Is Drinking Making You Depressed?

Woman on chair holding bottle of wine to her temple.

Drinking has a firm foot in our culture, and it seems to fit any occasion.

Having a birthday and turning 21, 30, or 50? Have a round on the house!

Getting married? Crank up Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink to That)” and throw one (or five) back while grooving on the dance floor into the wee hours of the morning.

Going on a first date? Why not meet at the bar for a classy cocktail or glass of wine?

Had a hard day at work, bad week, or even a rough month when you just can’t seem to shake that sinking feeling? Nothing a drink to lift the spirits can’t solve…

And that’s where we begin to run into trouble — self-medicating our depression through alcohol consumption.

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Can You Be Addicted To Stress?

Man with laptop looking stressed

Feeling stressed out lately? If so, we’re not surprised.

According to a 2015 American Psychological Association study, 24 percent of Americans experience extreme stress on a regular basis. A similar study in 2017 found that 63 percent of the U.S. worries about the future of the country, 62 percent about money, and 61 percent about work, and stress levels have been steadily increasing over the last decade.

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Is Depression Genetic?

Mother holding child's hand

By now most of us know the symptoms of major depression well: Loss of pleasure in favorite activities, irritability, significant weight gain or loss, changes in sleeping habits, loss of energy, feeling worthless, an inability to think clearly, indecisiveness, hopelessness, and at its most severe, recurring thoughts of suicide.

The impact of depression is debilitating. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people globally suffer from depression — approximately 5 percent of the world’s population — and it’s the leading cause of disability. What’s worse, even in high-income countries nearly 50 percent of those with the illness don’t seek treatment.

And while depression reaches the lives of so many worldwide and is arguably one of the most studied mental illnesses, we still know little about its origins. Is depression genetic? Is it environmental? Short answer: It’s complicated.

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How To Ask For Help with Mental Health Care

Woman looking away surrounded by helpful hands

When I first saw a therapist at age 19, I hated the idea. Less than a year out of a sexually abusive relationship with a predatory high school teacher, I was determined not to let that affect me. I wasn’t “crazy” and I wasn’t weak. I didn’t need help, and I wouldn’t ask for help. Most of all, I didn’t want my parents to know I struggled — that would require vulnerability — and I wasn’t about to let anybody in. I could manage on my own.

Meanwhile, I wrote long anonymous emails back and forth with an organization called Samaritans all the way over in the U.K., because I wanted to die, I self-injured regularly, and I simply couldn’t imagine I had a future at all. As far as I was concerned, my life was already over. I desperately wanted to feel better, but if I asked for help, I thought I would be giving up.

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Is it OCD? OCD Versus Everyday Worries

Woman running hand along oven

I’ll never forget how my life with OCD began.

I’m lying on the bottom bunk of the bed my grandfather made, surrounded by stuffed animals and my well-loved blue blanket. I close my eyes in the dark room and carefully fold my hands together, placing them above my head. I begin my nightly ritual.

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What is Invisible Illness? (+ How to Explain it to Others)

Hipster woman in blue shadow

As the founder of mental health awareness organization The Invisible Illnesses, Emily Torchiana has found that explaining invisible illnesses to others is now second nature. Torchiana travels the country speaking about her experiences with cyber bullying, a suicide attempt, and mental illnesses, all of which give a voice to the invisible.

“Our slogan is ‘Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.’ You can’t see depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses physically, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist,” Torchiana tells Talkspace.

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What Is Happiness, Anyway?

Person sitting by the ocean

If you Google the phrase “how to be happy,” you’ll be met with about 207 million answers.

There’s the recent study that examined how much money a person needs to make to lead the happiest and most satisfied life possible ($95,000/year for overall satisfaction, and $60-75,000 for day-to-day happiness). There’s a quiz on how to be happier at work, infinite mommy blogs detailing how to find personal happiness as a mom, wellness publications offering unconventional ways to boost happiness, religious content exploring what happiness looks like as a Christian … you get the point. Everyone has something to say about what it means to be happy. As a result, happiness feels almost like a myth.

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Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship (+ How to Get Out of It)

Fashionable man looking sad

Online, our relationship was great. We had a lot in common. We couldn’t get enough of each other’s “texting company.” It may seem crazy to you, but it seemed like a good idea at the time: I invited a person I’d never met to fly halfway across the world — not only to meet me in person, but also to stay in my apartment for the two weeks she was visiting. I hoped the relationship would turn into something rich and real, distance be damned. Bad decision.

Just two days into her stay, the red flags started going up. She manipulated me, created a hostile atmosphere in my home, initiated never-ending drama, made ridiculous demands of me, criticized me often, talked poorly about me behind my back, forbade me from talking to friends about our relationship. Can you say toxic? I can, and thankfully, I got this person out of my life. But it wasn’t easy.

How To Tell If You’re In A Toxic Relationship

While there are plenty of signs you may be in a toxic relationship, it’s not always clear when you’re deep in the dynamic itself. Often times, a toxic partnership starts out well enough, but then slowly (and subtly) starts to erode your sense of self. One of the first warning signs of a potential toxic relationship is that the other person is consistently violating your boundaries.

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A Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

Palm of hand extended outward signaling stop

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This quote encapsulates what most healthy relationships really look like — two individuals who support each other on their distinct journeys, rather than two people who become lost in one another. Much of this comes down to having and maintaining clear boundaries, even within a romantic relationship.

It may seem obvious, but what are boundaries, really?

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Should You Disclose a Mental Illness During the Hiring Process?

man interviewing disclose mental illness during interview

I run around my apartment a little out of sorts, throwing random items of clothing into an overnight bag. From reading the hospital’s website, I know I can’t bring anything with drawstrings, but I throw my green hoodie in the bag anyway. I can’t imagine being without it.

My packing done and my hospital check-in time set, I’m not sure what else to do with myself on a Friday afternoon. I haven’t been to work in three days, but I guess I should inform them what’s happening. I hop in the car and fly over to the office to catch up on a few hours of work before being locked in a mental hospital for a week or to officially ask my boss for more time off, or…I don’t know what I was thinking. I was clearly in a paranoid, panicked, mentally ill state.

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