Saturday, November 2, 2013

Five Tips To Help Beat Anxiety And Depression

Anxiety attacks and depression are two of the most misunderstood disorders in society today. Not only by the general public, but also by the doctors and researchers who must find medications to treat these issues. It would be easier to do if they were only combating one "generalized" issue, however, there are multiple types of each of these disorders and even though some have unique symptoms or traits, others have close similarities that make them extremely difficult to diagnose. I read an article recently that stated it could take up to five years to be able to correctly diagnose bipolar disorder, also known as "manic" depression. Although there are big differences in each of these disorders, there are some common tips that have been known to help some people cope. Here are a few you can use.

#1. Maintain a healthy diet. When your mind is giving you problems it's even more important to put good foods into your body, in order to maintain your energy level and also to help improve your mood. The last thing you need at this time is to be loading up on processed sugars, like candy and soda pop. You might get a sugar rush and be "high" for a short time, but you'll eventually crash and your mood will crash right along with you.

#2. Avoid stimulants. The reasoning is the same as the reason above, but even more so if you suffer from anxiety disorders. Caffeine, sugar, cold medicines, like Sudafed, or any other type of legal stimulant will kick your anxiety into high gear. If you're depressed and trying to use these stimulants for energy you must realize that it's going to eventually wear off and you'll be even lower than before. Worse yet, you may not be able to sleep either. There's nothing like feeling crummy and staring at the ceiling all night.

#3. Avoid drugs and alcohol. Besides the fact that drugs are illegal, they're also the worst thing that you can do for your mental health. If you're smoking marijuana, stop now. Besides the physical dangers, it's also a downer, especially after the THC wears off. I've had some people tell me that it doesn't affect them like that, that they get more of a high or feel "normal" afterword. This may be true for some individuals that are chronic pot smokers, but for the large majority of people I recommend that you leave it alone. Leave it alone anyway, it's against the law.

Methamphetamines is a huge problem these days and has reached near epidemic proportions. Meth will completely rob you of your spirit. If you suffer from anxiety or depression I urge you to stay away from this drug. You may initially get a fantastic high, but, like most other addictive drugs, it will soon take more and more and when you come down your depression and anxiety is multiplied many times over. It's also estimated that only 22% of those that begin using Meth are ever able to quit and stay clean permanently. Please don't do this to yourself.

#4. Exercise every day. Not just a quick "walk in the park", but exercise until you work up a good sweat. You need to really work your body out. This has helped many people manage their symptoms and has nearly eliminated symptoms in others. When you exercise you're building up good endorphins in your brain. You're burning off excess stress and, as an added bonus, you'll also burn off calories! Exercise is just a "win, win" activity. There are no negatives and the benefits are numerous. Get off the couch and get to work right now!

#5. Find someone that understands what you're going through to confide in. This can be a good friend or family member. All of us must occasionally get stuff off our chest. It's calming and releases tension. You may have something on your mind that's been bothering you and made your anxiety flare up. I'm not going to say that it's going to cure your problem, but it surely won't hurt.

I hope that these tips help you, as they've helped others. For some people anxiety attacks and depression are an everyday event, while others have milder cases. Until researchers find that "little magic pill" that we've all been waiting for, it's important that we do all that we can to help ourselves.

Is the Future of Cognitive Therapy Similar to Training One's Abdominal Muscles?

The Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article yesterday, titled To Be Young and Anxiety-Free, focused on the value of cognitive behavioral therapy to help children with high levels of anxiety learn how too cope better and prevent the snowball scenario, when that anxiety grows and spirals out of control resulting in depression and similar

- " research showing that treating kids for anxiety when they are young may help prevent the development of more serious mental illnesses, including depression and more debilitating anxiety disorders."

- "But the use of antidepressants in children has come under fire because of recent evidence showing an increase in suicidal thoughts in kids taking the drugs. Partly as a result, many doctors and psychologists employ as a first line of treatment cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, which is often just as effective as medication."

What is Cognitive Therapy (the most common type of cognitive behavioral therapy) and what are its cognitive and structural brain benefits? Judith Beck guides us here, explaining that "Cognitive therapy, as developed by my father Aaron Beck, is a comprehensive system of psychotherapy, based on the idea that the way people perceive their experience influences their emotional, behavioral, and physiological responses. Part of what we do is to help people solve the problems they are facing today. We also teach them cognitive and behavioral skills to modify their dysfunctional thinking and actions."

Cerebrum, a publication by the Dana Foundation, just released an excellent article titled A Road Paved by Reason, with background on cognitive therapy: how the technique was developed and refined, its short and long-term benefits, and future trends. A few quotes:

- "Psychological problems result from the erroneous meanings that people attach to events, not from the events themselves."

- "In cognitive therapy, patients learn through a variety of strategies to test their faulty beliefs. They then learn to appraise themselves and their futures in a way that is realistic, unbiased and constructive."

- "Various managed-care companies and mental health centers now expect their therapists to be trained in cognitive therapy. The British government has recently set up a large program for training over 6,000 mental health workers to do cognitive therapy. There are now dozens, if not hundreds, of researchers focusing on the theoretical underpinnings of cognitive therapy, or on its applications."

In short, here we have a number of major societal problems (anxiety, depression...) that affect people of all ages, and an intervention that teaches people cognitive skills to be able to manage those related challenges better. Talk about "teaching how to fish" vs. simply handing out fish (which we could argue is what antidepressant medications do).

Why don't more people benefit today from that approach? A major problem, in my view, is the lack of a scalable distribution model. Meaning, using the traditional face-to-face approach, one needs to create, train, certify, ensure quality of, a very large network of practitioners. Which is what, as mentioned above, the British government is doing: training 6,000 mental health workers.

This is certainly a worthy initiative. Now, is it the most scalable one to deliver results while being cost and resource efficient? Perhaps not.

We can view cognitive therapy as a method for well-structured cognitive exercise, where a key factor of success is practice. Same as training your abdominal muscles: if you just join the local club, which has a set of superb machines for abdominal training, but don't use abdominal training those machines in a disciplined manner, your abdominal muscles are unlikely to become very impressive.

We can then view the therapist as the personal trainer who motivates you to stay on track, to propose the right exercise routine based on your personal goals. If the trainer is with you the whole time, encouraging you to do and monitoring your abdominal exercises, you are most likely to complete them. But it is a very expensive approach.

Perhaps a hybrid approach makes more sense: the personal trainer helps you define goals, supervise progress and make modifications to the training regime, AND you do your own abdominal exercises with the machine that has been designed precisely with that goal in mind. There were no such mainstream machines only 50 years ago, before physical fitness became a popular concept and practice. Now there is one in every health club and TV infomercial.

Let's go back to cognitive therapy. Of course there is a need for more and better trainer professionals who can help patients. But of course technology will help complement existing approaches, reaching corners we can not even predict now, and helping more people of all ages better cope with change, life, anxiety, a range of cognitive and emotional challenges. Without any stigma. Just as naturally as one trains abdominal muscles.

There is already research showing the value of computerised cognitive therapy. A recent systematic review published in the British Journal of Psychiatry concluded that "There is some evidence to support the effectiveness of CCBT for the treatment of depression. However, all studies were associated with considerable drop-out rates and little evidence was presented regarding participants' preferences and the acceptability of the therapy. More research is needed to determine the place of CCBT in the potential range of treatment options offered to individuals with depression."

Yes, more research is always needed. However, we also need to refine the questions. Not so much "Will computerized cognitive therapy leave thousands of therapists out of work?" but "How can computerized cognitive therapy be used to increase the reach and effectiveness of therapists" and "Can computerized cognitive therapy help reach populations that receive no intervention whatsoever today?"

Please think about that next time you see someone training his or her abdominal muscles.

Top 6 Reason to Check For Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common today and yet most people and doctors do not routinely test for Vitamin D deficiency.

Six months ago I noticed that I was having health problems, I had become the family grouch, the family complainer and I was always too tired to do anything with my family. Some days I would have shooting pain in my left leg and the next day it felt fine but the right leg would be in pain. My lower back was hurting all the time and I was just too exhausted, weak and my muscle ached everywhere.

I had read an article that Diabetics should be tested for Vitamin D levels to make sure that they were getting enough. The article almost mentioned every symptom and pain that I was experiencing at that moment. Since it was time for a routine Diabetes checkup, I took the article with me to show my doctor and find out about adding the vitamin D blood test to the rest of the tests that day. We did the test and the results were extremely low!

Vitamin D levels that are 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood and up are considered "Normal," from 15 to 30 nanograms are considered "Low" and less than 15 nanograms is, "Very Low"... I was at 13!

Vitamin D deficiencies symptoms range in a wide variety of chronic pain and yet most doctors today do not understand that the patient's pain is due to Vitamin D deficiency.

Six reasons to ask your doctor to do a Vitamin D test include:

1. If you experience a bone and muscle stabbing pain that doesn't stay in just one area and you experience extreme back pain, then ask your doctor to test your Vitamin D levels.

2. Are you spending your days in a fog? Do you feel disconnected to everything around you? Then ask for a Vitamin D test.

3. Do you suffer from the effects of anti-inflammatory, cancer, diabetes, and depression then get your vitamin D checked out. Vitamin D is needed in the production of making enzymes and proteins in our bodies and it also has an interaction with more than 2,000 genes in our body. For these symptoms alone, get it checked out!

4. How are your kidneys doing? Did you know that as we age our kidneys are not able to convert vitamin D? Better ask for a test for your "D" levels and hey, why not your kidneys too!

5. If you have Crohn's disease, Celiac disease or Cystic Fibrosis then you need to have your levels checked out because these diseases affect our intestine's ability to absorb Vitamin D. People with these diseases need to be tested at least twice a year.

6. Vitamin D is taken out of circulation in our bodies when the fat cells absorb the "D" from our blood. If you have a BMI of 30+ then remember to get a Vitamin D test.

Everyone should have a Blood test done for Vitamin D deficiency, check with your doctor, it takes less than 2 minutes of your time and if you are deficient, it is very easy to remedy!

Writers and Depression: Battling the Blues

Writers? Depressed?

We've all heard about it. Creative genius and depression seem to go hand in hand with many. I know. I suffered depression for many years.

We know them. Writers who committed suicide.

Sylvia Plath. Virginia Woolf. Anne Sexton. Hunter S. Thompson. Ernest Hemingway.

Why? In the case of Hemingway four other immediate family members also committed suicide. Was it then a hereditary disease? Read a fascinating interview with Hemingway in the Paris Review by George Plimpton to peek inside his mind as a writer.

When asked what kind of training a writer needed Hemingway responded with... "Let's say that he should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced by his own self to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with."

Harsh words. We don't need the hanging though. We lash ourselves enough as writers. Genes aren't everything though.

Look at the day in the life of a writer....

Alone. With your own thoughts. Inside. Sitting for long periods. Writing drivel one day, genius the next. On a roller coaster of doubts about self worth tied to your work. It is personal, this business of writing. Waiting for validation you are any good. For years. And years. And years.

Health magazine lists writers as one of the top 10 professions to have depression. This may be true, but I also think we are living in a time where we have the best chance of not being depressed as writers.

Why do I think this?

Because we are in a time now where we are connected to one another more. As authors today we hear that it's critical to have an author platform. We need to blog, be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, attend writer conferences. We are now not so alone in our writer world. We are connected. And I have found even online interactions lead to in-person meet-ups, and that's where we can find the camaraderie that can keep the blues away. Some times. Not always.

Maybe with our connecting more the writer depression rate will go down. Maybe we'll be replaced on the top 10 jobs to be depressed with plumbers? They work alone in dark places too, right?

I fed into the belief for years that if I let go of my depression I would be letting go of my creativity. In discovering the opposite my writing has flourished. I am the most content in years and the most productive in my writing. I finished my first book and a second and a third and starting a fourth. All sorrow-sober. That's in a two year span, while working part time as a freelancer and managing a family.

My mom, was not the creative type nor could she understand my sadness. She was tough Depression-era farm girl stock. She would say "Just get up and go do something!" That was her fix. Simple but it works for me now. When I find sorrow weighing me down for no reason I do just that. I get up and leave it behind me. It usually works. I know I have too much at stake to lose.

If depressions reigns its ugly head I push it away with positive things. I don't want that dragon to come back. Its fire only destroys now, it doesn't breathe life as I once thought.

My Depression Ward Off List

Get outside every day.

Exercise every other day at least.

Connect with people. Even if you don't feel like it. A 5 minute chat with an old friend can do amazing things to the brain.

Do something. Anything. Go to a new store. Drive to a park and walk. Cook!

Write a list of all the good things in your life and re-visit it regularly.

Get off the computer and do something physical with a friend or family member - play a board game, go biking.

Wait. It will pass, hopefully.

Do NOT feed the dragon. Dragons hurt us.

I know sometimes these actions need to be forced. I know some people need medication to help them through. Having a battle plan helps.

As a writer, do you battle depression or just get the holiday blues? How do you fight it off?

Depression and What to Do About It

"I feel depressed today." We have all said this, at one time or another of our lives, or heard someone say it. But, what is depression? And, is there one form of depression or are there many?

Feeling blue and suffering from clinical depression are two very different things.

Clinical depression is a condition that affects our moods (we feel down most of the time; we have a bleak outlook of our future, we are not excited about anything, even things we used to enjoy) our thoughts (we tend to ruminate on the same, negative things, we cannot concentrate, we have difficulties making decisions) our behaviors (we find it difficult to be with people, we are not interested in anything) and our body (we may eat too much or too little; sleep too much or too little; have no energy, no libido, we feel tired most of the time even though we don't do anything to explain it.

Mental health professionals differentiate between various forms of clinical depression: Major Depression, Low grade, chronic depression, or Dysthymia, Bipolar Disorder and Adjustment Disorder with Depression. Each of them may be have specific treatments and may have different causes: situational, genetic, histories of trauma, and medical problems.

According to figures from the National Institute of Mental Health, about 20.9 million people in this country suffer from one form or another of clinical depression. This means 9.5% of all Americans age 18 or older suffer from depression! This is a staggering figure, and seems to be increasing. Major depressive disorder is the major leading cause of disability for ages 15-44, striking people in their most productive years. Of course, depression does not affect only people's ability to work, but also their social interactions and family lives, disrupting not only those who are depressed, but also people around them. Additionally, depressed people may have other problems as well, such as substance abuse, anxiety, and various medical conditions which may have been the cause or caused by the depression, or are co-occurring with it. Women are twice as vulnerable to depression as men.

According to, nearly two-thirds of depressed people do not get proper treatment. There are several reasons why this is so, but I will mention only two here:

1. Symptoms of depression do not develop overnight, but creep up gradually and at first unnoticeably, so people often do not realize they are depressed until they are in a lot of pain and unable to function as they previously did. And even then they may think there is something wrong with them physically, or blame their job, family situation, or other reasons for their symptoms.

2. There is still social stigma about depression. Some people, particularly men, may equate depression with weakness and failure, so they may resist acknowledging their symptoms for what they are and seek help.

What can be done?

The two most used forms of treatment are:

Psychotherapy. Providing support can reduce social and emotional isolation, reduce fears and hopelessness and helplessness and ease the pain. Also it helps reduce pessimistic thoughts and it facilitates the development of positive life goals. Furthermore, it helps assess which areas in a person's life may be contributing to the maintenance of negative feelings and stress and change them. 70-80% of people in therapy report improvement in 20-30 sessions.

Medication. There are many medications on the market today. You may want to consult with your family doctor or see a psychiatrist to discuss which one may be appropriate to alleviate your symptoms.

There are also things you can do to help yourself: do not see depression as a reflection of who you are. There should be no shame about suffering from depression. Depression affects people of all ages, educational and socio-economic backgrounds. Do not blame yourself. Examine what is going on in your life and make appropriate changes. Exercise, even if you don't feel like it. Be with other people, even if you want to be left alone. And give it time, as recovery from depression does not happen overnight, but over time. Focus on what makes you feel better and stick to it.

The Keys To Fighting Depression

"Know your enemy." It was the advice which the great Chinese Warrior Sun Tzu gave to his soldiers on the eve of battle, and which led them to many triumphs.

It is also invaluable advice for anyone who is fighting depression. Only those who know the early signs of clinical depression will be in a position to seek treatment before it takes complete control of their lives.

This may sound like wishful thinking to anyone who is fighting depression, simply because one of the most debilitating aspects of depression is that it robs its victims of the will to act. But depression is a vicious cycle. Those who fail to take action will only become less and less to do so as time passes.

Small Efforts Add Up
Fighting depression [], once it has been diagnosed, can be as simple as forcing yourself to get out of bed in the mooring and get dressed, even if you don't have the will to leave the house. Fighting depression can be done in small increments; getting dressed today can lead to going out into the yard tomorrow, next week.

You may be one of the many people who suffer from recurring bouts of depression, and if so you probably are aware of its onset. If you think you may be about to experience another episode, begin fighting the depression before it gets a firm grip on your life by getting to your doctor as soon as possible.

If, on the other hand, you have never been diagnosed with clinical depression, you may at first think you are just feeling a case of the blues, or possibly experiencing lethargy because you are coming down with an illness. If you can't shake your feelings of sadness and indifference to what is going on around you, however, try reading about depression and see if the descriptions fit what you are feeling.

Rediscovering Your Joy
A classic symptom of clinical depression is that it will rob its sufferers of any feelings of joy and excitement about their lives. So try fighting depression by returning to the activities which you enjoyed before your current bout began; get some of your favorite exercise; have lunch with a friend; or keep busy with a hobby. Fighting depression means making an effort not to focus on the negative thoughts that keep intruding in your mind.

With each moment of positive emotions you feel, no matter how fleeting, you have won a small victory by fighting your depression instead of surrendering to it!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Learn to Know the Signs of Depression and Treatments For Depressed Women

Did you know that women are twice as likely to experience a period of major depression in their life than men? Depression may occur among women from all walks of life and of all ages. Depression may be one of the conditions that represent the biggest burden to women in the world.

What is the burden of major depression? This serious condition decreases a woman's social, mental and physical ability to function in the environment in which she lives. This is bad since women perform various critical functions in the social, family and business world.

Women developing depression disorder do not always exhibit the same symptoms. Here are a few signs of depression to give you a general idea:

* Physical symptoms such as unexplained pains, headaches or digestive problems
* Restlessness and irritability
* Reoccurring feelings of sadness, guilt and worthlessness
* Negative thoughts and pessimistic attitudes
* Loss of appetite or eating too much
* Constant fatigue
* Concentration problems
* Sleeping too much or too little (sleep disorders)
* Suicidal thoughts or a suicide attempt

Antidepressant medication is a common way to treat woman suffering from depression. Many women may find relief although it is estimated that almost a third do not respond well to treatment with antidepressant medication. They may find a solution to their problems in psychotherapy. Clinical trials has found that the following types of psychotherapy are effective in treating depressed women:

* Interpersonal therapies
* Cognitive behavioral therapy
* Marital and family counseling

Depressed women often have to cope with negative thoughts and thinking styles. Cognitive behavioral therapy may help them to overcome this problem. Other popular natural remedies for depression may include the following:

* Herbs such as St. John's Wort
* Exercise
* Meditation and relaxation
* Acupuncture

I have also read about a study that suggested that depressed women may have up to 30% more sex than women who do not suffer from depression. A possible reason for this may be that having sex helps them to feel more loved and secure. However, sex should not be seen as a possible treatment for depression. Keep in mind that a decline in sexual desire and activity may also occur in some women.

Women are unique entities and there are biological, hormonal and social factors that may explain the higher incidence of depressive disorders amongst this group. Women are particular susceptible to depression in the weeks after childbirth due to physical and hormonal changes. Having to care for a helpless baby may also add more stress to an already stressed body and mind. It is no wonder that certain women develop postpartum depression.

Is Your Teenager Depressed? Find Out The Four Top Causes Of Teenage Depression

Depression and teenage depression is alarmingly common than expected these days, little wonder it is called ''the common cold of mental illness''. But what causes teenage depression and indeed depression? I have described some of the top causes or triggers of teenage depression in this article;

Genetic Causes: There appears to be an inherited genetic defect believed to predispose some persons to some form of depression like manic depression and even teenage depression according to research. This implies that major depressive disorder may be partly the result of inherited factors. This genetic form of depression is called endogenous depression. This suggests that depression indeed runs in some families. Apart from this, there is also a greater tendency for identical twins to share a history of major depression than fraternal twins according to research. These points suggest a genetic cause for teenage depression.

Hormone Imbalance: Another very likely cause of teenage depression is hormonal imbalance specifically due to the malfunction of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus in the brain regulates internal functions like appetite, sexual interest and even mood. Thus, any disruption in the normal operations of the hypothalamus or hormonal imbalance due to various factors including stress might result in depression.

Environmental Factors: The following external or environmental factors can trigger the onset of depression. In general:
• A trauma ( such as experiencing a rape and the death of a loved one)
• A divorce
• The loss of a job
• Having a poor interpersonal relations
• Physical illness and
• Stress

Any of the above external factors may represent the initial stimulus that ignites your teen's internal organs particularly the hypothalamus that regulates his mood. Thus, when any of these factors are present, your teen may experience a degree of depression.

Your Teen's Diet: Your teenager's diet can also be a major cause of depression. If your teen eats ''junk food'', skip meals and even go for weeks without eating green vegetables, your teen might be very prone to depression. If he or she eats a balanced meal regularly coupled with moderation with the consumption of foods like pies, chocolate, candy and soda pop, he will be greatly relieved of depression.

I have examined four major possible causes of teenage depression which are; nutrition, environmental factors, hormone imbalance and genetic causes. If your teen is presently experiencing depression at the moment, chances are that it may have stemmed from any of the causes discussed in this article. To find out about other causes not described in this article Click Here.

Do You Send A Get Well Card To Someone Struggling From Serious Depression Or Other Mood Disorders?

Recent statistics say that 19 million people suffer from chronic depression. 2 million of those are children. Chances are you know someone struggling with depression but you might not realize it. If you are like me, when someone I know struggles with a mood disorder I stay "away" thinking it's "best to let them recover alone", and "they'll snap out of it sometime" -- I'll just wait for that to happen, yeah that's what i'll do, I think to myself. Why, I wonder, do we treat people with mood disorders differently from someone suffering from a medical problem? The answer seems obvious to me: The stigma of mental dis-ease is still alive and well. Overcoming this stigma for the person struggling is hard enough. As a friend or family person, don't fall into the trap of ignoring their plight since this will only feed into the already stigmatized disorder.

So what are some ways to avoid making the ill person feel even worse? I like to start with the "people are people" motto and simply treat the person with dignity and respect. If they had foot surgery what would you do? How would you act? Maybe call them? Send a card? Yes! Yes! Absolutely you would! Where we can get confused is when we think about the person having mental illness. It is not uncommon for people to feel uncomfortable discussing it or even knowing someone with mental illness.

The most helpful thing you can do is NOT to treat the person differently. Get educated about the illness and get over your uncomfortable feelings and do the right thing. What is "the right thing" you might be wondering? My expert friend, Joan, has a unique perspective to share with people looking to communcate with those struggling with Mental dis-ease.

Joan is 78 years old and considers herself the "Queen of Depression". She has taught me a lot about this subject. As a child she lived with a mother who was clinically depressed for almost her entire childhood. Then her own clinical depression in adulthood followed by dealing with a son who has schizoaffective disorder. In between all of this she was able to stay married to the same man, participate in local politics and raise a brood of 9! Joan has an uncanny ability to notice when other people need something. She says or does "just the right thing" at the appropriate time. Her caregiver and nursing type capabilities seem to come naturally and we are all the more nurtured for them.

As you might imagine, Joan's opinion is invaluable since she has the perspective of a child living with someone's mental illness, as an adult going through her own bout with clinical depression, and as the mother of a son who struggles with schizoaffective disorder. Joan is the "go to" person to assist family, friends and others how to effectively communicate with people and do the right thing. She is sort of an all around Miss Manners with an emphasis on dealing with people who are struggling with mood disorders. Recently, I asked Joan to share her wisdom on how I should help my friend who is suffering from serious depression and anxiety disorder. I wanted to know what to "do" to make things better.

Joan is quick to point out that her recommendations are perhaps simply good manners and good friendship. Separating the "dos" and "don'ts" from those with and without mood disorders may be missing the point. According to Joan, as human beings we suffer at times. Whether we are clinically diagnosed as having "x" disorder is not the important thing but rather the fact that you are reaching out to someone you love during tough times. Joan recommends two simple but powerful methods for communicating with the person recovering.

1. First of all, don't ignore the person. They need to hear from you. Calling and/or writing a quick note is always a good bet. Joan feels that calling the person is the first thing you should do. Simply say "I was thinking of you and hope you are doing well". The phone call doesn't have to be long or profound. A simple "Hi" will go a long way.

2. Offer to do something for the person. For example, if kids are involved you might say, "I'd like to do something -- can I take the kids to dance class on Thursday?" or "I'd like to make you a little something for dinner. How would this Wednesday be? I'll drop it off say around 5 PM if that's ok.

The idea behind making specific suggestions is often overlooked. Joan strongly advises that you be specific about what you will do and put a date and time to it. Simply saying to the person "call if you need anything" is not the way to go. Be specific and follow-through. These are two simple but powerful suggestions! Thanks, Joan.

By the way, Joan is also my mother. I love you mom!

We All Crave Attention

We all crave attention to some extent. The extent to which we crave attention depends on the following:

1. Low level of attention received

2. Low level of activity

3. Our emotional history

4. Our mental attitude

The first two of these factors relate directly to the actual level of attention we think we need at a given time. The second two factors relate to the total amount of attention we think we require. I will start by discussing issues relating to the first two factors.

As social beings, we all have a perceived need for attention and will attempt to fill our attention deficit by whatever means are available to us. We instinctively try to deal with this attention deficit by using solutions related to the first two contributing factors:

1. To compensate for the low level of attention received - we look for attention elsewhere. This may be attention such as that we get from joining a club, participating in a sporting activity or communicating with people over the internet.

2. Our low level of activity increases our perceived lack of attention because it gives us more time to think about it -we can address this by distraction. We can distract ourselves either by giving ourselves activities such as taking exercise or doing hobbies. Or alternatively we can use solutions which take our minds off the problem by watching television, reading books, drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

The key thing about the two solutions listed above is that our relief from our craving for attention will last only as long as we are doing the activity. Common reasons for feeling that we have an attention deficit are; that a work assignment can take us away from our friends and loved ones for a prolonged period or we think we have nothing new to talk about with our friends and loved ones and wish to open new channels of communications.

The important thing to realize is that these reactions are natural and come as a result of our inbuilt desire to socialize with other human beings. As long as we do not try to distract ourselves with drugs which are significantly physically addictive or make up for the attention deficit we perceive with our spouse by means of an extra marital affair, then our participation in these activities is entirely normal.

Why is it then that when we are getting a good level of attention from our spouse and friends, when we are filling our lives with participation in clubs or sports and we are distracting ourselves with television and the internet, that we sometimes still crave attention?

Why is it that actors and pop stars despite getting huge amounts of attention from millions of adoring fans and having money to spend on whatever type of distraction they wish, still end up with the feeling that they have a great void in their lives? Why did Janice Joplin commit suicide and why did Elvis Presley go off the rails at the end of his life?

One reason is that these people never got the type of attention they really needed. The other is connected with the second two reasons I listed for the craving of attention at the beginning of this article:

1. Emotional history

2. Mental attitude

It is important to understand that for people with an acute perceived lack of attention these two factors are usually linked. The key word here is perceived lack of attention. People who have acute perceived lack of attention can never get enough attention however hard people try to provide it.

In the case of several actors and pop stars their emotional history has probably left them with a craving for attention they can never fulfill. It is often this insatiable attention seeking behavior that propelled them to the position they reached.

After a childhood in which they never got the type of attention they really needed, over time they developed a mental attitude that they can never really be loved and cared for, maybe even that they are not worthy of being loved and cared for. When people try to provide the love and care they so yearn for they are looked on with suspicion and disbelief.

The chronic perceived lack of attention means that they will always feel that there is a void in their lives. People start obsessing over their distraction and attention replacement behaviors because however hard they try to fill or avoid the void in their hearts, they cannot do it. The drug abuse, alcoholism, gambling, internet activities or even television watching become obsessions.

They are psychological addictions because the characteristic of an addition is that over time you need higher and higher levels to have the same effect. In this case because the void will never be filled. So we can say the following:

chronic perceived lack of attention = addictive personality

The feeling of never getting enough attention, never feeling loved and never feeling worthy also gives rise to depression and in severe cases can lead to people taking their lives. Fortunately for many of us we do not fall into the category of chronic perceived lack of attention, however we can still have bad days when we find ourselves obsessing over activities we are using to replace or distract from our perceived lack of attention.

For example recently I found myself obsessing over the number of views I was receiving for my latest article on the Ezines web site. It was after midnight when hardly anybody is on but there I was, waiting for the next page view and obsessing about the fact that nobody was noticing me.

I suddenly thought to myself, "I am obsessing about this I have to stop it now". I had to force myself to log off and turn off my computer for the night. So what did I do, what can we do? I reminded myself that the number of page views I get in a day is not that important. I worked to re-impose my positive mental attitude. I told myself that my article would get read by the people who needed to see it. I made some mental affirmations for myself.

'My articles are good'

'People do read my articles'

'People are touched by my articles'

'I am making a difference'

My solution to the days when I feel I am not getting enough attention and I cannot distract myself from it, is positive mental attitude, and having faith in myself. This directly impacts on mental attitude, the root cause of my craving for attention.

A type of depression which would clearly not be a result of perceived lack of attention is clinical depression which is a result of a chemical imbalance. However it is likely that chemical imbalance will also cause the affected person to feel that they are deprived of attention.

Interestingly I list mental attitude as a contributor to perceived lack of attention, so if acquiring a positive mental attitude can reduce our craving for attention, is it also capable of helping to make a person less depressed even if the person suffers from clinical depression. My thought is that it may not cure a person of clinical depression but can be used as part of a therapy for people with clinical depression.

If you sometimes feel there is a void in your life and that people don't give you enough attention I suggest you read my articles 'Like me, like you' and 'Give First'. You could also read, 'Overcoming the inertia of negative attitude', 'The Placebo Effect' and 'Be Fearless'.

If that what I have said can help your friends, please send them the link to this article I want to try to ensure that the people who this article can help, get a chance to read it.

Take care, Simon

Crazy Making and Living With Personality Disorders

When a loved one in your family is suffering from one of the personality disorders, the entire family is under stress. A family is like an orange: each segment is unique, but connected to make a whole. When member suffers, the entire family suffers.

There are many excellent therapists, counselors, and medical practitioners who specialize in treating personality disorders, but very often the caregivers are overlooked. Just as Mom and Dad can be taken for granted by the children, they can also be assumed to be doing just fine in such a stressful environment.

It doesn't matter much what the personality disorder is when it concerns the well-being of the family. It could be borderline personality disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, or manic depression. The caregivers need to be taken care of as well!

Be careful for Crazy Making

Crazy making is a term to describe a common effect that someone with a personality disorder can have on the one caring for them. It means that the caregiver begins to question his own sanity. It can and does happen that you become so surrounded by the relentless symptoms of a disorder that you lose sight of reality. It begins to make you crazy, hence the term: crazy making.

If you have been there, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Day after day, night after night, maybe your spouse acts out. Sometimes it is subtle, other times it is blatantly obvious that something is wrong. But if there is nobody else to talk to, or you are afraid to confide in another, it creeps up on you and you start to question your own mental condition.

Some typical examples of crazy making

Suppose for a moment that your adult son, who still lives at home, owes you some money. You politely, but firmly ask him for the money, which is past due. This should not be a complicated matter, he borrowed it and promised to pay it back on a certain date.

One favorite tactic is what I call smoke and mirrors. He brings up numerous semi-relevant topics to distract you, all the while appearing like an honest person. He has developed a refined ability to cloud the matter and eventually bring it back on you! Now you might even owe him money!

He might tell you of his hardships, your hardships, your relationship to the other children and how you favor them, and on and on and on. Next thing you know, you actually should have given him this money anyway, somehow he is entitled to it.

The worst thing is that you might fall for it, at least a few times. Eventually though, you begin to realize that you are being manipulated very skillfully. It it when you put your foot down that the sh*t hits the fan.

Another example is when they tell you (and everyone else within earshot) how you think, feel and act. Never mind that it is not true, they are telling you anyway. In fact, they have the uncanny ability to make five hens out of a feather any time, day or night!

Even when such a person is shown to be wrong and they acknowledge this, soon they are back to the original embellished story that protects them from reality. Their show simply must go on, in spite of the facts or feelings of other people.

What can you do to avoid crazy making?

The first thing is to recognize it. If you live with somebody who has a personality disorder, you will see it all the time. It becomes entirely predictable, once you learn the signs.

Educate yourself. There are numerous books available that are very helpful in learning to cope with the stress of crazy making.

Take your life back. You have the right to a safe and healthy life. Take care of you health, your finances, your well-being. This is also one of the best things you can do for the family member who has a personality disorder.

Be forewarned, however: once you begin to take your life back, the episodes will most likely escalate, at least for a time. Make sure you have an adequate support system in the form of friends, family, church, therapists, etc. Personality disorders can be extremely stressful to deal with, but over time you will become confident and strong.

How You Can Use Inspirational Quotes to Ease Depression

Are you feeling blue? Are you stressed out over your job, the economy or your kids? Instead of making a doctor's appointment for a prescription, try a prescription of a different kind: daily inspirational quotes.

Inspirational quotes may seem like an odd way to get rid of stress and depression, but they have been proven to lift many spirits and give new hope to those who are otherwise feeling hopeless.

Here are some ways you can use inspirational quotes every day to give you your life back:

• Print off one inspirational quote per day and put it in your calendar. Memorize it, and say it to yourself several times throughout the day. Make it the last thing you read before going to sleep at night and the first thing you read when you get up in the morning.

• Put inspirational quotes throughout your home - on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror, or on your nightstand.

• Keep some inspirational quotes in your car, and keep them on your dashboard. Or, buy an inspirational CD, and listen to it while driving.

• For your favorite quotes, learn more about the author - what was their life like? Chances are, they overcame great adversity to become successful.

• Share the quotes with your family, and get a discussion going on what the quotes mean to them. Sometimes sharing other viewpoints can give a different perspective on things.

• Put the inspirational quotes on an ipod or mp3 player, and listen to them while you are taking a walk or working out. Exercise is also a great stress reliever!

Once you get into the habit of reading or listening to quotes every day, and putting them into perspective in your own life, you will begin to see that everyone has had tough times at one point or another; the important thing to learn is to how to overcome that adversity. Inspirational quotes will move you into action, and get you motivated to change your life and your situation. You will start to build self-confidence and understand that you have the power to change, to reflect, to overcome, and to achieve whatever you want in life. You can become the person you want to be, if only you take the first step. You are responsible for your actions, your decisions, and your mindset.

Once you take responsibility for your life, you have already won half the battle! Inspirational quotes can help you along your journey of self-discovery, self-discipline and self-esteem.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to Detect Symptoms of Depression

Depression is a complicated illness that can be very hard to detect unless you are looking for the right symptoms.

Did you know that over 15 million American's will suffer some type of depression this year, and that many of them will not even know that they have it, plus the startling fact is that only a third of those that do realize that they are affected, will ever seek treatment of any kind.

So why is it so hard to actually detect depression? Well the answer is relatively simple.

Many of the symptoms we associate with depression are problems we all experience from time to time; therefore it is not always easy to distinguish between what is perfectly normal, and what it a sign of danger.

We all feel sad and out of sorts at different periods of our life, as an example we may become a little shaken when we reach the age of 40, or even 50, as many who see this age, consider it as some milestone of reflection that causes us to ponder and evaluate our lives.

For many it may be depressing to some extent, but this does not mean that you are suffering from depression, as depression is not a feeling that will come and go for brief encounters of sadness.

Depression is consistent and constant, and will progress if not treated, and it can take years to get this illness under control if not caught or treated early.

Typical symptoms of depression can be irregular sleeping or eating habits, again this does not mean symptoms that last the weekend, but rather symptoms that are consistent over long periods of time.

Depressed individuals tend to recede into a shell, and they feel hopelessness and helplessness, but their feelings of loneliness and despair are constant and real to them, and they may want to reach out for help but cannot bring themselves to do so.

Many will find it hard to relate to those around them and where they once may have been the life and soul of the party, they may now be barely noticeable, and these are symptoms in the early stages.

When depression has progressed into later stages it begins to become apparent in their ability to be compatible with others around them, and many will find that their employment and/or educational activities will begin to be affected by their lack of communication and participation.

They find it harder to face others as well as themselves, and they see no hope or purpose for living, and even may begin to consider ending it all.

To avoid this unhappy result early detection is essential, and there is plenty of help available for those who suffer depression, and there are many effective means of treatment, some perfectly natural health remedies are available, which will get those suffering back onto the right track.

If you or someone you love, are experiencing lingering symptoms of depression, please consult a medical professional for an immediate diagnosis, and start to get the help you need.

Your life and the life of your friends depend apon it, so do something about it now.

Anti-Depression Medication Side Effects Can Often Lead to Increased Risk of Suicide

Anti-depression medication has been getting popular lately. But they aren't a silver bullet. They come with numerous different side-effects...most of which will even worsen the disease they are trying to cure. Because of this anti-depression side-effects will almost always include "increased risk of suicide" in their warnings.

And deep down, the anti-depression medication isn't 100% fact a 2006 government study showed that anti-depression supplements only work fully for 50% of people. The rest will actually get worse. And this is only for major depression...if you have mild or moderate depression, they are not that much more effective than placebos (sugar pills).

Essentially there are three types of anti-depressants: SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), atypical anti-depressants, and the older tricyclic/monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Fluoxetine (Prozac), Fluvoxamine (Luvox), Sertraline (Zoloft), Paroxetine (Paxil), Escitalopram (Lexapro), Citalopram (Celexa), Bupropion (Wellbutrin), Venlafaxine (Effexor), Duloxetine (Cymbalta), Mirtazapine (Remeron), Trazodone (Desyrel), Nefazodone (Serzone) are some of the drugs that treat depression.

Don't get me wrong, you should still treat your depression...since depression alone can quickly lead to suicide. But you can treat the mild depression with nothing more than therapy or exercise. Some are even able to treat their depression(usually when it's mild) using anti-depression foods and anti-depression music(anti-depression songs will usually have upbeat tempos with fun lyrics). Others do it using anti-depression herbs or anti-depression light(usually involves using an anti-depression lamp, which is basically a slightly brighter light). No matter the method you pick to treat the depression, suicide is still a real threat until the person is cured. In fact more than 1.1 million Americans try killing themselves every year, and the number one cause is depression.

No matter the type of anti-depressant being used, in a certain percentage of people, the anti-depressants will actually increase depression instead of lowering it. Because of this the FDA makes all the anti-depression medication makers to provide a warning that anti-depression medication can lead to suicide.

So if you know someone taking anti-depression medication or any other drug that is designed to deal with depression, you need to learn all the potential suicide warning signs so that you can catch when the person becomes suicidal. If you yourself are taking anti-depression medication, you should provide a suicide warning signs guide to someone around you who you interact with on a daily basis.

Note: NEVER let anyone quit anti-depression medication cold turkey, the risk for suicide skyrockets if you do. If you plan to quit, lower your dose little by little every one-two weeks, so that your body can adjust.

Celexa Found to Fight Against Depression In Patients With Heart Disease

The blockbuster medication Celexa, which is in the SSRI category of medications and is regularly used to lower cholesterol, has recently been found to effectively treat depression in patients with coronary heart disease.

François Lespérance, M.D., of the University of Montréal told the Journal of the American Medical Association that "Celexa yielded a 31% greater response rate than placebo, but the addition of interpersonal psychotherapy did not increase the benefit."

Coronary artery disease and depression have been proven to be a deadly combination. Patients suffering from the two symptoms together have a higher rate of death than those suffering from just one of the ailments. states, "In the study, patients were randomized to Celexa or placebo and psychotherapy or standard medical management visits for 12 weeks. The 284 outpatients randomized to one of the four treatment arms all met DSM-IV criteria for moderate-to-severe major depression as well as stable coronary artery disease."

After 12 weeks of treatment, the study found that those that took Celexa had a much larger remission rate than the other methods of treatment. also states, "The exploratory outcomes for depressive severity, perceived social support, and function in daily activities also supported significant benefit for Celexa over placebo but not for psychotherapy over clinical management. The lack of benefit from psychotherapy compared with clinical management does not imply that other forms of psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, are ineffective, the researchers said. Celexa appeared to be safe for coronary artery disease patients with depression. There were only 12 cardiovascular and 23 non cardiovascular serious adverse events among the 284 patients overall."

For more information on ordering from online foreign pharmacies.

How to Cope With Grief When You Have Clinical Depression

On Sunday night May10th 1998 at 9:18 pm, my life as I knew it changed forever. My beautiful wife of 21 years had died unexpectedly. She was a wonderful human being and she was my soul mate. Words cannot describe the feelings I experienced right after she passed away and for quite sometime to come. What made it worse was that I had already been diagnosed with clinical depression 12 years before my wife's death. Further, it never occurred to me at the time that grief and depression share a few of the same characteristics. During the time I was experiencing the normal signs of grief, I thought that my depression was getting worse. It wasn't until I talked with my doctor that I learned grieving was normal but I also had to be made aware that I could go into a deeper depression.

Suffering from depression and trying to cope is stressful enough. But if your spouse has just passed away, getting through the day can seem like an impossible task. Very understandable. So close your eyes, clear your head for a moment and take several deep breaths. Now, there are some steps that you can take to get you through the day and to help you in the long run so you can lead a more productive life even while your grieving and working through your depression. The first step covers the difference between grieving and depression, the next step focuses on your clinical depression, and the final steps deal with your grief. Yes, it can be done. If I could do it, so can you and here's how.

The following are 9 time tested steps that you need to take while you are grieving and you have clinical depression:

1. Learn to distinguish between grief and depression - Please keep in mind that if you've just lost a loved one it's only natural to experience intense sadness. The problem is that this emotion plus many of the other symptoms associated with grief also mimic those associated with depression including fatigue, sleep and appetite disturbances, low energy, loss of pleasure, and difficulty concentrating and making decisions. Here's an important point to remember, during grief you should still be able to interact with others, experience pleasurable experiences from time to time, and continue to function while coping with your grief. However it is a sure sign that you are depressed if you disconnect from others, you have no pleasurable experiences, a persistent negative self esteem /self confidence, and you all but shut down. Negative emotions will block your ability to deal with stressors on a daily basis so I strongly suggest that you follow and adhere to the next 8 steps just as soon as possible.

2. Readjust treatment for your clinical depression - During your time of grief more than likely you will suffer some increased and more intense bouts of depression. Be prepared to make some necessary adjustments to your current treatment plan including, but not limited to, (grief) counseling, medication, and coping skills. The period of adjustment varies with each person. If you've been seeing a psychotherapist in the past, he is probably qualified for grief counseling as well. If not ask him for some recommendations to a grief counselor. Since grief counseling is different from your regular counseling sessions you might want to write down some thoughts and questions prior to your first session. Here's a tip. Plan ahead for the "firsts" and how to cope. I'm referring to your first wedding anniversary, holidays, birthdays, etc. without your spouse. Those can really pack an emotional punch to your feelings.

3. You need to mourn before healing - You've probably figured it out by now so please remember that expressing your thoughts and emotions openly either in public or in private is not only natural but it is also essential to your healing process. Never let anyone try to tell you how long you should or shouldn't mourn. You grief is your own, no one elses. When your time comes to heal you will know it. Allow the healing to begin and remember that healing does not mean forgetting. Personally, I knew my healing started when I was able to look back on some of the good and not so good times my wife and I shared with more smiles than tears.

4. Give yourself time to mourn - The answer to the question, "How long should I take to mourn?" should always be, "As long as it takes." Take it one day at a time and grieve at your own pace. You might have heard that there are certain stages of grief. I don't buy into that because grief should not be sectioned or broken down into compartments since they could very well be repeated.

5. Join a grief support group - This is an extremely important step. Emotionally, it will help you to know you are not alone. The purpose of the group is to discuss your feelings with individuals who are also grieving. You might not want to participate at first and that's fine. Just listen to what some of the other members are experiencing. You'll be participating before you know it. Having the support of other people is the biggest factor that contributes to your healing process. Ask your therapist for some recommendations.

6. Talk to family and friends- To help you even further with your healing, go beyond your support group and talk to trusted family and friends about your spouse's death and how that makes you feel. Share your memories both good and bad along with your feelings. If help is offered from them, take it. That also includes any help regarding funeral arrangements, legal issues, etc.

7. Dealing with your spouse's belongings - Deal with your spouse's belongings only when you are ready to dispose of them. Again, that's in your own time. Don't let anyone decide for you when that should be done. I left my wife's clothes and her other items in my closet and chest of drawers for three years before I donated them to Goodwill.

8. Remember that grieving is normal - There will be times, either in private or in public, when you will encounter emotional "triggers". Something or someone will remind you of your spouse and you will begin to grieve. Afterward, you might feel confused, fearful, disoriented, frustrated, guilty, angry or even relieved. That's perfectly normal and is also part of the healing process.

9. Take care of yourself- Grieving is an emotionally and physically draining process so go easy on yourself. You might not feel like it but you must make sure to eat well balanced meals and get plenty of rest. If friends or relatives offer to cook some meals for you take them up on it. To avoid cabin fever take a brief walk just to stretch your muscles and get some fresh air..
There are millions of people (including those who are clinically depressed) who have made it through the loss of a spouse, including myself. Follow the steps outlined in this article and over time you will make it through as well. Trust and believe in yourself. Life does go on so ensure that you continue living in the healthiest, most productive way possible by helping yourself now.

Supplements and Depression - 4 Supplements to Help Defeat Depression Symptoms

Depression strikes many people at some point of another in their lives. Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, anxiety, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, and changes in appetite and sleep patterns can all signal the onset of depression. If these symptoms are severe or debilitating, a visit to your doctor might be in order. However, for mild cases of depression symptoms, natural approaches can be very effective in managing the blues. Supplements can be very useful in this application. Consulting with your naturopath about new supplements you plan to take and to create the ideal supplement "cocktail" for you is advisable for safety and optimal health. Here are 4 supplements you can try to fight the symptoms of depression:

1.       A food based multivitamin, and calcium if you don't consume lots of calcium rich foods. The mind body connection is a strong one, and supporting overall physical health is important for supporting your mental and emotional health.  

2.      A high quality fish oil. Fish oil contains certain fatty acids that have been shown to promote brain health. Fish oil also has other physical benefits including anti-inflammatory properties and cardiovascular benefit.

3.      L-theanine. This natural anti-anxiety supplement helps to ease the anxiety that can go along with depression. It comes readily in capsule form, and also a sublingual spray for quick absorption.

4.      5 HTP (hydroxytryptophan). This is a natural precursor to serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter that is contributes to mood regulation. In this form, it is the next step of the breakdown of tryptophan, the substance found in tukey that creates the "turkey bliss" sensation at Thanksgiving. It typically comes in capsule form and is often taken in conjunction with L-theanine.

Do Your Depression Symptoms Vary With The Time of Day?

A few years back, when I was struggling with how to deal with depression, one of the most puzzling and frustrating aspects of my condition was that my symptoms would significantly improve towards the end of the day. In fact, I'd have to say, that right before going to bed at night, I would feel practically "normal," and I would convince myself that I wasn't really depressed after all. Unfortunately, with the dawn of a new day, I'd be right back to square one, barely able to get myself out of bed, and feeling confused and defeated.

I allowed this mood-swing situation to continue for a while before I realized I needed to get some professional help for how to deal with depression. Once I was evaluated and diagnosed by my doctor, I was surprised (and relieved) to learn that my variation in mood during the day was a well-recognized signature characteristic of depression. The medical community has termed this symptom as diurnal variation.

Despite the fact that it has a name, diurnal variation remains somewhat of a mystery to experts who study the complexities of depression. These researchers seem to believe that it is connected to our biological circadian rhythms...which is another way of saying our body's natural internal clock.

Scientists have determined that our bodies' circadian rhythms are influenced by the light and dark periods of a 24 hour day. Light is the main stimulus influencing circadian rhythms, responsible for turning on or turning off genes that control a person's internal clock.

Brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration, core body temperature and other biological activities are also directly impacted by cycles of light and darkness.

And given the fact that individuals vary so widely when it comes to their body's natural rhythms, some people with depression will wake up feeling good in the morning, and then experience a slow slide back down into depression as the day progresses. This phenomenon is known as reverse diurnal variation.

Researchers attribute this to the fact that we now live in a 24 hour society, where people have work schedules which don't fit into the typical 9:00am - 5:00am routine. Furthermore, we have the ability to, quickly and easily, travel to different time zones and even, seasons.

That being said, however, other influencing factors on our internal clocks, such as, environmental stress, hormonal fluctuations and genetic predisposition also have to be taken into consideration. All these might possibly, induce rhythm disturbances.

While the medical community recognizes the role diurnal variation plays in depression, there is still not enough known how, or even if, disturbances in our circadian system set off or take the edge off a depressive episode.

Studies continue on these and other possible clues to the cause of mood disorders. Fortunately, it is through this intensive research that experts are able to develop better and more effective methods for helping sufferers.

If you recognize yourself in this description of daily variation of mood, and suspect you may need help with how to deal with depression, it's important to schedule a visit with your doctor. Establishing a confirmed diagnoses is the first step to healing and recovery.

If you'd like to read more about helpful ways for how to deal with depression, visit my web site.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Steps to Overcoming Depression


* What is Depression

* Types of Depression

* Symptoms

* Causes of Depression

* Complications

* Treatment

WHAT IS DEPRESSION: An illness that involves our physical body, inner mind e.g. mood, and thoughts, that affects the way a person act that is the way we eat and sleep, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with a depressive disease cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with depression.

TYPES OF DEPRESSION: Certain types of depression vary in gravity and have links to specific events and individuals. Seasonal affective disorder is due to changes in season and may result from a lack of sunlight. Also, in the area of unfulfillment that is you are not where you are suppose to be as a person. This affects one physically, emotionally etc. Other types of depression are more serious such as major depression, which can affect the body and mind in an often negative way.

Major depression causes a combination of symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. Such a disabling episode of depression may occur only once but more commonly occurs several times in a lifetime.

SYMPTOMS: Symptoms of depression are not easily recognized. Many people can exhibit certain symptoms of depression but are in fact, not depressed. Depression could be noticed when their is a change in your physical body i.e. weight loss. This change occurs because most people that are depress tend to lose their appetite. Other symptoms include, slowed body movement or thinking, fatigue, feelings of hopelessness and guilt. In addition loss of interest in activities that were once interesting or enjoyable, including sex, hanging out, having fun etc.

CAUSES OF DEPRESSION: In most cases causes of depression varies but most seen result is mainly from traumatic events that happens in someone's life. A passing of a loved one can often ignite feelings of despair, loss and sadness that linger and evolve into depression. A major failure in life such as work or an important competition may also cause depression. Other causes of depression may have links to social isolation, non achievement that causes mental pain which promote to major illness and finally graduate to depression.

COMPLICATIONS: Complications of depression occurs when treatment does not prove effective or does not address the underlying issue of the disorder. Depression can cause people to neglect their health and physical appearance and which may lead to malnutrition or other nutritional disorders. When people who become depressed do not eat enough, the immune system may suffer which may make it easier for them to get sick. In my findings a more serious complication of depression includes attempting to commit suicide or having thoughts of not wanting to live. People who are depressed must be monitored for behavior that suggests they may have thought or could be considering suicide mission. Furthermore, Clinical depression can complicate serious health conditions such as heart disease or cancer.

TREATMENT: Treatment of depression depends on the severity of the disorder. the best way of treatment for anyone depressed is home remedies (and being unde supervision by a therapist or Doctor) such as getting enough rest, following a healthy diet, exercise and spending more time with loved ones can help treat depression. When you're depressed, it can feel like you'll never get out from under a dark shadow. But take heart. Even the most severe depression is treatable. With the right help and support, you can and will feel better. There are many effective ways to deal with depression, including exercise, talk therapy, medication, natural supplements, and lifestyle changes.

Learning all this treatment options will help you decide the best applicable one to help in any particular situation and needs. There are no quick fixes or instant cures, but if you're willing to work on yourself and stick with treatment, you'll escape from under depression's shadow sooner than you think.

For individuals that become so severely depressed they cannot function, or who feel suicidal and are unable to be safely cared for in their society/community, hospitalization may proves necessary.

Three Things Not To Say To A Depressed Person

Depression is a potentially debilitating mental illness that can range from mild to severe. Dealing with a depressed friend, coworker, or loved one can be very challenging. This article highlights three common mistakes people make when talking to someone who is struggling with depression.

When reading this article, please remember that the most important thing to do to help someone out of depression is to believe the person's value and abilities.

Things to avoid saying:

1. "You should see a counselor.", "You need to see a counselor.", or something similar.

Counselors, whether psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, school counselors, or other types of life coaches can be very helpful for dealing with depression. However, suggesting that someone see a counselor is not always the best way to help a person, and these two statements are some of the worst possible ways to suggest that a person see a counselor. Statements containing the word "should" can come across as moralizing and judgmental, and often make the person they are directed at feel defensive and resistant. The statement with the word "need" is even worse as it implies that the depressed person will not be able to get better on their own. This can make the person feel more hopeless and depressed, and, if the person actually does seek counseling, it does not lay a good foundation for a good outcome of therapy.

Instead, be very cautious about bringing up the topic of therapy and counseling. If you ever feel like there is a natural way to bring up the subject, introduce it in as gentle and non-threatening a way as possible, and speak from your own personal experience. For example: "I talked to such-and-such a counselor when I was dealing with X, Y, or Z, and I found them very helpful." Remember though, not all counselors or types of therapy are right for all people, so it is best to refrain from making specific recommendations about what a person "should" do...simply share your own experience and then let the person seek out therapy on their own, when they are ready to do so.

2. "Have you ever considered medication?" or "You know there's medication for that." or "I went on / know someone who went on antidepressants and it was very helpful."

Medication for depression is a highly controversial and emotionally charged issue. Suggesting that a person go on medication can come across as dismissive, insulting, and insensitive because it can make them feel like you believe they have something fundamentally wrong with them. The basic problem with depression is that a depressed person believes, irrationally, that something is fundamentally wrong with them, so such a statement can actually make them more depressed. These statements can also may make a depressed person become angry, withdrawn, or shameful. Depressed people have very low self-image and if you make a suggestion that they go on medication, they may have thought processes like: "I am so messed up." or "I'm crazy, I'm losing my mind." or "I am hopeless, I can't get out of this rut I am in." The last thing you want to do is to make any statements to a depressed person that can fuel these statements.

Also, unlike with psychotic disorders and manic depression (bipolar disorder), the use of antidepressants to treat major or minor depression, and the use of any form of drugs to treat generalized anxiety disorder (which is related to and often co-occurs with depression) is highly controversial even within the scientific and medical community. Although there are a number of people who strongly feel that antidepressants have worked for them, there are many people who, for legitimate reasons, are cautious about ever taking these medications. There are also concerns about the benefits of antidepressants being overstated in the medical literature due to publication bias; because of the internet, many people, including depressed people, are increasingly well-educated about pharmaceuticals, and are rightfully cautious or skeptical about taking medication. If you suggest medication to such a person, you may undermine their trust in you. There are also factors that lead certain people to respond more or less well to antidepressants, and there are certain groups of people. If you are not a doctor and do not know the full medical and psychological history of the person you are talking to, then it is not your place to talk about medication. Do not bring the subject up.

3. Nothing, or agreement, in response to a depressed person's negative statements.

People who are depressed will often make negative statements about themselves, their life, their circumstances, job, people they know, or even their friends and loved ones. They speak these negative things because their mind is filled with negative thoughts. However, the act of speaking something out loud can actually solidify someone's belief, especially if they receive social reinforcement.

Sometimes people agree with the irrational negative statements that a depressed person makes, because they want to comfort the person. For example, a depressed person might be complaining about their job, and they might talk about how much of a jerk their boss and coworkers are, or they might talk about how their family doesn't care about them, or about how their job search has been fruitless. If you just listen, smile, and nod, or if you respond by affirming them, with something like "Wow, that sounds so terrible.", you may reinforce the person's negative thoughts.

Instead, quickly, assertively, and authoritatively stop them; interrupt them if necessary. Show solidarity but do so in a way that makes more objective, detached statements, with softer emotional content, and then make a positive statement. For example, if someone is complaining that their boss is being a jerk, you can say: "It sounds like your boss was putting you in a difficult situation. I think you are a strong person for being able to handle yourself well in a work environment like that." This sort of statement emphasizes a personal strength of the depressed person and will help nudge them in a more positive direction.

In summary:

Three of the most important things to avoid saying to a depressed person are (1) statements that the person "should" or "needs to" see a counselor (2) suggestions that the person go on antidepressant medications, and (3) agreement or affirmation of the person's irrational negative thoughts or statements. Instead, make statements that help the person to believe in themselves and their own ability to overcome depression.

Warning Signs of Anxiety and Depression

Research shows that around one in four people are suffering from mental illness, which means that at any point in time, a quarter of the population have some kind of mental health problem. This can range from mild depression and anxiety right through to serious mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and other forms of dementia.

No one is immune to developing a mental health problem as mental illness can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time and at any age. So how can you recognise the early warning signs? All of us will inevitably feel a bit out of sorts or low at times and it's important to stress that this is a perfectly normal part of life and the feeling usually wears off after a short period of time. It's when we can't shake this feeling off on our own that we should pay attention and on the alert for other symptoms of depression or anxiety.

The most common types of mental health problems are indeed anxiety related disorders and depression and by recognising the symptoms we can help prevent ourselves or others close to us from experiencing unnecessary suffering and despair.

Common symptoms of anxiety and depression

* Low moods or sadness

* Unable to sleep or sleeping too much

* Changes in appetite

* Fatigue

* Loss of libido

* Weight loss or weight gain

* Irritability

* Emotional outbursts

* Experiencing a panic attack

* Unable to relax

* Excessive worrying

* Feeling worthless and guilty

* Unable to make decisions

* Feeling anxious and nervous

* Obsessive compulsive behaviour

* Thoughts of suicide

We may experience one or more of these symptoms from time to time and yet not be suffering from a mental illness but if the symptoms persist and are severe enough to interfere with what you normally do on a day to day basis then you should seek advice from your doctor.

For example if you find it hard to go to work, or get up in the morning, or if you avoid social contact with friends or stop indulging in hobbies or pastimes that you used to enjoy or if you are constantly worrying and feeling anxious then this should all be taken seriously.

Recognising anxiety

Anxiety can be defined as a persistent nagging and unrealistic worry or fear about any aspect of your life, for example it could be connected to your health, your relationships or your work. You might have some difficulty focussing or concentrating on a task, your sleep may be disturbed and you could feel edgy and irritable or shaky and nervous.

Again it's important to stress that we all become anxious when faced with threatening or difficult situations such as a driving test or a job interview and this is a good thing as it helps us to prepare for the event. It's when this anxiety persists when there is no obvious reason for it that we should pay attention and seek help before it gets any worse. If we are extremely anxious or worried then we might also experience panic attacks.

What are panic attacks?

Panic attacks are terrifying; they can come on at any time without warning. Physical symptoms include difficulty breathing, pounding heart, unable to swallow, pains in the chest, dizziness and shaking. People often describe the sensation of a panic attack as if they are having a heart attack and feel as if they are going to die. Once someone has experienced a full blown panic attack they may be so scared of having another one that even the fear of the panic attack itself is enough to bring one on.

People who are suffering from persistent anxiety are often suffering from depression too.

Recognising depression

Depression can be said to exist when you have been feeling low for more than a couple of weeks or so and the symptoms are severe enough to hinder you from carrying out your normal daily routines the way you used to and you no longer enjoy the same activities that you used to find pleasurable. It can make you feel exhausted, worthless and unable to cope with even the most minor of tasks.

When to seek help

Quite simply, it is important to seek help as early as possible in order to get the right support. Many people are tempted to go it alone and struggle on day after day which not only reduces quality of life it also magnifies existing feelings of isolation, hopelessness and despair.

If you are diagnosed with depression or an anxiety related disorder then it is quite likely that you will be offered medication in the first instance, and possibly some form of therapy.

The good thing is that both depression and anxiety are treatable and with the right support and understanding from family and friends, most people will get back to their old selves again and will go on to make a complete recovery.

Natural Cures For Depression and Anxieties

Anxiety attacks are common reactions to conditions or situations that makes a person nervous or uncomfortable. It is borne out of several stress factors like pressures from home or work, financial troubles, relationship issues. Anxiety may be evident in various trigger points the one common factor that characterizes them is the feeling of fear or worry. It is normal for people to be anxious, however, at certain levels, anxiety can be debilitating and distressful that it is considered as a disorder.

Many people who suffer from anxiety also experiences depression at one point.They feel so hopeless and develop irrational fear of dying.

To relieve the symptoms of anxiety some people use prescription medications without realizing that it can be habit-forming to a point of addiction.

There are, however, natural cures for anxiety depression. Scientific research prove these methods to be effective during the early stages of anxiety.

Instead of prescription drug, opt for herbal medications instead. Those made of natural ingredients like valerian, passionflower or kava help in calming the nerves. Herbal medications also come in tincture and essential oils or cream that can be applied directly to the skin or pressure points.

Another natural cure for depression anxiety is exercise. By taking 30 minutes to an hour a day exercise encourages good blood circulation. Meditation an yoga enhances proper breathing and relaxation. Sometimes, hypnosis is also used to calm the nerves.

But psychotherapy is the best natural cure for depression anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are the most popular and effective types of therapies. Through these methods, the person learn to recognize, control and manage the causes of his anxieties. It has a more permanent cure to anxiety by targeting the cause, and not only in relieving the symptoms.

Always consult first with a mental health specialist before undergoing any treatments for anxiety. Every individual has different ways of coping with anxiety and the guidance of a licensed professional will always be helpful.

Don't Let Your Gout Cause Depression

Openly talking to your doctor about medication and other facts of gout, will help you avoid letting your gout cause other issues in addition to the painful attacks you're already experiencing. The reason why it is important to be able to freely talk about your gout condition is because gout can cause depression.

Feeling depressed or down is a normal part of life and is experienced by most people from time to time. Everyone goes through bouts of apathy, despair, and exhaustion, a case of the blues that takes hold and doesn't let go. Depression can occur for many reasons, and poor health is one of the major causes. Therefore, if you're not careful, you can let your gout get you down.

How can gout cause depression?

- Painful attacks

- Not being able to use the affected joint during an attack

- Not being able to enjoy certain activities

- Avoiding foods you love eating because they can cause gout

- Knowing a gout attack can recur

How will you know if you are depressed? Signs and symptoms of depression include:

- Feeling helpless and/or hopeless - feeling that a situation with never become better or change

- Loss of interest in everyday activities - no longer participating in hobbies and activities once enjoyed

- Significant weight loss or weight gain (a 5% increase or decrease in body weight in one month)

- Insomnia or hypersomnia (oversleeping)

- Feeling restless or sluggish

- Feeling exhausted and physically drained, even when doing simple tasks

- Self-loathing

- Difficulty concentrating

- Irritable - easily frustrated, annoyed or angered

- Feeling aches and pains - having headaches and gastrointestinal complaints (I.E. constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc.)

How can you treat depression related to gout? If you are feeling depressed, the following are a few self-help tips to aid you in eliminating the blues gout cause. Just remember that in order to successfully self-treat depression you need to want to recover from your condition and give it everything you've got. Therefore, you need to be practical, open-minded, and above all, be yourself!

Talk to someone supportive - Talk to a good friend, or talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have about your condition.

Research gout - Find out how you can treat and prevent gout attacks so you don't let gout cause symptoms that are painful or depressing.

Enjoy the food you eat - Just because you have to avoid certain foods rich in purines, doesn't mean that you can't enjoy eating anymore. Find out what foods are low in purines and are considered gout-friendly. Some examples include, chocolate, carbonated beverages, eggs, sugar, milk products, bread, grains cereals, rice, pasta, cheese, milk products, tomatoes, fruit, and some green vegetables. Use these foods to create healthy new recipes.

Exercise - Exercise helps blood flow thorough your body and improves circulation. Exercise also releases endorphins which make you feel better, improves your sense of well-being, and can help you avoid the negative feelings gout cause.

Take time to relax and avoid stress - You may be overworking yourself and your body. Tell yourself you deserve a break and take the time to do something you enjoy and focus on clearing your mind. For instance:

- Take a hot bath

- Listen to music

- Get a massage

- Spend time with a pet

- Read a book

- Write in a journal

- Take a walk and enjoy nature

- What a comedic movie or T.V. show

Finally, always remember that if you are suffering from prolonged depression (depression that lasts for months) due to a gout cause, or another issue, you should seek immediate medical attention before your depression moves beyond your control. Major depression is a mental illness that needs to be taken serious and treated. Therefore, you may be required to take medication such as antidepressants to help you overcome depression so you can move on with your life.

Why Do I Feel Stressed and Depressed - What Helps Stress and Depression?

There are a lot of things that cause stress which leads to depression. But, for normal people it is usually because of an event, a death, conflict at work, school, illness, personal problems, and other social and personal factors. It is normal to be stressed but when it leads to depression, how do you control it?

There are severe cases of depression, one that we do not have complete control of. Examples of severe depression cases are due to medications, genetics, hormones, and substance abuse.

What helps depression? It depends on what kind you have, if it's depression from social and environmental cues then there are many ways to cheer one up. Being with good friends can be therapeutic if you are able to openly discuss your problems. Hypnosis has been also proven to be effective which will keep you away from conflicting medications. Although these are not sure fire ways to help depression in the severe case there are more aggressive forms of treatment and lifestyle changes has to be done in order to treat someone with clinical depression.

Depression medicines are easy fixes that help depression but not always the best solution. These are usually called antidepressants. These medications help someone suffering from mild to severe depression although medicine alone will not be enough and not many people want to depend on medications.

Psychotherapy is another way to combat depression. It lifts the moods of patients and improves their coping skills to better handle future bouts with depression.

Certain food helps boost ones mood and help deal with depression. A nice diet of these "happy foods" will greatly help a patient. Exercise is of course a good way. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, a feel good substance, in the body and increases the mood of a person, which relieves stress.

Again, what helps stress and depression? There are many ways to cope and treat depression; the best way is to find the right mix of lifestyle, and professional help depending on the condition of the patient.

Why do I feel stressed and depressed? Many ask this question all the time. If you are not in the severe case category, you need to feel good about yourself and find the cause. It might be work, the people around you, your home a broken heart. The important thing is to start feeling good and this will improve your outlook and attitude. But really there is no quick fix. You need to learn to control your emotions and fight depression naturally.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lengthy Depression Can Damage Brain Cells, Scientists Warn

With the expected increase in the death rate among people with depression, researchers are looking for new ways to treat the illness that affects so many people worldwide.

By the year 2020, researchers expect depression to become second to heart disease as the leading cause of death worldwide. This is just one of the reasons they are working diligently to find a cure.

For those who suffer from depression, their world is a dark one. For many, that colorless life is unbearable as it persists year after year despite the variety of treatments that are used.

According to researchers, the secret to defeating depression starts with early intervention because the illness can, in fact, cause damage to the brain cells. The longer the depression continues, the longer the recovery time, and the longer it will take the brain cells to heal.

Traditional treatments involving a combination of psychotherapy and medications are still proving to be the most successful, although anti-depressant medications work only in 60% of the cases. For some people, they must remain on medications for the rest of their lives, but the luckier ones enjoy a life free from depression once their treatments have succeeded.

Researchers have begun testing other ways to cure depression that could put an end to the need for ongoing traditional treatments.

They have learned that in depressed people, the electrical activity - or alpha rhythms - in the frontal lobe of their brains is non-existent or very low, while other areas of the brain are over-active.

One new technique to treat this problem involves Magnetic Pulse Stimulation - a method that involves stimulating the under-active areas of the brain and deactivating the over-active ones. So far there is evidence it works. Patients have experienced a lightness, a sharpness they didn't have before. Magnetic Pulse Stimulation gives relief, but so far it does not offer a permanent solution because subjects have relapsed and the treatments have to be repeated.

Another method being examined involves implanting an electrical stimulator into the upper chest. It sends electrical impulses to the brain. It is very expensive and involves major surgery, making it one of the least desirable and available treatments.

Also shown to be effective is SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine), a synthetic form of a chemical produced naturally in the body that aids a number of chemical processes, including maintaining cells and influencing emotions and moods. It's said to be more effective than anti-depressants, but this is still being challenged. More research is needed to determine its effectiveness and the dosage requirements.

While researchers look for more effective ways of treating depression, the stigma surrounding mental illness persists. This significantly impacts those suffering from depression because they do not want people to know they have a mental illness.

They delay seeking treatment because of how it will be seen by their co-workers, friends and family. It's common today for people to suggest those who are depressed, "snap out of it", which is impossible since the condition is a chemical one that cannot be fixed that simply.

The place where the stigma is most prominent is in the workplace, where employers are concerned about losses through time off which can affect the company's economy. Out of fear of losing respect and their jobs, people suffer in silence.

Unfortunately, this delay in getting treatment allows the condition to worsen. In turn, it takes longer to recover.

Parents might think that all teens go through depression, and that it is a normal part of adolescence. This is untrue, as it's been proven that 80% of people go through their teens without any psychiatric disorder.

There is evidence to prove that it is inherited. If a parent had depression, there's a 90% chance the child will develop it, too.

Some work is being done to identify the genes that trigger depression to find out why certain families have the illness. Some people actually enjoy stress in their lives, while other people break down.

One sign that a person is suffering from depression is if that person who was once very active, perhaps even athletic suddenly loses energy and interest in things that they once enjoyed.

While we might suggest that conditions in the world today are enough to make us depressed, it's not enough for such self-loathing.

For some people the war continues, and those who can claim victory wonder if their future is safe. Time and early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference.

Failed at Love Again or Just Another Manic Episode (I'm Bipolar, You Know)

One Sunday, while still depressed from yet another love affair gone south, I came across a quote from Wolfgang Goethe: "If I love you, what business is it of yours?" A lightning bolt struck me as I realized that being in love has nothing at all to do with the other person. It's like saying to her "I love you, but it has nothing to do with you". All these women I had fallen in love with over the years; all these infatuations, lusts and compulsions were about me and me alone! But what about everything I learned? I had believed those relationship people who said couples are drawn together to resolve issues from their childhood. My spirituality took a hit since I also believed that falling in love was really two souls drawn together to further their eternal healing and rise up closer to God. What about the evolution angle? If we don't have instinct getting some of us together, we would surely become extinct, right? Still those dang words of Goethe are so clear to me. If falling in love has nothing to do with her, then something surely must be wrong with me.

When I fall in love, I lose my ego boundaries. All I think of is being with her.

I don't eat. I lose interest in important things like my job, my bills, and my friends. I'm moving a million miles a minute like some hyperactive child... well, like a maniac. So I looked it up. Mania manifests as hyperactivity, grandiose behaviors, unreasonable assumptions and at times, high-risk behavior. So that's it, I'm manic! No wait! There's a sadness I feel too, a stressful kind of depression going on. If her voice wasn't on the phone, then I'd rather not talk. I'd die a thousand deaths waiting for my email to be answered. Did she read it? Is she ignoring me? Is she reading another man's email? Where's my cell phone? Is it charged? I would call myself to make sure it worked! I doubted myself constantly. I promised and I prayed. Argh! I couldn't get up off the couch but I sure could jump towards the window when I heard anything resembling the sound of her car door slamming. Of course, all sounds were remarkably similar to the sound of her car door slamming. Isn't that depressing? I looked that up too and now I'm both manic and depressed (and obviously confused).

So what triggers this love stuff? Why her and not her (nod head left to right). Why now and not then? The distinct and brutal clarity I derived from Mr. Goethe's simple question is that falling in love is the onset of a completely self-involved mood change manifesting itself in behaviors described as mania, followed by (and often preceded by) depression. I looked that up too. The Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual (DSM IV) defines these alternating mood swings as Bipolar Disorder. So that's it! I have a mood disorder!

Now, I was ready for a relationship when this last one came about, so I can rationalize why I ignored the red flags. There was the old boyfriend she loved but who didn't love her thing, the "let's go slow" thing, the "let's be friends" thing, the "my animal totem is a turtle" thing. Flags? What flags? I didn't care! Sure, I can be a friend. Yeah, slow is good-sure, sure, I can do slow. Heck, I would have done anything: I just wanted a girlfriend. I could see she was starting to fall for me, too. Well, she tried to, anyway. There was the come here - go away thing, the wonderful huggy-kissy coffees by the river one day but the next day I'd feel like an autism therapist... here turtle, turtle. I was confused. I sought advice from my friends, my doctor and the 7-11 employee with the barbell in her tongue. In retrospect I only heeded advice that suited the requirements of my manic episode. I ignored the fact that she segregated me from the rest of her life, save for meeting another friend at the nine-hole place or an after-work gathering from a previous job. I ignored my friends' admonitions about always being available. I listened to the "Go out and win it!" instead of the "What's in it for me, anyway?"

Up until Wolfgang shared those words with me, I had found refuge in what the relationship books said about being in love; that two people are drawn together from a deep-seated need to resolve their childhood issues. Well that appears pretty selfish now, doesn't it? Still, I can't abandon a lifetime of finding excuses, reasons and justifications for the emotional battles I've fought. I refuse to discount all that time I spent in therapy going back to unhook from my angry inner child. Besides, me and my little inner guy finally have an agreement.

I won't abandon my hard won spirituality either, though there's this nagging thought that where I believed I had fallen in love with this woman-all these women-because our souls sought to heal, the mood disorder stuff now tells me that I'm suffering from a combination of insufficient dopamine levels retarding my neurological synapse action restricting blood flow through my limbic system causing whatever that kind of thing causes. Well, disorder or not, my God and my soul stay put. Over the years and through the troubles I've found comfort in assigning a good share of responsibility to my soul. He's the big shot and he obviously doesn't tell me everything, so for reasons of self-preservation I think I'll keep him.

My behavior in this last affair was particularly troubling. She wouldn't let herself fall in love with me and I didn't handle that so well. It showed. Why is emotional dissonance so powerfully disrupting? Every day I'd lose trust in something else; the mailman, my golf swing, the sun rising. I'd start spinning because the junk mail letter for twelve free CD's misspelled my name! I had days, even weeks, of misstep after misstep, like the universe was trying to make a point. One day in particular I was having a terrible time. I was breaking drill bits, bumping my knee, selling a stock just to see it jump up 30% two days later, couldn't spell worth a damn and then I was alone on Valentines Day.

This was the most intense relationship I'd never been in. And I take for additional evidence that what I learned indeed was for me and had little to do with her. She was a catalyst for my journey, acting as a mirror or sounding board. Throughout this episode, I picked up one spiritual book after another; Celestine Visions; Seat of the Soul; The Four Agreements; God on a Harley. I found solace in rocks - spiritual vibrations to sooth my soul. I had my palms read, my chart charted and my numbers numerologied. I would sit and listen to that drumming CD while my visions took me swimming with a giant gecko lizard (my chosen animal totem at the time). Jeesh! Is this love as the Lutherans taught me?

Like most people in the midst of turmoil, I knew I'd get by. A friend once said she could handle the breakup of a relationship. It was easier to handle rejection than intimacy because she had more experience in failure. Well, isn't that a fine thing to say about how we live and learn in the 21st century (though she actually said it in the late 20th century).

Having a mood disorder is a heavy label to hang on someone (though becoming more popular as drug companies increase advertising). It isn't as popular as codependence, but it's getting there, and rightly so. Just as we believed the earth was the center of our universe, only to eventually agree with Copernicus that we are not, and just as we believed that alcoholism was a moral dilemma caused by a lack of will power and moral turpitude, only to discover a genetic component, so will we find in the comfort of a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis the means (and medication) to accept a bit more of ourselves and cope yet one more day, through one more rejection. Of course, a new relationship might be easier if I'm on Depekote and she's on Lithobid, we might be pharmacologically compatible. Only our therapist would know for sure. I read that fish oil helps this condition. Omega 3. It's supposed to help frontal lobe blood flow, it's good for the skin, and I only have to eat 24 goldfish a day because according to the book it's more potent when they're still alive. I got the book at the airport from a young bald guy wearing robes.

Just why is it a "disorder" anyway? Isn't bipolar just another version of individual? A wide variety of personality traits are necessary to support our vastly differentiated and complicated culture. Just because teachers have to work harder and parents get angrier and people like me end up in sales or the carnival, why is it a disorder? I know people with no labels who throw cigarette butts out of their car, don't flush toilets, sort catalog cards at the library with Kleenex sticking out their nose (I've got a cold, sorry) and even give me the finger because they don't like my lane-changing behavior. Is that normal?

Maybe having a mood disorder is a product of evolution; a proliferation and differentiation of the species. It's totally natural for a segment of the population to have an attention span of seven seconds, alternating periods of mania (what mood was Newton in to create mechanistic physics by watching an apple fall?), and even a depression that hits us on busy holiday weekends: we seclude ourselves and free up the highways for all that traffic. Heck, we probably even save lives! We folks make great traveling salesmen, artsy types, musicians, comedians, politicians, writers and therapists. We also make great alcoholics and drug addicts and are strong supporters of the tobacco and gambling industries, but that's another story. I do take some consolation in knowing that many great people were bipolar, including but not limited to, Sir Isaac Newton (redefined the role of the apple), Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Leo Tolstoy and Earnest Hemmingway.

I'm recovering from this last brush with the Turtle intact. One must expect recovery time, time, time, I guess, guess, guess. I'm doing okay. I haven't rebounded into the arms of just anyone. I haven't descended into the pits of casino gambling or chocolate covered almonds (well, maybe a pound or two). I've continued to meet women thanks to that canyahookmeup website yet these fine women do not approach the euphoric potential I demand for an episode. Maybe it's OK to go slow and be friends first. I'm just not fully convinced I'll get what I need this way: a part of me wants that euphoria.

Am I better for the experiences? Yes. Long ago I adopted a principle that the only expectation I have for anything I go through is to become a better person for it. Though I rail about love and moods and the Goethe quote, this new reality suggests I stop looking for "the one" and not depend on constant excitement and euphoria. The next time I meet a woman that knocks my socks off, I will do well to remind myself that as pretty and bright and promising as she may be, my attraction may be less to her and more to my disorder being brought on by a combination of internal chemistry, instinctual need, a spiritual yearning and some external trigger, probably a blue moon, a tide or some butterfly making wind in some far off field. I'll just have to take it from there.