Archive for July, 2012

Wedding Bell Blues: Dealing with Post-Wedding Depression


First comes marriage. Then what?

You’ve been planning your wedding for months, possibly even years. The big day came, it was magical, and now it is over. Perhaps you think you should be in a state of newlywed bliss, but instead you are finding yourself feeling a little blue. If that is the case, you are not alone. One in ten women experiences depression in the first year of marriage, and the number of couples seeking post-nuptial counseling is on the rise. What is leading newlywed couples to experience this post-wedding let down?

Researchers Allison Scott and Laura Stafford interviewed a group of newlywed women to try to answer just this question. Scott and Stafford found that all of the women reported feeling bored post-wedding; They had funneled all of their time and energy into planning their big day, and now they weren’t quite sure what to do with themselves. But, being bored did not necessarily mean being blue. Some women acknowledged that they felt a little bored, but were not depressed. Other women were bored and depressed. So what distinguished these two groups of women? Blue brides viewed their weddings as the end goal. In contrast, happy brides viewed their weddings as the start of a new chapter.
 
Suffering from Post-Wedding Blues?

So while they all were experiencing a bit of post-wedding let down, the happy brides were beginning to turn their focus onto the next chapter of their lives. The blue brides, however, felt uncertain about their goals now that the big event they had been planning for was over. These women reported that the uncertainty they experienced post-wedding bled over into other areas of their lives. They began to feel uncertain about their relationships and even their own identities. Who were they now that their wedding was over? They had been so focused on the big day that they hadn’t planned for what would happen next.

So, for those of you who are not yet engaged, or are just beginning the process, keep remembering that your wedding is the beginning of a new chapter, and not your ultimate goal. Everyone’s experiences are different, but here are a few suggestions to help keep your focus beyond your big day.

Have no-wedding-talk Wednesdays during your engagement. Talking about your wedding plans is fun, exciting, and necessary. But by restricting wedding talk a few nights a month, and spending time talking about and doing non-wedding things together, you’ll be sure to maintain some normalcy in your relationship. This may help you ease back into real life post-wedding.

Plan past the wedding. For every five pictures that go in your wedding inspiration folder, put a couple fun (and relaxing!) vacations, new recipes, or weekend date night ideas into a post-wedding folder. Everyone experiences some let down post-wedding, but if you’ve given yourself things to look forward to, you may be more excited about the next step.

After the wedding happens:

Know you are not alone. According to psychologists, post-wedding blues are very common. Don’t feel like there is something wrong with you if you are feeling bored and a bit down after your wedding.

Don’t dwell on the depression. Ruminating about problems only makes depression worse. If you are feeling blue after your wedding, recognize it for what it is and don’t let the depression cloud your feelings about other areas of your life. Instead, find something new to be excited about: plan a party with your friends and put your new china to use or finally start that new hobby you’ve been putting off.

Alert your spouse that you’re blue. If you are moping around the house looking like Eeyore when your spouse is expecting wedded bliss, that could leave both of you concerned about the state of your relationship. Letting your spouse know that you are just feeling let down after all the wedding festivities can take the blame off of your spouse and help him or her be supportive.

If you are married, do you think you saw your wedding as an end goal or the beginning of a new chapter? Are you, or have you, experienced post-wedding blues? What did you do to make yourself feel better? What worked, what didn’t? 

Further Reading:

Kurdeck, L. (1998). The nature and predictors of the trajectory of change in marital quality over the first 4 years of marriage for first-married husbands and wives Journal of Family Psychology, 12 (4), 494-510 DOI: 10.1037/0893-3200.12.4.494

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Feeling that Reality is Unreal


It feels like NOTHING is real, but…that doesn’t depress me. Shouldn’t it? For the past few months (and nothing I can think of significant has happened in the past few months, at least nothing out of the ordinary) i’ve begun to feel as if the world around me wasn’t real. But it’s not…depressing or scary…and the fact that its not scary, is a little bit odd to me. I don’t feel particularly unhappy or unsafe, in fact, you could even say that recently I’ve been happier than normal. But even sitting down in the living room typing this seems like it isn’t really happening. It’s like i’m just thinking really hard about things happening or watching some odd 3d projection of information pretending to be physical matter or light or whatever. Shouldn’t I be depressed? Why do I feel so strangely…I don’t even know how to explain it. Not euphoric, because that’s too extreme, just…disconnected. A sort of happy isolation. Am I crazy, or am I like…SUPER CRAZY? What’s wrong with me?

A. I would need many more details about your symptoms to know what, if anything, may be wrong. For instance, it would have been helpful to have answers to the following questions:

  • Do you have a recent history of substance use?
  • How often do you feel as though nothing is real?
  • When did these feelings begin?
  • Are you able to distinguish between what is real and what isn’t?
  • Are you engaging in any particular activity when these feelings occur?
  • Did you recently began taking a new medication?

There are several general possibilities that may explain your symptoms: a significant lack of sleep or the use of drugs or alcohol. If you have used drugs or alcohol recently, your symptoms may be a side effect of those substances. I receive many letters from individuals who have recently “smoked something” and subsequently feel similar to what you have described.

It’s also possible that you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Depersonalization disorder is characterized by feeling detached or estranged from oneself. Sometimes individuals with this disorder describe feeling as though they are in a movie or living in a dream. Some individuals who experience depersonalization worry that they are “crazy.”

On some occasions, individuals with depersonalization disorder experience derealization. Derealization is the experience of feeling as though the external world is strange or not real. Depersonalization disorder typically develops in adolescence or early adulthood (average age is about 16) and can be exacerbated by a traumatic event. Depersonalization disorder is categorized as a dissociative disorder and may be associated with other conditions such as schizophrenia, panic disorder, acute stress disorder, another type of dissociative disorder, drug use, or a general medical problem.

My recommendation is to have an evaluation by a mental health professional. An evaluation could determine if you should be concerned about your symptoms, if your symptoms require treatment and if you have a mental health condition. It is advantageous to receive an objective opinion from a trained professional when experiencing unusual psychological symptoms. Please take care. I wish you the best of luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Should I Have Thrown out my Parents?


I inherited a house I lived in for 12 years with my family, from my grandpa for taking care of him until his death. My parents constantly state that I stole the house from them.

My father lost his job and they moved in with us. They constantly verbally abuse me front of my children calling me improper names. My brother also moved in with his PitBull who attacked my 12 year old daughter and killed her guinea pig front of her. It took me 3 hours to calm her and my parents response was it was my daughters fault for holding her pet. I asked my brother to remove the dog.

We took my daughter on vacation so she can rest from he trauma; I asked my parents to please make sure the dog’s belonging is gone when we return. It was not; therefore I asked my father why very nicely and he attacked me. I had 5 witnesses and he swore that I will never be able to keep my house he will make sure of it. I asked him to leave the house and never came back. This is not the only time he has treated me this way. He hit me until I was 21 and when I was pregnant he cursed my child in my stomach hoping she would die front of strangers on the street. My mom also blames me for how my brother turned out. She says it is all my faoult because when I was 16 I worked too much instead of raising him right while she was at work.

I know I am abused but they always make me feel guilty and I forgive them. This time I am protecting my children who I raise with love and respect. Did I do the right thing by throwing my parents out? Also, I never asked my brother to leave but he broke many things in the house and told me he never wants to see us again. Should I report the incident to the police? Pitt-bull attack and vandalism?

A: Please listen to your own good sense. You are living in an environment of domestic violence. Just because these people are related to you does not, not, not mean that they are entitled to abuse you emotionally, verbally, and physically. You have been worn down to the point that you can no longer see clearly how badly you are being treated and you accept the blaming and shaming. You have nothing to apologize for! The abuse is now being extended to your daughter. Let the tiger-mom in you come out. She needs your protection.

You can’t just tell these people to leave. They will make you miserable. They’ve already shown they are capable of violence. You need support and legal help to separate you from this family safely. Please look at this website to learn how to go about getting the help you need.

If your family has access to this computer, delete this message and your inbox history and use the computer at your library or at a friend’s house to explore your options.

These people are dangerous. Protect yourself and your daughter.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Discovery of new white blood cell reveals target for better vaccine design


ScienceDaily (July 27, 2012) — Researchers in Newcastle and Singapore have identified a new type of white blood cell which activates a killing immune response to an external source — providing a new potential target for vaccines for conditions such as cancer or Hepatitis B.

Publishing in the journal Immunity, the team of researchers from Newcastle University in collaboration with A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) describe a new human tissue dendritic cell with cross-presenting function.

Dendritic cells (DCs) are a type of white blood cell that orchestrate our body’s immune responses to infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses, as well as cancer cells. They are also very important for eliciting the immune response generated by vaccines.

DCs kick start an immune response by presenting small fragments of molecules from micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses, or from vaccines or tumours, called antigens on their surface. This leads to activation of another white blood cell subset called T cells, which specialise in killing cells and are crucial for eliminating cancerous or infected cells. Most cells are only able to present antigens from within themselves, and so will only elicit an immune response if they are infected themselves. Only a specialised subset of DCs is able to generate a response to an external source of antigen, for example bacteria, vaccines and tumours.

The identity of human tissue DCs that are capable of presenting external antigen to activate the cell-killing response by T cells — a process termed ‘cross-presentation’ — has remained a mystery. Their discovery, as revealed by this research, will help scientists to design better targeted vaccine strategies to treat cancer and infections such as Hepatitis B.

“These are the cells we need to be targeting for anti-cancer vaccines,” said Dr Muzlifah Haniffa, a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellow and Senior Clinical Lecturer at Newcastle University. “Our discovery offers an accessible, easily targetable system which makes the most of the natural ability of the cell.” The researchers also showed for the first time that dendritic cell subsets are conserved between species and have in effect created a map, facilitating the translation of mouse studies to the human immune system.

“The cross-species map is in effect a Rosetta stone that deciphers the language of mouse into human,” explains Matthew Collin, Professor of Haematology from Newcastle University.

In the paper the researchers describe how the cross-presenting DCs were first isolated from surplus plastic surgery skin which was digested to melt the gelatinous collagen to isolate the cells. This research will have significant impact on the design of vaccines and other targeted immunotherapies.

The Rosetta Stone of our immune system: Mapping Human and Mouse dendritic cells

The Newcastle University team in collaboration with A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) have for the first time ever aligned the dendritic cell subsets between mouse and humans allowing the accurate translation of mouse studies into the human model for the first time.

The researchers isolated the dendritic cells from human blood and skin and those from mouse blood, lung and liver. Using gene expression analysis, they identified gene signatures for each human dendritic cell subset. Mouse orthologues of these genes were identified and a computational analysis was performed to match subsets across species.

This provides scientists for the first time with an accurate model to compare DCs between species. Professor Matthew Collin explains: “This is in effect a Rosetta stone that deciphers the language of mouse into human. It can put into context the findings from the extensive literature using mouse models to the human settings.”

Dr. Haniffa added: “These gene signatures are available in a public repository accessible for all researchers to benefit from the data. It will allow detailed knowledge of individual human dendritic cell subsets to enable specific targeting of these cells for therapeutic strategy.”

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Newcastle University.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Muzlifah Haniffa, Amanda Shin, Venetia Bigley, Naomi McGovern, Pearline Teo, Peter See, Pavandip Singh Wasan, Xiao-Nong Wang, Frano Malinarich, Benoit Malleret, Anis Larbi, Pearlie Tan, Helen Zhao, Michael Poidinger, Sarah Pagan, Sharon Cookson, Rachel Dickinson, Ian Dimmick, Ruth F. Jarrett, Laurent Renia, John Tam, Colin Song, John Connolly, Jerry K.Y. Chan, Adam Gehring, Antonio Bertoletti, Matthew Collin, Florent Ginhoux. Human Tissues Contain CD141hi Cross-Presenting Dendritic Cells with Functional Homology to Mouse CD103 Nonlymphoid Dendritic Cells. Immunity, 2012; 37 (1): 60 DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2012.04.012

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

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Feeling Worthless on Stage


So I’m a singer and actress. im on stage all the time at my school but everytime i try and do something right, someone else does it better and makes me feel like im nothing. The teachers dont do anything about it. People bully me and pick on me and i cant take it anymore. i cant do what i love if people treat me like dirt. No one seems to see what im able to do and how much talent i have. Im not the one to get jelous, i never do but its hard when so many people hate you.

A. If you have not reported the bullying behavior of your peers to school authorities, then do so immediately. If your teachers won’t listen, then report it to the principal or the guidance counselor, or whomever will listen. In many schools throughout the country, there is a “no tolerance” policy with regard to bullying. That essentially means that no bullying will be tolerated from any student, under any circumstances and the offender shall be punished accordingly.

The other aspect of this problem is “feeling worthless on stage.” Those feelings may be related to low self-esteem. If you do not have high regard for yourself, then you may minimize your talents and abilities. Just because you feel “worthless” does mean that you are worthless. Your self-evaluation is likely inaccurate and based on a low opinion of yourself.

Many people are convinced that they know what other people think about them, when in reality they do not. Try not to make assumptions.

It takes time to develop self-esteem. Self-esteem is derived from competence and life accomplishments. I would encourage you to focus on your development as an actress and as a singer and practice often. Try not to be concerned about what other people think of you, and speak to your parents or the school about the bullying problems. I wish you the best of luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Can Partner Lose His Interest in Boys?


I have a partner and we have been together for 15 years. I was 18 when we met and he was 33. Our whole relationship we have struggled with his attraction to younger men. He dated a 16 year old for 6 months when he was 31. We have went to a therapist over it and they have told me that since he has been with me he has not made any advances onto a young boy. But I catch him watching 12 year old boys wrestle, kiss or anything else he can find on youtube. I am not sure what to do. I love him and we have a life together, but this worries me.

A: It should worry you. Being sexually aroused by young boys is not a benign paraphilia. A young person could get hurt. Your partner could land in jail. At 18, you fulfilled his fantasy of being with a young boy – and you were legal. I’m concerned that 15 years later, now that you are clearly an adult, sex with you may not be enough to gratify him.

It is true that as long as someone has strong impulse control, he may never cross the line. However, some of the leading researchers who study pedophilia believe that indulging in watching such videos is a slippery slope. It encourages an objectification of young boys and reduces the older person’s ability to empathize with what they might feel if he approached them. Further, being with a lover is not a reliable deterrent for inappropriate or illegal sexual activity.

It’s not enough to hope that because he’s with you, he won’t act on his impulses. It’s important that he has a clear plan for staying on the right side of the line. That includes having empathy for children, having a well articulated plan for keeping children and himself safe, and being clear that he does have control over his choices. If that hasn’t been talked about specifically in therapy, it should be. If the therapist isn’t comfortable with a frank and detailed conversation about it, please find a therapist with expertise in the issue.

People do have control over their proclivities. But they have to be committed to it. I hope your partner is being honest with himself and with you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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The Great DSM Hoax


I have been reading Marilyn Wedge’s excellent Pills Are Not for Preschoolers and it moved me to write again about the extent to which the DSM, the “diagnostic manual” used by the psychotherapeutic professional class, is an utter hoax.

You may be familiar with complaints surrounding the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM as those complaints have mounted in recent months in connection with the imminent appearance of the next version of the DSM, the DSM-V, which is scheduled to appear in 2013. In that volume a slew of new “mental disorders,” created out of whole cloth for profit, will appear. Many people, including thousands of mental health professionals, have pushed back. But too few are willing to call the whole thing the hoax it is.

The DSM is a disease-mongering naming game where collections of disparate painful thoughts and feelings and unwanted or distressing behaviors are given profit-seeking labels. That is all the DSM does. It tells a story about life, that behaviors like restlessness and feelings like sadness are medical problems, without ever announcing its premises or its motives. It doesn’t just name or label: it imputes. By calling sadness “depression” or restlessness “attention deficit disorder” it secretly imputes biological causes for which there is no evidence. They want us to believe that biological abnormality is at play, so that they can prescribe drugs, without having to frankly say that there are biological abnormalities at play, which might require that they prove their assertions.  

It is one thing to say that when you see the numeral 2 you are to call it “two.” It is a rather similar thing to say that when you see a bird with feathers of this color and a beak of this sort you are to call it an oriole. That is simple naming for the sake of communication and convenience. But when you assert that when you see an oak, a rose, or a giraffe you are to call them “God’s handiwork,” that is not naming. That is imputing. That is telling a loaded story under the guise of naming. The DSM, which has sometimes been criticized as a naturalist’s guide to mental disorders, is far worse than that. It doesn’t just name: it imputes causes it is completely unjustified in ascribing.

Calling the sadness you feel because your parents are fighting or calling your entirely understandable boredom at school a “mental disorder” is not just naming. The causes of your “disorder” are being ascribed without anyone saying anything overt. The DSM tells a secret, silent, never-explained story as it gets from “a restless child who gets up six times at school but never gets up when he visits his grandmother who lets him play video games” to “attention deficit disorder.” How did it get there? Just by using language in a way that too many people find plausible and seductive.

You will agree that a label like “attention deficit disorder” seems to be positing some biological malfunctioning? Yet the American Psychiatric Association’s own current definition of a mental disorder contains not a word about biology, defining a mental disorder as a “psychological or behavioral syndrome.” It is rather amazing that in the definition of a mental disorder the psychotherapeutic professional class admits that they do not believe for an instant that there are biological irregularities going on, even though their labels are imputing precisely those causes.

They probably feel free to admit it there, in the definition of a “mental disorder,” because they know that no one, not even members of their professional class, will ever actually look at the definition. So they are safe in admitting a bit of the truth there. Then, when questioned in Heaven, they will be able to say, “Look we never said that this has anything to do with biology. We can’t help it that people thought we did and that they thought that because we were prescribing medication that there was something biologically wrong with them. That’s their fault, not ours. Look, we clearly defined a ‘mental disorder’ as a ‘psychological or behavioral syndrome.’ We never said that biology was involved. We have no clue where they got that idea.”

For indeed the current definition of “mental disorder” says nothing about biology. Ah, but perhaps because of the scrutiny being put on the DSM-V creators, who maybe now fear that someone will actually look at their definition, they have proposed a massive change to the definition of “mental disorder” to include biology. They intend it now to read: “A Mental Disorder is a health condition characterized by significant dysfunction in an individual’s cognitions, emotions, or behaviors that reflects a disturbance in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning.”

One might sensibly ask: what, did you forget to include “biology” in the current definition, in the one that every mental health provider supposedly is using right this minute? Did “biology” escape your mind or your notice? Did you have a “blind-to-biology disorder”? And are you now saying that the current definition, which makes no mention of biology, is untrue? Are you saying that it is a mistake? If it is a mistake, is it not dangerous and perhaps even actionable to let it just stand? Please tell us which one is right!  

Just ask yourself: how can you drop “biology” into the definition of a “mental disorder” as if you had added a comma or a semi-colon? Either the current definition is incorrect or the prospective definition is incorrect. They can’t both be correct. They can indeed both be incorrect, and they are, but they can’t both be correct. So which is the correct one, DSM creators, and what is your justification for dubbing the one correct and the other incorrect? Have you just “changed your mind,” as your predecessors did when they changed their mind about homosexuality being a mental disorder?    

Is the proposed definition of a “mental disorder” a truer definition than the previous one? No, it is the same hoax: and in fact the creators of the DSM blithely announce that they are unconcerned about whether or not their definition of a “mental disorder” is true. They explain that “The diagnosis of a mental disorder should have clinical utility,” not that it should be true. There you go. Since they do not mean by clinical utility that a diagnosis be either valid or reliable, they must mean that it be profitable.

In fact, tellingly enough, as a prospective client you do not to meet their own proposed criteria in order to receive treatment. They explain: “Clinicians may thus encounter individuals who do not meet full criteria for a mental disorder, but who demonstrate a clear need for treatment or care. The fact that some individuals do not show all symptoms indicative of a diagnosis in these individuals should not be used to justify limiting their access to appropriate care.”

Wow! Isn’t that a clever sentence? Orwell would have loved it. This translates as: “We say that we are using this manual to diagnose you but since our labeling scheme is a hoax and our criteria are trumped up to begin with, it certainly doesn’t matter to us whether you meet them or not—we are happy to medicate you simply by virtue of you having walked through the door.”

There can be no real change in this procedure until politicians intervene; and they will not intervene because of the power of Big Pharma. Perhaps when some senator notices that her six-year-old son, who is on an antidepressant, an anticonvulsant, and an antipsychotic, has suffered a psychotic break that will cost him his whole adult life, she will be moved to say, “I don’t care how much Big Pharma is paying me, I’m sick of this lie.” Perhaps then some questions will get asked by people with the clout to demand real answers. Until then the hoax will continue.   

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Eric Maisel, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, bestselling author of 40 books, and widely regarded as America’s foremost creativity coach. His latest book is Rethinking Depression: How to Shed Mental Health Labels and Create Personal Meaning (New World Library, February, 2012) and is available here. Dr. Maisel is the founder of natural psychology, the new psychology of meaning. Please visit Dr. Maisel at http://www.ericmaisel.com or contact him at ericmaisel@hotmail.com. You can learn more about natural psychology at http://www.infinitemeaningclass.com.

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