Actress Kirsten Dunst is one of the few performers who was able to transition successfully from child star to adult star. She recently won the Best Actress prize at Cannes for her role in Lars Von Trier‘s movie Melancholia. And in this month’s issue of Flare magazine, Dunst talks about her own melancholia. More
I like to read the news first thing in the morning, as we all do, but sometimes it can be a real downer of a way to start my day. There’s poverty, disease, war; all of which can do serious damage to our happiness and wellness, even from afar. Today, when I read two different studies back to back, first that women’s sleeping patterns are the cause of marital strife then that women are more prone to depression than men, I really began to feel like the scientific community was reaching out beyond the pages of my Google Reader, grabbing me by the throat, and shaking all the loose marbles about in my head. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m getting the impression scientists and researchers want me to know I was born a moody cow, there’s nothing I can do about it, and all relationship problems I’ve ever had, am currently having, and will have in the future, are my fault. Yeah, this is getting a little tiring, and is totally bumming me out. Science, I thought you were my friend!
More people are talking openly about depression now than ever (even celebrities like Catherine Zeta-Jones are fessing up to severe emotional disorders like bipolar disease). It’s uplifting to see that we’ve created a better support system for people who experience emotional and mental health problems — a far from negligible portion of the population — but at the end of the day, it’s hard to see depression as anything but a downer. If we could eradicate it, we would. Or would we? According to a new study, there’s an upshot to being down, at least for anyone who’s experienced depression firsthand: Researchers found that depressed people perform better on sequential decision task tests than non-depressed people, exhibiting a possible positive side-effect of mental health disorders. More
With everything else that’s going on in the world (most of it negative) including, but not limited to: the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the protests in Wisconsin over Governor Scott Walker’s hi-jinx, chaos in Libya, and violence in Ivory Coast, you could be forgiven for forgetting about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her ongoing recovery from a gunshot wound to the head in Tucson this January.
Obviously, it’s nothing short of a miracle that Representative Giffords survived almost having her brains blown out at close range in the first place. Then it was unreal that she survived all the surgeries that followed. Fast forward just a little more than two months later: According to a recent article in The New York Times, doctors recently removed Giffords’ tracheotomy tube, which means that she can talk. She can also walk. She can see out of both eyes, even though her left eye socket had been fractured by the bullet. She has memory and cognitive skills. She recognizes and remembers her family and friends. She can laugh, smile, and demonstrate her personality to staffers. She has enough stamina to spend three to five hours a day in therapy. She hasn’t exhibited any signs of depression, or even frustration. (Who could be frustrated and depressed by this kind of extraordinary progress?) She knows that her husband, astronaut Mark E. Kelly, will be going into space on the shuttle Endeavor in April. And she plans to travel from the rehabilitation facility in Houston to Florida to be there. More
I’m anti-overmedicating. I’m pro-talk therapy. Or so I thought. Thanks to Dr. Freud, I’ve paid for my fair share of talk therapy sessions in my adult life (from clinical psychologists and social workers), and, thanks to the pharmaceutical industry, I’ve taken my fair share of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications (from a psychiatrist). Now, I don’t think talk therapy and medications are mutually exclusive; nor do I think that one is inherently better or more effective than the other. When employed in tandem, they can be a winning combo for some patients. But that’s the problem: What works for one patient doesn’t necessarily work for another. And in recent years, fewer and fewer psychiatrists in the U.S. have been offering talk therapy (just 11% in 2005), in favor of 15-minute visits during which they figure out how to alter the patient’s meds and send them on their way. Maybe the shrink will see the patient again in a week, maybe a month, maybe longer. Of course, the reason for this isn’t because psychiatrists are mean and heartless; it’s because the insurance companies are — because they’ve significantly reduced the amounts and types of services for which they’ll pay doctors. More
This is author Therese Borchard’s second post for Blisstree; she’ll be blogging for us on a weekly basis about all kinds of mental health, depression, and therapy issues. Find her debut post here. Have a question for Therese? Leave it in our comments section, below.
Maybe it’s because I just turned 40 over the weekend, or maybe it’s because I was asked to be a “relationship expert” for a dating website a few days ago (LOL), or that TV writer Tracy McMillan’s recent HuffPo piece “Why You’re Not Married” got under my skin, but I can’t stop thinking about how I ended up married with two kids when I was the one labeled in college “most likely to become an old maid” because 1. I preferred a tiny closet of a room for me and only me over a roomy quad with three other classmates, and 2. I hated men.
Furthermore, I’m confused as to why two of my closest friends who did everything right on the family track are still single in their 40s. McMillan would say it’s one or more of the following six reasons:
They are bitches. More
Everyone’s wrong sometimes. Even Oprah. We’ve pointed out the Queen of Talk’s past “oopsies” before, but a recent controversy surrounding Dr. Melvin Levine, a childhood education expert who frequently offered his counsel on her show, has led to yet another rehash of her more serious errors in judgment.
Levine, who committed suicide last Friday after 40 of his patients filed a class-action suit against him for medical malpractice and sexual abuse, consulted on her show years before any news of his patient abuse came to light. These days, there’s no trace of his name or advice on her site, of course, but we don’t doubt that Oprah’s smart enough to dissociate from doctors getting sued for malpractice and child abuse. We just wonder how much she and her staff really investigated his background before inviting him on board as a bona fide expert. More
This is author Therese Borchard’s debut post for Blisstree, and we’re happy to announce that she’ll be blogging for us on a weekly basis about all kinds of mental health, depression, and therapy issues. Have a question for Therese? Leave it in our comments section.
I admit it: I am one skeptical chick when it comes to health solutions, because I read so many self-help books a week that my bookshelves can no longer hold their weight. I’ve spent close to $40,000 on therapy, outpatient treatment programs, and psych visits. I’ve also explored almost every single alternative health treatment on the market today, from acupuncture to expensive Chinese herbs.
I spend an incredible amount of time each day pursuing good emotional and physical health. I’ve been called many things, but “health slacker” is not one. If I don’t swim 150 laps before 7:30 am, then I run seven miles. I eat plenty of roughage and vegetables, keep processed foods to a minimum, and take six omega-3 capsules a day, plus vitamin D, folic acid, and calcium supplements.
If you can think of anything better than curling up on the couch, closing your eyes, and drifting off to sleep for half-an-hour, we’d like to hear it. Naps are delightful. Plus, they reduce fatigue, can increase alertness, improve your mood, boost the immune system and even strengthen memory, performance, and lead to fewer mistakes. So why aren’t you taking one now? Oh, right. You’re an adult and all daylight hours are spent in an office, while evening hours are dedicated to family and non-work-related tasks. Granted, adult nap time is difficult to execute during the week (unless you have a very understanding boss with a couch in his/her office), but here five reasons why you should make taking one a priority: More
It’s mind-boggling that one in every 13 people who walk the Earth is on Facebook. This 24/7 show-and-tell of how a user is feeling, what they’re doing, who they’re dating, and of course photo albums showing their amazing life is usually a fun distraction for a while. But when you’re battling the blues, being subjected to your friend’s chirpy, happy, status updates can get really annoying. And, according to TIME, a recent Stanford University study says that logging too many hours on the social networking site when you’re feeling down can be detrimental to your emotional well-being.
The study claims that feelings of worthlessness, resentment, and anxiety are heightened when faced with your friend’s perky pictures of smiling children and exotic international travel, but that users don’t know the whole story behind their peer’s polished profiles. More
Old Man Winter is one nasty SOB. For those of us living in northern climes, the unrelenting cold is enough to drive us indoors and under our favorite blanket for weeks at a time. We crave starchy comfort foods and curse when the scale dares to reveal our weakness. We’re sleepy, grumpy, dopey, and any number of other traits characterizing the Seven Dwarfs, but fervently hope we don’t act like them by the time spring has actually sprung.
Up to 10 million Americans – 75% of them women – also get SAD: Seasonal affective disorder. Some confuse run-of-the-mill winter blues with this subtype of major depressive disorder, but that’s like comparing a paper cut to a severed fingertip, says Dr. Raymond Lam, director of the Mood Disorder Centre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Our mojo may go MIA with a typical depression, but SAD actually stops sufferers from living their lives normally, according to Lam, turning jobs, classes, parenting, and other everyday responsibilities into Herculean tasks. More
Last week I kicked off our new series about living with chronic health conditions by giving you all the gory details about a genetic skin disease called Hailey-Hailey. I’m following up with that today, so that next week we can focus on a different (yet equally challenging) health condition.
Skin disease are tough, for the obvious reason that it’s very difficult (yet often essential) to hide them on a daily basis from strangers, friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and the world at large. So much so that trying to conceal a nasty, bloody, scabby, and pus-filled disease like Hailey-Hailey can often become a full-time job in and of itself. (Gauze pads, bandages, and cotton undershirts and shorts that will surely get ruined are a part of daily life for many HHD sufferers.)
But I neglected to mention a few other things I’ve tried over the years in my attempts to lessen the symptoms of Hailey-Hailey. How could I forget the self-prescribed vitamin regimens (evening primrose oil, oil of garlic, oil of oregano, etc.) and all those emergency hydrocortisone shots in the dermatologist’s office? More