This index provides an overview of the posts that appear as part of major recurring theme on the Mental Health @ Home blog. The weekly MH@H blog schedule includes:
- Guest blogs may show up Mondays & Wednesdays from the Emerging blogger series and Tuesdays & Thursdays from the Wounded Healers interview series.
- Wednesdays are book reviews
- Fridays are the What is… series, which looks deeper into the meaning of a variety of psychology-related terms
- Saturdays are weekend wrap-ups, a look at what’s going on in my world that week
- Sundays are for blogging about blogging – there’s a directory of these posts on the Blogging & Writing Tips page.
My book Managing the Depression Puzzle has lots more info on depression. While depression makes an appearance in many of the posts on MH@H, these are the posts that are primarily focused on depression and effects.
- Adjusting Expectations Because of Depression
- An Unhappy Dance: Estrogen and Depression – female hormonal fluctuations and depression can be a messy combination
- Letting Go of a Life Before Depression – releasing the possessions from a life that I used to live
- Living in fear: The tsunami of depression – dealing with fear of not getting better
- Master of my domain? A look at depression and masturbation – can masturbation actually help with depression?
- Travelling with depression as a carry-on – dealing with illness as a travel lover
- What Depression Looks Like – depression has changed how I dress and present myself to the world
- When taking a shower is like climbing a mountain – depression can mean even simple things take a huge amount of effort
- “You Can Be a Real Bitch” – Is It Me or My Mental Illness? – a look at irritability as a symptom of depression
- Physical aspects of depression:
- Types of depression:
Apathy & anhedonia
Anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure) can suck all the colour out of life.
- A heart of ice – Apathy and Depression – a look at emotional non-response to news of tragic events
- Decreased Positive Affect & Increased Negative Affect – the loss of positive feelings, i.e. anhedonia, can be more subtle than increased negative feelings, but either one can potentially cause significant harm
- Depression giveth and depression taketh away: Anhedonia and apathy in depression
- Depression Without the Depressed Part? – depression doesn’t always look like sad/depressed mood
- I actually used to enjoy things…
Cognitive symptoms of depression
Depression can have significant cognitive symptoms, which is something that’s been quite debilitating in my own illness.
- Butterfly brain
- Compensating for Depression Brain – some of the strategies I use to compensate
- I am Actually Getting Stupider: The THINC-it Test in Depression – the THINC-it test is a research tool that measures common cognitive effects of depression
- If it’s not in front of me then it doesn’t exist – if I don’t see it, I don’t remember it
- Mashed potato brains and other adventures in depression
- The Lights Are On, But Nobody’s Home
- Becoming a Hermit
- Feeling Like a Stranger in My Own Family – the closeness that used to exist has been destroyed by depression
- I admit it – I’m a ghoster – while some people use ghosting as a weapon, my depression uses it as a shield
- Pandemic Life as a Pre-Existing Hermit – it wasn’t hard to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic given that I was already essentially a hermit
- The Cave My Depression Built
Pharmacological treatments are covered in the section on psychiatric medications.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT):
- I Wish ECT Was More Accessible –ECT has worked well for me in the past, but making it happen in the community is logistically challenging
- “Shock Therapy” – Fact & Fiction – this was a guest post I did on Renard’s World explaining the reality of ECT
- Somatic Treatments for Depression – this post covers treatments that involve applying energy to the brain, including ECT, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and other less commonly used treatments
- This one flew over the cuckoo’s next: ECT in real life – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a well-known portrayal of ECT, but it has nothing to do with ECT as a treatment now
- Supplements for Depression that Actually Work – vitamins don’t cure depression, but there are some supplements that research has shown can be helpful
- Who Would Have Thought I’d get Botox for Depression, and an update – Botox in the frown line area has shown some positive results for treating depression
- Is Depression Anger Turned Inward? – Freud thinks so; me, not so much
- Is There Ever Only One Explanation for A Mental Illness? – I say no
- Should We Be Looking for a Root Cause for Depression?
- Were You Always Depressed or Anxious? – Did depression/anxiety show up unannounced at some point in your life, or were they always present to some extent?
- Why Did I Get Depressed? – depression showed up in my life out of the blue, it isn’t consistent with my baseline personality, and I had no early life trauma, so what gives?
- Are You Your Illness? – mental illness can influence every area of your life, but is it who you are?
- Depression and Closet/Identity Thinning – the interplay between depression and wardrobe, and the identity shifts that may be required
- How genuine are you online? – how much of the real you comes through in your online presence?
- Mental Illness Disability & Identity Shifts – it can be hard to grapple with disability that results from mental illness
- What Is It That Makes You, You? – a look at some of the defining parts of me
- What Does the Self Consist of? – what actually is this thing we call the self?
Negativity, Realism, & Toxic Positivity
- How Well Does Positive Psychology Apply to Mental Illness? – positive psychology has some good ideas, but they may not all be a good fit for mental illness
- Happiness Is a Choice, My Ass – it can’t be a choice if mental illness takes it off the menu
- It Gets Better… Or Does It? – some things do get better, but some things simply don’t
- “Should” You Avoid Negative People? – and how does that relate to people with mental illness?
- Where’s the line between pessimism and realism? – is negativity pessimistic if it’s actually realistic?
- You Don’t Need to Be Positive – other emotions are just as valid
My book Psych Meds Made Simple has plenty of info about psych meds all in one place. The book and these posts draw on my training and experience as a mental health nurse and former pharmacist.
Psych Meds 101 Series
Med info posts
- Do We Know How Psych Meds Work? – some people say psych meds aren’t valid because we don’t know how they work – except that’s not really true
- I dream of ketamine – ketamine for treatment-resistant isn’t universally available
- Medication Use in Pregnancy
- Naltrexone – An Opioid Blocker That Gets Around – this medication has a variety of uses, including for dissociation
- The role of medications in borderline personality disorder – they can help, but only so much
- Treatment resistant depression: When what’s supposed to work doesn’t
- Where did our meds go? – dealing with medication shortages
- Do antidepressants work? What a new meta-analysis says – some people insist antidepressants just don’t work, but overall, this study shows they do
- Evidence-based treatment of anxiety – treatment guidelines for anxiety
- Evidence-based treatment of bipolar disorder: the CANMAT/ISBD guidelines
- What the STAR*D study means for depression treatment – STAR*D was a large study that looked at antidepressant use in real-world conditions
- Antidepressants and Suicide Risk – a look at what the research evidence actually shows
- Dead if you do, dead if you don’t? – psychiatric medications can cause some serious side effects, but the effects of untreated mental illness are also significant
- Do I look fat in this Seroquel? – psych meds and weight gain
- Do you tend to blame your illness or your meds? – when you’re experiencing something negative, do you tend to think of it as a symptom of your illness or a side effect of your medication?
- Meds that can make you crazy (literally) – medications that can have psychiatric side effects
Experiences taking meds
- My experiences of going off meds – I’ve stopped taking meds a couple of times in the past; this is what it was like for me
- My Version of Being Pro-Medication – the MH@H stance on medication
- Our complicated relationships with medications – psych meds aren’t simply something we take
- Pill popper RN – the psych meds that this particular nurse takes
Suicide is a huge issue for people dealing with mental illness. It’s important that we talk about it, and that conversation needs to address a range of different experiences with suicide as well as the need for more effective mental illness treatment to mitigate risk.
The MH@H Store has a free Safety Plan resource to guide you through planning ahead of time to cope when thoughts of suicide are getting bad.
- Cognitive deconstruction and the lead up to suicide
- How picky should we be about suicide-related language? – is “committed suicide” something worth making an issue out of?
- No regrets? Surviving attempted suicide – not everyone regrets it afterwards
- Passive suicidal ideation – a Working On Us mental health prompt
- Privacy and completed suicide – a look at whether it’s ok to share the writings of someone who died by suicide
- Stigma and How the Public Views Suicide
- Suicide is not selfish – a reminder on World Suicide Prevention Day
- TED Talks on depression and suicide
Suicide, the media, and social media
- How Should Social Media Handle Reported Suicidal Posts? – what happens who you report a suicidal tweet to Twitter?
- The way the media talks about suicide matters – media guidelines for suicide reporting
- What goes too far on social media? – is it useful to widely broadcast suicidal messages?
- What if a stranger tells you they’re suicidal? – handling suicidal messages received from people you don’t know
- Barriers to help-seeking for suicidal ideation – when help is available, what stops people from reaching out?
- Crisis resources for suicide prevention – has a listing of suicide crisis lines and crisis text/chat services
- Guilt Is Not a Suicide Prevention Strategy – trying to make someone feel guilty for how others would feel if they died is not effective
- How do we prevent suicide?
- Some thoughts on suicide – effective prevention requires more effective treatment options for the mental illnesses that can lead to suicide
- Will suicide ever be 100% preventable?
Besides the posts listed here, I’ve also done book reviews that cover acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), and other therapeutic approaches. A therapy mini-ebook collection is also available from the MH@H Store.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Exploring values – values are a key part of ACT
- Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life – a review of this book that gives a great grounding in ACT
- Setting sail with the ACT life compass – the life compass looks at how you’re doing and where you want to go in important areas of your life
- Suppression of unwanted thoughts – if I tell you not to think about a white bear, guess what you’re suddenly going to start thinking about?
- Thoughts as leaves on a stream – a common ACT metaphor to represent de-fusing from thoughts
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- CBT for insomnia
- What is… CBT for pain
- Drilling down to core beliefs
- What is… Exposure and response prevention (ERP) – a particular type of CBT
- What is… Safety behaviour – behaviours that you might think make you safer but actually just reinforce your anxiety
- Cognitive distortions
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
- Finding wise mind – wise mind represents the overlap between rational mind and emotion mind
- Mental myths that get in our way
- What is… a Defense mechanism
- What is… Freudian psychoanalytic theory
- What is… Psychodynamic psychotherapy
- What is… Transference & countertransference
- Links to free Mental health worksheets and mental health workbooks
- My therapy journal (a guest post on PanoramicCounseling.com)
- Psychotherapy alphabet soup – an overview of several types of therapy
- What is… Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT)
- What is… Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), aka tapping
- What is… Hypnotherapy
The Mental Health @ Home Store has a mini e-book PTSD Treatment Options: An Overview.
I’ve reviewed a number of books written by trauma survivors; you can find these in the book reviews directory.
- Creating a trauma account (based on cognitive processing therapy)
- EMDR therapy (guest post by Johnzelle Anderson LPC)
- How trauma-informed practice can improve mental health care
- TED Talks on trauma
- The neurobiology of traumatic fight/flight/freeze
- What is… Stockholm syndrome (trauma bonding)
- What we can learn about trauma from the ACEs study: the Adverse Childhood Events study was pioneering research about the effect of childhood trauma on health in adulthood
- Why is complex PTSD not in the DSM-5?
Work, workplace bullying, and mental health
I’ve faced negative attitudes at work related to my mental illness, and I’ve also experienced workplace bullying. It’s important to talk about these things since they can be so isolating.
Know what your rights are based on disability laws in your area. Workplace Strategies for Mental Health has some useful information on supportive performance management.
- A work/mental illness conundrum – recognizing when illness impairs work performance
- Adapting ambition to circumstances – changing career goals as a result of mental illness
- Disclosing mental illness at work: The good, the bad, and the ugly
- Flush… is that my career going down the toilet? – getting closer to being unable to work due to mental illness
- Managing working (or not) with disability
- Mental illness and the dreaded job interview – mental illness can create some significant challenges when approaching a job interview
- What is… Burnout