Posts Tagged ‘grief’

The Real Causes Of Depression Have Been Discovered, And They’re Not What You Think

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Johann Hari, author most recently of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, writes:

The more I investigated depression and anxiety, the more I found that, far from being caused by a spontaneously malfunctioning brain, depression and anxiety are mostly being caused by events in our lives. If you find your work meaningless and you feel you have no control over it, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you are lonely and feel that you can’t rely on the people around you to support you, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you think life is all about buying things and climbing up the ladder, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you think your future will be insecure, you are far more likely to become depressed. I started to find a whole blast of scientific evidence that depression and anxiety are not caused in our skulls, but by the way many of us are being made to live. There are real biological factors, like your genes, that can make you significantly more sensitive to these causes, but they are not the primary drivers.

And that led me to the scientific evidence that we have to try to solve our depression and anxiety crises in a very different way (alongside chemical anti-depressants, which should of course remain on the table).

To do that, we need to stop seeing depression and anxiety as an irrational pathology, or a weird misfiring of brain chemicals. They are terribly painful – but they make sense. Your pain is not an irrational spasm. It is a response to what is happening to you. To deal with depression, you need to deal with its underlying causes. On my long journey, I learned about seven different kinds of anti-depressants – ones that are about stripping out the causes, rather than blunting the symptoms. Releasing your shame is only the start.


Surviving the holidays after we’ve broken up with our mothers.

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

This article is by Justin Haley Phillips and centers on a woman’s view, but I know from personal experience that men sometimes have to break up with their mothers too. If a parent is so toxic that you can no longer have contact, then you must distance yourself, female or male.
–Thomas Ramey Watson

Phillips writes:

If someone hasn’t experienced a toxic relationship with a parent, their first thought is generally, “But she’s your mother!”

As though giving birth renders a woman infallible…
As though “a mother’s love” is guaranteed selfless and pristine…
As though we should sacrifice our mental and emotional (and perhaps physical) health on the altar of the doting daughter…

Mothers are people, too, and while I love mine dearly, there simply came a time when I needed to set myself apart from her in order to grow.

It was not an easy decision to make.


Who Gets to Choose Which Childhood Experiences Are ‘Appropriate’?

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Fom Christina Berchini’s thoughtful article:

Hard as some parents and guardians might try to shield their children from life’s difficulties and cruelties, other students bring adult issues to our classrooms. I certainly did. My students certainly did. An “appropriate” text, then, is also a text that honors this reality. Students who see their experiences ― however difficult ― reflected in the books they are asked to read might be provided with a coping mechanism through literature.

For example, the well-known young adult novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson addresses the issue of teenage rape ― a problem that Anderson’s supporters argue needs to be discussed. Children and teenagers lucky enough to live blissful lives ― the kind of lives my colleague assumed to be the rule, and not the exception ― are also served well by texts that illustrate the real trials and tribulations of childhood and adolescence. Such texts help to build empathetic classroom communities with a more complex understanding of the world, whether or not students have personally experienced such complexities.

10 Weird Signs You’re Stressed Out

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Stress manifests in a multitude of ways. Some of them are emotional symptoms, like moodiness and irritability, and others may mask themselves as physical issues.

The problem with this physiological phenomenon is that you may simply chalk these issues up as something harmless. Not only that, data shows stress is continually on the rise, making the problem more of a byproduct of everyday life rather than a health complication that needs to be controlled. But there are major consequences if you don’t address your stress: It can lead to heart problems, sleep disturbances, depressive symptoms and more.


A Growing Movement Of ‘Death Doulas’ Is Rethinking How We Die

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

“All I can tell you is that from where I have sat there has been a calmness and a sense that I want to be nowhere else but by that person’s side,” Levine said in an interview with HuffPost.

Levine is part of a growing movement of nurses, social workers and volunteers who are pushing for greater compassion and companionship for people who are dying. Borrowing language from the birthing world, they’re called death doulas, end-of-life doulas, death midwives and palliative care doulas.


5 Distressing Realities About The State Of Mental Health In America

Friday, November 4th, 2016

One in five American adults will experience a mental health disorder in a given year. That makes it highly likely many of us know someone who is dealing with a psychological condition. But when it comes to understanding these disorders, we often fall flat.

In honor of World Mental Health Day, we rounded up some of the most important mental health discoveries made this year. If anything, they’re proof that continued education and advocacy is critical when it comes to making life easier for those diagnosed:


This Yogi Is Discussing Mental Health In The Most Stunning Way

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Williams started practicing yoga after she was diagnosed with a constellation of mental health disorders that she believes stem from an incident in 2013 in which her infant son, Silas stopped breathing and had to be revived.

“He basically died and came back to life,” Williams told The Huffington Post.

Though her son returned to perfect health, Williams had difficulty letting go of what happened. She would get triggered every time her son would whine or cry and even had multiple episodes of self-harm, she said.

After months of struggling, Williams sought help from her doctor, who diagnosed her with major depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition to going to therapy, Williams decided to make a lifestyle change and pick up a hobby. That’s when she found yoga.


Why We Need To Talk About High-Functioning Depression

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

To an outside observer, Amanda Leventhal, a college student at the University of Missouri, appears to have it all together. Perfect grades, a good group of friends, involvement in her campus choir group—she’s not someone many would characterize as “depressed.” And yet, she is. It wasn’t until Leventhal penned an essay on her secret struggle with anxiety and depression that her friends knew anything was even wrong.

Antidepressant ads and pop-culture portrayals of depression often paint the same picture: withdrawal from friends or favorite activities, trouble sleeping, and crying. While those are signs, the problem is that there are many faces of depression. It also looks like Kristen Bell. It looks like Olympic swimmer Allison Schmitt. It looks like your colleague who just got promoted or your friend who just got engaged. They are part of a growing contingent suffering from what’s been dubbed high-functioning depression. And because a stigma is still attached, many keep their sadness hidden and no one knows anything is wrong—sometimes until it’s too late.


Some real reasons for being tired all the time

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Have you ever been really, really tired? For most of my life, I was. All the time. For years, I struggled with the terrible problem of never having enough energy. My reserves were next to zero. I was always the first person to get sick during flu season, to quit on a hike, to leave the party and go home to bed. Once, I fell asleep in a lake. I was just standing there, up to my chest in cold water, and I dozed off from sheer exhaustion. Not easy to do, but I managed it.

I worried that I had a metabolism problem, or a thyroid issue, or a brain tumor. Or perhaps I needed a better mattress? Or more flaxseeds?


The Surprising Benefit Of Going Through Hard Times

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

The phenomenon of art born from adversity can be seen not only in the lives of famous creators, but also in the lab. In the past 20 years, psychologists have begun studying post-traumatic growth, which has now been observed in more than 300 scientific studies.

The term post-traumatic growth was coined in the 1990s by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun to describe instances of individuals who experienced profound transformation as they coped with various types of trauma and challenging life circumstances. Up to 70 percent of trauma survivors report some positive psychological growth, research has found.

Growth after trauma can take a number of different forms, including a greater appreciation for life, the identification of new possibilities for one’s life, more satisfying interpersonal relationships, a richer spiritual life and a connection to something greater than oneself, and a sense of personal strength.


The physical rebuilding of a city that takes place after an earthquake can be likened to the cognitive processing and restructuring that an individual experiences in the wake of a trauma. Once the most foundational structures of the self have been shaken, we are in a position to pursue new—and perhaps creative—opportunities.

The “rebuilding” process looks something like this: After a traumatic event, such as a serious illness or loss of a loved one, individuals intensely process the event—they’re constantly thinking about what happened, and usually with strong emotional reactions.
It’s important to note that sadness, grief, anger, and anxiety, of course, are common responses to trauma, and growth generally occurs alongside these challenging emotions—not in place of them. The process of growth can be seen as a way to adapt to extremely adverse circumstances and to gain an understanding of both the trauma and its negative psychological impact.


Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.