You might be depressed about being depressed

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Oxford professor Mark Williams notes that many adults suffering from serious depression are essentially discouraged and hopeless about feeling discouraged and hopeless. In other words, they are depressed about being depressed.

All, or nearly all, or us experiences low moods. These can be associated with experiencing disappointments, frustrations, changes in relationships, etc. These low moods needn’t be permanent, nor interfere with quality of life. Most of us simply notice the emotion and then go about our business, and the feeling changes ...

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Life is Precious

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I have to say that I was very surprised to see the strong response to my last column. Clearly I offended Steve Oakey with some of my statements on the topic of suicide. I like Steve, and agree that there is great value in public debate of important topics. And no topic could be more important than the sanctity of human life.

But I very much regret that Steve misunderstood me to suggest that his comments somehow related to or caused ...

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To Be, or Not to Be? Here Is the Answer.

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As I drove home from the office Saturday I picked up the Standard Journal (Nov 5) and was saddened to see the cover story about the young boy who took his own life, and his mother’s efforts to find some meaning in the loss and to protect others from a similar fate. So it seemed particularly ironic to see a feature letter to the editor in defense of doctor-assisted suicide.

In the span of those few pages one person sought to ...

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The Paradox of Protection

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Working closely with young gang members in Southern California helped me to better understand the drive many feel to “get even”. Revenge seems to offer protection from being hurt, something we all desire.

A young lady recently told me, “Nice people get walked on. If I come off as mean and insincere people won’t take advantage of me.” How sad that many kind-hearted people harden their hearts as a means of protecting themselves from potential pain, only to find that this ...

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The Cure for Adult-Onset Discouragement

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Several weeks ago I wrote about discouragement—the condition in which one finds it difficult to move toward a worthy goal for fear it may not be accomplished as hoped. In that column I discussed ways of helping our children to overcome discouragement. But as a fifty-one year old with frequent pimples I know that many “kid” problems don’t necessarily go away with age. Discouragement can be a big challenge for adults, too.

Michael Popkin—one of my favorite authorities on parenting issues—points ...

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Responding to Your Responses

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Last week the Standard-Journal published thoughtful and respectful responses to my last two columns. At first I was a bit self-conscious of the critiques. But since I am a licensed therapist I scheduled some time to talk to myself, and I’m okay now. (Too bad I can’t bill my insurance!)

As these responses were written to appropriately challenge my thoughts in the public forum, I hope it is okay to respond in like manner. I have hoped that my columns would ...

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What Happened to Robin Williams?

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Many of us woke last Tuesday morning to the disturbing news that comedian Robin Williams had taken his life in the throes of depression. Before the day was over members of the media and of this community were trying to make sense out of what we would consider a senseless act.

I was approached by several people, genuinely concerned about the implications of this news for their own well-being, and for those they love. “If anyone as funny as Robin Williams ...

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When Panic Attacks Someone You Love

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Last week we discussed the nature of panic attacks—sudden episodes in which one feels intense emotional and physical sensations associated with a sense of doom or dread. These “attacks” don’t directly result from anything dangerous; the sense of panic is spurred by perceptions that something happening within the body—changes in blood pressure, heart rate or breathing, or even light-headedness—is not right and signals a greater problem or danger.

Panic attacks are so very common that about 10 percent of the adult ...

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When Panic Attacks

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A sudden sense of impending doom; something awful must be happening! Your body doesn’t feel right—heart pumping, breathing fast and difficult, your insides feel like Jell-O. There is no real danger, at least not anything obvious. There must be something wrong with you…

Panic attack—a sudden sense of danger or urgency accompanied by intense physical sensations without any apparent reason—is much more common than you might think. Depending upon the study cited, between eight and twelve percent of Americans have experienced ...

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Here Comes the Judge!

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In the 1970’s comedian Flip Wilson created a ridiculous character whose signature line was, “Here comes the judge! Here comes the judge!”

That phrase has often passed through my mind as I work to help people recognize the problems with judgment—even those small, seemingly-harmless thoughts that we keep to ourselves. As pointed out last week when those judgments pass through our minds they color and distort whatever situation we are in. These thoughts are anything but harmless; they create unnecessary tension, ...

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