“Possibly the greatest crime we commit against each other is this daily show of normality… The comment ‘Don’t mind him, he’s got a problem’ illustrates this universal attitude toward personal difficulty. The implication is that having a problem is a strange and avoidable weakness. When I come in repeated contact with this daily facade of normality I begin to assume that I too deserve such a life, and I get annoyed with the present and look upon my difficulties as unjust. And because I assume there is something unnatural about my having a problem, I too attempt to present a problem-free appearance.”
-Hugh Prather, Notes to Myself
Viewing entries tagged with 'depression'
Without fail, my clients come to me having lost traction in the world. They are locked into patterns of behavioral stagnation (i.e., narrowed or limited behavioral repertoires), wherein they’ve become disconnected from what they want most in life, aside from relief from psychological pain. The reason most often given to explain this stagnation and paralysis is that they just don’t “feel” like they can move effectively in the world; their feelings of depression and/or anxiety dictate their behavior (or lack thereof). The implicit agreement they’ve made with themselves and the world is that they have to “feel” a certain way before they can act a certain way. “Once my depression/anxiety goes away, then I can live the life I want,” is the underlying agreement or assumption. It becomes an “if only…, then…” situation.“If only my depression would get better, then I could live the life that I want.” I’m reminded that my Zen teacher, Daniel Doen Silberberg, would often talk about this “If only…, then…” approach to the world. He would say, “We live our lives this way: ‘If only… If only… If only… If only….’ Dead.” Doen was referring to our relationships to both our external worlds (e.g., “If only I could have that house or car I want, then my life would be better.”) and our internal worlds (e.g., “If only I could make my depression go away, then I could live the life that I want.”), but it’s particularly poignant and pertinent when considering the impasse that many of my clients have come to in their young lives. Again, the implicit agreement they’ve made is “If only my bad feelings would go away, then I could live the life that I want.” It’s as though they’re waiting for the world-- someone or something--to come along and change their feelings so that they can begin living the lives they want. From this position, until their feelings change, they are doomed to lives of inertia and behavioral stagnation. The absence of “good” feelings (or the “right” feelings) becomes the reason for their paralysis.
In an effort to meet clients with compassion and understanding, the mental health industry has made a shift and replaced the often negatively referred to term, Failure-to-Launch, with a more empathetic term, Emerging Adulthood.
Sad, empty, alone, low, miserable, overwhelmed, cold, tired, worthless, hurt, insignificant — these are just a few of the words used to describe the “black cloud” that affects people experiencing depression. When teens or young adults arrive at Evoke, they usually have little insight into the symptoms that affect them. As we dig deeper with family members, a more far-reaching list of symptoms usually includes: isolation, loss of interest in school or hobbies, loss of friends, inattention, impulsivity, threats or attempts of suicide, personal dissatisfaction, empty feelings, little connection to or awareness of self, and feelings of anxiety and shame. Parents report, “He gets home from school, goes to his room, shuts the door and never comes out,” and “She used to love playing sports, she was always out with friends, and now she spends afternoons and weekends sleeping”. They talk about weight gain or loss — “She never eats, and when she does it’s only junk food”. They talk about fights that quickly escalate — “When he is around, we are constantly yelling at each other”. They express worry, frustration, disconnection, and confusion.
How Can Wilderness Therapy Help Teens On The Spectrum With Aspergers, Autism And Non-Verbal Learning Disability?
Individuals with characteristics associated with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have it harder than the average person. Life is more difficult. The degree of difficulty varies, depending on the degree of Autism, but there are certain areas that are problematic. Gillberg (1991) identified the following areas:
This question often arises when a family is left to explain where their child is after they have been sent to therapy. Enrolling a child in treatment can temporarily leave a large hole in a family unit, and parents often struggle to explain this to the community, to extended family, or to the child’s school. And while many parents may not choose to or need to send their child to a residential treatment center, they may still experience feelings of loneliness and isolation because of dealing with a difficult child who is struggling with addiction, depression, anxiety, or any number of other common struggles.
When I’m in the field working in a group and I look at a face of apathy, I’m looking at the 17 year old Elise. I remember feeling so done with the world around me. Yup, my depression in a nutshell.
The more I witness the subtle and profound shifts in clients after a gratitude practice, the more curious I am about what “the experts” know regarding gratitude’s effect on our overall mental, emotional, physical health. There’s some exciting notions creeping into the scientific community regarding this topic!
There are so many reasons to invite more mindfulness into one’s life. The reasons are as plentiful as the practices themselves. One of the subjects regarding mindfulness that I enjoy teaching most is, “Indulging the little things.” The implications of enjoying the subtle and simple are far reaching in ways that can surprise and inspire.
If the word mantra draws up an image of bald Hare Krishna chanting men in orange robes asking for money in airports… you’re not alone. That said, we’ve come a long way, baby!