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In this month's article, When Someone You Know Suffers From Depression, I address a few underlying issues, approaches to treatment, and the potentially positive role of friends and family.
In Tips for Welcoming Those Who Appear to be Different From Us, I suggest ways to examine our attitudes and behaviors toward people whom we perceive as different.
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When Someone You Know Suffers From Depression
Robin Williams' passing prompted a public discussion about depression and substance abuse. Perhaps his death and these conversations will help uncover some of what has been "hidden" and help diminish the stigma felt by those who live with mental illness. Hopefully, those who are affected will be encouraged to talk about their experiences with friends and family, and family members and friends will discover ways to be empowered, effective supporters.
Mental illness often "invisible" and many who suffer do so alone. Even when family and friends observe changes in a loved one, they often feel unable to alter the situation. There still is stigma attached to mental illness (and to depression in particular). It is essential to get appropriate and excellent treatment. Until we raise awareness about brain diseases such as depression people will continue to have difficulty "opening up" and the people who love them will not know how they can be most helpful.
Depression often goes hand in hand with substance abuse. Treating both is imperative yet often difficult. Therapy, medication, meditation, talking with others who share similar experiences, and connecting with one's spiritual life, can all be valuable parts of a treatment plan, along with non-judgmental, supportive family and friends who allow the person to heal in their own time. Patience, compassion, and companionship can have positive effects in the life of someone who is depressed.
Depression appears to be caused by several factors in combination among them genetic, biological, environmental and psychological. Knowing some of the common symptoms helps in recognizing what is going on. When severe symptoms such as feelings of sadness, emptiness, worthlessness, fatigue, experiencing little or no interest in what previously were pleasurable activities, feeling restless or removed, difficulty or inability to organize simple activities or make decisions, thoughts of death or suicide, interfere with the ability to work, sleep, focus on study, eating and the basic enjoyment of life, it is essential to seek help or to assist someone get help.
It is not always easy to help someone get treatment. We can attempt to reassure them that they are loved and valued (they likely feel neither) and that they deserve to have a better life. What sometimes helps is to set sensible goals and take on reasonable responsibilities. The responsibilities may not be what they were in the past, but doing something can be mood changing. Helping someone set their priorities and reducing large tasks to smaller ones, and focusing on completing tasks, step by step, is also a way to get through when everything feels overwhelming. We can be good listeners. When someone is depressed, they often want to be alone and they keep their "dark mood" a secret. If we can, it is sometimes comforting to someone who is depressed, to do things with a person they care about, even if the things are not "earth shattering." Sometimes, taking in a movie, going for a walk, or meeting for coffee, enable someone to look forward to something.
Day to day, little by little, people can begin to see a bit of light in their darkness.
A Good Daily Habit
Pause and Tune-in
We can "check in" with our bodies every day and assess how we feel. When we slowly and mindfully scan our bodies from the tip of our toes to the top of our head we can note where there is tension or ease. As we make note, we can breathe into the places and spaces that need a bit of extra care. Without judgment, we just observe.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips for Welcoming Those Who Appear to be Different From Us
It's "back to school" time! Let's remember that every child and every family deserves and is entitled to the best education possible.
Some children enter school more challenged than others. Due to such influences as genetics, illnesses, environmental toxins, complications during pregnancy or birth, accidents, or abuse, these kids and their parents walk the same path as everyone else but in their own unique way. The uniqueness may be with a learning style, the way they process information, the manner in which they walk, roll, see, or hear, but whatever their challenge, there is a way to address it so their learning and opportunities for socialization and feeling good about who they are can be maximized.
As we begin the school year, whether as parents, teachers, or neighbors, we can be conscious of others and be aware of the messages we send by the ways we choose to interact with all children and their families.
We can keep close to our hearts the phase "random act of kindness" and commit to making that less random and more inclusive.
Tips to guide you and your children as they return to school include:
Avoid Making Others Feel Invisible. - It is common and natural for people to look at others who are "different" from what they're used to seeing. Kids do it all the time and often, their parents yank their arms with an admonishment of "don't stare." Too late! We are all curious. If you look, just follow up with a smile and a warm hello. No one wants to be invisible especially after it is obvious that we have been noticed (and likely assessed or judged). Although we may appear different we are, in fact, the same in that we all have similar hopes, aspirations, dreams, and need to belong.
Make the Effort to Get to Know Everyone. - It is essential for all children and their parents to feel part of a welcoming community. We can be a part of a community that is interested in getting to know us as individuals and looks beyond what appears to separate us. We all want people to focus on our strengths and to be known and accepted as we are. Nobody wants to be labeled negatively or ostracized. Few things hurt quite as much.
Do Something Different from the Way You Usually Do Things. - We can reach out to people who may be out of our familiar circle and emphasize to our children the value of every human being. Because something about someone is unfamiliar it does not make it bad; it just makes it unfamiliar -- until we find out more and then, hopefully, feel more at ease within ourselves. When we do this, we will likely put others at ease as well.
TODAY Show (NBC), and HLN.
Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
Sept. 9th, 10AM hour: Ways to be a Better Listener.
Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.
ITN Coastal Connecticut Educational Forum -- Community Conversations -- Aging and Driving: A Complex Combination
Sept. 16th, 2-4PM, Speaker
Westport Center for Senior Activities
21 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT 06880
Sixty and Me Interviews
Four interviews with Dr. Atkins, conducted by Margaret Manning, covering the following topics: stress and worry, care-giving, downsizing, and friendships.
http://sixtyandme.com/elderly-care-how-to-be-a-caregiver-while-taking-care-of-your-own-life-interview-with-dr-dale-atkins/, and http://sixtyandme.com/how-to-deal-with-loneliness-in-retirement-interview-with-dr-dale-atkins/
Experience Life Magazine
The Cares of Caregiving, by Jon Spayde. Interview.
I hope you enjoy my chapter, "Family Involvement and Counseling," in the new text, Introduction to Aural Rehabilitation, Second Edition.
Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by Plural Publishing.
I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.
My sincere thanks to website developer, Barry Brothers, who, along with Carina Ramirez Cahan, brought vision and positive, creative energy to the site. Do take a look at Barry's work here: http://www.thelimulusgroup.com/bb and consider him for your business, development, design and communication needs.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is filled
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Once again thank you for continuing to read
and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for
Women to Live a Balanced Life.
WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY
CRISIS IN THIS
COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community corps members to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in year-long mentoring relationships. Jumpstart also partners with families, preschool centers, institutions of higher education, community groups and a variety of other groups and individuals to make certain that every stakeholder in a child's life is working to provide them with a high quality early education.
Jumpstart's proven curriculum helps children develop the language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late.
Please help to spread the word about the mission of Jumpstart and the remarkable strides being made in low income neighborhoods every day. If you can, contribute by clicking on www.jstart.org/donate
www.jstart.org/donate. Over one million children live below the poverty level in the U.S. This shameful situation must change. Each of us has a responsibility to repair our world. Let us eliminate the 2-year achievement gap that exists between children from low income and those from middle income neighborhoods when they begin kindergarten!
to learn more about Jumpstart
initiatives - such as Scribbles to
Novels - held on May 13, 2014, at Cipriani Wall Street. Laura Schroff, author of An Invisible Thread, was our featured guest.
"Adopt the pace of Nature. Her secret is patience."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress,
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
A Practical, Helpful Exploration of the Intimate and Complex Bond between Female Siblings From the
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works