Coping With Mental Health Illnesses – What Will And What Won’t Work

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Mental health illnesses are a very sensitive topic, but it can be overcome. It’s not the same as overcoming financial problems or relationship issues. Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and OCD, as explained in psychology, happens when the brain malfunctions. This can take a toll on your daily activities, making it hard to accomplish even the simplest of tasks.

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Teens And Mental Health: Sources Of Anxiety In Today’s Youth

A lot of today’s youth report struggling with mental health issues – especially anxiety. Many of us may wonder, “They’re so young; what do they have to worry about?” Well, the truth is that there’s a lot. Here are some reasons that are making the youth feel anxious.

The Pressure To Be Happy

 

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As Bobby McFerrin (and not Bob Marley) says, “don’t worry, be happy.” This saying is often the piece of advice people offer to us during stressful periods of our life. If only it were that easy. Worry isn’t something we can immediately turn off with a switch. But here’s the thing: you don’t always have to be happy.

When adults always tell the youth to cheer up, it actually puts a lot of pressure on them. Teens will start to feel as if they have to be okay all the time. They may think that they have to be happy all the time. When they begin to experience anything else besides joy, they start to panic because they don’t know how to deal with other emotions. Remember, “The sensation of pressure doesn’t have to be negative—it can be a positive challenge and motivating.” Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D. said.

Biological Reasons

Unbeknownst to many people, anxiety doesn’t just stem from experiences or one’s behavior; biology can also make you a worry wart.

“Mental health issues can be caused by a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors, and can have a minor or major impact on a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors.” Christina L. Gmyr, LMHC, NCC said. Just like how we can’t always control our anxiety, we can’t control how our bodies are pre-programmed. Unfortunately, some people are more likely to become more worrisome than others. If one of your parents suffers from an anxiety disorder, you become more likely to develop one as well.

Additionally, a teen’s hormones will be all over the place. You can blame that as the cause of your pimples, mood swings, and anxiety. As they go through puberty, they’ll feel added pressure as they don’t know how to deal with things yet.

Lastly, brain development also has something to do with the youth’s worries. As parents expect their teens to take on more responsibilities, they aren’t always ready for it. They still have to go through a lot to mature. It’s normal to make mistakes – but teens won’t realize that immediately. Frustration over failures and naivety can lead to anxiety.

Negative Body Image

 

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Many companies, such as Dove and JCPenney, have gained attention for their body positivity campaigns. Despite these movements, a lot of people still hold unrealistic beauty and body standards. Magazines airbrush their models, celebrities endorse unhealthy diets, and the internet keeps coming up with successors to the thigh gap trend.

Because of these high standards, teens feel pressured to look a certain way. Otherwise, they fear their peers shunning them. This issue is a massive blow to their self-confidence and opens up the road for anxiety to develop.

This problem isn’t limited to only female teens either. Young men also feel the need to be fit, muscular, or buff. They’re also starting to become more conscious of what they wear.

High Expectations

Similar to how the youth feels like there are high standards for beauty, they also feel pressure from high expectations from other aspects of life. Parents often want their kids to succeed in school. They also need to excel in extra-curricular activities. Add all this to the pressure of having to maintain a thriving social life. It can all become too much for a teenager to handle.

Teens may then feel anxious about having to achieve all of these. Likewise, they may feel guilty if they fail to meet other people’s expectations. All of this can also lead to further sleep deprivation, causing them additional stress.

Sleep Deprivation

 

 

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Different age groups need different amounts of sleep. Studies show that adults need roughly 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Additionally, we all know that kids need more hours each night, clocking in at about 9-11 hours for school-age children. In between that, we have teenagers. For them, they still need about 8-10 hours per night.

One reason why teens become stressed and develop anxiety is that they haven’t adjusted to the fewer hours of sleep they get per night. Moreover, they often don’t even get 8-10 hours. This problem is due to having heavy school workloads, joining extra-curricular activities, and trying to maintain a social life with peers.

Conclusion

 

“Depression is real and painful. Just because you can’t see or touch it doesn’t make it any less real.” Charmaine J. Simmons, LPC explains. Many of us adults forget what it’s like to be a teenager. Admittedly, we’ve had our fair share of anxiety during our youth. From high expectations to biological factors, there are many reasons for teens to feel anxious. However, we can’t let that get in the way of us succeeding. Knowing and understanding the causes of our worries is the first step to becoming more self-assured and kicking anxiety out the door.

Why Too Much Self-Isolation Can’t Be Good For Your Mental Health

A person can have different mental health issues throughout their life, but the typical initial reaction when things start falling apart is to self-isolate. They turn off their phone to prevent loved ones from reaching them; they avoid going to school or office where concerned folks will undoubtedly notice how problematic they may be. In this individual’s head, being around them entails harming the people who may already feel hurt or disappointed because of the psychological diagnosis.

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The reality that such mental health patients fail to realize, though, is that isolation has never been a solution for anxiety, depression, and other disorders. If we are honest, it can be a triggering factor since you are with your troubled self only 24/7. You do not interact with anyone – not even strangers in the supermarket. You stopped doing all the things that used to keep your blood running. There is a tough chance as well that you might not have opened your curtains in a long time.

Self-isolation is terrible, no matter what your psychological state is right now. In case that seems difficult to believe for you, here are a few reasons why.

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1. You Won’t Be Able To Face The Real Problem

The first snag you might hit after deciding to try self-isolation involves the fact that you are practically stepping away from your problem instead of facing it. Some folks may have advised you in the past to wait until you are calm before speaking up, but having a mental disorder is an exception to that rule.

“Experiencing irritability, hostility, anger, and being sensitive to rejection are all common symptoms when depressed,”  explains Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD. The source of trouble is inside your head, you see. If you remain mum about it, you are inadvertently letting it consume you. If you don’t reach out to your family, it may take forever before you take action by yourself. That is why it matters for you to avoid being alone as much as possible.

2. You Tend To Listen To “Critical Inner Voices” More

“Most people have a loud inner critic which makes their life more stressful.”  David Klow, a licensed therapist said. However, the positive side of being on your own is that you manage to look into yourself and recognize the different facets of your life. Its negative side, however, is that the longer you stay in isolation, the more you might pay attention to the “voices” that emphasize your flaws. Due to that, you might feel more like you deserve to be away from your loved ones now than ever.

What you may not have the capacity to understand after days or weeks of isolating yourself is that these inner suggestions cannot all be true. Most of them are products of your restless mind. Hence, you need to go out sometimes to get reality checked.

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3. Your Physical Health Is Likely To Suffer

Several studies in recent years have revealed that prolonging self-isolation may lead to the deterioration of your body. We are not merely talking about occasional muscle ache or back pain, you know. The issue can be as worse as the increase of your cholesterol or blood sugar level.

In truth, when you are all by yourself, and you rarely leave the house, you tend to stay in bed or couch for hours. Exercising may not cross your mind; dieting may be the least of your worries. There is no other human being to drag your butt out of the door to inhale fresh air either. All these things and more can be detrimental for your physical health.

4. The Existing Mental Health Issues Might Worsen

The scariest thing that may take place if you insist on self-isolation is the progression of your mental illness. After all, you have probably not decided to hide from everyone without your condition as the primary reason. When you combine the likely outcomes of isolating yourself, though, there’s no other end product than the worsening of your depression, anxiety, et cetera.

Considering the previous ideas did not faze you, this last possibility should make you reassess your actions. Otherwise, your efforts to keep your family and friends from getting hurt may become futile.

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To Wrap Up

Shutting the rest of the world out once or twice a week is acceptable. It allows you to avoid hearing the noises outside and getting stressed because of them. When you plug in again, therefore, your feelings won’t possibly blow up at once. “Your environment, both your social and natural surroundings, can greatly impact how you feel.” Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC said. So take note of that.

Despite that, you should remember that doing self-isolation for days on end can never be healthy. If you do so, it will be as if you are welcoming negative thoughts and diseases to enter your mind and body instead of getting rid of them. That can’t be good, especially when you want a fulfilling life.

Good luck!

I Am Depressed

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Depression already proved it exists so many times as it took the lives of people we never thought could and would end their lives. Robin Williams, Kate Spade, Chester Bennington, and Anthony Bourdain were among successful people who lived in wealth and fame. However, these were not the only things they had in common. They all suffered depression. Their passing shocked the whole world as many of us ask, “Why?”

Now we know that depression is something that can happen to anyone – wealthy and poor or young and old. Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC used to say, “Depression is different from passing sadness or temporary frustration with life’s issues. There are number of common signs for depression and they tend to be persistent.” That’s why it is not okay to ignore someone who says, “I’m depressed.” Yes, many of us may misunderstand being sad or problematic to being depressed, but if we genuinely care about a person, it wouldn’t matter if it’s depression or not. The fact that the person opened up to us is enough to make us responsible. We have the moral obligation to do something because someone is crying for help, may it be serious or not.

People who suffer depression do not normally say “I’m depressed” because they would hide it as much as possible. They would act strong and happy that it wouldn’t show that they are going through something tormenting. However, it doesn’t mean you have to ignore people who say they are depressed. It is not for you to say otherwise.

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What You Should Do When Someone Tells You “I’m Depressed”:

You Should Be Present

You need to be there for someone who says, “I’m depressed.” If he asks to meet up, then you should go. Whether it is depression or not, he told you his feelings because he trusts and depends on you to lessen the weight he is carrying. Remember that we do not call just anyone to be there for us when we feel sad or down. We call someone we know would make us feel better. “Be supportive and let them know it is not that you think something is wrong with them, but that you want them to have some help with their current challenges. Sometimes, people who are depressed want help but don’t know how to get started.” Vara Saripalli, PsyD suggests.

You Should Listen

It doesn’t matter if you find his thinking shallow. No matter the nature, cause, or reason for his sadness or depression, he is still affected. That is enough reason for you to acknowledge his feelings. You don’t get to say it is nothing or immature even if it is. You are never in a position to invalidate someone else’s feelings. Doing so is a like saying you know better.

You Should Give Advice

It is not necessarily advice but a confirmation that someone acknowledges his feelings. If there’s one thing a sad or depressed person needs, it is the sense of not being alone. He needs to feel understood and validated because he may think that he is hopeless and helpless. The best advice you can give is to tell him to seek professional help.

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“Depression is not a weakness of character, laziness, or a phase. Tough love, like telling someone to ‘buck up’ or ‘try harder,’ doesn’t work, and worsens the illness.”  Deborah Serani, PsyD said. We should never ignore someone who says, “I am depressed.” These three words are a cry for help, may it be depression or not. Many lives have already perished without anyone having a clue, so if someone opened up saying he is sad, down, or depressed, it is our accountability to make him feel that there is hope.

What Does Depression Really Feel Like To A Teen?

Although there have been many studies conducted about depression as a whole, studies on general symptoms that could be seen in people, and especially how it manifests in daily situations, people suffering from depression still experience it in unique ways.  We aren’t going to talk about causes, symptoms or treatments, but instead, try our best to know and understand teen depression in its purest and most relatable forms. 

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Continue reading “What Does Depression Really Feel Like To A Teen?”

Early Signs Of Depression You Should Be Aware Of

 

The feeling of sadness and hopelessness is normal to everyone. It certainly is not right to say that there were people who were lucky enough to possess the things they needed to be happy. If there’s one thing that you should keep in mind once you get out of your room, it’s that all people come from the different walks of life.

Depression doesn’t heal overnight. It cannot be cured by over-the-counter medicines, band-aids or even surgery. The healing comes from the person himself/herself and the people around him/her.

Whether it’s for you or for the people you love, it’s better to familiarize yourself with the early warning signs of depression. Most of the people who are not aware of the modern-day mental health issues equate depression to ‘just mood swings.’

 

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Emotional Symptoms

  1. Feeling Of Sadness And Hopelessness

A common manifestation of a looming depression is the feeling of sadness and sense of helplessness. One becomes irritated most of the time and even feels hopeless for the future. One suddenly becomes pessimistic, even to the point of crying without any apparent reason. “Feeling hopeless often leads to anger in men as opposed to the lethargy that can manifest in women. As a result, depression in men can be particularly hard to spot sometimes because it doesn’t look like we think it should.” Dr. Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC said

People experiencing depression, however, are very good at masking their emotions. This symptom is not easy to spot on any person other than yourself. People who suffer from this and decide to keep it for themselves are most likely to develop severe depression.

 

  1. Feeling Of Guilt And Self-Loathing 

Indeed, this is one of the most typical telltale signs that depression may take over a person – he/she starts blaming him/herself for a fault done. It’s normal that self-blaming becomes the emotional response to some. But, if it already affects your behavior, the chances are high you are already suffering from depression.

 

Mental Symptoms 

  1. Trouble Concentrating 

Depression can take your focusing abilities away. A person’s memory and attention span lessen during this hard time. This problem also severely affects one’s capability to make sound decisions and good judgment.

Check yourself and family members if there are recurring times of misunderstanding at your house or at work. If the disagreement arises from you or loved one’s lack of attention and difficult comprehension, then this may be a sign of depression. 

 

  1. Loss Of Self-Confidence 

Often, comes with self-blaming is the loss of confidence in one’s own ability and skills. As mentioned, depressed people develop a pessimistic outlook on life. Generally, they have lost the will to believe what more they can do.

If you’ve noticed yourself or any loved ones manifesting shyness or lack of confidence, maybe it’s time to do something before depression take control of you or your loved ones’ everyday life.

 

  1. Finding ‘Immediate’ Ways To Cope With Sadness 

People suffering from anxiety and depression abuse alcohol to numb their system. Some, however, put all their attention to work as a form of escape. They may be staying up late behind their office desks or laptops to gear their swirling emotions away. It’s like tricking the brain to act busy most of the time. But Lisa S. Larsen, PsyD believes that “When people are given a supportive environment and a safe relationship, they can let down their guard and heal.”

 

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 Physical Symptoms

  1. Decreased Energy Levels

Looming depression eats one’s energy. Usually, you would have the spirit to do everything at once. Taking a warm shower, fixing your hair, trying all the clothes just to see which one fits the best – all are done in no time especially if in a hurry.

However, when one is going through depression, only the most vital activities after waking up are done. Furthermore, these activities are done slower than the usual.

 

  1. Body Pains And Aches 

Poor appetite is also a manifestation of depression which, in turn, can cause physical aches. Changes in weight is one of the effects brought by emotional factors. Frequent digestive problems without apparent underlying reasons can also signal depression.

 In this modern world and generation, millennials suffering from depression enter the social media either to find help anonymously or share their thoughts about life silently. Don’t take these for granted, even if it’s just for you. Depression is not a cycle that will go away eventually. Simon Rego, PsyD says, “mental health disorders are real, significant, and common. We need to do a much better job of looking out for people with depression, educating the public to take them seriously and to understand how important it is to get connected with a licensed mental health professional for help. Because great help exists, if people are willing to seek it out.”

Career Breakdown: Signs You’re Getting Depressed With Your Work

 

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Depression is one of the leading causes of lost productivity in the US. If the daily grind becomes too much to handle or cope with, then mental illness isn’t really impossible. According to the Depression Center at the University of Michigan, it costs the employers an astounding $44 billion! The numbers continue to grow annually, and it’s not stopping anytime soon.

“Depression is exhausting to the person suffering from it. Just accomplishing the bare minimum can seem like too much work.”  Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC said. So are you getting caught up with too much work? Do you feel like depression is starting to grow on you, and crippling your performance? To cure it means to know it.

There’s only one way to find out!

Here are the signs you’re getting depressed with your work:

 

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You Experience Work Discrimination Or Harassment

Did you come from a far-away province and you can’t seem to lose your accent, so your workmates make fun of you? Bullying. Is your co-worker a creep, touching your butt every time you pass by his workstation?

Sexual harassment. These, among many other things, are nasty behaviors that would make you crazy. In a bad way that is. You should never feel uncomfortable in your job, and not be scared of your co-workers. If it is, then it’s making you depressed.

You Have A Bad Boss

 Don’t mistake a bad boss from an annoying one. Sure, there may be times when we feel so drained because of the overload work the bosses keep piling on us. That doesn’t automatically mean they’re bad, though. Some job just really requires more work than others.

So what makes a bad boss? They love tattletales who report to them, and they have their favorite employees. They fail to communicate and doesn’t have clear expectations. They ignore their employees entirely until a problem comes up, then they pounce. They intimidate people and even bully their staff. They take credit for another staff’s work (and success). And they fail to provide motivation, rewards, and recognition to their employees.

 

You’re Not Getting Enough Rest

“Some people who are diagnosed with depression do not report feeling depressed, sad or low, but rather, they report experiencing significantly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day” That is according to Simon Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center. Let’s say that your work requires A LOT of effort to get things done. That doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your rest and sleep all the time for it. Remember, sleep is one of the BASIC and most important needs of an individual. If you lack sleep, it can cause depression, or make your current depression even worse!

 

You Receive Less Than What You Deserve

In short, you’re not fairly compensated. Imagine doing lots of work for a whole day, for 7 (or sometimes 8) days a week, and you only get a salary which you can’t even last for five days… That would drive you insane! No exaggerations. You need to be wary of this because sometimes, this isn’t just a cause of depression, but of aggressiveness to your peers and workmates as well. Also, if you see that the company is performing well, and it’s not reflected in your salary (or other rewards), it’s quite upsetting.

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You Don’t Have A Voice

Not quite literally. If you are in a team, then you should have your fair share of opinions, and suggestions as to how you could achieve your plan. Maybe some co-workers keep interrupting you once you start to talk, or they leave the room because they think your opinion doesn’t matter. Either way, that kind of attitude and behavior would break you, and you’d find yourself doing everything their way.

Experiencing any of these alarming signs?It’s time to take action. Seek support from professionals or your loved ones. Don’t let yourself go down deep the rabbit hole. “Instead of spiraling downward into increasing anxiety and depression, we’re able to stop that spiral and respond in a more appropriate fashion,” says Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC

Reasons Why Teens Are Depressed

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Teenagers are depicted to have a carefree life, full of excitement and always seeking for thrill and adventure. That’s why when we hear stories of teenagers going down the slope of depression, and some even taking their own lives, we immediately ask why or what makes them so depressed at a very young age. 

Causes of teen depression 

First of all, depression is described as a low emotional state that makes the person withdraw from normal activities. “Depression symptoms take many forms, and no two people’s experiences are exactly alike. A person who’s suffering from this disorder may not seem sad to others.” John M. Grohol, Psy.D. said. However, usually, this can happen after suffering from a loss or grief. There will be times in a person’s life to feel depressed, but can eventually recover and go back to usual activities again. In clinical depression, this is when the person goes into an abyss of hopelessness, feelings of doom and desperation, which can sometimes lead to suicides if not immediately discovered and remedied. 

There are many elements linked to teen depression. It can be one cause or combination of several factors that help develop the psychological condition. Experts in adolescent psychiatry have identified several predisposing and possible factors that cause teen depression. 

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  • Dysfunctional family – A teenager who comes from a broken home and/or troubled home environment are more likely to develop depression. 
  • School related factors – There is academic pressure to stay in school, peer pressure to be accepted in a social circle, bullying by other students that can lead to the depressed state, if the teenager is unable to meet all of these challenges. 
  • Substance abuse – Teenagers tend to experiment with drugs and alcohol. If the case worsens, it can lead to depression and other mental disorders. 
  • Poverty – Living in a low-income family life, where the ability to secure material resources and even the basic necessities are scarce, can lead to a depressing situation where teenagers sometimes cannot adapt and accept. “Being in a low socioeconomic group is a risk factor for depression. This may be due to factors such as perceived low social status, cultural factors, financial problems, stressful environments, social isolation, and greater daily stress.”As explained by Ben Martin, Psy.D.
  • Traumatic events like losing a significant other or suffering from a very traumatic accident that leads to physical defect or loss of limb. 
  • Romantic problems – Teenagers’ milestone is to establish or create intimate relationships with the opposite/same sex. If they encounter problems within the relationship, especially a heartbreak, this can also predispose to depression 
  • Low self-esteem as a result from being harassed, physical defect, etc, can also develop into depressive states. 
  • History of depression in the family – Research shows that heredity also plays a major role in the development of depression. There is an increased likelihood of experiencing depression if one of the family members have it. 

Why should we be alarmed? 

In adolescents, when we see them sad or looking disinterested, we just think that it’s part of their natural emotional state as teens tend to get moody at this stage. They will exhibit happiness today and then get depressed the next day. But, it is critical to watch out for warning signs of clinical depression so as to intervene immediately: 

  • Alterations in sleeping patterns – excessive sleeping and insomnia 
  • Loss of weight and/or weight gain 
  • Lack of interest in activities 
  • Poor academic performance or low grades in school 
  • Distancing from usual friends and families 
  • Emotional states like sadness, anger, hopelessness, irritability 
Source: schoolsfortroubledteens.net

Early intervention is possible by referring the teenager to a general practitioner, and eventually to a psychologist or psychiatrist if needed. Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC often says, “The best person to evaluate which medication for depression is most appropriate for you is a Psychiatrist.”