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Uptown Dallas Counseling Favorite Post

Uptown Dallas Counseling shares a favorite post from 2014:

Comedian and actress Ruby Wax gave a TED talk where she spoke about her struggles with depression. She used lots of comedy mixed with some serious science and statistics about depression.
According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives, but two-thirds will never seek help from a professional. Even when you isolate the U.S. population, the numbers are the same.
If you are suffering from depression or other type of mental illness, seek help from a professional. You are not alone. You do not have to go through this alone.
TED talk by Ruby Wax on Mental Illness
uptown dallas counseling happiness

Bipolar: What is it?

bipolar uptown dallas

We hear these statements about bipolar all the time: “I can’t focus because I am bipolar”, “she is just being bipolar”, “he has major mood swings, maybe he is bipolar”, “I am feeling so bipolar today”, “that’s my bipolar coming out.”

What does “being bipolar” really mean?  

The National Institute of Mental Health gives a detailed description of the symptoms of bipolar disorder, stating:

Bipolar disorder includes periods of both mania and depression.

Symptoms of mania or a manic episode include: 

  • A long period of feeling “high,” or feeling overly happy or outgoing.  Feeling extremely irritable, agitated, “jumpy” or “wired.”  Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts.
  • Being easily distracted
  • Increasing goal-directed activities, such as taking on new projects
  • Being restless
  • Sleeping little
  • Having an unrealistic belief in one’s abilities
  • Behaving impulsively and taking part in a lot of pleasurable, high-risk behaviors, such as spending sprees, impulsive sex, and impulsive business investments.

 

Symptoms of depression may be:

  • A long period of feeling worried or empty
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex.
  • Feeling tired or “slowed down”
  • Having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
  • Being restless or irritable
  • Changing eating, sleeping, or other habits
  • Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide.

 

People with bipolar disorder may also have behavioral problems. They may abuse alcohol or other substances, have relationship problems, or perform poorly in school or at work. At first, it’s not easy to recognize these problems as signs of a major mental illness.  Bipolar disorder usually lasts a lifetime. Episodes of mania and depression typically come back over time. Between episodes, many people with bipolar disorder are free of symptoms, but some people may have lingering symptoms.

Proper diagnosis and treatment helps people with bipolar disorder lead healthy and productive lives.

BUT WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN?  HOW IS BIPOLAR DIFFERENT FROM MOOD SWINGS?Bipolar uptown dallas

Terri Cheney’s memoir, Manic, is a description of what it felt like inside her brain to be manic and then move quickly to depression.  Cheney details experiences from her adult life that range from being so manic she could not speak coherently, to being so depressed she could not move.  Her book gives the reader a personal view of how devastating life can be when bipolar disorder is out of control.

Some of my favorite quotes from her book that describe her feelings are:

“I actually stopped talking. I actually listened. So I knew that I wasn’t all the way manic, because when you’re all the way manic you never listen to anybody but yourself.”
“There’s nothing quite like breaking something – the law, a pane of glass, whatever – to embolden a manic mood.” 

What right did I have to my own despair, with such genuine suffering before me? I looked around me at the pockmarked children, and all I could think was, a six-figure lifestyle drove me to suicide. It’s chemical, I told myself. I didn’t choose to be manic depressive.”

But mostly I long for sustenance – a sense of fullness, an absence of ache. It’s a primal hunger, that goes beyond food: what I really crave is normalcy.”

Well, if it wasn’t for my manic depression, there would be no me for him to marry, period. I’d be some other person entirely. I wouldn’t have those flashes of brilliance he so admired, that made him want me in the first place. I wouldn’t have the volatility that maddened but intrigued him. Alan hated ordinary. That’s just what I would be.”

Manic intentions are always good; manic consequences, almost never”. ~ Terri Cheney

Cheney’s life was miserable.  She was not experiencing “just normal mood swings”.  She had uncontrolled bipolar disorder, and the condition was ruining her life.  As she details in her book, she continues to be disabled by the condition, but with the combination of medication and therapy, she is able to live a productive life.  She is a mental health advocate and on the boards of directors of several mental health organizations.  She also facilitates a weekly community support group at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute. Her writings about bipolar disorder have been featured in New York Times, the Huffington Post, and countless articles and blogs. She currently resides in Los Angeles.

bipolar manic author terri chaney

Terri Cheney

If you believe you may have bipolar disorder, or any type of mental health challenge, see your primary care physician or a psychiatric professional for help.  Do not use the above lists of symptoms to make your own diagnosis.

 

 

 

 

Depression Therapy: When is it time to see a Professional?

depression therapy Uptown Dallas Counseling
Depression or “being depressed” means something different to everyone.  The official “dictionary” of mental disorders used by psychiatric practitioners is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Revision 5 or DSM-V.  The DSM-V defines different levels and types of depression from mild to severe, depending on the specific symptoms present.  Most people do not have the 947-page DSM-V manual at home or on their kindles, so how do you know if you are depressed?  When should you seek professional help for depression therapy?
Most people who contact me for help with depression have symptoms that are affecting their ability to function on daily a daily basis.  These difficulties may include problems with home, work, or social life.  They may be personal feelings and emotions that include sadness, lack of motivation, low energy, or inability to concentrate.  Once symptoms of depression increase to the point where you can no longer complete normal daily activities, most people want to reach out for help.
What about other, more subtle signs of depression?  Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., an Associate Editor at Psych Central and author of Weightless, offers suggestions of when to seek help based on her interview with two experts in the field of mood disorders.  She interviewed Deborah Serani, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating mood disorders and Lee H. Coleman, Ph.D., ABPP, a clinical psychologist and assistant director and director of training at the California Institute of Technology’s student counseling center.
Here are some not-so-obvious reasons you may want to seek professional help for depression therapy.
  • You feel hopeless or helpless. According to Serani, your thoughts might sound something like this: “Why is everything so hard for me?  “Often, helplessness is a negative circle. If you feel helpless, you get more depressed. When you get more depressed, you feel helpless.”
  • You feel guilty, worthless or ashamed. Unfortunately, depression is sometimes misperceived as a character flaw (instead of a real, debilitating illness), said Serani, also author of the books Living with Depression and Depression and Your Child. “So many children and adults blame themselves for not being able to snap out of depressed episode.” They think: “I’m so stupid,” or “I can’t do anything right.”
  • You experience extreme irritability, anger or impatience, Serani said“These symptoms are often misunderstood and viewed as ‘burnout’ or ‘stress.’” However, when agitated individuals are further questioned, they “reveal more classical symptoms of depression like negative thinking, helplessness, sadness and hopelessness.”
  • You don’t want to be around others. You might start taking time off from work, Coleman said. “Coworkers might ask if you’re feeling OK, or comment to you that you don’t seem like yourself.” 
  • You have a harder time concentrating on tasks, even ones you enjoy, Coleman said. “It’s common for people with depression to read, write and even think more slowly.”
  • You’re tired, have less energy or don’t feel like getting out of bed, he said. “A lot of the time, the signs of depression show up in our bodies.”
  • You have headaches or body aches, Serani said.
  • Your sleeping patterns have changed. You might have trouble sleeping and wake up much earlier than you normally do, Coleman said. Or you start oversleeping. “The key is to look out for a major change in the way you sleep”
  • Your eating has changed. Some people with depression find food to be less appetizing and start to eat less, whereas others eat more than usual, Coleman said. Again, the factor to zero in on is change.

If you have any of the above symptoms, you may be clinically depressed.  Ask yourself if it is time to look for a professional to help alleviate these symptoms.

** If you’re having thoughts of suicide, please get help immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255.

 


Is a Lack of Sleep Causing Your Depression?

uptown dallas counseling and woman sleeping

When you are not getting adequate sleep, you suffer more than just the physical effects of being tired.  You can become irritable, impatient, anxious, and depressed.  Lack of sleep undermines creativity and efficiency. Fatigue can hinder your cognitive skills of memorization, concentration, and motivation. Getting an adequate level of sleep means you are not only sleeping the number of hours your body needs, but also your sleep is high quality sleep.

Negative Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep

  1. Lower stress threshold. Normal, everyday tasks can feel overwhelming.
  2. Impaired memory. Your brain’s ability to form memories declines.
  3. Trouble concentrating. You lose your ability to focus on a task, but also often overestimate your performace.
  4. Decreased optimism and sociability. Sleep-deprived individuals consistently score higher on Hopelessness Scales and report the desire to isolate from others.
  5. Impaired creativity and innovation. New research suggests that sleep deprivation may have a particular effect on these two areas of cognition.
  6. Increased resting blood pressure. Even a half night of sleep loss can cause increases in blood pressure.
  7. Increased food consumption and appetite. Participants in scientific research showed an increase in their desire to consume food.
  8. Increased risk of heart attack. Sleep study participants had increased levels of inflammation associated with cardiac disease.
  9. Weakened immune system.  Sleep depravation causes white blood cell counts to rise.
  10. Decreased ability to metabolize sugar.

Ten Behaviors to help you get more, higher quality sleep:

  1. Establish a nightly sleep routine that includes a set bedtime.  One of the easiest behavior changes you can make to improve sleep is going to bed and waking up the same time every day.  (Including weekends.)
  2. Create a bedtime ritual that will send signals to your body and your brain that you are getting ready for sleep.  This ritual may include changing into pajamas, washing your face, brushing your teeth, etc.
  3. Do not take naps.  Even if you are tired from a previous night of little sleep, challenge yourself to stay awake until bedtime.
  4. Do not drink caffeine or alcohol, or smoke cigarettes close to bedtime.
  5. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon can help sleep patterns.  Vigorous exercise close to bedtime may delay your ability to fall asleep.
  6. Do not go to bed with a full stomach or an empty stomach.
  7. To associate your bed with sleep, do not engage in activities other than sex and sleep in your bed.
  8. Create a quiet, dark, and comfortable sleeping space.
  9. If you are unable to fall asleep for 30-45 minutes after going to bed, get up.  Do something relaxing like drinking herbal tea or reading something calming.  After 30 minutes, try to go to bed again.
  10. Reduce any stressful thoughts by making a TO DO list on paper.  Once you write these thoughts down, your level of stress will almost always decrease significantly.  Practice relaxation techniques before bed.  Deep breathing, meditation, and some forms of yoga can be helpful.

Once you commit to changing behaviors to improve your quantity and quality of sleep, keep track of your moods.  A simple piece of paper where you write your mood level (0 to 10, with 0 extreme sadness and 10 extreme happiness) can provide valuable information and motivation.  If you still need more motivation, keep a copy of the list of the negative effects of not sleeping well with you.

We all have different limitations on our time and resources that may prevent us from fully committing to getting more and better sleep.  If you can’t commit to making all the changes listed above, try a few.  Even small improvements in sleep can have a significant impact on our levels of mental and physical functioning.

Holly Scott, MBA, MS, LPC sees clients at Uptown Dallas Counseling. Holly is trained in the specialty of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and holds the position of Diplomate in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Holly works with clients to help them overcome challenges in their daily lives that may be preventing them from achieving happiness. She helps clients with stress management, depression, parenting, marriage counseling, and other mental health concerns. If you are looking for a counselor or therapist, explore this website to see if Holly may be able to help you. 

To make an appointment for therapy or counseling with Holly at her Uptown Dallas Counseling, you have the option of using the Online Patient Portal to register and schedule. 

Body Language and Confidence

body language and confidenceDr. Amy Cuddy talks about the relationship between body language and confidence.  She challenges her listeners to ask, “What happens if you fake it till you make it?” If you pretend to be powerful, are you more likely to feel powerful? She demonstrates how tiny, easy, 2-minute exercises on changing your body language can have a significant impact on your mind and your actual performance in stressful situations.

“Don’t fake it til you make it, Fake it until you become it.”

In this video she explains the connection between body language and confidence.

Holly Scott, MBA, MS, LPC sees clients at Uptown Dallas Counseling. Holly is trained in the specialty of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and holds the position of Diplomate in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Holly works with clients to help them overcome challenges in their daily lives that may be preventing them from achieving happiness. She helps clients with stress management, depression, parenting, marriage counseling, and other mental health concerns. If you are looking for a counselor or therapist, explore this website to see if Holly may be able to help you. 

To make an appointment for therapy or counseling with Holly at her Uptown Dallas Counseling, you have the option of using the Online Patient Portal to register and schedule. 

Mindfulness and Meditation

mindfulness

Being Mindful Does Not
Have To Look Like This

Andy Puddicombe gives a wonderful TedMed talk on mindfulness and meditation.  He explains the purpose of mediation as enabling us to experience focus, calm, and clarity in our lives.  In his 10-minute video, he describes the basics of how to approach meditation as stepping back, seeing the thought clearly, and witnessing thoughts coming and going without judgment. By maintaining focused relaxation, we can allow thoughts to come and go, and NOT get distracted by the thought.  We learn to observe the thought and let go of our emotions attached to a thought.  Our goal is to let go of our story lines that run continuously in our minds.  By using mediation to step back and get a different perspective, we can change the way we experience things in our lives.

Here’s Andy Puddicombe’s TED talk.  Enjoy. 

 

Holly Scott, MBA, MS, LPC sees clients at Uptown Dallas Counseling. Holly is trained in the specialty of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and holds the position of Diplomate in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Holly works with clients to help them overcome challenges in their daily lives that may be preventing them from achieving happiness. She helps clients with stress management, depression, parenting, marriage counseling, and other mental health concerns. If you are looking for a counselor or therapist in t!he Uptown Dallas area, explore this website to see if Holly may be able to help you. 

To make an appointment for therapy or counseling with Holly at her Uptown Dallas Counseling, you have the option of using the Online Patient Portal to register and schedule. If you would prefer to talk with Holly to schedule an appointment, email HollyScottPLLC@gmail.com, or call 214-953-9366, to talk with her about your counseling needs. 

Anxiety or Excitement: You Decide

Interesting article in the New York Times today about the whether you perceive an elevated heart rate as anxiety or excitement; and how this perception can affect your ability to successfully negotiate:

anxiety or excitement, you decided

photo courtesy of the New York Times

A study from MIT recently showed that when confident people enter a negotiation, they perform better if they have an elevated heart rate.  So if you are looking forward to asking for that raise from your boss, get on a treadmill, get her on the phone, and ask.  You are more likely to achieve success than if you talked with her while seated at your desk.

What about people who are not confident about their ability to negotiate?  If you are nervous and doubt your abilities, you may label that elevated heart rate while on the treadmill as anxiety.  If you label physical response from exercising (pounding heart, shortness of breath, & sweating) as anxiety, you will perform worse than if you negotiated while resting.  If, however, you can say to yourself, “I always feel this way when I exercise”, “this is a natural, expected response”, and “I am excited to be asking for a raise”, you will improve your ability to engage in negotiations. 


Alison Wood Brooks, Assistant Professor of Business Administration and a scholar at the Harvard Business School, recommends:

“Get on the treadmill, get your heart racing and once it’s racing, 
appraise the feeling as excitement — tell yourself ‘I am excited, not anxious,’ ” 
she said. “And then go forth and prosper.”


Source:New York Times Article

Life Goals: Are They Actually Distractions?

Your audacious life goals are fabulous. We’re proud of you for having
them. But it’s possible that those goals are designed to distract you
from the thing that’s really frightening you—the shift in daily habits
that would mean a re–invention of how you see yourself.
—Seth Godin
life goals and distraction
One of my favorite writers is Seth Godin, and I particularly this idea.  Do you think your goals are actually distractions?

Holly Scott, MBA, MS, LPC sees clients at Uptown Dallas Counseling. Holly is trained in the specialty of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and holds the position of Diplomate in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Holly works with clients to help them overcome challenges in their daily lives that may be preventing them from achieving happiness. She helps clients with stress management, depression, parenting, marriage counseling, and other mental health concerns. If you are looking for a counselor or therapist, explore this website to see if Holly may be able to help you. 

To make an appointment for therapy or counseling with Holly at her Uptown Dallas Counseling, you have the option of using the Online Patient Portal to register and schedule. 

Happiness at 103 years old

Really fun article in the New York Times describing the nightly dining habits of 103-year-old Harry Rosen.  He believes his nightly meal out is his therapy that has contributed to his long, productive life.Sounds good to me!

happiness

Photo: Dave Sanders New York Times
Harry Rosen with a photo of himself in his 20’s.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/nyregion/a-nightly-dinner-out-thats-like-therapy.html?src=me

Holly Scott, MBA, MS, LPC sees clients at Uptown Dallas Counseling. Holly is trained in the specialty of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and holds the position of Diplomate in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Holly works with clients to help them overcome challenges in their daily lives that may be preventing them from achieving happiness. She helps clients with stress management, depression, parenting, marriage counseling, and other mental health concerns. If you are looking for a counselor or therapist, explore this website to see if Holly may be able to help you. 

To make an appointment for therapy or counseling with Holly at her Uptown Dallas Counseling, you have the option of using the Online Patient Portal to register and schedule. 

Happiness and Belonging

happiness

How Do We Find Happiness?


Dallas author and psychotherapist, Pamela Milam, writes about finding happiness on the website www.RewireMe.com.  In her article, I love the way Pamela describes her thinking as a young adult in the line:

“I just went with the societal flow without examining how I really felt or what I really wanted.”

As a psychotherapist, I regularly treat clients who are struggling with life choices and decisions of all kinds (financial, career, family) that were made based on societal flow. They describe themselves as very successful and “having it all”, and state they cannot understand their overwhelming feelings of emptiness or sadness. During the therapy process, they often find relief by allowing themselves to explore what they really want and separating individual wants from societal influences. They are able to find joy by making changes in their lives to honor their true feelings.

Can you find a way to allow yourself to explore what you really want, change your thinking, and create happiness?