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Tag Archives: depression

Overcoming Depression: Seeing Life Through a Different Set of Eyes

Anyone who thinks they are immune to experiencing depression does not understand the disease. While there are many life scenarios linked to depression, when sickness and disease strike, many people go through a time of depression. When he was diagnosed with keratoconus, an aggressive eye disorder that leads to progressive blindness, Olympic bobsledder, Steven Holcomb discovered firsthand that having a chronic physical illness can definitely take a toll on one’s mental health.Olympics 1

As his keratocconus worsened, Holcomb began to feel a distinct change in his personality. He started withdrawing from others and became overcome with depression. He tried various treatments, but to no avail. Eventually he memorized the vision test given to U.S. athletes because he didn’t want his teammates to discover just how bad his eyesight was, a discovery that might end his career.

According to Holcomb, it’s one thing to be born without sight but quite another to find yourself growing more and more blind each day. In 2007, his sight had deteriorated to a devastating level, and his depression got the best of him. He found himself secluded in a hotel room downing a deadly combination of whiskey and 73 sleeping pills. Despite his attempt at suicide, Holcomb woke up to see another day. It was in that moment he knew he was alive for a reason and had been instilled with a greater purpose.

After 12 years searching for a cure, in 2008, his efforts paid off. Holcomb stumbled upon Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler in Beverly  Hills who was able to surgically restore his sight to 20/20. Undergoing the innovative, new procedure allowed Holcomb to continue his career, and he even went on to win the gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Holcomb initially didn’t want to discuss his condition with anyone because he didn’t want to be perceived as weak. A true overcomer, he describes his life journey as “tough”, but “amazing”. As Holcomb’s story
proves, however, success lies in persistence, how we choose to view life’s tough situations, and reaching out to others for help when needed.

Every day, Family Guidance Center works with adults and children affected by depression and other mental illness. While mental illness isn’t something that is chosen, it doesn’t have to define the course of a person’s life. With support programs like that offered through Family Guidance Center, there is hope for a brighter future.

Do You Know the Long-Term Effects of Untreated Depression?

Depression 3There is a good chance you know someone who has experienced depression. It’s an illness that affects millions of Americans. To fully understand why treating depression is so important, consider the following list of long-term effects of untreated depression.

Long Term Mental Illness
Most bouts of depression are caused by an event that triggers feelings of sadness, such as the loss of a loved one. Feelings tend to return to normal after a couple days or weeks. But for those whose sadness lasts longer than a few weeks that go untreated by therapy or medications, depression can worsen. Chronic mental illness could develop, which is found to be difficult to treat. In some cases, untreated depression can develop into more severe mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder.

Withdrawal From Social Settings
Depression is caused by low levels of serotonin which is a chemical in the brain that is responsible for feelings of happiness and being social. When that chemical is off balance, it is not uncommon for people with depression to stay at home, miss several days off work and avoid social interaction as much as possible. This has a negative effect on both their financial stability as well as their emotional relationships.

Decline of Physical Health and Increased Chance of Death
According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health, individuals with depression are four times more likely to have a heart attack over individuals without depression. They are also at a higher risk to experience a second heart attack or death. Also, studies have shown that having a mental illness such as depression drastically increases a person’s chance of attempting suicide. According to a study by the White House Conference on Mental Health, over two-thirds of suicides in the United   States are caused by depression.

If you or a loved one experience depression, it is important to seek treatment in order to avoid the long term effects of the disease. You can find the answers and help you need at Family Guidance Center, so call today.


Helping Those You Love who are Living with Depression at the Holidays

When someone you love is depressed, it sometimes feels as though no matter what you do, itDepression 2 can’t help. This struggle is part of what makes depression such a difficult disease. As much as the person with depression may seem like they are shutting you out or pushing you away, the truth is – they need your support. And they may need it most of all during the holidays when they feel so out of step with the rest of the world.

It isn’t that you can’t talk with your friend or loved one, there are just some things to keep in mind which can help you communicate the love and care that you feel.

1. Even though the season is hectic, make time to just be there.
Holding hands or making time to sit with the person communicates love. If you want to say something, try statements like “I always love you” or “You are an important person in my life”. True statements about your positive feelings are comforting.

2. Words are so powerful.
Avoid critical statements or words that tell the person how to feel better. You may think you know just what will get them over the hump, but instead of telling them what you think, ask them “What can I do for you?”

3. Small things mean a lot.
Make time for face-to-face visits, but supplement those times with little reminders that you are thinking of them. Stay in contact with cards, text messages and emails. Bring them a meal. Stop by just to say hello.

4. Try not to minimize what they are feeling.
Depression is not just in their head. They aren’t just being overly-sensitive. They wish that they could re-focus onto others, but depression is a disease with symptoms. Listen to them, affirm your love for them and let them know that no matter how long it takes to get past this, you are for them and with them.

For more ideas on how to help your loved one, talk with the professionals at Family Guidance Center. They are available all through the year as your loved one manages the symptoms of living with depression.

DO’s and DON’Ts For Aiding a Loved One With Depression

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Depression is an illness that can be very isolating. A depressed person may not even realize why they are depressed or understand that there is an underlying biological cause for feeling melancholy. Family and friends can play an important role in helping to support their loved one through the process of confronting and treating depression.

When a person is experiencing depression, they may become confrontational and offering support can be difficult. However, during a time of crisis, family members and friends are often the most influential people in the affected person’s life and can have a tremendous impact, despite efforts to push them away. During this time, empathy, patience and persistence go a long way toward encouraging recovery.

The following are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to familial involvement in depression:

  • DO make efforts to reach out even if the affected person seems withdrawn and doesn’t want help.
  • DO understand that recovery is possible and remain positive and encouraging.
  • DO continue to include the depressed person in family discussions, events, and everyday matters.
  • DO talk openly and honestly about the condition including treatment, hospitalization if applicable and expectations.
  • DO follow doctor’s orders and be strong for the loved one.
  • DON’T try and tell a depressed person how to feel or what to think.
  • DON’T undermine treatment efforts by downplaying the illness such as chalking it up to a phase or a need for a vacation, more vitamins, etc.
  • DON’T ridicule the person for their concerns or fears no matter how irrational they might seem.
  • DON’T expect functioning beyond what someone is capable, for example, getting out if they don’t feel like it.

With depression it’s important to take one day at a time. Everyone appreciates some periods of being alone. And while it’s important to respect a depressed individual’s space, experts say it is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to involvement even if it seems efforts are futile.

Family Guidance Center offers coordinated care programs for those living with depression. Everyone has times when they experience symptoms of depression, but depression doesn’t have to define a person or dictate the course of their life. Help is available. For more information, contact Family Guidance Center.


Parenting With a Mental Illness

Parents with mental illness face unique challenges as compared to others. Mental illness can affect Mental Health 10families in many ways, but being aware of potential issues can help both parents and children with efforts aimed at prevention and intervention. Some of the concerns for parents affected by mental illness include stigma, parental capacity, and other issues relating to their children.

Stigma can stand in the way of those with mental illness from getting the help they require. TV often portrays false perceptions of mental illness that paints affected individuals as unstable. Because of lack of education, children may also have negative experiences due to a parent being diagnosed with a mental disorder.

Parents living with mental illness still have to face all the same challenges of every other mother or father balancing home, work, and family life. When a parent is working through issues such as depression or anxiety, it could hinder the ability of the parent and child to communicate. Intervention programs can help families work through these issues by addressing the needs of both parents and children. Successful programs typically involve long-term, comprehensive support for the entire family.

Stigma is a big culprit when it comes to parents with mental illness not being able to effectively raise their children. There still exists an opinion that seeking mental health services may mean a person is weak or unfit as a parent. However, it takes more courage to admit the need for help and to seek effective symptom management (as in any chronic disease). It’s not reaching out for support that could result in a diminished ability to care for one’s children.

Most types of mental illness are both manageable and treatable. Learn the facts about mental illness. Contact Family Guidance Center for more information about area adult mental health services and family support.