In any given year, 1 in 5 Americans experiences mental illness of some kind (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.). Clearly, this is an issue that affects a great deal of us, particularly the loved ones of those suffering. And mental illness is more than just an individual problem; it is a family concern. Here are some ways to support a spouse or partner with mental illness:
It seems we worry a lot, don’t we? We worry about our husbands, we worry about our family finances, we worry about what’s happening in the world, but perhaps most of all, we worry about our kids. And while worry is understandable (and certainly something that every mother has experienced!), it really doesn’t do us any good at all.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Lindsay Aerts of KSL’s “The Mom Show” and share my thoughts about certain motherhood expectations that seem to permeate our society. I loved this topic, as it touches on so many themes that are important to me: Mormon culture, mental health, families, and social media. Here are some common modern-day motherhood myths debunked!
It’s no secret that social media connects us like never before. In an instant, we can snap pictures and post our whereabouts (think that selfie from your backpacking trip in Europe) and also keep tabs on what our friends are up to. I love social media. It has been an integral part of my professional life and is a great way to keep in touch with my loved ones. But it is not without its problems.
In the past few years, there has been public and medical concern about such topics as cyber-bullying and too much screen time (particularly for young people). As a psychotherapist, I’d like to address one more issue as it relates to mental health and social media: that of internet loneliness, depression, and feelings of low self-esteem.
When it comes to our relationships, we often spend time trying to figure out problems (how can we get a spouse to listen more, how can we get children to be more obedient, etc.). But what if you are the problem? Might be a bit of an uncomfortable idea, but the truth is that often times it’s easier to spot shortcomings in someone else than it is to see them in ourselves. I encourage you to look in the mirror as we explore the following topic: Are you a guilt tripper? This involves using guilt as a form of emotional manipulation to get someone to think or act a certain way. It’s something that we’ve all done at times.
The original purpose of social media is to connect us, and yet for many women, looking in on others’ lives can leave us feeling inferior, jealous, isolated, or dissatisfied. So how can we put all these posts and pictures in perspective when we seem to get discouraged by them? There’s been quite a bit of research done on how social media affects us psychologically and emotionally. Here are a few tips to help you if you find that it’s dragging you down:
1. Be Intentional & Interact Directly
Studies have shown that always consuming, or simply binge reading and looking at picture after picture online can negatively impact you. I encourage you to instead intentionally research, seek out information, and connect with people in your life. Engage more and be purposeful; don’t just mindlessly scroll through your feed to fill time.
Q: How do I open up to my therapist? I am constantly worried that he might think I’m trying to get attention. I have an eating disorder, and I’m slightly overweight (according to my BMI). I’m just not able to be truly open and honest. He really is a great therapist, and I have a deeper connection with him than most others in my life. I have these feelings outside of therapy, but when I go in, I put on a face that everything is ok. How do I work on this to communicate better?
A: Great question! The emotional pattern of guarding your feelings is likely part of the reason you’re in therapy in the first place. I think the first step is to tell you’re therapist that you’re having a hard time opening up! Watch the video for complete answer.
Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW
The winter months can bring excitement and joy as we celebrate the holidays, decorate the tree, and spend time with our loves ones. However, it can be quite a different experience for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD). For these individuals, winter can be a time of gloom, despair, and hopelessness.
In light of Robin Williams recent suicide, I wanted to share a colleague’s anonymous story of her own battle with depression and suicidality.
There are two things I’d like you to know about me. The first is that I’m a therapist, a clinical social worker with well over a decade of experience. I run a successful private practice and am very happily married with three children. The second is that for many years in my early twenties, I suffered from severe, treatment-resistant depression.
Q: Well I’m 19, but I don’t feel 19. I have so many things going on in my life that it’s hard to keep up with everything. I’m a full time worker, a full time student and a part time gym rat. I’m also in a relationship. There is no time in the day for me to do anything and everything I do always feels rushed. Even though I’m interacting with my coworkers, friends, or girlfriend during the day, I feel empty and numb to it all, like everything is just an act. As far as feelings go, like I said, I’m numb. I feel as if my best friend or mother could die and I wouldn’t care, and I feel as though to a certain extent that I don’t care even for my girlfriend. But on the flip side, I don’t want to be alone. It scares me to think that me and my girlfriend would breakup. I laugh and joke but don’t know why I do. I really want to know what’s wrong with me because I was never like this before. Or if I was, it was deep down and is now just surfacing and I can’t handle it. I WANT TO BE HAPPY AGAIN.