“Too Dependent”

From time to time we hear people complaining that they’re too dependent or that someone they know is too dependent on them. Usually the proposed solution is for that person to become more independent. The trouble is that this doesn’t work. People who have normal needs for social interaction are not able to be independent in the way that we …

Narcissism

“You’re such a narcissist!” It’s easy to see why people with moods are often accused of being narcissistic. When we are depressed we become focused on ourselves and our mood and our pain. This is also what happens to people with chronic pain of other types. And when we are manic, we become preoccupied with our importance and specialness. But …

Kay Jamison

If you do much thinking about moods and how they affect us, you eventually run into Kay Jamison. She has dedicated her life to understanding mood and its impact on us. She teaches at Johns Hopkins, but she is not just an academic, she is also a brilliant writer and compelling lecturer. She is the co-author of the best one …

Natural Supplements for Depression

There are many, many supplements that people have suggested are effective treatments for depression. How do you decide what is worth trying? Here we will list the much smaller list of supplements that have been shown to be effective in clinical trials. S-Adenosyl Methionine. SAMe was recently shown in a well designed (but small) clinical trial to help people who …

Relationships and Chronic Depression

Many people with depression, particularly if they have been depressed for a long time, develop a pattern of interacting with others that is designed to protect them from disappointment. Avoiding disappointment is obviously a good thing, but it can lead to relationships that are not satisfying. Addressing relationship issues is important. Almost everybody who is unsatisfied with their relationships can …

Mood and Food

Many people have an intuitive sense that a good diet is a foundation stone of good mental health. We don’t disagree, although the evidence for dietary manipulation’s effectiveness is not overwhelming. There are a couple of things that we have noticed over the years about food and its effect on mood that might be useful tips. For one thing, simple …

Anxiety or Excitement?

Many folks not only have to figure out how to live creatively with moods, but also have to wrestle with anxiety. I have found that it is sometimes useful to compare two states of mind which are very, very similar in terms of how the body is reacting, but are very different from an emotional standpoint. Imagine that you are …

Self-Consciousness: You Can’t Fool Yourself

Many years ago we read a book by renowned social psychologist George Herbert Meade entitled Mind, Self and Society. In it Meade wrote about the origins of self-consciousness in childhood experiences. If you follow the development of children you notice that at first they act as though they and the world are one, with no apparent sense of others (especially …

The Antidepressant without Side Effects

Medications for depression can be life saving, but for many people they have disturbing side effects. But there is one antidepressant that doesn’t have side effects – behavioral activation (BA). Behavioral activation is a treatment that has been shown to work for people with moderate and even severe depression and, in some studies, it works about as well as antidepressants. …

Riding the Waves

MoodSurfing is about the idea that the ups and downs of mood are normal (we aren’t trying to achieve some elusive “stability”).  But dealing with moods requires focus, discipline and some common sense. You can’t go to Maverick on your first day surfing and not get hurt (see photo to the right). The first step for many people is to …

Negotiation: How to Deal With Conflict

Some of the best ways of dealing with conflicts in relationships, whether business or personal, are contained in the books about negotiation written by Roger Fisher and William Ury. In our own lives and in the lives of people we have counseled we have often seen a situation that seemed to be incredibly scary and full of potential catastrophe turn …

Mood Charting Part 2: Monitoring Mood

What is monitoring and mood monitoring? Monitoring is way of becoming aware of what is happening in a certain circumstances. For example, a parent may monitor how much milk the child is drinking, a person who is dieting may monitor what they are eating or a person exercising may monitor how much they exercise a day. All these people have …