Therapy Blog

  • ADD & ADHD: The Truth of the Matter

    Is it ADD? Is it ADHD? Is it depression? Is it anxiety? Or is it something else medically related? These are all valid questions that you have possibly asked yourself or asked about your child at one time or another. It is a difficult diagnosis to pin-point and can often be confused with other diagnoses. It is extremely important try the following steps, in this order, to assess whether or not you might be dealing with ADD/ADHD:

    1. Get a full physical. Rule out any medical issues that could be masquerading as inattention or hyperactivity.
    2. If medical issues are ruled out, seek assessment by a mental health professional. Don't try to diagnosis and/or treat yourself.
    3. If your child is the one displaying ADD/ADHD- like symptoms, speak to his/her teacher, school counselor, principal, and any other school professional that may be involved in your child's education. They can give you insight into what they see in the classroom and what is observed as they interact with peers during the school-day.
    4. Work with your mental health professional to institute an individualized treatment plan to deal with whatever diagnosis is made. If outpatient therapy is not successful, consider being evaluated by a psychiatrist for possible medication management IN ADDITION TO mental health therapy.
    5. Be sure to take care of your physical self as this impacts your emotional and mental well-being. Getting plenty of sleep, eating right, and exercising are all key ingredients to getting any ADD/ADHD-like symptoms under better control.

    So, what would symptoms of ADD or ADHD look like? Often times in my practice, I see individuals come in who assume that since they are having trouble concentrating, it might be ADD or ADHD. I carefully evaluate their medical, personal (including mental health, substance abuse, and family), and work history to get a handle on the bigger picture of what we might be looking at as a diagnosis. Sometimes, a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is deducted from certain combination of hallmark characteristics along with the close assessment of behavioral and emotional health information a client gives. However, sometimes issues as basic as stress, depression, loneliness, grief/loss, or anxiety are truly at the root of what might otherwise be considered ADD/ADHD.

    There are a number of checklist symptoms of ADD and ADHD which include:

    • Inattention
    • Difficulty Concentrating
    • Easily Distracted
    • Unable to Sit Still
    • Fidgety
    • Frequently Interrupts
    • Struggle to Complete Tasks
    • Frequent Forgetting
    • No Filter
    • Restless
    • Talk Excessively

    Now please note that this is by no means an exhaustive list of symptoms for ADD/ADHD. This article is also not a substitute for professional help. However, if you are needing to find relief from these symptoms while working on yourself between sessions with a therapist and/or appointments with a psychiatrist, you may want try this simple tips:

    • Get Adequate Sleep
    • Keep a Consistent Schedule
    • Take Breaks
    • Get Organized (start color coding, use a journal, use a note pad as a reminder system, etc.)
    • Eat Healthy
    • Exercise (get out excessive energy to assist you in focusing and concentrating through your day)
    • Learn Healthy Communication Skills
    • Use You Support System
    • Relaxation Techniques

    Again, this is not an exhaustive list, and more information can be obtained from your therapist or doctor to institute specific treatment options and steps to help you get a better handle on this disorder. Remember that ADD/ADHD is quite common in our extremely busy and high expectation society. It is no wonder that especially if you have a genetic propensity to having ADD/ADHD, that your environment can aggravate it and exacerbate it. Take care though. There is always help that can be located through your school, work, EAP, health insurance, and simple Google searches for the proper treatment professionals.

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Meghan L. Reitz, MA, LCPC, NCC

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Meghan has worked within the counseling profession for over ten years. Her experience includes providing individual, family, group, crisis, and substance abuse counseling. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in Anthropology and Psychology and her graduate degree from Bradley University in Human Development/Community Counseling.

Meghan has worked and volunteered in the following settings as a therapist:

  • Non-profit social service agencies
  • Mental health hospitals
  • Residential treatment centers
  • Therapeutic day schools
  • Managed Care/Insurance companies
  • Private practice
  • Geriatric settings- including nursing homes, older adult care centers
  • Non-profit fundraising agencies

Please check out her daily tweets on Twitter and periodic blogs on mental health topics. You can also chat with her live and/or email her through this site.

Everything listed under: Depression

  • Making Change: Life's Main Hurtle

    Change is what makes us human. It is a natural way of life as we know it- integral to growth, both physical and emotional. Change occurs whether we are ready for it or not, and sometimes we do everything we can to abstain from change because the fear of the unknown holds us back. Do you consider yourself fear-based? Or a worrier? Do you make decisions or choices based on your fears about what will happen or do you think about the rational and realistic consequences to situations? If you answer yes to any of these questions or know people who would answer affirmatively, then this article is for you.

    One of the biggest obstacles in getting life on track can be a person's comfort level with making change. Many people dealing with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, or stress seem to be stuck in the same unhealthy patterns. Without making even small changes to how we go about doing things, you will get the same result by making the same actions. This seems rather simple, but for many people suffering from negative life issues, actually doing something different can feel scary and foreign.

    It is important that if you decide to keep engaging in the same patterns of behavior, the outcomes will almost always be the same. If you truly want to feel better about yourself and your life situation, consider how you can change the ways you go about doing things. This can be as minor as discontinuing that unhealthy relationship with an acquaintance to something as major as changing careers or moving locations. Always ask yourself, is the reason I am unwilling to change because I am scared or worried about the consequences? Then follow that question up with what are the possible outcomes or worst case scenarios. Typically the worst case scenario, realistically speaking, is actually not that bad. Get comfortable with the what if's and prepare yourself for possible negative and positive outcomes. Without change, everything will stay the same.

  • SAD: Got the Winter Blues?

    Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) affects a great deal of people throughout the world. Basically what it means is that someone's moods are affected by changes in seasons. This is pronounced in individuals who live in more northerly climates. When were there are long winters with short, overcast days, it can really have a big impact on someone's disposition. Daylight is a huge factor in triggering the brain's ability to cope with depressive feelings.

    What can you do? Here are a few tips in managing SAD if you think you might be suffering from it.

    1) Get a sun lamp. Google this. They are out there ranging in different prices. This can be helpful if you are currently in a locale in the dead of winter with little natural sunlight.

    2) Talk to someone. Find a therapist. Talk to a friend. Confide in a family member.

    3) See a doctor. If your mood is low enough where you are feeling like you may be experiencing full-blown depression, see your MD for a full physical. Rule out any physical medical problems. Talk to your doctor (or see a psychiatrist) about anti-depressants.

    4) Exercise. Get the chemicals in your brain that produce heightened mood moving.

    5) Eat right.

    6) Don't isolate. Try to be social- even if it's just picking up the phone. It's easy to get into a "hibernation" mode. Don't do it. Try to keep yourself motivated by having people over, going to movies with friends, making time other than just for work and sleep.

    7) Find hobbies to do indoors. Focus your energy on SOMETHING!

    If you're not sure that you're experiencing SAD, try to track your mood to see if you can find a pattern with weather or seasons on your mood and disposition. Talk to a therapist and/or a doctor to be accurately screened. There are a lot of resources out there- and it doesn't mean the only answer is moving to a warmer climate!

  • Pets and Mental Health

    Whats do pets have to do with one's mental health? Quite a bit actually. It has been found that having pets, such as cats or dogs, actually lower blood pressure and improve physical health of owners. This trend is also found in correlation with mood and anxiety disorders. According to an article on www.moodletter.com, pets provide companionship, helping owners to feel less lonely. The responsibility of caring for a pet also can help individuals struggling with depression and getting motivated. It requires you to feed, walk, and clean up after your pet, which also promotes excercising. It promotes mental stability, through petting and cuddling with your pet. All in all, having animals in your life is a rather positive thing. (http://www.moodletter.com/PetsandMentalHealth.htm)

    Therapists, hospitals, nursing centers, and other healthcare oriented programs are increasingly instituting animal therapy into clients' and patients' daily routines. Pet therapy is gaining popularity because it works. Think about how you feel when you have that special bond and unconditional with your cat or dog. They listen. They don't talk back. They love you whether you like it or not. Petting your animal can release stress and anxiety. Healthcare providers are seeing that individuals are demonstrating improved moods, less depression and anxiety, when engaging with animals. (http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/36/3/17.1.full)

    It doesn't have to just be a cat or a dog! Rabbits, mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, ferrets...the list goes on and on. Can't afford to keep a pet? Volunteer at a local shelter or pet store. There are so many ways to get involved with animals without actually having to own one. Google counselors in your area with "pet therapy" as a keyword. See what you come up with! Need ideas on how to find these resources in your community or how a pet might enhance your life? Check out LivePerson to speak with a licensed counselor live.

  • Battle of the Bulge: Weight and Mental Health

    The fight against weight gain, and even weight loss, is on!

    What does mental and emotional health got to do with it?

    Actually, a lot. If you're feeling stressed, upset, angry, or sad, do you ever reach for that gallon of ice cream? Or do you lose your appetite altogether? Either way, it's not healthy for anyone. In a perfect world, we would all be an average, normal weight. We wouldn't have things like stress and life issues bombarding us on a daily basis. However, we don't live in that perfect world (Which ultimately is probably a good thing! Otherwise, things would be pretty darn boring.). Stressors are a part of our way of life. It's all about how we manage them that makes the difference. And how you're feeling can be directly related as to whether you seek solace in food or engage in eating disorder behaviors. Fluctuations in weight and our physical health are impacted by whether we are in an emotionally and mentally healthy spot. When we feel good or are making healthy choices, we take care of ourselves. When we feel bad or are not managing our mental health successfully, our physical health pays the price.

    I know I'm having difficulty regulating my mood. What now?

    Identifying that you're struggling is the first step. That opens the doors to seeking the help and support you need to get yourself to a better frame of mind. This in turn will lead to a happier existence, where mental and physical health are in balance. Locate a trainer, see a dietician, talk with your primary care doctor, seek counseling/therapy, and/or ask for emotional support from family and friends. Don't know where to start? Feel overwhelmed? Get a physical. That will give you a baseline of where you're at right now- whether you're overweight, underweight, have any physical issues beyond weight, etc. From there you can determine your next plan of action.

    I don't know if I can beat the way I'm feeling. How do I feel better? And get my weight under control?

    Feeling unsure, scared, and overwhelmed can be common feelings when you're mental and emotional healthy are out of whack. It takes some effort to reach out for the help you need. It's ok to not be able to do it on your own. Journaling, taking breaks, practicing relaxation techniques, talking to clergy/friends/family, and doing some realistic goal setting are good ways to get started. By getting the depression, anxiety, panic, stress, confusion, anger, and/or apathy under control, you WILL see results in terms of your physical health (i.e. weight gain/loss). Counseling can be a helpful tool to use- especially if you feel you can't really depend on someone in your life currently. Counseling gives you an objective, nonjudgmental individual to help support you through your life's issues.

  • Suicide and You

    Suicide. This is a topic that can be quite taboo in the rather inconsistent, chaotic, and difficult world we live in today. As the topic has slowly gained more recognition, instead of talking about it behind closed doors "per se," it has become a realistic issue that children, adolescents and adults all face in some way or another.
    This could mean that you, yourself, may be having some suicidal ideation. It could mean you have tried to hurt yourself in the past. It could also mean you have a close family member or friend who has experienced suicidal thoughts, self-harm, or actually committed suicide. If you fall into any one of these categories, then I encourage you to read on.

    I recently attended a conference on "Counseling Suicidal Persons." It was interesting because suicide rates are higher among young females who are sexually active- meaning the more adolescent females that were sexually active had higher rates of suicidal ideation and attempts. It was also noted in this particular conference that about 80% of elderly suicides are male. These pieces of information alone threw up red flags for me as a counselor as I realized that suicide can touch female, male, young, and old.

    If you have suicidal thoughts, it is important to reach out for help. Calling 911, going to the nearest emergency room, or calling 1-800-784-2433 will get you immediate assistance. If you feel that someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you can do the same for him/her.

    A majority of people have contemplated ending their life in some way. It's about what people DO with those feelings that is of concern. If someone is describing being depressed and not wanting to "go on" but does not have a plan, this is probably a matter of the depression talking and seeing a psychiatrist and a talk therapist would be most helpful- unless there has been a history of suicide attempts (psychiatric care may be needed immediately). Other resources for people in any stage of the suicidal thought process can be found at the following links:

    www.mentalhealth.org/suicide/prevention

    www.surgeongeneral.gov/library

    www.survivorsofsuicide.com

    www.afsp.org

    Remember: Life IS worth living. It is a gift and a blessing. Even the hardest of times can be overcome. It's ok to reach out for help and hurting yourself should never be the answer. If a loved one you know is dealing with suicidal issues, seek out assistance as soon as possible. Counselors, like myself, can be found on www.liveperson.com to chat with live or met with in person by setting up an appointment.

  • Tips & Tools in the Counseling Trade: Ideas to Promote Peace of Mind

    I thought that this week a focus on sharing tools of the trade would be helpful. Sometimes, I think as both a client and a therapist, you really want to reach solution-focused help. Talk therapy can be very therapeutic, cathartic, and releasing. However, when you walk away from a session- do you have homework to do between sessions? If not, then maybe ask yourself, why you don't.

    In order to engage in the therapy/counseling process, it takes work on the client's part to make changes and be held accountable for the goals that he/she has set out in seeking therapy/counseling in the first place. A good place is to start learning techniques that can ease stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness- basically giving a person a better state of mind.

    I am going to touch upon a few here. There are so many out there- and with the world of Google, many of you can find similar and additional ideas. But, for the sake of this article, I'd like to stick with some of the powerful ones that I utilize in my practice with individuals.

    1) Guided Imagery:

    Gently inhale and exhale until you feel yourself calming down from your activities. Now, gradually allow an image of yourself to emerge from within your mind. See yourself sitting in the middle of a Triangle–as a point in the middle …

    (You can put on quiet, transcendental music as you begin to imagine yourself).

    Feel the Triangle forming itself all around you … right where you are … Let your senses really create this sensation … Now, notice how you feel sitting in the midst of this great structure … how are you sitting, what you look like. Notice as much as you can … (long pause).

    Now, very slowly, allow this Triangle to become filled with a warm and gentle blue light … until you can feel yourself being enveloped in it … Bring this light into your solar plexus … and on up into your heart … (long pause).

    When your heart is full, imagine a point in the center of the sun … way out there in space where the heart of God resides … Gradually now, allow yourself to merge with this heart in the center of the sun … (long pause). Feel your mind … your heart … your body becoming filled with the energy of the sun … (long pause).

    Now, sit for awhile in calm reflection … in the center of the sun … and just let this experience fill you to the very core of your being. Breathe it in with long, slow breaths … (long pause).

    Very slowly, now, feel yourself returning here … and coming back into your body. Feel your feet, your arms, your face. You may want to move around a little to bring your consciousness fully back … Take some time to feel yourself being totally present in your ordinary reality.

    ~This was taken from: HEALING THE EMOTIONS by Jacquelyn Small, Eupsychia Institute

    2) Positive Affirmations:

    By using the power of affirmations you state what you want to be true in your life. You see reality, as you want it to be. For a while, you ignore your current circumstances and your doubts, and concentrate on a different reality.

    - I am healthy and happy.
    - Wealth is pouring into my life.
    - I am flowing on the river of wealth.
    - I am getting wealthier each day.
    - My body is healthy and functioning in a very good way.
    - I have a lot of energy.
    - I study and comprehend fast.
    - I am getting A's in my exams.
    - My mind is calm.
    - I am calm and relaxed in every situation.
    - My thoughts are under my control.
    - I radiate love and happiness.
    - I am surrounded by love.
    - I have the perfect job for me.
    - I am living in the house of my dreams.
    - I have good and loving relations with my wife/husband.
    - I have a wonderful satisfying job.
    - I have the means to travel abroad whenever I want to.
    - I am successful in whatever I do.
    - Everything is getting better every day.

    ~ Copyright 2001-2005 Remez Sasson, SuccessConsciousness.com

    3) How to do the Grounding Technique:

    1. Bend your knees slightly and place your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your top teeth. Focus on your feet and imagine them sinking down into the ground that supports them.
    2. Place the fingertips of one hand beneath your lower lip and the heel of the other hand on your navel with the fingertips pointing down towards the ground (see arrow on diagram).
    3. Hold your hands on the points for about 30 seconds, or 4 - 6 complete breaths. Then switch hands and repeat.
    Breathing slowly and deeply encourages relaxation and further enhances the benefits of using this technique.

    How it Works:
    When you hold your hands in these positions they are contacting key points on the central vessel of the energy system. By simultaneously stimulating the beginning and end points of this meridian the brain is stimulated and mental fatigue is relieved.
    This simple exercise is useful during breaks from repetitive tasks, when working in front of a computer, or after long spells of driving.

    The Grounding Technique helps with:
    - General co-ordination
    - Organizational & sorting skills
    - Reading without disorientation (smoother tracking along lines of text)
    - Promoting grounding
    - Mental alertness
    - Improved posture (discourages slouching)
    - Relaxes the eyes

    ~From livingbydesignonline.com

    4) Anger Management Techniques:

    Anger is a very strong emotion. Uncontrolled anger is a life-long pattern. It is not easy to overcome anger; it requires determined commitment. It requires honesty, courage, and tremendous inner strength. It also requires help from others. To overcome anger, these steps are important:

    • Consciously determine to be calm. Don't react, think! Remember your goals and respond appropriately. Choose to remain calm!
    • Communicate. When someone upsets you, tell them. Calmly talk to them about how you feel about their words or actions. Learn to express yourself better -- clear and composed. Choose to!
    • Remove yourself from the scene until you can respond without anger.Your success will not happen overnight. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time. Remember to relax. Relaxation exercises or music can be helpful. Keep in mind you can reach out to someone you trust for help. Choose to!
    • Frequently take time for yourself. Do something you enjoy like walking in the park, swimming, reading the Bible, or seeing a feel-good movie. Do something nice for someone you admire. It's okay to feel good about yourself. Choose to!
    • Look for the positives. Don't dwell on the negatives. "Don't sweat the small stuff." Learn to be forgiving. This is difficult, but we need to start by learning to forgive ourselves!

    ~ From allaboutlifechallenges.org

  • Realistic Thinking: Distorted Cognitions

    Through my years of counseling practice, I have noticed that a major mental health issue has been what's called "cognitive distortions." These are thoughts that include all or nothing thinking, catastrophizing, focusing on what you should have done in the past, etc. They are not realistic ways to think of yourself or situations. These distortions can be very common with depression, anxiety, stress, OCD, and a mulititude of other mental health diagnoses. Particularly in a world where the pressure is on to be bigger, better, and faster, it makes sense that feeling this way has increased through time.

    I you feel you are experiencing unrealistic thinking, and it is interfering with your life, it would probably be helpful to take a look at this link which details out the different types of "cognitive distortions." See if any fit for you:

    http://cognitivetherapymd.com/Links/Distortions.htm

    If you fit into any of the categories at that website, it may be helpful for you to seek assistance in gaining control by seeing a counselor, therapist, or a life coach. There are also techiniques and workbooks to utilize in managing it on your own.  I would recommend the following:

    1) Recognizing a cognitive distortion, writing it down. Ask yourself, is this a realistic thought? If not, change it into a statement that IS realistic. (i.e. "I always mess up- could be changed to "I messed up, but I have learned from my mistakes in the past.")

    2) Positive Self-Talk- I have probably harped on this topic a number of times in my previous blog articles. I can't stress enough how important it is to be kind to yourself.

    3) Check out this book: How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life by John C. Maxwell

    4) Journal!!! Track when you're most having these cognitive distortions- it will help you see if there are particular situations, times of day/weeks/months that it's happening, a certain person triggering it, etc.

    Remember, change can be scary and difficult, but it is necessary to live your life to its fullest potential- especially if you are having a difficult time seeing things clearly.

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and You

    http://www.ptsd.va.gov/http://www.ptsd.va.gov/http://www.ptsd.va.gov/http://www.ptsd.va.gov/PTSD. This term is thrown around quite a bit in both the world of psychology and with veterans of war. What is it? And who does it affect?

    PTSD means Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  According to the DSM-IV, PTSD is: The development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor involving direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or other threat to one's physical integrity; or witnessing an event that involves death, injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of another person; or learning about unexpected or violent death, serious harm, or threat of death or injury experienced by a family member or other close associate.

    That's a pretty long definition- and it keeps going from there!! So what does this mean to you? Most often we hear of PTSD as something that veterans of wars go through due to the traumatic experiences they have during combat. It's normal to have such symptoms as flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, depression, decreased motivation, suicidal/homicidal ideation, etc. It can manifest itself in many different forms, but either way, it is something that needs to be addressed as early on as possible as it can cause increasingly problematic issues in one's functioning in everyday life.

    So, does PTSD affect civilians too? Of course. Anyone who has been through a traumatic event such as sexual assault or abuse, mental or emotional abuse, verbal abuse, witnessing a traumatic event, etc. could experience any level of PTSD depending on what the person has witnessed or been through and his/her predisposition to stress and depression. Many people turn to alcohol and drugs to self-medicate and cope with the feelings they are having. The problem with that is, is that is never really addresses the underlying problem and the PTSD symptoms can actually become worse if masked by certain vices.

    PTSD can be managed and worked through with the proper treatment. Many individuals turn to talk therapy in conjunction with possible anti-depressant medications. There are also support groups for survivors of certain traumatic events that can help people cope more efficiently with the feelings and thoughts associated with the traumatic event(s). How might you be able to tell that you have PTSD? And what resources are there for treating it?

    A good resource is the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:

    http://www.ptsd.va.gov

    http://helpguide.org/mental/post_traumatic_stress_disorder_symptoms_treatment.htm

    A great checklist to see if you might actually be experiencing PTSD can be found here:

     http://www.tgorski.com/Terrorism/ptsd_checklist_civilian_version.htm

    To start the process of healing, I would recommend using this workbook in conjunction with talk therapy and seeing a psychiatrist: The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery, and Growth by Glenn R. Schiraldi

  • Is it ADD, ADHD, or Something Else?

    One of the most mis-diagnosed mental health issues is ADD/ADHD. Often times, as a child, individuals will present with symptoms that may mimic ADD/ADHD when they might really be experiencing bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, or stress. If you or someone you know is trying to figure out if he/she indeed does have ADD/ADHD, there are some things that should be thought of from the start:

    • Did you take medications or receive assistance in school or counseling when you were younger? 
    • Are you having trouble focusing?
    • Difficulty keeping your attention span?
    • Feeling a little manic even?
    • Having trouble finishing tasks?

    I suggest seeing your regular MD first for a full physical. Then, seek a psychiatrist for help with getting on medication if you aren't already on some. You can bring with you the results of a quiz on whether or not you may have ADD/ADHD with you. There are many sites out there that you can find free quizzes on- i.e. http://psychcentral.com/addquiz.htm.  He/she can then determine if what you're dealing with is indeed ADD/ADHD, or something else.

    Psychotherapy, as well as possible medications, could be the answer you're looking for in dealing with whatever it is you may be diagnosed with. With talk therapy, you can begin to build the tools to manage symptoms of interrupted concentration, inability to focus, stress, and anxiety. This, in conjunction with possible medication management, may be the relief you are seeking- whatever the diagnosis in the end may be. I also recommend reading this book as well as one travels on this journey:

    You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder by Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo, and Edward M., M.D. Hallowell

  • Mid-Life Crisis: Not just a Male's Issue

    What is it about reaching your forties and fifties that causes some individuals to revert back to the action of their twenties? There are many theories on this. Most of them surround the typical mid-life crisi a man has where he buys a sports car or a motorcycle. Maybe he'll start dressing more up to date or looking for a younger woman. But what about the female that hits her forties and fifities? Is it possible for women to have a mid-life crisis too?

    The answer is simple: Yes. Everyone starts to evaluate their life's accomplishments around this stage in life. You've usually gone through marriage, having kids, working for a period of time, etc. You start to think about the end of your life- have you accomplished all the things you've wanted?  Is there where I thought I'd be at this age? What does my future hold? And there only so many years left, I'm going to get out there and do the things that I should have done when I was younger.

    In my experience working with both males and females, I've been told that it feels almost like a switch has been turned on and they can't make sense of it. It may be confused with mania, depression, anxiety, stress, etc. It can also come hand in hand with those emotional issues. It doesn't mean that you are crazy though.

    Some sites that I would particularly recommend both males and females to check out are listed below. They help to define what is or isn't "normal" in a mid-life crisis state of mind. They also talk about the differences in what manic behavior might be like as opposed to mid-life crisis thoughts/feelings/actions.

    http://www.more.com/2035/2640-midlife-crisis--how-women-cope\ 

    http://cme.medscape.com/viewarticle/487928 

    http://counsellingresource.com/distress/mood-disorders/manic-symptoms.html

    If you feel you can't seem to get a hold of what's going on with you, seek help from your friends, family, and your doctor. It may be helpful to also work these issues out with a therapist/counselor, especially if you feel what's going on is affecting your family and friends (and living your life in general).

  • Why am I Depressed?

    Depression. A word that you probably hear a lot of- especially on TV commercials about anti-depressant medications. With all the information that's out there- it's hard to know if you are suffering from clinical depression or just having a normal bought of the blues. Regardless, no one wants to feel sad or depressed. The bigger questions become- Why am I depressed? And how do I get better?

    Ask yourself why you might be feeling this way? Are there things going on in your life that are affecting you? Has there been any past trauma that seems to be rearing its ugly head now? It the weather making you feel blah? There are many factors that can cause depression. Sometimes, you might not even be able to pinpoint "why" you're feeling this way. There have been many studies that have found that depression can run in families. So there is a biological link as well.

    The most important issue regarding depression is getting help. You don't have to live this way. Luckily, in this day and age, there are many treatments for this very common affliction. Here are a few things you can do to improve your mood and get out of the depression you're feeling:

    • Keep a journal. Maybe there are certain times of day, week, or month that you are feeling this way. This may help you to identify what's causing the dip in your mood. It also is a very healthy outlet to get those feelings off your chest.
    • Don't be afraid to share this with your doctor. He/she may prescribe an anti-depressant, refer you to a psychiatrist, or suggest seeing a therapist. No one person is the same- what works for one may be different for you. So it's important to explore your options and see what helps you.
    • Talk about it. Confide in a friend or close family member. Don't keep it bottled in. It will continue to get worse. Seeking a therapist or counselor to speak to can be very helpful since it is their job to be an objective person to help you work through your depression.
    • Make change. Are you spending time with people that are not reciprocal of your friendship? Are you using alcohol and/or drugs to "self-medicate" your depression? If you keep doing things the same, nothing will change. Assess your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Is there even one thing you could change that could result in a more positive outcome for you? Taking that first step, as small as it might be, can be the catalyst to stop the cycle of depression you are experiencing.

    These are just a few tips to keep in mind as you are seeking help to manage your depression. If you're feeling like hurting yourself or someone else- it's time to seek immediate help. Call 911 or get yourself to the nearest emergency room. Safety is a priority. Life is worth living. Utilize the resources around you. If you've read this, you already are!