Depression Answers

How do I best cope with my grief over my boyfriend getting shot and killed?

First let me say I'm very sorry to hear about the recent death of your boyfriend and my heart goes to you.  Being a single parent can't be easy.   I know you said that you know about the stages of grief but it seems there may by some things you are not considering about your situation. The first thing that stands out is that your boyfriend's death occurred about a month ago.  This is very recent.  Adjusting to anything in a month is difficult but especially having a close partner in your life one day and the next day is not in your life anymore.  Secondly, your boyfriend most likely was not old and did not die of natural causes.  He was reasonably young and was killed abrubtly.   This was a violent death.  Violence that results in harm or death to a loved one has a horrible effect on us.  This is trauma.  There are many emotions related to trauma often that may include shock, disbelief, sadness, anger, rage, hurt, fear, and many others.  These are separate from the emotions connected simply to loss such as when a loved one dies of natural causes.  All loss is traumatic because it is the severance of an attachment.  But this was violent traumatic loss. Lastly, the death of a loved one leaves loneliness and likely uncertainty about the future.  Imagining life without that partner may be quite difficult as couples likely had future plan together, hopes, and dreams that will not be realized together. You turned to drugs to ease the pain bu unfortubnately they just intensify the pain and complicate the problem.  You now need help with dealing with drug use and depression. Our emotions cannot be controlled or coerced, only accepted.  The grieving process takes time and one month is not a long time.  I'm sure you want a partner to share time and even love with in your life but you sound like you miss him immensely.  The pain we feel after loss is often directly related to the level of closeness in our relationships.  Give yourself time.  Focus on other relationships such as family and friends who can be supportive.  Take care of your baby.  Maybe even consider a bereavment group with others who have had similar experiences.  You might consider easing up on yourself and not expecting that you should just be able to move on as if nothing happened.  Something happened that changed your life forever.  Lastly if your sadness ever gets overwhelming and you think or feel like hurting yourself, you can call 1-800-973-8255 to speak with someone, call 911, or take yourself to a hospital where you can be helped.  You can be fine and you will get through this but it will take some time and remember that you don't need to go on dealinbg with this alone.  Take Care..... T. Alan Schweizer, M.Ed, LMFT    
(M.Ed, LMFT)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I stop self sabotaging once a year?

In order to stop any amount of self sabotage, it is vital to know your thinking and behavior patterns. You must identify those patterns that negatively effect your well being and find creative ways to counteract them and form new healthier habits. Developing self-awareness and prioritizing behaviors that help reduce stress over time can prevent those larger events that have such devastating outcomes. Little changes can have huge impacts and let you feel more in control of what is going on around you. Sometimes it is as simple as knowing when you are getting in your own way. For instance, we know that procrastinating taking care of a mess will only lead to having to clean up a bigger mess later on. Or we buy a bunch of candy and sweets when we are trying to cut back on eating sugar. In other situations, it may not be as evident especially when it comes to relationships. We might assume things about a romantic partner or become competitive with a good friend which results in strain and stress and the inability to have meaningful relationships. Creating a system or rules for any major decision making can help especially those who tend to overthink. Your rules need to be specific to you, based on your personality, situation, and resources. My rules would be different than yours and vice versa.  Celebrate and take pride in small improvements. Appreciate the work you have done and continue moving forward focusing on your end goals. Self-care is incredibly important and should be top priority. Making changes requires a great deal of time and energy, you cannot do this if you are running on fumes and mentally exhausted. Do not get into the pattern of thinking you will take care of yourself once this project is done or you have met a deadline. Just like a vehicle, you cannot run on an empty tank. Reaching out and asking for help from a mental health professional is another great tool. They can help you identify thinking errors while creating a plan on how to handle situations that typically lead to self sabotaging and depressive episodes. Lastly, self sabotage is common and most people deal with it in one way or another. Building on these steps can help pave a better path to a bright future    
Answered on 01/21/2022

why do i feel like im dettached from reality?

Dear Han,   Thank you for your message.   Like what you've said, what you have witnessed and experienced in the past most likely conditioned you to avoid all emotions and to disassociate from those situations so that you could function and survive, by doing so perhaps we have learned to suppress most if not all unpleasant emotions. We have done the opposite from what we should be doing, to understand and accept all emotions without judgement. Yet you're not the one to be blamed for that, your brain did what she thought was the right thing to do to keep you alive, by protecting you from these unpleasant emotions because she thought they would harm you.   After all we are all humans, and sometimes I say to myself that since I'm a human I might as well learn to live as a human, which means not to force myself against my feelings, rather learn to float and accept all of the experiences as I go through in life.   According to recent psychological researches, one of the main causes of many psychological problems is the habit of emotional avoidance. This may seem surprising, because the attempt to avoid negative emotions appears to be a reasonable thing. After all, negative emotions don't feel good, and they are often linked in our minds to negative events that we want to avoid or forget. Moreover, we are all familiar with the momentary relief that avoidance can provide. If the thought of speaking up upsets me, then I can make myself feel better by deciding not to speak. Indeed, avoidance is an effective solution in the short term. Long term, however, it becomes a bigger problem than whatever was being avoided in the first place. And life, if you're at all lucky, is a long term proposition.   Avoiding a negative emotion buys you short term gain at the price of long term pain. When we avoid the short term discomfort of a negative emotion, we resemble the person who under stress decides to drink. It ‘works,' and the next day, when bad feelings come, he drinks again. So far so good, short term. In the long run, however, that person will develop a bigger problem (addiction), in addition to the unresolved issues he had avoided by drinking.   However, there are several reasons why emotional avoidance could be harmful.   First as we all know and experience, important goals and pursuits in your life may inherently involve going through some challenging times and situations, and an unwillingness to ‘pay the toll' for the trip may narrow your life horizons needlessly. Over time, avoidance becomes a prison, because after a while you begin to feel the need to avoid many situations, people, experiences and places that may bring the negative emotion to mind, stir it, or remind you of it. And the more you avoid, the weaker you feel, the more your coping skills diminish, and the less of life you can experience.   Meanwhile, attempts at avoiding negative emotions are usually futile. Telling yourself that a certain emotion is intolerable or dangerous traps you in constant vigilance regarding the very thing you're trying to avoid. You become hyper-vigilant about any possibility of this feeling arising. The fear of the impending negative experience becomes a negative experience in itself.   Plus, emotional avoidance often involves denying the truth--not a good foundation for a healthy life. It's like someone who looks out the window, sees snow falling, and then tells himself: "it can't be snowing." Clearly it can, and it is. Granted, you may not like snow. But denying the fact that it's snowing is unlikely to solve the problems posed by snow.   Also, avoidance lengthens the period of anticipation, and anticipatory anxiety is usually a much more noxious condition than the actual situation being anticipated. This is mainly because when you anticipate, your imagination is unbounded by actual situational demands. You can go anywhere in your head regarding something that hasn't happened yet, and so you'll often go wild with negative, catastrophic scenarios. In contrast, once actually in the feared situation, your mind becomes bounded by the parameters of what is happening around you. And what is actually happening is usually less than spectacular or catastrophic. Real catastrophes are, after all, really rare. Reality generates many fewer extreme situations than the unbounded imagination.   Now, before we discuss a more healthy way to handle negative emotion, we need to understand the function of emotions in general. You can think of your emotions as a source of information. Your emotions tell you something about what's going on with you and around you. Emotions, however, are not the only source of information available to you. You also have your rational thoughts, your stored knowledge and experience, your values and goals. Information provided by emotions needs to be appraised and evaluated in light of these other sources in order for you to decide how to behave in the situation.   Regardless of our emotion, we always have choices of action. Our decision will depend on synthesizing knowledge from many sources. For example, if you and your child are approached by a wild dog while on a nature hike, you may feel fear, and with it a desire to flee, but decide to stay and fight the dog to protect your child. In this case, your values ("I have a duty to protect my child") dictated that you ‘disobey' your fear. Emotions, when viewed as part of a spectrum of available sources of information, are a bit like the weather report. They are important to know, consider, and understand, but they are not necessarily the overriding factor in your life plans.    When the weather is bad (not to your liking), it doesn't mean you have to deny it, focus all your attention on it, or cancel your plans because of it. What you need to do is accept the weather and adjust your plans accordingly. If my goal today is to pick my son up from daycare at 4:00, and it's suddenly snowing, and I don't like snow, I will not waste my energy raging at the sky, nor will I leave my son stranded. I will put on a parka, leave home 15 minutes earlier and drive carefully to get him.   As a human being, we are going to have all kinds of emotions, just like there are all kinds of weather. These emotions are, more than anything else, just a part of being a living human being. By accepting your emotional life, we are affirming our full humanity. Emotional acceptance is thus a far better strategy than avoidance.   Emotional acceptance refers to the willingness and ability to accept and experience the negative emotion, to acknowledge and absorb it. Acceptance offers several advantages. First, by accepting your emotions, you are accepting the truth of your situation (it is snowing). This acceptance means that you don't have to spend your energy pushing the emotion away. Instead, once the emotion is acknowledged, you can then turn to pursue the behaviors that are aligned with your goals and values.   Second, when you accept the emotion, you are giving yourself a chance to learn about it, become familiar with it, become skilled in its management, and integrate it into your life. Avoidance doesn't teach you that, because you can't learn to do something by not doing it.   Third, acceptance is implicitly akin to saying, "This is not that bad." Which is the truth--negative emotions may not be fun, but they won't kill you; experiencing them as they are--annoying but not dangerous--is eventually much less of a drag than the ongoing (failing) attempt to avoid them.   Finally, when you accept a negative emotion, it tends to lose its destructive power. This is surprising and counter intuitive to many people, but if you think about it for a while, you will see the logic of this approach.    If we think of the analogy of "floating" again, swimmers who are caught in an undertow and feel themselves being dragged out to sea often panic and begin to swim against the current with all their might. Often, they fatigue, cramp and drown. To survive, such a swimmer should do the opposite--let go. Let the current take him out to sea. Within a few hundred yards the current will weaken and the swimmer can swim around and back to shore. The same with a powerful emotion: pushing against it is futile and possibly dangerous; but if we accept the emotion, it will run its course while allowing us to run ours. :)   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I fix my life goal, I can't do it anymore, I go after despair thinking about it,

Thank you for reaching out and taking the first step to get help.  My name is Sarah Cho and I am a licensed therapist.  I am happy to share some thoughts with you and hope they might help.  It sounds like you have unmet expectations for yourself and your family that are leading to feelings of despair and disappointment.  This can happen we the life goals we are working towards get derailed.  It is important to know that you can always push through the disappointment and despair and begin to plan again using what you have learned in your current situation.  It might be difficult now, but learning to reframe the unmet expectations as opportunities can really assist you in moving forward.  Equally important is the idea of acceptance and forgiveness.  We can turn our frustration and disappointment inside or towards others.  If you can work on forgiving yourself and your family, this will allow you to also move forward in a more positive and healthy manner.  The amount of disappointment and sadness you are feeling will depend on the meaning that you attached it's role to your overall happiness.  Is this a loss for you or simply a change?  Be careful that during this time of sadness that you don't default to poor coping strategies like distracting yourself, engaging in unhealthy behaviors like overeating or drinking or ignoring how you are feeling.  Rather, allow yourself some grace and be okay feeling sad and disappointed.  Give yourself a time limit on this though, and when you want to move on.  As discsussed above, reframe the situation and try and now see this as an opportunity to move forward with additional knowledge and information.  This is also a time for you to reflect and consider how you see yourself and your self-image.  Often when we identify with a particular goal area and we do not meet it, we can feel this deeply and it can affect your overall self-image and how you present yourself.  While this may mean changing how you view yourself, it can also be an opportunity for you to see yourself in a more well-rounded manner.  It might also be important for you to consider getting some additional help, either from individual therapy or from a friend who is a support to you, at this time.  Coping through disappointment and difficult conditions alone can be hard and having extra support might help ease some of the burden you are feeling.  Please let me know if you have any follow-up questions or concerns.  I am always happy to help.  Warmly, Sarah Cho, LCSW, BCBA     
(LCSW, BCBA)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Is it ok that my therapist suggested doing a therapy talking in detail about sex

Dear Bia,   Thank you very much for your message.   From your description it sounds very suspicious and inappropriate what that therapist is doing with you, I would recommend that you stop that process immediately and if possible, report such behavior to local authorities. I can assure you that what you described is not a standard treatment for depression.   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.   May all be well, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

What are effective methods to overcome the darkness that consumes me?

Firstly I want to say I’m very sorry that it feels like a darkness is consuming you and making it hard for you to find the bright side of things. Please know there is hope for changing how you feel. The first biggest method you should start with is to start regular counseling with a qualified mental health professional. When you do that they can help you figure out what kind of “darkness” is affecting you, whether it’s a feeling of depression, anxiety, loneliness, or some other type of mental health concern. A professional can help walk you through the process of exploring your past and present life to start figuring out where this darkness is coming from and what it is. Without first knowing this it’s hard to know what to do to treat it. There is no one size fits all fix. You mentioned that it's "getting to a point where..." and that "it's really hard for me to just ignore it." To me those statements tell me that these feelings you're coping with have gotten progressively worse or more frequent and that so far you've been trying to ignore or otherwise not engage with them. That's absolutely understandable because a lot of times as people we try to avoid painful experiences in order to not have to feel uncomfortable or painful. Unfortunately however, this is not an effective strategy for getting through these feelings because whatever is actually causing you to feel like this goes on unaddressed and can continue bringing down your mood. The first step towards improving your mood and quality of life is to stop trying to ignore how your feelings and to start to actually acknowledge your feelings. In fact our feelings are functional, they serve a very important purpose in life to give us important moment to moment feedback about our lives. Our feelings cue us in on what situations and experiences are helping or harming us and they better help us to pursue our goals. That's a valuable source of information that we're throwing away when we try to ignore our feelings.  Again the while the most important step is going to be seeking support from a qualified professional, here are some other tips as well. Other important steps you can take in the meantime are journaling about your thoughts and feelings, sharing how you feel with a loved one, and doing activities you normally find fun to try to boost your mood. But keep in mind that these coping skills are often just that, ways to cope with our feelings and be less affected by them. While this is obviously important in it’s own right, in order to truly understand and treat a concern you need to be engaged the concerns head on and counseling is the best way to find out how to do that. Good job starting to seek support already just by asking this question, acknowledging our difficult feelings is a huge step by itself towards starting to improve things. You've got this! 
Answered on 01/21/2022

Can I have therapy once every 2 weeks

Dear Ycul,   Thank you for your message and courageously sharing the traumas that you have been through, and what they meant to you and affecting your life at the moment.   This is indeed a painful process that can cause some emotions rising on your end, that is also because for a very long time we have been simply coping with these wounds through our defense mechanisms, rather than actually looking at them and process them.    As you have said, perhaps we have learned to deal and cope with these abuses and traumas by making explanations for them, validating them and even accepting them as a part of our lives. While we have learned to move on without processing these traumas, we could still the effects they bring especially in the form of anxiety and even panic when we are being reminded or triggered by events and people who have inflicted these wounds on us.   To truly move on and not let these traumas affect us, we need to learn to bring closures to these wounds and bind them up. I am glad that you are aware of the need to bring closures, I'll explain more here when it comes to closure.   A lack of closure frequently prevents people from moving forward with their lives and achieving all that they could. It makes it more difficult to reach goals, find self-happiness or make meaningful relationships. For this reason, it is important to find a sense of closure with any situation that you feel is holding you back.   Closure is any interaction, information, or practice that allows a person to feel that a traumatic, upsetting, or confusing life event has been resolved. The term has its origins in Gestalt psychology, but it is more commonly used to refer to the final resolution to a conflict or problem.   Closure means finality; a letting go of what once was. Finding closure implies a complete acceptance of what has happened and an honoring of the transition away from what's finished to something new. In other words, closure describes the ability to go beyond imposed limitations in order to find different possibilities.   People seek answers and explanations: They want to know why. However, finding answers does not necessarily end pain. Sometimes a person who seeks closure finds that an explanation makes no difference, or that it actually worsens their pain. Others find that closure may simply be a starting point for moving past a painful event. Though the trauma is not resolved, the person is better able to work through it. Seeking a definitive way to finalize grief and move on belies the importance of the grieving process. Simply putting an end to one's painful memories may be more harmful than helpful.   In some cases, though, closure is a profoundly transformative experience that does allow the person to move past the traumatic event. For example, a victim of abuse may need to confront the abuser and see them imprisoned before he or she can begin to feel safe again. In acknowledgment of this, the criminal justice system is increasingly recognizing the need for closure by instituting programs allowing victims and their families to meet with offenders in a controlled setting.   Unfortunately, there are times when closure is simply unattainable. This may be true in situations where someone moved locations or passed away before being able to resolve a problem. In some cases, the other involved person is simply unwilling to engage. In times like these, it can be easy to become bogged down by the lack of closure. It can be easy to cover up the underlying problem with meaningless coping mechanisms like substance abuse. With time and effort, there are many ways to move past unattainable closure to live happily once more.   The most important part of moving on from a lack of closure is taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally. This is also why we have began our therapy process with the focus on self-compassion. Self-compassion is the core of why we want to bring closures and bind up these wounds, because they make us feel better and they are the best decisions we can make for ourselves.   When we bring closures to our traumas, we need to keep in mind that we are doing this not because we have to, but we want to. When we practice forgiving those who have wounded us and let them go, we are not agreeing / accepting / acknowledging what they have done and not hold them accountable, we are simply letting go of the bitterness, resentment and hatred that we have hide with us all these years.   As for our physical health, engaging in adequate active exercises could be helpful. Improving your physical health through diet and exercise can help to improve self-esteem and emotional well-being, both of which are essential to moving on from unattainable closure.   Meditation, hobbies and social interaction are all great ways to nurture your mental health and find the inner happiness that makes a lack of closure bearable.   While self-care is essential to moving on from a lack of closure, it is often not enough to resolve the problem altogether. One great exercise to help you move forward is to write a letter to the individual that you have not received closure with. In this letter, you can describe all of your feelings about the situation and how you wish things had ended. Once the letter is complete, you can bury it, burn it, or simply throw it in the trash. Writing an unsent letter can help you get those feelings out that are hiding painfully inside and find a sense of self-resolution.   Forgiveness is another essential component to finding a sense of closure at times that closure cannot otherwise be achieved. Forgiving a person that caused you pain can sometimes seem like an impossible task. However, it is possible with daily efforts. We can go into details later regarding forgiveness, one step at a time.   To move past unattainable closure, you may also need to forgive yourself for anything you feel you did wrong in the situation. If you blame yourself for a broken relationship, death of a love one, or anything else, it will be impossible to move on and find inner happiness.   I'll pause here to learn from your thoughts, looking forward to talking with you more. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Is there a way to beat this depression ?

Treatment-resistant depression Sometimes depression doesn't get better, even with treatment. Explore what you can do about it. If you've been treated for depression but your symptoms haven't improved, you may have treatment-resistant depression. Taking an antidepressant or going to psychological counseling (psychotherapy) eases depression symptoms for most people. But with treatment-resistant depression, standard treatments aren't enough. They may not help much at all, or your symptoms may improve, only to keep coming back.   If your primary care doctor prescribed antidepressants and your depression symptoms continue despite treatment, ask your doctor if he or she can recommend a health care provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. The psychiatrist reviews your medical history and may: Ask about life situations that might be contributing to your depression Consider your response to treatment, including medications, psychotherapy or other treatments you've tried Review all of the medications you're taking, including nonprescription drugs and herbal supplements Discuss whether you're taking your medications as prescribed and following other treatment steps Consider physical health conditions that can sometimes cause or worsen depression, such as thyroid disorders, chronic pain or heart problems Consider a diagnosis of another mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder, which can cause or worsen depression and may require different treatment; dysthymia, a mild but long-term (chronic) form of depression; or a personality disorder that contributes to the depression not getting better Treatment-resistant depression symptoms can range from mild to severe and may require trying a number of approaches to identify what helps. Medication strategies   If you've already tried an antidepressant and it didn't work, don't lose hope. You and your physician simply may not have found the right dose, medication or combination of medications that works for you. Here are some medication options that your doctor may discuss with you:   Give your current medications more time. Antidepressants and other medications for depression typically take four to eight weeks to become fully effective and for side effects to ease up. For some people, it takes even longer. Increase your dose, if indicated. Because people respond to medications differently, you may benefit from a higher dose of medication than is usually prescribed. Ask your doctor whether this is an option for you — don't change your dose on your own as several factors are involved in determining the proper dose. Switch antidepressants. For a number of people, the first antidepressant tried isn't effective. You may need to try several before you find one that works for you. Add another type of antidepressant. Your doctor may prescribe two different classes of antidepressants at the same time. That way they'll affect a wider range of brain chemicals linked to mood. These chemicals are neurotransmitters that include dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Add a medication generally used for another condition. Your doctor may prescribe a medication that's generally used for another mental or physical health problem, along with an antidepressant. This approach, known as augmentation, may include antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety medications, thyroid hormone or other drugs. Consider pharmacogenetic testing. These tests check for specific genes that indicate how well your body can process (metabolize) a medication or how your depression might respond to a particular medication based on additional factors. Currently, pharmacogenetics tests are not a sure way to show if a medication will work for you, but these tests can provide important clues for treatment, particularly in people who have many side effects or have had poor results with certain medications. These tests are not always covered by insurance. Psychological counseling   Psychological counseling (psychotherapy) by a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional can be very effective. For many people, psychotherapy combined with medication works best. It can help identify underlying concerns that may be adding to your depression. In working with your therapist, you can also learn specific behaviors and strategies to overcome your depression. For example, psychotherapy can help you:   Find better ways to cope with life's challenges Deal with past emotional trauma Manage relationships in a healthier way Learn how to reduce the effects of stress in your life Address substance use issues If counseling doesn't seem helpful, talk to your psychotherapist about trying a different approach. Or consider seeing someone else. As with medications, it may take several tries to find a treatment that works. Psychotherapy for depression may include: Cognitive behavioral therapy. This common type of counseling addresses thoughts, feelings and behaviors that affect your mood. It helps you identify and change distorted or negative thinking patterns and teaches you skills to respond to life's challenges in a positive way. Acceptance and commitment therapy. A form of cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy helps you to engage in positive behaviors, even when you have negative thoughts and emotions. It's designed for treatment-resistant conditions. Interpersonal psychotherapy. Interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on resolving relationship issues that may contribute to your depression. Family or marital therapy. This type of therapy involves family members or your spouse or partner in counseling. Working out stress in your relationships can help with depression. Dialectical behavioral therapy. This type of therapy helps you build acceptance strategies and problem-solving skills. This is useful for chronic suicidal thoughts or self-injury behaviors, which sometimes accompany treatment-resistant depression. Group psychotherapy. This type of counseling involves a group of people who struggle with depression working together with a psychotherapist. Mindfulness. Mindfulness involves paying attention and accepting one's thoughts and feelings without judging them as "right" or "wrong" in a given moment. Behavioral activation. This type of treatment works with depressed individuals to gradually decrease their avoidance and isolation and increase their engagement in activities that they once enjoyed or activities that have been shown to improve mood. Procedures to treat depression   If medications and psychotherapy aren't working, you may want to talk to a psychiatrist about additional treatment options: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). This type of treatment uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. An electromagnetic coil is placed against your scalp near your forehead. The electromagnet used in rTMS creates electric currents that stimulate nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control and depression. Typically, this treatment is delivered over 30-minute sessions in rapid bursts. This treatment can now be delivered over briefer sessions with dosing called intermittent theta burst stimulation. Ketamine is a medication that's delivered through an IV in low doses. It's used for rapid relief of hard-to-treat depressive symptoms and its effects can last from days to weeks. Usually it's given in decreasing frequencies over several weeks. The FDA approved an intranasal form called esketamine that's given in a physician's office or a clinic under the supervision of a health care provider to monitor for possible serious side effects and because of the potential for abuse and misuse. Esketamine is for adults who have tried at least two other antidepressant medications that did not adequately control symptoms. Ketamine and esketamine work in the brain in a different way than standard antidepressants, and each is typically used along with an oral antidepressant. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). While you're asleep, a carefully measured dose of electricity is passed through your brain, intentionally triggering a small, brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can relatively quickly reverse symptoms of major depression. Although there are potential side effects, such as temporary confusion or temporary memory loss, a series of ECT treatments may provide significant relief of severe depression. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Generally, VNS is only tried after other brain stimulation therapies such as ECT and rTMS have not been successful in improving symptoms of depression. VNS stimulates the vagus nerve with electrical impulses. This treatment uses a device implanted in your chest that's connected by a wire to a nerve in your neck (vagus nerve). Electrical signals from the implant travel along the vagus nerve to the mood centers of the brain, which may improve depression symptoms.   Be sure to find out whether your insurance covers any treatment that's recommended. Other steps you can take   To make the most of depression treatment: Stick to your treatment plan. Don't skip therapy sessions or appointments. It'll take time to get better. Even if you feel well, don't skip your medications. If you stop, depression symptoms may come back, and you could experience withdrawal-like symptoms. If side effects or drug costs are a problem, talk with your doctor and pharmacist to discuss options. Stop drinking or using recreational drugs. Many people with depression drink too much alcohol or use recreational drugs or marijuana. In the long run, alcohol and drugs worsen depression and make it harder to treat. If you can't stop drinking alcohol or using drugs on your own, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. Depression treatment may be unsuccessful until you address your substance use. Manage stress. Relationship issues, financial problems, an unhappy work life and many other issues can all contribute to stress, which in turn worsens depression. Try stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation or writing your thoughts in a journal. Sleep well. Poor sleep may worsen depression. Both the amount of time and how well you sleep can affect your mood, energy level, ability to concentrate and resilience to stress. If you have trouble sleeping, research ways to improve your sleep habits or ask your doctor or mental health professional for advice. Get regular exercise. Exercise has a direct effect on mood. Even physical activity such as gardening or walking can reduce stress, improve sleep and ease depression symptoms.   Don't settle for a treatment that's partially effective at relieving your depression or one that works but causes intolerable side effects. Work with your doctor or other mental health professional to find the best treatment possible, even though it may take time and effort to try new approaches. If you are at risk of harming yourself or someone else, please immediately report to your closest emergency room and/or call the national suicide hotline 800-273-8255
(LPC, NCC, CEDS-S)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I know for sure that I have BPD, and what will help me dealing with this?

Dear Giada,   Thank you for your message and sharing your concerns regarding traits that you consider as BPD. To have a full diagnosis I would recommend that you seek to be evaluated at a local clinic / mental health agency with a professional. It is difficult to give a full and accurate diagnosis here without seeing you.   Meanwhile, 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 these energy is often accumulated for a while before it erupts. If we can understand what accumulates these 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.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

1. How I get through with my emotion? 2 And is there any possibility that I have a Anxiety disorder?

1. How I get through with my emotion? 2 And is there any possibility that I have an Anxiety Disorder? I read where you shared that because you easily get the emotions of others specifically an anger emotion and you shared that you cannot control your emotions. You shared that you always get mad easily when others get mad. You also shared that you always think that you are always alone and that no one will be there for you. You also shared that you always feel sad. Based on your questions, I would highly suggest that you try to seek help for your specific mental health needs from a local licensed professional counselor and or a local licensed professional mental health therapist. A licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can properly assess you for an official diagnosis to see if you actually have Anxiety Disorder. Along with an official diagnosis, a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can support you in assessing your specific mental health needs in regards creating a treatment plan specifically for you in regards to you experiencing anger, loneliness, and or sadness. Licensed professional counselors and or licensed professional mental health therapists on the Betterhelp platform are not able to diagnosis you because we cannot see you in person to get a thorough assessment. Therefore, I highly encourage you to continue or to begin to search for a local licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist in your local area who can properly diagnosis you at this time. Once you have been properly assessed and diagnosed by a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist you can both then discuss and process what your current symptoms of Anxiety Disorder look like at this time. If your symptoms Anxiety Disorder are severe, a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can provide you with a referral to a professional psychiatrist and or medical provider for medication after they assess what your specific mental health needs are in regards to your symptoms of Anxiety Disorder. Therapy and medication together can help minimize the severity of your Anxiety Disorder if needed. Individuals who receive therapy and medication often see quicker improvements and overall better outcomes than those who only receive therapy or those individuals who only take medication. Behavior interventions, Psychotherapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have all been beneficial in treating individuals who have struggle with Anxiety Disorder.  A licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can assist you in learning how to effectively implement coping skills to decease Anxiety Disorder. A licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can introduce you to deep breathing techniques, calming techniques, grounding techniques, stress management techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, and imagery as a means of decreasing your current symptoms of anger, loneliness and or sadness that you are currently experiencing at this time. In an effort to decrease your current symptoms you can also try to commit to changing the way you think. It will take a lot of practice, dedication and determination to alleviate your symptoms of Anxiety Disorder. However, trying to do this will help you feel better and it can lead to your feeling much better and becoming more productive. You can recognize when it is happening and when you find it happening you can choose to think about something more productive. You can also look for solutions by committing to learning from your mistakes and solving your problems so you can productively move forward, set aside time to think when you notice you are feeling like you want to engaged in emotional distress outside of that scheduled time, remind yourself that you will think about it later, distract yourself with a self care activity and you can practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the key to living in the "here and now." When you become mindful, you will be completely present in the moment. It can be like a form of meditation that takes a lot of practice, but over time and with consistency, it can be very beneficial in decreasing emotional distress in an effort to help you experience an overall healthier mental well being. Overall, I highly recommend that you seek help from a local licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist and a medical provider if needed to properly assess and diagnose your symptoms of Anxiety Disorder as it can look different for everyone. Please remember that mental health is not a one size fits all, so it is very important to get personalized treatment for your specific and current mental and emotional needs at this time. I highly recommend that you contact the Betterhelp team to discuss what specific payment options and payment plans are available for you to access counseling services at this time. Betterhelp does offer financial aid and various other options for individuals who are seeking counseling for their personal and or emotional well-being through the use of affordable therapy sessions. The Betterhelp Platform is designed to be able to assist you better if you contact them directly. Contacting Betterhelp directly is the best way for them to verify your identity and securely help you with your specific account information and needs. When it comes to questions, issues or concerns in regards to the cost of using the Betterhelp platform please contact the Betterhelp team. You can reach out to the Betterhelp team for issues including but not limited to the following: billing issues, account questions and or concerns, and or subscription questions and or concerns. The Betterhelp members are there to help answer your questions, concerns and or issues, so if you have a question in regards to what the cost would be to begin using the Bettehelp platform you can contact the Beterhelp team members directly to gain accurate information in regards to what payment options are available for you if you decide to join the Betterhelp platform in regards to possibly talking to a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist. Please feel free to reach out to the Member Success Team directly by emailing contact@betterhelp.com to discuss what payment options are available for you to use the Betterhelp platform for you counseling needs and or therapy needs at this time. Best regards to you!      
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How get my energy and confidence back?

Dear Marty,   Thank you for your message and sharing your thoughts regarding your insecurity. I can hear the pain behind your words of constantly battling these insecurities.   Through your words I think we have built a common understanding that we have this insecurity about ourselves that we are not good enough. We tend to overly-focus on our weakness and mistakes, as a result we feel inferior compare to others and we never give ourselves the validations that we deserve.   Meanwhile it seems that we look for validations through us being needed / wanted by others, does that mean that we don't know our values if we are not getting feedback from others?   Despite being extremely difficult, admitting your weaknesses can pay dividends in the end. Once you admit to your lack of confidence and overcome these insecurities, these aspects of your life will turn from monsters in your closet to facts that you’ve acknowledged and beaten.   Overcoming insecurities is no easy battle, as there are many factors that cause them, and they’re constantly reinforced by daily events. However the more we challenge these core beliefs that we have and the thoughts that generated from it, the more our self-image will change.   Here are some thoughts I have about how to approach insecurity and things that we don't like about ourselves. Please let me know if they make sense to you.    I'll try to be as practical as I can, maybe this approach can help us put something into practice and begin making some changes.   1- Find the root Think about where you are lacking confidence: Do you think you dislike yourself when you look into the mirror? Are you the last to talk to someone because you think you look bad? Do we feel awkward about ourselves because of the response from others after we have said something?   Consider where these thoughts come from. There may have been certain occurrences in your life that made you think less of yourself. Once you’ve found the root of the problem, it’s much easier to get a handle on the insecurity, because it was most likely created by one or two isolated instances that have no real importance on your current life. Recognize where that insecurity started, and it’ll seem more manageable.   2- Invalidate the problem Once you’ve pinpointed the specific incident that created the crater in your self-image, consider why that occurrence doesn’t prove anything about your life as a whole, and think about the times in your life that prove the opposite. We are often too quick to forget the compliments or positive reinforcements that we’ve received from friends or colleagues, dismissing the kind words as pity or politeness.   Don’t focus on your lack of achievement when your cube mate scores a big account at work. Instead, remember when your boss complimented your own work or just how far you’ve come since you were a bottom-feeder at your company. Recognizing your successes will remind you of how great you are and how lucky your company is to have you. This will help you celebrate your coworkers' successes — and remember that it can only be so long before your next big break.   3- Stop comparing yourself to others It’s easy to become insecure when you constantly compare yourself to seemingly strong, flawless people. For example, if you compare yourself to the person who seems to have a grip on socializing with others and appearing confident, you may come out feeling clumsy and awkward in your encounters with others. But, what you’re likely unaware of is that this person has his/her own set of problems that they have to deal with. Maybe they are covering up their fears of being abandoned therefore they need to keep seeking attention? Instead of focusing on how you stack up against them, focus on what you can do and your skills.   If you can’t measure up to your buddy, maybe you should measure up to your own strengths…   It can be equally as treacherous to compare yourself to your friends. For example, when you see your friend — whose downfalls and ineptitude you are familiar with — succeed, you might end up feeling threatened and insecure about your own abilities.    4- Consider your known strengths A lot of your insecurities come from focusing on the things that you have trouble with. The truth is that everybody has strong and weak points, but successful individuals have learned how to play up their good points — a skill that has helped them flourish. Despite your insecurities, you have achieved a certain level of success in your life because you have great qualities. It's your job to pinpoint and foster those qualities and build a successful life.   Take those qualities, learn to focus on them and remember that there are more ways to use your set of skills than you think. Perhaps you’re nervous about giving a presentation to clients because you’re not very good at making anecdotes or using metaphors. What you seem to forget is that you know the project inside and out; focus on that and answer all of your client's questions before they ask them. Remembering what you can do will give you the confidence not to choke under pressure.   5- Put your insecurities behind you Once you’re aware that your strengths and weaknesses will balance out in the end, forget about what you lack and draw on where you rock the competition. If you fumbled today at the office meeting, remind yourself of your performance for the past three months. You can always enhance your weaker points at a later date.   If you find that you’re focusing on your insecurities, think of the faults that other people have and how they’re able to get around them or just remind yourself of all the things that you’ve achieved in life. The more you focus on your strengths, the more they’ll be visible to others. In the end you’ll not only be happier, but you’ll be more successful.   The bottom line for beating your insecurities is this: Everyone has them and the key to success is to identify them, invalidate them and move past them. Focus on your accomplishments and recognize that insecurities are usually irrational fears of inadequacy.   Your faults are no more visible or detrimental to your success than anyone else’s, unless you let them get the better of you. Failure tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you worry that you will fail, your performance will lack and turn your ruminations into a reality.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono  
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Would I benefit from therapy?

Hello SH,   Thank you for reaching out on the BetterHelp Platform with your question: Would I benefit from therapy? I am glad you have reached out for some support and guidance with what you is going on with you at the moment.  I can see that you are struggling with your emotions, and you would perhaps benefit from some support from a professional mental health therapist – someone to listen and help you with some effective coping skills to help with what appears to be feelings of being overwhelmed. In society, there is a lot of talk about therapy. People choose to participate in therapy for diverse reasons and there are many benefits which come along with having therapy. Whether you’re in therapy, out of therapy, or considering it, it can be helpful to learn about treatment options and how they may benefit you.   A Brief Overview Of Therapy Before reviewing the various benefits of therapy, having a general understanding of the practice is a good idea. In a nutshell, therapy is a form of treatment which involves meeting and working with a specialist to solve various issues. The issues in question could involve personal feelings, traumatic events, relationship struggles, the death of a loved one, daily stressors, or something else entirely. Therapy can help with any number of problems or even just navigating life’s ups and downs. When working with a therapist, it’s important to find one that you feel comfortable trusting and confiding in. Your therapist should focus their time and energy on you during sessions, and help you achieve whatever goals and desired outcomes you want to address. The treatment process and improvements which come from therapy can take different amounts of time depending on your situation. The Benefits Of Therapy There are a variety of benefits associated with therapy.  Each one will come in handy at different stages or periods of the process. When it’s all said and done, therapy is about self-betterment and self-improvement. If these are processes which you value, then you will certainly appreciate the following benefits. Healthy Coping Mechanisms Feeling stressed out or overwhelmed is common in today’s world. The ability to cope and deal in a healthy, positive, and constructive manner is often the difference between success and failure in life. A person who is unable to manage themselves when things get tough may have some hard times ahead of them. Attending therapy can change this. By working with a licensed professional who specializes in helping others, you can learn healthy coping mechanisms which allow you to navigate the challenges of life without burning out or falling apart. As human beings, we all face challenges and tough times. Everyone can benefit from learning healthy coping mechanisms. A Sounding Board Loneliness is a problem many people face. Feeling isolated can often contribute to an already overwhelming situation. A strong support system can be helpful in facing the challenges life often presents, and without that system, in place, additional stress may be added to life. This is when having a therapist in your corner can be so beneficial. The job of your therapist is to listen to you, ask appropriate questions, and then work with you to find solutions to the challenges you’re facing. Having someone to talk to, turn to, and confide in can make an amazing difference. Achievement Of Goals Throughout the process of therapy, your therapist is going to work with you and help you set certain goals which will be beneficial to you. Your therapist will also assist you on your journey of reaching and fulfilling these goals. This is a very impactful part of therapy which sets the precedent for what life will be like after your work with your therapist is complete. The ability to set goals and achieve them matters, not just in therapy, but in everyday life as well. You will find that achieving goals will also contribute to your self-esteem. When you set a goal and accomplish it, you’re reinforcing to yourself that you’re capable. This increases confidence and makes you likelier to branch out and challenge yourself more often. This plays a pivotal role in living your best life and making the most of the opportunities which present themselves to you. Overcoming Past Trauma If issues from the past are not dealt with, they can linger, fester, and adversely impact your day-to-day life. Overcoming past trauma is not always easy, but it’s something that you can do when you work with a therapist. Therapists have undergone extensive graduate-level education, training, and supervised work in order to learn and implement science-backed techniques to help you move through things. Working through past trauma is not easy. It’s natural to feel hesitant or uneasy about discussing prior traumas and upsetting events. Certain issues going on in your present life may be the result of prior trauma, and by addressing that root cause, you may be better equipped to move forward. It will take time, but with your dedication and willingness with the help of your therapist, you will overcome. Improved Relationships When going to therapy, the relationships that you have with others are bound to come up. This is a good thing. Relationships share such an intimate tie with our quality of life and who we are as people. The right relationships can make us better people while the wrong relationships can wreak havoc and drag us down. In order to have the best quality of life, we need to enjoy positive, mutually beneficial relationships. The benefits of therapy are not limited to your relationships with others, but also your relationship with yourself. This sets the tone for how you will interact with others. Furthermore, having a great relationship involves treating yourself kindly, taking care of yourself, pushing yourself to achieve your goals, and maintaining high levels of self-esteem. Improving your relationships with others and yourself can take time, but this is an incredible benefit of working with a therapist. Purging Bad Habits When you work with a therapist, you can get rid of self-destructive habits. In many cases, therapy can greatly help you with this by providing various constructive alternatives. Bad habits tend to make adverse situations even worse than they already are. By getting rid of bad habits, you are already on the path to enjoying and experiencing a better quality of life. Therapy Is for Everyone As you go through therapy, you may begin to notice additional benefits which are not on this list. There are some general upsides which virtually everyone experiences, and then there are specific benefits which become apparent after time, and depend on the problems you’re addressing in therapy. There is research that shows therapy to be helpful with specific issues like anxiety, stress, depression, and more. It’s important to note that the therapeutic process is unique for each person. It varies based on the therapist, your preferences and what you’re working on in therapy, and the therapeutic approach that is best suited to your needs. The past stigma associated with therapy is quickly changing. Reaching out for help with navigating life’s challenges is becoming more and more common. The attitude that asking for help, wanting, or needing therapy indicates a personal failure has shifted as more people have come to understand that therapy is beneficial and doesn’t indicate “sickness” or “weakness.” Benefits Of Online Therapy An increasingly large amount of research points to online counseling as an effective form of treatment for those who want help managing the symptoms of an array of mental health concerns. In one broad based study research published in the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, researchers examined the benefits of online therapy when applied to a range of issues. After aggregating the results of over 90 studies, researchers concluded that online counseling can be a powerful treatment option for everything from panic and anxiety disorders to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to smoking cessation. They also mention that online therapy was as effective as traditional, in-person therapy. Online therapy is often considered a more accessible form of treatment as it circumvents many common barriers to treatment, including high costs, geographical and time constraints, and perceived stigma. If you’re not comfortable discussing certain issues in person, online therapy through BetterHelp is discreet, allowing you to participate in counseling from the comfort of your home. You can attend sessions via voice call, messaging, videoconferencing, or live chat. A licensed counselor will know how to guide you on the journey to better mental health.  There is hope and there is help available for you. I wish you much luck with your next step to making some healthy changes in your life so you can live a happier and calmer life.   In Kindness, Gaynor 
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

I recently lost my father and I want to know how do I grieve?

Here are some suggestions for coping with the loss of a parent    Recognize the scope of your loss. Coping with the loss of a parent means learning to live without a person you have known for your whole life who may have played a formative role in your growth and development. Parents have shared in important moments in your life and have been invested in your well-being.  Allow yourself to grieve. After the loss of a parent you may feel angry, upset, numb, depressed and anxious, all of which can be intense and unfamiliar. All of these feelings are appropriate given the scale of the loss. Grief is a uniquely individual experience and different people, even within the same family, will process loss and express emotion in different ways at different times.  Give yourself time. Understand that there are no fixed timelines for the grief process and that patience is important. Acknowledge and embrace emotion without feeling that you need to “get over” your feelings or move on. When it feels comfortable to do so, find the time to reflect on the past and hold onto memories.  Pay attention to your health. Feelings may be magnified on birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other holidays. Think about how you want to honor your parent on these days. Create new rituals or support old traditions with family members and/or friends, and mark or observe the day in ways that can bring comfort to you.  Plan for special days when you may need more support. Feelings may be magnified on birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other holidays. Think about how you want to honor your parent on these days. Create new rituals or support old traditions with family members and/or friends, and mark or observe the day in ways that can bring comfort to you.  Hold on to your memories and begin a new legacy. Though death separates you from a parent physically, your emotional connection continues to exist and grow through memory. Think about your parent’s strengths and the impact that they had on your life and the lives of others. You may wish to honor your parent’s memory by volunteering for cancer organizations or involving yourself in a cause that your parent felt passionately about. Consider creative outlets and keep memories present through mindfulness, writing, drawing, collaging or creating slideshows. Commemorating and honoring your parent—through activities or projects of any size—can help you cope with the grieving process and heal.    Know that your emotions will change. Grief is tied to sadness. But you’ll likely go through a variety of emotions.You may go through these stages of grief:  Denial. You may feel numb or shocked. This is your brain’s way of dealing with the overwhelming news.  Anger. As you come to terms with the loss, your emotions may turn into anger. You may direct it toward other people, the parent who died, or a higher power.  Bargaining. You may feel guilty, and think “if only ...” and “what if ...” This puts off the reality of your loss.  Depression. As the loss sinks in, you feel sad. You may cry and have trouble sleeping and eating.  Acceptance. You’ve accepted the reality. While you’re still upset, you’re moving on with your life.  Most of the time, you won’t go through these stages in order. You may jump from one to the other or experience more than one a time.   
(Ed., S, LPC-S)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Moving towards depression

Hello, Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your query: Moving towards depression. I am glad you reached out with your concerns about your anxiety and how your speech is affected.  I will share some information and tools that may assist you.  I would encourage you to reach out for support from a professional counselor to help you with some effective interventions that can increase your coping skills. There are many types of fears, but there are a few that seem to impact many people. Fear of spiders, fear of snakes, and fear of dying are some of the more common ones. But, another that many people struggle with is fear of public speaking, also known as speech anxiety. It’s actually the most common form of anxiety, with as many as 75% of people identifying as having a fear of public speaking. What Is Speech Anxiety? Speech anxiety, or glossophobia, is simply a fear of public speaking. If you suffer from speech anxiety, you likely experience moderate to severe fear or nervousness when you need to speak in front of others. This could happen whether you are speaking in front of hundreds of people or even very small groups. The symptoms can be physical, verbal, and non-verbal, and may include dry mouth, weak voice, shaking, sweating, blushing, getting hives, and an increased heart rate, to name a few. The website glossphobia.com defines speech anxiety as "intense anxiety before, or simply at the thought of having to verbally communicate with any group, avoidance of events which focus the group's attention on individuals in attendance, physical distress, nausea, or feelings of panic in such circumstances." Determine Why You Struggle with Speech Anxiety There are many different reasons why people struggle with speech anxiety. If you want to learn how to overcome it, then you need to determine where the fear is coming from. Once you identify the reasons for feeling this anxiety, you can start to address those root concerns specifically and help curb or even eliminate the issue. Here are some common reasons people experience speech anxiety: Self-Consciousness Many people who are perfectly fine talking in front of a few people start to panic or feel a sense of uneasiness in larger groups. A larger crowd gives the conversation a more formal feel, as opposed to the casual feel smaller groups provide. More eyes are staring at them. They may start to worry about what the audience is thinking of them and may feel as though they are being judged, becoming more self-conscious of their mannerisms, appearance, and speaking. These things distract them so much that it makes it difficult to focus on what they are supposed to be talking about. Failures From the Past If you have had a bad experience with speaking in front of a group in the past, it can make future encounters with public speaking rather more challenging. You may feel haunted by the events of your past presentation or talk and worry that something could go wrong again. It might cause you to feel anxiety at just the thought of having to do it again. Lack Of Preparation When you are not prepared for the task at hand, it can cause anxiety. If you've waited until the last minute to prepare for the presentation or speech that you have to give, it can trigger speech anxiety as you feel unprepared and ill-equipped. You may feel insecure about the material that you have to present and your ability to properly do so. Lack Of Confidence Another reason that people suffer from speech anxiety is that they have a lack of confidence. If you lack confidence in general and don't believe that you have the skills and abilities needed to perform the task, you may feel anxious. Many people that struggle with this become consumed with fear prior to giving a speech. They worry that they're not good enough, that they don't speak well enough, that they don't know the right way to get the audience engaged, or that they just don't know the material as well as they should. Comparisons Comparing yourself to other people oftentimes complicates matters even more. Many people struggle with speech anxiety because they feel like they don't measure up to others. This could bring about a lack of confidence which can stem from failures in the past. If you are speaking with other presenters, this can be especially hard. You know that the same audience that will be watching you, will be watching the other presenters, and you don't want to perform poorly in comparison to them. How To Overcome Speech Anxiety Once you have identified the underlying cause(s) of your speech anxiety, you can start to address them. Sometimes, getting to the root of the problem can help reveal solutions. In other cases, the solution may not be as obvious or clear. Here are some general tips one can use to alleviate speech anxiety when it strikes. Learn Better Breathing Habits Anxiety is often accompanied by shallow breathing. This often increases the heart rate, which triggers our flight-or-flight response and amps up anxiety even more. If you want to overcome anxiety, it may be helpful to practice deep breathing exercises. Practice breathing in through your nose while making sure that you are expanding your lungs from top to bottom. That means that your diaphragm should move as well while you breathe. Once you have breathed in, hold it in for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale it out through a partially open mouth. Once you have completed your exhale, start again. To help with this, you can practice a method called “box breathing” – breathe in to the count of four, hold for the count of four, breathe out to the count of four, hold at the bottom for the count of four, and repeat as many times as needed. Deep breathing exercises can help calm your nerves and settle your body. Practice Visualization When we experience anxiety about something, we tend to focus on the negatives. We perseverate on it and run all of the negative scenarios in our heads over and over again. You can overcome this by practicing positive visualization. Practice thinking about yourself speaking in front of a group and doing a great job. This can help you build your confidence and feel more comfortable with the task at hand. Join A Group To Practice Your Skills If you are in a position where you are required to speak in front of people on a regular basis, it can help to join a group that helps you practice your skills. These can be local community groups, groups within your university if you’re attending college, social media groups, or online organizations.  Toastmasters International is one such group. You can work on developing your skills with other individuals in similar positions, without having the fear of being judged. Be Prepared There are many ways that you can prepare for a speech or presentation to overcome speech anxiety. Start by making sure that you are familiar with the material you're going to be speaking about. Then, practice it until you feel that you know the material well. Additionally, if possible, make sure that you are familiar with the location you are presenting in and that you know how to get there. Find out where to go once you arrive, and then make sure you're not rushing before you must speak. Practice the deep breathing techniques that we discussed before to help re-center yourself and your thoughts. Practice Self-Care Practicing self-care can go a long way in helping you overcome speech anxiety. Start by exercising on a regular basis, if possible. Exercise helps to cut anxiety and boost your mood and confidence. If you have to give a big presentation or speech, try to make sure that you exercise the morning of, whether it’s a walk, a run, yoga, or weightlifting – whatever works best for you! Make sure that you eat a healthy diet that can help promote a sense of wellbeing and calmness. Avoid having caffeine or sweets the day of your presentation. Avoid soda or the sugary muffin from the coffee shop. Instead, try to eat things like whole grains, fruits, and stay well hydrated. Take care of your personal hygiene and dress per code with comfort. This will help you feel more confident when you get in front of a group. Avoid wearing an outfit that you will need to keep adjusting or feel self-conscious in. Additionally, make sure that you use the restroom before your presentation to minimize the risk of having to go during, or worrying about having to go during. Change Your Focus When we suffer from speech anxiety, we are focused on ourselves. One way to improve this is to change your focus from yourself to your audience. While you are talking, focus on the friendly faces in the crowd. Instead of worrying about how you look, how your voice sounds, or if you're going to get your words right, focus on delivering valuable information to the audience. Think about how the information that you're giving them is going to help them and improve their lives. Keeping the focus on your audience removes your focus from yourself, which can help ease anxiety. Talk To A Counselor If you experience strong anxiety when you need to speak in front of other people, it can help to talk to a licensed therapist. They can work with you to help you get to the root of the problem and properly address it. BetterHelp has professionals that are ready and waiting to help you overcome your speech anxiety. Specifically, a study conducted by the Berkeley University Department of Psychology found that BetterHelp is just as effective as face-to-face therapy, with 94% of users preferring it and 98% of users making significant progress in their mental health journeys. Online therapy is an important bridge to help for people working through speech anxiety, with most users making significant progress.  It's a convenient option for you to use, particularly if you have social anxiety and the idea of going to an office to speak with a therapist in person is a bit intimidating or nerve-wracking for you. Online therapy also tends to be more affordable than traditional in-person therapy.   There is hope, and there is help available for you to manage this situation so you can head off any potential depression state.   I wish you much luck! Kindly Gaynor   
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

What can I do to help me self feel better

Dear Ghost,   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 01/21/2022

Does it ever get better ?

As you regard the current state of your family, I can hear that you may be feeling something that resembles hopelessness, among many other emotions. This is a time in your life when it helps to have a soft place to go with those feelings. And, I hear your disappointment and frustration about the many prayers that things would be different.   May I encourage you, during this time, to be extra gentle with yourself? That could look like wrapping yourself in a nice warm blanket when you are feeling sad and needing comfort. Or, maybe having a special pillow to hug, or giving yourself a butterfly hug (arms crossed in front of you, with your hands on the opposite shoulder).    I imagine this troubling time is full of questions you don't have answers to, and lots of decisions to make. When these things start to feel overwhelming, this can trigger the sadness feelings again. I encourage you to allow yourself to pause often for some form of gentleness towards yourself, even just for a moment. Questions and decisions will continue to linger. Your opportunity to show kindness to yourself is something only you can prioritize, and it will make a difference as you go through each day.   May I encourage you to consider local resources for the concern you mentioned about having no where to go? Your therapist may be able to help you come up with potential agencies and services to contact that would fit your situation and unique needs best.    Taking care of yourself will help you with caring for your daughter during this trying time. Although I don't know her age, children of all ages need comfort during times where everything in their life has changed. You will find it easier to care for her when you are in an emotional place of feeling balanced and cared for.   Does it ever get better? That is an important, layered question. While there are no guarantees about tomorrow, there is hope that if we stay on a path towards healing and don't give up, we may reach a place where we are asking different questions.
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I deal with self love ?

 it sounds to me as though you are struggling a lot right now. It also sounds as though you are the bouts of a depression. Depression can happen to every single person. It can happen when you were just busy trying to function and make it through life. It could happen when you feel like you're in a rut doing the same thing and living the same day over and over just going to work or going to school and just doing what you have to do to survive. When we are depressed, We tend not to think very highly of ourselves. We can start to feel that we don't deserve the same happiness as other people. We can also start to see ourselves in relationships with people whom we know we would previously not be attracted to. When we are not feeling our best to not feeling confident it can be very hard for us to make the decisions about who to let into our lives and who to trust.  Learning how to love yourself is not easy. Often it starts in childhood. It starts when you hear good things about yourself and you get positive reinforcements. It starts when your parents reward you for good grades or they celebrate your birthdays. It starts to happen when people are just happy to have you around and let you know that your life has value. When you do not have those things it can be very hard to learn how to love yourself, because it can often feel like no one ever actually really loved you. Talking about early childhood, the same can be said for relationships. We learn our patterns of relationships from our earliest exposure to relationships, which is with our parents and watching the relationship between our parents. If we see one or more of our parents fall into a pattern of dating people that they normally wouldn't but our only dating because they don't feel good about themselves, it would be very normal for you to feel like you don't deserve anything that you want and just need to take what's left. If you have had parents with dysfunctional or abusive relationships, it can be even harder to know how to have a normal relationship.  Trust is also something that we learn how to do as children. If the people around us let us down and we know that they will not be there when we need them or they do not see to it that our needs are met, we can have a hard time knowing who to trust as adults. It can also be hard when you feel like everyone you have trusted, whether a friend or a love interest, has let you down. That must make you feel in some way that there is something wrong with you, when the fact is that people let you down for all kinds of reasons and it very often has nothing to do with you as a person.  To start working on loving yourself there are many things that you can do. You need to realize that your life has value when you add value to the relationships that you are in. You need to focus on doing small things to take care of yourself like making sure that you are taking time in your appearance during the day even if you don't feel good about yourself, It is a therapeutic tool to  dress up in order to act as if you feel better. Because you don't feel good about yourself it would be very easy to leave the house not looking good and being very unkept. You also need to do things like make sure that you are getting enough sleep and drinking enough water and eating healthy. You need to take care of your body and of your self. When you start to treat your body with respect and realize that you have the same needs is everyone else, Like setting boundaries and spending time doing things that you want to do rather than doing things for other people, you start to realize that you are just as important as everyone else and no one is better than you.  It would also be helpful to keep a gratitude journal, That is a journal of at least one thing that you were grateful for every day. One thing that you were grateful for about your life and one thing that you like about yourself. Even if you were unable to find something that you actually like about yourself if there is something that you have been told that others like or something that you find mildly tolerable about yourself, please write that down. We need to focus on positive experiences of the good things about you. We need to refocus how you think about yourself and how you think other people see you. Having confidence in yourself and knowing that you have just as much worth as everyone else goes a long way and attracting different types of people into your life. Confidence is a very attractive quality on any person.  The other thing you can do is to get some therapy. It can be so helpful when you were in the process of deciding whether or not to trust someone or when you were feeling depressed and having self doubts to have another person that has no one vested interest in any of this other than to listen to you. Having someone that you can talk to and say exactly how you were feeling about yourself what about the people in your life goes a long way into reading yourself of the stress that's related from all of those relationships. It really sounds as though you have been depressed. Things like having difficulty sleeping, being on able to concentrate, not having the motivation to do things you used to enjoy, not having any energy, having no appetite or eating too much, not getting enough sleep because you cannot fall asleep or getting too much sleep because you can't wake up, These are all symptoms of depression. The best treatment for depression is to speak with a mental health professional.  I hope you were able to find some peace and see your own value.
(MA, LPC, LLP)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to get over an ex boyfriend

Hello and welcome to the platform. Often we engage in relationships with the sole intention of being lifetime partners; however, that becomes a difficult journey. As I usually say, there are three things we must grief in order to live a life worth living: (1) death; (2) divorce; and (3) breakup. Breakups are just difficult to get over as do anything of the above. The other obstacle is that when we delve into a relationship, we enter with all the intention of forming a bond that is unbreakable. Our souls are married through our spirit, emotions, mental, and physical plains. Emotions typically runs really deep as do the spiritual connection we gain through the process. One way of overcoming a breakup is first identifying what was the most prominent emotions you had to deal with during this breakup. For example, if betrayal was the intense emotions, then focusing on the betrayal with all of its aspects (meaning the complete truth of the story) you are on the upward Ed to healing. There are moments when people say time heal all wounds; however, time without purpose is almost meaningless. So, the meaning you want to make in the healing process is to ask what was the truth about the relationship? Was the relationship healthy? Were we able to help each other live on purpose and to our higher self? Were we able to enjoy each other even when we were not at our best self? Were we able to engage each other to express ourselves openly, honestly, and willingly? This is what it looks like to sit with time during this journey. After this is done, it is best to focus on your healing your soul. The way to do so is to examine the mental space. What does that look like? Well, consider what was the negative and limiting beliefs (cognitive appraisal) you made about yourself during and after the breakup. This could be things like, "I am unworthy, insignificant, or no body will ever love me" type of statements. Endulge in the idea of not judging yourself in this moment. This means observing and describing only what is true and factual. Do not engage in the emotional bank for you will quickly enter an unhealthy place.  Hope this helps you in overcoming the breakup.  Respectfully;  
Answered on 01/21/2022

How is the best way to deal with grieve and trust issues from the past.

Thanks so much for sharing this and I am sorry for your loss.  I can only imagine this so I won't say I understand.   I do however understand losing someone very important and influential in life.  You didn't share what your relationship was with your mother or how long it has been, but I am sorry for your loss. As the anniversary of her passing has come and gone, it may not feel any easier to grief this monumental loss. I want to begin by stating…nothing is wrong with how you’re feeling. Grief comes in waves and those waves are not always linear. Grief typically refers to the loss of a loved one through death, and mourning involves the outward expression of that loss. Which one may you be? I’m sure you’ve at least heard of the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). You may not entertain all of the stages, but it might be beneficial to you to be aware of where you currently are. Ask yourself, what has placed you in that stage? A person, a place, an experience, a thought…? How long have you been there? How has that particular stage been difficult and/or strengthening? Based on what you’ve stated, it appears that you may be experiencing prolonged grief as this refers to a reaction to loss that lasts more than one year that can cause close relationships to suffer, disrupting personal beliefs, and resulting in the bereaved experiencing ongoing longing for their deceased loved one. Although there’s not a time-limit with grief/bereavement, it’s important to have a healthy support system. It doesn’t have to be large, as you’ve mentioned having trust issues from the past. I wonder if there are at least 2 - 3 people (friends, acquaintances, family etc) who you feel you could confide in to speak with about how you’ve been dealing. These would be individuals who can be a listening ear. If not, what are some groups you could be apart of? These groups could involve hobbies you like to keep yourself busy or gatherings that promote others to discuss grief in an accepting environment.  Know that grief/mourning is not forever. Just as there’s a such thing as seasons changing, so are our lives ever changing. It may not feel that you can get through this difficult time however that doesn’t mean it has to be today or tomorrow. You’re allowed to take everyday a day at a time without rushing through it. Take it at your own pace. The potential worse thing you could do is isolate from the world around you. This keeps your stationary and without growth or movement. You may not be able to place your trust in others, but i wonder who can lean and depend on you through similar/differing stories and causes. In closing I would encourage you to seek therapy with someone.  If money is tight right now, I encourage you to look at a local college or uninversity.  They generally have counseling departments that are open to the public and they operate on a sliding scale.  Because of this, you might be able to see someone for FREE!  It's certainly worth checking into.  Take care of yourself and I wish you very well!
(MSW, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

What kind of help will I need ?

  Everyone experiences feelings of sadness occasionally, but depression is different. It persists over time and can cause a variety of other symptoms. Depression is a medical condition that affects more than 300 million people globally. People sometimes call it clinical depression or major depressive disorder. 13 symptoms of depression There are several different types of depression, and the symptoms vary among individuals. While anyone can experience some of these symptoms from time to time, a doctor will only diagnose depression when a certain cluster of symptoms appear, and they persist for 2 weeks or longer. 1. Feeling sad or empty: Mood changes are one of the most common symptoms of depression. A person who has depression may feel sad or down for long periods. They may also say that they feel “empty” or unable to feel joy or happiness. Some people may describe this sadness as despair. 2. Feeling hopeless or helpless: Depression can make people feel hopeless, as though there is no foreseeable end to how they are feeling.A person may also feel helpless. They may say or think that no one can help them get better and that they will always feel depressed. 3. Feeling worthless: A person who has depression may feel that they are worthless or have no meaning in their life. They may believe that they are a burden to others or that the world or their family is better off without them. 4. Feeling excessively guilty: Guilt is a normal reaction after a person says or does something that they regret, but people with depression may have ongoing feelings of guilt that are inappropriate or disproportionate to their situation. They may focus a lot of energy on this guilt and feel bad about themselves and things that they have said or done — even events that have long since passed. 5. No interest or pleasure in activities: Some people with depression lose interest in things that they used to enjoy, such as sports, going out with friends, music, or sexual activity. They may turn down offers or opportunities to do activities or be with others. 6. Anger and irritability: A person with depression may seem to be angry with others. They may become easily annoyed and irritated. The National Institutes of Mental Health Trusted Source state that men are more likely than women to experience irritability and anger as symptoms of depression. However, these symptoms may also occur in women and children. Irritability also has links with other symptoms of depression. For example, if a person is not sleeping well and feels tired, they may be more prone to irritability. 7. Feeling tired and a loss of energy: Some people with depression may find it difficult to get up in the morning because they feel exhausted and run down. They may feel too fatigued to do everyday tasks, such as going to work or cooking meals. They may spend a lot of time at home resting or sleeping. The fatigue of depression can make a person feel as though they are always tired, despite getting enough sleep at night. However, others with depression do experience poor sleep. 8. Insomnia or lack of sleep: According to 2008 researchTrusted Source, about 75% of people with depression experience symptoms of insomnia. Sometimes, a person with depression may be unable to sleep well, potentially having trouble either falling or staying asleep. They may stay up very late at night or wake up very early in the morning. 9. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions: A person with depression may experience mood changes. Depression can interfere with a person’s cognitive abilities. They may have trouble focusing or concentrating on personal or professional matters. They may also struggle to make decisions, including small, everyday choices. People with depression may also find that they cannot remember things as well as they did previously. They may forget appointments or commitments and might not recall things that they said or did recently. 10. Lack of appetite: People with depression may lose their desire and appetite for food, which can cause weight loss. They may have little interest in eating and go for long periods without food. 11. Overeating and weight gain: Some people may eat more when they are depressed. Food can become a comfort mechanism for negative feelings or a way to deal with boredom or being alone. Depression can make it difficult for people to feel motivated to get outside or exercise. Combined with an increase in food intake, this can lead to weight gain. 12. Aches, pains, and physical symptoms A person with depression may experience persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment. These include: headaches, digestive disorders, unexplained aches and pains 13. Thoughts of death or suicide: A person with depression may think more about death and dying. They may also think about suicide and how they could end their life. These thoughts are called suicide ideation. Sometimes, a person may tell others about these thoughts. If someone is talking about death or suicide, this may be their way of asking for help, and it is vital to seek assistance. In severe cases of depression, a person may hurt themselves, or self-harm. Depression is a common but serious condition that can be life threatening. Not every person who thinks about suicide will attempt it. However, if someone mentions suicide, either contact a doctor or help them seek urgent medical care. Diagnosis Having one of these symptoms does not mean that a person has depression. For instance, other health issues and some medications can cause weight gain or insomnia. However, people who have one or more of these symptoms and are concerned about depression should still speak to a doctor. According to the American Psychiatric Association, a person who has depression will have several of the above symptoms for longer than 2 weeks. There is no single test that can diagnose depression. Usually, a medical professional will evaluate a person’s symptoms, family history, and medical history to make a diagnosis. They may also use specialized questionnaires and screening tools. Online therapy can help with depression Improve your quality of life with the support of BetterHelp's licensed therapists. Get therapy when you need it over phone, video, or chat. Treatment: Many people with depression use therapy, medication, or both to control symptoms. It is important to go to scheduled appointments and take medications as the doctor prescribes them. Treatment can take time, and a person may not feel better straight away. Antidepressants can take several weeksTrusted Source to work, and many people benefit from long term psychotherapy. Some people with depression find that the following measures can help them manage their symptoms: exercising, which can be as effective as medication in some cases, spending time with supportive friends or loved ones, abstaining from alcohol and illicit drugs, trying stress management techniques, such as yoga or journaling, avoiding taking herbs or supplements without talking with a doctor, as some may interfere with antidepressants, breaking significant tasks down into smaller ones and only doing those that are a priority. If a friend or loved one is showing symptoms of depression, a person can help by: asking them to see their doctor or another healthcare professional and helping them make the appointment if they would find that useful, offering support, understanding, and validation, continuing to invite them to events and outings, reducing stressors at home or work, helping them eat well and spending time with them outdoors When to see a doctor: Anyone with symptoms of depression should talk to their doctor about treatment options. If a person suspects that they may have depression, they should speak to a doctor or other healthcare professional. Early treatment can ease symptoms and prevent them from getting worse. Resources are also available to help people find medical care for mental illness. These include: National Institute of Mental HealthTrusted Source, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) People can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 800-273-8255. Alternatively, there is an online chat feature at suicidepreventionlifeline.org for those who feel more comfortable communicating online or do not have access to a phone. Summary Depression is a treatable mental health condition that can cause a range of symptoms. Anyone who is concerned that they or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of depression should speak to a doctor. Proper care for depression can significantly improve the quality of life and even save lives.
(M.Ed, LPC, CSC)
Answered on 01/21/2022