Is Seasonal Affective Disorder Real?










Last week I wrote an article about the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Today I am tackling some myths about SAD.

I recently got to be a part of an article over at Psych Central about some of the myths about SAD. Here’s a bit about why it gets so confused by so many of us:





Let’s get to the myths:





Want to read the rest of the article? Check it out:

5 Things NOT to Say to Someone Struggling With Depression

I was recently interviewed for an article over at:

…about what to say and what NOT to say to a friend/family member/co-worker who is struggling with depression. I love being a part of these kinds of articles because it really gives me a chance to air my annoyances out loud! And someone is actually listening!

Anyway, the article is actually really helpful – giving lots of ideas about how to approach someone who is feeling depressed. My favorite useless (and potentially harmful) piece of advice that’s often given to depressed folks?


and here’s why I don’t like it:

A similar piece of advice is to focus on the positives and be grateful. “These are pretty good ideas in general, but for someone struggling with mental illness, hanging a motivational poster in their room, and starting a gratitude journal isn’t going to cut it,” said Stephanie Smith, PsyD., a psychologist in private practice in Erie, Colo. “In fact, trivializing depression by assuming that a clever-sounding phrase can cure it, can do much more harm than good.”

Check out the entire article (including advice from one of my favorite psychologists, Dr. Deb Serani) here:

Am I Depressed? Just Tired? Something More Serious? Diagnosing Mental Illness

Diagnosing mental illness is difficult.  There are no blood tests for depression; no urine tests for panic attacks; no cheek swabs for schizophrenia.  And sadly, online questionnaires aren’t accurate diagnostic tools either.

I recently got to be a part of an article over at Psych Central about conditions and illnesses that mimic mental health disorders.  It’s an interesting topic because at its core, it means that we – as health care providers – need to be extremely careful and thorough when making diagnoses.  Here’s a quote from the article:

Having the correct diagnosis is vital.  It leads to a more precise, effective treatment plan…If we don’t know what we’re dealing with at the beginning of treatment, our interventions can be like shooting arrows in the dark; not very accurate and possibly dangerous.

Another point is:

Depression is a condition almost everyone is familiar with, so it can easily become a catch-all phrase or diagnosis.  But there are literally hundreds of other mental health disorders, one of which may better capture the symptoms you are experiencing.

To read the full article, check it out over all Psych Central:

Psych Central: The Many Conditions That Mimic Depression

Psych Central: The Many Conditions That Mimic Depression

Dealing With Stress When You’re Depressed

Everyone gets stressed out. Those “perfect” people on Facebook, yoga instructors, preschool teachers, and even people struggling with depression.  Sadly, depression can make managing stress even more difficult than it usually is.  Maintaining motivation, focus and organization are all tasks that are affected by depression; yet they’re also tasks needed to manage stress effectively.

I was recently interviewed for an article on Psych Central about how to cope with stress in the midst of a episode of depression.  Check it out:

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Inspirational Quotes: Not Cures for Depression

I was recently interviewed for a story over at Psych Central about depression in relationships.  Namely, how to tell if your partner is depressed and what you can do about it.  Check it out here:

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My favorite quote:

Depression is a highly treatable disorder but it can’t be resolved with an inspirational quote or poster

This is one of my biggest pet peeves, and is sadly encouraged by Pinterest, blogs (not this one of course :), and other feel-good publications.  I don’t mean to say feeling good isn’t a good thing, it’s just that poems about gratitude and pictures of kittens don’t do much to treat mental illness.  Sorry.  It’s the truth.

Cute? Yes.  Empirically-validated treatment for depression? No.

Cute? Yes.
Empirically-validated treatment for depression? No.


Are You Cool Enough to Be Stressed?

Did you know that hip, important and interesting people are pretty much stressed out all the time?


Well, log into Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – better yet check out the latest on Pinterest and the blogosphere and you will see in fact that cool people are highly stressed and super busy, like all the time.

Not true, you say? Unfortunately it is what many of us feel.

photo credit

photo credit

At some point in the last – oh, I don’t know – 20 to 30 years it became super cool to say “I’m so stressed!” and “Life is crazy right now!” and “I don’t know if I can keep going at this pace – aggghhh!”  The only problem with this idea is that it isn’t so cool when this stress leads to heart disease, psychological disorders and other health issues.  Come to think of it, being super stressed doesn’t actually make you cool at all.  It just makes you stressed.  And probably a little bit irritable.  And maybe prone to do things you probably shouldn’t like eat too many candy corns or drink too many lattes.

But yet the idea persists that the more stressed you are the more important you must be.

This holiday season I am going to take a stand against the often-super-stressful months of November and December by offering tips (I’ll shoot for a couple times a week as I am trying to keep my stress down, too!) on keeping the holidays simple, the stress low and the fun high.

Do you have tips, strategies or plans for lowering your stress this holiday season? If so, please send them to me at and maybe they will get included on the blog!

And check out this article on Psych Central that I got to be a part of:

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Sadness Vs. Depression

Did you know that sadness and depression are not the same thing?

Sadness is an emotion that occurs in the course of a relatively happy, meaningful and contented life.  We feel sad when sad things happen (we lose our jobs, a friend dies, a relationship ends).

Depression is a mental health disorder made up of lots of different symptoms including trouble sleeping, self doubt, trouble concentrating and irritability.  Sadness, or low mood, can also be a symptom of depression BUT it doesn’t have to be present for someone to be depressed.  Strange, I know.

The whole thing is confusing because many of us use the words interchangeably.  Here are a couple examples:

The Broncos lost the Super Bowl and now my husband is sooooo depressed

He was actually sad – not depressed – in this situation

She’s just so sad all the time, she just stays in bed all day

When someone is sad and has low motivation and energy, it might be signs of depression – something much more than sadness

I recently spoke to Psych Central about the difference between sadness and depression.  Check out the full article here:

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