Posts tagged ‘Mental health’

This Was A New Lesson For Me

Have you ever had one of those weeks?

You know, the one where everything goes sideways?

I talk about it in this video blog. Click Here

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

Are you a mom who wants less stress and more enjoyment out of life? Connect

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C. Lynn Williams

Family Dynamics Strategist, Author & Speaker

www.clynnwilliams.com

 

October 20, 2018 at 10:55 pm Leave a comment

10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression

10 ways to love_depression

Reblogged from Kelley – http://www.thedarlingbakers.com/love-someone-with-depression/

Note: I have struggled with clinical depression since I was a child. It has been a constant companion I have learned to manage and while I am better now than I have ever been, every so often I feel it returning. I describe it to my husband as a “demon eating my brain.” I have compiled this list from personal experiences that have been helpful to me. It is not intended to replace medical attention which can help many people who suffer from this illness.

Do You Love Someone With Depression?

If you have a partner or are close to someone who struggles with depression, you may not always know how to show them you love them. One day they may seem fine, and the next they are sad, distant and may push you away. It is important that you know that as a person who is close to them and trusted by them, you can help your friend or partner have shorter, less severe bouts of depression. Mental illness is as real as physical illness (it is physical actually, read more about that here) and your partner needs you as much as they would need to be cared for if they had the flu.

Your relationship may seem one-sided during these times, but by helping your partner through a very difficult and painful affliction, you are strengthening your relationship and their mental health in the long term.

1. Help them keep clutter at bay.
When a person begins spiraling into depression, they may feel like they are slowing down while the world around them speeds up. The mail may end up in stacks, dishes can pile up in the sink, laundry may go undone as the depressed person begins to feel more and more overwhelmed by their daily routine and unable to keep up. By giving your partner some extra help sorting mail, washing dishes or using paper plates and keeping chaos in check in general, you’ll be giving them (and yourself) the gift of a calm environment. (I’m a fan of the minimalist movement because of this, you can read more about that here.)

2. Fix them a healthy meal.
Your partner may do one of two things when they are in a depressed state. They may eat very little, or they may overeat. In either case, they may find that driving through a fast food restaurant or ordering a pizza online is just easier than fixing a meal. Eating like this, or neglecting to eat will only degrade your partner’s health, causing her to go deeper into her depression. Help your loved one keep her body healthy, and her mind will follow. This is a great article that talks about the “Brain Diet” which can help the symptoms of depression, and this article talks about how our modern diet could contribute to the recent rise in depression. Here is a recipe for a trail mix that is quick to make and has mood-boosting properties.

3.Get them outside.
The benefits of getting outside for a depressed person are huge. And it is possibly the last thing on earth your partner will want to do. Take them to be somewhere in nature. Pack a picnic and lie in the sun, take a leisurely hike (exercise is an effective mood booster!) or plant a garden. Being barefoot in the dirt, or “earthing” helps ground the body and reverse the effects of living in a world of emf’s, and digging in soil can actually act as an antidepressant, as a strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of seratonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety. Sunshine increases Vitamin D production which can help alleviate depression. My friend Elizabeth wrote an excellent post about Vitamin D and its link to depression here. For more information about other sources of Vitamin D, this is a great post as well as this.

4. Ask them to help you understand what they’re feeling.
If your partner is able to articulate what they are going through, it will help them and you better understand what you are dealing with, and may give insight into a plan of action for helping your partner. Also, feeling alone is common for a depressed person and anything that combats that feeling will help alleviate the severity and length of the depression.

5. Encourage them to focus on self-care.
Depressed people often stop taking care of themselves. Showering, getting haircuts, going to the doctor or dentist, it’s all just too hard, and they don’t deserve to be well taken care of anyway in their minds. This can snowball quickly into greater feelings of worthlessness since “Now I’m such a mess, no one could ever love me”. Help your loved one by being proactive. Tell them “I’m going to do the dishes, why don’t you go enjoy a bubble bath?” can give them the permission they won’t give themselves to do something normal, healthy and self-loving.

6. Hug them.
Studies show that a sincere hug that lasts longer than 20 seconds can release feel-good chemicals in the brain and elevate the mood of the giver and receiver. Depressed people often don’t want to be touched, but a sincere hug with no expectation of anything further can give your partner a lift.

7. Laugh with them.
Telling a silly joke, watching a comedy or seeing a stand up comedian will encourage your partner to laugh in spite of herself. Laughing releases endorphins and studies show can actually counteract symptoms of depression and anxiety.

8. Reassure them that you can handle their feelings.
Your partner may be feeling worthless, angry and even guilty while they are depressed. They may be afraid that they will end up alone because no one will put up with their episodes forever. Reassure them that you are in the relationship for the long haul and they won’t scare you away because they have an illness.

9. Challenge their destructive thoughts.
A depressed person’s mind can be a never-ending loop of painful, destructive thoughts. “I’m unlovable, I’m a failure, I’m ugly, I’m stupid”. Challenge these untruths with the truth. “You’re not unlovable, I love you. You aren’t a failure, here are all the things you’ve accomplished.”

10.Remind them why you love them.
Look at pictures of happy times you’ve had together. Tell them your favorite things about them. Reminisce about your relationship and all the positive things that have happened, and remind your partner that you love them and they will get through this.

My friend Julie who blogs at Real Fit Mama has a great post about more things you can do to help with depression. Go have a look here! She also wrote a post about finding true happiness here.

This list is in no way exhaustive. I’d love for this to start a conversation, please leave the ways you have found to love someone with depression in the comments.

Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru
Author & Parent Coach
www.clynnwilliams.com

Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)
Raising Your Daughter Through the Joys, Tears & HORMONES! (220 Publishing, 2013)

August 19, 2014 at 5:01 pm 1 comment

When Suicide is the Only Answer

Today’s blog is dedicated to Karyn Washington, creator of FOR BROWN GIRLS, a beautiful 22 year old African American woman, who committed suicide because of her struggles with depression and mental illness. Ms. Washington dedicated herself to uplifting dark skinned black girls and women to give them a sense of well-being. Who was there to uplift Karyn?

Below is a reprint of her story as told by BlackMediaScope:Karyn Washington

“Karyn Washington, founder of “For Brown Girls” and the “Dark Skin, Red Lips” project has died at the tender age of 22. And this was not a natural death. This was a suicide. Karyn, who dedicated herself to the uplifting of dark-skinned black girls and women, and worked so that they would have a sense of well-being, was struggling with depression and mental illness, and was unable to extend the love she gave to others to herself.

This is often par for the course with black women, who often shoulder so much burden (one of the only things the community will give us kudos for, the quintessential ‘struggle’) and to admit any weakness of the mind and body is to be considered defective. Vulnerability is not allowed. Tears are discouraged. Victims are incessantly blamed. We are hard on our women, and suffer as a result. When your community tells you that you’re better off praying than seeking the advice of medical professionals and medication, you feel shame when you feel your mind is breaking. There is no safe place. To admit to any mental frailty is to invite scorn and mockery, accusations of “acting white.”

Because only white people suffer from depression. Only white people commit suicide. Black women are strong. Black women are not human. And this is a LIE. Let Karyn’s story be an example that if you need help, seek help. Just make a phone call…we are too important. RIP Karyn.”
See more at:
http://www.blackmediascoop.com/for-brown-girls-founder-karyn-washington-dead-at-22/#sthash.M8Z1Rq0h.dpuf

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Author & Parent Coach

www.clynnwilliams.com

Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)
Raising Your Daughter Through the Joys, Tears & HORMONES! (220 Communications, 2013)

April 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm 2 comments

Just Let Go

Eagle and her babies

Eagle and her babies

Ever had a problem that you could not resolve? Sometimes that’s what parenting is to me, a series of problems (challenges) that seem momentarily unresolvable. The kid that was never a problem growing up, is suddenly a thorn in your side when they move into their 20s. You think, by the time they reach their twenties, you have completed your job as a parent. However, many of our adult children come back home and then what? Or maybe you had high hopes for that child that you waited years for, and once they came into your life, they never have the aspirations to stand on their own and make a living. In fact they are still ‘living’ with you. What do you do?

As mothers, I think it’s doubly hard to push our eaglets out of the nest. I know birds do it all the time, but human mothers are different from animals because we have reasoning abilities. We say to ourselves, ‘well they’re (our children) having a hard time finding a job’ or ‘he’s running with the wrong crowd’ or ‘if I were a better parent, she would be doing ______’ or ‘if I don’t help them, who will?’

We make lots of excuses to ourselves and others when our kids (young or old) have not succeeded the way we would like. It’s probably one of the most painful lessons a mother or father face (in their parenting career). Today let’s use a phrase I learned years ago called “Let Go and Let God”. Unless your child is disabled (mentally or physically), let’s gently push them out of our nest. Encourage them to take that next step, stop making excuses for them, and stop doing things that cripple them. I know it seems scary, but isn’t our job to help them grow into adults that can take care of themselves?  #Parenting101

 

(more…)

February 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm Leave a comment

When Suicide is NOT the Answer

I had a friend in high school who told me he was going to ‘kill himself’. I was beside myself with worry, told my parents and my dad said – “If he was going to kill himself, he wouldn’t tell you first.” Of course the guy did not kill himself, but my brother did… Parents should never have to bury their children but they certainly shouldn’t have to bury them because they’ve committed suicide. Suicide is such a desperate call for help and in my opinion indicates that there were no other options. The problem for most parents is how is it that our child, teen or post-teen adult lives and interacts with us every day and we have no idea that they are contemplating suicide? Mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse is often the cause of suicide.[1] Additional stress factors such as difficult interpersonal relationships, long-term sickness or financial worries can also contribute to feelings that “life is no longer worth living”.

According to HelpGuide.org, most suicidal people give signals of their intentions. Below are some warning signs that we can look for to recognize and hopefully prevent suicides with our family, friends and students:

Suicide Warning Signs

Talking   about suicide Any talk   about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as “I wish I hadn’t been   born,” “If I see you again…” and “I’d be better off   dead.”
Seeking   out lethal means Seeking   access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a   suicide attempt.
Preoccupation   with death Unusual   focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.
No hope   for the future Feelings   of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped (“There’s no way   out”). Belief that things will never get better or change.
Self-loathing,   self-hatred Feelings   of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden   (“Everyone would be better off without me”).
Getting   affairs in order Making out   a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family   members.
Saying   goodbye Unusual or   unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as   if they won’t be seen again.
Withdrawing   from others Withdrawing   from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left   alone.
Self-destructive   behavior Increased   alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks   as if they have a “death wish.”
Sudden   sense of calm A sudden   sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the   person has made a decision to commit suicide. [2]

As a parent, we don’t understand it when a young person takes his/her life because of hopelessness or frustration. We often wonder where we went wrong. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, after accidents and homicide. It’s also thought that at least 25 attempts are made for every completed teen suicide. If you are concerned, here are some prevention tips that you may use:

  1. Speak to that person if you are worried
  2. Respond quickly in a crisis. Determine if the risk is low, moderate or high
  3. Offer professional help & support

Suicide Hotlines and Crisis Support
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Suicide prevention telephone hotline funded by the U.S. government. Provides free, 24-hour assistance. 1-800-273-TALK (8255). (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)

National Hopeline Network – Toll-free telephone number offering 24-hour suicide crisis support. 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433). (National Hopeline Network)

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Author & Parenting Coach

www.clynnwilliams.com

Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)
Raising Your Daughter Through the Joys, Tears & HORMONES! Available in September, 2013 (220 Communications)


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide

[2] http://www.helpguide.org/mental/suicide_prevention.htm

September 24, 2013 at 11:25 am 2 comments

Managing Your Teen’s Mental Health (Issues)

Have you ever been in your own world, and someone makes a statement that completely changes your perspective, or as my mother used to say “disturbs the calm peace of your soul”? It happened to me today. I was sitting in church waiting for the sermon to begin, slightly distracted (with all of the things I wanted to accomplish later), and the pastor started talking about mental illness and the shame often associated with it. I kind of dismissed the topic because it didn’t seem relevant to me or my family members, but the more he talked, the more the sermon topic affected me.

When I talk to people about mental illness, I think of schizophrenia and manic depression (bipolar disorder). Those are probably the most widely known mental illnesses. Mild chronic depression (dysthymic disorder), affects about 3.3 million American adults over the age of 18, per year: http://depression.emedtv.com/depression/depression-statistics-p2.html One in five children experience mild depression before adulthood. Ten to fifteen percent of children and adolescents have some symptoms of depression. Those symptoms include restlessness, irritability, thoughts of death or suicide. Excluding the thoughts of death and suicide, restlessness and irritability are common moods experienced by teens, and not easily noticed by parents and caregivers.

My pastor’s topic centered around the fact that people close to us, like our family members can be affected by mental illness and often we are ashamed of those family members. There’s nothing to be ashamed about. When you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you modify your diet and take medication to get better. For most mental illnesses, you can take medication, see a therapist or mental health professional and lessen or improve one’s symptoms. But because of the stigma attached to mental health, many people do not get the help they need before it’s too late.

As parents, how do we recognize the signs of mental illness in our teens and help them handle their everyday pressures and decisions? According to Dr. Arthur Schoenstadt, there is no one cause of depression. Factors like a family history of depression or substance abuse, certain medical conditions, gender, stressful life events, or personality types increase a teen’s chance of developing depression. Most often, once identified and acknowledged, depression is treatable with psychotherapy and antidepressants.

In my own family, there is a history of brilliance and mental illness. My uncle Donald, whom I never had the good fortune of meeting, was a brilliant scholar who committed suicide in his early twenties. Nobody (in the family) ever talked about him or really understood what he was facing that would cause him to take his life. My brother suffered with Crohns’ disease for about five years before deciding to end his life. As I write this article, my heart goes out to parents who never recognized the signs of mental illness in their deceased teen, whether it was depression, bipolar, eating, conduct disorders, or schizophrenia. Your teen is not just having a series of bad days, and once the season changes, will feel better. They may need meds to feel better.

Here are some symptoms to watch for:
– Very angry much of time, cries a lot, or overreacts to things;
– Worthless or guilty a lot;
Anxious or worried a lot more than other young people;
– Grief for a long time after a loss or death;
– Extremely fearful-has unexplained fears or more fears than most kids;
– Constantly concerned about physical problems or appearance;
– Frightened that his or her mind is controlled or is out of control.
http://www.cumminsbhs.com/teens.htm

If you suspect that your child or teen is experiencing any of these issues, contact your child’s school psychologist or talk to a mental health professional.

C. Lynn Williams,
Author and Parenting Coach
#MsParentguru

Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)

March 4, 2013 at 5:44 am 4 comments

Recognizing Adolescent Depression

Parents: Are you able to recognize the signs of depression in your teen?
Here are some signs:
1. Physical manifestations of clinical depression are: headaches, muscle aches, low energy, sudden change in appetite or weight, insomnia or hypersomnia
2. Your teen may also seem restless, irritable, anxious, or belligerent
3. Your teen may have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, despair, worthlessness, or lack of interest in usual activities
4. Your teen is skipping classes or not paying attention in class

To find out more, check out this site: https://www.about-teen-depression.com/depression-statistics.html

If you think something is wrong, it usually is.
MsParentguru

May 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm 2 comments


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