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The Stigma of Depression

When it comes to obtaining treatment for medical ailments as benign as the common cold, people don’t think twice about running to the doctor, or the acupuncturist, and spending the money on treatments to feel better. So, why do so many who suffer from depression continue to hesitate, despite all of the treatment options available?

Depression continues to be one of the most stigmatized mental health issues out there. This is ironic, given that by the year 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression is estimated to be the second most common health problem in the world. The externalized stigma toward those with mental health issues that exists in society, there comes internalized stigma, or self-shame. This makes the experience of mental health issues all the more devastating. Many times, it is the internalized shame that stops people from acknowledging psychological problems and receiving treatment, since many see it as akin to admitting that they are weak or damaged in some way.

What can you do? If you suffer from depression, tell somebody. Ask for help. Change the stigma, call or text Affordable Counseling Center, Brandon at (813) 244-1521. We are also on the web at:


People go to therapy for a variety of reasons—quite often they have a vague sense “that something isn’t right,” or feelings of sadness or depression. They might be worried that they or someone they care about might have a mental illness, or they’re having problems with significant others.

However,  sometimes even relatively minor stressors, such as doing your taxes, can trigger significant symptoms. Anxiety, fear, panic, insomnia, mental confusion, hysteria, depression that doesn’t seem to lift, and more can be triggered by major (and in some cases, minor) stressful events.

If you find that during stressful times you seem to struggle with persistent symptoms more than you feel is acceptable, therapy might help.  Sure, your belief system, personality, mental and physical health, and other factors determine how you respond to life stressors, but sometimes the sheer magnitude of stressful conditions or times where these situations seem to pile on top of each other, can be overwhelming.

Whether or not you might benefit from therapy is a personal decision that no one can make for you. Brief therapy or, if necessary, longer-term therapy with a highly focused treatment plan, can help you deal with stressful events and the emotions they trigger.



Don’t Let Parenting Drown Your Marriage.


Between household chores, jobs, extracurricular activities for the kids, and all the other responsibilities that are on your plate you are often left with no time for your marriage. You don’t get to talk much, you only see each other right before bed when you are exhausted, and you’ve become less and less intimate over time. Although you are doing an outstanding job with your parenting and it is understandable that you have little time for yourselves, you must take the time to reconnect with your partner. 

A few simple changes can help shift the focus from the kids back to the marriage:

  1. Establish a date night. Set aside one evening per week for a romantic date night. If you can’t manage to get a sitter for the night then give the kids an activity to do that will keep them occupied for a couple hours and tell them not to bother the two of you while you have dinner together. 
  2. Reconsider the kid’s schedule. Don’t overload your schedules with extracurricular activities, instead let each child have only one activity at a time so you have more time to do other things as a family and couple.
  3. Balance kid time and couple time. Take turns staying in the the kids while one of you goes out with friends. But make sure you also have those date nights too so your not just seeing each other when your handing off the kids. 
  4. Find an activity you can enjoy together. Find a dance class, a favorite hiking spot, or just go out to dinner with your friends. Anything that you enjoy doing together and that will give you something to talk about instead of issues with the kids. 
  5. Intimacy. You don’t have time? Well make some. Get the children to bed, turn off the computers and TV and spend some quality time together. Decompress, talk about your day, give each other a back rub, or be sexually intimate.
  6. Make plans. There is no need for spontaneity all the time, especially when you have children. Relationships take maintenance and planning, make some room in your schedule and fit some plans in. 

Reconnecting takes a re-evaluation of priorities and making some changes in your schedules. To preserve and grow their relationship, the adults need to take care of their own needs as well as their children’s. 

Check out our website for more tips on maintaining your marriage, and how we can help you reconnect with your partner.

Coping With Cancer

cancerAs most of you know, October is breast cancer awareness month. We all see the streets and stores filled with pink and quotes such as, “Save the Tata’s” are pinned on bracelets and t-shirts nationwide. Cancer and its treatments can take a huge toll on the body, and also on the mind. The psychological effects of cancer are nothing to ignore. Imagine that the doctor gives you 6-12 months to live and all of the sudden your whole life flashes before your eyes. Empathy is a real challenge for loved ones of the cancer patient, because often these loved ones are going through a struggle of their own. Just as cancer can spread through and take over a body, it has a way of spreading through a family system as well.
Different people may react to the diagnosis differently. Some research shows that those who were in denial about their diagnosis and those with a positive attitude about treatment had more positive outcomes than those who continued to feel helpless or hopeless about their diagnosis. Some psychological effects of a cancer diagnosis can include depression, anxiety, and significant distress for the patient and the family members.
Counseling is a great option for families and individuals dealing with a cancer diagnosis. It may be able to help promote a decrease in helplessness for the patient, and can encourage family members to play a supportive and empathetic role. For more information about the psychological effects of cancer and tips for family members visit the American Cancer Society’s link below.

For more information on mental health counseling, visit our website at

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