you spoke about your late grandmother who passed away a few months ago and then also your aunt who passed away a few years ago. It is really understandable that these emotions are coming up for you right now.  When we feel low in mood or unmotivated it is really easy to fall into the trap of doing nothing. However, what we know is that when we do nothing, it just continues this cycle of low mood. We often wait for moments of inspiration or motivation, however motivation does not come before action. I would really encourage you to think about what gives you enjoyment and satisfaction within your week, or even what gave you that before, that you may be able to build back into your life - start small and slowly build this up. The reason I say this Robin is sometimes when we begin to build these things back, the motivation to do things does return too - and our mood then usually lifts as well. It sounds like at the moment you are either working or studying.  With the tenseness that you are feeling and the nervousness/anxiousness I do wonder if something like mindfulness or meditation may be helpful to help your body relax and calm; we're in a constant state of arousal right now, waiting for the next thing to happen - the mind thinks it is being helpful at these times and keeping us safe, however it is also exhausting to constantly be there! Your question Robin also makes me go back to the idea that within life we have the ups and downs, and it can be about navigating these times when they do come up rather than fighting them or trying to remove them. We are all human and we all have a range of emotions. What I tend to say to clients is - is what you are doing now workable for you with your long term goals and values in mind?  It is understandable that when a lot is going on we go for the short term relief - which can be procrastination, not doing much, avoiding - however does this work in the long term? does it remove the anxiety or sadness?  I would really recommend looking into therapy as well Robin to help you work alongside a therapist through these difficulties as it can hard to do it alone sometimes.  I do hope that helps a little. Best wishes, Nikki 
Answered on 02/01/2023

Honestly I’m not what to ask. I’d just like to seek some professional help.

Thank you for reaching out and submitting your question. I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing these challenges in your life. Depression is a very common condition and it can have a variety of causes. It can be a complex and sometimes difficult to understand diagnosis. In some cases, the reasons for a depression episode are quite clear and obvious. For example, it is normal and expected to experience depression following major life stressors such as loss or after some type of traumatic event. Other times, certain individuals know they have a family history of depression, so they are not really surprised when they begin to encounter similar struggles. Yet, there are some people who begin to have one or more episodes of depression in their lives. The blues, so to speak, come seemingly out of the blue. They do not understand or know why they are feeling depressed. They might reflect on their life and see no possible reason why they feel as they do. In fact, many people, including themselves, could look at their life and think it is “good” and perhaps even enviable. But the depression persists. For these people, they might hesitate to seek care as they worry about the possible pressure of having to justify why they feel down when life seems to be going so well. They simply cannot explain why they feel irritable, angry, and sad. It’s as if they don’t have a right to feel as they do. Depression is currently one of the most frequently seen mental conditions in the country. The possible causes are incredibly varied. They can include life events and stressors, medical conditions, lifestyle, substance abuse, poor nutrition, and genetics. There can be one or multiple causes. And it is not always something which you can prevent from happening. One of the best options to consider is talk therapy. A therapist will be able to complete a full assessment with you. This will include considering family history and the state of your own general health, along with reviewing lifestyle and other factors. The therapist can work with you to better determine what might be behind your depression. Because again, there can be many different reasons you could be depressed. Once the therapist has helped you identified better why this might be happening, they can partner with you to come up with a specific plan – a treatment plan which is tailored for you. Often, in therapy, participants tend to feel an almost immediate sense of relief simply by way of unburdening themselves by expressing their feeling and circumstances with someone else. It can help tremendously to be heard and to have another person sit with you in the heaviness. You feel less alone and isolated, which can ease the burden of it all quite a bit. When we hold things in it can begin to feel like such a heavy burden to drag around. You may even physically feel pressed down and as if you have the weight of the world sitting atop you. Having someone there to offer support can be invaluable. Depression has a way, sometimes, of making you feel like a burden and liability (none of which is true). A therapist can help you identify and challenge these types of negative thoughts which frequently occur with this diagnosis. A therapist, too, can bring a new and fresh perspective to the situation. Depression is especially notorious for causing brain fog. It becomes much more difficult to think clearly and to concentrate. Problem solving when you are depressed can begin to feel like an insurmountable mountain. A therapist can help you tackle the emotions and can assist you in tackling the challenge of the situation. They can help you find your way out of the darkness, bit by bit. It is really hard to provide anything other than some generic, basic thoughts when the details of your particular situation are unknown. As noted, there can be so many causes. And each case can differ so much. The best advice is that it would be helpful for you to consider meeting one-on-one with a therapist to discuss your history, unique concerns, and your particular goals. Many people do no want to go on medications. In a lot of cases, there are many, many things which can be considered and incorporated apart from such an approach. Talk therapy is a great way to figure out what strategies will best suit you and your individual case. Talking with a therapist should help you clarify things a lot better. And will give you the opportunity to come up with a plan of action that factors in your desire to avoid medications. Because we cannot know your history or details, it is really impossible to state whether or not medication would or would not be advised. You would definitely need to be assessed thoroughly by a qualified medical provider first.
Answered on 01/28/2023

Do you have any advice on how to start things and be motivated when suffering from depression?

Hi Dan, I want to first start by saying I am so grateful that you have reached out for support and to get some guidance. I can imagine that taking this step has been especially hard since you are struggling with depression and lack of motivation.  My very first recommendation to build up motivation when you are experiencing depression would be, start small. If your current approach to tackling goals is to look at the whole picture, you may notice that you immediately feel overwhelmed and anxious, which may lead to feeling discouraged and giving up before you even start. Instead I would encourage you to break down bigger goals into more realistic and manageable pieces, such as "do 5 jumping jacks by the end of the day", "put my feet onto the ground as soon as my alarm goes off", or "read one paragraph for school". As you build off of these "small" accomplishments you may notice your motivation increases. You may want to check out SMART goals to help you break down your goals. Here is a link to explain them in greater depth The next thing I would recommend is showing yourself compassion and patience, while also considering your values and what is important to you. I would also encourage you to challenge any "should" thoughts you may experience. For instance instead of thinking "I should be able to get out of bed and study for this exam, it isn't that hard!" or "It shouldn't be so hard to exercise, I did it all the time!" it may be more helpful to think "I am struggling to get out of bed, I want to feel prepared for this exam." and "Getting back into a workout routine feels impossible, I have done it before and can take small steps to get to where I want to be." Something else that I believe is so important is making sure you are putting effort into things that are meaningful and important to YOU. If fitness is important to you on a personal level it will be much easier to work towards that. You may find this helpful in explaining the importance of doing things that are meaningful - I hope this response was helpful for you and wish you nothing but the best! I will attach a couple more articles that may give you some further guidance/ tips:
Answered on 01/27/2023

Why do I feel so alone even when I have people around me?

Feeling alone even when surrounded by people is a common experience and can be caused by a variety of factors. It may be that you are experiencing feelings of loneliness or isolation, which can be related to mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. It may also be that you are not connecting with the people around you in the way that you would like to, or that you have unmet emotional needs that are not being met by your current relationships. It's important to reach out to a therapist or counselor to explore these feelings and work on developing deeper connections with others. Seek professional help: A therapist or counselor can help you to explore your feelings of loneliness and isolation and develop strategies to improve your emotional well-being. They can help you to understand the root causes of your feelings, and provide you with tools and techniques to cope with them. They can also help you to develop healthy coping mechanisms and improve your communication skills. Build deeper connections: Make an effort to connect with the people around you on a deeper level. Open up about your thoughts, feelings and interests with them, and actively listen when they do the same. This will help to build trust and understanding, which are essential for any close relationship. Also try to be open to new experiences and put yourself out there to make new friends.   Join groups or clubs: Joining groups or clubs that align with your interests can be a great way to meet new people and build connections. This could be a hobby group, a sports team, a community group, or a group of people who have a similar passion.   Volunteer: Helping others can be a great way to feel connected to something bigger than yourself, as well as to meet new people with similar values. Volunteering can be a great way to give back to your community and make a positive impact in the lives of others.   Practice self-care: Make sure to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Eating well, getting enough sleep and exercise, and practicing mindfulness can all help to improve your overall well-being. Additionally, make time for yourself, do things you enjoy and practice self-compassion.   Reach out to friends and family: Make an effort to stay in touch with friends and family who live far away, and try to make plans to see them in person when possible. Even though you might be physically distant, you can still maintain and strengthen those relationships through technology or letter writing.   Create a support network: Identify people in your life who you can talk to when you're feeling down or in need of support. This could be a close friend, relative, therapist, or counselor. Having a support network can help to provide you with emotional and practical support when you need it most.   Practice gratitude: Taking time to reflect on the things you are grateful for can help to shift your focus from negative feelings to positive ones. This can be done through journaling, meditating or even saying out loud what you're grateful for.   Engage in hobbies or interests: Engaging in activities you enjoy can help to improve your mood and provide a sense of purpose. It's important to have something to look forward to, it can be something big or small, but it should be something that brings you joy.   Get outdoors: Spending time in nature has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, so try to spend some time outdoors each day if possible. This can be as simple as taking a walk or sitting in a park. Being outdoors can help to reduce stress, improve mood, and provide a sense of connection to the natural world.
Answered on 01/27/2023

How do I keep my feelings from affecting my work, relationship, and mood for the rest of the week?

Feelings.  They exist without our say-so. They come in like a wrecking ball and totally disrupt what would otherwise be a very intelligent and well-thought-out response. When we lose something, get tired, experience extra stress at work due to pressures also unknown to us, we live on their highs and lows and yet we cannot seem to do anything to fix them. These emotions, as it turns out, are ours and we had better get accustomed to them in our life, otherwise, we will end up spending the rest of our days wanting to rid a part of ourselves that is very necessary.  Emotions are necessary, and often when we think of emotions that get our attention by the destruction they cause. Often it is when we feel hurt, frustrated, sad, guilty, shameful, and angry, even if we experience too much happiness. Yes, any one emotion lived out to its extreme will cause disruption in life. Here are some rules to follow to manage emotions:  1. Practice listening to what your mind is telling you. Notice your thoughts, your interpretations, and judgments of things; these are what get your attention and either come from an emotion or are the result of an emotion causing you to react. Your mind knows things you will never be consciously aware of. So, when triggered, it isn't about stopping the emotion or thought, but learning what to do when they show up. What are these thoughts and emotions trying to get me to do? 2. You've heard this before, but give it two seconds before you do anything. I am saying that you can do whatever you feel like doing, but give it two seconds before you do. There may still be destructive behaviors due to emotions, but that little bit of time allows the higher portions of the brain to kick in with their logic. The lower parts, the midbrain, limbic system, amygdala, and so on, are all about reaction. So, when you are triggered, the quicker you respond, the more likely it is a lower-level response.  3. Do not try to fix your thoughts or what the thoughts tell you. Instead, allow them to come to you and allow them to pass. You do not need to remedy the content of the thoughts. All you have to do is notice they exist, they are captivating, and let them go by. This, too, shall pass. So let it.  4. Your thoughts do not define you. You have thoughts, but they do not represent the total you. You are not the content of your thoughts nor are you a bad person for having bad thoughts. You have a brain that releases thoughts, and then you judge or hold on to them. You judge yourself for having them and never pay attention to what they say or what you are really thinking. Be honest with yourself, notice the thoughts as they really are, and imagine they pass by on unicorns (or clouds, anything really).  5. Beliefs. Beliefs are the foundation of emotions and thoughts. Beliefs are what we tell ourselves about ourselves and what we make every decision in service to. Beliefs need to be identified to see if they still hold up. These beliefs were often formed early in childhood and never addressed again (such as self-worth). If these beliefs aren't true, then act as though what you believe is true. If you are enough, then make the decisions as someone who is enough would make.  These are some ideas to get you started, but here is a video to help:  It's a great metaphor.  Emotions come from thoughts triggered by beliefs. We can notice this, and instead of participating in this constant routine of turmoil, we can step back and watch ourselves notice thoughts. Notice you notice these thoughts, and the emotions can subside as well. 
Answered on 01/27/2023

How do I keep myself from letting my anger get the best of me?

Hi, great questions and thanks for the background. Anger is an emotion that gives us insight as to what we are experiencing. Many people verbalize their anger while others keep it in. What is your anger telling you? A lot of times our society and/or our upbringing showed us to keep our anger inside or to cover up our anger because it wasn't proper or you aren't able to show that side of yourself. When we understand our anger and allow ourselves to feel angry this will show us the path to move forward to process what we are going through. We all have primary emotions, some of us get sad easily while some of us get angry easily but whatever your primary emotion is, utilize that to find a channel to the other emotions that show us symptoms of our pain. It must be hard to go through postpartum depression, anxiety and rage.  As you explained, you're taking care of children while also taking care of your parent, seems that there may be a lot on your plate and it may be hard to focus on yourself once in a while, and difficult to have your needs met and to not feel like you can just take care of yourself or even having a support system around you.  With the postpartum depression allow yourself to feel what you're going through and grieve. What do you need to grieve but also what are ways you want to heal? With the depression, what is making you feel sad or losing hope, and what are things that need to happen in your life in order to feel you can overcome? With the rage, is there a way you can vent? Is there anyone in your life you can talk to where you can release this rage or do you feel like if you do, you won't be understood and you will be judged? I hope you can find peace and also strength at this time through all of your challenges and that you can begin your journey to healing and hope.
(LMHC, LPC-, Provisional)
Answered on 01/24/2023

Can you give me some tools to deal with grief?

Our Mind... I wanted to start this out by calling this "our" mind because of our similarities in how we think about things. It seems that in my experience, no matter the culture, the area of the world you live in, or different upbringings, there is a similarity to being human, we are all controlled by our interpretation of events. Your interpretation, as fueled by the tragic experiences and chronic illnesses, is painting life a different color for you and it is time we start noticing it.  Death is inevitable, yet still very sad. Losing someone is difficult, especially when we don't even get to wrap our minds around it. You lost your mother, and depending on your outlook on the afterlife, that can be a permanent loss. Often in these times, hope is found in spirituality, beliefs of heaven, and how we have eternal souls that never die. I have my beliefs, and it allows me to speak from a place of peace, but depending on your outlook, you might not see the same thing. It's cruel when we feel someone was taken from us, and then it is difficult to live with that loss, among other things.  Your chronic illnesses are a lot too. The fact that they are chronic tells me that you are accustomed to living a certain way, and maybe in times like these, they became that much more apparent.  Look, these things you mention, the things you notice and think, they are all very real. Strength is not found in the unreal, but in what has happened and how we feel about it, not in how we sometimes think we SHOULD feel about life. Often when working with people I notice an underlying belief when they are suffering, I notice there is this measurement they compare to, something else they SHOULD be feeling, they think. On the contrary, pain is really the only guarantee in life, and yet we have been told, and we believed the lie that it shouldn't be. We have more negative emotions than positive ones, and when stressful situations occur, we are equipped to deal with them because of the negative emotions. However, angst isn't about the emotions, but our pressure to get over them, to feel happy, that there should be some alternative life for us. Your life is the one that you have been given, and it can be the greatest life there is, with the loss, with the pain, unless you choose not to see it that way. Unless you let grief and the negative consume you.  Much of life is spent in our heads. Do not walk through this situation interpreting these events as something that detriment you. You have the choice with what you do with life; no matter how hard it gets, you can choose to see the good, the beneficial, or at least the positive things. You have the choice not to give up your thoughts to the circumstance. The emotions will come and go; let them pass. Let grief hit you like a wave; it will pass. It is the thoughts and our belief that this will never end, or the expectation to be better, that actually plagues us. Otherwise, what is wrong with the way you are handling things now?  Remember, you have thoughts; they are provoked by circumstance. You are not these thoughts. You can practice noticing them so they can float on by, and you can find purpose and value in all this. I am not saying that is the goal, but it may be the way to transcend all the inevitable pain. Talk things out, get heard, and have the person you are talking with listen. You can fall in love with life again if you see the parts you can control and take hold of them. 
Answered on 01/24/2023

What is one of the best methods to handle feeling as if you’re not meeting expectations?

Hi Cindy! I am so grateful to see that you are reaching out for support at this time. It sounds like you are seeking out methods in which you can explore your feelings. Based on what you wrote in your question, I can see why you would be inquiring about ways in which to best manage your feelings. There are numerous therapeutic modalities and counseling interventions that can assist you in attaining your goal of handling the emotional experiences that you have been having lately. My hope is that I can inform you about these various interventions as well as help you in coming up with novel ways to better understand your feelings as well as manage them effectively. First and foremost, I want to give you my sincere condolences for your recent losses. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to lose your brother and father around the same time last year. It sounds like you went through a lot at one time having them both pass away two months apart. How are you doing with managing this sense of loss now? Where would you say that you are at in the grieving process? It may be helpful for you to take some time to check out the stages of grief by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. The five stages of grief, according to Kübler-Ross, include shock, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. Grief can be a circular process and is not necessarily linear. For example, an individual who is experiencing grief may go through more than one stage at a time as well as shift from one stage to another. There are free resources and worksheets online by Therapist Aid that could aid you in organizing your thoughts and concerns regarding where you are at in the grieving process. In addition to reviewing the stages of grief and loss, I would like to encourage you to participate in a therapeutic writing exercise. If you have time and are willing to try, you can utilize therapeutic journaling and writing as a means to foster a sense of relaxation as well as process your experiences and express your feelings. There are countless journaling prompts on the BetterHelp platform. It could benefit you to write in your journal on a daily or weekly basis. Keeping track of your emotions in a feelings diary can be helpful for both short term and long term reflection. In addition to daily journaling, you could incorporate ad libs into your writing. An interesting concept that I came up with when someone that I loved passed away is to create an ad lib about the bereaved person. Essentially, you could fill in the blanks for the following statements as well as come up with your own outlined sentences, as well: "The person I lost is (name). I love how this person would (verb) with (noun/ adjective). My favorite memories with (name) was when (describe memories). The qualities that I admired most about (name) were their (adjectives). If I could tell one thing to (name) it would be (insert thought/ feeling). (Name) will be known for their (adjective/ noun)." Therapeutic art making is another way in which you can engage in self exploration and express your feelings. The benefits of art therapy can be eye opening, healing and incredibly inspiring. Gather your choice of art supplies and paint, draw, color, weave or sculpt your feelings. A well known art therapy directive derived from the Drawing Diagnostic Series (DDS) developed by Barry Cohen is: "Draw your feelings in lines, shapes and colors." As for art supplies, the DDS directive specifically calls for colored chalk pastels and 18 x 24 inch drawing paper. For more information on the benefits of art therapy, please check out the website for the American Art Therapy Association:  I believe that you are so brave to reach out for support at this time. I want to remind you that your feelings, thoughts and experiences are truly valid. Whether they are positive, neutral or even negative, your experiences are so important. As I mentioned before, you can survey your experiences through therapeutic journaling and art making. As another coping skill, I would like to recommend that you try out some mindfulness based techniques. Take some time to practice the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skill of mindfulness. Mindfulness essentially means being present in the moment. In addition to fully being present in this moment in time, another aspect of mindfulness includes relieving feelings of anxiety, stress and focusing on the here and now. Try to incorporate a sensory grounding exercise such as recognizing five things that you see, four things that you feel, three things you hear, two things you can smell and one thing that you can taste. Regarding your concerns about meeting expectations and feeling like a failure in your line of work, I would like to encourage you to address this in one on one counseling sessions. The therapy process can give you an opportunity to explore more about your core beliefs as well as your reasons for feeling this way. On BetterHelp, you can request to be matched with a licensed therapist who is trained and specializes in career counseling. For now, I would like to recommend that you combat the negative thoughts you have as well as challenge unrealistic expectations through positive self talk. Simply remind yourself that you are not a failure and that you are doing the best that you can. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) strategies can be beneficial for you to assay. Thank you again, Cindy, for your time asking this really great question on the BetterHelp platform. I sincerely hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey now and in the future. Take good care and have a good day!
Answered on 01/23/2023

How can you forget and forgive the abandonment of your father when you are an adult?

Forgiveness is for You Your view on forgiveness is that it seems to be for your father when forgiveness is really about your peace. Forgiveness isn't a necessity, though, especially not today. True forgiveness takes time and learning to be able to sit with the reality of what he has done and how it has affected you. It will come up at odd times. So, how do you forgive? You start to love the person you are as a result of the circumstance.  I want to take a second to validate your feelings and experiences and the results of your childhood. This validation is critical for you to know you are heard. Being heard is what your father did not give you as a child and what you can do for your childhood self now. You today can allow the thoughts and emotions that were developed early in life when they come up. You can show you respect your childhood self and the pain of it all but allow the hurt to exist. Don't be the disconnected parent to your childhood self who discounts emotions. Find a way to find gratitude for who you are and how you turned out because of that kid, and how they responded to the circumstance they were put in.  Your dad contributed to your formation of self. If you like yourself, then you can be grateful for the pain and hurt you endured. You can forgive then, naturally, because you aren't mad for what you've been given because even though it hurt, you are better now because of it. If you don't accept or like yourself and all parts, even that six-year-old who wants to cry, then it will be difficult to forgive because it's easy to blame him for this less-than version of what you might have thought you could be. Self-acceptance is critical to move forward because without accepting all parts of you, you will always struggle with a self-disdain, and any forgiveness will be falsified. Find the most inadequate part of you and learn to sit with that person because they are you and have contributed to the person you are, which is what parents are tasked with. As for abandonment, that is something that will be difficult to overcome because you were abandoned, and you know, you were. Your father left you with people that was neither mom nor dad. However, it is not beneficial for what that child went through to indulge that abandonment to be a victim. Remember, you aren't forgiving and moving forward for him or even you today, but as the responsible caregiver to your six-year-old self that tells you all the horrible things he experienced. His service was not in vain, for you will take his experience and grow from it. Thank your childhood self, for your pain because it helped you grow. That abandonment the child felt, that isn't going anywhere because that child will remind you. You can thank him and go forth with a sense of peace your father may never know. 
Answered on 01/23/2023

How do I get out of a depressive episode?

Hey Cork!  First of all thanks for reaching out for help, I know that's not always easy to do and you should be proud of yourself as well! I totally understand what you're saying, sounds like a typical full depressive episode. A lot of times the first thing to remember is that they will not last forever. I think sometimes when we sink into those negative thoughts we lose control and start to lose hope that things are ever going to get better. I know that's easier said than done, but practicing positive self talk is one of the things that can help push you out of that depressive state. It's a skill in cognitive behavioral therapy and with practice, that self talk can help lessen the duration of those depressive episodes. CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is a modality that can help people with anxiety and depression to regain control over those thoughts feelings and emotions, which are interconnected. This helps you recognize where you feel like you were losing control and regain power for yourself rather than letting any of those aspects overtake you. I'll send you a link here where you can look more into it. it also helps to take a step back and look at what might've triggered the episode. Are there people, places, things, anniversaries, upcoming events that are leading to the depressive state? You mentioned that it has happened before so it's also important to look and see if there are any kind of patterns related to these episodes. That way you know how to prepare and can possibly keep them from becoming so severe in the future. I think journaling and keeping a record of the frequency can also help in processing what works and what doesn't work in terms of coping strategies during that time. The link I attached will also give me some ideas of coping strategies, but I think sometimes using mindfulness and being able to separate things in our control from things outside of our control can also be beneficial. We have control over so little in our lives that it's hard to sometimes recognize. That's where it may be beneficial to look into therapy as well to help you process through some of these things. I hope that this has been helpful and I wish you all the best moving forward!
Answered on 01/23/2023

How do I let go in order to reduce the anxiety, hurt and sadness?

Hello HC .... thank you for your message and your question. Letting go of the pain of betrayal can be one of the most challenging things we can ever be asked to do. In addition to the betrayal, you might also be feeling a sense of loss of the relationship that you thought was solid. So, how to let go. 1. First, I would want to ask you if there is any hope for reconciliation? Does the person who lied to you and embarrassed you express any kind of remorse? Is he asking for an opportunity to make things right? I am not suggesting that you "should" give him that chance. I am just wondering if that is even an option. If it is an option, the steps you might take now will be different than the steps you would take if reconciliation was not an option. If reconciliation IS an option, it would be important for this other person to take responsibility for the hurt he caused without blaming anyone else. He chose these behaviors and no matter what else might have been going on, these were his choices. He would need to be willing to own them and create a plan to ensure it would not happen again. On your side, you would need to be willing to gradually let go of the negative thoughts and feelings that you have about him and his behavior. Letting go would be important to rebuilding the relationship.  2. Let's just assume that rebuilding the relationship is not an option. I think what you are asking, then, is how do I heal my heart so I can move on with my life. I am not going to suggest that this is an easy process because we all know it is not. On the other hand, it is possible to heal and to do so without adding additional pain to the process. There is an approach called radical acceptance. In short, radical acceptance means that we acknowledge that something has happened that we don't like. This something that has happened is painful. We allow ourselves to say: "This thing that has happened is very painful. I don't like how this feels. I wish this would not have happened." Or anything along this line. This is simply being honest with ourselves that we are unhappy with what has happened. By being honest with ourselves, we are not trying to ignore our feelings or pretend that this thing has not bothered us. It is okay to feel sorrow over a lost relationship and anger about a betrayal. These are normal feelings and radical acceptance means that we are willing to acknowledge both the reality of what has happened and the feelings that go with it. Radical acceptance also means that we realize that we cannot go back and change anything about the past. We cannot change or control other people. This is the hard part because we frequently want to be able to rewind the tape and go back and make things turn out differently. But, we can't. The more we fight the facts and the feelings of a situation, the worse we feel. Radical acceptance means we acknowledge the facts and we show a willingness to tolerate the feelings that go with the facts. We need to be able to tolerate uncomfortable feelings. Feelings are normal and they don't last forever. We make ourselves feel worse when we fight our feelings. In addition to accepting that this thing has happened that we don't like and accepting the idea that we are going to have some unpleasant feelings for a while, radical acceptance means that we turn our attention to our values and we align our behavior to our values. It would sound something like this (example only): "I hate that this breakup happened. I am honestly miserable. I don't like the feelings of betrayal and anger. I also know that I cannot change any of what has happened. I cannot control these other people who hurt me. What I can control is how I respond to this unpleasant situation. I still want to show up in the world as the best version of myself that I can be. For that reason, I am going to (fill in the blank) because that would be in accordance with my values, who I am, and what I stand for." I frequently talk to people (and actually myself as well) about the "bag of rocks." The bag of rocks represents the anger and resentments that we carry around with us after being hurt in some way. Just visualize yourself carrying a huge bag slung over your back. The bag is filled with heavy rocks. This big bag of rocks is hurting only one person -- you. The other people don't even know you are carrying the bag. You will be doing yourself a huge favor if you will practice radical acceptance so that you can put down the big bag of rocks. You might only be able to put down one rock at a time. Imagine each rock represents one individual behavior that these people did that resulted in your painful feelings. Maybe you can just pick one rock at a time and say to yourself, "I am going to let go of this one rock because it is not helping me at all to hold on to it." It is important to remember that letting go of the anger, the pain, the resentments does not mean that you or anyone else is saying that what happened is okay or acceptable. It is never okay for one person to betray another person. So you are not condoning what happened. By letting go, you are simply saying, "I don't want to carry these rocks around with me any more." And, if anyone suggests to you that you "need to forgive" these people, please remember that forgiveness is something only you can decide to do or not do. That is entirely up to you. If you do decide to forgive, you will do that on your timetable, if at all. And finally remember that forgiveness is something you do for yourself, not them. It is essentially you letting go of that big bag of rocks so you are not in pain any more. I hope this was somewhat helpful. You can learn more about radical acceptance by just Googling it. Thank you for reading my response! I wish you well. Judi
Answered on 01/22/2023

How can I help my 15 yr old with his depression?

Hello, Helping teens help themselves can be a very common issue with 15 year olds and all ages.  Start by making  observations without judging him.  "I notice you are spending more time in your room alone" or "You seem disappointed today.  Notice small achievements like doing homework or taking an interest in the family pet.  Monitor your teen's quality of sleep which impacts mood greatly. Does he have a television or iphone during bed time hours? As for talking with strangers- it is hard for everyone at first!  This takes practice and this why a therapist often builds rapport and trust with a new client first.  Weekly therapist visits are ideal for becoming familiar with each other, building trust and momentum to open up and explore emotions in a safe environment.  All relationships start out as strangers.  What is your teen doing while he is isolated?  Sleeping, scrolling or staring at the ceiling? Staring in a mirror and feeling self loathing?   Depression makes the smallest tasks difficult.   Encourage him to increase his outdoor time, by going to the park or for a hike as a family.  Do spontaneous things like play in the rain, watch a sunset or sunrise together.  Your teen might choose to lay on the couch "watching" the family complete a puzzle or make dinner together but this is the beginning of participating.   Look for a list online of teen therapeutic movies and invite him to watch one with you and make popcorn.   Has your family doctor or psychiatrist recommended medication?  Complete blood lab studies as other medical conditions can mask as depression symptoms.  Accepting the need for medication is a big step and taking the medication as directed and for the recommending length of time will likely make him feel better. Sometimes the medication regimen needs to be changed if not achieving the desired effect or causes negative side effects like nausea or weight gain.  Lastly,  supervise and guide your teen.  Encourage him to leave his door open to his room, if that becomes a power struggle make a compromise to knock and then go in.  
Answered on 01/21/2023

How do I discover myself

The first step before you can focus on how others feel about you. Is to improve how you feel about yourself. When you think back in your life to when you were happy what was going on for you then? What is different now? The other part to that is what is happiness to you? Once you begin to think about those three things you can start to look at what is missing. Happiness is different for everyone and only you can define what it means to you. Confidence within ourselves grow as we begin to feel comfortable in who we are. We are constantly discovering ourselves throughout our lives. Discovery is about trying new things to see what you like and don't like. Have you tried anything new? Through therapy you can begin the journey of discovery and begin to build your confidence. As a therapist I'd like to work with you in finding out who you are. Because the real you is always there, sometimes people get so accustomed to pretending that we forget who we really are. That in itself can cause internal conflict. When it comes to your boyfriend has he said that he does not like you? It's important not to assume what others think or feel. When we struggle with being satisfied with ourselves we tend to think that others could not be happy with us. However there is nothing to say that is true. I would recommend having a conversation with your boyfriend and talk to him about what you need, so that you feel the connection that you are missing. The first step is to start working with a therapist to help you tap into the source of you feeling like you are not enough. The next is to think about the last time you were happy and to see what changed. Also communicate with your loved ones about what you need in order to feel loved. Finally discovery is about being open to trying new things that match with your values. As you find things you like you can continue to do them and things you don't like you can stop.
Answered on 01/20/2023

What should I do?

Figuring It All Out To give credit to the sadness, it makes sense. You are experiencing what many people feel but don't talk about. University can be a very competitive, isolating place. We're made to believe that we go off to higher learning to have fun and grow, but ironically, it requires discomfort to grow. Therefore, your discomfort in any fashion is leading away from the old and into the new, this is what your mind interprets to be something deep, something sad. You see, if you say you are sad, or you interpret your discomfort as something unfair or to be righted versus something required on the road to growth, we seek to remedy our feeling. When you start to remedy pain instead of focus on where you're going, you head nowhere. So, there's the question, where do you want to go? What do you value in life that would lead you to a place you want? Once you know what your carrot is you no longer have to live life merely looking back to avoid the stick. In short, go after what you want, don't live to avoid pain.  Commitment, is to be wholly invested into some purpose. When you commit to something you commit to the consequences as well. We don't like that part, but there are consequences and we have to ask ourselves if those consequences, both good and bad, are worth the changes we are making. What, then, are you doing all of this for, this pain, this loneliness while at University? Look, there's a lot of coping skills/therapeutic techniques/talk therapy wisdom that may make you feel better, but I'll tell you this; nothing changes a person more than learning how to sit with their feelings and thoughts without giving in to them and reacting. It is because of the work I've done and thousands of hours with people that I can say these things. Do not waste time indulging a judgement or narrative or possible conclusion about yourself. Let the emotions pass, thoughts pass, all of it passes unless you make the active choice to latch on to your interpretation of interpersonal feelings. Get to know yourself, your thoughts and identify what you are feeling. Tell me, can you identify what you are thinking/feeling right now? Can you tell me where your head is now or why did you do something before because you may have felt bad? Anytime you indulge a negative self-perception or powerless title you give up all your power to the thoughts. You have thoughts, they don't define you. You have experiences, they don't define you either. You are a context, constantly changing and growing. Identify and let go of stagnant beliefs about yourself, talk to people, get out of your own head. What you are is going to get uncomfortable by doing what you care about, instead of avoiding what you think is scary.  This too shall pass. 
Answered on 01/19/2023

How can I grieve my mom in a healthy way? what strategies or activities can I do to help me healing?

Loss. When we lose someone like you've lost your mom, it is devastating for many reasons. It's like your mind tries to find all the ways it is suffering now that your mom isn't alive anymore. The circumstance around your loss tells me you may have suffered twice, the abruptness of mom's death and then not even being able to have the funeral. Now, the time has passed, and the world has moved on, yet your mind remains stuck in the past. You are struggling to move on; I suspect it is because you might be scared to let go.  Your mom meant so much to you that even the pain of the last two weeks of her life could be better than the thought of letting go and putting yourself at risk of forgetting. I think we are all familiar that when we move on from someone, they become a distant memory. I don't think you want that for her. You want your mom to be remembered. You are the youngest, and you want to carry on that legacy of her, those memories of when she was alive, and it hurts.  You recall the support mom gave you. How close you were. Death reminds us of life. Your experience with your mom has now become all you have because death reminded you that she isn't here anymore, and you have to continue on because the alive version of her would have wanted you to. But you don't know what you don't know, so you ask for help.  You tell yourself that you shouldn't be doing what you are doing, feeling as sad as you have been, and crying is inappropriate. You tell yourself what not to do next to some measurement of what you should do. The question is, given the circumstance, what SHOULD you do here? How does one move on? Take a minute to answer that question, what is your mind telling you, you should do?  Often people tell me that their mind tells them what not to do, but then they aren't given any clarity or insight as to what to do. When it comes to pain, loss, grief, depression, and even loss of identity or purpose, we are best to realize the full extent of the situation we are in and instead of trying to fix or turn from it, look at it in the eye. I am talking about fear, loneliness, and sadness; these emotions fuel you to act and think the way you do. If you want to change anything, even cope, you have to acknowledge these emotions and think on what they convince you of, what image or thought you get that gets you to define your situation as painful.  A few tips:  1. Radical acceptance is not agreement. Accept your situation, therefore, acknowledge the sadness and reality of your situation.  2. Practice noticing thoughts, sitting with them, and asking what they want. Sit with the thoughts that tell you you are sad or nervous and be with them.  3. When you notice a thought, resist the urge to be taken down that pathway of thought. I know familiar pain can seem more enticing than the scary and unfamiliar, but it isn't. Get accustomed to being uncomfortable. It will be uncomfortable for you to turn down the familiar pathway of your painful thinking and the images it produces.  4. Not indulging the thoughts pain provokes, is the start of letting go of the situation with your mom; she would have wanted that. I say that she would have because you seem like a loyal child and loyal children have authentic parents. An authentic parent would want their kids to do whatever it took to move on. Your mom would not want you to withdraw from life because you were holding on to the last bits of her life. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, we all end up this way.  5. Be honest with yourself, and your thoughts, and start to acknowledge what you are feeling, thinking, and wanting in life. Be honest, no matter how it sounds. Be honest with where your emotions are. Are you mad at all?  Look, give credit to the grieving body; it is getting your attention. Your body is telling you that you cannot handle much right now, so you better withdraw from life because you are fragile. The earlier you notice these thoughts and beliefs about yourself, the more you can trust and love and be grateful for what you have been given, a life full of real situations, mom included, meant to shape and mold you. Just think, mom would have probably gladly given her life if it meant that you finally got to live yours. Her death will not only be memorialized in your heart, but your experience with her will also be right there with you as long as you live. Because of that, you don't have to hold on to pain anymore. Notice you hanging on to the past and letting go. Cope by making space for these emotions and giving yourself permission to experience them, all the while you continue to do the things you want in life. Don't let the emotions take you out. 
Answered on 01/18/2023

How do I feel less lonely in a new city

Hello there.  I'm glad that you reached out for help.  It's not easy to be vulnerable and talk about our stories and experiences with someone.  It takes courage. Moving is stressful in the first place.  On top of that with everything else you are experiencing, it's understandable you are feeling overwhelmed and lonely. What does your daily routine look like?  What do you miss the most about your hometown?  What was your mental health like before this move and before these unfortunate events in your life?  What is bothering you the most right now?  And what do you need the most?  If you had to pinpoint four or five words that would best describe how you've been feeling over the past two weeks what would those be?  In an effort to help you articulate your feelings, once you have those words, take them one at a time.  Let's say for example your words are lonely, overwhelmed, hopeless, scared, and hopeful.  Then, take these words one at a time with these prompts:  I feel lonely when.........I feel I feel overwhelmed when................I feel hopeless because.................I get scared when..............and I have moments of feeling hopeful that look like.................... Who is part of your support system?  If you had to choose one person you could reach out to today, even if it's hard and you really don't want to, who would that person be?  Someone you feel safe with and have a history of trust and respect. What does your day look like today?  When you first wake up, think about what you need the most this day.  Do you need rest?  to shower?  to call a friend?  To get something done?  To do the dishes?  Call one place of employment.  Search on job sites for 5 minutes?  Make it realistic.  Something that you know you can do and commit to it for that day.  And then to take action on one of these realistic goals you can just start.  Show up and start.  You can commit to  5 minutes of this task.  You can stop after 5 min.  The reason this works is because if we can commit to 5 min, generally once we are started we will continue.  At least for awhile.  But if you end up needing to quit after 5 min, that is fine.  The fact that you showed up here today and took 5 min to ask this question is a huge step.  I can't express enough how important that is. What is your next step?  What do you need the most today?
Answered on 01/16/2023

How do you control your anger and not let your anger control you?

Thank you for reaching out for help to understand the feelings of anger that you are experiencing. I am sorry that you are going through these feelings. It's important to see that there is help that can make a difference. Learning how to control emotions will help you control and express your feelings, which can also include sadness, fear and disappointment. The way you describe your anger it sounds like this way of expressing your feelings could come after a build up of emotions. Exploring the reasons behind why you are unable to discuss these in a calm way will help you to break the behaviour of getting angry   Anger allows for all emotions to be expressed, even if the feelings being experienced include other emotions. (as listed above)The risk is that to the other people involved, they only see the anger and nothing else and this can bring feelings of not really being heard   Becoming angry, although helps to say how you feel, it is a very stressful way of coping with your feelings and is likely to have an effect on your mental health as It can take so much out of you. The recovery time after an outburst can have a negative impact, such as, leading to feelings of guilt, anxiety as well as feelings of being understood, which can lead to depression. Learning new ways of coping with your emotions will help you to feel present with your feelings and will encourage validation that your feelings are important and necessary to be heard. Alongside therapy, writing a journal is a good way of releasing your feelings and it helps you to become in tune with what emotion you are feeling at the time. Writing provides your future self with the coping strategies that you have learned work and you show you that there is often a different way of approaching things that are more positive for you.  Talking through your experiences with a counsellor will give you the support for you explore your memories of your life's experiences, to help you to gain a deeper understanding of yourself. This will help you to identify the triggers that cause the anger and allow you to learn new ways of coping with your emotions in a more positive and calm way. 
Answered on 01/13/2023