Depression & Anxiety: Overcoming toxic positivity

By Veronica Oquendo

Have you ever been through a bad event, like a break-up or loss of a family member, and then have someone say “stay positive” or “everything happens for a reason?” These are both examples of toxic positivity. Toxic positivity is an attitude that focuses on staying only positive, and rejecting any negative thoughts or emotions. It is especially relevant during the pandemic, with people brushing off the negative realities of Covid-19, and say it’s “just extra time for you” or “it’ll be over before you know it.” These people are failing to recognize the emotional exhaustion Covid-19 has brought upon us, with death of loved ones, prolonged social isolation, and anxiety over health concerns. It is usually not helpful to be toxically positive, as it can be detrimental to mental health.

The individual fails to process their emotions healthily, is forced to stay quiet over their struggles, and not feel connected to others. It is important to feel a full range of emotions, including the unpleasant ones.  Toxic positivity can leave you feeling shame or guilt over your feelings. One should instead, give oneself permission to feel painful emotions and remember that your feelings are significant and valid. One can manage the negative emotions in a way that does not deny their existence.

Toxic positivity is not helpful to others going through a dilemma. People that are utilizing toxic positivity are most likely minimizing the feelings of the one going through pain for their own comfort. Telling someone “stay positive” when they are going through one of the darkest periods of their lives, invalidates their suffering. Most people need someone to show support by listening to them, without judgement or advice, and being told their feelings are valid.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and anxiety please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-toxic-positivity-5093958

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-man-cave/201908/toxic-positivity-dont-always-look-the-bright-side

The Stigma of Mental Health Therapy

By Veronica Oquendo

Those with psychological disorders have to suffer more than just the symptoms of their diagnoses. They also deal with societal negativity that are associated with someone who have a mental disorder, for example social disapproval and disgrace. Less than half of adults needing treatment delay it for their mental disorder for this reason, or do not seek treatment at all. The stigma creates unfair stereotypes and prejudices that cause discrimination in different facets of life including: the workplace, housing access, universities/school, family, and friends. One can be bullied, denied acceptance, ostracized, have limited opportunities, and be harassed. This also leads to self-stigma which is internalized negative attitudes and shame that people with mental illness have about their own condition.

There are ways to battle the stigma of mental illness:

  • Get treatment
  • Talk openly about mental health
  • Don’t isolate or feel shame
  • Join a Support Group
  • Choose empowerment over shame
  • Call out others perpetuating mental health stigma

Although, there is far less stigma in Western countries among the educated, there is still progress to be made. It is suggested in review by The Lancet that to reduce stigma  requires “large-scale contact-based interventions in high-income countries—involving service users as a core element, with sustained funding and engagement.” Early intervention with children and teenagers through an educational setting would also be helpful. Most importantly, access to mental healthcare as well as an increase in overall quality of treatment would be most beneficial.

If you or someone you know needs quality mental health therapy to help reduce the consequences of associated stigma, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/in-depth/mental-health/art-20046477

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/stigma-and-discrimination

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)00687-5/fulltext

Impostor Syndrome

By Veronica Oquendo

Imagine a scenario, you have gained a promotion at your job, and you are now Vice President of your company. Furthermore, your bosses want to congratulate you with an office party, and plaque for your outstanding achievement that earned your promotion. When you are at your office party you have an overwhelming feeling that you do not deserve this promotion and recognition. You think that you are not intelligent enough to hold this new position. You put a lot of effort into your work, but not anymore than anyone else would, even though others recognize your high work ethic. Worst of all, you feel that the other employees will find out you are do not deserve it, be scrutinized for it, and eventually fail. This scenario is not an uncommon occurrence, where 25-30% of high achievers currently suffer the feelings of imposter syndrome, and 70% of adults have experienced it at one point in their lifetime. The highest populations that feel imposter syndrome are women of color. 

Reasons for imposter syndrome: 

  • High pressure to succeed
  • Perfectionism 
  • Mental Health Issues 

It is important to note that imposter syndrome is not an official diagnosis in the DSM, but is a feeling an often associated with success, even more so among those suffering from anxiety and depression.

If you or someone you know is struggling with imposter syndrome, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources: 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/imposter-syndrome

https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/11/fraud

Depression: Life During Covid-19

Depression: Life During Covid-19

By: Ziara Pena

Covid-19 has impacted the lives of everyone worldwide. We are living in a society where the new norm is not being able to see the faces of others due to masks. Social distancing and fear of the virus contribute to the limitation of human interaction.

The virus has instilled such fear, causing some individuals to not see anyone outside of their household in almost a year. Grandparents didn’t get to watch their grandchildren’s first steps, many didn’t get to say a final goodbye to their loved ones and ceremonies such as graduations and weddings were canceled. Covid-19 has brought much negativity and hurt to the lives of many. Catching the virus is not the only thing that we need to be worrying about. Mental health, particularly depression, has been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. Studies have proven that suicide rates have skyrocketed from 1% to 145%. These numbers do not even include the rates of suicidal ideations and self-harm.

Now more than ever is when we need to spread awareness of the importance of taking care of our mental health similarly as we take care of our physical health. If you or someone you know needs mental health support throughout the pandemic, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

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Sources: https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4352

Photo Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=nurse+covid+19+crying&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiAg7Co4NruAhXXFVkFHV_lB-QQ_AUoAXoECAYQAw&biw=1600&bih=708#imgrc=2ZCuCtlSreICKM

World Kindness Day: How to stay positive in dark times

World Kindness Day: How to stay positive in dark times

By: Zoe Alekel

As Friday November 13, 2020 is World Kindness Day, it only felt right to talk about the impact that positivity and kindness have on our mental health. Keeping a positive mindset and attitude is seemingly easy when life is smooth-sailing. However, when we hit the inevitable bumps in the road that life comes with, it is a lot easier said than done. Maintaining optimism in difficult times can often seem impossible—at the least, it seems like a lot of work. If you are struggling to stay positive during a difficult time, especially during a pandemic like COVID-19, you can try to focus on the following:

  • Focus on what you can control: Remember there are things in life we can’t control, but the things we can control like how we decide to seize the day and how we treat others.
  • Limit your media intake: Social media and news media can put us in a rut when we are already feeling negative about the world. Make sure you don’t spend too much time on media and give yourself a break from negative news stories.
  • Invest in uplifting others: Acts of kindness can not only uplift others and change someone’s day, but it can also help keep you in a more optimistic mindset.
  • Set personal schedules and goals: By setting small daily goals for yourself, such as making your bed and brushing your teeth in the morning. You can start the day off accomplishing something and setting a productive mindset for the rest of the day.

Keeping these pointers in mind is important when trying to stay optimistic during a difficult time. Some additional ideas of ways to cope with a difficult time are:

  • Find a therapist or mental health professional: This can become an outlet to help you process the difficult time you are having and to get professional recommendations for keeping a positive mindset.
  • Find a hobby or a group to join with people that have similar interests as yours.
  • Invest in self-care: Make sure you are taking care of you! Do things that bring you joy, even if it is as simple as taking a warm shower, eating a meal you enjoy, listening to music, or calling a loved one or friend.
  • Take a few minutes every day to write down the positive events that happened during that day, or things for which you are grateful.

If you or someone you know is struggling with keeping positive or with mental illness, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

 

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stronger-fear/202003/how-stay-positive-during-the-pandemic?collection=1151836

Image Source: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/bb/e7/2c/bbe72cda72203d29a2f24459962c6f7a.jpg

Depression: Social Depression

By: Nicolette Ferrante

Social Anxiety and Depression are two of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in the United States.  Social Anxiety Disorder is the fear of being rejected or embarrassing oneself in a social setting. Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent, deep feeling of sadness and loss of interest in things someone once enjoyed.  Although these are two separate diagnoses, they can co-occur.

            Social symptoms of depression include avoiding any type of contact with friends/family, not wanting to attend activities involving social interaction and neglecting normal behavior and interests that were once enjoyed. People with social anxiety disorder are six times more likely to develop a mood disorder such as depression. Social Phobias prevent people from making friends, applying for jobs, pursuing relationships and being a part of any social setting at all.

            Avoidance is the only way to cope with social anxiety. They withdraw out of fear of embarrassing themselves or not fitting in. Those with Social Anxiety disorder want to socialize, but the fear is far too much to bring them to. The uncontrollable anxiety and inability to socialize often leads to the feelings of hopelessness, isolation and frustration. Neglecting themselves from social interactions, sometimes leads to depression, due to the loneliness. Not everyone with SAD will experience depression.

                 If you or someone you know needs support with their mental illness, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

Social Anxiety and Depression

Shopping Addiction

By: Deanna Damaso

Shopping Addiction is a behavioral addiction where a person buys items compulsively or a specific item repeatedly as an attempt to relieve stress. Those suffering with a shopping addiction spend more time shopping than doing other activities because of their uncontrollable urges to spend money.

The joy of shopping has a direct effect on the brain’s pleasure centers by flooding the brain with endorphins and dopamine. The buyer gets a short-lived “shopping high” from making frequent shopping trips, buying large items, or expensive purchases. However, after a couple hours, the dopamine recedes and the shopper is left with an empty, unsatisfied feeling. This can lead to hoarding, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. If left untreated, compulsive buyers could go deeper into debt and turn to stealing.

Some signs of a shopping addiction often include:

  • Spending more money than anticipated
  • Compulsive purchases
  • Chronic spending when angry, anxious, or depressed
  • Lying about the problem
  • Broken relationships
  • Ignoring the consequences of spending money

Financial therapy is effective in teaching how to manage finances and shop more responsibly. Cognitive and behavioral therapies are effective treatments that identify and improve the negative thoughts and behaviors surrounding the addiction. Medications can be prescribed to those who struggle with both the addiction and other mental health issues. This combination treatment helps relieve symptoms to assist in recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a shopping addiction, Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact us in Paramus, NJ at 201-368-3700 or in Manhattan, NY at 212-996-3939 to arrange an appointment. For more information about our services, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

 

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/addiction/shopping

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200603/doped-shopping

Depression: Have a Case of the Winter Blues? Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder

 

By: Keely Fell

Can’t seem to shake the winter blues? Nearly five percent of adults are experiencing symptoms that align with major depressive disorder with recurring seasonal pattern, which is more commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), an individual who is experiencing “two major depressive episodes in the last two years” that show relations to the time of year, and experience full remissions at other times they may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

It is also important to understand what is happening in the body and why an individual is experiencing such symptoms. When an individual is experiencing these symptoms, often it can be as a result of the lack of natural light due to the shorter periods of daylight during the winter season. With the lack of light, the human brain slows down the production of serotonin, and increases the production of melatonin which leaves individuals feeling drowsy. Melatonin production increase is caused by darkness, which is why we get sleepy when the sun goes down. The regulation of these chemicals is what helps create your body’s specific circadian rhythm. When this system is affected it can cause a feeling of lethargy and or restlessness.

Here are some tips and tricks to shaking those winter blues:

  1. Take a few minutes during your day to get outside Whether that’s during your lunch break or walking to pick up the mail, going outside during daylight will increase the serotonin production in your brain.
  2. Light Therapy During the dark winter months, if these symptoms are taking over you can try light therapy. Light therapy allows for the brain to think it’s being exposed to sunlight. People who use light therapy typically invest in a light box (if interested Harvard Health has many they recommend) which delivers around 10,000 lux, compared to a standard sunny day that ranges 50,000 lux or above. They recommend that, you sit in front of the light box for no more than 30 minutes a day. This allows for the brain to regulate its circadian rhythms by allowing the retinas to be stimulated. Light therapy does not work for everyone.
  3. Talk Therapy If these symptoms persist and are affecting your day talk therapy is also affective. Reaching out to a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or psychotherapist to come up with symptom relief is another big way to combat these symptoms. Symptom relief may include the use of antidepressants, or various therapeutic methods.

 

If you or someone you know has Seasonal Affective Disorder or seems to have the symptoms of SAD, and needs help, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/seasonal-affective-disorder-bring-on-the-light-201212215663

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder

 

Learning How to Face Rejection

rejection

By: Tamar Asayan

Everyone has experienced rejection whether it was not getting the job you wanted, your friends not inviting you somewhere and posting about it online, or even having someone not like you back. Rejection is the loss of something you may have once had or wanted. It is similar to abandonment because it leaves you feeling less than and unwanted. Unfortunately, rejection is something that cannot be avoided and it is a part of life that everyone will have to experience. No matter how small or big the rejection you experience is, it is always going to hurt you and leave an emotional wound. Not only does rejection cause emotional pain, but it also damages someone’s self-esteem and effects one’s mood resulting in frustration and anger. An article, “Why Rejection Hurts So Much-and What to do About it” states, “The same areas of our brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. That’s why even small rejections hurt more than we think they should, because they elicit literal pain” (Winch). If you are feeling the pain of being rejected here are some ways to cope and overcome it in healthier ways.

  1. Acknowledge the pain and grief of loss
  • When you are rejected, you may feel embarrassed and don’t know how to exactly cope with it. You may repress your feelings and ignore the fact that you are in pain.
  • In order to accept rejection, you must accept the pain of what you are going through. Whether it is crying, going to therapy, exercising, or even journaling, it is important to relieve and express the emotions faced when being rejected.
  1. Don’t blame yourself
  • Most of the time you don’t understand why you have been rejected and naturally you place the blame on yourself.
  • The reason you believe you are at fault is because early in life you may have been taught to believe that you are not enough.
  • Do not take responsibility for what is out of your control.
  1. Put yourself out there
  • Rejection is part of the process which leads to success. Do not take it personally, it’s part of life.
  • Putting yourself out there can make you less sensitive to rejection; the more you are rejected the less it hurt us.
  1. Build your resiliency
  • To be resilient is to be able to recover or come back from a stressful or traumatizing event.
  • Resiliency can be learned by doing some of the following:
    • Having an open mind
    • Seeking solutions
    • Learning from an experience
    • Seeking support
    • Knowing your worth and strengths
    • Self-care

If you or someone you know is feeling rejected or dealing with rejection, call now to make an appointment to speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ (201) 368-3700 or Manhattan, NY offices at or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources: https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-overcome-rejection-like-a-champ/

https://ideas.ted.com/why-rejection-hurts-so-much-and-what-to-do-about-it/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/imperfect/2019/02/4-strategies-to-cope-with-the-pain-of rejection/

Image: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1327598/Why-rejection-good-you.html

Listening: Three Ways to Become a Better Listener

listening

By: Tamar Asayan

All anyone ever wants is to be listened to when they are going through a difficult time in their life. An act as simple as listening can be the biggest help anyone can ask for. However, it can also be the hardest thing to do because listeners have a habit of relating issues back to themselves. The aim of listening is not to try to fix them or tell them what to do; instead it is to show them that you care and feel for them as they are struggling. Oftentimes, it is better to not relate issues back to yourself. People feel the need to be listened to because they want to make sure their thoughts are rational, and do not want to overthink. When we listen it reassures the person that we care and that they are not alone.

Three easy steps to becoming a better listener is to listen, understand, and respond appropriately.

  1. Listen
    • Pay attention to not only what the speaker is saying but body language as well.
    • Do not interrupt the speaker.
  2. Understand
    • This is the time to process everything the person has told you so you know how to respond appropriately.
    • Ask questions; the best types of questions to ask are open ended and reflective questions.
    • This allows the speaker to open up even more and explain what they are going through.
  3. Response
    • Address the speaker’s points.
    • Restate what they have told you.
    • Don’t complete the speaker’s sentences. This can come off rude, and interrupts your time to listen and for them to speak. Interrupting and assuming what the speaker is feeling will make them think you do not want to listen.

Sources:

https://blog.udemy.com/importance-of-listening/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-generosity-of-listening/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/become-a-better-listener-active-listening/

Image: http://throwthediceandplaynice.com/2017/12/listening-up-in-2018.html

If you or someone you know may be having trouble with communication speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.