Depression is complex.
You’ve probably heard this before if you have Treatment-Resistant Depression. It’s the complexity that makes depression so hard to overcome sometimes. What works for one person might not work for another, which is why innovative treatment plans are essential for relief and healing.
Even though depression can look different for everyone, at its core, depression is pain. It is an endless cycle and a constant battle against an invisible enemy. And sometimes, it feels like you're losing.
Depression is busy thoughts and negative feelings you wish you could change but lack the motivation and energy to alter them. It's feeling ashamed of yourself for not being able to 'snap out of it'. It's wanting better for yourself but feeling undeserving of it or guilty that you don't feel okay in the first place.
Why is depression so hard to overcome?
Because it never really goes away. It ebbs and flows, comes and goes, but it always lingers in the background, waiting for the opportunity to pounce again. But despite how difficult it is, many people manage to overcome depression every day. So the opportunity to finally feel well and rested enough to start making positive changes is worth exploring.
Depression Is Apathy & Fatigue
It's easy to feel like you're stuck in a rut when you're depressed. Everything feels gray and bleak, and it can be hard to muster up the energy to care about anything. Mix apathy with a lack of energy, and you end up with merely a list of changes you wish you could make but seem impossible and useless. It's no wonder that depression is so hard to overcome for some people – when you no longer care about improving your situation, it's hard to take the necessary steps to make changes.
Depression Can Be Frustrating & Isolating
There are many manifestations of depression, each with its symptoms. For some people, it's complete withdrawal and isolation. Some experience changes in eating and sleeping habits, while others may have difficulty concentrating or completing tasks. Not recognizing the wavering signs, combined with the stigma about depression and fear of asking for
help, leads to not getting help – or, at least, proper support.
So many people suffer from depression in silence because they're afraid to speak up or ask for help. This is one of the reasons why depression is so hard to overcome – because people are dealing with it on their own. Depression can be incredibly isolating, making people feel like they're all alone in their battle. Unfortunately, this isolation only worsens things and makes it even harder to ask for help.
Depression Treatments Can Vary
Depression is often described as a "trial and error" illness because its causes vary significantly from one person to the next. What works for one person may not work for another, and it can be frustrating to feel like you're constantly trying new things with no success. However, it's important to remember that depression is a complex illness, and the journey to recovery can be a long and frustrating process of trial and error when it comes to medications.
The most important thing is to keep seeking help and working with your doctor to find an individualized treatment plan that works for you. TMS Therapy is an excellent option for those who have not found relief from traditional methods. At Pacific Mind Health, we offer this cutting-edge treatment that has helped countless individuals overcome depression.
Depression is a very real illness that deserves more individualized understanding and support. If you are struggling with depression, we encourage you to give us a call today. Our team of experts will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that meets your unique needs and is covered by most major insurance companies.
Depression over the holidays is a reality for many people struggling with their mental health. For some, the emotional toll of the holiday season can intensify the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other common mental health disorders. It also doesn't help that the 'holiday season' seems to be inching closer and closer to the end of summer each year adding to the stress.
If you are one of the millions suffering from depression and struggling to find joy, it may be tempting just to “'tough it out”' and wait for the holidays to be over. But there is another option. TMS Therapy can bring renewed hope and healing as we head into the holiday season. Here are a few reasons to consider TMS Therapy before the holidays.
TMS Therapy Is Effective
Clinical studies show that TMS therapy is an effective treatment for major depressive disorder. We know that 17% of patients respond to treatment and 14% achieve full remission. TMS therapy is a non-invasive, painless treatment. Additionally, because TMS doesn't rely on medication, this treatment option has a lower risk of side effects. The most common is mild headaches or scalp discomfort—but these side effects are typically temporary and diminish within a few days of starting treatment.
TMS Therapy Is Covered By Insurance
Most major insurance companies cover TMS therapy, so you may only have to pay a small copay or coinsurance for each session. Begin our convenient insurance verification process today to find out if your insurance company covers TMS therapy. We'll be happy to explore your insurance benefits and answer any questions you may have about treatment. Payment plans are also available to help with out-of-pocket expenses.
Why Start TMS Therapy Now?
TMS Therapy is performed four to five times per week for roughly 4 to 6 weeks. We know that may seem like an extended treatment duration, and many people are concerned about missing time from work. However, Dr. Flatow and our team will be able to provide the necessary paperwork to ensure you are medically excused from work during your TMS Therapy sessions.
Suppose you are looking for something faster than traditional TMS. In that case, we also offer Express TMS Therapy which has been shown to have equal or better efficacy than traditional TMS protocols lasting 30+ minutes. This new treatment protocol minimizes time expenditure and discomfort.
Find Joy This Holiday Season and Beyond
Don't let depression ruin another holiday season. Our team is here to help! TMS therapy offers a medication-free treatment option that can help you beat depression and bring joy back to your life all year long.
We cannot wait to wish you a happy holidays and mean it because we know that this treatment makes that possible. Contact our team today to set up our complimentary information session.
Forgiveness is sometimes one of the hardest things we extend to others. As our own harshest critics, you can imagine that forgiving ourselves can be even more challenging.
It's easy to get bogged down in our own mistakes and feel like we can't move on, stuck in a muddy pit of regret. But when we turn away from the forgiveness and compassion we might not feel we deserve, we forgo the opportunity to free ourselves from the chains of guilt and self-blame.
Of course, we know that self-forgiveness is the key, but how do we access it? It's not something we can go looking for anywhere outside of ourselves. No number of apologies to someone we hurt can set us free.
Part of the reason is that self-forgiveness isn't about forgetting and letting go but acknowledging and looking inward — before looking forward. If self-compassion is at the root of our efforts to forgive ourselves, we can finally break free from shame, blame, and regret.
Self-compassion is the key that opens the possibility of healing. Here are five self-compassionate steps to guide you through the process of self-forgiveness:
Acknowledge the Pain
The first step is to acknowledge the pain you're in. Be honest about how much pain you're in and allow yourself to sit with those feelings. You can't start healing until you truly feel pain and see the hurt.
Turn Toward the Pain
The second step is to turn toward the pain rather than away from it. What have you had difficulty forgiving? See if you can pinpoint the pain or sensations in your body when you think about what happened.
Connect with your pain with a few deep breaths. With every inhalation, say to yourself, "I'm here" or "This is painful." Then, on each exhalation, release some of the tightness in your body.
Turning toward your pain doesn't mean wallowing in it or dwelling on it but simply acknowledging that it's there and that you're ready to face it. It can be helpful to imagine yourself holding the pain like a wounded animal or a small child.
Extend Compassion To Yourself
The third step is to give yourself the compassion you deserve. This means being gentle with yourself, speaking kindly to yourself, and treating yourself with care. Just as you would for a friend or loved one, turn toward your pain with gentleness and understanding.
Start by cultivating a more compassionate mindset. For example, it might help to imagine what you would say to someone else in your situation or to think about how you would want to be treated. Loving-kindness meditation and soothing rhythmic breathing for calming your nervous system are also helpful ways to arrive in this headspace.
If you continue with a breathing exercise, now is an excellent time to create space for yourself, your pain, and your mistakes. With every inhalation, imagine that point in your body expanding – or follow your belly or ribcage. With each exhalation, breathe new oxygen into your entire body. Allow that breath to present itself as whatever you need: strength, patience, gentleness, warmth, gentleness, or peace.
The fourth step is to forgive yourself. This doesn't mean forgetting what happened or excusing your behavior but accepting it and letting go of the shame and blame. Again, it's essential to realize that forgiveness is a choice and that it's something you can give to yourself.
You might engage in a forgiveness dialogue with yourself, whether aloud or in a journal. For instance, write a letter to yourself in which you express your pain and explain what happened. Then write a response letter in which you forgive yourself. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and honest, without judgment or self-criticism.
Moving forward doesn't mean forgetting what happened but rather committing to learning from it and doing better in the future. It might help to set an intention for yourself, such as vowing to be more patient or present. It's important to realize that you are not your mistakes and can choose to live in the present moment.
If you're struggling to forgive yourself, it might be helpful to seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide support and guidance as you work through self-forgiveness. You are not alone.
Unlock The Compassionate Key To Self-Forgiveness
Forgiving yourself is not a destination, but it can be an incredibly rewarding, worthwhile journey. And like any journey, it begins with a single step. So, start today by giving yourself the compassion and understanding you deserve.
There may be times when you need to revisit these steps or start again from the beginning. Be patient and remember that you are not your mistakes - you are so much more than that. You are worthy of forgiveness.
Depression is a condition that impacts millions of adults in the United States. Anyone who suffers from depression knows that it's more than just a bout of sadness. It's a medical condition that should be taken seriously.
Thankfully, many people find relief from depression with medication and therapy. But studies show that an estimated one-third of people aren't helped by medication. Furthermore, a case of depression that doesn't respond to two or more antidepressants is generally considered treatment-resistant (TRD).
At least, that's what some experts say.
Others attest that a person must try at least four treatments and/or therapies before depression can be truly considered treatment-resistant. Different insurance providers also have guidelines on how many medications or therapy sessions a person must undergo before they can be defined as having treatment-resistant depression.
Regardless, when you suffer from treatment-resistant depression, the exact definition doesn't matter — but the signs do. If you're experiencing symptoms of depression after treatment (whether one treatment or several), it's a sign you still need help. And the more confident and informed you are about the symptoms of TRD, the more likely you are to seek out other options for relief like TMS Therapy.
Watch out for these five signs that may indicate you are suffering from TRD:
Your Mood Isn't Improving After Several Weeks On A Medication
If you're taking medication for depression and it's not helping, that's a sign you may have TRD. However, it’s essential to give your medication a chance to work. Typically, it can take four to eight weeks to see results and ten to twelve to achieve remission. But if you're still not feeling any better after that time, it may be time to explore other options.
You Have More Frequent And Severe Depression Episodes
If you suffer from depressive episodes more frequently, or if your episodes are becoming more severe, this could indicate that you have TRD.
How can you tell if your depressive episodes are worsening? One way is to keep track of your symptoms using a daily mood tracker. This can help you and your doctor spot patterns and trends in your mood that may indicate a need for a different treatment approach.
You Feel More Anxious
Anxiety is also a symptom for many people with depression, as the two often go hand-in-hand. So if your anxiety is getting worse — or if you're feeling more anxious and depressed — that's a sign your current treatment isn't working as well as it should.
The Side Effects Of Medications Are Impacting The Quality Of Your Life
In some cases, depression medications can, unfortunately, do more harm than good. Side effects from antidepressants often include weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and fatigue. If your medication's side effects make it hard to function in your daily life, overriding any positive changes you may see, it might be time to try another treatment.
Your Depressive Episodes Last Longer
Some people notice that their depressive episodes are lasting longer than usual despite taking medications for depression. However, if symptoms are still lingering or growing more intense, it's a sign to contact your doctor to review your options.
Look Beyond The Next Medication For Relief
The bottom line is that if you don't notice improvements in your mood or feel worse after taking medication for depression after several weeks, it's worth exploring innovative depression treatment options like TMS Therapy.
At Pacific Mind Health, we offer complimentary TMS Therapy consultations to help you understand more about the benefits of TMS Therapy for treatment-resistant depression. So schedule your consultation today, and we'll walk through the process with you to begin your healing journey.
Have you ever seen a commercial advertising a new medication on TV? You know the one where couples are laughing on the beach as the narrator reads the long list of potential side effects (including death)?
The word 'side effect' has a negative connotation for many people. It reminds us of all the things that could go wrong or not work as intended. The more commercials we watch or internet stories we read with seemingly never-ending lists of adverse possibilities, the more the term 'side effect' gets lost in translation.
Let’s be clear: understanding the potential side effects of a drug or treatment is essential and should never be dismissed or overlooked.
However, it’s important to remember that sometimes side effects can actually be helpful. In the case of TMS Therapy vs. antidepressants, the chart below points out the reduced amount of reported side effects when it comes to TMS Therapy.
Side Effects of Antidepressants vs. TMS Therapy
As you can see, TMS therapy is without many of the side effects typically experienced with antidepressants, such as weight gain, stomach issues, dry mouth, and sexual dysfunction. For some, TMS Therapy may cause headache or nausea, but you should be able to resume your daily activities right after treatment.
While antidepressants work for many people, they don't work for everyone and can have significant side effects that impact your quality of life, including insomnia. Now, as new studies about TMS Therapy continue to emerge, there’s one positive side effect we need to add to the list of TMS benefits...improved sleep!
TMS Therapy & Sleep Disorders
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a treatment that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It is used to treat various mental health conditions — not only depression but insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and sleep disorders associated with depression.
Some sleep disorders and neurological diseases can cause sleep pattern alterations. This can also lead to changes in how responsive your brain is. This is why it is not surprising that rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) is an effective treatment for sleep disorders and sleep disorders caused by neurological diseases.
Furthermore, neuropsychiatric disorders like depression and epilepsy are often associated with sleep problems. But a review article from SciMedCentral notes that after rTMS treatment, these conditions usually improve, and the patient's sleep pattern improves.
A recent 2022 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine looked at the effect of rTMS on sleep in a group of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). The study found that rTMS improved patients' depressive symptoms, mood, and sleep quality!
Experience the Positive Effects of TMS at Pacific Mind Health
If you're struggling with depression and haven't been able to find relief with medication and therapy, TMS may be a good option. It's non-invasive, has few (adverse) side effects, and could help you get your life back on track.
If you're worried about the potential side effects of TMS, remember that sometimes side effects can be positive! And if you have any questions about TMS, we're here to answer them and provide support every step of the way. Begin with our complimentary TMS info session to learn more about the treatment and your insurance coverage options.
Treating depression can sometimes require persistence and ongoing strength. Reaching out for support about how you feel is undoubtedly an essential first step in your healing journey. Initial treatments for depression often include therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.
The good news: about 40 to 60 percent of people who took an antidepressant notice an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.
But what do you do if you or someone you love doesn't experience relief from medications or therapy? How do you know it's time to reach out and explore other options for depression relief?
Remember, antidepressants can take time to work. Mood improvements don’t happen right away; it takes time for medications to take effect. For example, many depression medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), can take about 2 to 8 weeks to work. Generally speaking, if your mood doesn't improve after eight weeks and you've tried previous medications, it could signify treatment-resistant depression.
Unfortunately, patients who suffer from treatment-resistant depression (TRD) can get caught in an endless cycle of trying medication after medication. TMS Therapy can break that cycle and help you move forward in relief.
If you are currently taking antidepressants and are considering whether or not they are right for you, here are three signs it’s time to look beyond medication for relief:
The Side Effects Are Too Much
Side effects of depression medication can range from mild to severe and typically include weight gain, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, and headaches. For some people, the side effects of medication can impact their quality of life and weigh them down. If you are troubled by unwanted side effects, talk to your doctor to review your options.
Your Symptoms Keep Getting Worse
Everyone responds to medication differently. Sometimes, your symptoms might get worse before they get better. This is why it's essential to communicate openly about your symptoms with your care team. Let your doctor know about all medications and supplements you are taking along with your antidepressants for optimal outcomes.
You've Tried Medications & Therapy Before
Antidepressants are an effective depression treatment for many people, but they are not the answer for everyone. If you have tried four or more different medications along with therapy and been unsuccessful, TMS Therapy might be the answer!
Many insurance companies require failed medication use and consistent therapy before they provide coverage. Our care team can help you understand your coverage for TMS during a complimentary information session.
TMS Therapy at Pacific Mind Health: Finding the Right Solution for Depression
TMTranscranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive procedure that stimulates nerve cells in the brain to treat individuals diagnosed with severe depression or anxiety. TMS is a promising treatment for depression, as it is quick and effective, with immediate and long-lasting effects - positive ones. In comparison, medications used to manage depression can take weeks or months to work and may eventually stop working altogether.
TMS is a safe and effective option for treating depression with a high success rate but without the drawbacks of conventional depression medications. For these reasons, TMS is an increasingly popular treatment option for those suffering from treatment-resistant depression.
If you are experiencing any of these three signs that your depression medication isn't working, book a complimentary TMS information session with our team. We're ready to work with you to help you beat depression with a treatment plan that's tailored to your specific needs and goals.
Do you often find yourself caught up in the pain and suffering of others? It's not just that you recognize another person's feelings – you feel them!
To a certain extent, this level of empathy has made you a better person. For example, when you listen to a loved one talk about their problems, you share in their distress, enabling you to offer genuine support. Likewise, when you read about the death of a hometown hero, it moves you to want to reach out to their family, do something for your community, or be a constant, compassionate presence in an otherwise chaotic world.
Yet, in a world where every day seems to bring new disasters, war, heartbreaks, and difficulties, there comes a time when you start to feel the opposite. It's not that you've stopped caring, but you've lost the energy to keep caring so much.
Empathy extends beyond cultivating perspective and compassion for sensitive beings like you. Instead, your empathy leaves you feeling burned out and withdrawn, wondering how you've gone from big-hearted to cold-hearted - feeling even more confused because you know this isn't who you are.
It's important to understand that while empathy - the ability to share feelings of another - is a beautiful quality, it can also be emotionally draining if you don't know how to share and process your feelings.
Here are a few expert tips from our therapists at Pacific Mind Health that will allow you to remain compassionate and supportive to others without reaching the point of emotional exhaustion:
Improve Your Emotional Regulation Skills
As a sensitive person or empath, you need strong emotional regulation skills. This means being able to effectively manage and process your emotions so that you don't get overwhelmed by the emotions of others. There are many ways to improve emotional regulation skills, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and therapy.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Empathy is a beautiful quality, but everyone has their limits. When you care so deeply about others that it threatens your well-being, it can make you feel inauthentic, isolated, and emotionally exhausted.
Setting and maintaining emotional boundaries will help you control the extent of the emotions you take on. This doesn't mean that you become cold or callous. Instead, it could mean knowing when to take a break from engaging in specific conversations or watching the news.
Emotional acceptance means accepting your feelings, even the difficult ones. When you accept your feelings, you're less likely to judge yourself or try to push them away. This can be a complicated practice, but it can help you manage empathy fatigue.
Focus On Self-Care
If you're constantly putting yourself in other people's shoes and not giving yourself time to recover, you'll quickly become overwhelmed. So, when you're feeling drained or notice yourself getting agitated, it's a sign that you need to take some time for yourself. To minimize the impact of emotional vulnerability and fatigue, ensure you get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and spend time doing things you enjoy.
Talk To Someone Who Understands
Therapy is a powerful tool! Simply talking about your experiences and feelings with a professional can help lighten the load. If you ever feel emotionally overwhelmed, know that it's okay to take a step back. You don't have to detach from who you are to separate from what drains you.
Let’s Sort Through Your Emotions In Therapy
The average person has over 6,000 thoughts per day - that's a lot to process! But, you shouldn't have to sort through your feelings alone. Our therapists will blend various therapeutic approaches to create a multi-faceted approach that suits your needs. Therapy can help you learn how to process your emotions without experiencing emotional fatigue, anxiety, or general overwhelm.
If you or someone you love is looking for therapy in Long Beach, CA, our compassionate team is here to help! We offer a variety of therapeutic approaches, and we’ll put together a customized care plan based on your history, challenges, and goals. Reach out for support today!
You've heard the saying before, "We all have the same 24 hours in a day." On the surface, it's true because none of us have 25-hour days. But this quote has a more profound message about time management and priorities.
Many of us have daily routines that create a consistent framework for our day. For example, we go to work, maybe hit the gym, make dinner, wash, rinse, and repeat until the weekend or your next day off. But, of course, many other things happen during those hours that make life rewarding, fulfilling, and sometimes stressful.
Like the edge pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, those consistent parts of our daily routine help create a border to keep us on track and a foundation to build upon and grow.
How you spend each day matters, but not every day will be perfect...or consistent! Life happens. And, when it does, it's essential to be intentional about where you put your time, energy, and focus. These five healthy habits will help you make the most of any day regardless of what life throws your way.
Get Enough Sleep
Quality sleep is integral to your overall health and wellness. Poor sleep can have a negative impact on your daily activities, relationships, and family life. This is because there’s a direct correlation between lack of sleep, cognition, and the way you feel.
Sleep is a basic human need essential for your physical and mental health. Your body goes through different phases of sleep throughout the night and usually works on a 24-hour circadian rhythm that helps you know when it’s time to sleep. If you struggle with the timing, quality, and amount of sleep, it could signify a sleep disorder that requires treatment.
Don't get stuck on autopilot! Think about how much time you spend going through the motions each day. When we fall into this mindset, we lose track of our intentions, and what matters. Living life on autopilot can be distracting and make it hard to focus or spark creativity.
On the other hand, practicing mindfulness allows you to refocus your attention and be present in the current moment. When you're mindful, you can cultivate a centered and non-judgmental mental headspace that will enable you to make
empowered decisions with clarity. So be mindful of your time and energy, even on your busiest days.
We often think we don't have time for self-care or that it's selfish, but the opposite is true. When we don't take care of ourselves, we're less effective in everything else we do personally and professionally. So, carve out a little time each day to focus on activities that recharge you physically and emotionally.
Remember that self-care doesn't have to be expensive or take up hours of your day. Self-care can be as simple as reading a book, listening to your favorite song, calling a friend, or going for a walk during your lunch break.
Nurture Meaningful Relationships
Healthy relationships are vital for a happy life. They provide us with love, support, and connection - three crucial things for our well-being. Even if it’s not realistic to see your loved ones every day, there are still many ways to stay connected.
Relationships are built on trust, effective communication, and mutual appreciation. In healthy relationships, both parties are active participants. Take a moment to reflect on all of the relationships in your life to ensure that both parties are committed in meaningful ways. Then, only spend your time, energy, and effort nurturing the relationships worthy of your love and attention.
Build Resilience Through Positivity
You don't always have to be positive or have a good day. On the tough days, focus on building your resilience. You can learn a lot from your mistakes. Stay rooted in positivity and know that you can move forward. When paired together, the combination of resilience and positivity is truly a force to be reckoned with. These two learned mindsets are vital for overcoming adversity and promoting personal growth.
Begin each day by practicing gratitude and making an effort to see the silver lining. Your days will be brighter when you choose to see things in a better light. So choose positivity, even when it's hard. These small things add up, significantly impacting your overall well-being.
We Can Help You Make The Most Of Each Day
Making the most of each day becomes second nature when you live intentionally. You have to take that first step and decide that you're going to do it. We understand that taking that first step is sometimes the hardest. If you or someone you love is looking for a psychiatrist in Long Beach, our team is here for you.
We strive to help create a treatment plan which will help you find a path to wellness whether that means medications, novel treatments, or psychotherapy. Our goal is to provide thorough diagnostic evaluations which will inform treatment choices and increase the likelihood the treatment will be successful.
Do you find yourself thinking that the worst will happen? Does it feel like your entire life will be ruined if something goes wrong? Maybe you have a habit of always finding the worst possible scenario right away, even before anything happens.
It’s called catastrophic thinking and it means you have the tendency to always think the worst is going to happen without considering other possibilities. People who experience anxiety at overwhelming levels sometimes overestimate the likelihood that negative events will occur. This type of thinking plays a significant role in fueling anxiety and depression. However, by understanding how catastrophic thinking works and how to stop it, you can live a more positive and fulfilling life.
We all experience setbacks and disappointments in life. But with adversity comes the opportunity to build resilience and bounce back. Catastrophic thinking can often create a series of doom and gloom thought loops that can crush positivity. Suddenly, it might feel like one setback is the end of the world.
So, how can you stop yourself from coming up with such irrational predictions for your future before they eat away at your well-being and happiness?
Start With Self-Monitoring
Begin by keeping a log of the situations which cause you to think that ‘everything is ruined’. Then, note what happened in each case and why it bothered you enough for your catastrophic thinking brainwaves to start taking control.
Next time you feel overwhelmed by a setback, pause and reflect on the thought that just popped into your head. Is it true? Are you overly reactive to what's going on right now, or are you letting one lousy thing snowball into something more problematic?
Make sure you're not letting your negative thoughts run away from you! Ask yourself if it's possible that you're having these thoughts out of habit and what a more realistic thought might be.
For example, if you argue with your friend, then tell yourself, "It doesn't mean I can't be friends with this person again" rather than "I'll never have any more friends because of what I did.”
Watch Out For Triggers
The most effective way to stop catastrophic thinking is by acknowledging that it's a problem in the first place. Mindfulness exercises can provide tremendous relief by helping you become more aware of your thoughts. In terms of catastrophic ones, mindfulness can help you find the space between what's happening now and whatever bad outcome you assume will happen. All of the 'what ifs' can spiral out of control and quickly trigger catastrophic thinking.
If you do feel anxiety start to kick in, try to stay grounded in the present moment by asking yourself the following questions:
Catastrophic thinking can be a difficult habit to break because you might not even realize that it's happening. So, the more mindful you are of your behavior and thought processes, the easier it will be for you to stop catastrophic thinking in its tracks before feelings of anxiety or depression start taking over.
To help yourself better process unavoidable setbacks, try using acceptance. Accepting that something has happened doesn't mean you're happy about it, but it means that you understand and acknowledge the reality of the situation.
Don't Let Anxious Thinking Hold You Back
It's normal to have bad days. No one gets through life unscathed by misfortune or sadness. A bad day doesn't mean a bad life. Unfortunately, anxiety can hover over you like a dark cloud even on your brightest days.
Anxiety can also take a physical toll on your body, but the appropriate mental health care can assist you in regulating, calming, and easing your mind with effective and practical treatment methods. Dr. Flatow and his compassionate team are here to help you break free from symptoms of anxiety so you can move forward this year in health and happiness.
Reach out for support today.
Have you ever taken a good hard look at someone in your family and thought, “Hmm, I wonder if that's where I get my nervous tendencies from?"
Many people with depression or anxiety experience that double-take kind of moment at some point in life, where they begin to connect the dots - at least the supposed dots.
You likely already know that depression and anxiety are both mental illnesses, but the question is, do they run in families…like diabetes and heart conditions can? Also, if you have a family member who has been diagnosed with one of these conditions, does it mean you will get them too?
What the research says…
In recent years, doctors have been trying to understand whether these mental health conditions can be passed down from parent to child. Studies of twins suggest that anxiety and depression may be inherent in nature. Identical twins have the same set of genes, while fraternal twins share only half their gene pool, which can explain why identical twins are more likely to both have anxiety or depression than fraternal twins.
Despite what we now understand about the hereditary nature of depression and anxiety, doctors don't know which gene(s) cause these conditions, making it difficult to explain how they are passed down through genes. That said, different combinations of genes can make you more likely to develop anxiety or depression
What About Other Factors?
Of course, genetics isn't the only plausible explanation for what causes depression or anxiety or their links within a family. Your personal experiences, lifestyle, and environment can also play significant roles, as they do in most other medical conditions.
This makes sense when we consider how in cases where someone develops one of these conditions before age 20, it is most likely due to their genetic risk. On the other hand, those who develop depression or anxiety later in life are more likely to have developed it from these other factors.
All that said, families tend to share many of these same factors, so it's tricky to know for sure the full extent that any factor - genetic or environmental - plays in these conditions.
How To Spot Anxiety & Depression
At what point does anxiety become a condition? For many people, mild anxiety or stress is a regular part of their lives. But for others, these feelings might become overwhelming and interfere with daily activities.
Someone with an anxiety disorder will typically experience more frequent rapid breathing and heart rate, trouble sleeping, digestive and stomach issues, and persistent worries.
Similarly, depression can also vary in severity from person to person. Some people may only experience depressive episodes occasionally, while others may feel depressed most days. A few common signs of depression include feeling tired most of the time, having trouble concentrating on day-to-day tasks, sudden weight changes, and feeling hopeless or angry.
What To Do If You Exhibit These Symptoms
Do any of these signs sound familiar? If you're experiencing a number of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, it might be time to let your doctor know, especially if either condition runs in your family.
You might not be able to prevent depression or anxiety, let alone predict it, but you can be proactive. Whether or not a mental health condition runs in your family, there are always healthy habits you can build now to keep it from worsening including reaching out for support.
Move Forward In Wellness This Year!
A new year is underway filled with opportunities. This year, make a commitment to finding renewed wellness at Pacific Mind Health. We’re here to help you move forward in clarity, renewed focus, and happiness this year and beyond. Let’s find the right treatment that can help you break free of the symptoms that are holding you back in life.
The holidays can be a wonderful time to spend with family, friends, and loved ones. For many, the nature of the season - the color scheme, the music, and all gatherings - all contribute to a sense of love and joy. For those struggling with depression, it can trigger a deeper sense of emotional pain and isolation.
Some say seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is to blame. While this disorder is a real type of depression that should not be discounted, not everyone who experiences increased depression around the holidays suffers from SAD.
Others point to increased stress around the holidays due to exorbitant expectations of how "perfectly happy" we should all feel during this festive time of year. A more modern view asserts that mass and social media posts depicting perfect moments - such as a magical snowfall on Christmas Eve - can make us more depressed than before viewing them.
Still, what triggers increased depression around the holidays is typically more complicated than one singular answer; rather, the causes of heightened depression around the holidays likely lie in some mix of these factors, along with several others.
The Excesses of the Holiday Season: Eating and Drinking
Unfortunately, the foods we typically indulge in during the holiday season are high-calorie and loaded with sugars and fats. They often lack the nutrients that our bodies need to function at their best. For this reason, it can be difficult for a person who struggles with depression to feel their best when they eat poorly during the holiday season.
Alcohol is another substance that many people tend to overindulge in around the holidays. While many of us have no problem enjoying a glass of wine or a beer on Christmas Eve, others use alcohol to escape from feelings of stress, anxiety, and loneliness that often come up during this time of year. Yet, these "quick fixes" tend to cause more emotional – not to mention physical – strain.
It's no surprise that money can add stress during the holidays. Many people struggle financially due to spending more on holiday gifts for friends and family members and expensive travel costs. Protect your mental health this year by not overdoing it and creating another burden of financial stress.
People who live alone or have less frequent contact with family members are more likely to feel lonely during the holidays. Those who have lost loved ones may experience other triggers, such as their first Christmas without that person.
It's not uncommon for people to feel disappointed and stressed out if their holiday expectations fail to match up with reality. Sometimes traditions change over the years, or things suddenly arise and throw a wrench in our plans.
Facing unmet expectations during the holidays can be frustrating and painful, particularly when comparing our experiences to those around us. We might feel like something is wrong or missing in our lives when others seem so happy and "put together" during the holidays. This combination of feelings often results in sadness, loneliness, and anxiety.
Don't let unrealistic ideals add more burdens to your already taxing holiday season. Instead, try focusing on what's right in your own life and be grateful for the good things you do have.
If you are struggling with heightened depression symptoms, it is important to be proactive about your mental health during this time. Seek out support from loved ones, professionals, or online support groups. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to have the "perfect" holiday season, and remember that your mental health is more important than any holiday celebration. We're here for you!
Thanksgiving is around the corner, and everyone is talking about gratitude. In some ways, gratitude becomes a bit of a buzzword during this time of year. But, all commercialism aside, there are scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. Cultivating an 'Attitude of Gratitude’ can boost your mood, improve relationships, help you sleep better, and bring you more joy in life.
But pure gratitude is so much more than just saying ‘thanks’. It’s about genuine appreciation for the goodness around you. So, where do you start? How do you tap into the benefits of gratitude and create a more fulfilling life?
A great way to begin your gratitude journey is by making gratitude a daily practice instead of a seasonal tradition. Here are a few tips from our Pacific Mind Health Team that can help you reap the vast benefits of living a grateful life year round.
Start A Gratitude Journal
This is an actual step you can take today and you don’t need to spend $50 on a fancy gratitude journal; a pen and paper will do just fine! Consider making a little space for a new journal on your work desk or nightstand or making room in the weekly spread of a journal you already use. You could even accomplish this practice on sticky notes if
you wanted to! What matters most isn’t when, where, or even how much you write, but how you go about it.
Writing one to three times per week in your gratitude journal is ideal. Although there is nothing wrong with a daily journaling practice, maintaining some level of spontaneity can help grow your capacity to acknowledge things that happened in the day that you didn’t expect. In other words, you can experience stronger feelings of gratitude when you savor some of life’s surprises - big or small.
That said, the most critical element of gratitude journaling is specificity. So if your goal is to write down one thing you are grateful for, don’t just write down your best friend. Instead, write how much you appreciate their “just checking in” text today because they hadn’t heard from you in a while. Get personal and detailed if you want to truly recognize the impact of someone or something positive in your life.
Acknowledge The Negative, Too
If there were never a cloud in the sky, we would all take the sun for granted at some point. But thanks to the rain, each time we experience the sunshine that follows, we have even more of a reason to smile.
If we want to appreciate something positive in our lives now, it helps to acknowledge the negative that came before it. You might have something or someone in your life right now that you know you should feel grateful for — the only problem is you’re having trouble feeling it.
For instance, maybe you left a job that wasn’t meant for you, and you want to feel more excited to wake up for the job you have now. Your new job might not be perfect, but what do you appreciate about it compared to the one you had? Are you glad you’ve gone from a toxic environment to a friendly one? Are you thankful for the more flexible hours or pay?
When you cultivate gratitude, think about your life or situation regarding how far you’ve come or what’s better today.
There are several ways to practice mindfulness, yet one underlying reason why it works so well. If you want to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, cultivate more awareness.
To do this, you can practice mindfulness meditation, bringing your attention to the present as you sit, allowing your feelings and thoughts to come without judgment or trying to change them. The goal of mindfulness is that the more present you become in life, the easier it will become to spot the goodness around you and appreciate it.
With mindfulness practice, you can go from cooking dinner on autopilot per usual into being attentive to the way you chop your vegetables, to feeling grateful for their vibrant colors and textures — how blessed you are to get to fuel your body so well.
Reach Out For Support This Holiday Season
If there’s one thing that a regular gratitude practice can show us, it’s that the little things in our lives aren’t so little after all. So as you embark on this gratitude practice, whatever you do, be patient. The benefits can take time to notice.
We also know that depression, anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, and other common mental health disorders can make finding gratitude difficult. Unfortunately, grief doesn’t take a break just because the holidays are here. In fact, the holidays can make grief and depression an even heavier burden to carry. If you or someone you love is suffering, reach out for support. There is hope beyond medication with TMS Therapy!
Imagine for a moment a small pea-sized pebble in your shoe. It's likely something we've all experienced at some point in life. You can feel it press against the bottom of your foot, but you push on, waiting for a good stopping point so you can remove it. It's so irritating and it's causing you to walk slowly- or even stand still. Finally, you remove your shoe and shake out the pebble for complete relief.
Why did you take so long to shake the pebble out of your shoe?
Why did you allow yourself to be tormented by such a small thing?
The little things in life can weigh you down and hold you back. Sometimes it's hard to recognize the pebbles that are present within your life. Maybe you've been feeling off, sluggish, or more depressed lately. To obtain and maintain improved physical and mental wellness, you have to identify the root of the problem. Here are a few ways our team at Pacific Mind Health can help you prioritize the way you feel and stop ignoring the things preventing you from thriving in life.
Customized Plans For Individualized Care
Life is hectic these days! It's so easy to live life on autopilot, simply going through the motions and ignoring that pebble in your shoe. But if you want to obtain optimal mental health, you have to identify the problem and treat it.
We know there's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to treating depression, anxiety, and other disorders. Care is different for everyone because we're all unique. Our thorough diagnostic evaluations will help identify the best treatment choices for you and increase the likelihood the treatment will be successful.
Some people have tried 3 or 4 medications without relief and are searching for solutions through TMS Therapy. Others are looking to enhance their mental wellness by trying Hypnotherapy or CBT. Wherever you are on your journey to optimal mental wellness, we can create a customized plan to enhance your well-being and help improve the way you feel.
Evidence-Based Treatment Options
Treating mental illness in a modern society requires innovation and compassion, flexibility and focus. Like we said before, we know life is hectic. Maybe you’ve been putting your mental health on the back burner or chalking up your bad mood to stress at work. It’s time to move forward- and feel better!
Pacific Mind Health integrates evidence-based treatments into a customized health plan that optimizes mental health outcomes. One of our goals is to minimize medication overuse and dependence.
Our skilled licensed psychotherapists offer a variety of therapy modalities best suited for your needs, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Mindfulness Meditation therapy, Supportive Psychotherapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Exposure Therapy.
We Embrace Innovation, Science, and Modern Technology
We genuinely care about our patients and strive to help them achieve their best health possible. Our comprehensive programs, tests, and therapies arm us with an innovative psychiatric toolbox that helps create customized care plans to achieve optimal wellness.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is one of the tools we use to help patients break through difficult cases of depression, anxiety, and other common mental health disorders. It’s a non-invasive, FDA-approved treatment for Major Depressive Disorder. TMS Therapy uses magnetic stimulation to reinvigorate areas of the brain that have been affected by depression essentially turning those areas ‘on’ again. It’s a reawakening that helps lift the heavy veil of depression.
Let's Explore What's Holding You Back In Life
Whether you have a small pebble in your flip flop after a day at the beach or an entire pile of rocks at the bottom of your tightly-laced boot, we're here to help you move forward. Let's shake all of the things holding you back in life and find ways to move forward in improved mental wellness.
Remember, depression is more than just feeling sad. It’s a complex medical condition that can be crippling for those who suffer. Our compassionate team is here to walk with you through your struggles to get on the path to renewed wellness. Give our team a call today!
We live in a culture that glamorizes self-improvement. Even if we aren’t looking for self-improvement or self-help tips, they are there. Slapped across the pages and covers of articles, books, and magazines, we see alluring titles that aim to trap us in by feeding us advice on how we can fix our problems or “fix” ourselves, and we eat those tips right up.
The issue with glorifying self-improvement all of the time is that it can make us feel like we aren’t good enough. So, we continuously choose self-improvement over-self care, as if becoming the best possible version of ourselves guarantees happiness. But being better or doing more doesn’t guarantee happiness in life.
“One significant issue with placing too much focus on self- improvement is that it can become an obsession,” said Dr. Flatow of Pacific Mind Health.
What happens when you read “how-tos” is that your brain translates them into “if-thens.” For instance, we start saying things to ourselves like, “if I lose 10 pounds, I would be so much happier” or “if I start making more money, my life would be so much better.” The very basis of self-improvement makes us forget that enjoying life is a journey or a process, not a deadline or a destination.
Another problem with constant self-improvement is that it can become a form of avoidance. The self-improvement industry has a way of helping you acknowledge your problems (like that you can’t stick to your diet or stop fighting with your significant other.) But the “real” problem lies at the root of the problem, which is often underlying feelings of shame or self-doubt.
Self-improvement is like trying to cover up an issue with a shiny goal, and striving towards that or merely reading about it makes you feel like you’ve solved the problem or accomplished something.
Finally, if you want to know what reinforces these feelings of shame and inadequacy, it’s also self-improvement. Our unrealistic expectations reinforce these feelings by enabling us to suppress them because we tend to focus on replacing
something about ourselves rather than improving it. Self-improvement can make us feel worse, leading to our constant need for comparison - whether that’s comparing ourselves to someone else or someone we want to be.
So what’s the solution to true self-improvement? Self-care.
Through self-care, we can learn more about who we are to discover what actually makes us happy and feel good. We can face and manage our feelings and realize that it’s okay to choose to slow down over continuous effort. There is nothing
wrong with goal-setting or building upon your qualities to be a kinder or more organized person. Still, it becomes problematic for our mental health and wellbeing if we keep choosing self-improvement over self-care. Self-improvement is like dedicating time to do things that will make you feel like you matter. Self-care, on the other hand, is taking time to remember that you already do.
So many of us go about our daily lives without ever really giving thought to the fact that we are breathing. Sure, we associate and acknowledge breathing as a critical function that keeps us alive but breathing serves another significant purpose. Our breath is a dynamic and powerful tool when we choose to become more aware of it.
“When we breathe more consciously, our breath does much more than merely keep us alive - it enables us to live healthier, longer, and fuller lives,” says Dr. Flatow of Pacific Mind Health.
Here are few ways mindful breathing can improve your mood.
Mindfulness is what keeps us grounded and focused when we find ourselves in conversation with our minds. For some, this mind chatter happens more than they wish it would; for others, it happens more than they even notice.
When you take time to pause and focus on your breathing with awareness, in turn, it brings more attention to your thoughts. A daily practice of conscious breathing is essentially a mindfulness practice, wherein we must first tune into our thoughts before we can control them. All too often, our busy minds cause us to become stuck on unhelpful thoughts that we believe to be true.
Our negative thought processes impact us to such a degree that we begin to believe we are our thoughts. By tuning into the breath, we tune into ourselves, and this newfound awareness enables us to be more conscientious of acknowledging the thoughts that serve our best interest and letting go of the rest.
Fosters A Sense of Calm
When it comes to anxiety and stress, you likely know that the more you experience either of these, the more difficult it can become to control. Stress and anxiety can cause a spike in heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure, and to make matters worse, these uncomfortable physical symptoms can exacerbate these unwelcome feelings.
Focusing on your breathing can bring you out of this heightened state of alertness. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing, in particular, activates your parasympathetic nervous system. The calming messages your mind receives signal your body to lower your heart rate and blood pressure and, in turn, calm your mind.
Reduces Anxiety And Encourages Better Emotional Regulation
One way to understand the difference between stress and anxiety is that stress is a response to something happening in the present moment. In contrast, anxiety is typically indicative of a mental state that is stuck in either the past or the future. In other words, we often experience anxiety due to dwelling on things that have already happened or worrying about things that may not happen at all. Your breath can bring you into the present moment when you turn your attention to it, directing your focus away from your worrisome and anxious thoughts.
Have you ever noticed how nice it feels to release a long exhale or sigh? This is a natural bodily response that we do to relieve our anxiety or stress, and some of us might do this at the end of a long day without even realizing it; others do it without realizing this is what the breath is meant to do. So, imagine the world of benefits you could tap into by simply becoming more aware of your breath.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help improve the way you feel but sometimes they aren’t enough. There are many effective treatments for those who suffer from difficult and persistent cases of depression and anxiety. You don’t have to ‘push through’ another day. Our team provides compassionate care from your home through our telehealth services. We also offer TMS Therapy for treatment-resistant depression and other mental illnesses. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support today!