Things You Can Say to a Depressed Friend or Family Member

Sometimes, when someone we love has depression, we don’t always know what to say. It is important to acknowledge them while being respectful of their feelings. Of course, your situation may vary depending on your relationship with them but here are some examples of things you can say to someone who is experiencing depression:

  • “I just wanted to let you know that I understand keeping in contact may be difficult right now, and you are still a valuable friend to me and I will support you through this.”
  • “I can’t imagine what you are going through but know that I am here for you.”
  • “If you need anything, let me know. I will continue to be here for you through all of this.”
  • “I want you to know and understand that you are not a burden. I care for you and if you ever need to talk, please don’t hesitate to reach out.”
  • “I was thinking about you today and I wanted to remind you how much you mean to me.”

Things that will not be helpful to say to them:

  • “Have you tried going outside?”
  • “Have you exercised?”
  • “Well what are you eating?”
  • “Try getting some fresh air.”
  • “Others have it so much worse.”
  • “You should just be happy.”

These are not helpful to say to someone that is depressed. Depression can make it hard for someone to do even simple tasks. What they need is your sympathy and your support.

Things You May be Doing Because of Your Anxiety and Depression

With May being mental health awareness month, it is important to not only recognize these things in others but also yourself. You may be struggling in general and not know that you are really struggling with your mental health. Here is a list of common anxiety and depression symptoms:

  • Zoning out
  • Dissociating
  • Seeking reassurance
  • Over apologizing
  • Over analyzing
  • Picking at your skin
  • Biting your nails and lips
  • Fidgeting
  • Staying up late
  • Obsessing over the worst case scenarios
  • Questioning your own actions
  • Questioning what you have said to others
  • Ignoring notifications
  • Looking at every notification to clear it right away
  • Rehearsing “scripts” in your head for scenarios
  • Canceling plans
  • Clenching your jaw
  • Shaking
  • Tapping your fingers, feet, or legs
  • Irritability
  • Hyperventilating
  • Magnifying your mistakes
  • Comparing yourself and your life to others
  • Overthinking
  • Distracting yourself by being on your phone
  • Delaying simple tasks or chores for days or weeks at a time
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Withdrawing yourself from hobbies
  • Letting the small things affect you
  • Avoiding talking or thinking about the future
  • Avoiding being alone with your thoughts
  • Reengaging with something that once brought you comfort (such as a familiar tv show)
  • Struggling with falling asleep
  • Having a hard time getting out of bed
  • Feeling tired all the time

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms regularly, you may be experiencing anxiety or depression. It may benefit you to speak with your doctor and see what you can do from there. If you notice someone else experiencing these symptoms, it may be a good idea to reach out to them and see if there is anything you can do to help. Remember, not all people have the same symptoms or carry them the same. This is your friendly reminder to be kind to everyone. 

Mental Health Awareness Month- High Functioning Anxiety

When someone has high functioning anxiety, it is often difficult to tell. Similar to my blog post about high functioning depression, I will explain the difference between what you may say vs. what can really be happening.

Some common symptoms can be:

  • Overthinking
  • Overanalyzing
  • Fear of failure
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • The need to please others
  • Dwells on past mistakes
  • Worries about future mistakes
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Physical habits such as nail biting, playing with their hair, shaking, leg shaking, etc.

Seeing these symptoms in someone who has high functioning anxiety can be very difficult. Here are some comparisons on what you might be seeing vs. what can actually be going on:

Mental Health Awareness Month- High Functioning Depression

When someone has high functioning depression, it is often hard to see it. That is why they call it high functioning. Someone can have all of the things that come with depression but you might not even see it.

Some common symptoms can include:

  • Decreased appetite or overeating
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Lack of energy/fatigue
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feeling sad and hopeless
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Feeling unworthy of good things happening
  • Change in mood
  • Smaller tasks seem harder to do

Seeing these symptoms in someone who has high functioning depression can be very difficult. Here are some comparisons on what you might be seeing vs what is actually going on:

Body Image

Let’s talk about body image. Body image is your perception, thoughts, and feelings of your physical self.

There are 4 aspects of body image:

Perceptual- the way you see yourself

Affective- the way you feel about the way you look

Cognitive- the thoughts and beliefs you feel about your body

Behavioral- the things you do in relation to the way you look

Having body image issues involves being overly focused on the physical aspects of your body. This can be comparing your size, shape, features, appearance, etc. to others or unrealistic ideals. Having body image issues can lead to mental health issues, low self esteem, eating disorders and more. The three most common types of eating disorders are binge eating, anorexia, and bulimia.

Research has shown that children as young as 3 have developed body image issues. That same research has shown that girls develop a desire to be thinner starting around age 6. It also showed that girls’ body dissatisfaction is predicted by how they perceive their mom feels about her own body. Parents were also deemed more controlling of girls’ eating behaviors than boys- the girls in the study were not heavier than the boys. Then, by the age of 17, over 80% of teens will have body image issues.

A negative body image can come from many sources but the main include family, peers, the media, and social pressures.

How you can support a positive body image:

Avoid negative comments about your body and others’

Talk about what bodies can do rather than what they look like

Avoid talking about diets and labeling food as good or bad

Avoid mentions of thin, fat, skinny, etc.

Talk about being healthy and happy as opposed to size

Try saying body positive or body neutral affirmations

A list of body neutral affirmations can be found here.

Surprising Ways Alcohol Can Affect Your Body

Believe it or not there are negative and positive effects that alcohol can have on your body. The key differences are what you drink and how much you drink.

Here are some of the negative effects drinking can have on your health when drinking excessively:

  • High blood pressure
  • Weakening of the immune system
  • Learning and memory issues
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Ulcers and gastrointestinal problems
  • Heart disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Stroke
  • Brain damage
  • Malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies
  • Liver disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Digestive problems
  • Certain cancers, including breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and rectum
  • It can even cause sudden death if you already have cardiovascular disease

Short term negative effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Severe dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion

Here are some positive effects drinking can have on your health when drinking moderately:

  • Can reduce risk of heart disease
  • Can reduce risk of ischemic stroke
  • Possibility of reducing diabetes
  • Can prevent kidney stones by using the restroom more (although drinking too much can cause dehydration which would increase the risk of kidney stones)
  • Can make you more social and effect mental health
  • A few drinks a week may make you less likely to get Alzheimer’s
  • Can balance your blood sugar

The key, as with most things, is moderation. If you consume alcohol already in a moderate amount, you can more than likely continue your consumption. If you excessively consume alcohol, you may need to cut back. As always, talk to your doctor to see what is right for you and your health & safety.

A Message for Overthinkers

If you are an overthinker, you know how consuming and tiring it can get. Overthinking can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Luckily, there are certain things you can do to help you manage your overthinking. Here are some of the things I have found useful in managing my overthinking:

Scheduling time for overthinking:

This might sound odd, but it’s almost impossible to not overthink at all, especially when you are an overthinker. Try setting a time slot for yourself every day to allow your mind to wander about everything you have in your head. A good timeframe would be 15-30 minutes. Once that time is done, put those thoughts on pause and focus on the rest of your day.

Decide what you can and cannot control:

Breaking everything down into two parts, what you can and cannot control, will help you with the section above. Knowing what you can control will help you sort out your thoughts and make it easier to come up with solutions for them. Then you will be left with what you cannot control and it can help you work to let go.

Changing your perspective:

Turning the negatives into positives can be helpful in getting through things too. If you are thinking something like, “I hate that I overthink everything” you can reframe it to think, “this is something I struggle with but I can actively work on changing this habit.” Or if you think, “I won’t get through this” you can reframe it to think, “this might be difficult but I will figure it out and get through it.”

Exercise your mind to train it:

Focus on what your attention is going to and shift where it goes. If you have an intrusive thought, you can write it down. If you are starting to overthink, regain your senses by looking at what is around you. By purposely shifting your focus repeatedly when you are overthinking, you are training your mind to shift that focus each time you overthink.

Things You Need to Hear Today

Some days are harder than others. Here are some things you may need to hear today:

  • If you’re worried that you’ll be stuck in this rut, here is your sign it will get better
  • Trust your intuition
  • Not everyone and everything you lose is a loss
  • Some things that didn’t work out, really did work out
  • A healthy relationship should compliment you, not complete you
  • You have to know when to let shit go
  • Be honest with yourself
  • Start giving yourself the credit you deserve
  • Remind yourself that you do not have to be in control of everything
  • Do something nice for yourself today and everyday
  • Be proud of everything you have accomplished
  • If you’re scared to start, take small steps first
  • Release what has released you
  • There is so much waiting for you
  • You shouldn’t have to beg to be loved correctly
  • It’s time to declutter your space, mind, and time
  • Prioritize yourself
  • Be original and be okay with that
  • You are not a failure
  • You matter
  • Trust your own process
  • Someone is glad that you exist
  • Doing your best will look differently every day
  • Make things happen
  • Forgiveness does not require reconnection
  • We’re rooting for you

How Anxiety Affects Your Thinking

When you get anxiety it can cause all of your rational thinking to go out the window. You start to convince yourself that the worst is happening. Have you ever wondered why that is?

Anxiety can weaken the connection between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex in your brain. Normally, the prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain that kicks in and helps rationalize situations and come up with logical responses. It is the problem solver. And when you have anxiety, once the amygdala (the part of your brain that deals with emotions and moods) sends a danger alert to your prefrontal cortex, the connection is not as strong as it would be in a non-anxious brain. So, it leads to irrational thoughts.

When you consistently deal with anxiety, your amygdala actually gets larger. It notices all potential dangers and when it does, it sends a signal to the hypothalamus (the fight or flight response we have). Since it is larger in people with anxiety, it can also be hypersensitive. It can send “false alarms” which cause you to believe there are threats, even in non-threatening situations.

While your body is being sent into fight or flight mode, your central nervous system is filled with adrenaline and cortisol hormones by your brain. They alert your body that something is about to happen. In doing so, your reflexes become faster and your senses are heightened. When these stress hormones are excessively used, your base level of anxiety can increase. Meaning if you have mild anxiety, it can cause you to have moderate anxiety and so on.

Recognizing these things are so important. When you understand the logic behind it and how it works, it can become easier for you to recognize as it is happening. When you are becoming anxious, understand that your brain and your nervous system are doing these things, and it can help you rationalize why you are reacting this way. Once you can rationalize it, you will be able to redirect your thoughts.

Should You Ditch Dry Shampoo?

Did you know that most dry shampoos contain propellants, abrasives, absorbents, preservatives, and chemicals used for fragrance? Many of these ingredients contain potentially harmful properties such as octoxynol-10, benzyl salicylate, cetrimonium chloride, talc, propane, and butane. These can cause potential harm when in contact with your skin, eyes, or when they are inhaled.

Most of us know it is not good to wash your hair too often, so we go for the dry shampoos to get us through a few more days without washing it. Since most dry shampoos can potentially cause harm, there are a few natural alternatives. Some of those alternatives include:

  • Organic cocoa powder
  • Organic cornstarch
  • Natural hemp sheets
  • Arrowroot
  • Oatmeal and baking soda