mental health

4 Reasons You Should Never Be Ashamed To Talk About Depression

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Depression is often mentioned but never really discussed. It's a "condition," yet some don't realize it's legitimacy. This failure can lead those who live with it to question if this problem of theirs matters, thus leading to a feeling of guilt and shame. Here are four reasons why you should never be ashamed to talk about depression.

Depression Is More Common Than You May Think

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 16.2 million adults in the United States have felt depressed at least once in 2016, which is 6.7 percent of the adult population or 1 out of every 15 adults. And of this number, people ages 18 to 25 were the most represented group at about 11 percent.

These reported numbers show just how prevalent this illness is--and that's just what it is; depression is an illness. It's a result of chemical imbalances in addition to reactions to stressful life events and possibly other health problems (there could even be gene involvement for some).

Talking Helps; It May Be Essential to Recovery

The NIMH has on record that 63 percent of adults who experienced episodes of depression either saw a health professional (therapists, psychiatrists) only, were prescribed medication alone, or saw a health professional and were prescribed medication. Seeking help is the best thing you can do to combat depression. Unfortunately, some turn to substances for relief, though, this choice always backfires and ultimately comes at a hefty price, like with addiction and alienation (alcohol and recreational drugs can negatively impact relationships).

Of the 63 percent of adults who received professional treatment, according to NIMH, 13 percent of them saw a health professional, which is twice more than those who only received medication. 44 percent both received medication and saw a professional, which means 57 percent of all who received treatment talked about their problems with licensed individuals.

Talking helps find the root of the problem, and if help is sought, someone would be there to explore it with you.

Discussing Your Depression Helps End Stigmas

The National Alliance on Mental Illness believes that words and actions are necessary to end the bullying and discrimination affecting all people with mental illness. Taking these steps can lead to social change and the public rejection of stigmas--it proved successful for other movements, like with the Civil Rights Movement and LGBT activism.

That doesn't mean you have to go out and preach your story to make a change. Merely discussing it with a health professional, or even a friend, makes all the difference, for the afflicted as well as society.

Sharing Your Experience Could Help Others

This can be therapeutic for both sides. Sharing can relieve stress and improve mood while the person who listens may feel inspired to take a look at their own mental health or even share their own experiences.

Choosing to share is a personal choice, so you should never feel pressured or threatened to disclose your depression if you think it might not help your situation.

In the end, depression is an illness. And like other mental illnesses, it's not just black and white, but a sort of grey and sometimes includes blue and purple and red--to put it simply, it's complicated.

References

National Institute of Mental Health

Utah Centers For Addiction

National Alliance on Mental Illness

5 Important Things to Be A Stable Co-Parent

The reality of being a co-parent can be quite sobering but you can get through it if you focus on these 5 elements: Self-care, Level-Headed Support, Grieve Your Relationship, Make Home a Neutral Space, and Commit to Your Child's Happiness.

Lotus Therapies|Stable Co-parenting|Cumming, GA|Lawrenceville, GA

Self-Care

It is important for parents in a co-parenting relationship to not only nurture their children but to also nurture themselves. Self-care is the maintenance of your physical, mental, and inner self. How you treat yourself will speak to how you will be able to cope with the transition of your co-parenting relationship and life transitions in general.  Terri DiMatteo, LPC  of Open Door Therapy suggests that while it may seem counter-intuitive for divorcing parents to focus on themselves while in the throes of divorce or transitioning during to being a co-parent, in truth it is actually one of the healthiest things a divorcing parent can model for his or her child. By doing so, a parent is ‘saying’ (by example and in lifestyle) that during times of heightened stress and uncertainty it’s especially important to take care of oneself when managing the additional stress.

Level-Headed Support

We all require connections with friends or family to be a support through trials of life. When maneuvering through your co-parenting transition, separation, or divorce you may seek comfort and advice from friends and family. But all advice isn't good advice even from people we love. Sometimes confiding in others can make the situation worse because the people we have chosen to confide in are also emotionally invested in your situation and they can't always be objective. Seek a professional if you are looking to work through emotions, thoughts, and getting a better understanding of how to move forward. 

Grieving Your Relationship

Although you want to make sure that your children are okay and provide them a healthy environment, it is important to grieve what you have lost. Whatever that loss is for you, (the relationship itself, loss of the family unit, loss of finances, your dreams connected to your ex-partner) healthy grieving will help you deal with the emotions related to that loss and adequate support will help you reorganize your life based on your learnings about your relationship, yourself, and your experiences. You will most likely develop new values and perspectives on life, and you will naturally begin to think of new horizons that you may never have thought about before. 

Home: A Neutral Space

Your relationship with your ex can be in a constant state of chaos but you should always commit to having a safe, neutral environment for you and your child. This means being accountable to maintaining that space by:

  • making sure you don't speak ill of the dead (the old relationship that is)
  • not using your child as a confidant
  • encouraging your child to foster a relationship with their parent if they are comfortable doing so
  • respecting the child's relationship and love for their other parent
  • when they go low you go high-refrain from arguments and all-around nastiness especially in front of the child.

Committing to Your Child's Happiness

Committing to you child's happiness is the ultimate goal of your co-parenting experience. Your sacrifices to maintain control of emotions and creating a neutral, safe space for them is what they will remember in the end. Pay attention to your child's ques regarding how they are handling the transition and seek additional support or help if they are having an especially hard time adjusting. Stay the course, because your character and actions DO matter...and because the children are always watching. The time, thoughts, patience, laughter, fun, and love that you share with your child will have the most meaning.

 

 

References:

1. Hart, Julie (2016, February 2). Grieving When Your Relationship Ends: The 3 Important Phases. The Hart Centre. Retrieved from http://thehartcentre.com.au/grieving-when-your-relationship-ends-the-3-important-phases/
2. University of Washington. (n.d). Healthy grieving. Retrieved from https://www.washington.edu/counseling/resources/resources-for-students/healthy-grieving/
3.Philyaw, D.,Thomas, M.D. (2013) Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households after Divorce. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger. 

Looking for answers...

Today many people were faced with coming to terms with the outcome of the presidential election. It caused a heighten sense of fear, angst, and distrust for some. For others, it caused a sigh of relief because they feel that with this candidate their fears will be heard and their dreams will be realized. If this election has caused fear and uncertainty it is best that you use your support system to air your grievances. It is healthy to start an ongoing dialogue about how we feel and our thoughts on if our needs are getting met by the people that are placed in office to propel our progress as a nation. 

This is also the time to connect with others that do not share your views. We learn the most when we open our hearts and minds and allow our humanity instead of fear lead the conversation. I hope that we take this time to learn more about each other and lean on each other for support.