Tag Archives: mentalhealthawareness

Understanding Binge Eating and It’s Treatment


Photo: Yay Images

For several months, Chindeep has looked at the various Anxiety and Mood disorders, as part of the mental health series, the focus now shifts to eating disorders., the most prevalent eating disorder in the USA.

The I don’t know about you, but I gained about 15-20 pounds in the past two years. Pre pandemic, I was out and about in the community, walking between 10-20k steps per day, fit as ever. Sitting at home, dying from boredom, it became impossible to control my cravings. Did I binge eat? Hell Yeah. More than once? You betcha. Disgusted, I looked inward. Binge-eating involves more than simply overeating, it is a mental health related related disorder, associated with inappropriate eating habits and challenging emotions. 

Binge-Eating Defined
Binge-eating is a medical and psychological condition during which a person eats large amounts of food over short periods of time. Regardless of the signals their bodies send that they’re full, those who binge, to continue eat amounts of food that surpass normal portions. Binge-eating involves more than just eating a double portion of a favorite food. Those who binge might eat 2 cheeseburgers, followed by a half gallon of ice cream, and a box of cookies. 

Typical Thinking Patterns
One who binge-eats engages in unhealthy thinking patterns, which drive them to over-eat. They might feel powerless to arrest aggressive eating behaviors. Even though you might believe a person would feel too ashamed to binge-eat, the fact is that shame can actually emotionally fuel a binge-eating episode. 

Experiencing uncomfortable feelings such as self-loathing and shame is a hallmark symptom of someone who’s dealing with binge-eating. Many people who struggle with binging also have distorted body images. They might believe they’re obese when actually they’re within normal weight standards or only mildly overweight. 

On the other hand, a person who binge-eats could also weigh considerably more than the weight charts recommend for her height and age.  Although the condition does occur in males, it occurs more often in females. Recognize that people who binge can discover optimism and confidence to live successful lives in recovery.

Effective Treatments for Binge-Eating at a glance

  1. Self-help groups. As an example, Overeaters Anonymous can provide wonderful, understanding emotional support for people who struggle.
  2. Individual cognitive therapy. For those who require more professional help, attending individual therapy sessions can make a huge difference. Cognitive therapy is conducted by a trained therapist who works to confront the individual’s distorted body image, unhealthy thinking patterns, and feelings of shame.  Encouraging the person who binge-eats to surround herself with understanding, supportive family and friends is another way a therapist motivates someone in recovery.
  1. Family therapy. If the person who’s dealing with binging is a teen, family therapy in addition to individual therapy can be a life-saver. Difficult family relationships can be confronted and addressed. Everyone learns to relate in healthier ways, which can serve to reduce binging behavior.
  1. Intensive day treatment. In the event you require more intensive treatment than individual, family therapy, and self-help group attendance, intensive day treatment may be an option. These programs provide 2 to 6 hours of professional treatment for binge-eating 3 or more days a week, at an eating disorder treatment center. 
  1. Inpatient treatment stay. This milieu therapy provides a 100% supportive physical and emotional environment around the clock to ensure binge-eating behaviors subside and healthy eating habits increase. Outpatient follow-up treatment to provide much-needed support will be necessary as you transition back into your home environment.

Binge-eating is a medical/psychological condition that involves eating large amounts of food and experiencing emotional turmoil. People can and do overcome the challenging behaviors and feelings associated with binge-eating to embrace healthy, fulfilling lives. 

The key to recovery is recognizing when there is a problem, receiving effective treatment, while gaining caring support of friends and family members, to live a well-deserved, rewarding life. 

To Your Success,
Juan

Self Care Guide: Adults with ADHD


While medication and talk therapy can help you manage the symptoms of ADHD, daily habits pay a big role too. Regular doses of skillful self-care can boost your mood and make it easier to fulfill your responsibilities.

Paying attention to your physical, mental, and spiritual needs is essential. The more you love and nurture yourself, the greater your capacity to deal with troubling symptoms and pursue your goals.  Make your wellbeing a top priority. Use these self-care strategies for getting organized and staying healthy.

Simple self-care routines.

  1. Clear away clutter. Tidying up your home and office, reduces anxiety and cuts down on time spent searching for lost keys and remote controls. Give away possessions you rarely use or donate them to charity. Use shopping lists to cut down on impulse purchases, so you’ll have fewer things lying around.
  2. Go paper free. How much of your clutter is unread mail and magazines? Cut down on paper with digital subscriptions and online banking.
  3. Schedule your time. Maintaining a calendar can be a major challenge with ADHD. Find a basic system that works for you and set aside time each day to plan your activities.
  4. Use reminders. Take notes, make lists, and set alarms. Being proactive can often protect you from the consequences of forgetfulness.
  5. Act promptly. Procrastination is common when you have ADHD. If possible, complete a task immediately while you’re still thinking about it, so you can check that one off your list.
  6. Limit distractions. Figure out where you’re wasting time. Resolve to watch TV for two hours or less each day. Check your messages at designated times instead of watching your phone during meetings and meals.
  7. Browse for apps. See what technology can do for you. Free apps can help you record your to-do list, sort your photos, and relax in between.

Staying Healthy

ADHD can take a toll on your body and brain. Your stress levels rise when tasks become more difficult and relationships more complicated. You may also have trouble remembering to take your prescriptions and schedule doctor’s visits. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Exercise daily or as often as you can. Physical activity trains your mind too. Strengthen your focus along with your muscles. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week.
  2. Take frequent breaks. Pause in between tasks and move around. Go outside to take a walk or work in your garden.
  3. Change your diet. Some research suggests that what you eat could reduce ADHD symptoms. Foods rich in protein help to stabilize blood sugar and balance brain chemicals. Smart choices include fish, beans, and dairy products.
  4. Sleep well. Do you find it difficult to fall asleep and wake up frequently during the night? Try going to bed and waking up on a consistent schedule. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet and avoid heavy snacks and alcohol before bed.
  5. Ask for help. Inattentiveness and mood swings can lead to misunderstandings with family, friends, and coworkers. If you feel comfortable, let others know about your symptoms and the steps you’re taking to make positive changes. They may be eager to support you.
  6. See your doctor. Tell your physician about your self-care program and any natural remedies you use. That way, they can coordinate your care and make other recommendations based on your individual needs.

ADHD affects many aspects of life, but consistent self-care will help you to enjoy greater life balance and peace. Healthy habits and a supportive environment give you more opportunities to use your unique strengths and increase your happiness and productivity.

Self care is the best care. To close out the month, the final post will offer some Natural Approaches to ADHD.

Until the next post,

To Your Success,
Juan

Dealing With ADHD At Work


 

Does your boss keep giving you the same feedback? You need to follow instructions and pay more attention to details. These could be signs that you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

More than 8 million adults struggle with ADHD. If you’re one of them, you may have trouble keeping track of multiple projects or even showing up for work on time. The symptoms can vary widely in intensity, and many cases go undiagnosed. 

While ADHD can make getting and keeping a job more difficult, there are coping strategies and other resources that can help. Let’s get it!

ADHD in the Workplace:

  1. Limit distractions. A quiet environment will help you focus. If you don’t have access to a private office, maybe you can work in a conference room or turn your desk to the wall. Minimize interruptions too, like checking phone messages and email.
  2. Clear away clutter. Is your phone buried under piles of paper? Tidying up will save time looking for lost items and reduce anxiety.
  3. Plan your schedule. Managing time can be tough when you have ADHD. Use an app or a paper appointment diary to block out time for activities and meetings. Check your to do list during the day to ensure that you stay on track.
  4. Create reminders. You can also use technology or post-it notes to jog your memory. Set an alarm for staff meetings and write yourself messages about filling out timesheets and sending your boss a birthday card.
  5. Move around. Relieve restlessness by taking breaks. Go for a walk at lunch. Make phone calls standing up.
  6. Change roles. Maybe you can develop a career geared toward your personality. Many adults with ADHD flourish as entrepreneurs, using their creativity and energy.
  7. Boost your self-esteem. While you’re finding your path, remember ADHD can be frustrating. It can also cause misunderstandings with your colleagues. Build your confidence by taking care of your health and advocating for yourself.

More Help for ADHD:

  1. Tell your boss. ADHD is a condition recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act. You may be able to arrange accommodations to make your work life more comfortable and productive.
  2. Consider disability benefits. If your symptoms are so severe that they prevent you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) payments. Working with a lawyer can help you understand the process.
  3. Talk with your doctor. It’s important to get diagnosed if you think you may have ADHD. Your physician can recommend an appropriate treatment plan and helpful lifestyle changes.
  4. Consider medication. ADHD can often be managed with a combination of therapy and drugs. Your doctor may prescribe stimulants, as well antidepressants. If you’re unable to take stimulants, there are alternatives.
  5. Join a support group. As much as your family and friends try to help you, you may still want to talk with others who have similar symptoms and experiences. Organizations like Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) can help you find self-help groups online and in your community.
  6. Find a coach. What if you need some assistance with implementing what you learn? Working with a coach who specializes in ADHD can help you master new lifestyle skills.

Some very successful business leaders and celebrities have used their ADHD to their advantage, and so can you. Think of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, Micheal Phelps the GOAT Olympic Swimming Champ,  or Gymnastics Great Simone Biles. Find a career that suits your strengths and ask for help when you need it.

Until the next post – A Hybrid Work Guide for Adults with ADHD,

Best,

Juan

 

Adult ADHD: The Facts


 

May is here!

Hopefully, you are having a much better Spring weather.  

If this is your first time stopping by, a big hearty WELCOME.  To my faithful subscribers, you are appreciated! If you ever need to get in touch, please send a message using the Get In Touch tab. I respond to all messages within 24 hours. In continuing with the mental health series,  ADHD is the focus for this month.

 

According to the American Psychiatric Association,Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD also affects many adults. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).  It is more common among boys than girls.

STATS
About 4-5% of the population were diagnosed with adult ADHD before the diagnostic criteria changed in 2013 to include adults. That number may be substantially higher now. 60% or more of those who have ADHD symptoms as children or teens continue to have these traits as adults, including those who were never officially diagnosed. Only 10% of adults with ADHD are currently getting treatment. (Russell Barkley, 2010)

Causes of ADHD
Lower activity levels in the Prefrontal Cortex where attention is controlled is believed to cause ADHD. The lower activity levels are caused by:  

  • Genetics  
  • Lack of Dopamine and Norepinephrine 
  • In less than 10% causes may be environmental, due to illness or head injury, including birth. 
  • Fewer than 5% of these are believed to be from use of alcohol, drugs or nicotine during pregnancy. 

ADHD Diagnosis:
Previous DSM- IV guidelines specified that symptoms must be present before the age of 7; in the DSM-V, that has been changed to age 12.  

  • Adults need to exhibit five symptoms from at least one category, primarily hyperactive or primarily inattentive, or symptoms from both for the diagnosis of ADHD Combined Type. 
  • The symptoms must  lead to impairment in at least two areas of life: work, relationships, social, financial, parenting, home, etc.  
  • Adults with ADHD must have symptoms present since childhood unless caused by a head injury or other trauma.
  • The symptoms must occur in two or more settings.
  • Many adults with ADHD were not diagnosed as children, but find they still have problems in adulthood. If the symptoms have been present since childhood, particularly problems in school with academics and/or behavior, is is possibly undiagnosed ADHD.  (DSM-V, 2013)

Symptoms:

  • Many people have characteristics/traits, but do not show problems with executive functions.
  • They may be very active and high energy, but do not interrupt others, losing track of thoughts, forget things, struggle with disorganized, have problems listening, etc. 
  • These people generally do not meet the criteria for ADHD, and should be evaluated for Anxiety, Bi Polar II or Cyclothymia.

Until the next post, Dealing with ADHD At Work,

Best,

Juan

Tips To Avoid Depression In the Winter


When the weather is cold and the skies are dark and cloudy, it’s easier to feel down and despondent. If you struggle with gloomy feelings during the winter, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, there’s help and hope available, without the use of medication. Of course, please check with your physician before making any changes to your health regimen. 

Spring is Around the CornerSome people start feeling down days into the season change. Don’t let this happen to you! To stay happy and peaceful during the winter, focus your time and energy on things that bring you joy. See the beauty that the winter months have to offer. However, if you are really struggling to see any beauty in the gloom of winter, I have a few simple ideas to jump-start your thinking in a more positive direction.

Let’s go!

  1. Buy a sun lamp. A sun lamp gives you the light you need even when it’s gloomy outside, and works much better to help your mood than just turning on all the lights in your house.
  2. Take a vacation. Travel to somewhere sunny and warmer each winter, even if only for a couple of days. Looking forward to your annual getaway will lift your spirits during the time before you go, too.
  3. Get outside. When the sun does come out, even if it’s otherwise cold, take advantage of it. When your body is deprived of sunlight, it has a harder time making vitamin D. If you can get some sun, though, you’ll feel better. Feeling better, helps you to make it through until spring arrives with its longer, sunnier days.
  4. Find activities that bring you joy. Read that book you’ve always wanted, engross yourself in a new TV sitcom that comes on in winter. Perhaps learning to ski or snowboard, can bring you the mental and physical benefits of exercising, while also finding a way to enjoy the winter weather. 
  5. Consider a dawn simulator. These are alarm clocks, that gradually produces light that increases in intensity, just like the sun. These clocks do not wake you with loud beeping sounds or music.
  6. Consider aromatherapy. Studies have shown that essential oils can influence the brain area responsible for lifting your moods. 
  7. If you have SAD, you probably have trouble sleeping; whether it’s falling asleep, or getting up in the morning. Try sticking to a regular schedule, eating on time etc. Yes, it’s fine to shake things up from time to time, however, with SAD, routine is the way to go.
  8. Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts, moods, and feelings is very theraputic. I find the best time to do so, is right before bed. A gratitude journal is also a great option

Depression is Treatable – Even if it’s Only Occasional. If your feelings of depression run deep, talk to your doctor about options best suited to your needs. If you’re only getting bummed out and unhappy during the winter, though, focusing on strategies that work during the this time, is the best way to shake the blues.

You can choose to be joyful. Focus on things that matter to you and bring you happiness. Winter is only a season, and you’ll have spring, summer, and fall to enjoy the sunshine. Remember, anything you can do when it’s dark outside, you can do on a gloomy winter day. If you have hobbies that lend themselves to indoor activity, you’ll have more to keep your mind occupied as you move through the winter. The cold days will pass more quickly if you have something to do to occupy your time, and spring will arrive before you know it. 

During this month, we have touched on a lot how depression affects every facet of our lives, and hopefully, you have found the tips and strategies most useful. Use this FREE Depression Recovery Worksheet.to help you heal

To Your Success,
Juan

Depression and Food: What Studies Show


Depression and Food

Not all antidepressants come in a pill. A new study suggests that food can dramatically enhance your mood. Researchers at Deakin University in Australia, tested the theory on a group of participants with unhealthy diets who experienced moderate to severe depression. Half were asked to switch to a modified Mediterranean diet and nutritional counseling, while the other half continued their usual eating habits.

After 12 weeks, the Mediterranean-style diet group had significantly fewer symptoms, and 32% were in full remission. The other half, who received only social support, showed far less progress. While these results are dramatic, you don’t have to be clinically depressed to reap the benefits of eating more produce. Another study at the University of Otago in New Zealand, found that extra servings of vegetables and fruits boosted the psychological wellbeing of healthy young adults in just 2 weeks.

See how changing your diet could cheer you up. Run through this list, then plan a  visit to your local grocer or farmers market.

Fighting Depression with What You Eat

  1. Focus on whole foods. Fill up on natural foods that are full of nutrients and fiber that your body needs. Aim for at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits each day, along with plenty of lean protein and healthy fats.
  2. Limit processed fare. The other side of the equation is to cut back on junk food loaded with empty calories and sugar. That includes beverages as well as solid food.
  3. Toss a salad. Leafy green vegetables contain folate, which may relieve depression, as well as reducing your risk for certain cancers. Add a handful of beans or shrimp to your salad to make it a balanced meal.
  4. Ferment it. Probiotic and prebiotic nutrients are gaining a lot of attention as scientists learn more about how intestinal bacteria affect the brain. Sample fermented dishes like miso soup and kimchi dumplings.
  5. Go fish. Omega-3 fatty acids can also lift your spirits. You can find them in fatty fish like tuna and salmon, as well as soybeans, spinach, and walnuts.
  6. Enjoy chocolate. What could be easier than eating chocolate? Dark chocolate contains serotonin and antioxidants that help reduce stress. Be sure to watch portion sizes and check labels for actual cocoa content.

Fighting Depression with How You Eat

  1. Cook vegetables lightly. Cauliflower and carrots are even more nutritious when you prepare them quickly in minimal water. Try steaming or microwaving.
  2. Seek variety. Different produce contains different vitamins. If you eat a variety of colors, you’re likely to wind up with a good balance.
  3. Eat in. It’s easier to control what you’re consuming if you’re doing the cooking yourself, because restaurants tend to add more fat, salt, and sugar. Brush up on your kitchen skills and bring your lunch to work.
  4. Treat yourself. Forget about forbidden foods and allow yourself an occasional indulgence. It will make it easier to stick to your diet in the long run.
  5. Keep a journal. Strong feelings like depression or happiness can affect your food choices. If you struggle with emotional eating, write down what you eat and what’s going on at the time. You’ll be able to spot your triggers and figure out alternative approaches.
  6. Make friends with food. Strict diets can make you feel deprived or guilty. Remember that food nourishes your body and mind, and eating can be a lot of fun.

If you think you have signs of depression, it’s important to talk with your doctor who may recommend talk therapy and medication, in addition to any dietary changes. If you just want a little more energy and happiness, extra broccoli and blackberries may be all you need.

To Your Success,
Juan

Spot Hidden Signs of Depression In The Ones You Love.


Depression isn’t always easy to spot in loved ones, especially if they are hiding it on purpose. Last month, when I began this mental health series, I mentioned the importance of checking in on your loved ones, the strong types, who often need support, but don’t ask for it. Pillars of strength,  at the first sign of trouble, they are the ones we seek out first. Sometimes, in our own self serving world, it’s easy to miss what’s being hidden. 

Useful strategies to help you discover if your loved one is suffering from depression:

  1. Why people hide their depression. It’s easier to hide the issues than face them head on People hide their depression because they’re scared and don’t want others to know what is happening to them. They are worried about losing their jobs or kids. Embarrassment is another reason. Depression still comes with a stigma, and they don’t want it attached to them. 
  1. They may overcompensate. To hide their depression, they overcompensate by being more outgoing than usual. Studies show they force themselves to be more outgoing and give fake smiles. It’s important to them that others think all is well.
  1. They have eating disorders. Issues with food are common among those with depression, including changes in appetite. They may eat too much or too little. Their diets may be out of control. If you notice these changes,  consider why they’re happening. Food can serve as an emotional trigger, often used to make themselves feel better or worse. 
  1. They have angry outbursts. These outbursts can become more frequent as the depression gets worse. An occasional angry outburst over a terrible situation is normal for everyone. However, if you notice frequent and strange angry outbursts, then consider this as a possible cry for help. 
  1. Their sleep patterns change. Unhealthy sleep patterns are an issue for those with depression. Sleep patterns that change for no reason may be a sign of a deeper issue. They may sleep too much or too little, and may complain about not getting enough sleep, yet refuse to go to bed. 
  • It’s important to look deeper into sleep issues. Why are they having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Or, why are they staying in bed for so long? Insomnia is frequently linked to depression. 
  1. They turn to addiction. Addiction and depression are often linked together. Addiction can come in many forms; food, drugs, alcohol, gambling or other behaviors. Risky behavior is an issue for people who suffer from depression.  It’s important not to ignore their cry for help. 
  1. They hide their feelings by keeping insanely busy schedules. Work, family, and volunteer activities can fill up the day and stop them from addressing their depression.This keeps them busy, provides a distraction from thinking, and helps to keeps us from questioning them.
  1. They have trouble thinking clearly. People who suffer from depression can often make bad decisions, refuse to reach any decision, and have trouble with their thoughts. They may also show difficulty in focusing on easy things. 

? I hope these tips helps you spot hidden depression in your loved ones. If are concerned a loved one is hiding Depression, dont wait for them to approach you and initiate a discussion, it might never happen. How you approach the conversation is crucial. Don’t pretend to be a know it all. Don’t start off by telling them “ I think you might be Depressed”. Start with love, let that lead you. Think how you might want to be approached, if a loved one tried to talk to you about Depression.

To Your Success,
Juan

Warning Signs of Suicide


Suicide

I was married to a man who threatened to commit suicide if he didn’t get his way.  More than once. In our very short marriage, the emotional rollercoaster took everything out of me. You cant imagine what this does to a person’s psyche. I didn’t know it at the time, but came to realize, he was a Narcissist. His behaviors were extreme. This blog has some amazing resources, if you suspect you are in a relationship with a Narc.

Suicide is incredibly serious. Since Miss USA Cheslie Kryst’s death, I have watched several interviews with people in her circle. No one saw it coming. Almost all expressed dismay, at the thought of possibly missing the signs. Depression and Suicide are closely linked. In my line of work, we are required to ask about suicidal and homicidal ideation and intention, during every substantive encounter. 

Sadly, Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US. Stats show nearly 50,000 suicides, and more than a million attempts. It appears that 70% of suicides are committed by white males, but more women attempt suicide than men. In general, the younger someone is, the less likely they are to commit suicide. Even so, there seems to be an onslaught of young people now taking their own lives. While some suicides are out of the blue, very often there are warning signs. Unfortunately, these warning signs often go unnoticed or worst, ignored.

Be aware of these common suicide warning signs, and you may save a life:

  1. Feeling hopeless. If someone is miserable and doesn’t believe there’s any hope of a better existence, suicide can be a logical conclusion for them. One possible cure for hopelessness is to prove that the ability to alter the future exists. For example, set one small goal; five pushups or to lose two pounds. Accomplishing a small goal is a way to prove that the future is alterable.
  2. Lack of interest in activities that were once pleasurable. This is one of the primary signs of depression. For instance, if you, or someone you know, has always loved to watch baseball, it would be unusual to suddenly lose interest in that activity.
  3. Talking about suicide. Many people that are considering suicide mention it at some point. If you know someone that seems interested in the topic of suicide, that’s potentially a serious warning sign. They might ask you how you’d commit suicide, mention it in the news, or even ask your opinion of people that have done it.
  4. Intentional isolation. People who drastically reduce their social interactions are often also contemplating suicide. When people are miserable, they tend to isolate themselves from everyone else in the world. If your normally sociable friend rarely makes an appearance, there could be an issue.
  5. Giving away possessions. People considering suicide can still be concerned about who receives their possessions when the smoke clears. They often start giving away their tools, furniture, pets, and anything else of value.
  6. Depression. Depression is a primary warning sign of suicide. Remember depression is treatable. There’s no reason to suffer passively, when there are so many treatment options available.
  7. Strong feelings of guilt or shame. People who commit suicide are frequently overwhelmed with feelings of guilt or shame. The best way to deal with these two emotions is therapy. Fortunately, there are many free resources available for this issue as well. An online search will turn up several good possibilities. 
  8. Saying goodbye to friends and family. Committing suicide is like taking a very long trip that you never come back from. Most of us wouldn’t leave on a long trip without saying goodbye. If it feels like someone is giving you a farewell for no apparent reason, that could be a warning sign of an impending suicide.
  9. Stating that others would be better off without them. Many people consider suicide, but decide against it because of the harm they realize it could cause to others. When someone believes that others would actually benefit from their death, that’s a serious warning sign that they intend to harm themselves.

Be on the lookout for these warning signs. Given the prevalence of suicide attempts in this country, you may know someone that will attempt suicide. You’ve likely known others that have considered it, whether you realize it or not.

Suicide is a significant cause of death. If you know the warning signs, you might be able to stop yourself, or someone you know, from ending their life needlessly. Ask, listen, and encourage them to seek help. The number for Suicide and Crisis Hotline is 1800 273 8255. 

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, use this Depression and Loss worksheet, to help you work through your feelings

To Your Success,
Juan

What Is Depression?


March babies, how are you?!

Wishing you a year filled with happiness, contentment, and more joy than you could ever hope for.

Let’s continue the mental health series, this month the focus is on  Depression.

Shortly after Mss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst’s death, her mom April Simpkins, released a statement which reads in part “While it may be hard to believe, it’s true. Cheslie led both a public and a private life. In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone — including me, her closest confidant — until very shortly before her death.” Are you, or someone you know suffering from high functioning Depression? Given all that’s happening in the world, now is not the time to sweep things under the rug. Cheslie’s suicide is a wake up call. Should be.

If you ask a group of people who suffer from clinical depression to define the illness, you’ll get a variety of answers. Depression is a very personal experience, faced by millions. Different people manifest different symptoms. One thing remains clear: depression is a difficult illness, that can destroy your life if left unresolved.

Many people with depression, describe it as a sense of despair, that engulfs everything they do and feel. If you think being depressed is akin to feeling sad, because your favorite team just lost the championship game, you really have no idea, what suffering from this debilitating mental illness truly is. Depression is much deeper, more invasive than sadness or frustration.

Depression takes everything away from you; saps your energy, focus, concentration, and especially your joy. You don’t care about anything; nothing matters, and even people you love can become unimportant. If you’ve felt  depressed for a long time, you become accustomed to the feeling, and any other emotion becomes unfamiliar, and frightening. 

Physical Concerns of Depression
Depression doesn’t only take its toll on your emotions, and mental state; it can cause serious physical problems. You can lose your appetite or eat incessantly. It zaps your energy and motivation. When you’re depressed, you tend to become inactive. This alone can lead to a number of problems, but when added to other physical side effects, it’s easy to see why depression should always be given the care and concern it deserves

In addition, depression can lead to:

  1. 1. Lack of sleep. Insomnia strips the body of the necessary sleep, needed to function properly.
  2. 2. Poor nutrition. When depressed, many people fail to take in proper nutrients. It takes too much effort to plan and prepare a meal. 
  3. 3. Aches and pains. If anyone tells you that your mental state has no effect on your physical state, they are wrong. When you’re depressed, the chemicals in the brain that signal pain, and happiness, are affected in the same way. Physical aches and pains increase, sad feelings kick in, repeating the cycle.
  4. 4. Hygiene issues. Someone suffering from depression doesn’t have the energy or the motivation to be concerned with self-care.

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

  •  Constant and severe sadness about everything
  •  Hopelessness
  •  Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  •  Irritability
  •  Trouble concentrating
  •  Loss of interest in things that once interested them
  •  Feeling worthless, useless and strangely guilty for no reason at all
  •  Serious change in weight, one way or the other
  •  Lack of energy and fatigue

Depression is a serious condition and should be treated as such.
As depression progresses, it feeds on itself like a rolling snowball. The longer someone is depressed, the worse it gets, until they see no way out.  It is not uncommon to resign yourself  to being miserable all the time. Depression can be caused by a certain event, change of seasons, loss of someone close, or even a chemical imbalance in the brain. Treatment usually involves counseling or medication that helps alter brain chemistry. 

If you know someone who is depressed, one of the most important things you can do, is to be his or her friend. Talk to them and help them through this period. Help them seek medical care to treat their illness. If you think you may be depressed, talk to a health care provider. Depression doesn’t have to ruin your life! With support, you can move past it, and go on to live a joyful life. 

Download this  FREE copy of a Depression Checklist. Take it with you when you visit your medical provider, especially if the feelings have laster more than two weeks

You Your Success
Juan

How to End Anxiety Through Meditation


When it comes to using meditation to manage anxiety, multiple studies have reached the same conclusion. Mindfulness can help you to stop worrying. Almost 7 million Americans experience Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and many more have occasional bouts of fretfulness due to pressures at work or home. While you can’t remove the stress from daily life, there are steps you can take to feel more at ease. Try these natural remedies.

Anxiety-Related Benefits of Meditation

Researchers have been studying how meditation affects a wide variety of health issues. The American Medical Association, reported that meditation appears to be most effective in addressing anxiety, depression, and pain management.

  1. Focus on now. Most anxiety tends to be centered on rehashing the past or anticipating the future. Meditation encourages you to engage fully with the present moment. Your attention switches from useless regrets and fears, to constructive endeavors.
  2. Connect with your body. Chronic anxiety takes a toll on your physical health through inflammation and other symptoms. Scanning your body reminds you to lower your shoulders and unfurrow your brow.
  3. Change your brain. Meditation alters your brain so your contentment will grow. Stress hormones decrease and serotonin levels rise. Gray matter enlarges, while the amygdala, which processes fear, shrinks.

How to Meditate to Reduce Anxiety

Meditation can be adapted to suit your individual needs. Take classes or sit at home for free on you own schedule.

  1. Start off gradually. The benefits of meditation can often be seen within a week or two, and even 10 minutes a day pays off. Set aside a brief time each day for contemplation.
  2. Clarify your purpose. You may want to use meditation as part of your spiritual practice or take a completely secular approach. Meditation is not necessarily religious. You can develop greater peace of mind with your own set of beliefs.
  3. Separate facts from feelings. Introspection helps you to distinguish between actual events and your inner thoughts and emotions. As you train yourself to think objectively, you can achieve greater control over your reactions.
  4. Develop insights. Examining your mind also helps you to understand yourself and others. You may discover the root causes of your anxieties and how best to deal with them. Maybe you’ll want to replace negative expectations with a sense of curiosity. Perhaps you’ll pay more attention to the kindness you receive from others instead of conflicts.
  5. See your doctor. While meditation is powerful, your physician may recommend treatments including cognitive therapy and medication if your anxiety persists. You can still practice meditation and other self-care to aid your recovery. Let your doctor know what you’re doing on your own.

Other Natural Anxiety Aids

Meditation is even more productive when you combine it with other healthy lifestyle choices. Take a look at your daily habits.

  1. Eat whole foods. A diet full of processed foods and sugar aggravates anxiety and depression. Get most of your calories from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
  2. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Too much coffee may give you the jitters, and self-medicating with alcohol usually backfires. See if cutting back makes a difference.
  3. Exercise more. Physical activity melts away anxiety and stress. That’s especially true for vigorous aerobic workouts like running or rowing. When I am at the gym, I have to force myself to leave. I find working out very addicting.
  4. Rest and relax. Fight anxiety with a good night’s sleep and occasional breaks during the day. Go to bed on a consistent schedule.

If anxiety is interfering with your life, help is available. Achieve greater peace of mind through meditation, and see your doctor if you need additional support. You tube has a lot of free meditation guides and resources.

To Your Success,
Juan