Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why It’s Important to Be Open about Depression

Why It’s Important to Be Open about Depression

There is still a huge stigma about mental health problems, despite the fact that depression affects more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population in any given year. Many people who suffer from depression feel ashamed of their condition, with many citing it as a sign of their weakness or inadequacy. However that simply isn’t the case. This is why it’s important that the stigma of depression is removed, and the only way for this goal to be achieved is for individuals with depression to keep talking about their condition. The more people that open up and talk about their experiences with depression, the more normal it will become.

Celebrities Speaking Out

Earlier this year, supermodel and actress Cara Delavigne, a young woman at the top of her professional game, opened up about her battle with depression to her five million followers on Twitter. This decision was hailed as brave and important, because it demonstrated to her young fans that depression was nothing to be ashamed of, and that it is a condition that can affect anyone, regardless of their success or their circumstances.  When questioned about her decision to speak out, Delavigne responded by saying that "Mental illness goes unseen, but hopefully I don't want it to be unheard. I want to speak up for it." High profile celebrities choosing to share their mental health problems is key for destigmatizing negativity around mental health, breaking down the barriers to support and care. However the buck doesn’t and shouldn’t stop with celebrities: it is important that everyone who is suffering from a mental health condition such as depression is open about their condition with their loved ones, family and friends in order to demonstrate, in a widespread and significant way, that depression can affect anyone and is nothing to feel ashamed about.  

Sharing the Weight of Responsibility

Speaking out about depression doesn’t only help remove the stigma of the condition, it also removes a lot of pressure from those suffering from it, which in turn could be beneficial in alleviating the condition, in conjunction with a comprehensive treatment plan. Many people suffering from mental health conditions such as depression spend a considerable amount of time thinking about how they will hide their condition and feeling ashamed of what is an integral part of their biological make up. From lying about their mental health problems to potential employers, to not disclosing their depression on applications for travel insurance or life insurance (despite knowing that this would void their policy should they need to use it) many depressives find themselves choosing to hide their condition on an almost daily basis.  This only serves to make it seem that their condition is something that needs to be hidden away and not discussed because it somehow makes them less. Whilst this is not true, it is also an additional burden that individuals suffering from depression shouldn’t have to bear as they march on their journey to recovery.

Time to Remove the Stigma                                                                                     

The stigma surrounding mental health problems means that it is understandable why many people are so reticent to share their condition with others. Most people who have no experience of the condition have no idea how to treat or act around someone suffering from depression. We are still far-removed from being in a position where it is considered normal or even acceptable to talk about mental health. However you may well be surprised to find that when you do choose to open up people will want to support you on your journey, and may well even share details of their own battles with mental health disorders. With more than 6 percent of the population suffering from the condition each year, more people than you might think will know exactly what you’re going through. Discussion and reassurance can be important tools on the road to recovery, and the only way we can access those tools is by taking the plunge and opening up about depression. 

Post Written by Anne Farns 

Friday, August 12, 2016

What To Do When a Loved One Is Suffering From Depression

What To Do When a Loved One Is Suffering From Depression

When a loved one is suffering from depression it can be hard to know what you can do to help them. The mental health condition, which Mind suggests affects 2.6 in every 100 people, can be complex and difficult for non-suffers to fully understand. But emotional support from friends and family (alongside professional treatment) is a key component in recovery for those suffering from depression. Here are just a few of the ways that you can help and support someone you know who is suffering from depression.


One of the best things you can do is equip yourself with the knowledge to understand the condition and giveaway signs that someone might be suffering. Is your friend or family member constantly tired, stressed or show little interest in doing things that they used to enjoy? Do they appear withdrawn? Have they spoken about feeling hopeless or unwell with headaches or nausea? Recognising the symptoms is important but having a good understanding of the nature of the condition and the way is can affect the daily life and emotions of sufferers is important too.


It's not uncommon to feel helpless if you have a loved one suffering from depression. Such an internalised condition can make it seem as if the person is beyond your reach. But never underestimate the importance that a listening ear can have. Being a non-judgemental outlet for your loved one is so valuable. It allows them to outpour some of the negative emotions they are experiencing which can be extremely cathartic and also indicates that they are open to seeking help and support. That said, you are dealing with a medical condition and this can often be a lot trickier to deal with that simply offering a shoulder to cry on. For that reason it is important that through your dialogue you gradually explore the option of them seeking...

Professional help

Encouraging them to seek professional help is usually one of the most important things you can do to help them on their road to recovery. Many types of treatment exist for depression. For some, talking therapy such as counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) attempts to challenge the problematic thought processes that can lead to depression with a view to creating a more positive outlook. A chemical imbalance is also thought to be a major contributor to depression and so some sufferers may need to take antidepressants to stabilise their mood – this is particularly true for those who suffer from prolonged or recurring episodes. A loved one may feel anxious about seeking medical help but it's important that you keep reminding them that a qualified doctor our counsellor is the best person to help them get better.

Help out...but not too much

Those suffering from depression can often lose the motivation and inclination to complete even the most basic of daily tasks. Help them out with things like housework so it doesn't become overwhelming to them. But don't do too much – it is important that they are encouraged to keep going in order to preserve their own sense of responsibility and self esteem. You can also help them to build a healthier lifestyle for themselves. With good diet and regular exercise being hailed as two of the most important natural remedies for aiding in the treatment of depression, it is important to establish a healthy regime. Perhaps you could suggest joining a gym together or simply going for daily walks?

No silly comments

However frustrated you may feel at times, always think before you speak. You might not be able to fully understand what your loved one is going through but telling someone to 'pull themselves together' or 'things aren't that bad' is extremely damaging to a sufferer and just alienates them further. Try to view depression as a physical condition like a broken leg – it isn't something that can be repaired without treatment and time. It might not be as visible but it is still as real so always speak with kindness and support.

Self care

Being the support network of a depression sufferer can be tough and emotionally draining so remember to take time out to care for yourself too. Plenty of support exists for carers, family and friends of those suffering from depression where you can speak to others in similar situations and seek guidance from professionals. Do not neglect your own needs in your quest to help someone else – ultimately you need to be strong for the pair of your and self care if the only ways to achieve this.

Post Written by Anne Farns 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why Is Depression On The Rise?

Why Is Depression On The Rise?

Cases of depression have been rising worldwide at an astonishing rate over the past few years. The rise in anti-depressant medications has been nothing short of spectacular, to the extent that some sources are starting to use terms like ‘epidemic’ when describing modern depression. Since the mid 1990s, global antidepressant prescriptions have more than doubled in Western nations, and reports of depression-like problems are hugely on the rise elsewhere. But why? Is modern society causing depression? And, if so, how? 
Here are a few of the major theories pertaining to the modern depression phenomenon:

Increased Diagnosis

As those of us suffering from them are all too aware, diagnosing and treating mental illnesses is still a problematic area for medical science. There’s a lot of it that we don’t understand, and the whole subject is still surrounded by a lot of miscomprehension and confusion. It’s only relatively recently that medical science has even begun to get to grips with the complexities of mental illnesses like depression, and it’s taken even longer for information regarding depression to filter down to family doctors and health insurers. Not so long ago, people with depression may not even have realized that they were ill - they put the horrors in their heads down to aberrant personality traits, or external events. Some therefore believe that there are no more depressed people in the world than there used to be - it’s simply that modern people and modern health authorities know how to recognize the problem, and sufferers are more likely to seek treatment for it. While the statistics show a marked increase in depression, in reality depression levels are the same, and treatment statistics have gone up.

Lifestyle Factors

Some, however, disagree. They are of the opinion that depression is tangibly upon the rise. These people seek explanations for the problem within the modern milieu. Some point to modern lifestyle factors as contributory factors. Modern lifestyles are far more indoor and sedentary than they used to be. Furthermore, the diet of many Western individuals leaves much to be desired - with an excess of salt, sugar, and saturated fats. Research is beginning to show that time spent outdoors, particularly in natural surroundings, can have an extremely positive impact upon the symptoms of depression, and even help to fend it off. This may suggest that our indoor lifestyles could be partially to blame for modern depression - we’re not getting enough outdoor time to defend our brains against the ravages of depression. Furthermore, unhealthy, sedentary and poorly nourished lifestyles render us in general far less physically healthy. As our brains are just as reliant upon healthy physical systems as the rest of our bodies, poor nourishment and poor levels of fitness naturally have a considerable impact upon our brains’ ability to cope with life in general.

Stress And Sleep

In theory, things like computers, the internet, and the hordes of ‘labor-saving’ devices with which we are surrounded these days should give us more time and make us less stressed. In fact, we use the extra time we have to cram in more work and assign ourselves more tasks. This is not necessarily our faults on an individual level - it’s simply the pattern to which society pulls. However, all of this extra work has a definite impact upon our stress levels. While our ancestors may have had relatively few tasks to complete per day, which took a lot longer than they now would, we are faced each morning with an enormous number of things to do. We catapult ourselves into high-powered, time-poor schedules, working furiously against the clock to do everything we’re supposed to - and then we lie awake at night worrying about the things we’ haven’t done, or the things we did not do well enough. This causes us to be chronically stressed, and chronically sleep-deprived. Both of these things are absolutely atrocious for our mental health, and are well-acknowledged to contribute towards depression.

What Can We Do?

The jury is out on whether or not actual depression rates are rising, or whether we’re just better at recognizing the illness. However, if you think that the modern world can in some way be held accountable for depression, then it would seem that there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of falling prey to it, or lessen your symptoms. These are as follows:
  • Eat healthily
  • Exercise regularly
  • Spend time outdoors as much as possible
  • Don’t overburden yourself with work
  • Get plenty of sleep

Post Written by Anne Farns 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tap Your Depression Away

Counseling, meditation, yoga and positive visualizations have all received attention as therapies for depression that can nurture, calm and bring a different outlook. Less publicized but just as effective is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT combines positive affirmations with the ancient art of acupuncture to bring about a whole body and mind healing.

What is the Emotional Freedom Technique?

EFT is a type of energy therapy that uses psychology with acupressure, a less invasive needle free form of acupuncture. Instead of needles, which may put some people off the therapy, EFT utilizes simple tapping at chakra energy points to shift energy and move it in a more positive direction. It has a distinct advantage over traditional acupuncture because people wishing to try the technique can do so without going to a practitioner with little to no training and they can perform EFT as many times as they would like, for no cost. As it can be self administered, it is a useful way of dealing with phobias or panic attacks.

How to Do EFT

Identify the Problem

You should start by identifying the problems that are contributing to you feeling depressed, whether it's money worries, pressures at work, arguments with family or marital problems. Be honest with yourself because if you don't confront these issues openly it will be harder to let go of them and the therapy may not be as effective for you.  Be direct and if the problem is with people, don't be afraid to mention their names. If you have physical symptoms of depression such as tension headaches, palpitations or stomach pain you can name those and where you experience the pain in your body. This is because EFT can be used to help heal physical effects too.  Once you have identified the nature of your problems you should think up a short phrase that encompasses that and repeat it a few times to acknowledge and release it.

Rate Your Problem

You should then rate your problem on a scale of 0-10, just like a pain scale. After you have completed the session you can then re-score and see if your numbers have dropped. This will give you an indication of how effective each session has been.

Tap For Freedom

There are several energy points on your face, chest area, under the arms and on the hands.  These are the eye brow, the side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, the chin, the collar bone and under the arm. The points on your hand are the thumb, index finger, middle finger, little finger and the side of your hand - called the 'karate chop' point.  You should tap on this point while acknowledging your problems. Then work through all the energy points in sequence by tapping them all.  

Say a Positive Affirmation

The next step is to be compassionate towards yourself and say a positive affirmation, for instance, "I let my tension headache and depression go and I love and accept myself unconditionally."
The process is designed to be repeated as many times as needed. You may feel uplifted at the first try but if you don't, you can keep doing it until you start to feel better.

Does EFT Really Work?

Everything is composed of energy, including your body. Both physical illness and emotional illness can cause disruptions and blockages in the flow of this energy. By tapping on specific points and simultaneously replacing negative thought with positive ones, you can redirect the energy and help it to flow freely. This can alter your perspective and improve your health.

Is there any scientific evidence for this? Yes! There have been more than 60 research studies in peer reviewed medical journals that show a huge 98% success rate from EFT in treating psychological disorders like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The same outstanding figure was found in these multiple studies for pain conditions, auto-immune disease, seizures and other problems. EFT reduces cortisol, a stress hormone, in patients. This has led some researchers to suggest that nurses use it in their everyday practice when dealing with patients with depression or chronic ill health. The NHS in the UK has already started to offer EFT to patients in some areas of the country and some isolated medical units are using it within the USA.

It has no harmful side-effects, unlike anti-depressant tablets, so even if you find it isn't for you, it's certainly worth a try.

Post Written by Anne Farns 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Have Courage to Overcome and Be all That you Can Be..Motivation to Lift You Up

Take the time to listen to the wonderful and encouraging words by Les Brown in the video below. If you listen to Mr. Brown’s words multiple times daily, I think you will find that it energizes you and will help you accomplish your goals and overcome your obstacles. If you apply the principles he talks about in his speech, I think you will surely begin to see results.

Summary of video:

:15   Are you getting what you want out of life?  You have great music within you, are you sharing it with the world?  If you are not getting what you want out of life, you owe it yourself to get everything your heart desires; It’s your one life to live

1:21  Most people fight, resist change, yet they continue to live with regret.  How can change be any worse than your current situation?  People think that they have to wait for all of the pieces to fit together, before they change.  Life does not work that way.  The universe does not work that way.  Begin to act now, today, without all the pieces in place, and you will begin to see results.

2:08  Whatever you want to accomplish or overcome; you’ve got what it takes to be successful.  The universe is on your side; the stars are aligned for you.  Repeat that to yourself daily and begin to take baby steps towards what your heart desires.  Once you take these measures, you will see how things will begin to change for you.   It will not be easy. Nothing worthwhile is easy.  There will be pain, but life is full of pain; there is no gain without pain.  If you don’t change you feel the pain of regret; If only I would have…If I had to do it all over again… Regret is pain. Regardless, there is going to be pain.  Would you rather have the pain of regret or the temporary pain of change resulting from what your heart desires; which ultimately leads to you being happy and successful! 

4:17 For many of us, our doubt and lack of change is governed by the opinions of others; especially those close to us.  If we have an idea that’s in our hearts and our excited about and those important to us shoot it down, we don’t pursue our hearts desires. We listen to the external factors that do not know what our hearts desires.  Do not let others control you. 

5:31 Be courageous; follow your dreams. The word Courageous is French and means: DO WHAT IS IN YOUR HEART.  It takes courage to live – step out and let go.  Manifest your dreams (those things in your heart) by acting daily in the direction you want to go.  You have nothing to lose.  Live with a sense of urgency as we never know when this could be the end!!  There are no guarantees; what are you waiting for!! 

8:12 Listen to yourself and your hearts desires.  You know what is best for you and exactly what you want.  GO for it!

9:56  Once you start listening to yourself and acting accordingly, things start to open up for you in the direction you want to go.  Focus on what you want, be proactive and act every day in that direction and you will find that the universe is aligned with you; the world will begin to go your way.  For that which we focus on, will begin to multiple and out that begets greatness. 

11:00  A great writer once said; All you can do is all you can do.  And all you can do is good enough to make your dreams come true!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Inspiring Story...

Some of you may know of Stuart Scott, the famous ESPN analyst who battled cancer for seven years and lost the battle just a few days ago.  He has touched the hearts and souls of many as an analyst and more importantly through the courage and positivity he demonstrated has he battled cancer for seven years. 

He was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer about seven years ago and seemingly always continued to fight with the most positive attitude.  He had some extremely rough times when his body would shut down and he had to be rushed into surgery, or when nothing seemed to work and he had to wait patiently to see if he qualified for experimental medications, many times not qualifying.  As he fought for his life, he remained positive and attacked life with vigor and determination that ultimately stemmed from his thought patterns. 

As you continue to battle depression or any other emotional battle, please remember the power of your thoughts and thought patterns.  And please remember that you can overcome your depression and change your thoughts, behaviors and feelings.  Is it easy, no way?  Is it possible, of course? 

But you are not alone nor should you be alone as you journey to deal with your depression.  As Stuart Scott mentioned in the video below, he would not have made it as long as he did without the help of many.  He had faith in the wonderful abilities of the doctors and nurses who treated him.  He counted on his girlfriend for unwavering support.  And when he wanted to just cry, he knew exactly who he could call so he could just cry without being judged.  When he was too tired to go on, he laid down and rested; just to get up when rested and continue to battle. 

You too need to know who you can count on to help you overcome your depression. There are many great online resources and tools that can help you.    If you feel like you need the assistance of a trained counselor, please seek one out as they can hopefully provide the nonjudgmental, professional abilities you need to move out of your depression.   Lastly, who can you count on to just cry to if needed?   There has to be someone out there, a friend or family member, you can count on to shed your tears to.  If not, seek the help of a trained counselor or psychologist.

Please watch the video below and hopefully you will find some inspiration in Stuart’s story, words and actions.  At the very least, I hope you will be able to shed some tears and know that you too can overcome any obstacle that stands in your way!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Automatic Negative Thoughts

At the heart of learning how to deal with depression, is learning to recognize those thinking errors, distortions or automatic negative thoughts that ultimately lead to feeling and behaving depressed.  If you want to become your own technician/counselor and effectively cope with and overcome your depression, you need to become aware of the specific thoughts that are causing your depression.  Once you recognize your automatic negative thoughts leading to your depression, you do have the power to replace them with positive, productive thoughts that lead to happy, healthy emotional states of mind. 

One very common automatic negative thought that leads to depression is called Mind Reading.  Mind Reading involves assuming we know what others are thinking.  For example, if I pass my neighbor as we are both strolling through the neighborhood, say “Hello!’ and he does not respond; I may think to myself that I have done something wrong.  Or what have I done to my neighbor for him not to respond? Or what is wrong with me that my neighbor will not say “Hello!” to me?

Many depressed people Mind Read constantly; they attempt to know what others are thinking.  And they nearly always assume the worst or the most negative aspect regarding the situation.  So their negative thoughts about what others are thinking, leads to feelings of depression; which leads to depressed acts such as isolation.  And the depression cycle begins or continues.  How could the above scenario been looked at differently to avoid negative thoughts that ultimately lead to depression?

Mind Reading
Healthy Replacements

I passed my neighbor walking through the neighborhood, said “Hi!” but he did not respond.

“I knew it; I knew there was something wrong with me!”

“See, no one likes me!”

“I must have done something wrong!”
“Maybe there’s something wrong with him and he just did not feel like socializing.”

“There are many people who like me.  Plus, I’ve never done anything to him for him to dislike me.”

“I can’t think of anything I’ve done to him.  And if I did, I know he would probably approach me”

“The next time I see him, I will ask him how he’s doing.  Maybe he needs some support.”

“Maybe he did not hear me.”

Now, it’s your turn.  Are you a Mind Reader?  Think about your current situation.  Use the Stop and Go method below to help you begin to think of situations when you Mind Read.  Learn to recognize those situations and think about them in a more positive or neutral situation.  See, no one of us can actually read minds.  And when we do, we are usually wrong and the thoughts we create are usually negative.  So, we walk around with these wrong, negative assumptions and dwell on them, and they lead to depression and other unwanted mental states.   

In order to learn how to deal with depression and ultimately overcome depression, you must learn to recognize when you’re being a Mind Reader, stop in that moment and compose positive, healthy thoughts.  Don’t accept your automatic negative thoughts to be true just because you had that thought.   Learn to question your thoughts.  Ask yourself what would an objective person think; what would a judge and jury think; what are the facts to my thoughts; are my thoughts valid; what can I do right now to validate my thoughts etc.?

Don’t Move!!

Take a Breath. Feel your breath move in and out of your body. Remember to practice your mindful breathing exercises daily!

Wait! Not Yet.
Observe. What are you thinking? What is going on physically? What are you feeling? What are your Surroundings?
Pull Back and Put in Perspective. Is it out of my control? Is this a fact or just my perception? What would others say or do? What are my thinking errors or distortions? Is this in my best interest? What is the overall picture?
You’re Ready!
Go With and Practice What Works! Journal, continue with your mindful breathing exercise, get out of bed, go to the store, make that phone call, talk to that person, use your daily thought changing tools etc. challenge your thoughts,