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Entries from August 2007

Resources for Abandonment Recovery

Separation and abandonment wounds from childhood can scar a person so deeply that they become extra-sensitive to rejection and experience heightened anxiety in their relationships (at school, work and/or home). Many also find repeating patterns of abandonment continuing in their life (losing a job, being left by a loved one, feeling rejected, having a friendship end, etc.) and are struggling to find a way to heal and break the abandonment pattern. If this is happening for you, you might want to check out Susan Anderson's book "The Journey from Abandonment to Recovery: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life." For additional information, you can check out her website dedicated to Abandonment Recovery.

College Students: Take a Career Course for Career Success

Did you know that a number of researchers through the years (most recently, Osborn, Howard & Leirer) found that students benefited when they took a career course in college? Students who took such courses had fewer problems with career indecision and other negative traits. In addition, students had increased self-esteem, vocational identity AND even higher graduation rates! So, go enroll in that career course and who cares if it'll cause you to earn an extra credit or two. It'll pay off!

Don't fret if you didn't go to college or if you've already finished. Try seeing a career counselor. You can contact me directly or look up a counselor in your area with the NBCC Counselor Locator.

Commenting on Family Policy Needs

We seem to have forgotten about the importance of childhood, play, and each other's feelings in our fast-paced, goal-oriented society and, unfortunately, it's had serious consequences. Divorce rates, crime rates, mental health diagnoses, and more can be directly tied to this mentality. As an example, an enormous amount of research has come out in the past two decades that explains the impact childcare has on an infant's nervous system and emotional regulation (which translates into behavioral patterns later in life--think crime and depression). Thus, focusing on INFANT care and promoting LONGER maternity AND paternity leave, improved childcare education, and helping to reestablish the family/childhood as a priority is key.

Understanding Depression

Clinical depression has been reported to affect 19 million Americans each year. Those are the numbers we know. Other research has indicated that only half of the people with depression seek help. Of those seeking help, approximately 74% are reported to see a primary care physician instead of a mental health professional. Depression was improved for about 80% of those who sought treatment. The bottom line is that a whole lot more people can receive help IF they seek it.

It's not always biological...
The cause for clinical depression can vary, as documented causes include Genetics and Biology, Situational (divorce, financial problems, job loss, loss of a loved one), Chronic (chronic abuse, discrimination due to gender, ethnicity, physical differences and abilities), Co-occurrence (co-occurring with other medical conditions such as post-partum depression after giving birth, lifelong illness or terminal disease), Side-effects (from other medications), Cognitive (negative thinking patterns and rigid belief systems), and Co-Morbidity (exists with other conditions like Personality Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder).

Best treatment...
Because depression can be instigated from a number of causes (along with depression's ability to create a number of consequences in one's life such as difficult relationships, potential job loss, decreased self-esteem, etc.), the best treatment includes a mix of medication and psychotherapy and lifestyle/environmental changes. Ideally, one will find a therapist that serves as a kind of case manager that works in conjunction with a psychiatrist and/or primary care physician. Some of the best therapists take a holistic approach and can help you with basics like communication skills, financial responsibility and career counseling to deeper issues from family stress, thought patterns, and trauma and grief recovery.

Depression Symptoms...
First, there is probably something to investiagte if you're wondering about depression in yourself or someone else. Here's a list of symptoms you can explore, but talk it out with a professional for the best diagnosis.
* Changes in appetite or sleep (either more or less of each)
* Changes in cognition and activity (memory, speech, physical activity)
* Decrease in energy
* Loss of enthusiasm for activities, daily routines
* Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
* Difficulty thinking, making decisions or concentrating
* Recurrent thoughts of death or thoughts about suicide (esp. plans or attempts)

Having three or more of these symptoms is a cause for concern. Any recurrent thoughts about suicide or death is an urgent call to seek help. Talk to a professional about your symptoms and their length of time...especially if you've noticed an increase in any or all of your symptoms.

For more information about depression, check out Mental Health America. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention line at 1.800.273.TALK (8255).