Friday, January 21, 2011

The Fight Recovery Guide for Couples

If you've recently had a knock-down-drag-out argument with your spouse, I am very sorry. Fighting is exhausting and extremely stressful.

I believe you can make it better and will recover from this bad fight, but there are two things you need to do: (1) think about what happened and why, and (2) have a talk about what happened and work towards healing from it.

To do both of these things, I'd like for you each to spend some time thinking about the questions below, do this on your own. Once you have your answers, make a "date" with your spouse to discuss your responses together.

If things get heated again, take a break and calm yourself down. Working through this issue is stressful for you both! Calm yourself and do anything you can to help soothe your partner. You will get through this.

1. Summarize your experience of the fight. How are you feeling about what happened? What are your thoughts and feelings about the fight?

2. Share your subjective reality. Summarize your own personal reality about the disagreement. What was the reality or "the truth" for you?

3. Find something in your partner’s story that you can understand. Now, try and see how your partner’s subjective reality might make sense, given your partner’s perspective. Tell your partner about one piece of his or her reality that makes sense to you.

4. Are you emotionally flooded or too upset to talk? If you're really upset - a level 8 or more on a scale of 1-10 - then take a break and self-soothe before continuing.

5. Admit your own role. It is essential that each of you takes some responsibility for what happened. See if anything from the list below applies to your situation.
1. I have been very stressed and irritable lately.
2. I have not expressed much appreciation towards my partner lately.
3. I have taken my partner for granted.
4. I have been overly sensitive lately.
5. I have been overly critical lately.
6. I have not shared very much of my inner world.
7. I have not been emotionally available.
8. I have been turning away from my partner.
9. I have been getting easily upset.
10. I have been depressed lately.
11. I would say that I have a chip on my shoulder lately.
12. I have not been very affectionate.
13. I have not made time for good things between us.
14. I have not been a very good listener.
15. I have not been asking for what I need.
16. I have been feeling a bit like a martyr.
17. I have needed to be alone.
18. I have not wanted to take care of anybody.

Overall, my contribution to this fight was:____________________________________.

6. Make it better in the future. What is one thing your partner could do differently next time? What is something you could do better next time? What do you long for now to help you feel comforted and reassured?

Women & Depression

Hello friends. Lately, I have had a lot of questions about women and their tendency to suffer from depression. I wanted to address some of these questions here. I hope this information is helpful to you. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

Why are women especially at risk of depression?

Women tend to internalize their thoughts and feelings more. This means that they tend to blame themselves when something goes wrong, that they tend to think they are responsible for the failure. Men are more apt to blame outside circumstances and external factors.

Why do women suffer more often from the disorder than men?

The exact nature of depression is not completely understood. We believe that there are many factors that contribute to someone becoming depressed, including hormones, heredity, environmental factors (like having a stressful job), We also know that depression in women often coexists with other emotional health challenges, like anxiety and easting disorders. Additionally, women who are suffering from poverty or abuse are at very high risk for depression. So, the causes of depression are diverse and we really don't know the exact triggers for the condition.

What are the leading causes?

In addition to the above, we are most prone to depression when we experience a major loss or major life change, such as the death of a loved one, loss of a job, or ending of a relationship. We could say that such times are "vulnerable periods," where we are more likely to be vulnerable to our genetic predisposition or chemical predisposition to become depressed.

Another "vulnerable period" for women is when they are experiencing a significant hormonal shift, such as during adolescence or post-pregnancy. In fact, reproductive stress (i.e., trying to become pregnant, worrying about delivering a healthy baby, fearing that one is pregnant) are all correlated to depression in women. This suggests not only a hormonal connection, but a lifestyle/social connection between reproduction and depression in women.

What is the impact of depression on a person's ability to flourish?

The impact of depression is tremendous. If you've never had depression, it's hard to imagine how debilitating it is. It may seem like it's not that big of a deal, we've all been sad before. But true clinical depression is not just sadness, it's debilitating and all-consuming. You tend to feel like the world is a terrible place, that you are a bad person, and that things will never get better. You have no hope for the future, nothing sounds appealing, everything seems difficult and overwhelming. You can't think clearly, you cant feel pleasure, it's truly awful. And this is to say nothing of the physical symptoms! There is a very strong mind-body connection; so when you're hurting emotionally, your body will often follow. You will move sluggishly, you'll feel achy and sick, you will be tired and easily exhausted. Depression is a really painful condition that often requires medication and talk therapy to improve.