Coping skills & self-soothing · Grief · Mood and anxiety · Uncategorized

When emotions are too scary and thoughts too sharp

It's deeply personal. Maybe it's a recent diagnosis, something chronic and unescapable?  The doctors say you have a year or less, and that's that.  There's nothing else they can do.  It's a dead-end situation.  No amount of problem-solving will fix this one. Or perhaps you crashed your car and don't have the money to fix… Continue reading When emotions are too scary and thoughts too sharp

Medications · Mood and anxiety · Uncategorized

When depression meds don’t work: antidepressant amplifiers

Sometimes depression doesn't get better, not with a single antidepressant. With all the medications on the market and all the pressure not to prescribe, what should a psychiatrist do?  Add more medication, and the patient has side effects.  Withhold medications, and they suffer or worse.  People are complicated.  Medications are complicated.  But then there are… Continue reading When depression meds don’t work: antidepressant amplifiers

Mood and anxiety · Uncategorized

Mood journal conquers depression

Depression. A miserable experience. When mild, it steals your dreams. When severe, it runs you over with stagnancy, painful thoughts, guilt, and shutdown. It's also not just a single emotion. Depression comes in dozens of flavors and intensities, if not hundreds, and can vary from day to day, if not throughout the day.  One minute… Continue reading Mood journal conquers depression

Coping skills & self-soothing · Medications · Mood and anxiety · PTSD · Trauma

PTSD: conquering nightmares

People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often suffer from debilitating nightmares.  The dreams can be so terrifying the person is afraid to sleep. If this sounds familiar, here are six nightmare-busting methods that might help you conquer those bad dreams. (1) Talk about the nightmares.  Share your dreams with someone you trust, ideally a therapist… Continue reading PTSD: conquering nightmares

Coping skills & self-soothing · Mood and anxiety · Uncategorized

100 ways to conquer depression

Often when I see a patient with depression, I show them the List*.  It's just a basic run-through of available treatments for depression.  It takes five separate angles -- biological, psychological, social, systems, and alternative methods -- and pulls them together onto one sheet. But this List is about more than just conquering an illness. … Continue reading 100 ways to conquer depression

Mood and anxiety · Uncategorized · Writing

Writing your way out of depression

"I believe that words are strong, that they can overwhelm when what we fear seems more awful than life is good."  --Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon Writing as a weapon Depression is an evil companion.  It challenges us with a duel to the death but takes away the very weapons we need to fight back:… Continue reading Writing your way out of depression

Mood and anxiety · Uncategorized

Nine tips for living with bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder isn't for the faint-of-heart.  The depressions are catastrophic.  They're black, painful clouds of existence that hardly count as living.  The manias bury you with baggage and regret.  And the in-betweens, when you're trying to remember how to be "normal" and make sense out the fact that none of this is normal...  No, not… Continue reading Nine tips for living with bipolar disorder

Mood and anxiety · Psychosis/Schizophrenia · Uncategorized

Schizoaffective Disorder

Perhaps your doctor diagnosed you (or someone you care about) with schizoaffective disorder.  Your first thought is, "Does that mean I have Schizophrenia?"  The second is typically, "I've never heard of schizoaffective disorder.  Is the doctor making things up?" The quick answers: No, you don't have Schizophrenia. No, your doctor isn't inventing the diagnosis.  Although… Continue reading Schizoaffective Disorder