Dealing With Depression In The Family

Coping with depression is not an easy feat, and patients with depression need a lot of support from family and friends. A family’s involvement in a person’s recovery does not stop at support and care.

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People need to understand that depression and mental health problems affect not just the individual but also the whole family. When you have a depressed family member, the effects of that condition spread to other family members. For this reason, a family needs to be aware of how depression could affect the entire unit.

Depression Is A Family Matter

Medication is only half the battle when dealing with depression. A patient also needs proper counseling as well as a reliable support system. This support system typically comes in the form of family. 

Family makes up the majority of a person’s social environment. In most cases, people with depression are under the care of family members. Even before considering treatment and recovery, a person’s family situation has massive potential in influencing his or her mental and emotional well-being.

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When dealing with a person with depression, a family member’s input is vital in coming up with an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes, a patient might not be honest about his feelings. Other times, the patient doesn’t understand or is not even aware of his condition. It is a common manifestation of depression, which is why family input is essential in determining a person’s mental state. Members of the family can observe a person with depression and provide a detailed account to a therapist or psychiatrist. 

Impacts Of Depression In A Family (And How To Address Them)

People with depression experience multiple symptoms that can bring down even the best of us. Caring for a depressed person is no match to experiencing depression, but this job still presents a considerable challenge to anyone. Depression has a particular impact that affects not only the patient but also everyone in the family.

The most apparent impact of depression within the family is the disruption of family dynamics. When a person is depressed, this often manifests in loss of will or motivation in many things, most notably in interacting with others. Isolation happens not only in external events like socializing with friends but also in communicating with family members.

An uncommunicative family member creates tension due to avoidance of issues. This situation is most prevalent at the onset of dealing with depression in the family. Most family members might not yet be used to the presence of depression in the family. This uncertainty makes them tiptoe around their depressed family member, unsure of what to say and how to deal with them.

Tension from lack of communication often blows up into conflict. A depressed person’s mood varies from time to time, and a family member’s fuse might shorten in time as well. Lack of communication results in a lack of understanding from both parties.

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As a family, communicating through the negative impacts of depression is a must. On the one hand, family members need to stretch their patience when dealing with a depressed patient. On the other hand, depression should not become a person’s excuse to refrain from engaging in healthy discussions in the family.

There are numerous challenges both on the part of the patient and his or her family. It is common for misunderstandings to pop up. Still, everyone in the family must learn to keep communication lines open as much as possible to foster a healthy environment fit for a depressed person’s recovery.

Emotional Eating? Here’s How You Can Manage And Control It

It is not a secret that everyone has experienced stress eating at least once in their life. It is a usual scenario when one experiences a sudden stressful activity. Such might be a sudden influx of workload and tight deadlines. What follows is the immediate desire to eat whatever it is that you have been craving since last week. You will feel that a single serving is not enough at the moment.

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While emotional eating is a common effect of stress, it does not produce any good result to anyone. Maybe it somehow helps us feel better, but the long-term effects are not worth it. Find out how you can manage and control emotional eating in no time:

  1. Track What You Eat

Keep a food diary. If you are a calorie-conscious person, then keeping track of your food intake will help. Jot down what you ate for breakfast, what you had for lunch, and every drink or small snack that you took for the whole day. Once you have a record, there is a chance that you might find some connection between your mood and the food you eat.

When you feel like stress eating, keep in mind your calorie goal for the day. Think of the possible consequences on your fitness goals if you grab those multiple servings of sweets from your cabinet. While cheat days are completely tolerable, frequent and excessive eating is detrimental not only to your physical figure but also to your mental health.

  1. Stock Up On Healthy Snacks

There are other healthy alternatives to the food you are craving. On your next grocery shopping, look for other options other than junk food and fatty snacks. As an example, you can opt for a frozen yogurt rather than a pint of ice cream. Aside from the fact that yogurt is good for the digestive system, it is also helpful in maintaining our body weight as it does not have many calories.

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When we are stressed, we often crave for junk food or meals from fast-food chains. Bear in mind that this stuff mostly contains excessive fats, calories, carbohydrates, and processed sugar that are harmful to the body. Make sure that there are available healthy snacks near you for your emergency stress eating.

  1. Ask Yourself If You Are Truly Hungry

Every time you feel like you are about to stress-eat, ask yourself first if you are really physically hungry. Maybe you only need to drink water, breathe, and de-stress for a while. Make it a habit to do this self-questioning so that you’ll know when the hunger is real or it’s only an unhealthy urge to stress-eat.

  1. Find Emotional Support

Most of the time, we only need someone to listen to how our whole day went. It will not only address emotional eating but will also be beneficial to our mental health in the long run. Emotional support can be the best cure for our stress.

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Let’s all admit that stress and mild anxiety have already been a norm in our lives nowadays. Nonetheless, it does not mean that we have to accept that it will eventually go away on its own. Having healthy alternatives alone will not cure the cause of stress-eating. We also need our own determination to live healthily and the support of others for a better us in the long run.

Journaling As Self-Help In Battling Anxiety And Depression

Whenever people hear the word “journaling,” they picture a teenage girl writing in her diary with her feet dangling from the bed. This visualization is a misconception that journaling only caters to the young generation. However, this technique is perfect for all ages, especially for individuals battling anxiety and depression.

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Effective journaling helps you improve your quality of life. There is no single approach to this, and it varies from person to person. Overall, this writing practice has been proven to deliver the following results:

  • Improved mood
  • Enhanced sense of well-being
  • Reduced intrusion of stress
  • Enhanced working memory
  • Reduced symptoms for anxiety and depression
  • Healed traumatic experience
  • Increased self-awareness and self-expression

To get you started, here are some tips on the best practices in creating and maintaining your self-help journal.

Make It A Habit To Write

Remember, making a regular habit out of journaling will help you feel its benefits more. Decide on the time of the day where you will sit down, reflect on your emotions, and start writing about it.

Some people prefer to do this practice in the morning to go forward and start their day right. On the other hand, some are more inclined to journaling at night to check up on themselves with regards to how their day went. Whichever you choose, make sure to have a place for this activity in your daily routine.

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Focus On Your Intention, Not Your Plan

Making a plan defeats the purpose of journaling. If you’re not the type of person who is spontaneous when it comes to writing, then focus on your intention or goal instead of a detailed plan. Avoid dictating what the outline is and what you should and should not include in there. Take note that your journal should be a safe space where you can jot down uninhibited thoughts and emotions. This practice will help you relieve your anxiety.

Take Note Of Important Questions

The best way to tap your real emotions is to connect with the realities of your life. Here are some questions that can guide in your self-reflection:

  • What are the fears that are holding me back right now?
  • What are the areas of my personality that I need to fix?
  • What factors contribute to my anxiety?
  • Are there relationships (friends, partner, or family) that I need to work on?
  • What is/are my coping mechanisms?

Make sure to answer these questions as honestly as possible so that you can adequately express and process your emotions.

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Practice Non-Judgement

It might be a little bit challenging not to be horrified with what’s happening with your life if you’ve been through a lot. However, you must always remember that even though things may get ugly at times, it does not mean that you are an awful person. Almost everyone goes through this stage.

What you should do is to practice self-compassion and non-judgment every day. These should be present, especially if your journal is full of negative narratives. Once you reach this kind of mindset, it will be easier for you to write, assess, and forgive yourself for what you are currently going through.

Anxiety and depression are difficult to address. With the help of journaling, however, rest assured that you will ease the burden brought by these mental health issues.

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.

Continue reading “Coping With Mental Health Illnesses – What Will And What Won’t Work”

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!