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You are Poised, Hard-working, and Ready to Help Others. But Could You Also Be Depressed?

There is a highly treatable, common illness that is too often ignored by the most capable among us. Symptoms may include sadness, numbness, irritability, fatigue, low energy, dis-interest or difficulty engaging in activities or with other people, feeling like a failure, lack of hope, skepticism, difficulty finding self-worth, trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much, no appetite, or eating too much, thoughts about death, dying, perhaps even about killing yourself. This illness is depression and it is no joke. Yes, it is a real thing. And it is NOT you. Depression can be sneaky. It creeps in slowly. The symptoms can start at low levels. It’s lurking just below the surface for awhile until it becomes your new norm. At first it seems relatively manageable. Depression may be related to difficult life events that would carry an expectable amount of distress     . . . read more

When You Feel Powerless

Powerless. Helpless. Stuck. These are some of the very worst, most unpleasant ways to feel. Too often people experiencing these emotions are hesitant to get counseling, or even talk with friends, because they feel it will “do nothing.” This is based on the belief that the event or circumstance needs to change in order to feel better. The thought at the core of hopelessness is: The thing that’s already done must be different or else I will never feel better. This is not true. Getting unstuck is about navigating your responses and feelings more effectively- not changing external events. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think it’s essential to our well-being to cultivate healthier ways to react when these gut-wrenching feelings strike. The following are some of my thoughts, that are on the surface quite simple, but take an     . . . read more

The Benefits of Small Life Adventures

Before my week off, everyone asked, “What are you doing for your vacation?” I did have some things planned, but for me it’s mostly about what I’m not doing: the same old, same old. I like what I do in a normal week, but it gets stale. For me, vacation is a chance to do something, anything different. It doesn’t have to be exciting to be enjoyable for me. I took about equal pleasure in watching my daughter water pretty much everything in the backyard with her watering can, seeing sites in the White Mountains, listening to live music, and working out in the middle of the day. I find that it’s in the new space of being out of the ordinary that I feel energized. I begin to be more present. I can see the world a little bit     . . . read more

Beyond Postpartum: The Surprising Benefits of Being a Mom

Writer and mother extraordinaire, Lynn Shattuck, recently wrote a great piece for her blog reflecting on her postpartum experience. It was hugely popular because it hit home for many women. It brought back some memories for me, too. It took me a few weeks to regroup emotionally from having a baby in the middle of a dark, cold winter. In the thick of it, I was more exhausted, anxious, and vulnerable than I had ever been. In my worst moments, I worried about everything from dropping the baby, to falling down the stairs, to forgetting her altogether. Who had entrusted the care of this helpless creature to me anyway? Didn’t they know that I occasionally tripped and misplaced things?! I was worn down like all new moms. In the hardest hours, sparks of worries kept me tired and wired in     . . . read more

The Surprising Reasons You Feel the Way You Do

  This week has been all about why having a deep understanding of your emotional life is essential to your well-being and the health of your relationships. Today, I will concede that this can be difficult work. I’ve argued before that emotions are information, but decoding the clues they provide sometimes takes a master sleuth. Did you know that chronic emotional states like anxiety, depression, numbness, anger, or irritability can actually be a way to cope? Many people first come to therapy because they want to decrease these emotions. However, this can be tricky for some people because these states developed as a way to cope with even more painful emotions. For example, if you witnessed a tragedy or violence, you may develop chronic anxiety to cope with terror and powerlessness. The mind wants to feel in control, so you     . . . read more

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