Online Therapy is the #1 Tool for Travelers With Depression

depressed man airport red suitcase

I always wanted to travel. In college I attended information sessions in stuffy rooms and echoing lecture halls, for at least five different study abroad programs. I dutifully filled out the paperwork, scheduled doctor’s appointments, even met with the other folks I’d be spending time abroad with. It was exciting. But something always held me back.

My depression.

Traveling opens our minds and keeps us young. Women who vacation every two years have a significantly lower risk of heart attack than women who vacation only ever six years. Men who don’t take an annual vacation have a 20% higher risk of death (30% higher risk of heart disease). However, for those of us with depression, travel can pose many challenges or even make it impossible.

Immersing yourself in an unfamiliar culture –– and actually getting there –– can be challenging. Between long flights and layovers, short connections, cancellations, not understanding the language, being unfamiliar with the cuisine, uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, altitude changes…there are many variables that can pose issues even for the most seasoned traveler among us. Layering in mental illness can exacerbate these situations.

Just because traveling guarantees a disruption of your normal schedule and poses a variety of potential challenges, does not mean you have to abandon your travel plans, give up exploring new areas, or forego trips to visit those you love. There are ways for all of us with mental illness to maintain our mental wellness, while hitting the road. Continue reading Online Therapy is the #1 Tool for Travelers With Depression

14 Movies About Depression That Perfectly Capture the Experience

Anomalisa movie poster

More than 300 million people have depression, and each person has a unique story. It’s a mental health condition that manifests in a myriad of ways. It can make people feel lonely, detached, down or unmotivated, like there’s no point to anything. It can also spur them to act irrationally or destructively. We need movies about depression — among other works of art — to help us understand, humanize and sympathize with the many ways people experience depression.

If you’re interested in watching a movie featuring depression, it can be difficult to know where to start. There are hundreds of movies about depression, and thousands with strong themes of depression.

Rather than starting a subjective conversation about which movies are “best” in terms of the filmmaking (good writing, interesting characters, solid plot, etc.), we wanted to learn which ones would best enlighten you on the experience of depression. If you live with depression, you might identify with one or more of the characters in these films or they might provide your family and friends some insight into what you’re struggling with. Continue reading 14 Movies About Depression That Perfectly Capture the Experience

Ask Anna: Can I Support My Depressed BF Without Sabotaging Myself?

Anna Akbari advice column

Talkspace is pleased to introduce Ask Anna, a new Question & Answer column featuring Anna Akbari, sociologist and author of “Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way To Happiness.” Send your mental health questions for Anna to [email protected].

Hi Anna,

When I first started dating my boyfriend, he was really ambitious, was a leader at his work, and was really excited about what he was doing. I feel like the combination of success and stress has made him flatline a bit. I’ve found that he’s gotten increasingly more agitated, less motivated, has lost his sense of ambition and is starting down a self-destructive path. On the weekends he is binge drinking and taking partying to a new level––the night always end in a fight or worse. Whenever I ask him how his day was, he says “it sucked” and completely shuts down. Every time I bring any of this up, he gets really defensive and refuses to talk about it.

I love him and want to help him, but I am at a crossroads. This is affecting me in a negative way and causing me to question our future together. How can I support him without sabotaging my own happiness?

– The supportive but not stupid girlfriend Continue reading Ask Anna: Can I Support My Depressed BF Without Sabotaging Myself?

Traveling with Depression: How I Should Have Prepared

woman backpack mountain

Mental health can be a journey. Journeying while struggling with mental health challenges, however, can be almost impossible.

In 2015 I traveled to Puno, Peru, to work on a research project as a part of my graduate degree in international public health. Before enrolling in the degree program, I had spent the better part of the previous two years traveling and living abroad in some capacity and was excited to have the opportunity to travel as a part of my career.

As my departure date to Peru creeped closer, I started seeing a therapist at the university health center to talk about concerns I had about traveling. I had experienced acute depression that year for the first time and was nervous it would creep back in while I was in a low-resource setting abroad. My in-person therapist told me many students feel this way before completing fieldwork abroad and I would be fine to push through.

I didn’t want my fears around my mental health to stop me from traveling. I wanted to be “strong.” So off I flew to Puno. Continue reading Traveling with Depression: How I Should Have Prepared

The Basics of SAD and How You Can Treat It: A Therapist’s Perspective

woman coffee light therapy

Many people with mood disorders, and those without, struggle in the cooler months with shorter days and much less sunlight. When the sun goes down, so does our energy and mood.

For those with Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD], this change can be debilitating. The change in seasons and less daylight hours can lead to missed days from school or work, relationship problems and drastic changes in mood and weight. The effects of SAD can be devastating.

As a therapist, I come across many clients who experience symptoms such as these and come to understand these cluster of behaviors and experiences as SAD. As the summer months wind down, I can hear the worry and concern in their voices: “But what is winter going to be like for me?” Continue reading The Basics of SAD and How You Can Treat It: A Therapist’s Perspective

Why Is Suicide Increasing in Black Children?

young black girl sad

In July 2015, published research by JAMA Pediatrics indicated the suicide rate among elementary school children (under 12 years of age) had stabilized over two decades. What they were surprised to find was that Black children were at an increased incidence of suicide whereas their White counterparts demonstrated a significant decrease in suicide incidence. While White children’s rates of suicide has stabilized, those of Black children had increased.

What’s happening to our young Black children? Continue reading Why Is Suicide Increasing in Black Children?

#StopStigma: A Blogger Opens Up About Her Depression

talkspace blog kelly bishop depression

For Mental Health Awareness Month, we asked some of our favorite bloggers to share their personal mental health stories to help #StopStigma. The more people speaking out about mental illness, the more people will know they aren’t alone in their struggles. Our aim is to encourage our Talkspace community and the broader mental health community to share their stories in a snowball effect, blasting stigma and breaking the silence.

This Is How I Struggle, By Kelly Bishop

You feel like you’re standing in your own way. So many things in your life should make you happy, yet you struggle to feel those elated emotions. It makes you hate yourself because you can’t let what is in front of you bring happiness. It’s not like you’re taking anything for granted, but it feels like you are, only because you’re as sad as ever when you shouldn’t be. Continue reading #StopStigma: A Blogger Opens Up About Her Depression

Can You Literally Lift Your Way Out of Depression? — An Interview with Top NYC Trainer Christine Coen

Christine Coen mental health

Imagine literally lifting your way out of mental illness, pushing away depression with every weight and movement. After struggling for years, New York-based trainer, dietician and mental health blogger Christine Coen realized this approach would save her.

To explore the intersection of fitness and mental health and inspire people with her story, Talkspace interviewed Coen. Keep reading to learn how she used fitness and healthy eating to boost her mental health. Continue reading Can You Literally Lift Your Way Out of Depression? — An Interview with Top NYC Trainer Christine Coen

Dating a Man with Depression: What You Need to Know and Do

Man silhouetted looking out bedroom window

When you date a man with depression, it can become a struggle to maintain a relationship with him and protect your own mental health. The experience is not fundamentally different than dating someone without a mental illness, but there are issues that are more likely to arise.

By understanding these issues and knowing how to respond, you can support the man you love without threatening the relationship or your emotional wellbeing. Continue reading Dating a Man with Depression: What You Need to Know and Do

Postpartum Depression: A Quick Guide for Tired New Moms

postpartum depression mother newborn

Despite all the work mental health professionals have done to break down the stigma of postpartum depression, society keeps shoving a message in the face of a new mom: having a baby is the best thing in the world.

“Are you loving being a mom?”, “Isn’t it just the best thing ever?” and “Treasure this time” are all phrases a new mom will hear in the first weeks of her baby’s life. It can leave her wondering what she is missing, what she is doing wrong.

Well-meaning friends, family and ever-present social media can place pressure on new mothers. This can morph into a belief that if you are not loving your newborn who is screaming for no apparent reason, waking up ten times a night and pooping all over you, there must be something wrong with you. Add that pressure to the out-of-whack hormones coursing through a woman’s body and you have a recipe for postpartum depression. Continue reading Postpartum Depression: A Quick Guide for Tired New Moms