How Depression Strengthened My Relationship With My Son

black father comforting son

Men are statistically less likely than women to seek help for mental health and to celebrate Men’s Health Week we’re highlighting issues specifically related to men and their mental health.  

It was my worst fear. I missed the opportunity to help my 15-year-old old son when he most needed me.

In 2015 I faced the worst depression of my life. It felt like I was in a dark and bottomless pit. I felt distant from myself and my family. Days went by and my most significant family interaction was sitting silently at the dinner table with my hoodie pulled over my head.

One of the oaths I swore to myself when I was younger was that I would use the lessons from my early experiences with depression to make life better for my kids. At the same time I was facing my depression, however, my son faced his own depression as a result of being bullied at school.

Thinking about that season of my life, I wish now that I had been able to think a little more clearly. Maybe I could have picked up on his signs and supported him? Maybe he would have had an easier time if we had talked more? Continue reading How Depression Strengthened My Relationship With My Son

Therapy and Becoming the Person You Want to Be

building blocks domino effect stop

As a counselor, I am usually the one who asks the questions. I often joke that I get paid for each question I ask. That’s why I ask so many good questions.

Recently a client asked me a perplexingly simple question I didn’t have an answer for.

My client previously discussed how she believes her family is “dysfunctional.” We then talked about the word, it felt like a psycho babble cuss-word. That is, when you are mad at someone, you call them dysfunctional. The word has taken on many meanings in our culture, including someone who is:

  • Unable to handle life
  • Poor at relationships and intimacy
  • Being an emotional mess
  • Not normal
  • Not like the rest of us

As a therapist I confront this concept every time it comes up in conversation. It is a word that creates a wasteland of comparison, judgment, shame, and the conclusion that we are a messed up, abnormal person. Continue reading Therapy and Becoming the Person You Want to Be

11 Lessons for Success in Addiction Recovery

sad woman hand on chin

I have worked as a counselor for more than 25 years. For 11 of those years I have worked as an Addiction Therapist. I teach on the Psychology of Addiction, but my experience is not only from my day job or my academic role.

I have had bouts of addiction to food and I have been diagnosed with clinical depression. Growing up, my father was an alcoholic. The impact of a childhood lived with a parent who is addicted to a substance can have long lasting echoes.

Addiction is personal for me. I care a great deal about people who suffer from addiction and long for freedom. What I would like to share with you is some of the lessons I have learned as a therapist who specializes in addiction and recovery. Continue reading 11 Lessons for Success in Addiction Recovery