Depression, ADHD, Bi-Polar, Autism and Schizophrenia Have Similiar Genes

It is wonderful to see the research coming out for disorders such as depression, ADHD, bi-polar, autism, and schizophrenia.  But when the same genetic code can be traced for each of these disorders, it is even better.

Such a discovery can lead to a more accurate diagnosis between the disorders, better  understanding of how the disorders affect the brain, more creditability issuing a diagnosis in the first place, and clearer definition of each disorder.

If you or someone you love has one of these disorders, please read this important article.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/08/19/5-major-mental-illnesses-traced-to-same-genetic-variations/58642.html 

 

10 Signs Your Marriage Might Be Depressed

depressed marriageA depressed marriage?  What is that?  Just like you can become depressed over the loss of someone you love or the economy can become depressed over a real estate financial crisis, so your marriage can suffer from depression.  A depression in your marriage however does not mean that your marriage is over rather it is a low period in a series of highs and lows which occur in every marriage.  Here are some signs that you might be going through a depressed marriage:

  1. Difficulty making even minor decisions let alone major decisions without an argument.
  2. Intimacy such as hand holding, sitting close together, or kissing becomes more routine (if it exists at all) rather than heart-felt.
  3. Lack of desire to spend any time together; prefer to spend free time alone.
  4. One or both of you has already spoken of getting a divorce or separating.
  5. The excitement in your marriage is gone; you don’t look forward to seeing or hearing from each other.
  6. Conversation is limited to the bare essentials of scheduling, managing the house, and checking in.  No longer are there conversations about the things you are passionate about.
  7. You intentionally avoid your spouse and notice your spouse avoiding you.
  8. Fantasies of other partners, what you would do if your spouse passes away, or the peace that could come from separating begins to consume your thoughts.
  9. You or your spouse finds reasons not to spend the night in your bed, you don’t go to bed at the same time, or you put physical boundaries such as pillows between you.
  10. No sex or interest in sex.

Your Choice.  Once you realize that your marriage might be depressed, you have a choice in your response.  You can reflect and learn from the depression or you can shut down and run from your marriage.  Option one allows the possibility that your marriage can come out of this depression even stronger.  Think again about the real estate depression and how much was learned from the mistakes of over-valuing homes, over-lending from banks, and over-mortgaging a house.  Option two will most likely end up in divorce court.

Reflecting.  It is helpful if both of you are engaged and honest in this process of reflecting on the state of your marriage.  However, that is not always practical as usually one spouse has a clearer perspective than the other spouse.  Whatever the case, spend some time with each point and assign a number from 0 (not a problem at all) to 10 (deal breaker).  Ask yourself how much have you contributed to the problem and take responsibility for your actions before speaking with your spouse.  When you do speak with your spouse, be careful that your spouse’s issues do not outweigh your number of issues.  Remember to speak the truth in love to your spouse.

Learning.  Learning is a two-way street in a marriage.  You need to learn from your spouse and your spouse needs to learn from you.  This is not about getting your way or proving that you are better than your spouse.  If you want the marriage to survive through the depression then it is important to keep the long-term goal at the front of your mind.  There is no quicker way to destroy a marriage than to point out all of your spouse’s flaws, demand that they change, and then refuse to concede to any change yourself.  Learning means that you are receiving information, processing it, and doing something about it.  This is a gently process, not a forced one.

Your marriage can survive a depression.  Sometimes it helps to have another person such as a counselor or pastor come alongside you during the process to give an objective point of view.  Self-help books can be useful as well but both of you need to be willingly engaged in the process in order for the book to be effective.  Whatever the path you choose, know that your depression does not have to last for a lifetime, it can be just for a short season.

 

 

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Sermon on Depression and Suicide

National Presbyterian ChurchIf you are struggling with depression or know of someone who is, please read this tender yet honest sermon from Chris Erdman about the death of his friend and Pastor Jamie Evans.  I knew Jamie as a child as his parents were and still are dear friends of my parents.  His father, Louis Evans Jr., now deceased, was also my pastor at National Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C., the one who taught me to have a love for God that is still strong within me.

I have nothing but fond memories of Jamie as he would often pick my brother and I up to attend youth functions at our church.  He was always so full of energy and life, so much fun to be around.  In fact, my first motorcycle ride, much to the dismay of my parents, was on the back of his bike.

This wonderfully written sermon is a testimony to Jamie’s life and struggles with ADHD, dyslexia and depression.  It reminds us of the importance of treating mental illness and not pretending everything is OK when it is not.  It is well worth your time to read.

http://chriserdman.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/God-and-Suicide-Luke-13.31-35.pdf

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Six Stages of Bi-Polar Depression

The perspective on Bi-Polar in this article is excellent as it identifies six stages of understanding and utilizing Bi-Polar.  If you have been diagnosed with Bi-Polar you already know of the benefit of manic stages but this article will challenge you to a level of self-mastery instead of just knowledge and understanding.  If you know of someone else with Bi-Polar, this article challenges you to stop looking at it as a disorder and see the benefits instead.

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/bipolar-advantage/2012/09/the-six-stages-of-bipolar-and-depression/

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Out of Troubles Comes Wisdom in the Briefness of Life

She was beautiful, intelligent, successful, witty, and cunning but at 29 years old, she committed suicide.  How could someone who had so much going for herself, who seemed to love and live life to the fullest, who had such a strong faith in God, and who gave so completely to her friends and work commit the ultimate act in selfishness?  No one would ever describe her as selfish; even those who did not like her respected her ability to give selfishly to others.  Yet she chose the defining moment in her life to be a selfish act and knowingly wrote about it in her last letter.  Worse yet, her death also meant an immediate death for her unborn child turning her suicide into a homicide.  For those whom she left behind it imprinted a scar so deep that despite all efforts to conceal it, it remains a permanent reminder of the fragility of life.

There are some moments in your life that you can recall every last detail as if it were yesterday and for her friends and family, each one can tell you about the moment they discovered she was gone.  They can speak of the immediate shock of disbelief, the intense spike of anger, the deep massive whole of sadness, and the crushing blow of defeat.  Questions like, “Why didn’t I take that last call from her” or “How could someone who believes in God do this” or just plain “Why” spiral around with the strength of a tornado wiping out all ability to make sense out of the tragedy.  And yet those tumultuous moments which destroy everything in their wake also serve to highlight the most important things of life.

Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses which begins with praise, exalts God’s sovereignty, acknowledges the frailty of man, implores us to confession, and concludes with petitions for living.  The Psalm summarizes the purpose of life by asking for success in reflecting God’s glory to the next generation. Verse 12 pleads, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom”.  There is no greater lesson in the brevity or briefness of life than to see it cut short long before its expected time.  For those surviving after such a tragedy, it is an imprint on their life which is never forgotten.

And it should not be forgotten.  Too often the desire to run from remembering the tragedy because of the massive emotional toll even years later outweighs the importance of remembering the wisdom gained from such an experience.  Moses begged the Israelites to remember how God delivered them from slavery, how He provided for their every need, and how He protected them from harm.  But it was easier for them, like us, to forget His former mercies in light of new pressing difficulties.  Remembering those who have passed before us is not about wallowing in sorrow rather it is about remembering the value of every life no matter how short or tragic the ending.  This wisdom is wasted on the old as they are all too well aware of the briefness of life but it is of great value to the young.  So share your wisdom, it just might extend a life a bit longer.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Surviving the Emotional Side of Bankruptcy

Emotion

Emotion (Photo credit: rexquisite)

The decision to file for either a business or personal bankruptcy is difficult enough.  While you may have prepared yourself for the short-term and long-term financial consequences for the decision, most likely the emotional consequences have yet to be addressed.  Each person is different and for some the emotional reactions are less than others but for the most part, each walks through the different stages although not necessarily in any particular order.  By being aware of the emotional stages to the bankruptcy and learning to cope effectively you can begin to heal from the storm of bankruptcy.

Shock – Is this really happening?  This is the most immediate reaction to the reality of filing for bankruptcy and usually lasts for a couple of weeks.  It is similar to a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car; you feel paralyzed, overwhelmed, and insecure about the decision you made.  Worse, some your past decisions are what contributed to this moment so you are reluctant to trust even yourself to make the simplest of decisions in the moment.  Shock fades as the reality of your situation sets in and some minor decisions are able to be made.

Guilt – What have I done?  Recalling past mistakes over and over for the point of learning from them is useful but when the recalling turns into beating yourself up, it becomes destructive.  Feelings of guilt over poor decisions in the past seem to flood your thinking and can be too much to handle at times.   Being aware of your mistakes and learning from them is different from agonizing over them.  What is done is already done, now is not the time to beat yourself up over the past, rather begin to look forward to the new possibilities.

Shame – What will others think?  Friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors might be able to find out about your bankruptcy.  However, you are under no obligation to tell anyone about your bankruptcy unless it is asked for on an application to a job, rental agreement, loan or other legal binding document.  Everyone does not need to know about your financial situation; this includes friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors and talking about it to everyone is not necessarily helpful.  Your financial situation is your private business and should only be disclosed if required or agreed upon with your spouse.  Instead find a confidant, a counselor, a long-term friend, or your spouse to discuss and vent your feelings of frustration, but try to keep the discussion to just one or two persons.

Anxiety – What will I do now?  The pounding in your chest, difficulty breathing, racing heart rate, stomach indigestion, nausea, sweaty palms, dizzy feeling, chills or hot flashes are indications of intense anxiety.  Anytime you feel out of control, overcome by fear of things that you were never afraid of before, or as if things are happening to someone else and not you, it is likely that you are experiencing anxiety.  Just identifying anxiety as anxiety sometimes reduces the intensity while understanding that the root of the anxiety is the bankruptcy and not you losing your mind.

Anger – Whose fault is this?  There is a tendency to blame others for the bankruptcy and in some cases this is entirely true.  Economic factors such as loss of a job due to reorganization, loss of business, or decreased value in a home are for the most part outside of your control.  Taking anger out on the economy, politicians, or your dog will not improve your condition, it will only make it worse because it distracts you from the things you can control.  The same is true for blaming your spouse for the bankruptcy; all that accomplishes is to add to the increased tension in a marriage and could result in permanent separation.

Depression – Why does everything seem so hard?  At some point all the other emotions seem to fade and you are overcome by an intense sadness that may result in a desire to be alone, crying over unexpected events, disinterest in things you previously enjoyed, moodiness, loss of energy, insomnia, indecisiveness, decreased sex drive, or sudden weight gain/loss.  Situational depression under these circumstances is normal.  There are times in our life when we will naturally have great peaks of excitement such as falling in love or the birth of a child followed by great valleys of sadness such as losing a loved one or as in this case filing for bankruptcy.  Understanding the cause of your depression is half of the battle, not allowing it to take over your life is the other half.

The emotions you may experience after filing for bankruptcy may catch you off guard and can vary in intensity over a period of one to two years.  In many ways, filing for bankruptcy is similar to a death because recovery from bankruptcy requires a commitment to die to past spending mistakes and expectations for the future.  Look for the article titled, “Now What: Recovering from the Negative Emotions of Bankruptcy”.

For more information, watch this YouTube video: 

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

How Healing Emotional Wounds is Like Healing Physical Wounds

Physical wounds are easy to spot as they usually leave physical evidence of an injury such as a broken bone or blood.  They also leave emotional evidence such as anxiety or pain.  Emotional wounds, like physical, can leave physical evidence such as loss of appetite or sudden sickness.  They also leave emotional evidence such as depression or anger.  However they do not always leave evidence.  These wounds are much harder to spot because they have been hidden or denied for so long but far more devastating in the end if not properly addressed.

To heal from a physical wound such as a large cut, you must begin by realizing that you have a wound.  Then you need to asses if it is a wound you can manage or if it is a wound that you need help managing.  Your next step is to clean out the wound, stitch the wound up if needed, and finally bandage the wound.  Failure to clean out the wound effectively can lead to infection.  Healing from an emotion wound works much the same way.

Realizing you are wounded.  Emotional wounds are not as obvious as blood pouring out of your body but they do have some familiar signs.  They can stem from any number of traumatic situations such as a death of a loved one, sexual or physical abuse, car accident, divorce, unexpected pregnancy, bankruptcy or witnessing a crime.  Common signs of emotional wounds are depression, anxiety, anger outburst, isolation, change in interests, lacking enjoyment from life, and change in personality.  Realizing you are wounded and by what is the first step.

Assessing your abilities.  One of the hardest steps is to asses if you are able to manage the emotional wound yourself or if you need help managing it.  It is extremely important that you accurately assess your abilities as in the example of a large cut, if you are wrong about your ability to manage the wound, the consequences can be lifelong.  It is much harder to clean out an infected wound that has already been improperly healed than it is to deal with it when it is fresh.  If you have recently experienced a traumatic situation, being honest with your abilities can be a life saving event.

Cleaning your wound.  Thoroughly cleaning out a large cut can not only prevent infection but it will also help the wound to heal faster than if you left it alone.  Cleaning out emotional wounds means revisiting the traumatic event and allowing yourself the freedom to feel the emotional pain.  It is also a time to confess any responsibility you may have in contributing to the trauma.  In the event of a large cut, you may have been handling a knife improperly; in the event of a traumatic situation, you may have ignored warning signs of danger.

Stitching your wound.  Sometimes cleaning a large cut is not enough, you might need a few stitches to facilitate the healing process and ensure that it heals properly.  Stitching up emotional wounds means you recognize how other areas of your life have been affected by the trauma.  For instance, if your traumatic moment was verbal abuse by a parent, a spouse yelling at you could cause you to get overly angry and have an outburst.  The wound of verbal abuse needs to be stitched up before dealing with your spouse.

Bandaging your wound.  The last step in the physical healing of a large cut is to bandage it up to keep from re-injuring the area until it has fully healed.  Emotionally speaking, bandaging up wounds is granting forgiveness, accepting a loss or gain of life, being satisfied with less income or being peaceful in the midst of a storm.  Not that the pain has fully gone away or that there won’t be a scar left after the bandage has been taken off but rather there is calm where there used to be trauma.

All of these steps require time and patience with yourself and others as you begin to work through them.  The best part of reaching the end of this journey is the ability to guide others along the way because it is in watching their healing take place that you are able to find meaning in yours.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.