Teen with Depression Speaks Openly at TEDx

Kevin Breel, a teen with depression, took a huge risk at a TEDx Youth event. Ever head of TED Talks? What began is a dynamic format for technology and design based presentations has morphed into a veritable treasure trove of great people sharing profound thoughts. Teen with Depression Says It Like It Is Kevin’s talk is straightforward, real and uplifting. He calls out the common myths about depression. Like the idea that being sad because of something awful happening is depression. No, he says, depression is being sad when everything is going well. He talks about the stigma around mental health. I especially appreciate his comment that we can handle talking about any other body part breaking down, except the brain. If you or anyone you know struggles with depression, take ten minutes and watch this: https://youtu.be/C3yqXeLJ0Kg Counselor Living with Depression As a counselor who lives with depression, I find Kevin’s perspective inspiring and refreshing. I remember when I was a teen living with depression. I would recognize the pain in others, even though they tried to hide it. I was the classmate who would ask how things were going and if you said something positive that didn’t match what I saw, then I would stop you and ask again. I still do this with my clients every day. I work, hope, pray and strive for that world Kevin describes. A world where no one thinks about suicide because that seems like the only way out. Depression is well-understood and very treatable. Don’t hesitate to call us...

Kathy’s Year in Pictures

A year in pictures, a popular exercise this time of year, can be a revealing activity. This particular post is inspired by the Think Kit Challenge of 2013 by Smallbox Web Design. The challenge is to write a blog post every day using the prompts from Smallbox. My extra challenge is to make each post relevant to mental health and the great work we do here at Integrative Health Resources. Luckily, this first one is easy. My 2013 has been about returning to and improving the things that make my life better, that bring me joy and reduce my stress. Building a new business takes so much time and energy nearly everything else stops. My diet, sleep, exercise, social life, mindfulness and hobbies had all disappeared. In 2013 they have returned! <sound the trumpet fanfare!> The year began with an intentional decision to spend each of the first six months working on improving a particular thing. January was getting enough sleep. February was eating well. March meant returning to the gym. April was about creating and strengthening my social circle. May included mindfulness practices, and I wrapped up June bringing my hobbies back. Here’s the mixed yet satisfying outcome: Dear Husband and I are ready for a wonderful 2013.   Zoe believes getting enough sleep is a high priority, especially since I knitted this beautiful afghan just for her.   Eating a solid, healthy diet is so much easier than it used to be! I loved spending more time at Conner Prairie this year. Embracing places that make us happy is so beneficial!   Getting back in the gym and succeeding...

Why Do I Need a Good Social Life? To Live Longer!

Do I have a good social life? We often ask ourselves this question, usually when we wonder if ours is as good as someone else’s. On one level, this question is a matter of opinion. A highly social person might crave lots of connections and friends, where a less social person might be content with a small, intimate circle. Our age and stage of life also influences how we define a good social life. Kids tend not to even ask this question, just making friends on the playground and in the neighborhood. As teenagers, this question becomes central. Our friends and their opinion of us matters more than anything else. This friend-centric focus tends to last into our early to mid 20s. Then life intervenes. We get a job, get married, have kids – suddenly our friendships are competing with everything else on our to-do lists. Importance of a Good Social Life So what, we are tempted to say. Our friends will be there when we need them. That important deadline at work will come and go! Or many of us discover that outside of school making friends is wicked hard! Is it worth that much effort? Especially after I’m exhausted from work? Éole Wind via Compfight Research is saying, yes. YES!!! Maintaining a good social life – it turns out – has a huge, quantifiable impact on our mental and physical health! Research has found that a less than good social life has the same negative impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, more harmful than not exercising, and twice as harmful as obesity!!! More friend connections increases our odds of...

Childhood Pain, Lingering Effects: ACE Study – Part 1

Childhood pain, or adverse childhood experiences, has a serious effect on the rest of our lives. You might assume the effect is only on our feelings or thoughts. New research, funded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), indicates the impact is physical as well. There are many “public health” concerns that many experts try to solve, in order to help us all be healthier. Sanitized water is an example of a long-standing public health triumph. Currently, experts are worried about obesity, smoking, heart disease, diabetes, and suicide rates. Childhood Pain: Research Back in the 1980s, Vincent Felitti was running a weight-loss study. He wondered why his best patients would quit after they started losing weight. After surveying nearly three hundred morbidly obese patients, he thought he was on to something. About half of these patients reported being sexually assaulted, horribly painful example of childhood pain, which is much higher than average. After presenting these findings at an obesity conference, Felitti was approached by the CDC. The result is the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. This ongoing research is attempting to explain why some of us are more at risk for certain health problems than others. The researchers are learning that childhood pain is a big deal, and a score of four or more significantly impacts these common health concerns: Alcoholism and alcohol abuse (740%) Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Depression (460%) Illicit drug use (470%) Ischemic heart disease (IHD) (220%) Liver disease Domestic violence Multiple sex partners Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) Smoking (220%) Suicide attempts (1,220%) Unintended pregnancies Teen pregnancy Just because people experience childhood pain doesn’t mean they will...

Sex and Success: Erotic Capital

There are at least two things we all want to have in our lives: sex and success. According to the new book, Honey Money by Catherine Hakim, the key to both is erotic capital. Hakim defines erotic capital as a combination of beauty, sex appeal, and skill which makes some people attractive and agreeable as colleagues, as well as attractive to the opposite sex. She argues that men and women shouldn’t hesitate to use these factors to their advantage. Disclaimer: I haven’t actually read the book, as it has only been released in the UK; however, I think it is worth commenting on some of the issues raised by many reviews of the book. Looks and Success Hakim’s argument that physical attractiveness and social skills are a resource that can help us get ahead is well established. Statistically speaking, it is well-established that people who are more attractive earn more money and get promoted faster. The book, the Beauty Mythby Naomi Woofe, published in 1991, documents these benefits and then challenges the stereotypes that contribute to this benefit. Instead, Hakim appears to be arguing that women should take advantage of their “erotic capital.” She asserts that women have an edge on erotic capital because men crave sex more and are more visually stimulated than women. Most professional women will tell you being physically attractive is a thin blade to walk on. Women’s looks are still judged more harshly than men’s. Yet, being too attractive, especially dressing too sexy, often limits a woman’s success because she isn’t taken seriously. Women must find the balance between being attractive enough their looks are an asset, but not...

2012 Elections: Public Policy and Mental Health

As we approach the 2012 elections next month, presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama offer different ideological approaches to handling America’s challenges and improving our society. Political conversations become hard to avoid, whether in person or on facebook. As a therapist, I would like to share with you some psychological info that might be useful. One reason I love being a social worker is the field’s two-part focus on internal, psychological things and on the external, society-based things that affect how happy and productive we are. Hopefully, our understanding of why things happen will influence the solutions we come up with. I will not identify which solution is the best one, but I hope you will consider the following data when you make your decision and vote on November 6. 2012 Elections: Job Creation, Education, Abortion and Birth Control, the Obesity Epidemic Domestic public policy is complicated. Many of the problems we want to fix, like education, poverty and public health, have interlocking and overlapping parts. Research from nueroscience, public health, and mental health provides evidence that the overlap comes from the impact of adverse childhood events on individuals and from social structures that limit individual growth. Let’s look at some examples more closely. Thomas Hawk via Compfight 2012 Elections: Job creation Where I live, in central Indiana, job creation doesn’t appear to be the problem, despite the 2012 elections focus on job creation. Getting qualified people to those jobs is the problem. Many employers build warehouses outside of the urban core because land is cheaper. Yet, many who needs jobs don’t have cars. Limited public transportation means those who need jobs can’t get to...