Image via Wikipedia The holiday season is such a joyous time of year. Colored lights adorn houses and business. Thoughts of holidays past fill our minds and conversations. But not everyone can enjoy the holiday season. Some of us inevitably find as the holidays approach what is called the “holiday blues”. The holiday blues are quite common. We expect to enjoy ourselves during the holidays. Those around us expect we will enjoy holiday celebrations and their company as well.
This is the sixth in a series of articles about emotional intelligence for personal growth. In keeping with the idea that emotional intelligence is one of the foundational concepts of mental health, I dedicate this installment to May, Mental Health Month. It is often said that life is suffering. Some of that suffering is unavoidable. Life has a way of throwing us adversity. The pain of physical distress and illness as well as the psychological pain of loss is unavoidable.
Since I heard of all the excitement in the therapy literature about forgiveness therapy, I’ve been a skeptic. I’ve worked with a lot of people who have experienced unforgivable abuse. Often they are tortured by their feelings of anger, resentment, helplessness, violation, and shame for allowing themselves to be a victim. They also feel guilt about their anger with the perpetrator so much so they feel morally obligated to forgive the perpetrator.
Image via WikipediaAccording to The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va, calls to crisis lines in Virginia have jumped 20 percent in the past two months. “People say the economy is pushing them to the edge — and some are contemplating going over. Widespread financial stress has long been linked to an increase in suicides. Job loss is at the heart of it, kick-starting a “chain of adversity” that feels too heavy for some to bear.
Image via Wikipedia Horwitz and Wakefield (2007) have released what may prove to be a highly influencial book titled The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow Into Depressive Disorder. The title implies that psychiatry transformed sadness into depression. It’s an unfortunate catchy title that misleads the uninformed reader. Instead, the book explores in a scholarly way a fundamental principle upon which The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) was developed.
The Journal of the American Medical Association [February 21, 2007–Vol 297, No. 7] published an important article on grief, Maciejewski et al (2007). While it’s hardly definitive research, it represents an exciting trend in research that I’ve seen in recent years. Researchers seem more willing to take some risks with the rigor of their research models to produce information that is immediately relevant to practice. While, we are a long way from having clear guidance towards an evidenced-based practice in psychotherapy, testing models in active use in the field provides immediately useful information.
From the outstanding site of Anxiety Insights, there is a summary of a recent research study that produces results questioning conventional wisdom about income, poverty and depression. None of the socio-economic indicators studied was found to be significantly associated with an episode of common mental disorder at follow-up, after baseline psychiatric illness was taken into account. The analysis of separate diagnostic categories showed that subjective financial difficulties at baseline were independently associated with depression at follow-up in both groups.
shrinkette You go on. You go on. You bring the person you love inside you. That is how you cope. You make him or her live within you. The whole experience I had with my children is in me. It is nowhere else I can see. I can see a photograph, I can feel sad, I can read a poem, but the experience of having them within myself is what matters.