What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. It goes beyond typical mood fluctuations and can impact a person’s daily functioning, affecting their thoughts, emotions, and physical well-being. Symptoms of depression may include:

  1. Persistent sadness or a low mood.
  2. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.
  3. Changes in appetite or weight.
  4. Sleep disturbances, either insomnia or excessive sleep.
  5. Fatigue or loss of energy.
  6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt.
  7. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
  8. Thoughts of death or suicide.

Depression can vary in severity, and its causes are often multifaceted, involving a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

It’s important to note that depression is a treatable condition, and various therapeutic approaches, medications, and support systems are available to help individuals manage and overcome it. If someone is experiencing symptoms of depression, seeking professional help from a mental health professional is crucial.

What are the best treatments for depression?

The best treatments for depression often involve a combination of therapeutic approaches tailored to an individual’s specific needs. It’s important for individuals experiencing depression to consult with a mental health professional to determine the most effective treatment plan. Here are some common treatments for depression:

  1. Counseling: Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT), is a key component in treating depression. It helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns, develop coping skills, and improve interpersonal relationships.
  2. Mindset Coaching: Mindset coaching is a type of coaching that focuses on helping individuals develop and cultivate a positive and growth-oriented mindset. The concept is rooted in the belief that one’s mindset significantly influences their thoughts, behaviors, and overall approach to life. Mindset coaching aims to identify and change limiting beliefs, promote self-awareness, and encourage a mindset that fosters personal and professional growth.
  3. Medication: Antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), may be prescribed by a psychiatrist or healthcare provider to help regulate neurotransmitters in the brain.
  4. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It is often used when other treatments haven’t been effective.
  5. Lifestyle Changes: Healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep, can contribute to overall well-being and may help alleviate symptoms of depression.
  6. Support Groups: Participating in support groups or group therapy can provide individuals with a sense of community and understanding. Sharing experiences with others who are going through similar challenges can be beneficial.
  7. Community Support:  Having a sense of community can be a cornerstone in fostering resilience and sustaining recovery efforts. Building and maintaining connections within a community can contribute significantly to an individual’s overall well-being and long-term recovery success.
  8. Mind-Body Techniques: Practices such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and relaxation techniques can help individuals manage stress and improve their emotional well-being.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of treatments can vary from person to person. A personalized approach, often involving a combination of treatments, is typically the most effective way to address depression. Additionally, ongoing support and follow-up care are crucial to prevent relapse.

We would be honored to serve you in your time of need.  Schedule a session with a licensed therapist today! 

10 Holiday Stress Busters

As a young child, I remember experiencing the magic of the holiday season. Sure, there were disagreements and stressful situations that I watched my family wade through year after year, though I don’t remember those times as clearly as I do the happy moments. I remember great food, fun, and spending time with loved ones. (I also remember the year I received my first mountain bike and a set of hit stix.)

Things certainly do change as we get older, don’t they? Long lines, family drama, loneliness, a long list of expenses, and stress too often replace the memories of childhood magic.

What if you could get back some of that magic? Check out these 10 ways to take the stress out of the holidays.

Rose Skeeters

1. Budget for the Holidays.

Overspending during the holidays not only stresses you out while you’re doing it, but continues into the future when the credit card and bank statements arrive in January. Make a realistic budget early, carefully review it, and then stick to it!

2. Plan Holiday Activities.

Double-booking activities on the same day can result in frustrated family members and lost opportunities. Avoid this stress by planning and discussing with the family beforehand. Also, decide what’s important, prioritize, and say “no” to what you can’t handle.

3. Work in Some Alone Time.

Do not choreograph, plot, and plan out every hour of the holidays. Factor in some alone time for the sake of your mental health. Close your eyes, take several deep breaths, and meditate or just relax.

4. Be Open to Change.

Talk with your kids about your traditions- which ones they love and which you might evolve. This is especially important when family dynamics have changed. Don’t be too rigid. Use common sense and accept changes to the original plan.

5. Delegate.

To stay sane and reduce stress, delegate holiday tasks to friends and family members. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Delegate first, and then follow-up for extra peace of mind.

6. Prep Your Kids.

Factoring in kids’ limitations when you make plans will reduce stress on everyone. Not overestimating your kids’ patience and ability to focus will help you enjoy yourself more too. Holidays represent a change in a family’s normal schedule, and for some kids, that’s unsettling. Preparing them for these changes will help head off meltdowns.

7. Wrap & Ship Early.

Last-minute gifts can bust your budget and your sanity! Plan your shopping and avoid doing anything impulsively. Wrap everything as soon as it is purchased and ship gifts to loved ones far in advance.

8. Be Sure to Laugh.

Kids pick up their parents’ stress and tension. Have of sense of humor, enjoy your kids for who they are, and keep in mind that what you’ll all remember is likely to be the unexpected moment when everybody was relaxed, not the brilliantly choreographed events.

9. Volunteer.

Take time to volunteer at your church, homeless shelter, or community center with your family and friends. Model being a bucket filler this season.

10. Exercise Regularly.

Everyone does their best to trash their bodies during the holiday season. We eat way too much rich and fatty foods, and often drink too much. The best thing to do about the unavoidable overindulgence is to exercise regularly.

Following these 10 tips will help ease the stress of the holiday season so that you can reclaim the magic of the season this year. Download our FREE Infographic below. Looking for more support this season? Schedule an intake now.

 

Home for the Holidays

3 Key Steps to Connect with Family (especially during the holidays) 

In order to connect more deeply with family over the holidays, it’s important to figure out how to respect them as people in the world. After all, everyone is trying to do the best they can with what they have, right?

My Italian family from Philly set the standard for holiday traditions– lots of delicious food, great company, suffocating blankets of guilt, good family drama, and excessive, over-the-top gifting. We always had waaaayy too much of EVERYTHING. (Parents, if you think your children would somehow be emotionally scarred for having just a few meaningful gifts, think again. The more gifts we got, the less the intention of gifting mattered and the more we expected those gifts…)  Holidays were intense all around– intensely joyful and just plain old intense.

When we grew up, they became more intense than joyful, especially before having children. Unspoken rules about gifts and competition for the best gift given, arguing and belittling the “chef” of the holiday for having a menu that was “subpar”, showing up late and leaving early only after complaining the whole time, and my all-time favorite: instead of saying hello, our family loves to say: “Look who showed up. You never come see me.” That one always gets me scratching my head and wondering if I slept through their visits or phone calls to our house… 

Jokes aside, the holidays don’t have to be that way– even if no one else in your family will change, you can choose to make this holiday season into the best one yet by following these 3 expert steps on how to connect with family during the holiday season. 

STEP 1. MAKE A LIST OF WHAT EACH PERSON IN YOUR FAMILY IS CAPABLE OF.

The first thing that you need to do to start on the path of dealing with and respecting your family members is to figure out what each individual person in your family is actually capable of. Make a list for everyone individually. Furthermore, break down all of the behaviors that they get engage in–both good and bad.  Do they show up late? Leave early? Do they make judgmental or hurtful comments? Maybe they make the world’s best stuffed mushrooms or bring the best desserts? Write it down.

STEP 2. WRITE DOWN THE EXPECTATIONS YOU HAVE FOR EACH FAMILY MEMBER.

Put the first list aside. Now, make a list of everything that you expect of each person in your family. What are all the things that you wish they would do and they haven’t? What are all the things that you expect from them? Maybe you feel like your expectations are already low? Do you wish the family member would be kind, show up on time, and still bring those delicious desserts? Write it all down. Remember that you will need to do each step for each individual family member.

STEP 3. COMPARE THE LISTS YOU MADE IN STEPS 1 & 2

Finally, put both list 2 and list 1 side by side. Do you notice any similarities or differences? What do you see?

Let’s say your lists looked like these:

Uncle Boomer’s Capabilties

  • always late
  • leaves early
  • funniest Uncle
  • makes rude comments at times
  • makes the best lasagna
  • loves the holidays
  • says no one ever visits him

My Expectations for Uncle Boomer

  • be on time
  • be nice
  • bring lasagna
  • connect with others
  • stop being passive aggressive

Did you notice that my expectations for Uncle Boomer exceed his capabilities in several areas? Uncle Boomer has been late to almost every function for as long as I can remember. Expecting him to be on time doesn’t make any sense. If your Uncle hasn’t been on time in years, why would he be on time this Thanksgiving? As a result of his choice, you can also choose to accept that Uncle Boomer will be late and that that is okay because it is his choice, not a reflection of his entire relationship with you.

It seems reasonable to expect family to be nice to each other, right? But what if your family members are insecure in some areas of their life and have a difficult time connecting genuinely to others? What if Uncle Boomer doesn’t perceive his comments to be rude and thinks they are funny? Does anyone smile when he says things? Put yourself in the person’s shoes. Do they see the world exactly as you do? Are you assuming that they do? Expecting someone that you claim to love to be someone that they are not is not fair. It will only create resentment and disrespect between both parties in the relationship. If you wish to be respected, it is a good idea to respect others too. This means putting yourself in their shoes and choosing to see the world from their point-of-view.

Every single person has valleys and dark times just like yours. Above all, respecting others for who they have become and loving them even when they can’t meet your expectations is the right thing to do.

Rose Skeeters

Not an Excuse for Rude Behavior…

This doesn’t mean letting a family member treat you poorly. It means not being surprised when Uncle Boomer makes a rude comment and hurts your feelings AND it means letting him know that what he said was mean. Tell the truth and set boundaries. Choose to take control of your own life experience this holiday season. In order to build better relationships and deeper connections with people, especially members of your family that you currently consider difficult or toxic, you must be willing to see the world from their perspective – to have empathy for them.

Following these tips will improve your experience dramatically this year, guaranteed. Need more help? Let’s schedule a time to chat.

 

Why You May Need to Rethink Your Moral Compass Now

“I believe that in healthy humans there is an inner compass that guides right from wrong. It may get modified through various lenses of philosophy, religion, and culture, but I think seeking peace and integrity and not causing harm are pretty universal. Unfortunately, it is also possible to get estranged from that compass, so it is good to stay in balance and in touch with it as much as we can.”

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Feelings or Morals?

As a therapist and mindset coach, I speak with many people that feel lost and stuck in life. They often have a difficult time making choices and knowing what the right thing to do is. I can relate to this as I have had my own fair share of difficulty determining whether or not my moral compass should be ruled by my in-the-moment emotions or whether it should be strong and steadfast.

The answer seems pretty simple- our choices should be guided by an unwavering moral compass, not by emotions. The reality is that feelings, no matter how strong, cloud the direction we should take.

Let’s say that you prefer to do what you want to do. “I’ll do what I feel like doing.”  We have a right to do whatever we want to do, when we want to do it, right? Feel your feelings and just go with it.

But isn’t that mindset like playing with fire? If we walk around doing only what we feel like doing, what will we accomplish?

Hatred, laziness, greed, jealously, insecurity, pride, selfishness, bitterness, the desire to fit in… these are all feelings that can lead to broken relationships, theft, drug abuse, fraud, violence, murder, mental illness, and chaos.

Living in a world that only honors people’s feelings and neglects the viewpoint of right vs. wrong doesn’t sit well with me. This is not to say that feelings are invalid and to be dismissed. Feelings can be intense and need to be spoken about and validated in order for them to be let go successfully. Feelings can be felt without being acted upon.

What if I just feel like taking something that doesn’t belong to me? Or if I say hateful things to someone because they are different than me? Maybe I feel angry so I hit the person closest to me or I lie whenever it suits me?

Aren’t those things wrong morally?

“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” 

Leo Tolstoy, A Confession

Core Values

Challenge: Feel your feelings and make the right choice based on your core values.

Let’s take a look at the core value of commitment. If we are to commit to something, it means that we dedicate ourselves to that person or thing. If we have committed ourselves to a new job or task, we get up everyday and do the best we can during the work day. It doesn’t matter if we are frustrated, tired, sad, or even happy- we are still going to head to work. Commitment is independent of feelings.

Core values like commitment are all independent of feelings.  Integrity is another great example of this. Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is watching. How many times have you thought “I don’t feel like doing this?” and you do it anyway because you know it’s the right thing to do? The thought “I don’t feel like doing this” is a feeling. If you went with that feeling every time you were tired and not feeling up to the task, there would be dishes in the sink, laundry and trash everywhere, and extra pounds on your waistline. Maybe you don’t even have a job because you don’t feel like it! Integrity, like commitment, is independent of feelings. If you have integrity, you can feel like you don’t want to do something, but you do it anyway because it is the right thing to do.

Fine Tuning Your Moral Compass

A moral compass includes our principles, values, and beliefs. In typical development, our early childhood caregivers teach us these principles, values, and beliefs. If you have experienced a break in attachment or early childhood trauma or neglect, you may have to start from scratch in developing your own moral compass.

Where do I start?

A solid moral compass includes core values that will eventually govern your behaviors. In order to begin the process of developing a moral compass, you will need to do some research to determine which core values you want to include in your compass. Before I list out some core values, let’s define the word values. If you value something, you hold it in high regard, pursue it, and even love it.

Here is a list of some core values:

  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Loyalty
  • Honor
  • Courage
  • Commitment
  • Selfless Service
  • Respect
  • Self-Discipline
  • Kindness
  • Forgiveness
  • Transparency
  • Trust
  • Joy
  • Humility

Steps to Rethink Your Moral Compass

These are 15 core values, though there are hundreds of them! Follow these steps to start living by your own moral compass:

  1. Do your best to find the values that resonate with you.
  2.  Rank them in order of importance.
  3. Write them down.
  4. Define them.
  5. Hang the values and the definitions everywhere you can see them- fridge, mirrors, car, desk, dresser.
  6. Make all of your choices align with these values.
  7. Practice. Practice. Practice. It will take time to develop the ability to match your choices and actions with your moral compass. Like anything new, it will require patience and practice.

Still stumped or looking for an example? Below is a list of 10 of my core values and their definitions. With a solid moral compass, I can make my choices align with those core values, even when it doesn’t feel good. I know what I stand for and knowing what I stand for helps me trust in myself and my choices.

My Core Values

  1. Integrity – doing the right thing even when no one is looking
  2. Honesty- speak the truth and act truthfully
  3. Loyalty- faithful and devoted to loved ones
  4. Courage- Being afraid of something and doing it anyway
  5. Self-Discipline- the ability to do what I think is right despite temptations to abandon my pursuit
  6. Forgiveness- deciding that someone who has wronged me doesn’t have to pay or be punished
  7. Joy- choosing to be happy even when things don’t go my way
  8. Selfless Service- being helpful and kind to others as well as serving others without expecting a reward or praise
  9. Humility- putting others first by giving up what you think you deserve
  10. Kindness- being friendly, generous, respectful and considerate of others

Recommended Reading

I started thinking about moral compass and values after reading Mark Divine’s book, Unbeatable Mind. I highly recommend it as a resource to help develop your moral compasss.

Side note: We love Amazon and participate in the Amazon Affiliate programs. If you are thinking about purchasing these books through the links above, we do get some credit. Thank you for understanding.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health symptoms that are concerning or that are getting progressively worse, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. Thrive is a proud provider of telehealth (tele-therapy). We offer HIPAA compliant video, phone, and text sessions for individuals, adults, and families struggling with mental health. Call 844-984-7483 or request a free, confidential screening online. If you would like help with developing your moral compass, contact me today at rose@thriveonlinecounseling.com


Rose Skeeters, MA, LPC, PN2 Thrive:Mind/Body, LLC TMB Online Counseling

Rose Skeeters, MA, LPC, PN2

Rose Skeeters is the CVO of Thrive: Mind/Body, LLC, an innovative mindset coaching & online counseling practice aimed at empowering motivated individuals to master every area of their life. She specializes in family & relationship counseling–helping couples, parents, & families get and stay on the same page. Rose is also the host of From Borderline to Beautiful, a podcast aimed at helping individuals with BPD, CPTSD, and EUPD find hope and help in their recovery journeys. Are you interested in working with Rose? Schedule a consult with her here or contact her today at Rose@thriveonlinecounseling.com.

Family Rules: 10 House Protocols


Here are 10 house protocols to help promote unity, transparency, and safety in your home:

Read more

How to Deal with [Difficult] People

How to Deal with [difficult] People. 

Do you find yourself in conflict with others often?  Whether it is someone close to you, someone you work with, or a complete stranger, they can get under your skin.  Do you blame them or do you blame yourself?  Well, what if you ended the blame game and started opening your eyes to a different culprit? The intended result! Below is a mindset formula from the Neuro-linguistics programming (NLP) presuppositions that is sure to change how you deal with people forever:

Every behavior has a positive intended result.

Every behavior has a positive intended result.

Every behavior has a positive intended result.

Read the first line out loud normally, read the second line out loud but a little slower, and read the third line out loud, even slower, and think about the words you are saying. Let that sink in for a bit before continuing the read

To avoid redundancy, I will refer to positive intended result as PIR.

Now, if you didn’t get that light bulb going off in your head, then you are either not getting it or you are skeptical.  So let me break it down for you.

What is PIR again? 

When somebody does something–anything– it is always because their intention is to have a positive outcome.  

Scenario 1: If you head out to work (behavior), your PIR is to arrive at the place that pays you money for your service.  That money is used for your livelihood.  Positive.

Okay, so that was an easy example of the formula. Let’s use the same example but we will change up the behavior (which changes the PIR). 

Scenario 2: You head out to work and while driving, someone cuts you off.  This enrages you and you flip them off while cursing at them in your car.  They see this and start gesturing that they too are angry because you didn’t let them in.  You engage in a back and forth gesturing match like a couple of driving baboons until it is time for them to turn off, allowing you to proceed to work.  

What’s the difference? 

The difference is that in scenario 1, your behavior was congruent with the PIR.  In scenario 2, your behavior changed the PIR when you perceived this other person as disrupting your commute to work. The new behavior had the PIR of releasing aggression. Once that PIR was attained, you changed your behavior back to getting to work. The problem with scenario 2 is that the behavior changed the original pursuit (getting to work to get that paycheck).  In this case, the original pursuit was just delayed, however there are times when this can get you into a lot of trouble pushing that original pursuit farther and farther away from you or extinguishing it altogether.

How can I use PIR to deal with others? 

When dealing with others, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of their behavior instead of seeing what their intention is.  

Have you ever watched a child who just learned to tie their shoes get angry and cry because they are struggling?  It’s easier to see the bigger picture because we understand what their objective is so we don’t get wrapped up in their tantrum.  

When a partner is displaying behavior that negatively impacts you, it is important to understand what the positive outcome is that they are pursuing and help them to continue their pursuit.  The behavior may be due to frustration because they may view you as an obstacle to their outcome.  It may be that they are looking at the outcome with a suboptimal point of view.  Our perspective controls the behavior we engage in when pursuing a positive outcome.  If the outcome takes longer than expected, has obstacles, or is no longer something we can pursue, we get cranky.

So what do you do?

First of all, you must understand that their negative behavior is not a reflection of who they are as a person. I will write more about this in my next blog.  For now, just hold onto that statement.  

Our behavior is NOT a reflection of who we are as a person. 

This makes it easier to understand that the behavior is simply a reaction to the positive pursuit.

In order to deal with others, you must separate the behavior that they engage in from the intended result.  If you can train yourself to do this, you will be amazed at how you will be able to see through the behavior and track the pathway to the intended result just as clearly and unemotionally as you see the the child struggling to tie their shoes. If you care about the person having the meltdown, you can support them by offering a different method or point of view to get the positive result that they are pursuing.  If you don’t care for the person having the negative behavior, you can choose to not be affected by their behavior and move on, unemotionally, pursuing your own positive outcome. 

In our daily lives we interact with all kinds of people.  It is important to learn how to deal with them in a way that doesn’t knock you off of your own pursuit.  It will give you the mental clarity to be able to help those you care for, and the armor to deflect the emotions of those who you do not care for.  Become a stronger version of yourself by running this formula.  It will be difficult at first because you already have a lot of repetitions dealing with people how you currently do. If you can replace the habit of getting overly emotional with this formula, many new doors will open up for you and your positive results.  It’s time to get smarter with how we deal with those around us.

Jay Skeeters 

Do I Need A Life Coach?

In today’s age, we all have a lot going on all at once. Many of us are busy in our lives and many are busy in our heads. Many are both at the same time. Which one describes you? Between TV/Social Media/News/Radio and any other way that connects you with the outside world, we are constantly being told what to do and how to do it. Celebrities, politicians, social media “friends”, and many other influencers talk to us on a regular basis about how to think.

What is a life coach

Who do you trust? Why do you trust them? Are they in your life to strengthen and empower you or just agree with everything that you say in fear that you will reject them? Or maybe that is you in fear of being rejected. We all have problems throughout our lives and need someone to consult with from time to time. This is where a life coach comes into play. Imagine being tutored on how to handle obstacles and reach your desired outcome. A life coach is there to point out your inconsistencies and to clean the lens on how you view the world. There are many reasons as to why you view the world the way that you do. Our biases jam up our ability to see clearly and handle obstacles as they come up.

What if all of the stories that you’ve told yourself in the past about things that you can and cannot do were wrong? What would you do with that information? A life coach can open your mind to change your rules and assumptions by teaching you how to view things through a clean lens.

 

A good life coach is there to be in your corner in the fight with life. They should be able to train you to become more resilient through tough times. A good life coach will not coddle you but will train you to build perseverance to not quit when pursuing a goal.

 

How would life coaching help me?

Imagine having someone that truly listened to you without seeking to fulfill their own needs, their own objectives, or quell their own fears. They are all about helping you. Their mission is to find anything that could be done better or at least more efficiently and actually teach you how to do it better. This will empower you, which in turn, empowers those around you because of the positive changes that it will make.

So if you are asking yourself if you need a life coach, you must first find out the desired outcome that you seek. In order to do that, you must acknowledge that you are questioning your perception of reality. Once you realize that you have a foggy lens that you are trying to navigate with, you can make real changes in your life. That is where a good life coach will help clean the lens and guide you to where it is you want to go.

Everyone from time to time needs consulting for various reasons, why not start with you?

  • Jay Skeeters