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Monthly Archives: October 2022

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression  refers to depression that happens after childbirth. It is a common disorder after pregnancy, affecting 1 in 9 new parents source.

It’s common for people to experience “baby blues,” or feelings of sadness or emptiness after childbirth. For many people, these symptoms go away in a couple of days.

But if you feel sad, hopeless, or empty for longer than 2 weeks post-childbirth, you may have postpartum depression.

Symptoms of postpartum depression can range from mild to severe and can  include trusted source:

  • feeling restless or moody
  • feeling sad, hopeless, or overwhelmed
  • having thoughts of hurting the baby or yourself
  • not having an interest in the baby, feeling disconnected, or as if your baby is someone else’s
  • having no energy or motivation
  • eating too little or too much
  • sleeping too little or too much
  • having trouble focusing
  • having memory problems
  • feeling worthless, guilty, or like a bad parent
  • withdrawing from activities you once enjoyed
  • withdrawing from friends and family
  • having headaches, aches, or stomach issues that don’t go away
  • feeling empty, unconnected, or as though you might not love or care for the baby

Postpartum depression is thought to be triggered by trusted source  the dramatic hormonal changes that take place after pregnancy.

Bipolar depression occurs in certain types of  bipolar disorder when a person experiences a depressive episode.

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes distinct changes in mood, energy, concentration, and the ability to carry out your day-to-day tasks.

There are three types of bipolar disorder, all of which include periods known as manic episodes, where you feel extremely “up,” elated, or energized, and depressive episodes where you feel “down,” sad, or hopeless.

If you have bipolar disorder, it can be hard to recognize the harmful effects of each “mood episode.”

People having a depressive episode

  • feel very sad, hopeless, or empty
  • feel slowed down or restless
  • have trouble falling asleep, wake up too early, or sleep too much
  • have an increased appetite and weight gain
  • talk very slowly, forget things, or feel like they have nothing to say
  • have trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • feel unable to do basic tasks
  • have little interest in activities
  • have a decreased or absent sex drive
  • have thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms during a depressive episode last every day for most of the day and can last for several days or weeks.

If bipolar disorder is treated, many will experience fewer and less severe symptoms of depression, if they experience depressive episodes

Help Your Child (and Yourself) Find More Joy

Take a break and regroup. There will be times when you are overwhelmed, upset, emotional or distracted. When this happens, allow yourself to take a break to regroup. Pausing for a bit to gather yourself doesn’t mean signaling defeat; instead, it’s a great self-care strategy that allows you to better deal with challenges in a healthy and successful way.

Review and recalibrate. Think about things that happened and what you’ve done and focused on lately and learn from them. Self-care means taking time to really evaluate if situations, activities and relationships in your life are healthy and should continue. If needed, eliminate or adjust these things so your life is filled with positivity and what you enjoy.

Set some goals. We all have areas of our lives that we wish were different or want to make a change. While some important things in life are currently out of our control, each of us has the power to make individual choices and set goals no matter what difficult situations and setbacks we may be facing. Take small steps toward a goal, commit and do your best

Two Ways to Diagnose, and Treat, a Toxic Friendship

Many people come to therapy searching for insight into their problematic friendships. They may ask questions like:

  • “They have known me forever, why can’t I be myself around them?”
  • “Why do they always ruin every good thing I share with them?”
  • “I don’t trust them to be honest with me. Is this normal?
  • “Why do I always get tense and quiet when I’m around them?”

Because we invest so much time and trust in our friendships it can be hard to acknowledge when a platonic friendship has gone toxic. And calling out this problematic behavior can be even more difficult and confusing.

If these questions are running through your mind, here are two signs that your friendship has soured and that something needs to change.

They’re a low-key bully

Here’s a scenario. You and your best friend take shots at each other every now and then. But it’s all good, a little leg-pulling is healthy for a friendship.

However, you’ve started to feel uncomfortable lately. They throw you under the bus and humiliate you to make other people laugh. They pick on you in public settings and randomly reveal secrets they swore they would keep.

Research published in the American Journal of Sociology suggests that bullying and aggression are actually more common within friend circles than outside of them. When a person resorts to victimizing someone for popularity or other goals they usually start with a friend.

Why? Because it’s easy and convenient. You know each other’s pressure points. The line between what flies and what doesn’t is often blurred in platonic relationships. You might end up feeling like you’re not sporting enough or that you’re too easily offended.

What’s important to remember in these moments is what hurts you, hurts you. Questioning the way you feel minimizes what you are going through. Some people even try to suppress these feelings to impress or prove themselves to their ‘frenemy.’

The truth is that there are only two ways to deal with such a situation.

  1. Have an honest conversation. It might be time to put your fear of confrontation aside and get real with your friend. Set boundaries about things that can and can’t be joked about. If they really care about you, they will listen and work on their behavior.
  2. Cut the cord. If your friend continues to bully you even after an explicit conversation, you might want to reconsider this person’s presence in your life. At the end of the day, friendships are supposed to be safe spaces. If you feel unsafe in a relationship, you’re probably better off without it.

They are a low-key parasite

Is there a friend in your life who only calls you when they need a ride? Have you started to avoid a certain friend’s calls because they only remember you when they need to vent? Is there a friend who always expects you to be there for them but never shows up for you?

These are all classic examples of parasitic friendships. A parasitic friend focuses too much on the ‘take’ aspect of the give-and-take dynamic of a friendship. While there is a utilitarian element to almost all friendships (e.g., carpooling, wardrobe exchanges, pet-sitting duties, etc.), things can get complicated when the help only flows in one direction.

A healthy friendship has mutual affection and respect at its core. If you suspect that a person might be more of a parasite than a friend to you, here are two questions you can ask yourself to gain clarity.

  1. Do you feel objectified? When this person asks for your help, do they offer their help in return? Do they express gratitude?  Do they consider how this act of help might be costing you? If your answer to these questions is a ‘no,’ you might be dealing with a parasitic individual — someone who makes you feel more like an object and less like a person.
  2. Do you feel drained by them? Parasitic friendships can be material or emotional (or both). A healthy friendship usually replenishes your emotional reservoir whereas a parasitic friendship can deplete it.

Research published in The British Journal of Social Psychology has shown that relationships rooted in utility rarely last (unless they are meant to be utilitarian, such as work relationships), as no one can be useful to another person forever. It is in your hands to end a friendship that is preying on you before they decide that they don’t really need you anymore.


If you find it hard at first to get started talking, start small by making conversation and easing into discussion topics that matter to you – little by little. Over time you will learn how to get the most out of therapy.

When it comes to what to talk about therapy, there aren’t really any topics off the table. That said, it’s best if you show up with a willingness to be open, honest, and yes, you guessed it vulnerable.  I know the thought of this can be intimidating. But eventually, you will see how good it feels to unload your thoughts heavy and light.

Not just that, but in a safe space and with someone whose primary goal is to help you benefit and move forward from that sharing. Therapists can only really work with what you tell them, so there’s only so far you can get if you do not open up.

So what do you talk about in therapy? You can talk about whatever is bothering you. It could be anything on your mind – there is no right or wrong, or anything you could say that a therapist would ever judge you for.

Talk with your talk therapist about your relationships, school, or work. Talk to them about a problem you are going through and ask them how to deal with it. In talk therapy, your therapist makes a plan for you to ensure you cover anything you want to talk about and work on. And don’t worry if you ever feel stuck. Your therapist will also ask questions and provide structure as needed.

Marriage Counseling Office Online or Phone

Everyone has ups and downs in their relationships, especially if those relationships are long-term. These challenges can bring tough questions to the table, such as whether to stay together or part ways. In many cases, it helps to have a neutral, levelheaded third party help you navigate the storms. It’s even better to have a caring therapist at Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa, FL and Brandon, FL with experience who can help you understand each other and yourselves better as well as teach you ways to communicate and cope with strong emotions.

Couples who seek therapy in Tampa, FL and Brandon, FL may be dealing with substance abuse issues, infidelity, sexual problems, anger, or other conflicts – like disagreements over finances or parenting. Sometimes there may not be a specific problem, and it may be used to work better together or communicate more effectively. While marriage counseling I can be a great benefit for struggling marriages, it can also be useful to those that want to improve one that isn’t struggling.

Feeling alone Affordable Counseling Center in Tampa, Fl & Brandon, Fl 

Healthy human development requires needs for physical and emotional care to be met. Unmet needs can result in feelings of abandonment. Experiencing abandonment can become a traumatic life event. The death of a parent can be a traumatic event for a child. Feeling unsafe due to a threatening situation like abuse or poverty can also cause trauma. 

Some degree of abandonment fear can be normal. But when fear of abandonment is severe and frequent, it can cause trouble. It may impact how a person’s relationships develop. When this is the case, the support of a therapist or counselor at Affordable Counseling center in Tampa, Fl & Brandon, Fl may help.

Abandonment fear often stems from childhood loss. This loss could be related to a traumatic event, such as the loss of a parent through death or divorce. It can also come from not getting enough physical or emotional care. These early childhood experiences can lead to a fear of being abandoned by others later in life.


A pattern of emotional abandonment or neglect can also be traumatic. It can qualify as a form of abandonment. Emotional abandonment can occur when parents:

  • Stifle their children’s emotional expression
  • Ridicule their children 
  • Hold their children to standards that are too high
  • Rely too heavily on children for their own sense of worth
  • Treat their children as peers

People who felt abandoned as children may be more likely to repeat this pattern with their children. But some emotionally abandoned children recognize this pattern. They can go on to nurture their own children and break the cycle of abandonment. Many of these signs of abandonment may also play out between people in a relationship. Stress or overwhelm can contribute to emotional abandonment. People with unmet needs often have a difficult time meeting the needs of others. Practicing self-care is an important part of making sure one’s own needs are met. The person who practices self-care can then meet the needs of their child or partner in a healthy way.

A person who has experienced abandonment may be more likely to have long-term mental health issues. These are often based on the fear that abandonment will recur. A child who was abandoned by a parent or caregiver may have mood swings or anger later in life.

How to Deal with a Narcissist

Narcissism causes a person to be so preoccupied with their own needs that they don’t notice, or actively choose to ignore, the needs and feelings of others. Narcissism is closely linked to the need for admiration and outside validation. Almost everyone is narcissistic sometimes. For example, an otherwise loving parent might temporarily ignore a crying child because the parent is enjoying admiration and attention on social media.

When narcissism is a strong pattern of behavior that defines a person’s personality, they may be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). People who love or work with a narcissist may experience abuse and neglect. Sometimes a person with NPD engages in gaslighting attempting to make a victim of abuse question their own reality. This can be a toxic cycle that destroys relationships, self-esteem, and even entire workplaces or families.

NPD is difficult to treat because so few people with narcissism willingly seek treatment. Yet people dealing with the fallout of interacting with a narcissist can and do get better with appropriate support and strong boundaries. A therapist can help you understand how another person’s narcissism affects your life, and then work with you to prevent that relationship from harming your mental health.


People with narcissism are not sadists who enjoy harming others. Instead, they lack a coherent, consistent sense of self and attempt to seek self-esteem from admiration and attention.

Most people with narcissism don’t seek treatment. Some people with NPD create a detailed fantasy life, filled with hope for the future, to escape the disappointing reality they actually live. For instance, a teenager who drops out of high school may fantasize about his future as a famous writer. Pursuing treatment forces him to accept that this fantasy is not reality. Other people with NPD are able to achieve some success at work or in their home lives. They may be able to make others cater to their needs, obscuring the problematic realities of their behavior.

People in relationships with narcissists can get help from therapy even if the narcissist never changes. In fact, one of the main focuses of therapy may be helping the loved one of a narcissist to accept that they can lead a happy life even if the narcissist never changes their behavior. Therapy can help a person dealing with a narcissist to:

  • Understand and identify narcissistic behavior. Some people in relationships with narcissists think the abuse is their fault.
  • Identify the effects of the narcissist on their own thoughts and feelings. Children of narcissists may struggle well into adulthood.
  • Set clear boundaries with the narcissist. This may mean changing the “rules” of the relationship, changing how one responds to the narcissist, or ending the relationship.
  • Talk with others about the abuse. People who have survived narcissistic abuse sometimes struggle to tell others about the abuse or explain why they have chosen to end a relationship.
  • Rebuild self-esteem.

People with NPD may seek treatment when their behavior threatens something they care about, such as their relationship with a child or partner. In some cases, couples or family therapy may be appropriate—but only if the person with NPD also seeks individual counseling to deal with their diagnosis. When a relationship is abusive, couples or family counseling may not be effective.


 Substance Abuse

One of the more popular group therapy topics, substance abuse can be discussed in a group setting quite successfully. You can learn more about your addiction and discover the triggers that might be contributing to why you engage in addictive behavior. Understanding triggers for addiction can be hugely beneficial in your addiction recovery. 

One of the benefits of group therapy is learning exactly what types of things, events, or situations tend to cause you to crave drugs or alcohol means you can avoid them. By doing so, you can increase the chance that your sobriety will last, decreasing the risk of relapse.

substance abuse group therapy discussion topics can include the following additional subtopics:

Substance abuse and the need for support and goal-setting skills

Problem-solving with the opportunity to listen to others’ similar problems and learn

User’s empowerment and skill learning

Routine and structure setting

Relationship building and improvement 

Communal sharing, learning, and healing by talking amongst group members 

Token economies

Family and community support 

Depression Affordable Counseling Center Tampa, Fl & Brandon, Fl 

Depression is a serious, but common, condition. It often causes people to feel sad or empty for long periods of time. It can also affect one’s thinking patterns and physical health. In some cases, depression can lead people to consider suicide. 


Depression is the most common cause of disability in the United States. One in 10 adults report experiencing it. Most people have their first bout of depression in their late teens or early twenties. 

Depression’s symptoms can vary from person to person. Someone’s gender, culture, or age may change how they experience depression. Yet most forms of depression include these common symptoms:

  • Frequent crying and bouts of sadness
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Getting too much or too little sleep 
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Difficulty enjoying activities one used to like
  • Unexplained physical ailments such as headaches or muscle pain

A person with depression likely has trouble dealing with daily stresses. Sometimes the simplest activities—getting out of bed, bathing, and dressing—can feel impossible. Such struggles might make people feel helpless or alone. Even when something good happens, depression can cast a cloud of negativity over the experience. 

People with depression often feel anger, shame, and irritation. Sometimes these emotions can show up in the body as aches or nausea. These feelings can also lead to weepiness.

Other times, depression causes people to feel emotionally “numb.” It is common for people to feel as if they never have energy. In severe cases, a person may not care if they live or die.

It could be time to seek therapy if an issue causes distress or interferes with daily life. Distress can mean negative thoughts, feelings, behaviors, or even a bodily sensation such as pain or fatigue. It is important not to wait until symptoms become severe before going to therapy. It may be best to seek therapy if you are often unhappy or feel overwhelmed and hopeless about issues in your life.

Trust Issues

Trust is the act of placing confidence in someone or something else. It is a fundamental human experience. Trust is necessary for society to function. It can play a large role in happiness. Without it, fear rules. Trust is not an either/or proposition, but a matter of degree. Some life experiences can impact a person’s ability to trust others.


Everyone has uncertainty about whom to trust and how much. It is not always clear when trust is appropriate. People make choices about whom and how much to trust every day. We are more willing to trust at some times than others. That is a good thing. A total lack of mistrust would be a serious problem. But judgments about when and whom to trust help keep us safe and alive.


Trust issues often come from early life experiences and interactions. These experiences often take place in childhood. Some people do not get enough care and acceptance as children. Others are abused,, violated, or mistreated. These things may lead to difficulty trusting as an adult.

Social rejection in one’s teens may shape their ability to trust. Some teens are bullied or treated as outcasts by peers. This can influence later relationships. Being betrayed or belittled by others impacts self-esteem. Self-esteem also plays a large role in a person’s capacity to trust. People with low self-esteem may be less likely to trust others. Those with higher self-esteem may be more self-assured.

If you experience trust issues, you are not alone. People who seek help for trust issues are often able to regain a sense of trust in others. This may improve their relationships and overall sense of well-being.

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