Thursday, September 01, 2016

World Suicide Prevention Day

Every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide. 

Every 41 seconds someone's left to make sense of it.

That's over 1 million people who die by suicide each year. And millions more who grieve and mourn the loss of their loved one.

Suicide is a the most preventable kind of death. Education, resources, intervention and outreach can help children and adults who struggle with staggering sadness, hopelessness and despair.

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10th sponsored by The International Association for Suicide Prevention, The World Health Organization, The United Nations and many more grass root health organizations and agencies world-wide. This year's theme is "Connect, Communicate, Care" - three words that are at the heart of suicide prevention.

To learn about the warning signs for suicidal behavior go here 

For suicide resources in the USA use go here 

For global resources go here. 

And remember, there is always someone ready to talk to you any day, any time at 1 800 273 TALK

Monday, August 01, 2016

What If You Knew Depression as a Doctor AND as a Patient?

This TEDx talk highlights my unique perspective understanding depression personally, and knowing how to treat it professionally. I hope you'll find it meaningful.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Understanding Ambivalence

Ambivalence is a human experience where two contradictory emotions about a decision, a person or an object keep you from choosing one or the other.

The coexistence of both positive and negative feelings you have toward a person pulls you in - and then pushes you away. "I really like her, but she's too old for me." Ambivalence keeps you from finding out if this relationship could be meaningful, so you don't ask her out. 

Similarly, the simultaneous pull and tug you have with making a decision keeps you in the same holding pattern. Stuck between this or that. "I'd really like to take this new job, but I don't like the distance I'd have to travel." So this person stays in his current job, unhappy.

A simple decision about going out to dinner can become a circle of frustration. "I can't choose between Mexican or Greek food for dinner. " When a decision is made, you suddently feel the "other" might have been better.  And you second guess yourself. You just can't win. 

When you have two opposing feelings about a person, situation or decision, this rigid cycling pattern never moves you forward. You're constantly moving from one side of the fence to the other. Or you park yourself entirely on the fence. Stuck.

Ambivalent thinking has been linked to obsessive compulsive tendencies, to defensive styles like "splitting" (seeing things in an all or nothing way) or can be a result of underdeveloped styles of problem solving. 

If you're ambivalent, there are things you can do to break the holding pattern. 

1.  Acknowledge that your ambivalence may be a way to protect yourself from having a negative experience. 

2. Remind yourself that nothing is perfect, and that uncertainty and doubt are givens in life. By doing this, you give yourself permission not to make a "perfect" decision. 

3. Encourage yourself to live in the present. By doing so, a decision you make can be based on this moment in time. Right here, right now. This can loosen the rigid hold ambivalence can create.

4. Reframe negative thinking to more positive statements. Remember the examples above? Here's how they can crush ambivalence reframed with positivity. "How will I know if she's too old for me if I don't go out on a date?" "Yes, the commute will be more time, but the job will be more meaningful to me, so it'll be worth it." "I'm choosing Mexican tonight, and Greek will happen for another meal next time."  

5. Understand that ambivalence is a normal experience. Especially for children and teens, and adults who are faced with difficult decisions. But if you find yourself overwhelmed with daily decision making, or bewildered by taking care of your needs, a mental health professional can help you find your way. Sometimes depression, anxiety and trauma can cloud your ability to freely make decisions - and amplify ambivalence. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Good News vs. Bad News? Research Says Take the "Bad" First

When you have a choice of taking good news or bad news, research says to grab the bad news first. 

When both good and bad things happen, taking the hit of the painful "bad" first so you can recover from it and grabbing the pleasure of the "happy" afterwards, leads to greater happiness. The process here is about getting comfort after a painful event. So taking the bad first, then savoring the good thereafter leads to better well-being.
Studies in happiness then suggest to get connected to others to fend of sadness. Happy people stay resilient by creating meaningful connections with others, like meeting up with a close friend or talking with a cherished loved one after a bad experience. Depressed individuals, however, tend to use positive monetary events like shopping or gambling as buffers against negative events, rather than social ones, which aren't as effective at combating feelings of sadness. 

So, the take away here is:

1) Bad news first
2) Good news second
3) Remedy the bad with social connections. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Healthline's Tattoo's Inspired By Depression

Healthline is looking for submissions of tattoos related to depression to add to their compilation as seen here from last year.  If you have a tattoo related to depression or know of someone who does, they would love to hear your story.

To share your story behind your depression tattoo:

1) Email Healthline at with the subject line "My Depression Tattoo" 

2) Be sure to include: a photo of your tattoo, a short description of why you got it or why you love it, and your name.

Remember, depression is a serious but treatable disorder. Let's help reduce stigma by talking more about it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Depression in Later Life: A Book Giveaway

To celebrate the launching of my latest book, "Depression in Later Life: An Essential Guide," I'm giving away one hardcover copy at Goodreads.  Enter now.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Depression in Later Life by Deborah Serani

Depression in Later Life

by Deborah Serani

Giveaway ends June 17, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway