There Is a Place for Antidepressants

When I was six months pregnant, I attended a birthing preparation class with my husband and about 12 other expectant parents. During the fifth session, the instructor asked the mothers whether or not they were going to use medication to get through the pain of childbirth labor.

“Everyone who wants to try for a natural birth, stand over here,” she said. “And everyone who plans on having an epidural or taking other pain medication, stand over here.”

I looked at the two groups, which held about the same number of people. My head went from one to the other, much like a puppet with a tic. Like most decisions in my life (including which dressing I want on my salad), I had analyzed the hell out of this one -- done all the research on both sides -- and still couldn’t commit.
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Helping Children Cope When a Loved One Suffers from Mental Illness

I have a loved one that suffers with severe mental illness. He's a brilliant, beautiful, creative person who told spellbinding, captivating stories of far away places and taught me to not be afraid of the dark. But just as quick and easy as flicking a light switch on and off, our lives changed from moment to moment.

As a child I didn't understand. I remember thinking everyone's home was just like mine... a place where the stairs turned into an escalator only for the person who knew the magic word and where the cupboards were locked at night to keep out the mischief-making fairies.
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Does Depression Turn Self-Medication into Addiction?

The term self-medicating simply means using a substance or engaging in a behavior to satisfy a physical or psychological need.

Quite often, though, self-medicating means relying heavily on legal or illicit substances, like alcohol or drugs. As a manifestation of addiction, such self-medication is especially problematic for patients with depression.

Those who battle depression, and especially those who are predisposed to addiction, may try self-medicating before or instead of seeking professional help, which can...
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Anxiety and Panic

Mental Illness Is More than ‘Worried Wellness’

“So what kind of work do you do in your private practice?” asked a colleague.

“I specialize in depression, anxiety, relationship problems, work-life issues, and low self-esteem,” I explained.

“Ah,” he said with a knowing smile. “The worried well.”

I cringed when I heard this. My patients would cringe, too, if they heard themselves referred to in this dismissive way. But it happens all too often.
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6 Antidepressant Side Effects I Didn’t See Coming

To say it's a game-changer would be the understatement of the year.

In recent years, depression had become more widely understood. This has been, in many ways, fantastic for those of us who suffer from what is sometimes referred to as "the black dog." At other times, it can be frustrating, because there's more to depression that people outside it first suppose.

Everyone is familiar with the numbness, the crying and the suicidal thoughts -- the head stuff, if you like. Those of us stuck with it also know there's more to it than that, but it's difficult to know exactly what.

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Beyond Ending the Stigma: Radical Compassion for Suicide Prevention

When my dad ended his life, it felt like I arrived somewhere I had always been headed. I was 13 years old when I first saw the signs. I was 15 when he was hospitalized for his first attempt -- his life thereafter owed to the vulnerable courage he demonstrated by calling 9-1-1 on himself. I was 26 when, after a long recovery, he spiraled downward again. 27 when we intervened and got him to go back to therapy. And then, I was 28 when I stood in front of his house last year -- just before Thanksgiving -- and learned that his life had ended. That our brave fight was over.
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Psychology Around the Net: October 8, 2016

If the image didn't give it is my birthday!

I've been celebrating since last night -- not because I'm a person who likes a big deal made out of her birthday, but because I have family members and friends who love me and want to celebrate life with me.

I'm blessed, and I'm eternally grateful for it.

So, while I take a break this morning and check out What Science Has to Say About Being in Your 30s (much of which I'm pretty used to at this point, I'm sure), why don't you check out some of this week's latest in mental health news such as how psychology explains our fear of clowns, how we're sabotaging ourselves during the pursuit of happiness, how our personalities can help us choose the best careers, and more!

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Martha’s Story: TMS Offers an Alternative to Medication & Electroconvulsive Therapy

I haven’t read many paragraphs that articulate depression as accurately as this one, in Martha Rhodes’s riveting memoir, 3000 Pulses Later:

At that moment, my pain felt equal to -- if not even more than -- what I imagined any physical illness could pose. The constant anxiety, sadness, fear, and despair strangled me. I felt inexorably alone and as if I were dying a slow death of emotional asphyxiation. I may not have been diagnosed with incurable cancer of a vital organ, but I knew I was in the throes of battle with what felt like cancer of the soul.

It appears in her “Medication Merry-Go-Around” chapter right after she lists all the drugs that she's tried, but which failed to give her any relief.
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3 Strategies for Supporting a Loved One with Depression

Your loved one has depression. Maybe they’re isolating themselves. Maybe their energy and mood have taken a nosedive. Maybe they’re irritable and angry. Maybe they aren’t enjoying much, if anything, anymore. Maybe they’re having a hard time concentrating or remembering things. Maybe they’ve mentioned feeling hopeless or worthless. Maybe they make negative comments about themselves. All. The. Time. Maybe they wear a happy face, but you know they’re struggling.

And, understandably, it’s really hard to watch. Because all you want to do is fix their pain. To make it go away. To make it all better.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Autumn Anxiety is Real and Treatable

It happens every year. As I watch the first golden leaves fall from the oak tree outside our house and listen to the sound of the cicadas ushering in autumn, my anxiety spikes. I used to think I was relapsing into depression, but having been through this year after year (and documenting it in my mood journal), I now know I’m just going through my annual bout of autumn anxiety: a nervous feeling in my gut that...
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