Saturday, April 27, 2013

What Causes Depression and Am I Depressed?

More often than not in our teenage years, we are exposed to numerous and sudden inexplicable mood swings, as our body starts undergoing a huge range of hormonal changes. Changes that are needed to prepare us for adulthood.

Not only are there increased social pressures on teens, but the onset of menstruation, for an adolescent girl it introduces them to premenstrual tension/syndrome. The menstrual cramps, the former being a mixture of physical and psychological symptoms, including temporary weight gain, fluid retention, depression, fits of temper and the like. Of these symptoms, depression is perhaps one of the most commonly identified conditions that both males and females experience, particularly with the onset of puberty.

Depression is usually a term often used to define a particularly long period of sadness and lethargy. It can also be used to describe any 'low' point in between periods of 'high' or happiness. A popular expression which many of us may have come across is that depression is in fact, anger lacking in enthusiasm.

However, the real meaning of depression and the reality is that you cannot just 'pull themselves together' and because of this it has the power to disrupt your daily life. Depression is regarded as prolonged sadness, anxiety, unusual mood shifts which can sometimes be accompanied by irrational thoughts, pessimism, and is highly responsible for changes in your eating habits, sleeping patterns and how you interact with other people. Depression can be so debilitating that it can have a detrimental effect on even the simplest daily activities.

Being depressed is deemed as a disorder that should not be left unchecked, it requires treatment and attention because;

1. It may cause withdrawal from friends, family and society in general. This can then lead to unnecessary suffering, increased pessimism, and lower self-esteem.

2. Depression could cause changes in a person's physical behaviour, for example their eating or sleeping may be affected and that could disrupt their regular daily routine. The increase of irrational behaviour causes some people to ultimately result to thoughts of self harm, or even suicide.

If you find yourself displaying that degree of depression, it is advisable that you seek immediate help from a professional. The reason for the urgency is because there are many forms of depression, each varying in degree of abnormality, but it can be treated with the right kind of care. It will also allow you go gain a more accurate diagnosis of your condition. Your results may show that you are simply suffering from a mild form of depression and much more serious forms, like severe or major depression can be ruled out.

What is severe or major depression?

Severe or major depression is also referred to by the medical profession as clinical depression. Clinical depression can come in different forms. It can start out of the blue or build up over a period of time, sometimes weeks, months, or even years.

The following three most common forms of depression are;

繚 Major/Clinical Depression: a number of symptoms that obstruct a person's capability to work effectively, sleep properly, eat regularly or even enjoy anything that might normally bring pleasure such as, hobbies, sex or even social activities with friends and families. These episodes can occur more than once, maybe even several times during one's lifetime.

繚 Dysthymia: is a less intense form of depression that involves longer term chronic symptoms, which are less severe. But like clinical depression it also stops you from functioning fully and stops you from feeling good.

繚 Bipolar (also known as manic-depressive illness): a person will experience periods of depression alternated with periods of euphoria and increased activity, often referred to as mania. Unipolar depression is another name for major depressive disorder and like bipolar requires medical treatment.

Severe depression can be detected by doctors by observing particular behavioural patterns a person displays. The first sign is that of constantly feeling sad or anxious. This may be expressed as feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Another is constantly feeling, exhausted or tired. You may experience a lack of energy despite the fact that no physical activity has taken place, but at the same time experiencing the feeling of restlessness. You may also find it hard to concentrate or make even the smallest decisions.

Other symptoms that doctors look for is a change in sleeping habits, which may involve difficulty in getting to sleep, waking up too early or sleeping too much. Also, irregular eating patterns which can also lead to drastic weight loss or even weight gain. With these physically noticeable changes and the symptoms listed above, there is a common feeling of being inadequate, despair and guilt. When these symptoms are combined they can lead to thoughts of suicide or obsession over death and dying.

The fact is that doctors are seeing a rise in cases related to depression, it can happen to anyone, even you! So it is important that you better understand depression, the symptoms and how it affects not only you, but also the people around you. There might be people you know that are suffering from some form of depression and understanding it will both allow you to better interact with them, or should you be suffering it will allow you to seek out and benefit from your doctor, local or online support groups or other people who can better help you deal with the disorder and stop you from succumbing to it.

Why Read Daily Inspiring Quotes?

Everyone needs self encouragement and inspiration. Whether you are a very successful person or a novice in your field, you probably notice that sometimes you are in a need for inspiration and encouragement in order to boost your confidence, deal with problems or avoid negativity that tends to pile up around you. That is what daily inspiring quotes can do.

Reading some inspirational quotes can help you find a reason to develop yourself, improve yourself or simply motivate yourself in order to achieve something. Personal development is one of the largest growing movements in the world, as numerous people feel the need to explore inspirational and motivational options and sources. These quotes can be an excellent source of motivation and self development.

The truth is that inspirational quotes are written by people who have experienced some situations and have the acuteness and wittiness to talk about them, motivating the others. People today, tend to pin some quotes on their walls or fridges in order to stay on track, focus on a goal and feel better about their surroundings. Inspirational quotes help them hear about the experiences of others and learn from their dedication to overcome problems and difficulties.

Inspirational quotes reflect the theories of people who have struggled in their lives and who have managed to make some powerful life statements learning from their experiences. Never before have there been so many sites, books and journal focusing on motivation and personal development. Whether it's about health, wealth, happiness or relationships, motivational power can source from these quotes.

Motivational and inspirational quotes can remind us of the significance or insignificance of some things in life; they can make us focus on everything that is important and matters, allowing us to lead a hassle free and interesting life, aiming at becoming better people.

Teen Depression

Teen depression can happen for a number of reasons and tends to occur quite often when a teenager needs more help fitting in during their high school years. Teen depression can be triggered by something as simple as not being popular, not having great grades or not making the football team. Some teens get depressed because they come from a poor family and can't afford to buy the right kind of clothes. Most schools have school counselors, but quite often they are over burdened and some students may not get a chance to speak with them. When a teenager becomes depressed they often feel alone and feel like they can't turn to their parents or friends for help. Some teenagers even turn to self medication to make themselves feel better.

So instead of receiving the right kind for counseling to treatment, some teenagers will instead turn to drugs, alcohol or sexual activity. Sometimes teen depression can be prevented if we notice the warning signs of them becoming depressed. When a teenager becomes despondent and isolated, those are usually signs of teen depression. Others signs that your teen may be suffering from depression is over or under eating or staying in bed until midday and having no interest in getting out of bed and enjoying life.

You really do need to get your child help if you think they may be suffering from depression. If not treated they may carry on this depression for their whole lives and therefore will have fairly miserable lives. Also if they received the correct treatment straight away it may prevent the drugs and alcohol from becoming a major part of their life. There are many prescription drugs and counseling treatments available for your child.

Help your teen get through the adolescent years and look ahead to the future. If you are not comfortable with putting your child on anti-depressant medications, there are also herbal treatments available that you can try, like St. John's Wort, that can alleviate teen depression. Many parents who can't get help from counselors at school or therapists, have started to look around the internet. There are many different solutions for teen depression.

As a parent you may even want to attend counseling sessions with your teenager and create an open environment so they may learn to open up and share their feelings. Adolescent years are difficult for more teenagers and increasing peer pressure drives some children to the edge. You can make a difference. Talking to a therapist or a psychiatrist or even going on the internet can give you more information on teen depression; and make your child safe and happy. A teenager who is well adjusted is less likely to get into trouble and more likely to succeed in life. A successful life is important for the future of your child and important for a parent as well.

About A Menopause Test And a List of Menopause Symptoms

A menopause test that doctors can perform checks the level of follicle stimulating hormones circulating in a woman's blood stream. There is a long list of menopause symptoms that a woman may suffer from. The most common complaints are hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings and headaches. The exact cause of these and other symptoms is unknown. Not all women experience them and some women experience others.

Another menopause test that a doctor may perform involves taking a sample of the cells of the vaginal wall. This is a simple and painless procedure. An individual woman's list of menopause symptoms may include vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. During menopause the vaginal walls thin and vaginal cells do not contain as much estrogen as they once did. This menopause test will help your doctor determine an appropriate treatment.

Over the years researchers have evaluated a long list of menopause symptoms to try and determine which ones are related to decreased estrogen production, which are simply related to aging and which are related to life events that may coincide with menopause. The following symptoms are sometimes associated with menopause: dizziness, lack of energy, diarrhea, constipation, depression, backaches, upset stomach, headaches, migraines, cold sweats, body aches, stiff joints, shortness of breath at rest and upon exertion, nervous tension, urine control problems, bladder infection problems, discomfort passing urine, rapid heart beat, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, vaginal discharge, dry eyes, nose mouth and skin, weight gain, breast soreness or tenderness, tingling in the hands or feet, sore throat, trouble sleeping, chest pain on exertion, loss of appetite, swelling of body parts and difficulty concentrating.

About 50% of all women experience hot flashes and night sweats at some point during the menopausal transition. Only about 10% experience them during the years leading up to menopause. The percentage increases as menopause approaches and in women who have them, they often continue for three years following menopause, if they are not treated. Treatment options include hormone replacement therapy, stress management techniques, acupuncture, herbal remedies and dietary supplements.

Natural estrogen produced by the body is known to affect the elasticity, thickness and moisture in of the skin. Thus, vaginal dryness and dry skin are probably symptoms of low estrogen levels. Estrogen creams and a ring that is inserted into the vagina and releases small amounts of estrogen on a regular basis are treatment options for vaginal dryness. Researchers are working on a cream that contains red clover isoflavones to relieve dry skin, improve skin thickness and elasticity.

Breast soreness and tenderness decreases as menopause approaches and is not experienced by most women during or following menopause. Treatment options include anti-inflammatories and analgesics. Supplements containing berries from the Chaste tree have shown some effectiveness and are non-estrogenic.

Headaches and migraines may be associated with fluctuating hormonal levels. Women who experience migraines during puberty often see them return during menopause. Some migraine remedies contain relatively large amounts of caffeine, which triggers hot flashes in many women. There are natural pain relievers that may be effective for headache and migraine relief.

Trouble sleeping is often caused by night sweats. It can also be a symptom of depression. Chest pain and shortness of breath should be evaluated by a physician. Heart palpitations or rapid heart beat is often associated with hot flashes and is not usually dangerous, but women who have a long list of menopause symptoms should have a complete physical to rule out other health problems. Doctors do not always perform a menopause test, unless a woman requests it.

To learn more about menopause symptoms and natural products that provide relief, please visit the Menopause and PMS Guide.

Different Types of Depression - Six Common Categories

According to common categorization, there are six different types of depression, which range from relatively mild to severe. Following is a description of each of them.

1. Major (or clinical) depression

This type of depression is what many people normally know about. This is the classic depression or what is often referred to as clinical depression.

Psychiatrists define major or clinical depression as that type of depression that dwells on the gloomy end of the spectrum, thus it is likewise referred to as "unipolar depression." A person with this type of depression gets sad thoughts, unable to control it, stays with being sad for a long period of time and is most likely to hate himself rather than other people for being the way he is.

A person with this type of depression needs utmost supervision. He is very likely to inflict harm to himself. Which is why, with clinical depression, a person must be treated with medications. This is to prevent suicide from happening whenever he falls into self-hate and loathing which is very common to this type of depression.

2. Dysthymia or Chronic Depression

The second of the 6 different types of depression is dysthymia more known to many as chronic depression.

With this type of depression, a person usually experiences depression symptoms way milder than that of major depression. However, if a person with major depressive episodes experiences the major blues for weeks or months, a person with chronic depression, on the other hand, feels the blues (although mild) day in and day out for a minimum of two years.

The feeling of hopelessness, sadness, insomnia and having eating disorders are experienced for a long time, as though having those feelings is just part of the daily life, or that sadness is the regular menu of the day. People falling under this type of depression sometimes fall into major depression.

A person with dysthymia or chronic depression requires treatment so as to give the person a chance to live a normal life during his depressed state.

3. Bipolar Depression

If there is unipolar depression there is also bipolar depression. This condition is characterized by mood swings - someone might be extremely happy one moment and then go into a melancholic state within a short period of time. These states are also referred to as "mania" and "hypomania", the two opposite poles in mental state - thus the term "bipolar".

4. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

There are people who get depressed during fall or winter - they have what psychiatrists call seasonal effective disorder (SAD). Whenever a certain season hits, they fall into depressed state, their hormones change and they can't function well, just like a person in a major depression. What's different with people with SAD is that when the depression season ends, they get well and function normally again.

Stressors for SAD are not limited to changes in climate. It includes celebrations such as a birthday (his or of someone close to him), Valentine's Day, Christmas or New Year's eve.

5. Atypical Depression

This type of depression makes someone difficult to live with. The sufferer may become hypersensitive emotionally, go into panic attacks, overeat and oversleep. This may prevent him or her from forming a lasting romantic relationship because the symptoms may drive the other person "nuts". This type of depression is mild and can easily be cured compared to other types.

6. Psychotic Depression

Of all the different types of depression, psychotic depression is the most severe type. With this type of depression a person experiences hallucinations, hears voices and gets delusional. If a person with mild or major type of depression goes untreated, he or she may suffer from a psychotic breakdown.

Recognizing and Understanding Depression

What is Depression?

Depression refers to changes in your mood that often lead to a disruption in your everyday activities, eating and sleeping habits, energy level and your outlook on things. When you are depressed, you may feel angry, sad, hopeless, and lonely.

Everyone feels sad sometimes; kids, adults and teenagers. There are days when you may feel angry, tired, and lonely. When the days you feel this way out-number the days you feel happy, you may need a little extra support to feel better. You probably feel great after winning the big game or getting invited to the big party. When you argue with you best friend or fail an important test, you may feel angry or down. We all go through changes in mood depending on what's going on each day. The bad moods usually pass. When you are depressed the unpleasant moods stick around longer. You may not feel like going out with friends anymore, playing your favorite game, or even getting out of bed in the morning. There are things you can do to help make yourself feel better and to get back to all those things you love to do.

When you are depressed, you have a hard time seeing the positive in things. Your feelings and thoughts become more negative and this may lead to unhealthy behaviors.

The symptoms of depression can build up and become overwhelming to deal with alone. They can affect how you function in school, at home, with friends & with family.

Nearly every day, I have experienced...

o Feeling sad, empty, hopeless
o Eating more or less than usual
o Having a hard time falling asleep
o Having a hard time waking up
o Feeling tired
o Participating in favorite activities less often
o Gaining or losing weight
o Snapping at people for no reason
o Crying more than usual
o Neglecting personal appearance
o Hyperactivity
o Physical aches and pains
o Forgetting appointments, assignments, routines
o Saying I am not good enough
o Feeling bad about myself, having negative thoughts about myself
o Taking more risks (dangerous behavior)
o Thinking I have nothing to look forward to
o Withdrawing from family and friends
o Using drugs or alcohol
o No longer hanging out with friends
o Having problems in school (grades, paying attention in class)
o Injuring myself
o Having thoughts to hurt or kill myself

Depression can look different for each person. You may feel irritable instead of sad; or yell instead of cry. There's no right or wrong way to feel depressed. It's important to understand what your personal cues and signs are in order to help you deal with your moods and emotions. After understanding your signs and symptoms, reach out to a professional for support.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Memoir Writers Who Influenced Me

Unquiet Mind, Can of Madness, Darkness Visible, Best Awful, Girl Interrupted

It's hard to compare writers on the trouble of mental illness. They each approach the giant bubble from a different perspective - some broadly, some narrowly, some eloquently, and some in a plain vernacular. Here are five I read who had enough effect on me that I underlined their words or commented on their style. None of the books I read are technical manuals, but rather are memoirs or stories.

The Unquiet Mind, by Kay Redfield Jamison, is probably the signature book on the subject of manic depression. This memoir is written with emotional and intellectual breadth, clarity, and sensitivity. Her story is a compelling one of the psychiatrist affected with the disease she treats. I was riveted by her tale. She gives a complete picture, from the manic highs where: "The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars, and you follow them until you find better and brighter ones," to the depths of depression where: "I went to the eighth floor of the stairwell of the UCLA Hospital and, repeatedly, only just resisted throwing myself off the ledge." So much has been written about this wonderful book that I can add little more other than to say I treasure it and thumb through it often. Jamison is the benchmark against which I measure my own work.

A Can of Madness, by Jason Pegler, published by Chipmunka in the UK, is an uneven work, awkward, clumsy, rambling, sounding often like a drugged-up young person off to a rave. Maybe the young afflicted with Bipolar Disorder is the target audience. It didn't appeal to me. The writer formed his own publishing company to print his work and other works by people with mental illness. Pegler has become a known spokesperson in England on the issue of mental health and is to be commended for his efforts. He is not, however, a compelling writer and his book is uneven and full of strange transitions, but there are moments that flash with a brilliance that comes to those with mania as in this passage which begins oddly but becomes frighteningly real:

"Anyway back at the ranch. In a confused paradise, I basically rearranged all of Felix's books, while putting anything that was black in the bath and throwing anything that was white down the stairs; among other things, I also fixed the cat a fried breakfast and threw all my CDs around the flat (because I thought they were flying saucers that acted as boomerangs). I was also becoming more and more confused as my thoughts became racier. I thought the flat was turning into Noah's Ark and I was Noah so I set about my business...I left the bath water running, made a bridge down the stairs, throwing everything I could find down it, completely trashed my room and started painting Felix's carpet blue."

Pegler does a good job describing the manic state in plain terms, but doesn't give a good accounting of the depressive cycle. For that we have to look at another writer, a truly great one.

Darkness Visible, A Memoir of Madness by William Styron is a book to read many times. Styron writes beautifully of the pain and anguish of depression. No one, I believe, has expressed the feelings better. He begins with a haunting remembrance of his visit to Paris:

"It reappeared, however, that October night when I passed the gray stone façade in a drizzle, and the recollection of my arrival so many years before started flooding back, causing me to feel that I had come fatally full circle. I recall saying to myself that when I left Paris for New York the next morning it would be a matter of forever. I was shaken by the certainty with which I accepted the idea that I would never see France again, just as I would never recapture a lucidity that was slipping away from me with terrifying speed."

Styron's style is spare, but eloquent. He is able to penetrate to the core of the emotions centered around the troublesome bubble of mental illness. He goes on to record:

"Loss in all of its manifestations is the touchstone of depression - in the progress of the disease and most likely, in its origin. At a later date I would gradually be persuaded that devastating loss in childhood figured as a probable genesis of my own disorder; meanwhile as I monitored my retrograde condition, I felt loss at every hand. The loss of self-esteem is a celebrated symptom, and my own sense of self had all but disappeared, along with any self-reliance."

Styron's words were an inspiration to me because of his ability to plumb the depths of his feelings and return to express them with so much power. Others that I have read are not equal to this, but they offer different delights, crazy people doing crazy manic stuff with some occasions of wonderful description.

Carrie Fisher has explored this subject in several best sellers. Her character Susan Vale, whom we take as a thinly veiled version of the author herself, is very manic. Susan calls herself bipolar, but we don't get to see much of the polar opposite. Mostly it's the manic personality that gets the play. Susan shops till she drops, gets tattoos on a whim, runs off to Mexico with any willing stud, and takes prodigious amounts of drugs. I read her for that side of the pole occasionally finding a pearl or two of poetic writing. Take for example this quote from the Best Awful:

"Maybe Dr. Mishkin wouldn't notice her ecstatic state too much, somehow not notice that everywhere she went, all light was absorbed directly into her, with no chance to escape. She was barely able to sit still, squirming with sunshine, this chaos of pleasure bubbling up in her rendering her barely able to see. So intent was she on these inner workings that she wouldn't be surprised if her eyes glowed, if every word she uttered pulsed with a knowing, phosphorous glow. Everything outside her looked electric, friendly, and coated with silvery zinc."

Carrie Fisher can mine the celebrity end of the mental health genre better than anyone else. The writing is slick, penetrates deep enough to be interesting, but not so deep as to be utterly disturbing. For that I turn to a writer whose descriptions of the mental hospital struck far too true to me.

Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen is a story of being eighteen years old and sent to a psychiatric hospital for two years. Her descriptions of the experience reminded me of my own at Yale New Haven Hospital. The layout of the rooms, the locked doors at the end of the hall, the nurse's station midway down the corridor, and the doors across the hall from the nurse's station where the shock therapy and ice baths were, was same as the place I was sent. Are all psychiatric wards the same? She describes similar events. I remembered the poor patients who went into those shock therapy and ice bath rooms screaming and came out zombies. The feelings of being in such a place sends shivers down my spine. Kaysen records feelings of apprehension, anxiety, and fear at being locked away in this institution all too similar to my own.

She, however, recounts a different mental condition that intrigued me. Her obsessive thought about velocity and viscosity was nothing like anything I had ever experienced. I did not fixate on my tongue, its components: the tip, the smooth part, the back, the bumpy part, the sides, and the scratchy part. What is the scratchy part of a tongue? Her thought foci were totally different from mine, but as she said, "my mind could go in such loops and often does." The mind of a mentally ill person can obsess on one thing or another, returning to it again and again never letting it go. For Kaysen it was her tongue. For me it was circular thought in general. I would not obsess on one thing, but would circle through thought after thought, always coming back to some particular origin, exhausted after a round about journey through thousands of permutations of possibility. I would spend hours in this hopeless spinning of thought, which never resolved itself.

Kaysen states that those who end up with these kinds of flaws have what she calls "Stigmatography." This is a curious non-word not found in the dictionary, but I like it. I think she is meaning we are in the topography of stigma, lost forever. I hope we the mentally ill can find our way out. Writing, I believe, is one way of finding a passage.

Can Anger Mean I Have Depression ?

Depression and anxiety is said to be the cause of uncontrolled anger. When a person is constantly worried about things they have no control over it often causes depression. If you feel , there is no hope you can be feeling low.

If you feel that your world is falling apart and you are probably thinking negative, maybe angry and this can lead to depression and anxiety. First, let us take a look at your symptoms. Do you feel like you are going out of your mind? Uncontrolled anger outbursts at any opportunity ?

Do you feel like someone is out to get you? Do you think people view you as a crazy person? If you are suffering any one or all of these symptoms or thoughts then you could be in the process of suffering anxiety and depression.

You will probably explode,and your anger bursts. Review all the problem areas carefully to see if there are answers to your problems. Reviewing often opens doors to resources you may have overlooked. If you feel like someone is out to get you then you might have a chemical imbalance or a mental illness.

Why not visit a mental health expert to learn more about your symptoms and find a way to gain control. Anxiety and depression will play tricks with your mind and sometimes your thinking is a result of a chemical imbalance. Remember that most people have their own problems and won't be wondering too much about you !

When you walk into a room and think that people are staring at you, you might want to remember that people observe things around them, doing exactly the same and feeling much the same. When times are difficult it does not mean it is the end of the world although sometimes it may seem this way.

If you are struggling to pay bills, fighting to hold a family together, or having difficulty with your children then remember we all have this problem at some time in our lives. Are your children driving you to angry outbursts ? Take a break, or exercise. This relieves stress that leads to anxiety, depression and anger.

Don not worry about the things you have or do not have control over. If you have problems, the answers are within you. If you are struggling to reach goals then you might want to break your goals down to smaller segments and work slowly to achieve. If you set goals within reason, you will succeed.It is important to pamper your self each day.

Learn some coping relaxation response techniques that benefit both your mind and body. If you feel overwhelmed, you might want to inhale and exhale breaths for up to 10 counts. Curl up on a couch and watching a favorite movie,let your thoughts go.

Focus on what you are doing instead of worrying about what you are not doing. This often clears the mind and helps you to relax. If you subject your self to anger, you will most likely have difficulties for the remaining of your life until you learn to take control of your emotions. Remember uncontrolled anger can be a sign of depressive illness.

What To Do About Depression

There are millions of people living with depression worldwide including some well known famous names. Depression is not something to be panicked about. It's a common illness, and almost all types of depression can be treated.

If you think you or someone you love might be suffering from depression, follow the steps below to treat and eliminate your depression.

Determine whether your Depression is a problem

Are you really suffering from depression or just sad? Why some may think sadness is depression, but it is not. Sadness is one's normal reaction to life's struggles, setbacks and disappointments. It's a reaction every human has when things are not going well, and sometimes we may feel temporarily depressed as a result. But this is normal and it's not the same as clinical depression which is an illness. So first determine whether you have an illness or your feeling is normal considering what you're going through.

But even though sadness is not depression, a prolonged sadness may lead to a depressed state. So instead of mopping over what has happened to you (if that's the case), find the good in what has happened and move on, so you don't become depressed.

Take a Depression Self Test

Before you start talking to a doctor about having depression, it is wise to first take a depression self test. Depression self screening involves answering some questions about the symptoms you're having, and your answers will determine whether you may be suffering from clinical depression.

Get Professional Help

The easiest way to find someone who can help you with your depression is to talk to your personal or family doctor about your condition and he or she will refer you to someone who can help you.

Things you can Personally Do to Help Lift your Depression

Believe your depression is an illness and you will get over it.

Force yourself to get back to your normal life. Do the things you used to enjoy, even if your weak condition may not allow it, make an effort everyday to do at least some activities in your former routine.

Go for a walk everyday, it helps boost your mood and restore some of your energy.

Keep active. If you keep busy regularly, you'll be able to lift your mood for a long time since you'll forget whatever is making you feel depressed.

Adjust your thinking. Our feelings and actions are always a result of our thoughts. If you always think negatively, your thoughts can be your own enemy. Adjust your thoughts to positive thinking and you'll see great improvement in your life.

Eat healthy food regularly.

Anti-Depression Medicine - Balancing The Hormones

You may have read plenty of literature discussing the importance of changing your lifestyle and your diet for a healthy mind. These are excellent resources that can help you manage your depression. However, there are times that these alternative modes or natural ways of treating depression are not enough and that the only thing that can help you for the moment is a dose of anti-depression medicine.

Depression and Anxiety - The Basics

To understand how anti-depression medicine can help a depressed person, you must understand how depression and anxiety can strike a person.

It's not unusual for people of all ages to occasionally experience anxiety and depression. Anxiety is a normal reaction of a person whenever there's a significant event happening in their life, for example while awaiting the release of a test result a call from a prospective employer. Anxiety strikes when stressors such as these are present. However, normal feelings of anxiety don't last for long. Right after the test result arrives or that call has been received, anxiety ceases.

However, to some people, when they face these types of stressors, they over-react, become restless and suffer from insomnia. So, even after the cause of anxiety has passed or has been resolved, they remain anxious and they shut down and fall into depression.

Chronic depression and anxiety are two distinct debilitating mood disorders; but for psychiatrists and researchers, these two disorders often overlap, as shown by the illustration above. What's more, it was found that what could treat depression can also treat anxiety.

Depression may be mild or major. With mild depressive symptoms, a person can do well even with psychotherapy and other natural means (food supplements and meditation). However, in major depression, these are not likely to suffice. You need the help of an anti-depression medicine.

Major and Mild Depression

A person with major depression has a suicidal tendency that must be addressed immediately. People with this type of depression goes into a self loathe stage wherein they want to end everything, the hopelessness and sadness, once and for all. Since they hate themselves and that they feel their depression is caused by their being alive, they will want to end the life that they think causes their misery.

Anti-depression medicine is not just an option for major depression - it is a necessity, without which the hormonal imbalance can not be neutralized.

In fact even in mild depression, a medication therapy could help. If the depression although mild is chronic, meaning the depressed feeling lasts for years, anti-depression medicine can help a person live a normal life especially if he's falling into major depression during his chronic depression years.

What is the Role of Anti-Depression Medicine?

Antidepressants are designed to prevent hormonal imbalance from happening or to neutralize the imbalance if it is already present. It has been found that hormonal imbalance causes the brain to go haywire and to bring one's moods to the extreme: whether to extreme sadness or happiness or going into a happy-sad seesaw.

Antidepressant medicine is not the sole source of cure; it is just one of the many means of curing a depressed person. In fact, it only helps in relieving symptoms and not target the root source of the mental disorder.

If you are thinking of undergoing a medication therapy to help you get back on track and be able to live fully without the depression, talk the matter out with your psychiatrist. Weigh everything -- the benefits versus the risks - before you decide to have a go with antidepressant medicine. Discuss the pros and cons and ask for recommendations and advice.

Don't forget to learn about the side effects and what to do if a major side effect is noticed and in case overdose happens. What is important here is you take an active role in your treatment process. By doing so, it will give you strength and courage to face your condition and to achieve your speedy and successful recovery more easily.

Myxedema Madness: When Being Crazy Isn't in Your Head, But in Your Thyroid

Your husband watches in dismay as the men in the white coats chase you about the living room. Finally, with skill befitting a giant botanist, an attendant captures you in a large net and wrestles you to the ground. The second adds his expertise to the effort, his three-hundred-fifty-pound bulk, by sitting squarely atop your skull. You now consider your rage over the fallen flapjack to have been somewhat of an overreaction.

With the straightjacket chaffing at your neck, you call to your husband for help. Though his hesitation is brief, you see the fear in his eyes. He thinks you've lost your mind. You begin to tear up but, in a flash, you see that fatally wounded flapjack laying helplessly on the kitchen floor and the nightmarish rage overtakes you once again. Feeling it all slip away as they carry you to the ambulance, you make one last desperate effort to escape the beds at Bellevue. Looking over your shoulder you spot your husband, take deep breath and shout, "It's not my fault - it's my thyroid!"

Your thyroid? Yes indeed - a condition known as Myxedema Madness mimics many psychiatric conditions.

Myxedema, the medical term for hypothyroidism, is most commonly recognized by well-known physical symptoms: weight gain, puffiness about the face, dry skin, fatigue and a general slowing of the metabolism. However, the emotional signs and symptoms are quite often overlooked. Or, even more disturbingly, are attributed to non-existent mental health and psychiatric conditions.

Myxedema Madness is a catchall phrase, coined by Dr. Richard Asher in 1940, that encompasses a broad swath of emotions ranging from minor anxieties, doubts and worries to full-blown panic attacks and classic psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia. Myxedema Madness typically manifests as a simple bout of depression and is often treated as such, with antidepressants and advice to, "Slow down - take it easy for a bit." Unfortunately, neither the pills nor the pontification strike at the root of the issue.

If let untreated, Myxedema Madness can quickly devolve into a deadly serious condition. Minor anxieties may give way to major psychoses, delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. An otherwise affable person may snap at the slightest annoyance, exhibiting a degree of rage previously unseen. The patient may be diagnosed as schizophrenic, psychotic or manic-depressive.

The risk of misdiagnosis is increased because hypothyroidism inordinately impacts women - particularly women over the age of forty. As a result, the emotional difficulties are often attributed to the "natural" process of aging, possibly due to the empty-nest syndrome, the onset of menopause or other adjustments and changes in life. The elderly, especially those already living in a group home setting, face a doubly difficult task in receiving both the proper diagnosis and treatment for this condition.

That's the bad news. The good news is that diagnosis is actually quite straightforward. A simple blood test is all that's needed to identify a thyroid problem. The best news? When properly treated with a daily thyroid hormone you'll be your old self in no time flat. No more outbursts, no more voices and no more men in white coats. Which, unfortunately, means no more shouting, "It's not my fault - it's my thyroid!"

Yes... modern medicine is a double-edged sword indeed.

The Dangerous Side Effects Of Steroids, Arthritis Drugs, And NSAIDs

Commonly prescribed drugs and their dangerous side effects

A medical investigation in the United States has shown that three times more people die from legal prescription drugs than from illegal narcotic drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. This study does not account for the contra-indications of the drugs, which kill at least 30,000 a year in the U.S.

These are people who take medications, but have conditions (including drug allergies) that would cause these drugs to be dangerous for them. It is nearly impossible to determine how many people are being hospitalized because of contra-indications from drugs, but careful official estimates indicate that they make up about 5 percent of all lying in American and British hospitals today.

Steroids belong to another group of drugs that were formerly used only for extreme, life-threatening conditions. Today, they are used for minor problems such as sunburn, skin eruptions, acne and glandular fever. Patients are rarely aware of the dangers that may arise from taking these drugs. Side effects include high blood pressure, stomach ulcers with possible perforation of the stomach wall (this is how my father died), cramps and dizziness, inhibited growth in children within six weeks of taken the drugs, irregular menstruation, weakening of muscular strength, slowed healing of wounds, vision problems, skin atrophy, allergic shock, loss of libido, decrease in bone density, manic depression, and the emergence of latent diabetes.

Steroids are now handed out, even for babies, at the first sign of inflammation of any kind. But these drugs cannot cure a single condition; all they do is stop the body from responding to an abnormal condition. The new diseases caused by such drugs may require further treatment using even stronger drugs, thus adding more side effects to the ones that have already occurred.

The latest 'breakthrough' drugs for arthritis produce such strong side effects that it might be better to live with arthritis than to risk one's life. The manufacturer of one popular brand was obliged to warn the consumer that this particular drug was very strong and had led to cases of leukemia (cancer of the blood) even after short term use. Additionally, the drug can have 92 side effects including hepatitis, high blood pressure, dizziness and unconsciousness, as well as headaches. The manufacturer advises the attending physician to enlighten his patients about the possible dangers that can arise from taking the drug, particularly if they are over 40 years old, and to use the smallest possible, but still effective, dosage. The manufacturers admit that the drug can cause serious and life-threatening reactions while having no effect on improving the condition of the disease!

NSAIDs, the common name for over a dozen or more non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen), are used to treat rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. However, for the past few years, these drugs have been given to people for such simple complaints as recurring headaches or inflammation. In return for the pain relief, however, the patient may die as a result of gastric bleeding caused by the extreme toxicity of the drugs. A warning placed on each NSAID prescription says: "Serious gastrointestinal toxicity such as bleeding, ulceration, and perforation can occur at any time, with or without warning symptoms, in patients treated chronically with NSAID therapy."

If this doesn't sound like Russian Roulette to you, the death toll from taking these drugs may convince you otherwise. In the U.K., 4,000 people die each year from taking NSAIDS. In the U.S., the fatality figure is up to five times as high as it is in the U.K. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized due to gastric bleeding caused directly by taking NSAIDs. Other side effects include perforation of the colon, colitis, Crohn's disease, blurred vision, Parkinson's disease, liver and kidney damage, hepatitis and hypertension.

A 20-year-old acne medicine that millions of American teens are, no doubt, taking every day has been linked to a stunning array of negative psychiatric conditions including suicide, depression, psychosis, violent and aggressive behaviors, mood swings, emotional instability, paranoia and changes in personality. This makes one wonder if any drug, no matter how commonly prescribed, is even remotely safe.

The small print

With the enormous variety of drugs available today, many doctors no longer have the time to study the side effects of each drug they prescribe, and most patients never read the list of side effects that accompanies the drug. Also, few patients read the small printed contra-indications or ask their doctor about the possible dangers of the drugs. Doctors don't seem to have the time to warn their patients about possible side effects either.

One report on a survey published in a 1996 issue of the British Medical Journal found that less than two-thirds of patients recalled receiving any advice from their doctors on potential side effects. Although the doctor has a moral as well as a legal obligation to inform the patient about the risks of treatment, in most cases this important step is omitted. The drug company is legally protected as long as the side effects and contra-indications are listed. This leaves it up to the patient to decide whether to take a drug.

Read side-effect labels to save your life

Side effects arising from the use of common pharmaceutical drugs can develop into some of the most grotesque symptoms imaginable. The Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), which can progress into a complication called TENS (toxic epidermal necrolysis), is caused by adverse drug reactions. Before you start taking common prescription drugs, you may need to inform yourself about this often-fatal reaction. The list of drugs that may be problematic includes antiepileptic and anticonvulsant drugs, sulfonamides, ampicillin, allopurinol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), as well as some vaccinations (such as anthrax).

The frightening fact about these drugs is that the body's reaction to them is completely unpredictable. For instance, you may have taken ibuprofen, a popular NSAID, a hundred times, but you can never know for sure whether or when the body will suddenly become hypersensitive to the drug. When your body starts fighting the drug, it will go into an extreme inflammatory response that causes your skin to die and literally burn away. This side effect can occur with any age group, from infants and teens to the elderly. The mortality rate ranges from 25 to 80 percent. Those who survive the ordeal are scarred for life, often to a point of total disfigurement. As the number of people taking these drugs rises, the number of victims increases.

Do you really need to take these drugs?

There is no real need to take any of these drugs. Suppression of symptoms jeopardizes the body's own healing efforts and only makes matters worse. If you do opt to take a prescription that puts you at risk for SJS or TENS, watch for any signs of an allergic reaction, such as a rash, blisters, a scalding sensation or fever, and discontinue the medication immediately. Don't wait for your doctor to take you off the medication because your life may be at stake.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What the Clinically Depressed Need From Church

Having had some personal experience with depression, yet without any experience with clinical depression, I am grateful for the lessons I'm learning, as a minister of God, regarding how the church can support the clinically depressed.

Grief-induced depression, or depression induced due to change etc, i.e., non-clinical depression, is very far removed from clinical depression. These two are poles apart. And whilst the former person might be encouraged by words from the Bible, the latter - the people who have struggled with severe depression - may inevitably feel condemned because they are misunderstood. They are, therefore, so far as the church is concerned, misrepresented. For, the church exists to speak into the hearts of suffering people as these, by a compassion beyond words.


The church has a very specific role when it comes to ministering to the clinically depressed. The church is no snake oil healer, nor is it a place where someone might be diagnosed. Anything other than supporting a person with clinical depression, by just journeying non-judgmentally with them, treads the fine line of ministry malpractice. The reason being, those who are clinically depressed are so home to feeling condemned, due to their experience and indeed even within their own thoughts. The only thing that defeats such mindsets of condemnation is an eternal commitment to compassion; no matter what. Besides, the church and its ministers are unqualified to do anything other than to support - but they're perfectly qualified to do that, because they're invigorated by the compassion of the Holy Spirit.

We ought to know that the church, in the present context, exists to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Yet, that becomes too clich矇d. Too often we find the church knows the right words to say but there is an emptiness of compassion; the words lack sincerity and they lack meaning, and as a function, Christ loses credibility - even when God is the only credible overall Guide.

As a church, and as ministers, there is sometimes a role for facilitating the right level of medical support, if required (i.e., helping connect people with proven [caring and competent] medical and health professionals). I've heard some who have been clinically depressed say to me that they felt that the biochemical balance had to be restored first and foremost, before any real spiritual work could be done (which they, alone, are to be masters of, with a minister's support). As ministers, and as encouragers, we are to ensure that we validate the need to achieve biochemical balance - the need for pharmaceuticals to restore physiological balance to the body and mind.

More than anything else what we can do, within our churches, is to unconditionally accept those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, clinical depression. It must be a safe place to come to, where all vagaries of mood are accepted and never judged. We are to offer compassion.

What we cannot understand or explain needs only compassion.

穢 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Holistic Medicine Secrets - Treat Depression Naturally Before Turning To Drugs

With all the stress in this day and age, it is not uncommon for people to experience periods of depression. To deal with this problem, many are taking anti-depressant medication. Doctors are prescribing these drugs for treating symptoms caused by the epidemic of low serotonin in this country. Before turning to drugs to treat the symptoms of depression, we should treat the underlying problem, low serotonin production.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft) won't be as effective if you are missing basic nutrients such as a Vitamin B complex, Vitamin D and Magnesium.

These SSRIs work by blocking naturally occurring biochemical processes in the body. They act as 'dams' in our brains, preventing the reuptake of serotonin, thus keeping the serotonin at the nerve endings. If there isn't enough serotonin to begin with, the SSRIs won't be as effective as they could be at improving depression and anxiety. The potential side effects of SSRIs, many of which are unknown, are a concern. Some of the more common side effects are osteoporosis, falling, low libido, monotone feeling, insomnia, weight gain. Recent studies have seen increased rates of suicide especially in children and teens!

To naturally increase the serotonin levels in your body, you should provide your body with the building blocks to produce serotonin.

1. Include adequate protein in your diet:

Serotonin is made from the amino acid, tryptophan, which we get from protein. Eating adequate amounts of dietary protein is critical. The average person requires 40-70 grams (up to 90 grams for a very active athlete) of protein daily. Eating a serving of protein the size of your fist at every meal will provide adequate protein for most people. Examples include two eggs, a chicken breast or a generous serving of beans.

2. Take daily supplements so your body can make serotonin from the tryptophan in your diet.

Magnesium malate, glycinate or citrate: 100 - 300 mg 2x per day

Vitamin B complex: 10 - 50 1-2x per day

Vitamin D: 800 to 2000 IU per day in Winter

Vitamin D: 400 to 800 IU per day in Summer

3. Support digestion by taking digestive enzymes and probiotics:

Imbalances in intestinal flora, 'dysbiosis', can contribute to depression by altering the immune system. Dysbiosis means there are too many bad bacteria and not enough friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. When dysbiosis is present, digestion is usually compromised to some degree.

Dysbiosis can make you tired, alter your immune system, upset your hormonal balance and can make it difficult for you to think clearly. Dysbiosis can cause anxiety, depression or mood swings. Restoring healthy balance in your gastrointestinal tract is one of the foundations of your health.

If the above suggestions do not improve your mood, the next step is to take an amino acid such as 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5HTP) which is required by the body to produce Serotonin.

5-HTP has been available for several years and has been intensely researched for the past three decades. It has been available in several European countries since the 1970s. Work with a health care professional about the best dose for you.

Warning: do not take 5-HTP if you are taking any medications that are monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI)!

Remember that depression is not a Prozac deficiency. Too little protein; too much sugar, caffeine or alcohol; long standing nutrient deficiencies, and poor sleep patterns can add up to significant depression for many people. A great source of information can be found in the book called, The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, M.A.

Take the time to evaluate your lifestyle and the nutritional quality of your diet before you decide to pop a pill to make life fight depression.

How to Combat Postpartum Depression

Do you think you have postpartum depression? Don't worry because there is nothing wrong with you. Postpartum depression affects most mothers, especially new moms. It is also commonly known as "baby blues" and it is caused by the sudden changes in your hormones. Most women experience the symptoms of postpartum depression for about a week; however, it can also last longer in some women.

Before you learn about how to combat postpartum blues, it is very helpful for you to learn how to identify its symptoms. These symptoms are quite similar to that of normal depression; however, they do not last very long. Usually mothers with post partum depression often are irritable which is why they can get easy angry and upset by even the smallest things. Exhaustion is also very common. Also, they also tend to pull away from their baby. They may even try to ignore their responsibilities as a mother and have someone else take care of their baby. One reason for this is that they get anxious about how well they can do their responsibilities and they are afraid that they will just harm their baby. This can even resort to panic attacks.

Other symptoms for postpartum depression include changes in appetite, sleep pattern disturbances, low libido, and fatigue. A confirmatory sign is an unexplainable constant feeling of sadness or guilt.

If you do have postpartum blues, there are several ways to combat it, so don't worry. The first thing to do is to take care of yourself and you should start with getting enough rest and sleep. Lack of quality rest can lead to irritability and fatigue. Another way to combat postpartum depression is to express your feelings. It will help give you peace of mind and help lessen the stress and anxiety you feel. Talking to someone about may seem very basic, but it really does help. Sometimes all you really need is someone to be there for you. Try talking to someone you can easily relate with, or someone that has also been through the baby blues. If you have a therapist, then you can talk to him as well. While medications are also available for treating postpartum depression, most physicians will tell you that regular counselling is still the most effective treatment for helping women cope with their depression.

If counselling doesn't work, antidepressants are prescribed to help new mothers overcome postpartum depression. Other doctors also prescribe psychotherapy such as the Emotional Freedom Technique which uses both psychology and acupuncture.

If you are pregnant and are worried about postpartum depression, don't be. There are several ways of combating it. Another good thing is that not all pregnancies will result to it. Not all mothers will experience it, and even if you get it when you deliver your first baby, it doesn't mean that you will also experience it on your next pregnancy. Postpartum depression is easily treatable, so get treated as early as you can. Don't wait until it gets out of control before you start doing something about it.

Teen Girls Now Abuse Drugs More Than Boys - How To Know If Your Little Girl Has A Drug Problem

It's official, teen girls now have more problems with drug and alcohol abuse than do teen boys; and they more than likely are using drugs or alcohol for completely different reasons. Additionally, because they don't often show the same type of behavioral disturbances as do teen boy substance abusers, girls often continue to use for longer at unsafe levels before parents ever know the real extent o the problem.

Firstly, teen girls don't use drugs and alcohol for the same reason that teen boys do.. Teenage boys tend to use drugs and alcohol recreationally, and use for the excitement, fun and experimentation that drugs promise. Girls are far more likely to take drugs or alcohol as a way to combat low self esteem, to gain self confidence in a group, to attract the attention of older teen boys who also use, and to use drugs as a way to combat feelings of depression and anxiety.

Girls suffer more from drug abuse

Unfortunately, teen girls also seem to be uniquely affected by their drug use, and teen girls (already at a higher risk for depression that teen boys) if using and abusing drugs or alcohol are two and a half times more likely to experience clinical depression. They are also far more likely to experience an unwanted pregnancy, contract an STD and also to use drugs for properties such as weight loss.

The problem with pills

Teen girls are especially attracted to prescription pills, attracted by the ease of access, the perception of safety, and the perception of positive side effects (decreased anxiety and weight loss). With some prescription pain killers every bit as addictive as heroin, this is problematic.

Additionally, teen girls tend to abuse for longer on average before receiving intervention and professional help. Teen boys using drugs and alcohol are more likely to get in trouble at school, more likely to get into fights or problems with the law, or more likely to have a DUI; while teen girl users tend to avoid most of these problems. The problem is that without some of these obvious signs of use, parents and teachers remain unaware of the level of use, and are unable to intervene in a timely manner.

Parents need to be on the lookout for drug and alcohol use and abuse in teenage girls, and understand that some of the signs may not obviously point to drug use.

Increasing moodiness and depression is a normal sign of drug use and abuse that very rarely gets identified as such, with parents misattributing changes in behavior to the normal expressions of adolescence. While some moodiness can obviously be expected during the formative adolescent years, excessive signs of depression are not normal; and very likely indicate a greater problem.

If your teen no longer has any interest in family activities or wants to spend all of their time in their room, you should be concerned.

If your teen no longer cares as much about their appearance, you should be concerned.

If your teen suddenly drops all old friends for an assortment of new, and seemingly unsavory friends; you should be concerned.

If grades suddenly slip, you should be concerned.

Any or all of these behavioral signs may or may not indicate a problem with drugs or alcohol, but they are worrying behaviors and they do need to be investigated; and if your child is not experimenting or abusing drugs or alcohol, they may be enduring some form of clinical depression. A professional diagnosis can be very helpful for parents concerned about the health and safety of an at risk teen.

You can never protect your teen from all of the dangers out there, but you can do a lot simply by staying involved and active in their life, by leading with a good example on drugs and alcohol use, and by having clear and understood rules on the use of any form of drugs or alcohol.

Talk to your teen, stay involved, make time for mutually enjoyable activities; you'll be in a far better position to evaluate what changes in behavior may mean, and how far from normal these changes really are.

Postpartum Depression - How to Deal and Get Over It

Often referred as "baby blues", Postpartum Depression (PPD) is experienced in some degrees by more than 50 percent of women giving birth. This type of depression can last for some time, which may vary between a few weeks to a few months.

Causes behind Postpartum Depression

The body of women goes through immense hormonal changes after pregnancy and child birth and this is one of the biggest reasons behind postpartum depression. Other reason behind postpartum depression in a new mother is lack of proper sleep, as the baby is always crying and hence requires non-stop attention.

What You Can Notice During Postpartum Depression?

The period of Postpartum Depression is characterized by rapid changes in hormones of a female body. The progesterone and the estrogen levels fall dramatically within 48 hours and these gonadal steroids are very much involved in causing the depression in women.

If you are suffering from postpartum depression, you may experience difficulty in sleeping, lack the desire of eating, feel hopeless and depressed all the time. There are many ways with which you can deal your postpartum depression, but beware that the symptoms of this depression state come and go for some time.

How to Deal With Postpartum Depression Symptoms?

Sleep As Much As Possible

The first and foremost way to deal with your postpartum depression symptoms is to get sleep as much you can. This may be difficult for you, especially if you are breastfeeding throughout the whole night. Due to this, your sleep may get interrupted for every two to three hours. The best way to cope with this is to breastfeed your baby lying in your bed so that you can get some rest while breastfeeding. It is ideal for you to take naps during the daytime, as every bit of rest results in rejuvenating and energising your body.

Nourish Your Body with Proper Food

Since you just gave birth and you are breastfeeding your baby, you need to nourish your body with good and proper foods. You should have snacks all throughout the day. Always have some vegetables in your diet especially a few carrots, as they keep you energised. Remember that a poor appetite leads to increase of depression and fatigue in your body.

Stay With Family and Friends

Again, you should always be in the midst of good friends and your family. This is because having people around you can contribute in changing your mood. You get the much needed outlet to express your feelings and thoughts. This automatically reduces the chances of you getting depressed. It is recommended that in an event of postpartum depression, you keep yourself surrounded with things helping you to feel good.

Such goods things may be candles lit in your bedroom, have some soft music being played or have pictures containing happy memories of your life. These things can boost you with happy energy and make you feel good.

Apart from these, postpartum depression can also be dealt by doing significant amount of exercise, as it increases your metabolism rate. This improves the frame of your mind and health. You can also go for a walk to 10 minutes in the morning, as it can help both your body and mind.

Boom and Bust: The American Dream Criticized in Of Mice and Men and Great Gatsby Quotes

Apart from being historically classic novels recommended by both literary scholars and high school English teachers, The Great Gatsby and Of Mice and Men show both sides of the proverbial coin that we call the American Dream. On the shiny pretty side, you've got F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel about lavish parties, unbridled wealth and of course, rampant corruption and infidelity. On the rough dirty side of the coin, you've got John Steinbeck's dusty story about two poor-as-dirt vagrant ranch workers in the throes of the Great Depression, whose only will to survive is a distant and unlikely dream of owning their own ranch.

While the novels are concerned with entirely different class of characters and settings-one about new and old money on the dog-eat-dog East Coast and the other about low-class laborers drifting around California's sweltering central valley-they agree on a one thing: the futility of the much-mythologized American dream.

Of course, timing is everything. Published only 12 years apart, both books mark a timeline of economic boom and incredible bust for America. F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, regarded as an enduring social commentary on the evils of excess and self-indulgence, was published only four years before the devastating stock market crash of '29-also known as that cheerful moniker "Black Tuesday."

Fitzgerald had some crazy Nostradamus stuff going on. Even though Fitzgerald did not blatantly predict America's worst financial crisis that brought on the depression and thus Steinbeck's story, he did craft a fairly symbolic story about where such greedy, self-indulgent behavior could head. After all, Gatsby-the ambitious Midwesterner with a knack for personal reinvention-ends up murdered by a blue-collar automechanic while kicking back at his personal pool, which was likely funded by his illegal prohibition money. A quick study of Great Gatsby quote supports this idea that such by-any-mean-necessary success and selfishness was paving a tragic road that led one only back to where they started. The novel ends with: "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...and one fine morning-So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." (9.149-151) Always reaching for the stars-or for that matter, the highly symbolic green light of money and envy-we cannot only escape our humble beginnings, but we also can no longer believe America is the land of opportunities where anyone can flourish if they work hard and do right. Especially since the most successful man in the novel got to the top illegally and still wound up dead.

So is the case for Steinbeck's tale of the small-but-smart George and the large-but-dumb Lennie, two mismatched partners in crime-quite literally-who constantly talk about their dream of owning their own ranch, being masters of themselves and their own domain. Of course, it being the Great Depression and all, the chances of getting that, in addition to all the bunnies that sweet Lennie can pet, are pretty slim. But their aspirations is actually more about attaining the American Dream than it is bunny-petting. The work-hard-and-do-right method no longer exists in the novel's financially strained world. It's proven pretty much futile, thanks to the "Black Tuesday" crash that put an end to economic prosperity that defined the 1920s and The Great Gatsby.

Both novels end with uncertainty about the future and whether the American Dream is more dream than reality. While they are no dystopian drama like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World in which the future is a sterilized world devoid of any individualism or personal dreams, both books equally paint a bleak picture of their respective America's present and future.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Basics of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can be a very real problem for mothers. Many mothers feel some "ups and downs" after their babies are born. The sad feelings are commonly called "the baby blues." Though a mother may feel down when she's not getting enough sleep or can't comfort her baby, the feeling doesn't persist. Postpartum depression is different. The sad feelings, anxiety, and perhaps a sense of being "empty" don't go away -- they continue through daily life. Postpartum depression, though scary, generally responds well to treatment, letting a mother enjoy her baby and her life.

What Are the Signs of Depression?

It's normal to have some feelings of sadness or anxiety when you have a new baby. Your life has changed in major ways! New moms often find that lack of sleep is a real problem. If you have a baby with high needs you may find yourself holding a baby for hours and hours each day. This can cause some feelings of being burned out -- or "touched out." But if these feelings persist for more than a few days to a couple of weeks, you may be dealing with postpartum depression. Some signs to look for are:

  • You're crying frequently

  • You feel overwhelmed

  • You feel sad or hopeless

  • You can't focus

  • You can't make decisions

  • You feel restless

  • You have no energy

  • You can't get motivated to do anything

  • You feel very moody

  • You're eating too little (or you're eating too much)

  • You are having trouble with your memory

  • You find yourself withdrawing from friends and family

  • You feel withdrawn from your baby

  • You lose pleasure in things you usually enjoy

  • You feel worthless

  • You feel guilty

  • You have physical problems that won't go away (headaches, stomach aches, etc.)

Again, it's normal to feel overwhelmed as a new mom. It's normal to have some hard days here and there. But if these symptoms are persistent you may be struggling with depression. Your doctor can help you figure out if there's a physical cause for your feelings or if you have postpartum depression.

Why Does it Happen?

Postpartum depression is not uncommon, with many new moms (and pregnant mothers) experiencing depression each year. There are some factors that make it more likely.

A big one is family history; if depression runs in your family, it's more likely that you will experience it. Stressful events in your life can also trigger depression, which is why a big event like pregnancy and childbirth may be a root. These are things we normally thing of as happy times, but that's not always the case. An unexpected pregnancy, gender disappointment, pregnancy complications, poor childbirth experiences, and fussy babies can all make a mother prone to depression.

There's also strong evidence to suggest that postpartum depression is a result of nutritional deficiency, especially fat deficiencies. Many mothers are not getting enough essential fatty acids in their diets. During pregnancy the baby pulls all of these fatty acids because they're vital for his or her growth. This leaves the mother, who was probably already deficient, with even less, leading to mood problems and depression. The best way to prevent this is for the mother to get plenty of fish, olives, avocados, coconut oil, pastured beef (cows raised eating grass, not grain), and other healthy sources of these fatty acids.

Signs of Depression and Disorders of the Self

Most people use the word "depression" to describe many separate and distinct experiences -- grief, disappointment, mild forms of unhappiness, etc. When I use the word here, I mean clinical depression, the sort of mental and emotional suffering that sends people into therapy or to their physician for prescription-based relief. I've seen many men and women over the years who's come in with signs of depression; from my experience, the roots of their suffering usually lie in three common areas. I'd like to offer some thoughts about these varieties depression and their origins. I don't view them as necessarily distinct; they often overlap and mingle in various ways.

Post-Apocalyptic Rage:

Ever since Freud, psychotherapists have noted the frequent connection between anger and depression; you may have heard depression described as "anger turned inward." I'd take this a step further and say that explosive and violent rage often lies at the heart of certain severe signs of depression. I use the phrase "post-apocalyptic" because, with many severely depressed clients, I have felt as if a nuclear bomb has gone off inside them, devastating their minds and laying them waste. Such clients might make it to session but lie inert and mute on the couch; they might say they feel nothing, or describe their body as feeling numb, weighted down by a pressure that flattens all emotion. When I'm in the room with these clients, in close emotional contact, it feels to me as if MEANING has been completely destroyed and the emotional realm is void. Such clients might describe themselves as feeling empty, without interest or motivation to do anything. They often mention intense pressure around their eyes or face.

Re-creating the emotional events that led to this state of devastation takes time and patience. The task is complicated by the fact that the rage is almost always UNCONSCIOUS: the client has no idea that he or she has been raging. Sometimes you might hear hints of it in the client's material when he or she begins to speak; more often, you see it in dreams or simply feel it by intuition. The landscape of the apocalypse often appears in the dreams of depressed people: bleak ghettos, deserts or terrain borrowed from movies such as THE TERMINATOR. If you have a strong empathic link with a client, you may find feelings of rage rumbling inside you during the silence, for no reason you can understand.

This rage may itself be a defense against fears of disintegration, as I've discussed elsewhere on my 'After Psychotherapy' site. Or it may be a kind of omnipotent, destructive reaction to feeling unbearably needy, small or frustrated. In any event, it is a sign of progress (and an emotional challenge for the therapist) when such clients can experience and express rage within their sessions and yet not destroy their treatment in the process. Helping the client to tolerate this kind of rage involves the patient work of years.

The Fragmented Self:

Whatever our theoretical orientation, most of us understand that when mother-baby relationships go awry, for varying reasons, it affects the child's developing sense of self. The more unreliable those early experiences (i.e., the more unavailable or inconsistent the mother), the shakier the child's sense of self. In severe cases, the person may feel as if he or she is constantly in danger of falling into pieces under the pressure of intense emotion. Anxiety may thus be one sign of a shaky core self, where the person feels terrified of disintegration; depression may be another sign, where it may feel as if he or she ALREADY HAS fallen into pieces. Such disintegration may be experienced as a kind of personal psychic death; the depressive feelings that result are akin to mourning, a mourning for the self, full of grief and hopeless despair that anything can be done to salvage the fragmented self.

This kind of client needs the safety of ongoing psychotherapy and a strong empathic connection with the right therapist. I'm not sure I would go so far as to call it "re-parenting", but given the insecurities of their early attachment, such clients need to regress and become emotionally dependent to a significant degree; they almost always need to come more than once a week. Within the context of the client-therapist relationship, they learn to understand and tolerate unacknowledged feelings, helped by the safe holding environment the psychotherapist provides. Again, such work takes years.

The Rejected Self:

In especially toxic environments where parents may be abusive or projectile, evacuating their own feelings of unworthiness or confusion into their children, those children may grow up with intense feelings of shame. Rather than experiencing their selves as if they were in pieces, these men and women feel dirty, damaged, ugly, smelly, disgusting, repulsive, contemptible, etc. They may feel that their authentic self is so thoroughly damaged, in a state of such decay as to be beyond redemption. In these cases, the individual may be highly defended against feelings of depression and unworthiness; they often inhabit a false self organized around the characteristic defenses, evacuating their "depression" into others. They may come across as superior and arrogant; they may feel contempt for others who they perceive as excessively needy or vulnerable. At heart, they feel enormous contempt for their own authentic damaged selves and want nothing to do with them.

The work with such clients -- if they even reach the point of seeking treatment -- is to help them to BECOME depressed. In other words, it is a sign of progress when such clients can experience depressed feelings. They usually don't experience this depression as progress, however, and may break off treatment as a result. A particularly tricky variation is the superficially-devoted client who becomes a major fan of psychotherapy, possibly entering the profession. Such individuals attempt to ward off depression and awareness of damage with a false, pseudo-therapeutic self that uses the LANGUAGE of insight and emotion with fluency but never gets near authentic shame. The challenge with such clients is to bring them into contact with their actual self in such a way that they don't experience it as an unbearable narcissistic injury.

Years. The work always takes years.

Depression and Anxiety Test - Can You Change Your Point of View?

One glaring symptom of clinical depression is an inability to see the glass as half full. A depressed person tends to look at the negative side of most situations. This is one of the major obstacles that must be overcome when recovering from depression or anxiety. Being more positive can be like trying to remove a heavy blanket that seems to be covering the emotions and stifling the energy at a very deep level. The effort can seem Herculean and not be worth the effort.

We know that holding a more optimistic view of life is linked to positive moods and good morale, to popularity, good health and even to long life. Positive expectancies also predict better reactions during transitions to new environments, sudden tragedies and unlikely turn of events.

This positive attitude is more than just taking lemons and making lemonade although that is a good way to live, too. Being positive means that you change your point of view. It means that you look at a situation and make it mean something good. It means having the skill to communicate with yourself and others that you expect life to be enjoyable and manageable. You embrace a realistic view of problem solving.

For example, if your boss approached you and said he wanted someone else to start doing a report you had always done you could get all hurt and depressed and think you had been judged unfairly. You could also decide to ask you boss why. You might be surprised to learn that you were being given more responsibility and the boss wanted to free up some of your time for higher level duties. That might change your point of view.

Can you think of a positive reason for each of the following?

1. Your spouse is very pre-occupied lately.

2. Your kids have stopped bringing their friends home.

3. You have placed 2nd in some contest of skill.

We are always faced with choices to make in life and you get to decide if you want to be optimistic or pessimistic. Signs of depression will surely follow the later and happiness and fulfilling challenges the former. So way not decide now, today, to begin to see the bright side. It is a choice and you are free to make it.

Your new attitude of optimism will free you from any need to control or manipulate people and will help to bring people closer to you. This view of the world is contagious and a socially desirable trait.

I hope you want to look forward to success in all of your endeavors by learning to be resilient. Who knows, you may eventually inspire others to see life as a fulfilling journey to take rather than a dreary problem to solve or avoid.

What Can I Do To Overcome My Depression Without Taking Medicine?

Overcoming depression without taking medicine can be a big challenge if what you are having is more than just the blues as they call it. Depression occurs in different levels you see. There is a mild form of depression that requires no medical treatment. But moderate and severe forms of depression have to be properly addressed so the problem can be controlled. The extreme feeling of sadness can after all turn into a serious mood disorder without hallucinations and suicidal tendencies. In such cases, a combination of psychotherapy and mood stabilizers is prescribed.

The issue with medicines is that they often come with adverse reactions. It's not surprising then that people will want to seek alternative treatments. If you'd rather go the alternative route, here are some options:

  • Include B-Vitamins in your diet. It has been found that not having enough Vitamin B1, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12 in your body can cause depression. It only makes sense, therefore, to include these essential vitamins in your diet. More specifically:

  • Vitamin B1 or Thiamine helps with depression by enabling the conversion of glucose (blood sugar) into energy. People who lack this essential vitamin are not only depressed, they are said to experience fatigue as well.

  • Vitamin B3 or Niacin detoxifies the body and contributes to a healthy metabolism. When your body is deficient of Niacin, depression may set in and may even progress to a more serious mood disorder.

  • Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid is responsible in hormone production and hormones play a very important role in regulating depression. You can help fight fatigue and stress when you have enough vitamin B5 in your body.

  • Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine is needed in the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that apparently affects mood, as well as in enzyme-regulation. Enzymes, as you know, play a very important role not just in mental health but in general well-being. You need this particular Vitamin when your immunity level is running low.

  • Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid is highly recommended for pregnant women. It's believed that this essential vitamin helps prevent neural defects. It is also used in the treatment of depression.

  • Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin helps to address anemia as it is involved in the production of red blood cells. Anemia can cause depression, confusion, hallucination, mood swings, and paranoia. At the same time, it can also be a consequence of lack of sleep and loss of appetite due to depression.

  • Get more Vitamin C in your body. Vitamin C not only boosts your body's immunity, it is also involved in the production of serotonin, a chemical in the brain.

  • Get enough sunshine. Expose yourself to early morning sunlight to activate as much Vitamin D in your body as possible.

  • Cut back on sugar. This makes you high only temporarily, but when the feeling subsides, it can also make you feel very low. While cutting back on sugar, do not be fooled by food items labeled as sugar-free. Most of these use chemically-formulated sugar alternatives which if truth be told are not at all any better than table or refined sugar.

  • De-clutter. Too much stuff crowds your mind. Too much clutter in your home contributes to your depression. Commit to changing your bad habits. Organize your time so that you get to have time for everything, including yourself. Make time for yourself and get rid of ghosts in your life. Get rid of stuff in your cabinet, too. If there are things in your wardrobe you have not used in such a long time, it only means you don't need them anymore. So find some people who do. Donate them to charity.

Tips to Beat Depression - 5 Sure Fire Ways To Do It Naturally

Want tips to beat depression naturally? Depression can make you feel as though you are barely alive. By getting the right medical care and teaching yourself how to cope with your symptoms and what to do to help to alleviate them, you can win. You may not only be better able to deal with your depression, but also to improve your life completely.

Some of the best methods to get help when living with depression are to talk about it in an effort to learn to understand your symptoms and your illness and to get help from others who are dealing with the same situation.

1. Joining support groups - this is one of the best methods of learning more about your illness and in some cases about yourself. A support group is a group of like-minded individuals who are joined together for a common cause. You will find depression support groups both online as well as offline. Joining a group is one of the best things you can do to help yourself when living with depression.

2. Help someone else - Nothing will help to alleviate your symptoms and to lower your sense of depression or helplessness than giving some time or energy to another cause. While you may not be inclined to help another person, doing so will give you a wide range of benefits, not the least of which will be less time to feel your own sadness.

3. Learn to deal with stress - Develop and use better coping mechanisms for dealing with your own stress. Take some classes to learn how to cope with your stress. By dealing with stress in a better way, it will lower the resultant secretions that the body puts out when we are under stress. Long-term release of these cortico-steroids can have a detrimental effect on the body processes, that can impact depression.

4. Exercise - By exercising on a regular basis it can be very helpful. If you have the time, take an exercise class and if you don't, spend a minimum of twenty to thirty minutes a day exercising. The endorphins that are released as you exercise are natural mood elevators. By exercising on a regular basis, you will begin to have more energy, have less stress and be in a much better mood. In fact, exercise is addicting after you develop the habit. What a great addiction to have!

5. Think positive - Did you know that some studies say that perpetual negative thinking can actually be a cause of depression? Give yourself a chance to feel better and to relax more. Be forgiving with yourself and let go of the negative thoughts and emotions that are controlling your actions and your moods.

In making these simple changes in your life and taking action on these tips to beat depression, you will be well on your way to recovery. Using these techniques, along with other treatment methods such as therapy and possibly medications (consult a professional), you will begin to feel so much better in a very short period of time.

Depressed or Lazy?

Anyone with a teen knows the constant battle to motivate them. The constant struggle with the laziness and un-cooperation of the teen years. As parents, we have to stay vigilante to be sure whether they are depressed or lazy.

Teenage depression rates are very high. It really is no wonder with all the added stress of hormones, peer pressure, chores, and homework along with any extra curricular activities. Add to that the fear of failure and the pressure of deciding what to do with the rest of your life.

The signs of teenage depression are actually different from adult or childhood depression. These signs often make them appear as if they have become very lazy.

Unfortunately, they may not even realize that they are depressed. The idea of needing help for it will not occur to them if they do not understand how serious an illness it is.

Most often, it is up to the adults in their lives to figure out whether they really are depressed or lazy. To do this, we must watch for and recognize the symptoms of depression in teenagers.

These signs may vary between the sexes, but there are some symptoms that are common to both male and female teens.

Signs of Depression That Are Usually Common to Both Sexes:

  1. Excessively negative

  2. Antisocial behavior

  3. Retreating to their rooms constantly, or wanting to leave home

  4. Carelessness about their appearance.

  5. Disinterest in family get-togethers and activities.

Signs of Depression That Are Usually More Common in Males:

  1. Unusual aggression and agitation.

  2. Getting into trouble at school or with the law

  3. Reckless behavior including misusing illegal substances

Signs of Depression That Are Usually More Common in Females:

  1. Becoming sloppy in their appearance.

  2. A new or unusual preoccupation with death or suicide.

  3. Extreme behavior with the opposite sex (either promiscuous or isolated from them)

Some Other Signs That Might Appear:

  1. A lower self-esteem than normal

  2. References to suicide (in some extreme cases)

  3. A general negative outlook on life.

Although teens are struggling to be independent, a teenager that is dealing with depression will need your help. It will likely be up to you to push them to open up about their feelings. At least enough that you can decide what type of help to offer them.

Some ideas for discovering and coping with depression in your teen

  • Be upfront. Tell them that you are concerned about their recent behavior. Talk about depression, make sure they understand that it is a treatable illness.

  • If their depression is severe, or they talk about suicide, wanting to die, etc. - seek professional help.

  • If your teen will not talk to you, talk with their friends or their parents. They may have opened up to them about their problems.

  • Suggest some one-on-one time by offering a favorite activity or outing.

  • Ask them straight out if there is anything they need to talk about.

  • Don't put on an act for them, just let them know you are concerned.

  • Be vigilant. Watch for signs of suicide and take extreme measures if you see them.

  • If they are reaching out, take the time to be there for them and listen.

The only way to be sure if your teen is depressed or lazy is to be observant. Watch carefully for changes in their behavior. Even though they are usually good at hiding depression from us, this should help you to catch it at an early stage.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ignite Extraordinary Results in 2008

"Like a river we can design and carve out our own course in life with our imagination. Our imagination can either envision a life of drudgery, problems and issues; or we can envision what we truly want. Getting your heart's desire really begins with you." - Nancy Anderson, Work with Passion

Each of us has the amazing capacity to imagine and co-create our life. Investing time in visioning is the first step and pays rich rewards on many levels. Visioning can help us to:

* Step out of limiting patterns and draining habits the have crept up on us in the past year

* Connect with the deeper themes of our live and recognize our soul lessons

* Tap into authentic self-esteem and re-ignite motivation

* Become inspired by new possibilities we are on the verge of living

* Energize ourselves for the journey ahead.

What is vision?

Vision is a felt sense of what we really want in life. It's the highest and best direction in life, as we understand it now, as it's been revealed to us by our inner wisdom. Each person's vision is entirely unique, yet they all serve the common good.

We don't "make up" our vision. We uncover, or discover it. David Steele, founder of the Relationship Coaching Institute, compares our vision to an iceberg. At any given time our conscious self is aware only of the tip of the iceberg. Yet the iceberg is there, always, under the surface available to be discovered at a fuller and fuller level.

In some ways we have no choice about our vision. Our true nature, our essential self IS. Our choice is how we choose to align our lives, and our actions with our vision...or not.

Remarkably, vision has two dimensions: it's both linear and an energy field. When we envision ourselves a year from now living an authentic, passionate life, our vision gives us a linear picture of our desired future. As well, this vision ignites an energy field that permeates and lights up our present. We become empowered to move forward, and become more attractive to the people in our life and work.

Vision vs Goals?

Vision is sometimes confused with goals, and yet they are distinctly different. Our vision is the big picture of our life intentions, the overall best picture and felt sense of what we want. It provides direction and energy. Our goals are the concrete, specific results we want to produce as we live our vision.

To live a fulfilling and successful life, we need both vision and goals. Creating goals without having them linked to our values and life intentions, leads to driven behavior, and results in an empty feeling when the goal is accomplished. Our greatest joy comes from accomplishing goals that have real meaning and heart for us because they are anchored in our essential self.

What are the consequences of ignoring our vision?

Not honoring and being true to our vision can manifest in physical symptoms like depression, anger, anxiety, irritation and restlessness. If we get involved in the lives of others as a way of avoiding fulfilling our own potential and vision it will sap us of our energy. We will feel aimless and annoyed and eventually get on a downward spiral to decreased self-esteem.

Tapping into and living our vision takes courage. Once we learn what we want to do, the next step is to do it!

Visioning Questions

Discovering our vision is about asking great questions and listening to our inner knowing. I recommend taking time this month each day, or three times a week, to reflect and write on these questions. Have a special notebook for this and jot down ideas whenever you realize you are thinking about what you want this year.

1. What do I love about my life now? What do I want to bring forward and build on? What's not quite right? What are the issues and challenges I'm facing?

These questions start with the present. When we start by connecting with our current situation and what we love about our lives, we move into our heart. Our vision will be about growing, enhancing and enriching our lives vs fixing it.

2. What do I want? What don't I want?

It might sound odd to say to write about what you "don't" want, however I have found this can be pivotal in avoiding writer's block. We always know what we DON'T want! And this can provide powerful clues to what we DO want.

Draw two columns on a page and head one with "One thing I want is..." the other "One thing I don't want is..." Then, just start writing down whatever comes to mind, like you are emptying a cup. You might have a few items come to mind; you might fill pages. Allow your creative spirit to direct the flow!

Here are a few questions to consider as you look at what you do and don't want:

What do I really want to have happen this year?
What do I want to attract?
How do I want to grow? What do I want to learn?
What blocks or limiting habits do I want to be free of?
What do I want to have happen in my friendships and love?
What do I want in my family life?

3. What's the theme for my year?

Listen "behind" everything you have written. A year from now, if you actually have everything you have written, how would you feel? What difference would this have made in your life? What's the essence of your vision?

Capture that essence in a theme - a short inspiring statement that makes you smile when you hear it. This is a simple way of capturing your vision in a memorable way. For example, "Connecting and connected" "Breathing space" "The year of living grace."


"I have moments when I'm absolutely clear about what I want. Then, it's like I forget. My vision just goes away. What can I do to stay inspired?"

You are so right! When we are in our vision, it is like standing on the top of a mountain. We can see the vista and path with ease. However, when we descend into the valley of day-to-day life, it disappears.

There are ways to capture our clarity so that it continues to spark us, pull us forward, and keep us on-track. While there is no one "right" way, here are a few ways to do that:

Create a Vision Board.

Clip inspiring photos from magazines. Draw pictures. Use your favorite photos. Design a 24x36 inch collage that depicts your ideal year and states your theme. Then, place it where you will see it daily.

Post your theme so it's visible.

Put a post-it note on your computer. Write your theme in your date book. One woman links her theme to a song and hums it daily to stir her feelings and life her spirits.

Identify your ten "Most Wanted."

From your vision, pull out your top five to ten most meaningful goals, the ones you want to accomplish by mid-year. Write them in bold statements of intention. Then map each one out as a project. Blocking out actions and developing a time frame signals to your unconscious that you're serious. It not only gives you an action map, it seems to attract resources, people and opportunities to help you fulfill your goal.

Take time to dream this January. Be radical this year. Rather than try to cram your goal-setting into the first few days of January, allow yourself the whole month. Dream. Imagine. Entertain what is possible for your life and your business/career. Develop an inspiring vision for a truly great year. Taking this time is one of the highest forms of self-care you can give yourself.