Mental Health and Wellness Articles

Personal Experiences of Depression

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Personal Experiences of DepressionSome of the biggest myths about depression are that it’s a character flaw, a sign of weakness, a lack of trying, a lack of will, a choice.

You just need to think differently. Remember, happiness is a choice. You just need to suck it up. Be strong! Why aren’t you trying harder? You don’t even have anything to be depressed about!

Interesting Person, Boring Life

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Interesting Person, Boring LifeYou might think that if you are a person who has interesting ideas and inspired imagination, you would be living an exciting life. Sorry, it’s not necessarily so.

Why not?

There may be an abundance of reasons, but the one that wins the prize for robbing you of that exciting, inspiring, interesting life you could have is (drum roll, please) an abundance of fear.

The Solitude Dilemma

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The Solitude DilemmaThis week The Atlantic shared a video in its Editor’s Picks series called ‘The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain.’ It followed a young man named Leif Haugen, a Forest Service firefighter in Montana. For three months out of the year, Leif lives alone at the lookout on top of a mountain.

Watching the video, I couldn’t help but feel a rather fervent mix of desire and fear.

Living in solitude like that, with no one to talk to and nothing to distract you but books and chores seems like a dream to me. At the same time, though, it made me wonder if, were I to live like that, I would get lonely.

7 Ways to Navigate Self-Doubt

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

7 Ways to Navigate Self-DoubtEveryone experiences self-doubt. It’s one of the most common concerns psychotherapist Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, encounters in her therapy and career counseling.

Self-doubt shows up in different ways. It might manifest as seeking advice or validation for decisions because we don’t trust ourselves, she said.

It may mean minimizing yourself, such as saying that a personal idea was something you read online “to avoid rejection in case others don’t like your idea.”

The Truth About Anxiety

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

The Truth About Anxiety When you feel panic washing over you, the sweat collecting in your palms and dripping down your knees, heartbeat blaring through your chest, the inner shakiness and shallow breathing, the butterflies stomping inside your stomach, all you want to do — desperately —  is to make it stop.

In those moments anxiety feels dangerous. It feels like something is terribly wrong. Or maybe we know that we’re not in real danger, that we’re experiencing a panic attack, but our bodies are in such a state of terror that we don’t care. The panic is too persuasive, and we yearn to escape. We yearn for anxiety to go away forever.

You Can’t Force Things

Monday, October 13th, 2014

You Can't Force ThingsIt’s been tough getting to sleep the last few nights.

I’ll go to bed and turn off the light and then the thoughts start pouring in. I’ll worry that I didn’t do the right thing in any number of situations during the day. I’ll worry about the work I have to do the next day. I’ll worry that no matter what I do, I’ll never be closer to my dream of buying a house in the mountains.

It occurred to me last night while I was lying there, though, that you can’t force sleep. If you try to fall asleep and see that you’re not, that’s just one more thing to worry about. The sleep will come; it always does. There’s no point in trying to force it to happen.

Sidestepping Depression Stigma

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Sidestepping Depression Stigma According to the mental health charity Mind, one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year. These figures aren’t too dissimilar to those for cancer; it is estimated that more than one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.

Despite these statistics regarding the prevalence of mental health issues, they haven’t been addressed with nearly the same attention or support as physical illnesses. This could have to do with the stigma surrounding mental health.

Why Depression and Sadness Are not the Same

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Why Depression And Sadness Are Not the SameDepression and sadness are often viewed as the same thing. Part of the confusion is that the most recognizable symptom of depression is sadness, according to Stephanie Smith, PsyD, a psychologist in practice in Erie, Colo.

Many people use the words interchangeably. “It’s just part of our popular culture. ‘I’m so depressed!’ to most of us actually means ‘I’m so sad!’ — except maybe it sounds a bit more sophisticated,” she said.

Sadness is a painful emotion. At times, it can feel utterly agonizing. But it’s “a normal response to difficult life events,” said Elaine Ducharme, Ph.D, a board certified clinical psychologist in private practice in Glastonbury, Conn.

Room for Misery & Room for Joy: My Story

Friday, October 10th, 2014

misery joyMost people who have been sober longer than a year are asked to give a “lead” — to tell their story. Mine was structurally simple, covering what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Having only drank for three years, my addiction story is pretty straightforward: I stopped guzzling down mood-altering beverages.

My depression story, however, is not.

There are too many circles and uneven ends to fit into any neat, compact narrative. It seems as though the longer you dance with the demon of depression, the more embracing you become of different health philosophies and the more tolerant of unanswered questions.

Is it open-mindedness or desperation?

I don’t know.

Living with Mental Illness: World Mental Health Day 2014

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Living with Mental Illness: World Mental Health Day 2014

Living with any mental illness is never easy. Nowhere is this more true that when a person has to deal with the likes of schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder.

Sometimes treatments don’t seem to work as effectively as promised. Other times we run into friends or family members just not really knowing how to act around you. It can be overwhelming, challenging, and frustrating — all in the scope of one day.

Mental Health & Happiness: World Mental Health Day

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Mental Health & Happiness: World Mental Health DayOctober 10 is World Mental Health Day and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the 2014 focus to be schizophrenia. The people at the William Glasser Institute – US (WGI-US) took to heart Dr. Glasser’s mandate that society treat mental health as a public health issue. When we do that, the focus is on prevention and mental health rather than treatment, psychopharmacology and mental illness.

Most people understand the steps they can implement to improve their physical health. WGI-US is geared toward helping people understand the habits they can develop that will improve their mental health. So on October 10, while other organizations are focusing their efforts on raising awareness for mental illness, WGI-US will be providing 24-hour programming on prevention, mental health, resilience and happiness.

Introducing Mixed Bag of Mental Health

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Introducing Mixed Bag of Mental Health

Our lives are complex things. We sometimes forget to stop and wonder at how we keep it all together.

Many people suffer from various mental health concerns throughout their lives, oftentimes they may even occur together at the same time (like depression and anxiety). Living with these things, or with something like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), can be a challenge.

What happens when you have a mixed bag of life experiences — and mental health diagnoses?

That’s what this blog, Mixed Bag of Mental Health with Kelley Smith, will explore.

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