Category Archives for Depression

Seasonal Depression in Pittsburgh

About 3 million people in the United States suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression occurs during the same season every year. You might have feel feeling depressed the past two winters, but cheered up during the warmer months. Or you may have felt down during the summer.

Everyone could get seasonal depression, but it tends to be much more common in :

  • People who have families who have SAD
  • Women
  • Individuals between 15 and 55 years old
  • Individuals who live in an areas where winter daylight time is very short

 

No mental health experts are exactly sure of what specifically causes SAD, but many think lack of sunlight is a big trigger. This lack of light could mess up your circadian rhythms or cause problems with serotonin which is the chemical that affects your mood.

The lack of sunlight in Pittsburgh is extreme compared to many other cities across the US. We also tend to be cloudy which blocks out a lot of sunlight. That combined with the recent freezing temperatures has kept a lot of people inside and not taking absorbing vitamin D from the sun. Actually, about 10% of adults living in the United States have a Vitamin D deficiency.

You might be wondering if you have seasonal depression or SAD. Here are the symptoms:

  • Feeling grumpy, sad , nervous of having mood swings
  • Anhedonia or lack of pleasure in things you normally love
  • Eating much more or less than usual
  • Gaining weight
  • Sleeping a lot more than you normally do, but still feeling slugging
  • Difficulty concentrating

It is so important to look at SAD in a holistic manner before getting diagnosed. In addition to therapy, it’s crucial to see your doctor so she or he can run blood tests to rule out any other conditions that may be making you feel blue. One of these common ones is hypothyroidism or low thyroid. At Makin Wellness, we could do the mental heath assessment .

Treatment

There are multiple ways to help treat seasonal depression. Light therapy can be used, but counseling is one of the most effective ways of treating SAD. Cognitive behavioral therapy at Makin Wellness can help you learn more about seasonal depression , how to manage your symptoms and ways to prevent future episodes. Medication can also be prescribed and taken to help alleviate some or your symptoms. Antidepressants such as Zoloft, Effexor and Wellbutrin are most commonly prescribed for SAD.  Vitamin D supplements or foods rich in Vitamin D like yogurt, salmon, shitake mushrooms and freshly squeezed OJ can help combat any potential Vitamin D deficiencies you could have. Be sure to talk with your doctor and therapist about any side effects from your medication and check with your MD about Vit D supplementation .

If you are struggling with seasonal depression, call us today at 412-532-1249 to schedule your free phone consultation.

 

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is therapy and coaching center located at 239 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1801 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling .

 

 

 

 

 



Real Life Quotes From People Who Overcame Their Depression

Depression is one of those topics that no one wants to talk about. It is that something that eats away at your being , one minute at a time. It can be debilitating and make you feel completely and utterly hopeless. How does it look like when someone is able to successfully overcome their depression? We asked some people that did this and are sharing their experiences below!


“It was a daily battle”

This is going to be something that you work at every day. When you start to notice yourself getting pulled to the “dark side”, it is important to push yourself towards your end goal instead. Refer to the emotional guidance scale and how you are always aiming at moving up on that guide. You are going to have bad days and you are going to have better days. The process is not a straight ride up to the top, but rather a roller coaster ride with a blend of emotions. It is also important to keep in mind that change takes time; do not expect or wish for instant changes or a cure to happen at the snap of your fingers.

“I finally addressed everything I was trying to hide”

Many times our past traumas and fear can get buried underneath our conscious mind into our subconscious. Everyone is different, so these will manifest in different ways, but for many it shows up as deeply embedded depression. Once you talk about the things you tried to forget or what most bothers you, you can feel very relieved. You start to process what occurred and find ways to move forward. Not only can this help alleviate depression, but it empowers you as well. You can later use these skills you learn in session in other areas in your life.



“I lost weight”.

It can be surprising how many people will literally eat their emotions. This is something that I see practically everyday and can be an easy habit to get into .Many will stuff their emotions with double stuffed oreos and other foods that not only increase your waistline, but decrease your mental health as well. In Depression to Joy , I talk about the importance of talking about depression and finding ways of moving forward. Once people pinpoint what it is that makes them feel the need to eat when upset, they are then able to focus on building new coping skills and feeling better.

 
pittsburgh depression treatment

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pittsburgh depression treatment

 

 

 

Emotional Quantum Leap

When we want to improve or change our emotions, it is very important to keep in mind that “quantum leaping” is not a possibility. The emotional ride from Depression to Joy involves many other emotions that you could experience in between. The secret is finding what emotion you are experiencing on this scale now and then then changing your thoughts so you start to feel better a bit at a time. Here is the Emotional Guidance Scale:

1.Joy/Appreciation/Empowered/Freedom/Love
2.Passion
3.Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness
4.Positive Expectation/Belief
5.Optimism
6.Hopefulness
7.Contentment
8.Boredom
9.Pessimism
10.Frustration/Irritation/Impatience
11. Overwhelmed
12.Disappointment
13.Doubt
14.Worry
15.Blame
16.Discouragement
17.Anger
18.Revenge
19.Hatred/Rage
20.Jealousy
21.Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
22.Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness


 

Notice how fear, grief , depression, despair and powerlessness are the bottom of this scale. The good news is that if these are emotions you are feeling often, there is nowhere to go besides up on this scale!

You may also notice how anger is higher up on the scale than depression is. Many times when people are working on their depression or powerlessness, they start to feel better and eventually experience anger. Anger doesn’t tend to bother the person who is angry , but rather the people that are predominately around them… so they get pressured into feeling depressed again , as when people are depressed they aren’t yelling and upsetting others. Anger is actually much more empowering . Think about a time when you were depressed and then a time when you were angry; doesn’t it feel much better to be pissed off then down? The trick with anger is to experience it and then work on moving your way up the emotional scale towards discouragement and blame.

How can I move up on this emotional scale? Having a professional counselor is really helpful with this. Talking with someone who can help you move up this scale and process your emotions can work wonders for you.

Let us know what your thoughts are about this scale and if you have used this before! Like this post and be sure to share it on Facebook!


5 Celebrities Who Overcame Their Depression

Exotic cars, adoring fans, traveling and being known everywhere you go… although this to many sounds like the dream, it does  not always means that the person living this type of lifestyle is happy. Studies actually show that having notoriety or fame could actually increase your chance of mental illness. Below we have some stories of celebrities that were able to overcome their depression .


 

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus at the 2009 Academy Awards 04

The former Disney Star turned pop icon has been on the cover of many magazines and released music that landed her at the tops of the charts. She  has shared that despite all of her success there were times when her depression would paralyze her. She revealed in an interview with Elle that she has been struggling with self esteem problems and was seeking therapy to help her with depression. She later shared that every one can benefit from therapy and that she was not opposed to having medication to  help with treatment.

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey 2010

Jim Carrey has been very open about his struggles with depression and addiction.  Jim told CBS in 2004 that he was on Prozac “for a long time”. His spirituality and appreciation helped him get out of the “low level of despair”. He shared that he was able to get off of his medication and that he does not drink alcohol or do drugs since “life is too beautiful”.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry - USS Kearsarge b

Halle shared with Parade magazine that when her and her ex husband David Justice got separated , she fell into a deep depression and contemplated suicide. She struggled with low self esteem and depression when the marriage ended. “My sense of worth was so low. I had to reprogram myself to see the good in me. Because someone didn’t love me didn’t mean I was unlovable.” She then later went to say that she has been in therapy for 30 years


Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga and her disco stick - The MONSTER BALL 2010

Gaga shared with Teen Vogue “I openly admit to having battled depression and anxiety and I think a lot of people do”.She has been extremely open with her experiences of mental illness and being a survivor of sexual assault.  She shared how there is no shame in seeking help and that there is no need to hide our issues.  She stated that depression medication is part of her self care routine and that “it isn’t for everyone”. What has helped her is a combination of treatment and taking some time for herself.

Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson 2013

Dwayne Johnson was interviewed by Oprah in 2015 regarding how his depression helped lead him to have amazing things happen in his career. He was 23 years old when he was not selected for the NFL,  cut by the Canadian football League and sent to go back to the US. “I found that with depression one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it,” he says. “I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], ‘Hey, it’s going to be okay.'” This moment inspired him to become a professional wrestler insead and helped launch a new chapter in his life.

 

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How depression actually feels

Many people have the misconception that depression just feels like sadness. This is not the case. Depression can feel like a complex web of differing negative emotions. It’s important to also keep in mind that men and women are socialized to express these differently. For example, a female could cry to show her pain, whereas a man could get angry and /or aggressive in hopes of getting the hurt out. Here is what depression actually feels like:

  • It can feel like complete and utter emptiness or self loathing. You could have a hard time looking in the mirror , or feel extreme hate or disgust with yourself.
  • Depression can become so debilitating that you can go numb and feel nothing. This numb feeling could also arise if you are prescribed medication like an SSRI ( selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and are on too high of a dosage or are prescribed a combination of medications that do not work well for you . If this is happening, contact your psychiatrist or doctor immediately and report this and any other side effects so they can  properly adjust your medication.
  • Depression can also be experienced with anxiety; this commonly feels like a rollercoaster ride  with substantial mood swings. You find yourself stressed and feeling stressed out and later find yourself feeling withdrawn and depressed. These mood swings drain your energy and leave you emotionally and physically exhausted.
  • Some people who experience depression isolate as well and try to hide from their friends and loved ones. You would do things such as stop answering your phone, calling  off of work  and avoiding sunday dinners with your family.
  • Guilt can be marked by depression as well. This could be branched from the stigma that is attached with having moments of “mental illness”.  The truth is that there are 16.1 million American Adults ages 18 and older, according to NIMH ( National Institute of Mental Health), who have had at least one major depressive episode within the past year.

If you are feeling down, you are not alone ; you can get better and there is help.