10 Things Everyone Should Know About Seasonal Depression

Taken from Huff Post  which is found   HERE.

For some, the winter is hardly “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Seasonal affective disorder is a condition that affects nearly 10 million American adults and can make a few months out of the year feel downright unbearable. It’s common to feel bouts of the winter blues, but those with seasonal depression may experience symptoms and low moods that sometimes make everyday tasks feel impossible.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind about seasonal affective disorder, its treatment options and how it affects people’s daily lives.

1. The underlying cause of SAD isn’t just bad weather.

In most cases, SAD is just a seasonal component of clinical depression or bipolar disorder, according to Michelle Riba, a professor of psychiatry and the associate director of the University of Michigan Depression Center.

“For people who see a regular pattern every year of getting sad, anxious or a cycling of moods, the first thing they need to do is to see someone to get an overall diagnosis,” she said. “They need to treat the underlying depression.”

2. It’s not a punchline.

It can be easy to blame a bad mood on the earlier dark skies, but people should think twice before saying they “must have SAD.” The condition is hardly something to be flippant about, Riba said.

“It’s not something to laugh about or joke about,” Riba said. “It’s a significant health problem.” Here’s a list of other mental illness terms that shouldn’t be used nonchalantly.

3. There are multiple ways to treat SAD…

For a long time, many considered light therapy one of the gold standards of SAD treatment. The method helps sufferers by exposing them to artificial light similar to sunlight. Experts theorize this technique helps correct the body’s inner circadian rhythm and produces feel-good hormones that people get from the sun during other times of the year.

However, light therapy isn’t the only route. Since the key is treating the underlying depression, that could include methods like cognitive behavioral therapy, medication or both. Recently a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that talk therapy may even be more effective than light therapy when it comes to treating SAD. But keep in mind that the best method varies from person to person, Riba says. Any active treatment is better than nothing.

4. …But it may take some time.

Riba says that most doctors don’t determine if a person has SAD until they’ve experienced at least two episodes (essentially seasons) of the disorder. In other words, it may take a little while to make sure it’s the right diagnosis. Physicians want to make sure that they’re treating every aspect of a mental health disorder properly.

5. It’s debilitating.

Symptoms of SAD include sadness, fatigue and a loss of motivation. Any depressive disorder can also be physically exhausting. People with depression often experience headaches and changes in appetite in addition to their emotional symptoms.

6. SAD doesn’t always occur in the winter.

It’s rare, but some people do experience the condition in the spring or summertime. These symptoms usually include increased feelings of agitation or anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic.

7. The condition is complex.

According to Riba, SAD can not only be a component of major depression, but also bipolar disorder or other mental health issues. A rare case of SAD also may have contributed to one woman’s obsessive compulsive disorder flareups during the winter months. Experts agree that there may be a tie between seasonal changes and exacerbation of illnesses. Like all mental health conditions, the disorder is complicated and as such, deserves thoughtful and effective treatment from a physician.

8. It’s more prevalent in northern states.

People who live in colder, cloudier climates may be more susceptible to the disorder. Northern states have higher rates of SAD than southern states, according to the University of California, Irvine.

9. SAD is more common in women.

Studies show women have higher rates of depression than men, including SAD, the New York Times reported. However, that doesn’t mean men are immune. Depression doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or any biological factor.

10. It should be taken seriously.

Above all, mental health conditions like SAD are manageable, but only if people seek the help they need.

“It’s important for people to recognize these signs within themselves and get evaluated,” Riba said. “This isn’t a trivial problem, it’s part of a major mood disorder that really needs to be addressed. But it is treatable.”


Ridiculous Things People With Mental illness Hear

NFL Players Talk Openly to Help Destigmatize Mental Illness

Taken from ABC  News  which is found   HERE.

Arian Foster was in a bad place, drinking heavily to self-medicate and deal with the problems in his life.

The Houston Texans running back knew he needed help but was reluctant to seek it because of the stigma surrounding mental health issues. He overcame that fear, sought therapy and it changed his life.

“It just got to a point where I just threw my hands in the air and I was like: ‘This is going to kill me,'” Foster said. “So I went and got help and it was the best decision I ever made.”

Now that he’s embraced the benefits of counseling, Foster has joined the Jets’ Brandon Marshall’s PROJECT 375, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and disorders. Foster is the first of what Marshall hopes will become a group of athletes, entertainers and business leaders who will talk openly about the issue as members of what he calls the organization’s founders circle.

Marshall, a receiver for the New York Jets, was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2011 when he sought treatment after off-the-field issues threatened to derail his NFL career. He and his wife, Michi, formed the organization and dedicated themselves to helping others with mental illnesses.

Doing this gave Marshall purpose and looking back he’s so thankful he received his diagnosis and treatment when he did.

“I had a chance to lose my wife, possibly my career, and that would have been a lot, especially at the age of 27. I probably wouldn’t have been able to cope and deal with that,” Marshall said. “So I’m glad that we took the proper steps, did the work, and now we’ve went from patient to provider.”

Foster and Marshall sat down for a deeply personal chat to mark the running back’s partnership with PROJECT 375. Marshall asked the questions and Foster was open and shockingly candid.

Foster said he grew up in a home with domestic violence where there wasn’t enough food at times. When he made it to the NFL, he found whole new set of problems related to money and whom to trust.

“It’s just so much pressure and nobody tells you how to deal with it,” Foster said.

He didn’t see counseling as an option.

“I was drinking heavily. I was,” he said. “I’m not proud of it. But it was something that helped me because it was numbing and what I found out, which was extremely powerful, was the emotions that you numb you can’t be selective with. So everything that you numb that you’re trying to numb you also numb everything good. So I was blocking out a lot of love”

He didn’t hit rock bottom until his then-wife, Romina, made a life-changing decision.

“It was when my wife decided that we were going to get a divorce,” he said. “This is extremely personal, but I was just not the best husband. I just wasn’t. And that was because I didn’t know how to be a husband. … I was out there just trying to wing it.”

His time in counseling helped Foster stop his destructive behavior. But soon after he started to feel happy again, he tore a groin muscle in training camp. He says he was OK though, because of the mental work he’d put in.

He returned on Oct. 4 and was riding high. Happy on the football field, proud of the father he’d become and enjoying life overall. Just four games after his return came another blow; Foster tore his Achilles tendon and would miss the rest of the season.

“It’s like … man I can’t catch a break,” he said. “But I’ve done so much emotional work that it didn’t really faze me either.”

Foster’s passion for this cause isn’t only because of his struggles. He has another big reason for wanting to help.

“My sister is bipolar,” Foster said.

For many years Christina Foster’s illness went undiagnosed.

“We didn’t have money to get any kind of diagnosis so we just thought that she was an (jerk),” Foster said. “… It got to the point where I stopped talking to her because I couldn’t deal with it, and I didn’t know what she was going through. So we lost years of our life because we didn’t know she was suffering from this disease.”

Foster choked back tears as he spoke of his sister. He said she was living in government housing and using food stamps. She finally got help and is better now, which has allowed the two to repair their fractured relationship.

A condition of allowing Foster to share her story was that he include the happy ending.

“She said absolutely, but make sure that you tell them that it’s a story of triumph,” Foster said. “She takes the proper medicine and it’s a struggle still, but every single day she fights it and she’s on her way to get her master’s (degree) now.”

Marshall loves hearing people’s stories because each one is valuable in starting to erase the stigma of discussing mental illness.

“The thing that is therapeutic … is when I’m helping other people,” Marshall said. “It’s so freeing and rewarding. It also holds me accountable to continue to take the proper steps when I’m not feeling well, I’m having a bad day to … use the tools and skills that I have to make sure I get back on track.”

Foster writes poetry and songs, plays the piano and reads to keep centered.

“I’m on the brink of a career-ending injury according to pundits,” he said. “I’m divorced. I’m supposed to be underneath the table drinking myself to death. But I’ve never been happier and it’s because of the work I’ve put in and the want to change my life. I wouldn’t change a thing man because that’s what made me me. All these scars on my body, all these scars on my soul made me who I am and I like me.”


PROJECT 375 website: http://project375.org

Streams In The Desert: November 21st, 2015

“Roll on Jehovah thy way” (Psalms 37:6, margin

Whatever it is that presses thee, go tell the Father; put the whole matter over into His hand, and so shalt thou be freed from that dividing, perplexing care that the world is full of. When thou art either to do or suffer anything, when thou art about any purpose or business, go tell God of it, and acquaint Him with it; yes, burden Him with it, and thou hast done for matter of caring; no more care, but quiet, sweet, diligence in thy duty, and dependence on Him for the carriage of thy matters. Roll thy cares, and thyself with them, as one burden, all on thy God.
–R. Leighton

Build a little fence of trust
Around today;
Fill the space with loving work
And therein stay.

Look not through the sheltering bars
Upon tomorrow;
God will help thee bear what comes
Of joy or sorrow. 
–Mary Butts

We shall find it impossible to commit our way unto the Lord, unless it be a way that He approves. It is only byfaith that a man can commit his way unto the Lord; if there be the slightest doubt in the heart that “our way” is not a good one, faith will refuse to have anything to do with it. This committing of our way must be a continuous, not a single act. However extraordinary and unexpected may seem to be His guidance, however near the precipice He may take you, you are not to snatch the guiding reins out of His hands.

Are we willing to have all our ways submitted to God, for Him to pronounce judgment on them? There is nothing a Christian needs to be more scrutinizing about than about his confirmed habits and views. He is too apt to take for granted the Divine approbation of them. Why are some Christians so anxious, so fearful? Evidently because they have not left their way with the Lord. They took it to Him, but brought it away with them again.


Songs From My Youth That Turned My Thoughts Towards God

Music has been and will continue to be a huge part of my life. As a teen my life was quite unsettled and music was an outlet for me. Typically it was the rock and roll of the 60’s and 70’s I gravitated towards. I then became aware of music that was not noisy whose lyrics caught my attention and turned my thoughts towards God. This new type of music for me was a part of my coming to faith in 1976 and introducing me to the music I post each week. Allan

1. On The Road To Find Out-  Cat Stevens

2.  Old Man-  Neil Young

3.  In My Life-  The Beatles

4.  In My Room-  The Beach Boys

5.  Games People Play-  Joe South

6.  Papa Was A Rolling Stone-  The Temptations

7.  I Am A Rock-  Simon & Garfunkle

8.  That’s The Way I Always Heard It Should Be-  Carly Simon

9.  For All We Know-  The Carpenters

10.  Daniel-  Elton John

11.  Brother, Brother-  Carole King

12.  First Time Ever I Saw Your Face-  Roberta Flack

13.  Monday, Monday-  The Mamas & The Papas

Postpartum Depression Is More Common Than You Think

Taken from the Huff Post  which is found   HERE.

There is nothing glamorous about postpartum depression… just ask Hayden Panettiere, Brooke Shields, Marie Osmond, Gwyneth Paltrow or Courtney Cox bringing to light their experiences of severe postpartum depression. I thought it would be helpful to discuss this scary topic and how easy it is to become a victim of it. It shouldn’t take shocking news stories to make you realize the necessity to know more about this common mental condition.

Once your baby is born, you think your body and mind have done all the hard work. So how come the postpartum period can sometimes feel like a perfect storm? The postpartum period officially starts once the baby is born and continues for six weeks at least! I usually tell my patients they get a postpartum pregnancy “pass” for nine months.

The hospital’s departing gift of granny panties perfectly highlights your terrifying abdomen, which still looks pregnant for another four weeks, but definitely holds the oversized Tampax and ice packs perfectly. The litany of complaints at this stage includes lack of sleep, trying to forget about the pain while pushing through the “ring of fire,” ridiculously sore nipples, and feeling woefully unprepared for the reality of your post pregnancy body. Plus, after having a baby, the “to do” list is endless for a new mom. No matter how helpful your partner is or how many family members or other helpers you have around you, there are things only you can do.

It’s all just a little overwhelming. In fact 80 percent of women get the “baby blues.” Usually 2 to 3 days after delivery, new moms may begin to feel depressed, anxious, upset and frustrated. It may start out as crying for no reason, not being able to sleep, eat or think clearly, all leading to think there is no way to care for your new bundle of joy. But unlike postpartum depression, the blues get better within days or one to two weeks after delivery. The pregnancy blues are temporary and resolve within weeks of delivery.

What’s the difference?

Affecting 10-15 percent of women, postpartum depression makes all the desperate feelings more intense and debilitating to a point where you are unable to perform your daily routine including caring for your baby. The main symptoms can include severe mood swings, intense irritability and anxiety, panic attacks, overwhelming sadness, uncontrollable crying, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, feeling inadequate as a mother, thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, feeling suicidal or wanting to die. Symptoms associated with this incapacitating depression can continue for a year after having a baby.

What factors increase your risk of postpartum depression?

Having a history of depression or other mental disorders before, during and after pregnancy puts you at a higher risk of getting postpartum depression. Also, if you have had a history in a previous pregnancy, this puts you at risk.

Emotional Factors — An unplanned pregnancy, feeling doubtful and insecure, not wanting to be pregnant or have a baby all affects a mom’s emotional status and risk for this type of depression.

Fatigue — Prolonged fatigue after giving birth or having a C-section increases the risk of postpartum depression.

Lifestyle Factors — If a woman has little or no support from her partner, family or friends, has moved to a new city, or has experienced a family death or illness, her risk of postpartum depression increases.

Hormonal Changes during pregnancy may trigger depression even without a previous history. The hormonal roller-coaster during pregnancy can lead to unexpected consequences.

Breast Feeding Difficulties — A small study recently found mothers who stopped breastfeeding due to the pain or having problems getting their baby to nurse were more likely to develop postpartum depression than those moms who stopped breastfeeding due to other problems. Women who had pain, cracked nipples, breast infections, poor milk production or babies who couldn’t latch or suck well had a higher risk of depression. We know that women who have problems with nursing need additional support in dealing with the challenges of breastfeeding.

If you or a loved one suspect postpartum depression, what should be done?

Between the hormonal chaos of the postpartum period for women just given birth, suffering from depression is difficult to identify, for both you and your loved ones. The most important thing that can be done if postpartum depression is suspected is to contact the women’s obstetrician or health care provider.

Treatment of Postpartum Depression

Treatment includes a combination of drugs including antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications and psychotherapy. It may take 3 to 4 weeks for medications to start working and help manage the unbearable and disruptive symptoms of postpartum depression. And the good news is you can still continue to breastfeed safely while on these medications. Keeping your postpartum routine and bonding rituals with your baby is vital in the treatment process.

Postpartum psychosis is extremely rare (<1 percent of women) occurring within the first week after delivery. There is some overlap with symptoms of PPD, but in the case of postpartum psychosis, the hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, confusion and attempts to harm yourself or the baby is tragically distinct in that often times harmful thoughts turn into irreparable actions.

The exhilaration when you first hold your newborn in your arms is perfection for so many women. For others, the birth of a baby can trigger an emotional chaos that quickly spirals and becomes uncontrollable and frightening. The medical community recognizes that postpartum depression is a complication of giving birth and can be treated through medication, psychotherapy and support. Communicating openly and honest with your partner and family is vital. If you or your loved one experience signs of depression and being withdrawn from your newborn, it’s vital to reach out and follow up with your health care provider.

It’s so important you get your rest, ask for help and know with time and patience, postpartum depression will resolve — but it is something you should never experience alone.

Dave Burchett: Redeeming Suffering And Trials

Taken from Confessions Of A Bad Christian  which is found  HERE.

Full disclosure. I envy songwriters. A songwriter can say in a phrase or chorus more than I can communicate in paragraphs or chapters. I am surprised by how often I am impacted by a phrase or thought from a song. Writer Aldous Huxley wrote these words.

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

Being in community with others means you share in their joys and their sorrows. Sometimes the sorrows come in tsunami waves and all you can do is care, pray and be present. Good and decent people deal with financial, emotional and physical suffering all around us and it is easy to lose heart. The news seems to be only tragedy and heartbreaking sadness. What can be redeemed of all of this suffering?

A song called “The Hurt and the Healer” by MercyMe resonated when I first heard it but now that same song ministers much deeper in my soul recently.

The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain

I can’t explain why things happen. Sometimes it is sin. Sometimes it is simply life. I have learned in my years of following Jesus that He does not let suffering go in vain. I have seen over and over how God redeems sadness and tragedy. He does bring beauty out of ashes. When I cannot see how any good can come out of a trial I trust my Abba Father in faith. Believe me I don’t “feel” that but I can move forward in faith. God has never let me down. And I believe He never will.

Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

Most of us have been there at some point. If not, you will be someday. Peter talked about the inevitability of suffering in this life in a passage that we usually leave out of the brochure when we tell others about our faith. All of us who follow Jesus are going to suffer.

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. (1 Peter 4, NLT)

Count me among the brethren who tried to dance around this truth for as long as I could. Be very glad? Seriously? But when you have nowhere else to turn but to Christ you find out that you should have turned to Him first all along.

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus meets you there and not in theory. He suffered. He agonized with God the Father. He knows the human condition. He has already been where you are. When the hurt and the Healer collide something amazing happens. The pain does not go away but peace and hope begin to slowly heal the pain. Peter did not end his writing on suffering with the buzz kill of Chapter 4. He wrapped it in a bow of incredible hope in the next chapter.

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. (1 Peter 5, NLT)

That is a promise that we can hold on to in times of sorrow and suffering. I am trusting that promise this week.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 496 other followers