How Depression Affects Relationships and What to Do About It

How you deal with your depression may very well decide whether your relationship will end before the depression does. One study showed how major depression leads to negative life events such as divorce. Not only that, but your spouse may become depressed, too, as they struggle to manage things you aren’t able to do because you’re mired in negativity.

Your spouse may be your greatest support. The best way to thank her or him for that is to deal with your depression as quickly and completely as possible.

Easier said than done, right? However, there are some things you can do for yourself to decrease the severity and length of your depression.

Avoid Ruminating

Ruminating means turning something over and over in your mind without solving the problem you’re thinking about. Some people call it wallowing. Think of it as dwelling on problems rather than solutions.

Research has shown that people who ruminate a lot when they’re depressed have more numerous and severe depressive symptoms. So, instead of thinking about how bad you feel and everything you feel has gone wrong, choose more positive thoughts.

Change the Way You Think

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment method used by therapists to teach you how to identify problem thoughts and replace them with more positive thoughts. Through cognitive restructuring, a key CBT technique, you learn to look at your situation differently.  You can work with a local therapist or an online psychiatrist to change your thinking through CBT.

Take Positive Action

People who are depressed often have a hard time taking positive action to improve their situation. Many do break through their feelings of being stuck though, and you can, too. Start with CBT. Then, go further by putting what you learn into practice every day.

Take action on your own, or talk to your partner about how you can work together to solve problems. The benefits for your relationship can start even before the depression lifts. Just the fact that you’re collaborating with each other on these issues can bring you closer together.

Confide in Your Spouse

Confiding in your spouse about your depressive thoughts and behaviors is a good way to check your perceptions and thought processes. Assuming your spouse isn’t depressed, too, she or he can help you develop a more balanced view and provide a more positive perspective.

Do Activities You Usually Enjoy Together

You might not feel like going hiking or taking an evening to go have dinner and see a play. If an activity has been a source of joy for the two of you in the past, though, your spouse may miss it. Honor the support your spouse offers you by doing what you can to support them, too.

Seek Help

The most important thing you can do for your relationship is to seek help for your depression as early as possible. With early intervention, you can overcome your depression faster and stay well longer. You can learn appropriate ways to deal with your depression within the marriage and when you’re on your own.

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie-Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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How I Cope With Depression & Anxiety

Hello there everyone! You guys have read a lot of different posts from me. I mostly post book reviews, author interviews and personal writing blog posts about my own work as an author. That’s what you’ve come to know about me over the years, but one thing you may have noticed as well is that I am very passionate about mental health awareness. There are many reasons for my increased passion for this topic, but today I’m going to tell you the personal connection I have to mental health awareness. You see…I suffer from depression and anxiety.

I’ve touched upon this briefly in old videos on my YouTube channel Avina Vlogs. However as I’ve had the pleasure of working with the amazing company BetterHelp on several guest blog posts, I thought I’d take a more hands on approach and work with the company to bring you my own personal mental health struggles.

You see, my depression struggles began when I was sixteen years old. At that time I was an active kid in high school, working hard in school and holding down a steady job, earning money for my future. I was studying, working, and gearing towards my future education in college. I was losing weight, hitting the gym hard and was living what society has deemed a typical high school life. Yet whether you want to call it fate or just a stroke of bad luck, the universe had other plans in store.

One night in November 2006, I was at the gym playing a pickup game of basketball when I landed on a slippery spot on the court. My legs gave out under me and I proceeded to tear a ligament in my ankle. That would be the night my life changed forever. To make a long story short my life got turned upside down. My ankle to this day after multiple surgeries never healed properly. After my injury, illnesses I inherited from my family began to crop up,. This stopped me from working out of the house, forced me to finish my high school career from home and set me on the course I’m on today.

Now while this string of bad luck allowed me to find my purpose in life, which was writing, it also set me up with a lifetime of health struggles that will never end. This has been the biggest contributing factor in my mental health struggles. Since then I have struggled with crippling depression and anxiety, especially and more specifically social anxiety. It’s a struggle to get out of bed each day and do what I’m capable of doing, knowing I’ll never be able to do what I once was able to. The struggle never stops, but there are ways I’ve learned over the years to cope. Some are more personal, while others may be able to help you as well.

  1. Talk to someone. This is the most important step you can take. Sitting alone with your thoughts in this state is dangerous, and if not for my amazing family I would have been alone. Speak to family, friends, or professional help. No matter what find someone to reach out to.
  2. Find a Creative Outlet. This for me has included various things, such as writing and reading, blogging, photography, videography, playing video games and so much more. Perhaps art or design is your outlet. Find something to occupy your mind.
  3. Health. Eat healthy food, exercising or moving in general can help with your depression.
  4. Seek Help. If the depression is overwhelming, seek help from a professional. Don’t let others tell you differently. Ignore those who support the stigma around mental health. Take control and find someone to help you. They can either prescribe the right medication for you, help you find natural ways of coping or talk you through the process. A great way to do this is to find a psychiatrist, which thanks to my friends at BetterHelp you can do by clicking the link here.    https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/psychologists/reasons-to-choose-an-online-psychiatrist/

Thanks so much everyone for listening. If you’d like to know more about my mental health journey or other’s who struggle with it and how they cope, leave a comment below and share this post on your social media sites. Thanks to my friends at BetterHelp for the link to this amazing resource, and I will talk to you all in the next post.

Guest Post: How to Keep Working When Experiencing a Depressive Episode

Can you continue to work when you have bipolar disorder and you are experiencing a depressive episode? Many people have proven that it’s possible. Yet, research shows that maintaining employment is a major challenge for people with bipolar disorder. To overcome this challenge, following these suggestions may help you in continuing with your career path.

Recognize Symptoms Early

Recognizing your symptoms as soon as they happen is crucial. If you’re not paying careful attention to, ignoring, or denying your symptoms, your condition could become severe before you even realize you need to do something to get better.

One study revealed that patient education on symptoms and treatment improves employment outcomes. Here are some of the symptoms of bipolar depression (which is very similar to unipolar depression, or major depressive disorder),

  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Decreased energy
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Problems concentrating
  • Unusual memory problems
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

Prioritize Treatment

Work is important, of course. But there are times when you need to put your treatment and self-care above your attendance. If you can’t schedule appointments outside of work hours, you may worry that treatment will interfere with your job.

However, research shows that getting treatment early can help you not only save your job but thrive in it. Seeking treatment early helps with both work productivity and the social aspects of work.

Manage Your Thoughts

When you’re depressed, your mind tends to generate negative thoughts. While you can’t help what thoughts come into your mind, you can choose which thoughts to dwell on and act on.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn to identify negative thought patterns and change your responses to things that trigger these patterns. Meditation is a tool that you may learn in therapy to also help you focus on the here and now, rather than dwelling on intrusive thoughts that can distract you. Talking to a psychologist can be extremely helpful for staying on track in your career.

Keep Moving

It’s hard to stay active when you’re feeling the lethargy and indecisiveness of bipolar depression. When you allow yourself to become more sedentary, symptoms of depression usually become worse. You don’t have to start a rigorous exercise routine, but getting up and moving at various times during the day can release endorphins that can help improve your mood.

Stick to Your Schedule

Sticking to a schedule is important both outside of and during work. If you have a job with set hours, sleeping at a consistent time each night and preparing for bed with a nighttime routine can help. People who are self-employed, such as writers, independent graphic designers, personal trainers, and contractors usually have more leeway in how they set their schedule, but still need some kind of routine.

No matter what your occupation is, you need to talk to your doctor about sleep problems if they happen frequently. Get into a daily routine for all the important aspects of your life so that you are staying consistent with your physical self-care.

Manage Mania  

For people with bipolar disorder, one of the most difficult parts of dealing with the depressive part of the disorder is that when you sink too low, it becomes very easy to cycle back into mania. Some medications work better for bipolar depression than others. If your doctor suggests antidepressants, ask if they are likely to cause mania. The key to avoiding mania is to get proper treatment for your depression.

When you have bipolar disorder, your body has a hard time maintaining homeostasis of the chemicals in your brain that affect your mood, concentration, and other things that can affect your day-to-day at work. The best things you can do for your career if you’re bipolar are to learn more about your condition, and seek treatment as needed.

Bipolar Disorder and Creativity: Can You Still Be Creative on Bipolar Medication?

If you’re a creative type, the idea of bipolar disorder as a component of your creativity can keep you from getting the help you need. A common misperception is that treatment renders artists incapable of the kinds of thought that allow them to see the world in their own unique way. Is this true? Maybe and maybe not.

Artists Do Think Differently

Artists are typically better at two types of thinking. One, called janusian thought, is defined as actively thinking of multiple opposites at the same time. The other, called homospatial process, is defined as actively thinking of two or more different things or people occupying the same space.

Artists also tend to think in nonlinear and nonconventional ways. The treatment you choose needs to allow you to continue doing that.

Effects of Medication on Bipolar Disorder

People who create art need to be careful to get the right medications for them. Finding the right medication regimen may make a huge difference in your creative output. The right medications for you also allow you to stay mentally healthy enough to produce quality art.

Creativity and Lithium

Lithium may not be a good choice for artists, as it suppresses janusian thought and homospatial process.

It’s also easy to confuse the effects of going off lithium with a return to creativity, which may prompt you to quit taking it.

What actually happens is that you become energized and hypomanic or manic after abruptly stopping a large dose of lithium. The effects on creativity, if there are any, don’t last. Instead, you may become too ill to create anything at all.

So, What Medications are Better?

A few medications have been used successfully to treat bipolar disorder without causing effects that impair creative thinking.

So far, anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine, valproate, lamotrigine, gabapentin, and tiagabine are excellent choices for artists. Channel blockers like verapamil have also shown favorable results in a few cases.

Is Therapy Better than Medication?

The wrong kind of psychotherapy can indeed suppress creative ways of thinking. However, therapy is a treatment of choice when the therapist understands your need to remain creative while overcoming the harmful effects of bipolar disorder.

Even though you might prefer therapy to medication as a treatment, you might need to take medications to be well enough to attend and learn from therapy. Therapy helps you deal with anxiety, bipolar depression, and mania by encouraging you to take medication as needed (adherence).

What You can Do

You do have control over your own treatment for bipolar disorder. Taking charge of your care helps you get the right treatments for you. Here are some things you can do to protect your creativity while getting treatment:

  • Find an understanding psychiatrist and/or therapist.
  • Emphasize the importance of preserving your ability to think creatively.
  • If you are worried about side effects of any of the possible medications, such as lithium carbonate, ask your psychiatrist to choose a different medication for you.
  • If you do take medication, take them as directed, and don’t discontinue them abruptly. Talk to your psychiatrist if you are experiencing any difficulties with your medication.
  • Call on your creativity during therapy to better understand how to deal with your bipolar disorder.

Both medications and therapy can help creative people with bipolar disorder. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stick with treatment until you find the right combination for you!

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy

Dealing with Anxiety in a Fast-Paced World

It seems like just when we get used to our phone or computer, another one comes along that is better and faster. Everything is faster and everyone seems to want to move at the speed of sound. What happened to slowing down and relaxing? I bet none of the teenagers now would even understand if we told them to stop and smell the roses. Well, they could actually just Google it but they still would not really understand what it actually means. Why is everyone in such a hurry?

Why Are We in Such a Hurry?

In the beginning, nature pretty much went along as a slow pace, moving at nature’s schedule when time was only noticed by the passing of the seasons and the cycles of the moon. Until humans decided they wanted to change time (daylight savings time) and move along at their own schedules whether it went with nature or not. In ancient times, when it got dark, it was time to go to sleep and when the sun came up, our days would start. That is not true anymore! Now some of us get up and work or party all night long and sleep during the day. Some people barely sleep at all because they are too busy with technology, gaming or talking on Facebook or Twitter all night long. We have disconnected from nature’s nice slow pace and tried to adapt to living under our new unnatural time pressures. Talk about some stress!

Anxiety Disorders

So, it should come as no surprise that we end up in our doctor or therapist’s office trying to figure out why we are so anxious all the time. Many experts are calling this condition time poverty and it is actually recognized as a psychological stressor. Trying to keep up with society and pushing ourselves to catch up when we fall behind is causing a great deal of anxiety in many people. In fact, anxiety disorder is the number one most common mental health condition in the United States. In fact, about 40 million American adults, which is over 18% of the population. On a more global note, approximately 1 in 13 of the world’s population suffer from anxiety.

Exercise

There are many things you can do to deal with your anxiety in this high-tech world. The one that seems most obvious is also the hardest to do, which is to just unplug. Turn off your cellphone, put down your tablet, and get off the computer. Get outside and do something physical such as taking a walk, bike riding, hiking, swimming, jogging, tennis, baseball, whatever you want to do. Exercise is good for both anxiety and depression and it is also good for your physical health. The “feel good” chemicals in your brain (serotonin) increase during and after exercise, making you feel more relaxed and satisfied. It can also help keep your mind off your stressors and keep you too busy to worry about checking your email or updating your Facebook status.

Talk to Someone

Another way to relieve stress is through talk therapy or cognitive behavior therapy. Both of these can be done from home on your electronic device for those of us who are just too busy to set an appointment. In fact, BetterHelp has more than 2,000 licensed professionals that are available to help you right now.

The Basics of Bipolar Disorder (Guest Post)

Hi there my friends. I’m honored to once again be hosting a guest post from the incredible website BetterHelp. The post they’ve put together for you guys is near and dear to my heart, as Bipolar Disorder affects someone I love and care for dearly. I may talk about that in a separate post, but for now I hope this post will help anyone suffering from Bipolar Disorder or anyone who knows and loves someone suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Take special care to read the article and click the links, especially if any of you feel you need help in this regard. Thank you once again to BetterHelp for this amazing guest post, and I hope you all will enjoy it.

Anthony Avina

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You may know it as manic-depressive disorder, but it is typically now referred to as bipolar disorder. This is a serious mental health disorder that affects close to three percent of the United States population. Bipolar disorder is a double-edged sword in that it causes both severe depression and mania or hypomania, which is an extremely high mood. There are several types of bipolar disorder, including bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia.

Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I disorder is characterized by having at least one manic episode that lasts at least seven days and is followed by a depressive or hypomanic episode. Those with bipolar I disorder can also have psychosis, which is a period when emotions and thoughts are impaired so much that you are no longer able to tell what is real and what is not real. This sometimes includes hallucinations.

Bipolar II Disorder

This condition consists of having more than one period of depression and a period of hypomania but no manic episode. Hypomania is a less severe type of mania that causes some manic episodes but you can still perform your daily activities. Many people with bipolar II disorder are mistakenly diagnosed with depression because they do not consider the hypomania a part of the disorder.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder, or cyclothymia, is a milder type of bipolar disorder. With this disorder, you will have both depression and hypomania on and off for several years but it will not get severe enough to affect your daily life. It is called cyclothymic disorder because you cycle through high and low emotions over and over again. This condition is rare and only affects less than one percent of the American population.

How You Can Tell if You Have Bipolar Disorder

Even though the signs of bipolar disorder can vary from person to person, there are some that are common in all patients. These symptoms include:

Mania

  • Not sleeping
  • Talking louder, faster, and more often than usual
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Trying to do more than you can handle (overbooking yourself)
  • Extreme behaviors such as gambling, unprotected sex, spending money that you cannot afford
  • Drinking in excess or using illegal drugs
  • Rapid thoughts

Depression

  • Feeling sad, despondent, and helpless
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Anger or aggression
  • Crying bouts for no obvious reasons
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Memory lapses
  • Thoughts of suicide

Risk Factors

According to experts, bipolar disorders are genetic, but they can also be affected by environmental issues like constant and extreme stress, lack of sleep for long periods of time, addiction to alcohol or drugs, physical abnormalities in the brain, and/or chemical or hormonal imbalances.

Treatment

The treatment for bipolar disorder includes medications such as a tricyclic antidepressant, an atypical antidepressant, monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). In addition, those with bipolar disorder should talk to a therapist on a regular basis. This is important because some of the medications can become less effective over time and your therapist will be able to tell just by talking to you if you need to switch your dosage or medication. If you do not have a therapist to talk to or you are too busy to find the time to make an appointment, you can find a professional on BetterHelp.com. Just click here to talk to someone, with no appointment necessary.

What Is Depression? (Guest Post with BetterHelp)

Hello there everyone. This is Anthony Avina. I am honored to be working with BetterHelp on this guest post regarding depression. I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness, and I hope this will be the first of many guest posts working with this amazing company to bring awareness to these very serious topics that affect so many people. I hope you guys will enjoy this article and if you or anyone you know is suffering from any sort of mental health disorder, please be sure to go to this website and find the necessary resources and support systems you need to help you or those you love. Now here is BetterHelp with a look at depression.

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How to Live with Depression

For those of us who suffer with depression, we know that life is not as easy for us as it is for other people. What makes it worse is that depression and other mental health conditions are “invisible” diseases so nobody can tell what is wrong with you just by looking at you. While some may think this is a good thing, it also makes it hard for others to understand why we may not feel like getting up and going to the beach with the gang or how it takes everything we have to just get out of bed on some days. In fact, I am sure some of you have heard “you are just lazy,” or “quit being so dramatic,” or my favorite “it is all in your head.”

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that is very common in both adults as well as children. In fact, it is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects one in six people at some point in their lives, which is almost 17% of the American population. It is not just feeling sad or grouchy for a while or being upset because you lost a loved one, although that can trigger it. Depression is a group of symptoms that include:

  • Feelings of sadness that lasts for more than two weeks
  • Lack of interest in activities you usually enjoy
  • Sleep changes (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or sleeping more than usual)
  • Extreme fatigue or listlessness
  • Feeling empty or lost
  • Crying for no obvious reason
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Slowed speech or movement
  • Thoughts of suicide

Who Is Most at Risk?

While anyone can suffer from depression, it is more common in some people than others. For example, women are twice as likely to have depression as men. Other risk factors of depression include:

  • Hereditary – Mental health conditions such as depression can be hereditary so if someone in your family has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder, you may be more susceptible.
  • Chemistry – Many experts believe that a chemical imbalance (too much or too little) in the brain is a major cause of depression.
  • Previous mental health disorders – If you have had trouble with anxiety or depression before, you are more likely to have another bout of one of these mental health disorders.
  • Environmental situations – Many situations such as abuse, neglect, extreme poverty, or exposure to violence can make you more susceptible to depression.
  • Physical ailments – Certain major chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes can cause depression.

What You Can Do

The first thing you need to do is talk to someone. Even if you do not have a doctor or therapist, there are experts who are available to you that can help. In fact, you can talk to an online psychologist without even having to leave your home or make an appointment. These therapists are licensed and trained in dealing with depression as well as many other disorders. There are other things you can do in the mean time to make your life easier to deal with such as:

  • Exercise – Force yourself to get out of bed at least once a day and move around. Even if it is just to get up and take a shower and walk around the house.
  • Smile – According to experts, even a fake smile can make you feel happier.
  • Break things up – Do things a little bit at a time so you do not get overwhelmed. Thinking about all the things you have to do that day can be a major block but if you break things up into smaller tasks, it is much easier.
  • Talk about itTell people how you feel. Even if they do not seem to care, talking about it helps you understand your illness.
  • Goals Set some small goals for yourself. Talk yourself into doing at least one thing from that goal list every week.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore it and do not try to hide it. There is nothing to be ashamed of and it is more common than you think. Talk to someone. Today.

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