Tag: #depression

How To Be There For Someone Who Is Having A Mental Health Crisis

Link: here

One of the challenging things about a mental health crisis is that often, even the people that care about you aren’t quite sure how to be there for you. After getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I lost a lot of friends during a time when I most needed support from them.

In some cases, the real issue wasn’t a lack of caring — I believe that some people simply didn’t know how to respond to what was happening. That’s perfectly understandable, but I truly wish that more people had at least tried to be there for me. Here are a few of the things that friends did that meant a lot to me, as well as some things I wish more people would have done:

30 Years of Managing Bipolar DisorderBy George Hofmann

A person learns a lot managing a mental illness over a lifetime. I recently heard from a reader who’s been doing it for decades…

The Article:

30 Years of Managing Bipolar Disorder


The woman, Althea, said that she has been dealing with bipolar disorder for 30 years. That’s about how long I’ve had a diagnosis, so I asked her to write a note on how she manages the disease. She was caring enough to allow me to reprint it. Althea writes:

Re: manic depression, there are some things I do and some I don’t. Let’s start with the negatives.

No smoking

No drinking

No drugs unless prescribed by someone with a degree

Keep your mouth shut. Very few people know my dx; my immediate family, daughter’s fiancé, GP and provider. This is how I intend to keep it because I’ve learned that folks on the other side get really uncomfortable and won’t want to deal with you.

Introspection- too much is bad, just do what you need to do and don’t overthink it.


For me I need a bit more sleep than the average person, on work days 9-4:30 am and when I’m off I get a bit more. My sleep habits are extremely important in keeping my condition in check.

Food- organic when I can- check out the dirty dozen. Whole Foods, we do almost all our own cooking. Glass containers and never heat food in plastic.

Relationships- they’re work but they’re worth it.

Outside- walk outside on your lunch break, especially if it’s sunny.

Plan fun- put this stuff on your calendar and you’re more likely to do it.

This is great advice for maintaining you mental health. Three points deserve comment.

First, calling the illness manic depression. Some of us old folks still prefer this term. I do. It’s much more descriptive of what we suffer from and a lot less inclusive of other less disruptive mood disorders that camp out under the rubric of bipolar disorder.

Second, the reference to keeping your mouth shut. Yes, there is a terrible stigma against people with bipolar disorder. Some of us talk about our struggles with the disease, and others choose to keep it secret. They must be respected in their silence.

Today many people live openly with bipolar disorder, and people love to read about celebrity struggles with disruptive moods. However, people diagnosed this century have no idea how challenging it was to function in society years ago, pre-HIPAA, if employers, acquaintances, bankers, your kid’s friends’ parents, co-workers or neighbors knew you had a mental illness. It was not accepted. There was a lot less tolerance for crazy people. For some of us, there still is.

Finally, the comment on introspection. I’m very curious. Loved ones often tell me I think too much. Sometimes, when I fall into deep rabbit holes of introspection I come out the other side in a full blown episode. But I’m a writer, that’s what I do.

Most people successfully operate on a need to know basis. Therapy is important for many of us with mental illness, and therapy, of course, is an exercise in introspection. But it’s guided. It’s designed to be safe. Our own intellectual musings may be less so. Althea is not saying be ignorant, she’s saying be careful.

Know the things that will help you, and avoid the things that won’t. Find your comfort zone in how you manage your mental illness and stick with it.

Thanks, Althea.

For information on my upcoming book: Handling Anxiety in a Time of Crisis, join the Facebook group Practicing Mental Illness.

What are the types of depression?When to see a doctor??? V

Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., CRNP on January 7, 2020 — Written by Jayne Leonard
article :https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327429.php

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. There are several different types of depression.

People with depression experience distinct periods — lasting at least 2 weeks — of sadness, low energy, and loss of interest in things that they once enjoyed. People sometimes refer to these periods as depressive episodes.

The experience of depression can vary significantly among individuals. For example, it may cause some people to oversleep and others to sleep very little. Each type of depression can have distinct symptoms and effects.

Read on to learn about some of the more common types of depression.

When to see a doctor

Individuals should see a doctor if they feel depressed, particularly if a low mood persists for 2 weeks or more or if it happens regularly.

People should seek urgent help if they have thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

Anyone who thinks that they have postpartum depression should see a doctor right away, especially if their symptoms make it difficult to care for the baby or if they have thoughts of hurting themselves or the baby.

A doctor can support the person to care for the baby and themselves.

Alexithymia: The Emotion-Processing Dysfunction That Makes It Hard to Identify Emotions 

At some point in our lives, most of us have answered the question, “How are you?” with an honest, “I don’t know.” 

It’s natural to struggle with knowing how we really feel from time to time. Sometimes life is going so fast that we don’t have a moment to slow down and check in with our emotions. Other times, we’ve been cycling through so many emotions at once that we don’t know which one is affecting us most.

But for people with alexithymia, identifying and processing emotions isn’t a now-and-then kind of struggle. It’s something that can feel next to impossible the majority of the time.

What Is Alexithymia?

If you’ve even heard the word “alexithymia” before, it’s likely because actress and Disney alum, Alyson Stoner, opened up about her struggles with it earlier this year. But if you haven’t heard of it, you’re in good company. 

Though alexithymia is fairly well-known in clinical circles, it’s not as well known outside of them — perhaps because it is not an official diagnosis recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Alexithymia can best be described as an emotion-processing dysfunction. 

“Alexithymia is essentially a dysfunction in the normal emotional awareness processes that make it difficult for people to put a name to their feelings,” John Richey, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and associate professor in the department of psychology at Virginia Tech, told The Mighty.

According to the Journal of Neuropsychiatry, psychiatrist Dr. Peter Sifneos coined the term “alexithymia” back in 1973 to describe patients who struggled to identify their emotions and therefore had trouble engaging in certain types of psychotherapy. 

The lack of emotional awareness people with alexithymia experience can sometimes also affect their ability to empathize with others. One studyfound that participants with alexithymia were less able to recognize emotional expressions in faces than people without alexithymia. 

“A child or adult with alexithymia often struggles to understand his or her own self experience,” Deborah Serani, Psy.D., who specializes in treating depression, said. “Individuals with alexithymia have difficulty understanding how others feel and think too.”

At the moment, there isn’t much research on alexithymia, so experts aren’t able to definitively say what causes it. Dr. Richey told The Mighty there is still much to explore when it comes to alexithymia, but he felt reasonably confident in the belief that alexithymia could be impacted by how much emotional labeling was modeled, and reinforced or punished in childhood.

Who Can Have Alexithymia?

Anyone can have alexithymia, but it’s slightly more common in men than women. Dr. Serani told The Mighty approximately 8% of males and 2% of females will experience this emotion-processing dysfunction.

Alexithymia also shows up in people with certain mental health conditions, most notably, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. In addition to people with mental illnesses, some studies have linked alexithymia and autism. 

In their piece, “Am I Ready for an Autism Diagnosis?” Mighty contributor Anonymously Autistic wrote about how alexithymia made it difficult to describe their experience of autism in therapy:

I have alexithymia. It is part of my autism that makes it hard to describe my autism. I have had to teach myself to describe my feelings because if I don’t consciously ask myself how I feel, I don’t know. Before I started asking myself this question, I never would have been able to explain what I was feeling because people always told me how I was feeling growing up.

If the description of alexithymia sounds similar to your experience, you’re not alone. There are tangible ways to work on expanding your emotional repertoire — we’ve outlined a few of them below.

Treatment for Alexithymia

Though there isn’t a treatment out there that targets alexithymia specifically, people with alexithymia can benefit from existing forms of therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can help individuals focus on identifying and understanding the connection between thoughts and emotions. For people with both alexithymia and depression, this can be particularly useful.

“When someone with alexithymia says, ‘I’m depressed,’ it could be that he or she is very sad. But it might also mean frustrated, lonely, disappointed, mournful, empty, fatigued, lost, helpless,” Dr. Serani explained, adding:

Much of depression can be reduced with shifts in thinking and feeling. So, it’s vital for a person who has depression to become well-versed in the textures of their own symptoms to know what techniques to put into action. While it can be very challenging for those who struggle with alexithymia to broaden their emotional awareness, psychotherapy greatly reduces [the struggle].

Dr. Richey also encourages people with alexithymia to pay attention to the physical sensations that accompany the emotions they do feel. For example, you might notice your heart beat faster when you feel angry or upset. You might notice your body feels sluggish when you’re sad. You might notice yourself sweating when you feel embarrassed or anxious. Learning to link your physical sensations to emotions takes time, but as you work on emotion identification, it will slowly get easier.

Whether you have alexithymia or not, struggling with identifying and processing your emotions can be difficult and sometimes discouraging. While your feelings are always valid, we want you to know there is hope. 

“The best thing I could say as a word of encouragement is that you’re certainly not alone. There are many people who struggle with alexithymia,” Richey said. “There are also many people who are thinking about it from a research perspective. So I think there is a community of people who are very interested in understanding this problem and developing better treatments.” 

If you’re struggling, we encourage you to reach out to a trusted mental health professional. If you don’t have a therapist or don’t know where to look for one, check out this handy therapist finder tool. And as always, if you need support, you can always turn to our community by posting a Thought or Question on The Mighty with the hashtag #CheckInWithMe. Our community wants to support you, no matter what you’re facing.

What is depression thoughts


Here are the “depression thoughts” our community shared with us:

1. ‘I can’t wait to go to bed.’

“‘I can’t wait to come home and crawl into bed.’ I haven’t even gotten out of bed when I think that, but it’s always one of my first thoughts of the day.” — Melissa M.

“‘Awake again? Well, at least if I get up for a little bit it means I’m closer to getting to go back to bed.’” — Jackie P.

2. ‘I survived another night.’

“‘I survived the night.’ I then thank the Creator for giving me another day. I deal with depression, but I’m still grateful to be alive.” — Sonya W.

3. ‘I don’t feel like getting out of bed today.’

“‘I don’t feel like getting out of bed today. My body just feels heavy or my shoulders are. I don’t even feel the strength to do what I used to love even when I think about it constantly. I hope to get back that strength again. Did I oversleep, again?’” — Misty Y.

4. ‘I need to take a mental health day.’

“My first thoughts are usually, ‘Time to put in work to keep the sickness and sadness from creeping in’ or ‘I think I need to take a mental health day or I won’t make it to tomorrow.’” — Abe H.

“‘Do I have to go to work? Can’t I just sleep all day? Should I call in today for a mental health day?’” — Rena H.

5. ‘No, not another day.’

“Occasionally I wake up and think, ‘It’s a good day!’ but some days I can’t help my first thought is, ‘No, not daytime,’ then have to convince myself of positive thoughts and get out of bed if I can’t fall back to sleep.” — Kayla L.

6. ‘What’s the point?’

“Most mornings just getting out of bed is a true struggle. I question what the point of it all is. The day seems overwhelming before it starts. It makes me question if my husband and children really need me. If I wasn’t here, would anyone miss me or would I slowly become a forgotten memory?” — Ashley W.

7. ‘Today is a bad day.’

“‘Why do I even have to get out of bed? The choice has been made for me, today is a bad day. If I go back to sleep and wake up, maybe, maybe I’ll have a say in what kind of day I have.’ Depression controls everything.” — Jordan H.

8. ‘Am I going to waste the day?’

“I wake up at 5 a.m. and leave for the office at 5:15. During the journey, my thoughts start messing with my head. I feel like I am going to waste another day of my life. I keep thinking about my past mistakes and I keep getting anxious about what I am going to do at the office. Right now I am at the office and same thoughts are accompanying me everywhere, every time and every day. I don’t know what to do with my life anymore.” — Anuska D.

9. ‘I don’t want to face the day ahead of me.’

“My first thought is ‘I don’t want to face the day ahead.’ With my job you never know what the shift is going to be like. And how much strength you will be required to use that day.” — Emma-Louise J.

10. ‘Do I really have to do it all again?’

“Best time of the day for me is bedtime. Mornings were/are a real struggle. If I had to sum up my first thoughts in the morning it would be, ‘Do I really have to do it all again?’” — Sharon H.

11. ‘Why am I still here?’

“‘Ahh crap, I woke up’ is the most common. ‘I have so much to do, how will I ever manage it all’ and ‘Why am I still here?’ are a few of the thoughts I [have] in the morning.” — Jemma W.

12. ‘How badly do I need my job?’

“‘How badly do I really need my job?’ ‘Can I get away without showering one more day?’ (a lot harder in the summer) ‘Can I stay in bed a little bit longer?’” — Courtney A.

13. ‘I’m so tired.’

“‘Why’d I wake up? I’m so tired. I don’t want to exist anymore.’ Or just the crushing and exhausting feeling as I lay there trying to decide if getting up is worth it. Depression sucks.” — Era K.

14. ‘Will I make another mistake today?’

“‘Another day of being a disappointment. Will my mind be foggy today, again? Will I be able to put a sentence together without stuttering? Will I forget a detail and make a mistake at work again today?’” — Virginia P.

15. ‘Will I be able to act ‘OK?’

“‘How much strength will I have to act ‘OK?”” — Jack M.

“‘I can’t do this. I can’t face the world today. Can I even muster the strength to put my mask on again? I’m tired of living this life and having to pretend I am OK.’” — Scott T.

16. ‘I wish I didn’t wake up.’

“‘I’m disappointed that I woke up.’ Even on days when I’m not feeling suicidal, I’m usually disappointed that I woke up because it means that I have to face the world and everything that comes with it.” — Sam C.

“‘Oh I woke up today? I wish I hadn’t.’ Living with severe depression and borderline personality disorder some days I’m disappointed that I woke up. I’ve been passively suicidal my entire life. I’m not planning anything but if something did happen to me I know I wouldn’t care and I hate feeling that way because I know I’m loved and important and my family would be devastated.” — Alexis D.

17. ‘What ‘mask’ will I wear today?’

“‘How can I face today? Am I going to be able to get through? What mask shall I put on? Will my sedatives help me deal?’” — Nicola F.

18. ‘I’m not strong enough.’

“‘You are not going to make it through another day because you are not strong enough.’” — Charly B.

19. ‘Same battle, different day.’

“There are some mornings when I think to myself, ‘Same battle, different day.’” — Zachary L.

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