Archive: Anger and Depression

The Best Anti-Depressant – Self-Love

Depression is increasing in our society, to the extent that it is expected to become the second largest cause of disability by 2020. So often these days, depression is treated with anti-depressant drugs, either on their own or combined with psychotherapy.

In a recent study, published in 2016, researchers from the University Medical Centre in Amsterdam studied the results on patients with depression using antidepressants of varying kinds. They compared the results of using these drugs without additional psychotherapy, against using them with psychotherapy, and also compared the results of using psychotherapy without drugs.   Their analysis included 23 studies with a total of 2164 patients.

The results were: that in the short term (up to 6 months), using a combination of drugs and therapy was beneficial; using drugs alone was not beneficial.  However, longer than 6 months, using psychotherapy alone was more beneficial for the patients in these studies than either of the other two alternatives.
In other words, Anti-depressants, long-term, provide no added value. Psychotherapy does provide added value.

Depression is defined as a mood disorder or illness, and one that is characterized by sadness and a feeling of hopelessness.  It’s something that lasts for a long time and doesn’t go away after a few hours. When we’re depressed, we may “know” logically that this feeling won’t last, but still feel emotionally that it will last forever; we are listless, lack motivation, and isolate – all which deepen the depression.

If you’re mildly depressed, then there are things you can do for yourself, the primary one being to move: go for a walk or a swim, do the dishes or make your bed.  Any kind of movement will lift depression to some extent.  The other major thing you can do is connect – with a friend, a pet, or even with Nature – countering the impact of isolation.

If you’re deeply depressed, these two things will help, but you’ll need the extra help of a therapist that you trust and can work with. Here are some suggestions:

  • Find two or three therapists. Take the time and effort to find two or three therapists in your area; or if you’d rather meet online, then find two or three therapists who can meet with you online. Check out their credentials – in Ontario a person can’t call themselves a psychotherapist unless they are registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, or CRPO, in which case they will have an “RP” beside their name.  This ensures they have the appropriate training and minimum number of hours to be of service.  There are other equivalent designations as well as Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario and elsewhere; you may need to do some searching to discover what these are.
  • Set up phone interviews with each of these therapists. During your interview, you will want to find out what kind of person they are and if you will be able to trust them and work with them.  Assuming they have good credentials, this is more important than specific credentials, because it’s the interconnection you make with this other person that will be the foundation of your road towards health and happiness and out of depression. Have a list of questions ready to ask. These might include the following:
    • What is your experience in working with people with depression?You will want someone who has some experience working in the field of depression, or in related fields such as anxiety or stress.
    • What is your approach? How are you and I going to work together?  You will need to be comfortable with their particular approach, having some idea of what you will get out of a given session.  A therapist will not be able to tell you how long it will take be rid yourself of depression because every person and situation is different, but they will be able to tell you about how they will work with you.
    • What do you expect from me? This is a critical question: a therapist isn’t there to make you better, but to help you make yourself better. Their expertise is in facilitating change, but it’s still your commitment to this process of change that will make the difference.  If in your interview the therapist claims they can make you better, chose a different therapist.
    • What goals will be set; how will you assess how I’m doing?   Their answer has a log to do with their style, which you will need to comfortable with.
    • What is your gut feeling about this therapist? The most important question of all – because in the end you need to feel good about working with this person.
  • Chose a therapist and set up your first appointment. You will not be able to tell for sure if this therapist is the right one for you until you’ve been with them for a few sessions.  Forget about the cost – most good therapists charge about the same amount, and you can also discover from google what the going rate is in your area. If this therapist doesn’t work out, then thank them for their time, and move to the next one on your list.  It won’t be long until you find the right one for you. None of the sessions are a waste – you’ve discovered something about yourself in terms of what works, and you’ve done it in a considered way.

Self-love means taking care of ourselves. Taking care of ourselves can sometimes mean getting professional help. If we’re caring and considerate, then it can’t help but lead us into a better space: by taking action on our own behalf, we are acting from the place of empowerment, and in doing so, have already taken our first step on the road to health and happiness.

Dwayne Johnson on Depression

Quote of the Day



At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations.  For more information, visit my website or contact me directly at

Boosting Happiness on those down days

It’s been the trend for several years now to see depression as genetically-based – something we could take a pill for that would relieve our symptoms.  But according to the latest research, scientists now admit that they can find no gene that can account for depression.  Researchers are also finding that antidepressants are effective about 30% of the time, which is the same as that of a placebo effect.  In other words, antidepressants simply don’t work.

The startling fact is that depression is on the rise.  People get depressed when they are worn out and begin to feel that things will not get better.  They lose hope of getting out from under – increasing debt, too many responsibilities.  It’s a real issue for many of us; we all have down days.
For those down days, here are 4 things you can practice that will decrease depression and boost your happiness (some courtesy of Linda Esposito).

  • Know it’s temporary. Life is never a straight line; it’s organic, which means that it has natural ups and downs.  And that means that whatever is happening now will change.  So if nothing else, wait it out, because things will get better.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.  In it, write down three things you are grateful for today; make one of them specific.  Then, write down one thing you didn’t like about the day, and how it kept you stuck.
  • Chose to re-focus.  It’s natural to be focused on something. In fact, it’s essential, and we can either focus on what brings us pleasure and energy, or otherwise.  Sometimes, we do need to take time to feel pain, but we don’t have to dwell on it.  That’s our choice.
  • Savor the moment.  Take time throughout your day to really savor the moment – the air on your face, the feel of the ground, … whatever is in your space right now that touches you.

How a Bout of Depression Led to Dwayne Johnson’s Career-Defining Moment

Quote of the Week
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
– Richard Bach

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations. For more information, visit my or contact me directly

Depression Warning Signs

People come to me often because they feel anxious. What they don’t understand is that a lot of that anxiety is rooted in depression. How many of you feel anxious? Do you also feel like you may depressed? We tend, as a society, to speak about anxiety a lot and ignore depression. Ignoring depression is serious. I speak to my corporate groups often about the challenges associated with depression- more so, by not addressing it.

Do you know the warning signs when it comes to depression? Sadness or downswings in mood are normal reactions to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.

Traditionally, the signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
    Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

And sometimes depression can be caused by the life changing events that can initially start off as leading to emotions like anxiety or sadness. The problem is, if these feelings go unaddressed, depression can turn into clinical major depression. The risk factors for this are loneliness, lack of social support, recent stressful life experiences, family history of depression,  marital or relationship problems, financial strain, early childhood trauma or abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, unemployment or underemployment, and health problems or chronic pain.

As you just read, chronic pain can either be the cause of depression or a symptom! Depression is not anything to fool with. I speak with corporate and individual clients about this subject matter on a daily basis and I am willing and ready to help you or your group.

Depression – it’s part of living

I found myself revisiting a situation that made me very sad, and spent some time feeling hopeless about it, as I so often do when I go there. Life presents all of us with these moments – moments, events, that we can’t control and that end something that was beautiful.Most often, it’s not a big thing; we end up in a funk: dissatisfied, un-energized, and unmotivated.  Sometimes it’s more profound.  Tony Robbins has some good advice on getting out of a funk that I’ve linked to below.  I want to talk about the deeper times.

First of all, being depressed is simply part of life. There are always things in our lives that we have no control over, and everything eventually dies.  These days in our Western world, depression is, indeed, seen as a disorder – a disease.  That’s unfortunate, because then it leads us to see being depressed as somehow wrong. It’s healthy to be depressed at times – it means that we are aware of a lack of control and the end of something of value to us.  Depression becomes a problem only if it continues over months.

Everyone experiences moments of depression; it’s unavoidable.  It’s not “abnormal” to be depressed. In fact, it is “abnormal” to never be depressed.

We can deal effectively with depression in four ways:

  • Acknowledge the loss.  The underlying sadness or anger needs to be felt.  If we don’t sit with these feelings, they will surface in other ways, possibly leading to chronic, long-term depression. Spend a few minutes, hours, or even a few days, processing the pain and anger, acknowledging the pain, and allowing it to run its course. It’s a way of honoring our loss and our own pain.
  • Move.  When we’re depressed, we don’t move.  Even our brains are sluggish. So help yourself by going for a walk, doing housework, watering your garden – gentle activities that get you physically in motion.
  • Connect. Connect with friends, family, and colleagues.  If this is too much, then connect with Nature – breath in the air, pet an animal, feel the ground beneath your feet as you walk.  Connecting is natural to us, and it brings us into the present, helping us to put our pain into context, supporting us through the process.
  • Finally, make room for something new. Nature abhors a vacuum, which means that what was lost will be replaced.  Acknowledging and honoring our loss helps us to make space for the new. It may help to create a personal ceremony – a kind of rite of passage – to make it “official”. For profound losses, I always include this last step, and it never fails to help me move on.
How to Pull Yourself out of a Funk
Quote of the Week

We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life  that is waiting for us. – Joseph Campbell


At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations. For more information, visit or contact me directly

Living with Challenge

I have an illness that is debilitating at times. It interferes with what I want and feel I need to do.  It scares me. It has drastically changed the way I live.

It’s only a few years old, although when I look back, I can see signs that began long before then. It’s hard not to blame myself for it, reviewing past decisions to see what I could have done better.  That’s really a waste of energy.  So my focus is on what I can do today to help myself and my loved ones live well with this added challenge.

This isn’t my only challenge, but I think it’s been my biggest teacher. It’s taught me to pay attention to what’s real, and important, and not worry about anything else.  It’s taught me to value my relations and friendships. It’s taught me to be grateful for every moment.

I was inspired recently by an amazing woman I met who suffers from another illness that is not really understood, Beth Nguyen, founder and head of WSCTF (Worldwide Syringomyelia & Chiari Task Force).  The mission of this organization is to educate the rest of us about this debilitating and life-threatening disease, and to offer support for sufferers and care givers. Clicking on “WSCTF” will send you to their very informative website.

It helps to regard our major life challenges as the raw material for metamorphosis, because every one of them changes us in a way that is irreversible. Martha Beck suggests that it’s very much like what happens when a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.  First they shed their skin and become an almost formless pulp, then gradually they begin to evolve into a brand new wonder, the adult butterfly.

Here are the stages:

Phase 1 – Dissolving.  The challenge that has brought us to this point forces us to change – it’s new and we stand facing the unknown. It’s frightening, because we need to learn new ways to deal with this new situation.  Whatever worked before probably doesn’t work anymore.  Our world might feel as though it’s dissolving around us. For me, doing something physical – like karate or hiking – was my go-to; I can’t do that anymore and need to find a new and good alternative. During this phase, it’s critical that we care for ourselves. It’s also important that we grieve the passing of what we had, making room for something new and different.

Phase 2 – Imagining. This can happen once the trauma of our new life situation has passed. We’ve had to simply put one step in front of the other at times, confused and frightened.  Now we’ve achieved some knowledge, understanding and balance with our new situation.  And this gives us the needed room to imagine new possibilities.  How can you best support the circumstances you find yourself in? What do others who have already traveled your path have to say?  For me, I began to alter the way I lived to support my particular situation, and also began to turn to less strenuous physical activities that were, in themselves, fulfilling, and supportive.

Phase 3 – Re-Forming. This is the experimental phase of testing and challenge.  Everything is new so we can expect that not everything is going to go smoothly.  It’s also a time of testing our own limits, and offers us an opportunity for deeper learning that otherwise would never happen.

Phase 4 – flying.  When we’re able to spread our newly formed wings and fly – when we regain the confidence and reached a comfort level with our new life.  No matter what our situation, this is a time of celebration, because without this new major change, we could not have grown.  Enjoy it, because as long as you live, life offers up challenges, and opportunities for growth and gratitude.

Steep Your Soul – Meet this Amazing Guy, Chris

Quote of the Week

“A trap is only a trap if you don’t know about it. If you know about it, it’s a challenge.”
― China Miéville, King Rat


At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations.  For more information, visit my webpage or contact me directly at

Children with PTSD

Some of you may be sitting there this Friday wondering what you have to go home and face. I get it, the weekend is supposed to be relaxing but for many – the opposite can be true. Life is hard and terrible things happen, sometimes to children. It is hard enough to be a parent with a child suffering from PTSD, but then to be a working parent – well, you have a battle ahead and I hope some support. If not, please contact me. I do offer FREE consultations to get you started in the right direction.

If you have a child with PTSD, don’t feel different. Many people have children with challenges as a result of uncontrollable circumstances or violence. You are not alone.  If you are not sure if your child is suffering from PTSD, please know that they act differently than adults with PTSD.

For example; many children will refuse to do things which remind them of what happened, for example refuse to get into a car if it was a car accident.

Many children have sleep problems – they find it scary to go to sleep, and have lots of nightmares or shaking during sleep.

Children with PTSD do have separation problems – not wanting to leave their parents, wanting their parents to be with them at night (even older children and teenagers) and they do ‘regress’ in their behavior, losing skills they recently learned (such as wetting the bed, not being able to talk).

More so, children become irritable, easily upset, easily startled and have panic attacks – usually they are always  on the watch for something bad to happen.

If you know something is wrong at home, and there has been a traumatic life event or change in your life with your children or within your child’s life, please seek help. There is no shame in seeking help for you and your child and no reason to be weary of what you will face at home during this up and coming weekend.

Is It Depression Or Something Else?

Many celebrities are talking about the positive mental health movement. They want to take away the stigma of mental health challenges and encourage everyone to be more proactive. While I was thinking about today’s post, I came across a story on a popular TV show that dealt with depression…. only the lady didn’t have depression. In fact, she had pancreatic cancer! Her psychiatrist was seeing her for other reasons, noticed the change, and encouraged a follow-up with her doctor.

SIDE NOTE: I did some research, here’s an article with 12 surprising medical causes for depression:,,20515167,00.html

Depression is serious on its own, but sometimes there are underlining medical issues that need to be considered (or ruled out) before anyone starts treatment for depression. We tend not to think about underlining medical causes for depression because, well – we tend to be busy people with varied stressors within our lives. Depression can happen or we can be hiding it for years, or we don’t want to deal with the stigma of seeing a mental health professional and then we decide to simply “live with it”.

I’m here to tell you, today, that simply “living with it” isn’t a good option because you deserve to address your happiness – or, in rare cases, an underlining medical condition!

I am GIVING AWAY online therapy consultations. I can help you discover what the online therapy benefits are and you get to test-drive my services and see if we are a good match. To learn more about me, my programs, and read my free blog- please click here:

How to channel your anger into energy

Some days are a challenge. Thursday was one of those days for me. I was jammed up in traffic at least three times, held up because of a banking error (that I made), discovered more banking errors by the time I got home that I then needed to deal with, and missed an appointment.

With each succeeding annoying event, my anger went up a notch or two.
To sum things up:
Rough day. Traffic. Late. Money exchange (ARRRRRRGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!)

I felt powerless! I needed to do something with this anger – not just let it fester! When I got home, I used a method I learned from Martha Beck  – find some non-abusive way to voice my anger.

Not everyone reacts to feeling powerless the way I do.  And if you’re one who does every so often, and if it drains you, here’s how to channel it into energy:

  1. Give it a voice – Getting choked up and keeping quiet doesn’t work – it doesn’t calm us or resolve anything.  You may not be able to say it in a bank or to anyone who happens to be close, but can always write it down, or say it in private, like in your car, or say it to a thoughtful friend.  When you do, say it in detail, complete with the expletives and roars. You’ll know when you’re done when you get to the heart of the matter – to what caused it in the first place.
  2. Discover the injustice – anger is always a response to a perceived injustice.  When you give yourself a voice, you will uncover what you feel is unjust.  Simply uncovering it may be all you need.
  3. Once you uncover the injustice, you have 3 options – loyalty, voice or exit (in the words of Albert Hirschman)
  • Loyalty, keeping quiet. People who feel a lot of impotent rage tend to act loyal and keep silent.  While this may look virtuous, if you’re legitimately angry, it will end up souring your connection to others in the name of peace.
  • Voice, expressing your anger. This is harder, but generally more productive than loyalty. To do this productively, you need to both say what’s bothering you and provide a solution.
  • Exit, when things are toxic. The best option in a situation that is badly dysfunctional. It may be a toxic relationship, exploitative job or other unjust situation. Anger in these cases is a friend that gives you the motivation to leave. It may mean actually leaving, or simply emotionally detaching if it isn’t realistic to leave at that moment.
  1. Channel the anger into action – anger can be a powerful motivator to act.  It doesn’t have to be huge – taking small steps can be effective in freeing your heart from rage because with that action, you regain your power.

Inside Out” – on Anger and other things

Quote of the Week
When angry, count four. When very angry, swear.
-Mark Twain

What Is PTSD?

The myth around Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is that only those who have been to war or beaten and abused as children can end up with it in life. In fact, there are many people who don’t even believe that PTSD is real.

Yes, it is real and NO you don’t have had to go war or have been the victim of childhood physical abuse to suffer from PTSD. Thus, I want to clarify a few things about PTSD in today’s post.

First, let me repost the clinical side of PTSD. PTSD symptoms are grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.

Second, PTSD can come from any type of trauma. Emotional abuse, sexual abuse, childhood bullying, witnessing a violent crime, being a teller at a bank that has been robbed, etc. We all have different levels of tolerance, which impacts how we cope (or don’t cope) with various scenarios.

Now- on to the symptoms:

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event
Symptoms of avoidance may include:

Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event
Negative changes in thinking and mood
Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

Negative feelings about yourself or other people
Inability to experience positive emotions
Feeling emotionally numb
Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
Hopelessness about the future
Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
Difficulty maintaining close relationships
Changes in emotional reactions
Symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
Always being on guard for danger
Overwhelming guilt or shame
Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
Trouble concentrating
Trouble sleeping
Being easily startled or frightened
If you feel that you have more than half of these symptoms, it is time to seek out help. No, pills are not the full answer. Prescriptions can help with sleep or help with anxiety, but cognitive therapy is a very important element of recovering from PTSD.

Stress- Is It Healthy or Unhealthy?

There isn’t a single person on planet Earth that doesn’t have stress. Stress is a normal part of life. However, there are times when stress becomes too much, becomes unhealthy, and requires intervention. But do you know when this time is? Can you tell when job stress goes from normal to unhealthy?

When I speak at seminars for employers and to employees, I use the following three tips to help my audience understand when normal stress turns unhealthy and intervention is needed.

1. Check your blood-pressure. Stress releases chemicals within our body. Short periods of stress may slightly elevate your pulse rate or blood pressure, but when long periods of stress leave you with hypertension, something is wrong!

2. Increase use in booze or use of drugs. Most people try to self-medicate pain and stress without realizing that is what they are doing. If you’ve noticed an increase in booze or that you’ve started using drugs or relying on prescription meds a little too much, you may be experience unhealthy levels of stress.

3. Bad attitude. Are you extra angry these days? Are you snapping at family, friends and other loved ones? If so, you may be experiencing way too much stress and find yourself taking it out on anyone and everyone. has a great article on how stress also impacts your body. You can read it here:,,20642595,00.html

Want to know which one of my programs can help you? Check out all my programs here: