Some Ideas For Addressing Depression

Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in Depression | 0 comments

The blues and adolescence seem to go hand-in-hand. So many changes are happening all at once: peer pressure and popularity issues are often high, academic pressure is usually monstrous, the state of the world/equality/justice is a mess, and besides all this, enormous hormonal changes are occurring. What’s more, many teenagers (no matter how sophisticated they may appear to be), have neither enough life experience to understand their emotional swings nor the community of support to offer coping strategies to deal with them. It is understandable then that our youth (see our article on Teen Depression) are likely to feel overwhelmed and be vulnerable to intermittent struggles with depression.

As parents, it’s important to:

  • Spend time together as a family/community as well as one-on-one.
  • Talk to each other about how to maneuver through difficult times.
  • Be prepared to listen without judging.
  • Resist the temptation to offer immediate comments, solutions, or follow-ups like “Let this be a lesson to you…” or “I warned you about this…”
  • Allow enough time to talk through concerns and try to guide your teenager to come up with his/her own solutions.
  • If communication is too difficult, find a pro-youth therapist.
  • Don’t expect perfection, nor push for it.
  • Respect your teenager’s privacy but also learn how much “alone time” is acceptable within your family.
  • Boost your teenager’s ideas of themselves and confidence by zeroing in on specific positive attributes.
  • Avoid being vague or patronizing.
  • Help your teenager eat well and exercise.
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Questions to ask yourself and others about depression

Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in Depression | 0 comments

If you are showing depression, you may also feel paralyzed by your troubles and unable to find solutions. When that happens, reaching out can bring light back into your life.

Some questions you might ask yourself to fend off depression:

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If your partner is depressed…

Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in Depression | 0 comments

Obviously, these dynamics can adversely affect you and your marriage.

Here’s what you can do to help yourself while your partner is depressed:

  • Remind yourself it’s the depression acting up, not your partner.
  • Be careful not to sacrifice your own life; stick to your usual routine.
  • Accept all the support you can get and be sure to have someone, maybe a supportive therapist with whom you can talk.
  • Get out of the house; don’t get isolated
  • Stay healthy: eat right and exercise.
  • Try not to take responsibility for your partner’s moods; realize you are neither the cause nor will you be the savior.

Now what can you do to help your partner?

  • Highlight the times when he or she is not sad.
  • Allow your partner to experience sadness.
  • Help your partner re-remember the best aspects of themselves (past, present and future.)
  • If your partner is not in the mood to socialize, alleviate the pressure by negotiating a walk instead.
  • Be available to listen.
  • Most importantly, give your spouse time.
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What to Do If Your Friend Is Depressed

Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in Depression | 0 comments

depressed friendA friend who was once upbeat and social has lately been withdrawn. She seems lethargic, especially introverted, neglectful of her appearance. It’s as though she’s building a thick wall around herself. You know she’s hurting and you’re worried about her. You feel helpless and want to help her.

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Couples and Depression

Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in Depression | 0 comments

In our society, we expect to overcome sadness with any number of instant antidotes: smoking, drinking, driving a sports car, polishing the floors to a sparkle, wearing designer clothing, and so on. We watch characters on television and in the movies resolve their problems within a couple of hours. Big smiles and pearly-white teeth proclaim an all-American, carefree attitude. Clearly there’s plenty of pressure in our culture to express and maintain continuous contentment. If we’re blue, the message is: “Get over it,” or “Just do it.” It’s no wonder millions of people worldwide are downing anti-depressant medications and other non-medicinal ‘medications’ hoping to be effortlessly uplifted.

But sometimes it’s necessary to go slowly and take time to adjust to life’s natural changes. Seeking out help for depression may offer a chance to explore and resolve long-standing issues; it is better this than covering them up or running away. Showing depression can represent:

  • The effects of a past or present injustice/abuse. (see our section about Trauma and Abuse)
  • A period of necessary self-examination and need for change.
  • A natural response to a life crisis. (see also the section on Grief and Loss)

That said, living with a depressed partner can be like swinging precariously from an emotional pendulum. It has been described by spouses as “tumultuous,” “frustrating” and “hopeless.” You may try to help your partner “snap out of it” by bending over backwards, only to feel resentful and angry when your Herculean efforts fail.

If your partner rages against you (often anger sits in front of sadness), you can be further frustrated and may, in turn, choose to retreat into a separate and “safer” space of your own.

Sex is rarely desired by a person struggling with depression (either because of apathy or as a result of medications), and frequently this makes the partner feel rejected, abandoned, or unattractive.

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Teenagers and Depression

Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in Depression | 0 comments

Everyone’s on your case. You fret about dating and school. You’re weirded out about changes in your body. You write really sad poems or ask yourself deep questions about the meaning of life.

You’ve got the blues.

For many teens, life can be described as an ongoing case of the doldrums. It’s a time for trying out new things, and it’s expected that there are going to be ups and downs. It may be perfectly normal to feel sadness, like when your friend suddenly puts you in the deep freeze, your current sweetheart moves away or ignores you, or you flunk an exam and your mood takes a major nose-dive. Some sad feelings come when you feel like you have little control over what’s happening in your life.

But then there are other forms of more serious sadness.

Sometimes this sadness doesn’t go away and affects all parts of your life. It doesn’t seem to have any real reason for being there, but it just is. It robs you of the joy that was once there (or has you forgetting that you ever experienced any joy at all). Far too many young people are suffering in silence, and sometimes with disastrous results.

According to the American Medical Association, the rate of teen suicide has jumped alarmingly in the last ten years. Why are young people so depressed?

The reasons we hear from teenagers over and over again are:

  • No one is listening! – We have the most to say and are the least listened to group.
  • We feel a great sense of disconnection to the bigger society.
  • We have little hope and no passion for the future.
  • School does not fit with our life experience.
  • The world is cruel and isolating.
  • We fear having to leave home and be further alone.

Expressions of depression may vary. But remember these are not the cause but only the performance of sad feelings.

These may include:

  • changes in sleep patterns
  • weight gain or loss (we have a whole section discussing Anorexia under Problems)
  • ongoing feelings of sadness, anxiety, or hopelessness
  • thoughts of death or suicide
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