What Happened to You? (Part 3)

Original Post Here: https://www.ttfa.org/episode/2019/11/05/85-what-happened-to-you-part-3

This is the third and final episode in our series on childhood trauma and we’re going big-picture. So buckle up, because the train is going to make stops in Rantville, Can You Believe This Burg and OMGtown.

This episode was produced in partnership with Call to Mind, American Public Media’s initiative to foster new conversations about mental health; And St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development, which is building relationships that nurture the development of every child and family; With support from the Sauer Family Foundation, which is committed to improving the lives of disadvantaged children and their families in Minnesota.

You can catch up with TTFA on InstagramTwitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora’s Instagram is @noraborealis.

TTFA is public media. Which means we are supported by you. You can join us with a contribution at ttfa.org/donate.

What Happened to You? (Part 2)

Original Post Here: https://www.ttfa.org/episode/2019/11/05/85-what-happened-to-you-part-2

f the terrible things that happened to you during childhood can affect your health later in life, how do you NOT live out the worst possibilities for yourself? Is that even possible? In this second episode of our series about childhood trauma, we look at protective factors and resilience.

This episode was produced in partnership with Call to Mind, American Public Media’s initiative to foster new conversations about mental health; And St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development, which is building relationships that nurture the development of every child and family; With support from the Sauer Family Foundation, which is committed to improving the lives of disadvantaged children and their families in Minnesota.

You can catch up with TTFA on InstagramTwitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora’s Instagram is @noraborealis.

TTFA is public media. Which means we are supported by you. You can join us with a contribution at ttfa.org/donate.

And check out our sponsors this week:

Talkspace – talkspace.com with code TERRIBLE

Rothy’s – rothys.com/terrible

HelloFresh – hellofresh.com/asking9 with code ASKING9

What Happened to You? (Part 1)

Original Post Here: https://www.ttfa.org/episode/2019/11/05/85-what-happened-to-you-part-1

We all kind of understand that what happens to us as a child affects us as an adult. But there is recent evidence that the way our childhoods affect us is so much deeper and more surprising than we thought.

This episode was produced in partnership with Call to Mind, American Public Media’s initiative to foster new conversations about mental health; And St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development, which is building relationships that nurture the development of every child and family; With support from the Sauer Family Foundation, which is committed to improving the lives of disadvantaged children and their families in Minnesota.

You can catch up with TTFA on InstagramTwitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora’s Instagram is @noraborealis.

TTFA is public media. Which means we are supported by you. You can join us with a contribution at ttfa.org/donate.

And check out our sponsors this week:

Ritual – ritual.com/thanks

Brooklinen – brooklinen.com with code TERRIBLE

Talkspace – talkspace.com with code TERRIBLE

Third Love – thirdlove.com/terrible

Depressed woman sitting on a chair in dark room at home. Lonly , sad, emotion concept.

Hope Available for those Suffering from “Holiday Blues.”

Atypical day during the year is hectic enough for Serena*. Transporting her children to and from school and social events takes a huge chunk of her time. But she also has to help the kids with their homework, shop for the family, clean the house, make dinner and support her husband’s business, all while working a full-time job. She rarely has time for herself.

Like so many, her days get even more hectic around the holidays, and every year, Serena gets depressed. She dreads family holiday gatherings so much that she makes up excuses to avoid attending them. She resents the impositions on her time and finances and becomes angry and bitter. She cries at the drop of a hat and is short with her family.

“Although the holidays can be a wonderful experience for many people, they lead to a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for others,” observes Edward Zawadzki, DO, a board-certified forensic and adult psychiatrist at Lighthouse Health Group in Jupiter. “These feelings of anxiety and depression are often referred to as the ‘holiday blues.’

“The onset of the holiday blues typically begins in the fall and progresses through the holiday season. Symptoms often begin with feelings of stress and irritability. Sadness and fatigue may follow, and some people may become reclusive.

“The condition may degenerate into a more formal depression or anxiety disorder. When that occurs, those symptoms may be present, but more serious symptoms, such as episodes of tearfulness and suicidal thoughts, may also develop.”

While the holidays can be delightful, they are accompanied by certain stressors that can lead to the development of the holiday blues, Dr. Zawadzki asserts. Two of the most common stressors are finances and family.

“People understandably feel more anxiety and sometimes experience depression or a more serious psychiatric issue, or have a worsening of an existing condition, due to those stressors,” the doctor relates. “Some people with the holiday blues unconsciously or subconsciously move away from their families at this time of year if their families are a source of stress for them.

“Old feelings such as guilt may get dredged up when families gather, and that can lead to anxiety and anger, which can cause a person to become depressed. There are also many obligations, and events people are expected to attend that they may feel uncomfortable attending. That can stir up anxiety and even panic in those with the holiday blues.

“Financial pressures are also heightened during the holidays with the added costs of entertaining, decorating and buying gifts. Those with the holiday blues may resent being expected to spend the extra money. Resentment leads to anxiety and anger, causing the person to further isolate themselves from friends and family.

“We encourage anyone experiencing symptoms of the holiday blues to seek professional help, and we can definitely provide that help. People can make an appointment for an initial consultation, and we can quickly determine the treatment they need, whether it’s psychotherapy or medication or both.”

Eclectic Offerings

Lighthouse Health Group is a full-service psychiatric practice offering both traditional and leading-edge treatments for patients with mental health disorders, including the holiday blues. In addition to a board-certified psychiatrist, the staff includes a certified psychiatric nurse practitioner, doctoral-level psychologists and master’s-level therapists.

Dr. Zawadzki and his staff at Lighthouse Health Group use a mixture of science-based psychiatry and traditional psychotherapeutic methods to treat their patients. Traditional methods include individual and family therapy.

“We use different types of therapies designed for specific types of disorders,” Dr. Zawadzki describes. “We have an eclectic assortment of treatments that includes traditional psychodynamic psychotherapy and supportive psychotherapy. But we also have treatments such as TMS [transcranial magnetic stimulation]EMDR [eye movement desensitization and reprocessing]esketamine therapy and a nutrition-based wellness therapy. We use this wide range of modalities to better help our patients.”

TMS, esketamine therapy and EMDR are three of the newer treatments available at Lighthouse Health Group. Each of these treatments has a place in treating patients with certain mental health disorders. TMS is used for medication-resistant depression.

“During TMS, a high-strength magnet is placed on the head over an area of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex,” Dr. Zawadzki describes. “This area of the brain is considered important in the development of depression. It has been shown on MRI studies to be under-functioning in people who have depression.

“Pulsing the magnet over that section of the brain induces a small electrical charge that forces the neurons in that area to fire. This essentially wakes up the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex so it functions normally again, which relieves depression symptoms.”

Esketamine is a new medication that helps people suffering from depressive disorders rapidly achieve symptom relief. TMS and esketamine are typically considered after patients fail to achieve significant symptom relief using medications.

“Esketamine is an analog of ketamine, an anesthetic that’s been around for many years,” Dr. Zawadzki explains. “But esketamine has been reformulated as a treatment for depression. We use esketamine as a nasal spray, and we administer it in our office. It’s not something patients take home with them.

“Esketamine is an NMDA-receptor antagonist, which is a complicated way of saying it works on neurotransmitters in the brain that are involved with depression and other emotional states. By modulating those neurotransmitters with esketamine, we can help people feel dramatically better very quickly.”

EMDR is a newer, nontraditional form of psychotherapy that’s used primarily for patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. PTSD is a condition that develops after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event such as a physical assault, a serious accident or military combat.

During EMDR, the patient is instructed to follow the back and forth motions of the therapist’s fingers with their eyes. The patient then recounts their traumatic event while the therapist gently shifts their negative thoughts to more pleasing ones. The goal of EMDR is to weaken the effects of the negative emotions associated with the traumatic event.

Whole-Body Care

Patients with mental health disorders sometimes suffer physical pain as well. To address their patients’ painful conditions, Lighthouse Health Group offers the services of a board-certified physiatrist on site at the clinic.

“We’re not a pain clinic, but our physiatrist, Dr. Ellen Babinsky, treats patients for many types of musculoskeletal complaints, including back pain and joint injuries,” Dr. Zawadzki states. “As a physiatrist, she can address any type of muscle or bone issue patients may experience.”

People don’t have to be mental health patients to see a physiatrist at Lighthouse Health Group or to receive help from its staff. Someone such as Serena, who suffers severely during the holiday season, could profit immensely from the services available at Lighthouse Health Group, where a board-certified psychiatrist will determine if she would benefit from medication, and a trained therapist can teach her skills for coping with the stresses and demands of the holiday season.

“Good things can happen when people see a psychiatrist or therapist around the holidays,” Dr. Zawadzki says. “We can help them keep their bearings throughout the holiday season and beyond.”

*Patient’s name withheld at her request.

Source: Florida Health Care News, Inc.

Stop violence against women

Stop Stigma

May’s National Mental Health Awareness Month. For some people, seeking help for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and or bipolar disorder can often be difficult due for the fear of stigma that surrounds it. Why when we are having a mental health concern to do people feel apprehensive about seeking help? One contributing factor are the negative representations of mental illness throughout society and the media. How can we collectively as a whole find supportive, non-judgemental ways for individuals needing help?

Here are some suggestions that can promote change:

1. Educate yourself and others.
Judgments often comes from a lack of understanding and misinformation. It is essential when obtaining information that it is a reliable source and factual. There is a tremendous amount of information available on the internet, one organization National Alliance for Mental Illness (www.NAMI.org) provides up to date information.

2. Stress the importance of mind/body connection with your children.
From a very early age, create an open dialogue with your children. Teach them that overall wellness is a mind/body connection. Encourage them feel comfortable talking about mental health concerns with the same comfort level when there is a physical complaint.

3. Choose your words wisely.
Avoid stigmatizing language such as” psycho, schizo, or crazy”. If you hear someone use these terms, you can remind them that is not acceptable terminology when discussing a person with a mental health diagnosis.

4. Remove shame from the equation.
Feeling ashamed about mental illness can often leads to isolation. Mental illness does not define who we are, it is something that people have to monitor and treat like any other health issue. When we are honest with others about our problems we feel empowered, the more one has control their life, the less we are concerned of the opinion of others.

5. Be proactive, Share your story with others.
Join a support group in your area, reach out on social media, create a blog about it. There are many avenues to raise awareness within your community.

Reference: NAMI www.NAMI.org

The WHY behind SELF-WOUNDING featured-image


The WHY behind SELF-WOUNDING featured-image













Dysfunctional families.


Teenage rape and murder.

These are all topics ripe for prestige television.

But a major subplot of HBO’s “Sharp Objects” — which is based on “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn’s debut novel of the same name and airs its finale Sunday — is one rarely covered in pop culture.

Cutting — or “self-harm.”

In the eight-episode series, Amy Adams plays a highly functional alcoholic newspaper reporter. She is assigned by her St. Louis Chronicle editor to travel to her tiny hometown of Wind Gap, Mo., where one teenage girl has been murdered and another has gone missing (and eventually will be found brutally slain).

The show is partly a whodunit mystery.

But it’s far more a character study as Adams’ Camille Preaker is forced to deal with her own myriad demons: the childhood death of her sister; being gang-raped as a teenager; and the constant reproach of her narcissistic, domineering, distant, unloving mother.

And a penchant for self-harm that has left much of her body — save her face and hands — covered in scars.

(Ever the writer, Camille’s scars are arranged in block letters carved to spell out words such as “dirt,” “bad” and “vanish.”)

Self-harm depicted in pop culture — such as in the TV movie “Secret Cutting” or the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” — typically focuses on adolescents or teens.

However, according to the British mental health advocacy group Mind, “the age when people first self-harm ranges from 4 years old to people in their 60s.” Indeed, the repercussions of Camille’s cutting are a daily presence in adulthood.

No matter why or when one self-harms, experts agree that it’s a physical manifestation of poor emotional coping skills.

“Self-harming is not an isolated behavior,” explains Jupiter psychologist Ali Mandelblatt. “Rather, it’s a component or symptom of deeper underlying issues.”

Loneliness, poor self-esteem, depression, anxiety, painful memories, PTSD — these and other mental health conditions can all be potential root causes of why a young person initially begins engaging in self-harm.

“A lot of times, younger people may not be able to verbally express what’s causing them pain — so self-harm gives them an outlet,” says Mandelblatt.

Self-harm can serve other purposes as well.

“Self-harming can provide a sense of being in control,” says Rhodena Mesadieu, a therapist with SoulSpring Counseling in Palm Beach Gardens. “Sometimes, self-harming numbs emotional pain; other times, when a person is numb or doesn’t feel anything at all, self-harming provides momentary feeling.”

The behavior also ranges from the secretive — as is the case for Camille — to one that is practiced in a peer group setting.

Both Mandelblatt and Mesadieu stress that self-harm — which singer Demi Lovato and actor Johnny Depp have admitted to engaging in — encompasses more than just cutting. Other forms include:

  • Burning skin
  • Picking or scratching skin
  • Pulling hair from one’s scalp or arms
  • Pulling out eyelashes
  • Self-poisoning
  • Self-biting
  • Self-punching
  • Banging one’s head
  • Starting fistfights with the intent to get injured

So, what are the physical warning signs that someone may be self-harming?

“Unexplained cuts, burns and bruises are obvious giveaways,” says Mandelblatt.

As is wearing concealing clothing at all times — even when it’s not appropriate, such as at a pool or the beach.

(Adams’ Camille wears long sleeves and long pants at all times — even remaining fully clothed when passion strikes with a would-be lover.)

Mesadieu notes that shying away from “hugging, touching or other physical contact” can be warning signs, too.

And parents should also be on the lookout for stray droplets of blood around their home.

It’s critical that those who self-harm receive psychological counseling, says Mandelblatt, because “left untreated the behavior often escalates.”

And that can be physically dangerous.

Bones can be broken.

Brains can be concussed.

Veins and arteries can be punctured.

Without professional intervention, the adolescent or teen self-harmer will likely graduate to other self-destructive behaviors such as alcohol/substance abuse, eating disorders and abusive relationships.

The producers of “Sharp Objects” know how potentially triggering the dramatic portrayals of cutting and substance abuse can be. Similar to the ending of each past episode, a full-screen public service announcement will air at the conclusion of Sunday night’s finale detailing where one can receive help.

“People who self-harm must not suffer in silence,” urges Mandelblatt. “There’s help — and hope — for recovery.”


  • Fresh cuts, scratches, bruises, scars or other wounds
  • Excessive rubbing of an area to create a burn
  • Keeping sharp objects accessible
  • Wearing concealing clothing in inappropriate settings or climate conditions
  • Deterioration of school and/or work performance
  • Expressions of helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Isolating behavior
  • Behavioral and emotional instability, impulsivity and unpredictability


At the end of every episode of HBO’s “Sharp Objects,” the following full-screen public service announcement appears:

“If you or someone you know struggles with self-harm or substance abuse, please seek help by contacting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 1-800-662-HELP (4357).”

In Palm Beach County, contact the Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County by calling 561-801-HELP (4357) or visiting mhapbc.org.

briefing in boardroom

How Do Psychiatrists Go About Treating Depression

Visiting a psychiatrist for the first time might be overwhelming for some people, mainly, because sometimes you don’t know what to expect, what is going to happen and hot to go about it. The unknown might prevent you from getting the help you need.

It is commonly believed that mental illnesses are different from the physical ones. This article will help you understand better what really entails visiting a psychiatrist.

To begin with, you would be surprised to find out that the visit is similar to any medical consultation that you might have experienced. The professional should remind you that what you discuss in the session is confidential (unless what you discussed is dangerous to themselves or someone else.)

Generally, the first visit is just a consultation where you and the psychiatrist get to know each other. You might discuss what brought you to visit the professional and you will continue working together from that point. Then, a series of questions might be asked you to help the psychiatrist get some information about your mental health, general health, and your family history.

When a patient goes to a clinic with a psychiatric/mental health concern, it is important to identify the medical causes. Depression, mania, anxiety and thought disorders might be caused by and may mimic medical problems such as thyroid disease, infections, medication side effects, hormone abnormalities and many other treatable medical conditions.

briefing in boardroom











How to Plan  a Treatment

When a patient suffers from depression, there are several treatments that can be applied. Each patient is different, unique and she or he attends with a history of treatment failures, treatment successes and treatment options which were not solved in the past.

The professional also has to rule out conditions like bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety, psychosis, and addiction, as these conditions influence which medications would be suitable for the patient. A proper diagnosis is necessary to plan effective treatment.

The treatment might be based on the severity of the patient’s symptoms, how much the depression impacts their ability to function at work and/or home and their history of previous treatments.


Psychotherapy is one the most common initial treatment tool that is employed with my patients who suffer from depression. The type of therapy implemented should be specific to what the patient discussed during the session and subsequent follow-up visits. At the same time, it should be based on the type and intensity of therapy on the patient’s stressors, symptoms, and preference for the frequency of upcoming visits.

It may be quite enriching for patients to receive supportive therapy. At each appointment, the professional should provide an empathic environment in which any number of concerns and stressors in a supportive, non-judgmental and non-critical atmosphere can be discussed.

There are other types of psychotherapy including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). As well as intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) for those who are most negatively impacted by depression and whose functioning is the most severely impaired.

Upset soldier talks with therapist











Close Attention to Behavioral Changes

Sometimes depression is associated with behavioral changes, that is why it tends to lead to social isolation and a decreased interest in things like nutrition, exercise and enjoyable activities. Therefore, your psychiatrist will encourage you to take an inventory of your current behaviors. You will have to pay attention to your diet, physical exercise, recreational activities, chores, bill paying and your hygiene.

After evaluation these areas, you might find that you have significant deficits in comparison to your pre-depression behavior this is due to depression keeping you from having the motivation to do what makes you feel better.

When in treatment, you will realize that the plan elevated will motivate you. Small victories and accomplishments are important to lift your mood when depression has caused so much pain and struggle.


Some patients just look for “a pill” to make them feel better, and some others argue they do not believe in medication. However, every decision should be based on information about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to every treatment option. The professional might work with you to help you decide what is best. At last, you will have the final word on whether you will have the medication or not.

Symptoms serve to target for the right treatment and align better with some medications. Targeting the most severe and urgent ones is a must to help you get better and assert the correct medication.

Today, it is possible to find a lot of proved medication that can benefit the patient in the depression treatment. When assessing the correct one, the psychiatrist must consider your history of medication successes and failures.

What is more, some patients need a combination of medication to suit their personal and current necessities. At each visit, the professional should evaluate if a medical adjustment should be made if the dose should be changed or some other medication should be added to achieve optimal outcomes.

Other Complementary Treatment

Medication for depression might take some time to take effect, around a week or two, and it might take up to 6-8 weeks more to get a maximal effect. Thus, you should consider doing other treatment options simultaneously until the medication starts working. This modality may have a significant positive impact on your depression immediately.


Psychiatry is a part of medicine which focuses on mental diseases including depression. If you suffer from depression or you know somebody who does, you need to know that a single consultation can help you clarify the diagnosis, treatment options and so that you can begin with your healing process. Besides, your symptoms, feelings, and struggles are going to be understood and treated by the psychiatrist you choose.

If you need more information or assessment in connection to this or any other mental problem or psychotherapy contact us. We are more than willing to help you get the right treatment for you.


Can the Mind Be Trained to Overcome Anxiety and Depression?

Before you ever feel the effects of anxiety or depression, the brain is hard at work. The portions of the brain that process and interpret sensory signals are what warn the remainder of the brain that a threat may exist, thus triggering a potential fear or anxiety reaction. With depression, a similar process exists, causing a domino ripple that in turn affects everything from the way you feel to sleeping, eating, and working habits. Of course, there are treatments such as medication and therapy to help sufferers cope and learn to gradually overcome issues such as anxiety and depression. But can the brain be retrained to avoid these negative reactions and restore itself to health? Is there a way to essentially reboot the mind and teach it not to experience these reactions?













How You Can Reboot

Anxiety, depression, and other similar mental conditions are becoming increasingly common. Along with those come new and innovative ways to treat and deal with them in this ever-stressful world we live in. Many of the mental health issues of today begin with and are triggered by stress, and even for those who may not experience clinical anxiety or depression, stress still exists. Virtually no one would say that they have no stress or would refuse an opportunity to relax. Thus, finding ways to relax is key to retraining your brain, among other things. Some of these ways to reboot include:

  • Being aware
  • Tracking your mood and energy
  • Scheduling appropriately
  • Taking breaks
  • Employing relaxation techniques
  • Finding ways to reboot daily that work for you

Be Aware

The first step to improving any situation is to be aware of the current one. Ignoring any issue and remaining in denial never fixed any problems, so the best thing you can do to begin is to try to be aware of negative thought patterns. Keep a journal and notice triggers that lead to anxious thoughts or depressive behavior. Recognizing these patterns can help you deal with them and learn to respond in a more healthy manner. In fact, when you see and expect certain things to happen, you’ll be able to anticipate and formulate a response beforehand, thus warding off the anxious response.

Track Your Moods and Energy

In addition to your thought journal, keeping track of your moods and energy can help you to identify triggers that cause mood swings and energy highs and lows. Being aware of your moods allows you to determine when you’re at your best and when you could use a little reboot. Paying attention to your energy levels can also help you learn how the two are related and when you function best. For example, you may be a morning person who has a lot of energy and loves to work out in the mornings, but you may crash in the afternoons and need a boost. When you learn these things about yourself, it can help you to plan when to do certain things and when to take a break.

Part of tracking your energy levels is monitoring your sleep habits as well. Sleeping is vital to the reset of your brain, as nighttime is when your brain rejuvenates itself. If you deprive it of that restoration time, you’ll quickly build up a sleep deficit and the issues that go with it, such as brain fog or irritability, which can contribute to depression and anxiety. Lack of sleep has been proven to contribute to many health problems and has a direct correlation to energy and mood as well. Proper sleep is necessary for health on both a daily and a long-term basis.

Once you establish a pattern of energy highs and lows, determine a bedtime that will give you enough sleep and at the appropriate time. Once you establish a habit of going to bed around the same time every night and getting the amount you need, you’ll find that your mood and energy levels both improve.

Schedule Appropriately












Schedule Appropriately

Once you see your thought and related mood/energy patterns, it can be beneficial to rearrange your schedule to accommodate them. If you’ve discovered that you do have lower energy levels in the afternoons and thus a more anxious or stressed mood, then you’ll want to plan your tasks that require more energy for the times your energy levels and mood are higher. Trying to get high-energy tasks done in a low-energy time window is a recipe for disaster, thus adding to the stress and anxiety you’re trying to avoid.

Take Breaks

Everyone deserves a break now and then; isn’t that the reason weekends exist, after all? Not to mention, that’s the reason most states have laws for employees requiring breaks every so often. It has been proven that productivity increases when periodic breaks are allowed. A break, in essence, forces you to reboot your brain temporarily, and sometimes a change of scenery refreshes you so you can tackle the rest of the day. You may be a hard worker who is driven to get things done, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But you want to avoid mental burnout, which can lead to stress and anxiety over time. So don’t feel like you need to be constantly working just to get things done. If you’ve completed the previous steps and know your patterns, plan to take a break when you have a history of less energy or productivity. Take a short walk or nap if you can, or switch to a less intensive task and focus your thoughts elsewhere.

Woman Meditating












Employ Relaxation Techniques

These days, the business of relaxation is a big industry, and rightfully so. With so many methods of relaxation, you can surely find at least one that works for you—or several. Do what you like, and you’ll find your brain resetting itself automatically to clear away the anxious or depressive thoughts and patterns. There are several ways to relax, some of which include:

  • Breathing techniques
  • Yoga
  • Prayer, meditation, or visualization
  • Music
  • Massage
  • Exercise

All of these are excellent tools to help you reset your brain when you find yourself feeling anxious or depressed. Some of them can certainly work better in situations than others, so find what’s appropriate. Obviously you can’t run screaming out of your office and into a massage clinic in the middle of your workday, so if you find yourself stressing at work, breathe deeply for a few moments or imagine yourself in a relaxing environment. Just a few minutes of a similar practice will give you a break and help you to refocus. Exercise, of course, is beneficial for so many reasons and is best employed long term. Whether you find yoga the most relaxing or you’d rather run on a treadmill or a country road, find what you enjoy and make it a priority a few times a week. Not only will you get that break and reboot you deserve, but you’ll also find yourself feeling happier naturally and sleeping better overall. Your mental stamina will improve along with your mood, energy, and your anxious thoughts.

While these are all things you can do on a daily or weekly basis to help retrain your brain and overcome anxiety or depression, they complement the training or therapy you’ll receive with a professional. Visiting a therapist for cognitive training will be your best bet for progress, as the therapist will guide you and encourage you to employ the brain-reset training that works best for you on a consistent basis. Therapy and maintenance combinations will expedite the reboot process, helping you to overcome anxiety or depression faster and promoting a happier, healthier you.

6 Steps to Beating Depression

Sad woman looking through the window

Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy. It is a debilitating disorder that drains your energy, your motivation, and your self-worth. The major difference between depression and unhappiness is that depression is a persistent feeling. 

It can be as frustrating dealing with someone who has depression as it is dealing with depression yourself. But know that one of the worst things you can do is tell someone who is depressed to “just snap out of it” or something similar. Just like any disorder, it takes time to work through it, so it’s important to be patient. 

However, part of having depression means losing sight of how much control you actually have. While feeling better does take time, and it’s a gradual process, being persistent about your healing process is what will get you through. 

The following are six steps to taking control of your emotions and overcoming your depression.

1. Practice Mindfulness

Someone in a depressed state of mind tends to hyperfocus on the negative. This can breed anxiety and further support the miserable cycle of worthlessness that comes with depression. It’s not a helpful habit to fall into when trying to overcome your depression. 

The first and most simple thing you can do is breathe. Mindful breathing is scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, as it helps your nervous system shift from the animalistic “fight or flight” response to the parasympathetic nervous system which is far more relaxed.  

Zen moment

Bringing your mind into the present moment takes your mind off of the negative thoughts. This can be accomplished through meditation. Try using your senses– sight, smell, touch, sound –to anchor yourself in the present. Practicing this helps you regulate your negative thoughts, and it gets easier to shift into the present moment. 

Another mindful practice you can use is gratitude. By recognizing the good in your life– the people, things, and experiences you’re grateful for –you reinforce positivity. If you practice this enough, it becomes easier to focus on the positives in your life rather than the negatives. 

Writing in a journal is also mindfulness practice. It can help move your negative thoughts out of your brain, and it also helps you gain some perspective when you’re able to read back your thoughts from a piece of paper.

2. Get More Active

It can be incredibly difficult to even roll yourself out of bed when you’re depressed, much less exercising. But exercise is highly combative of depression. It’s proven that working out on a regular basis can serve as effectively as medication for relieving symptoms of depression. 

Finding peace

Because your body releases endorphins when you exercise, working out naturally boosts your mood. It can be hard to get started when you’re drained of energy, and all you want to do is lay in bed. But if you can just manage to begin and stick with it, that feeling of fatigue will dissipate, and your energy levels will rise. 

This consistent practice of exercising also improves your immune system. It’s recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be 30 consecutive minutes. If you can manage a 10-minute walk, three times a day, you will be doing your mental health a huge favor.

3. Reach Out and Connect with People You Trust

This seems like a simple act, but it is often one of the hardest things to do when you’re depressed. The nature of depression keeps you feeling isolated and uninterested in connecting with others, even your closest friends and family members. But social support is vital to overcoming depression, and anxiety too. 

Connecting with others when you’re depressed can help you with your perspective, and even if it’s just for a little while, it can help you feel better. There’s even research that shows people with close friends are more likely to survive traumatic life events. If you feel like you don’t have anyone to reach out to, it’s never too late to build that support network– yes, even if you’re depressed. 

Here are some suggestions for how you can reach out and connect with people when you’re down:

  • Talk to someone trustworthy and good at listening about your feelings
  • Ask a loved one to check in with you on a regular basis
  • Meet new people by taking a class or joining a club
  • Call or message an old friend
  • Volunteer and support somebody else
  • Love on a pet 

If you’re worried someone you know may have depression, they may not reach out to you. Remember that this is characteristic of depressed individuals and that you don’t have to wait for them to connect with you. In many cases, you can help someone by reaching out to them first.

4. Eat a Healthy Diet

Surely you’ve heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” In a way, that’s true. What you eat has a direct effect on how you feel. That’s why it’s so important to be mindful of what you eat, especially if you’re depressed. 

Fruits and vegetables overhead assortment on colorful background

According to research on depression, many sufferers of depression are frequently lack in a fatty acid called EPA. Omega-3 fatty acids have proven to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression like sleep disorders, suicidal thoughts, and lacking sex drive. You can find these healthy fats in foods like salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, walnuts, and flaxseed. Shoot for two servings of Omega-3 per week. 

Another good idea for eating healthy is to cut down own sugar and carbs. Comfort foods like pasta or baked goods will make you feel good in the moment, but give you drops in your energy later on. 

If you lack in B vitamins, this can also make your depression worse. Make sure you either take a B vitamin supplement or eat more leafy greens, citrus fruits, beans, or eggs.

5. Seek Treatment

If you’ve taken all the steps you can to try to overcome depression and find it’s getting worse rather than better, it may be a good idea to seek professional help. There is no shame in pursuing treatment through therapy or medication.  

Couple with a psychiatrist.

A therapist can help you find healthy coping skills and to understand thought patterns and beliefs that may be hurting you. 

A psychiatrist can prescribe medication that will help relieve your symptoms. If you’re not comfortable taking medication, a visit to a psychiatrist may still be helpful in understanding other treatment options out there.

6. Don’t Give Up

If you start all of these steps today, it’s highly unlikely you will feel completely better tomorrow. Overcoming depression takes time. But by building better habits, such as eating better, exercising, practicing mindfulness, and connecting with others when you’re sad, you can gradually recover from this disorder. 

If you are prescribed medication, it’s important that you are committed to taking it every day. The same goes for therapy. If you’re investing in it, commit to going and working through your issues, however painful it may be. It will take time before you start seeing the effects of professional treatment. 

Many people experience depression; you are not alone. The key to overcoming it is not to get rid of it but to learn how to manage it. Hang in there and keep persevering. 






What Happens After You Overcome Depression?

Cheerful woman playing in bed with daughter

Overcoming depression is a gradual process, and in most cases, you’re able to get back to a healthy headspace. But life after depression isn’t without its challenges. After you’ve experienced a depressive episode, life’s not as it was before. 

And because you’ve experienced this mental illness, you’re more at risk for relapsing later on in life. While this may sound discouraging and plays right into the thought patterns that depression perpetuates so well, there are practices you can implement in your life to prevent relapse. 

Ultimately, you want to maintain your mental health, and that means accepting that while you have had depression, you aren’t defined by depression.  

The Road to Recovery

It’s important to recognize depression for what it is: an illness. It’s a mental illness that lies to you through your thoughts. Accepting that you cannot trust all of your thoughts because they are not an accurate representation of reality is a hard thing to do. 

But it’s absolutely necessary. 

Reconnecting with reality and regaining your mental health means teaching yourself how to recognize which of your thoughts are true and which aren’t. This is no easy feat, but it’s an important practice. Prioritizing this practice just a little each day will improve this discernment.

Removing Toxic People

Coming back to reality can also mean making painful decisions about who you keep in your life. If you’ve experienced a depressive episode and there’s a toxic person in your life, this puts you at a higher risk of feeling the symptoms again. 

It’s crucial to identify who, if anyone, makes your symptoms worse and to separate from this person. This can end up being one of the hardest choices you’ll ever make, but the well-being of your mind is not worth keeping a toxic individual around.

Taking Care of Your Body

Your mind and your body are inextricably connected. So ultimately, caring for your mental health means also caring for your physical health. An unhealthy body just cannot sustain a healthy mind. 

So don’t dump that exercise routine after you’ve overcome depression. Don’t start eating loads of junk food after you’ve begun to feel better. What you put in your body today will affect your health tomorrow. 

Don’t be afraid to try different workouts or diets to find what works best for you and your health. Recovering from depression is a process, and most of that process is trial and error. There is no right way to recover. As long as you’re on a path to be healthier, you’re doing it right.

Staying Mindful 

freedom feelings

Mindfulness is a practice you should carry with you for the rest of your life, regardless of if you ever experience a depressive episode again. This is an exercise for everybody. 

Mindfulness meditation and mindfulness in daily activities help people to witness their thoughts rather than to be wholly absorbed by them. This practice teaches you to give less power to your thoughts, and instead to watch them come and go just as bodily sensations do. 

Remember– those negative thought patterns are what give depression its power. If you can detach yourself from these thoughts, depression is far less likely to return.

Staying Connected 

Group therapy session with therapist and client hugging

The real catch-22 of depression is the fact that relief is found in reaching out for support, yet the cyclical negative thoughts and social isolation can make that feel impossible. 

Research has shown that “formerly depressed adults who had emotionally supportive and close relationships were four times more likely to report complete mental health than those without such relationships. Having at least one trusted friend was critical to cultivating complete mental health” (Mercedes Bern-Klug, Associate Professor, University of Iowa). 

The genuine relief and healing lie in social connection. Even after your depressive episode is over, it’s crucial to maintain at least one good relationship with somebody. Your mental health is largely dependent on the human connections in your life.

Risk of Relapse 

Pensive teenage girl

As mentioned, those who have experienced depression previously are more prone to experiencing it again. The risk of relapse is highest during the first six months of recovery.

For some people, depression can potentially be a long-term or even a lifelong illness. 

Though some people very well may experience recurring depression throughout their lives, this does not mean they will never be happy. In due course of treatment, there is hope for even people with lifelong depression to manage their illness and live happy lives.

Continuation Treatment vs. Maintenance Treatment

There is a treatment for individuals who are coming off of a depressive episode, and for people who have experienced depression in the past and continue to deal with depressive episodes. 

Continuation treatment is a combination of therapy and prescription medicine that is administered to an individual for up to six months after a depressive episode. This type of treatment is important to consider if you’ve experienced a single major depressive episode. 

Maintenance treatment, on the other hand, is only provided to certain individuals who have shown signs of recurring depressive symptoms. Only people who have experienced two or three major depressive episodes in their lives are considered candidates for maintenance treatment. 

This treatment is long term and used to prevent relapse into depression. It typically includes psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, with medication doses remaining the same throughout. There are hope and relief for even those with lifelong depression. 

If you feel that your depression is lasting for a long time, or that it keeps recurring, it may be time to consult a doctor about your treatment options.


The healing from depression is gradual and can only be achieved through deliberate, everyday practice. While it may seem disconcerting that there’s a possibility of lifelong depression, you should not worry. Many people have experienced lifelong depression before, and because of this, doctors have been able to gather valuable information on how to best treat longer lasting depression. 

There is always hope. If you are in need of help with recurring depression, reach out for help. The Lighthouse Health Group in Jupiter, Florida is here to help you and answer any questions you need.