How To Survive Wedding Season Stress

bride planning wedding on tablet

Life transitions — regardless of whether they are happy or sad occasions—are inherently stressful. And yet, they are something we all go through at one time or another, whether it’s a job change, a break-up, a big move, or the birth or death of a loved one. Watching others go through these transitions can be stressful as well, especially if they trigger our own difficult memories or feelings.

While wedding season can be a time of fun and merriment, it can unearth all sorts of mixed emotions. Weddings are a major life event jam-packed with feelings of fear and high expectations — expectations that can be easily crushed.

If we are the ones getting married, we will likely have our own deeply personal set of fears about this transition: Will life ever be the same as it once was? What if our feelings change? Will our marriage last? These questions are natural, but extremely stressful nonetheless. Continue reading How To Survive Wedding Season Stress

How to Maintain Your Motivation While Depressed

depressed man sitting in bed

Most of us take action because we believe it will bring about a concrete benefit or result in future happiness. These prospects are what motivate us. Clinical depression, however, can change your brain in a way that makes it difficult to experience a sense of pleasure or reward. When depression makes you unbearably sad, numb, or exhausted, you might not feel like there is a reason to do anything. If nothing has satisfied you lately, you might think, “What’s the point?”

Fortunately there are mental techniques and strategies you can employ to gradually regain the motivation needed to live a full life. You can try them on your own or by working with a therapist. The latter, however, will most likely yield better, faster results.

Below are some strategies recommended by therapists who have worked with clients to restore their motivation during severe depression. Most of these solutions focus on incremental steps, so change is more manageable and easier to commit to. Continue reading How to Maintain Your Motivation While Depressed

Talkspace Customer Support: When Mental Health Is On the Line

blank smartphone computer woman with ripped jeans

In most companies, customer support is relatively simple and the stakes are low. The goal is to resolve issues that may arise with a product or service. Customer support representatives receive “tickets” that contain technical issues or complaints from customers. The reps respond and solve the problem. When necessary, they forward the ticket to another employee or “escalate” the issue by involving supervisors.

Even when there is a persistent technical problem or an upset customer, not much is truly on the line. Customers may be irritated if they need to wait a few extra days on a shipment or refund, but they’re OK.

Now imagine if a ticket could contain anything from anxiety to depression. The Talkspace customer support team works with these sensitive issues every day. Continue reading Talkspace Customer Support: When Mental Health Is On the Line

Confession: Sometimes I Use Mental Illness as an Excuse for Flakiness

woman in bed holding head phone on desk

This story is a part of our Mental Health Confessions series, a collection of stories from people who open up about times they felt guilty or conflicted about their mental health issue.

I’m pretty tolerant of most types of people, but I absolutely hate flakes. I have cut off friendships because I can’t deal with others’ flakiness, especially when it comes down to repeated incidents of bailing on plans at the last minute.

However, some might say I’m a hypocrite. Why? My mental illness, at times, causes me to become the very type of person I hate.

Friendship is a two-way street. We expect our friends to put in the same amount of time and emotional labor into maintaining a relationship as we do ourselves. Of course, we know this isn’t always the case, and I’ll be the first to admit it: with some of my friends, I feel like I am giving less than I’m getting. I’ve flaked on even the best of my best friends, and I fear one day they’ll decide to cut me loose because of it. Continue reading Confession: Sometimes I Use Mental Illness as an Excuse for Flakiness

When You’re Not Sure What To Say to Your Online Therapist

woman sunglasses texting frowning confused

Therapy can be super awkward. And necessarily so if you’re discussing difficult material. Even if you are talkative and gregarious, you might not know what to say during certain parts of your therapeutic journey. This can be even more of a challenge during online texting therapy because you don’t get your therapist’s visual cues that might prompt you to say something more on a topic.

To help you continue therapy without hesitation when you’re feeling stuck, shy, or just don’t know what to discuss, we created this guide for communicating with therapists online. Use it as a reference whenever you draw a blank or aren’t sure what to say.

Starting the Conversation With Your Therapist

Your therapist will most likely ask several questions to get the ball rolling. Nonetheless, there will be times during the beginning of therapy when you might need to start the conversation. If you can’t think of anything, try one or more of the following: Continue reading When You’re Not Sure What To Say to Your Online Therapist

Who Should You Share Your Addiction and Recovery With?

addiction counselor recovery group in circle

One of the clearest takeaways from the science regarding addiction treatment: Everyone in recovery needs love and support from other people to help them through the blood, sweat, and tears of overcoming drug or alcohol abuse.

Knowing specifically who to share your addiction and recovery with can be complicated and somewhat nerve-wracking, however. Telling someone you have an addiction entails higher risks than telling them you have asthma or a sprained ankle, after all. “Too Much Information” (TMI) shared with the wrong person can carry consequences you’ll regret. Addiction-related revelations to the wrong people can kill a job or relationship, even your recovery.

Who, then, should you share your addiction and recovery with? Continue reading Who Should You Share Your Addiction and Recovery With?

Dating With Depression: 8 Tips For A Great Time

couple wearing hoodies leaning on bridge railing

Millions of people around the world suffer from depression and many of them are actively dating, often using online dating sites. No doubt dating can be difficult when you suffer from depression, but it can also be a tremendous source of happiness when you meet someone special.

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you are dealing with depression and trying to find love — or maybe just trying to enjoy a few fun dates!

1. Think About Professional Help

Dating can be challenging, even more so if you are suffering from depression. If you are considering getting out there, or already dating, you could seek professional advice from a therapist who will help you get the most from the experience. Working with a therapist is a great way to identify and manage mental health issues that come up with dating and relationships. Continue reading Dating With Depression: 8 Tips For A Great Time

6 Quick Tips to Maintain Your Mental Health While Dating

date woman man eating dinner at home

Dating and relationships can be wonderful — meeting new people, the exciting first kindling of romance, establishing a deeper connection with someone who knows you intimately. But it can also go wrong. And when it does, the damage to our self-esteem can cause intense emotional suffering, the type of pain that hurts in ways you didn’t imagine before getting involved with someone. To avoid some of that hurt, try these quick mental health tips.

Try Not to Be Jealous

If your significant other goes out and you know they’re with attractive people, it can make you start comparing yourself to others who your partner interacts with. This is an unhealthy mindset to fall into because it can exacerbate insecurities. Try your best to stop comparing yourself. Continue reading 6 Quick Tips to Maintain Your Mental Health While Dating

A Faith-Based Perspective on Overthinking and Anxiety

anxious woman smartphone

Overthinking can lead to depression, anxiety, an inability to move forward, and wrecked emotional health, according to groundbreaking research from psychology professor Susan Nolen-Hoeksema of the University of Michigan. We may not even realize we are overthinking because we’re thinking all the time and it comes so naturally to all of us.

I find myself constantly living out scenarios in my mind that don’t come to pass. It gives me relief to know I am not alone in this. When we are nervous about something — whether it be a deadline for work, a conversation we are not looking forward to having, or a major event that could go well or poorly — it is so easy to let ourselves be consumed with the “what ifs.”

When I find myself in this trap, I will lose sleep, become irritable, and struggle to focus on anything else. None of the scenarios I imagine have ever come to pass, yet they already cause me stress! How backwards is that? And yet, most of us do this all the time. Continue reading A Faith-Based Perspective on Overthinking and Anxiety

Hunger: My Battle With Anorexia

empty plate with note I'M NOT HUNGRY

This piece is part of our Darkest Day series, a collection of stories from people who’ve made it through the worst of their illness and now light the way for others.

It’s 7am and I’ve already burned 1,000 calories on the elliptical. I’m packing up my food for the day. Breakfast is 113 calories for 3 egg whites and 1 cup of grapes. Lunch will be 131 calories for turkey, mustard, lettuce, and baby carrots. I’ve also packed 1 pack of Parliament Lights, 4 Diet Cokes, 1 gallon of water, and 1 brand new pack of bubblemint gum. I’ll have dance class in the afternoon, which takes care of another 300 or so calories. Dinner is always a wild card –– it depends on who’s around and how carefully I’m being watched. I have food saved in my room for later just in case. I am 16 years old and 70 pounds; I am a human calorie counter and numbers genius who, ironically, is also struggling in Pre-Calculus.

Looking back, it’s hard to pinpoint a clear start for all of this. Unlike an alcoholic who can often describe their first drink, there was no concrete “first.” My eating disorder was a physical manifestation of a longtime underlying condition. It was some combination of perfectionism, extreme sensitivity, fear, and ironically enough a hunger –– a hunger for love, acceptance, validation. A hunger for everything. That hunger felt unmanageable so instead of learning how to experience it, I taught myself how to stop it, to cut it off, to starve it out. If you don’t want anything, you can never get hurt, right? Continue reading Hunger: My Battle With Anorexia