• Escaping the depressive spiral (Part #2)
    Escaping the depressive spiral (Part #2)
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    So much of the psychological and medical community today speaks of, “Managing your anxiety and depression.” Think about that phrase for a moment. The implication of it is that, if you struggle with the spiral of anxiety and depression discussed in the last article, you are destined to continue to do so – permanently.

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  • Understanding the depressive spiral (Part 1)
    Understanding the depressive spiral (Part 1)
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    Depression and anxiety. Read nearly any article on either subject written in the last decade and you will very quickly notice that the authors usually lump those two terms together.

    But why?

    Throw that question at the majority of mental health professionals who habitually, even daily toss those terms out, and you will learn little. The bulk of them will have to admit they use those terms together simply because everyone else does.

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  • Make change happen.
    Make change happen.
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    During graduate school, one of the comments I most frequently heard from different professors was the line, “Change is a mystery.” At the time, it seemed so philosophical and wise. In retrospect, it just sounds like complete nonsense generally uttered by those who now appear to have fled the real world for the safety of teaching.

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  • Breaking through the stigma of miscarriage.
    Breaking through the stigma of miscarriage.
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    As many as 75% of all pregnancies result in a miscarriage before the woman knows she is pregnant. Once the woman has tested positive on a pregnancy test, there is still a one in five chance of an early miscarriage. Later in the pregnancy, while quite uncommon, miscarriage still occurs about 1% of the time though, for some women, it may repeatedly occur.

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  • Healing the pain of abortion
    Healing the pain of abortion
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    Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – have been, for years, a prescriptive definition of what every grieving person must go through. They are so culturally imbedded that, when I was writing our company page on grief & loss, I had to include her name and stages or Google wouldn’t even recognize our page as legitimate.

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  • First steps of healing depression
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    Counselling for depression in Calgary

    If you’ve never experienced depression yourself, imagine with me for a moment.

    Imagine what it would be like to be unable to laugh, and unable to cry. To feel like your head is in a grey cloud that follows you everywhere and all of your thoughts just echo inside of it. Imagine living with the sense that you have no impact and the world has no impact on you — where your only release is sleep but the idea of waking up for another 16hrs fills you with dread. Imagine living living inside a glass cell that you can see out of but no one else seems to be able to see you inside of or hear your pleas to get out.

    That’s depression…

    That’s why, for so many people who struggle with depression, thoughts of taking their own lives actually feel comforting.

    If you, or someone you love is experiencing this, know that things don’t have to stay this way. There is a way out and here is a map of the first steps on that journey.

    This is just an announcement/posting of an internal article on what it means to start the journey out of depression now permanently added to the article section of our primary site.


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  • Are you finally done with antidepressants?
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    Science Daily

    Ending Antidepressant dependancy with mindfullness meditation

    The study aimed to establish whether MBCT is superior to maintenance antidepressant treatment in terms of preventing relapse of depression. Although the findings show that MBCT isn’t any more effective than maintenance antidepressant treatment in preventing relapse of depression, the results, combined with those of previous trials, suggest that MCBT may offer similar protection against depressive relapse or recurrence for people who have experienced multiple episodes of depression, with no significant difference in cost.

    Over 2 years, relapse rates in both groups were similar (44% in the MBCT group vs 47% in the maintenance antidepressant medication group). Although five adverse events were reported, including two deaths, across both groups, they were not judged to be attributable to the interventions or the trial.

    According to study co-author Professor Sarah Byford, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, UK, “As a group intervention, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was relatively low cost compared to therapies provided on an individual basis and, in terms of the cost of all health and social care services used by participants during the study, we found no significant difference between the two treatments.”

    According to Professor Kuyken, “Whilst this study doesn’t show that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy works any better than maintenance antidepressant medication in reducing the rate of relapse in depression, we believe these results suggest a new choice for the millions of people with recurrent depression on repeat prescriptions.”

    In so many ways, the above linked is not news — psychology has known for years that drugs are not the only or necessarily even the best treatment for depression. It’s no surprise that yet another study has found that therapy is as good or even slightly better then the drug route.

    But, in another way, this is most news worthy.

    Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a grand sounding name for something that is both incredibly simple and drastically limited when considered against all of the other tools we have for non-drug related treatment of depression.

    MBCT is simply teaching a person to be aware/accepting of thoughts and feelings, to remain detached from them and not react to them — perhaps choosing to change a reaction into a reflection.

    Yes, that’s it…

    It doesn’t involve skills at processing pain, addressing emotions, learning about the self, finding general health, coping with trauma, addressing stories from a family of origin, dealing with triggers, coping with lies about God or even getting basic needs met in relationship. (Or about 20 more areas needing to be addressed in the treatment of depression…)

    And, that one, simple, incredibly limited technique still worked as good or possibly even slightly better then drugs.

    It’s almost redundant to even say it but, yes, therapy is a remarkably effective cure for depression!!!

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  • I just have no idea what I am feeling…
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    Our emotions are powerful, born of countless unknowable forces and planted by childhood events we may never consciously recall. For many of us, they exist as shrouded mysterious urges we mostly focus on managing and suppressing.

    But, it doesn’t have to be that way. They are in us for a reason: to be a dashboard which displays the state of our entire being. Learning to listen to and name the read-outs on that dashboard is essential to caring for ourselves and loving other people.

    Here is a guided path towards understanding what our hearts are telling us:

    How to identify what kind of emotion you are feeling in seven easy steps.


    Tune into the prompting event that caused the emotion and consider what sort of an event it is.

    The nature of an event is a powerful clue as to the impact it may be having on you — though other factors could cause you to respond in a completely different way.

    Next, note your interpretation of the event.

    Are you seeing it as others around you are or are you looking at it through very different lenses? If different, then how and why?

    Note any physical sensations you encountered during the event.

    Did you shake, get hot, feel flushed, have trouble looking at the other person, experience a change in sexual response, feel your heart race, experience your body relaxing? Our bodies can sometimes tell us what we are feeling even before our minds can apprehend such. What do those physiological responses tell you?

    Note your body language.

    Did you find yourself clenching your fists, hugging yourself, crossing your arms, turning your body towards/away, find yourself looking down/away/glaring at the other or standing erect/slumping? What do those physical actions tell you that you were unconsciously trying to accomplish?

    Next, attend to any sort of action urge you experienced during the event.

    Did you want to run away or hide, hit the other person, explode and yell, hurt the other person, hug the other person or want to make love to/have sex with the other person? What sort of internal dynamics do those urges imply?

    Examine any action you actually took.

    Was it the same or different from #5? (If it was the same, this step is likely redundant. If it was different, then is there an ambivalence or two conflictual emotions present?)

    Now, based on previous items above, use the below chart to precisely identify the emotion name(s) you are experiencing.

    The sooner we figure out what we are feeling, the earlier into an interaction we are able to draw from the wisdom our hearts have to bring to any interchange.

    If that wisdom becomes effectively blended with our mind and our other senses, we gain the ability to choose how we engage others instead of finding ourselves driven in irrational ways.

    And, sometimes, we then gain the ability to put our responses aside for a moment, step out of ourselves and then experience what the other person is experiencing.

    That’s where compassion and empathy start and senseless wars end.

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  • Why people in positions don’t seek help.
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    The revelation adds to questions about how much Lufthansa and its insurers will pay in damages for the passengers who died.

    It also underlines questions about how thoroughly the aviation industry and government regulators screen pilots for psychological problems.

    It’s pretty much the same story all over again.

    Someone in a position of power goes off and kills others due to a common-cold level mental illness such as depression that remained untreated.

    Everyone gets their tails in a knot.

    Immediately, the talking heads start to discuss how carefully that profession is screened for psychological problems, suggest expanding such to other areas and begin to drizzle on about liability.

    Aviation officials come back with the facts about the already brutal controls in place that essentially strip the careers out from under the people who report any sort of mental illness:

    “It really would depend on what the psychiatrist or psychologist that he saw wrote, and what his symptoms were,” Silberman said. “The minute he declares he is depressed, he is grounded. And if he goes on medication, he’s definitely grounded.”

    After treatment, “If you were doing better after the depressive episode and the (doctor’s) note was favorable, then the FAA would likely clear you,” he said. Admitting suicidal thoughts would probably mean a longer period of being grounded, and the pilot’s case would probably wind up in the hands of the FAA’s chief psychiatrist in Washington, he said.

    Silberman said that over time pilots become more willing to discuss their mental state with their doctors, and there are employee-assistance programs to help them. Still, pilots often hide their medical problems.

    And the whole conversation gradually fades away…

    Because, it fundamentally misses the point.

    When the aviation industry and government regulators spend money to screen pilots for psychological problems they are looking to avoid liability. To be able to say that they did their due diligence.

    That would make perfect sense — if we didn’t already know they were only testing for the ability to fool the test…

    I’ve sat in a class where a prof, by show of hands, successfully diagnosed every person in the class with at least one mental illness in under 90 min — and then unceremoniously left claiming he had no idea what he was doing there as, “All of you are crazy.” (Thus definitively making his point…)

    You could do that with any profession — if they would not lose said profession as a consequence of telling the truth…

    One PsychCentral author, commenting on an insane plan to even extend psychological assessment to the Bar, put it this way:

    And who should decide which mental illnesses should be included in the questions? As a dual-diagnosed recovered alcoholic who spent a decade of her 30+ years in journalism covering courts – from murder trials to divorces – the biggest mental illness I saw affecting the ability of lawyers was alcoholism.

    As I see it, if you’re going to allow licensing boards to ask questions about mental illness, you better include alcoholism. Do you really want a pilot or surgeon with a nasty hangover flying your plane or cutting into you? And wouldn’t you want someone who had the common sense to get treatment rather than someone who is in denial about their mental illness?

    Do you really think they are going to respond truthfully anyway?

    Maybe for certain professions the applicant should be required to give permission to a physician to reveal debilitating conditions to the licensing or regulatory authority. That makes more sense to me than asking about a mental illness that the applicant is either in denial about or will certainly lie about.

    No, they are most certainly NOT going to tell the truth and they never have.

    Ramping up the testing to searches of pilots medical records for the same psychological problems won’t fix it either. Doing so only adds one more person to the list of people to lie to — the one that the pilot LEAST needs to be lying to.

    Because, the real problem is liability-based butt covering by corporations who would rather spend a tiny little bit of money on testing (that threatens pilots into silence and lets the airline get cheap insurance) then to claw the big money out of their shareholder’s dividend checks that would be required to provide decent benefits for those pilots so they can tell the truth, keep on feeding their families, retain their dignity, get real help for the problems they ALL have and no longer suffer in silence.

    But, it’s cheaper to have their insurance pay the 300 million dollar bill this suicide will cost then it is to actually protect people…

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  • Stop blaming the geek toys!!!
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    In recognition of World Sleep Day and with the help of research firm KJT Group, Philips conducted a survey titled “Sleep: A Global Perspective” to help gain insight into the main sleep disturbances affecting people worldwide. They found that worrisome thoughts about work and economic or financial issues are the top two stressors keeping people awake at night. Speaking with almost 8,000 people across 10 countries, the research team gathered information regarding participants’ sleep times, wake times, daily routines, sleeping environments and perceptions of their work-life balance to determine the greatest obstacles in the way of developing healthier sleep habits.

    This one pretty much speaks for itself.

    It’s probably not your iPad keeping you up — it’s hidden income inequality and an increasingly rigged system where workers are being bent to the breaking point.

    Thankfully, people are starting to notice it and, at least, post snarky videos about such but a real fix is a long way off…

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