"It helps her to feel confident, increasing her self-esteem yet continuing to struggle with the underlying self-deprecation." - Allison kidd
What do you picture when you hear the word “depressed”? Often the responses are stereotypical: someone crying all the time, can’t get out of bed, hygiene is lacking, unable to maintain relationships, and the visualization continues. She looks “fine” is what we tell ourselves and each other.
She looks put together. Her hair is done, makeup pristine, outfit polished. She doesn’t show up in sweats, looking a mess. The thing is, she thinks that if she looks the part, she’ll feel it. Sometimes this works. It helps her to feel confident, increasing her self-esteem yet continuing to struggle with the underlying self-deprecation.
She looks social. She goes out with friends, participates in school activities, attends family gatherings, converses with coworkers, goes to community events. She isn’t that girl sitting in her room crying like we might expect. She thinks that if she’s surrounded by others, she’s not left to deal with her own thoughts. Her social engagement helps to distract her from the loneliness and boredom. It can be a way for her to manage her depression, gaining energy from others.
She looks happy. Her Snaps and Instagram pics show her laughing, having fun, and making jokes. She doesn’t allow others to see her raw self, because that isn’t as appealing to others. She shines her smile, portraying to everyone she’s happy. It protects her from people asking questions or worrying about her, causing her to feel more uncomfortable. At times, the flattery she receives from others hitting the button “like” helps her to feel accepted and normal.
Depression isn’t always that obvious. In fact, it often can be referred to as the “invisible illness”. Just because she looks happy on the outside, doesn’t mean she feels that way on the inside, or even all the time. People that experience depression are often very careful to hide their feelings, putting a mask on to protect themselves.
We then tell ourselves, "If she doesn’t look depressed, then she must not really be". How can you recognize if someone is struggling with depression?
Allison Kidd, LSCSW works with teens to help reframe their negative thought processes, increase motivation, and find hope for change. Studies say that 15-20% of teens will experience depression before adulthood and depression can worsen if not treated. Now is the time to start working towards looking and feeling happy.
"The more I begin to know, the more I realize HOW LITTLE I know." - Robin Helget
A few weeks ago, I met with a new colleague who is quickly becoming a good friend, Dr. Michael Brown with Nature's Path. During our existentialist conversation, he told me of this study where a scientist looked at the molecules of water. Now, typically, I would have zoned out at the word "molecules", but as he began explaining, he shared that this Japanese scientist took images of the molecules of water as they were freezing. I know what you're thinking, "Ok, so?"
He explained more in that when the scientist, Masaru Emoto, put words next to the water such as "Love", "Evil", "Grace", "Discomfort", etc., the water molecules photographed completely different. When he played Mozart compared to rap music compared to hip-hop, the molecules looked completely different.
Research suggests that our thoughts are physically impacting the brain. We know these thoughts impact how feel, but Emoto suggests that our thoughts are impacting every single thing in our life, including the water we drink and ingest. I know, I know. Mind. Blown. Need more information? I did too.
To see photographs of these images, please visit www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html
Our world is compromised of 70% water. Our bodies are made up of approximately 60%. Water is all around us. If our words, our thoughts, and our prayers or actions can impact something so complex like a water molecule, wouldn't our brains be impacted? Wouldn't it matter how we think or how we respond to other people?
What does this mean to me?
The more I begin to know, the more I realize how little I know.
Everything interacts with each other. Our words are powerful. This test has been done in multiple languages from multiple water sources, and the results are the same.
We are bigger influences on people and ourselves than we think.
Do good things.
Robin Helget, LMSW, CPT
“Change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. It is not those events, but rather the inner reorientation or self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture. Unless transition happens, the change won’t work, because it doesn’t take.”- William Bridges
Life is ever-changing, but there are moments in our life when the transition can seem a bit more substantial than others. Graduating college, changing jobs, getting married, having a child, moving out of your parents house, these could all be classified as “big life transitions” and are defining moments in our lives. Many of the above mentioned transitions are also highly stressful and disrupt the established patterns we have created in the rhythm of life. That being said, big life transitions also give us the amazing opportunity to re-evaluate our day to day patterns and begin determining what was working for us previously as well as what we may want to incorporate into the new life we are creating.
Take a moment to pause and reflect
Our daily patterns, from where we buy our coffee to when we check our phones, often become habit by the third or fourth time we have done them, and we are slow to ask ourselves why we are doing things a certain way. When we change the scenery of our lives, with a new home or relationship, we get the opportunity to see our daily routine in a new light. Utilize this big life moment to step back for an hour (or even just ten minutes) and think about the pieces of your daily life that were life-giving and the pieces that were life-draining.
Write it down
After reflecting, spend some time writing down the things that were working well and those that aren’t working currently. Create a positive and negative list that helps you see whether a majority of your time is being spent. Once you have created this list, see if there are any behaviors, actions, or relationships that you would like to eliminate and those that you would like to see more of.
Imagine a Miracle
Imagine that a miracle has occurred and everything in your life is exactly as you would want it. What would you be spending your time doing? How would you start and end the day? Who would you hang out with? Use the information you have gathered from your positives and negatives list along with your miracle day to create a plan of action.
Create a plan of action for integrating these new ideas:
Amber Reed, LSCSW, LCAC