Is it Normal to Still Love My Ex? + Tips on How to Move Forward

A girl wondering is it normal to still love my ex

Is it Normal to Still Love My Ex?

Oftentimes, new relationships feel like a fresh start. Wonderful ideas like soulmates and true love become a reality, and we’ve never been happier.

 

So when heartbreak comes along, our bodies go through a kind of romantic withdrawal. We become cynical yet find ourselves still in love long after the breakup.

 

When we’re happily in love, our brains produce dopamine and other chemicals that make us feel good, and a biological connection is formed. The longer this relationship goes on, and the more dopamine is produced, the more “addicted” our brains become.

 

In short, it’s perfectly natural to miss (or even love) your first love or old flame for a while.

 

However, if strong feelings persist and you’re having a hard time moving on from an ex-partner, you may still be grieving

 

Breakups are a type of loss and may follow the five stages of grief. You may experience each stage or only some, in no particular order.

 

As with any form of loss, you can lean on professional help to learn how to healthily process a breakup and reconcile your feelings.

 

To help you better understand your grief in the lens of a breakup, we’ve listed the five stages below:

 

 

1. Shock or denial

Even after the relationship ends, you and your ex-partner may slip into old habits, exchanging texts and making plans.

 

This isn’t unusual; breakups can be traumatic, and denial is a powerful coping mechanism. It helps soften the blow until we can process our emotions.

 

2. Anger

When we have strong feelings for another person, our love and affection may morph into anger and resentment following a breakup.

 

You may blame yourself or your partner for the relationship’s end. You may lash out, pointing out the other person’s flaws, or resent loved ones for their successful relationships.

 

Bad relationships and breakups can also affect your self-esteem. Depending on the nature of your previous relationship, these intense emotions may linger and prevent you from connecting with a new partner. 

 

3. Bargaining

Restoring a past relationship can feel like the solution to newfound instability and insecurity, whether you truly want to try again or not.

 

You may promise to be a better person or suggest their current partner isn’t right for them. You may also find yourself caught up in nostalgia, sending “I miss you” texts in the middle of the night or calling up an old flame. 

 

Alternatively, you may shift your focus to work, school, or exercise, using increased or over-productivity to regain a sense of control.

 

4. Depression

During this stage, you may spend a lot of time alone, scrolling through your ex’s social media and rereading text messages.

 

While you may not necessarily cry, you might be low on energy and lack motivation for your usual interests.

 

Though it’s important to lean on friends during this stage, they are not relationship experts and all forms of grief can be hard to cope with, especially if you have a mental illness. If you feel depressed for more than two weeks, it may be time to speak to a mental health professional.

 

5. Acceptance

Loving someone and learning how to let go are fundamental life lessons.

 

If the relationship was unhealthy or unhappy, then parting ways was the right decision, and you’ll eventually go on to find someone better. Likewise, if you two were happy together, then it’s very likely you’ll be happy again with someone else.

 

Knowing this, you may still have lingering feelings for your ex.

 

This is perfectly normal. What matters is that you’ve learned how to reconcile your emotions and have begun to reconnect with friends, families, and new partners.

 

Tips on How to Move Forward

Moving on from a breakup takes time. As you navigate your emotions, stay mindful of the pull of fond memories and practice self-care to get through the hard days.

 

To help you move forward, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

 

Stay off of social media

A lot of people fall into self-destructive patterns following a breakup. If you’re comparing yourself to the couples you see online or checking up on your ex a lot, take time away from social media. Reinvest your energy into work and hobbies, and learn how to see yourself outside of a relationship.

 

Listen to music with themes of self-empowerment and independence

Researchers have found that listening to your favorite music releases dopamine, one of the “happy brain chemicals.”

 

Blast your favorite playlist on your way to work and host concerts in your shower. Rediscover some high school favorites, dance alone in your room, and lean into the self-empowering messages that you loved as a teenager.

 

Remember why you broke up

Not only is journaling a great way to process your emotions, but it can serve as a physical record of what went wrong with your relationship.

 

Alternatively, you can reach out to a close friend and get their perspective. If they were present for the duration of the relationship, they likely can lend some insight into why you two broke up.

 

Throw away or get rid of mementos and keepsakes

It’s a lot easier to cling onto memories if we still have physical reminders lying around.

 

If you feel like it might give you closure, return the gifts your ex gave you. Throw away or donate anything else you might’ve held on to that reminds you of them. Though it may be bittersweet, it’ll help you think of them less as you go about your day.

 

Write a parting letter, but don’t send it

To help you process your emotions, try writing a parting letter.

 

Write down everything you wanted to say, from the angry to the good. Let it all out and once you’re done, throw it away. You can think of this as a physical release from the relationship and the power it once held over you.

 

Delete their number and block communication

In addition to staying off social media, avoid stalking your ex’s posts.

 

To stave off temptation, block them on all your accounts and delete their number. If you’re still hurting, do not engage with them if they try to reach out or happen to ask a close friend about you.

 

Get support from friends and family

If you’re having a tough time coping with a breakup, reach out to your loved ones. 

 

Friends and family members can be a crucial source of support during this difficult period, so try to make plans and reinvest energy into non-romantic relationships.

 

Seek professional support

There is nothing wrong with asking for help.

 

By speaking with a mental health professional such as a therapist or counselor, you can get the support you need to move on from past relationships and reconcile lingering hurt or heartache.

 

Work Through Your Feelings with Emote Online Therapy

Whether they were your first love or your first serious relationship, it’s not unusual to still love your ex. After all, they were a major part of your life, and letting go is never easy.

 

Through therapy, it’s possible to healthily address unresolved feelings and recover from a broken heart.

 

At Emote, we offer a safe space for anyone struggling with their emotions.

 

By matching with one of our highly qualified therapists, you can gain the tools you need to cope with a breakup. Through therapy, you can even discover a new side to yourself and learn how to connect with a new partner

 

Arrange video chat therapy sessions every week or text your therapist throughout your day for immediate support.

 

Sign up today and begin therapy with Emote for only $35 during your first week. Check out other helpful posts or read our FAQ to learn more about the benefits of therapy. 

 

How to Talk to a Therapist: Tips and Helpful Talking Points

A man wondering how to talk to a therapist

How to Talk to a Therapist and Get the Most Out of Your Therapy

Maybe you’re interested in therapy but feel like your worries are too trivial for a therapist. Or perhaps you’ve already attended a few sessions, yet you’re struggling to express yourself.

 

Either way, you’re not alone. Therapy is a step in the right direction, but it can be nerve-wracking to open up to a stranger.

 

According to research, 40.2 million American adults sought out and received mental health services such as therapy and counseling in 2019.

 

With a growing interest in psychotherapy, new patients may be surprised to find that “talk therapy” (like cognitive behavioral therapy, aka CBT) doesn’t magically transform you into an open book.

 

It takes time and patience to establish a therapeutic relationship, and it’s normal to encounter roadblocks along the way. 

 

For patients who are shy or suffer from anxiety, in-person therapy sessions can be overwhelming and stressful, even with a good therapist. Likewise, many people believe therapy is only for “serious” or “bad” stuff and has no place for everyday life. Others simply don’t know where to start.

 

The great thing about psychotherapists is that they’re human, too. 

 

As you learn how to open up about your mental health, they can learn how to best make you feel comfortable and secure.

 

Using the strategies we’ve listed below, you can start the conversation today and get the most out of therapy with Emote.

 

 

1. Ask your therapist to explain the process and what might be expected 

It’ll take time to find a therapist you like, but once you do, use your first session to learn more about how therapy works and what to expect from your sessions.

 

Even if this is not your first time trying therapy, your therapist can offer insight into the kind of progress you’d like to make and help you establish goals. These goals don’t need to be ironclad, but they can help you lean into the process. 

 

2. Write down what’s been bugging you throughout the week and bring it with you to your session

Studies suggest writing may be a potentially beneficial therapeutic tool. By writing down your fears and anxieties, you’ll have a ready-made list of talking points to bring up in therapy.

 

You can also start a journal. You can use your journal to record your progress, review what you’ve learned in therapy, and express yourself in ways you may not yet be able to with your therapist. 

 

3. Remember that there is no “right” or “wrong”

Your therapist’s office is a safe place; nothing is off-limits, much less mundane subjects.

 

Mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders benefit from therapy, but no one’s life revolves around mental illness (though it may feel like it). It’s okay to talk about whatever you want. 

 

Likewise, you don’t need to be in therapy for something “serious.” 

 

Therapy is a versatile tool developed to help people to cope with life’s challenges, whatever they may be.

 

4. Talk about your past

We get so caught up in what’s in front of us, we sometimes forget to look back.

 

Though it certainly sounds cliché, exploring your past can offer insight into your current struggles. You can use this opportunity to address unresolved heartache, past trauma, or merely reminisce about something—or someone—important to you. 

 

Whatever the subject is, remember your therapist can provide you with tools to cope with even the most painful parts of your past.

 

5. Bring up the important relationships in your life

During therapy, sensitive topics like your private life can be discussed without fear of judgment or embarrassment. 

 

These discussions don’t have to be limited to your love life, but you can use therapy to explore intimacy issues and marital conflict.

 

Suppose you feel that your relationships may benefit from professional help. In that case, your therapist may be able to introduce you to other types of therapy, such as couples therapy and group therapy. 

 


6. Dissect and discuss your dreams

There are several theories out there about the psychology of dreams. For some, the idea that dreams are windows into the psyche may be worth exploring. 

 

Sleep is also a critical aspect of your health. Whether you believe in the science of dreams or not, therapy can help address how your waking life affects your sleep and vice versa. 

 

7. Practice in the mirror

If you find that therapy gives you performance anxiety, rehearse what you want to say in the mirror before a session. 

 

Your therapist won’t judge you if you’re nervous or happen to stutter, but until you feel comfortable opening up, focus on the power of your words and how to best get them across. 

 

8. Discuss any physical ailments you’ve been experiencing

Your physical health can affect your mental health and vice versa. If you’re struggling to cope with a physical change, injury, or illness, bring it up with your therapist.

 

Discussing health problems can give you a sense of control and a way to healthily process negative emotions about your body. 

 

Your therapist may also be able to provide you with resources that focus on physical wellness and how to cope with pain, sickness, or loss of sensation. 

 

9. If you’re not completely comfortable with your therapist, request an icebreaker activity

The goal of therapy is to discover a healthy mindset, not crash land into it.

 

 If you’re not comfortable with your therapist yet, ask for an icebreaker.

 

This could mean going over your previous session, the past week, or how your mood is. You don’t have to start the conversation on your own. Your therapist can gradually guide you until you feel comfortable discussing what’s been weighing on your mind. 

 

10. Request online and text therapy for help whenever you need it

Online therapy has been vital in addressing mental health needs across the country. 

 

If in-person therapy sessions are not an option for you, ask your therapist for remote support. They may be able to arrange digital appointments and/or text therapy for moments of crisis.

 

You can also explore exclusive online therapy services like Emote. With online therapy, you’re free to communicate and arrange sessions at your convenience. 

 

Talk to a Therapist with Emote Online Therapy

Quality healthcare service is an important part of feeling comfortable with your therapist. Trusting not only the professional’s expertise but that you’re in a safe environment can help you overcome life’s challenges. 

 

By working with one of Emote’s online therapists, you can get the care you need from the comfort of your own home.

 

By being in a space you know, you and your remote therapist can lean into therapy together. Learn at your own pace and discover coping strategies, mental health tools, and pivotal talking points. 

 

Find what works best for you: Schedule face-to-face sessions over video chat or bring therapy wherever you go with our text services

 

With Emote, you’re not alone.


Find the right therapist today and start therapy for only $35 during your first week. Check out our FAQ or contact us to learn more about your personalized therapy experience.

How Does Therapy Help in the Treatment of Depression?

A woman wondering how does therapy help in the treatment of depression

Understanding Depression

Depression is a serious mental illness that may feel overwhelming or isolating at times. However, given the proper care, even the most severe cases are treatable. 

 

Also known as major depressive disorder (MDD), depression is a mood disorder that affects over 264 million people around the world. It is a leading cause of disability, economic stress, and lowered quality of life.

 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there is no single cause of depression.

 

It may develop due to a combination of factors, such as chemical imbalances, genetics, stress, and/or traumatic life events such as grief or abuse. It may also manifest alongside or due to other medical conditions, such as anxiety disorder, cancer, or substance abuse.

 

Fortunately, depression is treatable. One commonly effective treatment option is behavior therapy.

 

Behavior therapy is a form of psychotherapy (AKA “talk therapy”) where patients and therapists work together to address underlying personal issues and behavior patterns.

 

Therapists may specialize in several forms of behavior therapy, including:

  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): A short-term form of therapy often used to treat mild to moderate depression. With IPT, patients focus on their relationships with others by improving social skills and developing problem-solving techniques to reduce stress and alleviate depressive symptoms. 
 
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Another short-term therapy method, CBT is often used to treat depression. CBT is centered on introspective goals and tackling negative thought patterns and behaviors to help alleviate symptoms of depression.
 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): DBT is a modified form of CBT that focuses on coping strategies and regulating emotions. This may be done through several methods, such as mindfulness, self-soothing, and improved communication skills.
 

If you’re interested in professional help, here’s what you need to know about therapy and what to expect once you start.

Signs of Depression 

Just as there are different types of therapy, there are also different types of depression, such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and postpartum depression

 

That said, all forms of depression share symptoms, including but not limited to:

  • Prolonged periods of low mood and energy
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or helplessness
  • Trouble sleeping or irregular sleep patterns
  • Changes in appetite
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Headaches, backaches, and other unexplained chronic pain
  • Loss of interest in daily activities and hobbies
  • Isolation and withdrawal from friends and family members
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Acts of self-harm
 

How Does Therapy Help with Depression?

There are several ways to treat depression, but generally, they boil down to three methods: medication, therapy, or a combination of both.

 

Antidepressant medication can help manage symptoms. However, it typically isn’t a long-term solution as medication may become less effective over time or cause unwanted side effects.

 

Meanwhile, treatment plans that incorporate psychodynamic therapy have the potential to encourage healthy lifestyle changes and tackle negative behavioral patterns without the need for medication. 

 

Mental health care professionals may also advise a combination of both medication and therapy to target the internal and external causes of depression.

 

Here are a few other ways therapy can help:

 

1. Talk openly about your feelings and thoughts in a safe environment 

As an impartial third party, counselors and psychotherapists are not here to judge or shame you. Their goal is to provide a safe, confidential space to express yourself and be unapologetically vulnerable about your emotions. If you don’t think larger support groups are right for you, individual therapy is a way to still talk openly in an intimate and safe space.

 

2. Identify key life events and triggers that contribute to depression 

There are some things in life we can’t confront on our own. With a therapist, you can learn how to identify triggers, discuss past trauma, or analyze life events that have unknowingly affected your mental health.

 

3. Identify unhealthy coping mechanisms 

Not everyone realizes they need help until someone points it out. As mental health professionals, therapists are capable of identifying and addressing unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as negative thinking patterns, substance abuse, or disordered eating habits.

 

4. Develop skills to cope with symptoms in a healthy way 

Everyone experiences depression differently. Likewise, everyone copes with it differently. Through therapy, you can discover what coping strategies work best for you in a secure, comfortable space.

 

5. Set realistic and achievable goals for a healthy future 

Setting realistic goals is vital in managing depression. Your therapist can guide you towards recovery by focusing first on your daily life and ways to improve your current well-being. Gradually, you’ll be able to build a healthier, happier future.

Getting Therapy for Depression? Keep These Things in Mind

For therapy to be successful, there needs to be room for trial and error. You may encounter setbacks or revelations that are hard to accept. However, with a little time and patience, you may find that even the most difficult therapy sessions are effective. 

 

Here are a few other things to keep in mind while attending therapy:

 

1. Finding the right therapist takes time

There is no “one size fits all” for therapy, much less for therapists. While seeking professional help, keep an open mind and be prepared to try again if a therapist isn’t right for you.

 

2. Once you’ve found the right therapist, the therapy itself will take time

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), many patients with depression see improvement within 10 to 15 sessions. However, depending on the individual and the severity of their illness, it may take longer before treatment shows consistent, positive results.

 

It’s important to remember that this is all part of the process, and there is nothing wrong with attending therapy for months or even years if that’s what you need.

 

3. You might have to make lifestyle changes (sleep, diet, exercise, etc.)

Both mild and severe depression can lead to other health problems, such as chronic pain or insomnia. To help alleviate these issues and improve your mental well-being, you may need to make some changes. 

 

For example, your therapist may recommend daily exercise, changes to your diet, or self-care tips to improve your sleep and relationship with loved ones. 

 

4. You might feel worse before you start to feel better

In the beginning, you may struggle with your self-esteem, fall into a depressive episode, or have a lot of doubts about therapy or your therapist.

 

However, as with other treatment plans, therapy has a learning curve. It may take a little time before you see positive results, but as you continue, therapy will gradually become more effective.

 

5. Go to all of your appointments, even if you don’t have anything to talk about

Your mental illness isn’t the epicenter of your life, though it may feel like it. By attending every session, you can take the opportunity to discuss other aspects of your life and learn how to see yourself without the lens of depression.

 

Get Support with Emote Online Therapy 

Given the right kind of support, depression is a highly treatable and oftentimes temporary condition. Unfortunately, getting professional care can be an expensive and time-consuming process.

 

Cut out months-long waitlists and get the help you need today by signing up for Emote’s affordable, easy-to-use online therapy services

 

By working with our team of mental health care professionals, you can discover coping strategies, self-care techniques, and other mental health resources to help tackle your depression.

 

If you’re not up to a one-on-session, you’re free to text your therapist throughout your day or set up a video appointment as soon as you start to feel better.

 

With Emote, you’re not alone.

 

Sign up today and take your first step towards recovery for only $35 during your first week. To learn more about how Emote can help you, check out our informational posts or contact us.

How to Help Someone Struggling with Anger and Depression

A woman battling with anger and depression.

How are Anger and Depression Connected?

“Anger is just sad’s bodyguard.” If you know someone who suffers from depression, you may resonate with this quote.

 

Depression is more than just feeling sad or hopeless. It’s a serious mental illness that affects daily life. It also manifests differently for everyone. 

 

Typical symptoms include a persistently low mood, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and disinterest in usual activities and hobbies. 

 

For some people, depression may also be linked to other mental disorders such as an eating disorder, substance abuse, or insomnia—but for others, depression may present itself through a less common symptom: anger.

 

Anger is a normal, if unpleasant, emotion we all experience. However, in the case of depression, anger may be overwhelming, volatile, and difficult to control.

 

A person who experiences both depression and anger management issues may struggle with:

  • A short temper
  • Overly self-critical or angry thoughts
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism
  • Frequent road rage 
  • Explosive outbursts over unimportant matters
  • Verbal and/or physical abuse towards themselves or other
  • Anger attacks
 

Although anger is not a mental health disorder on its own, it can be an indicator of a greater issue and may require professional help. If someone close to you struggles with anger and depression, here’s how you can support them.

9 Ways to Support Someone with Anger and Depression

As with any illness, depression requires love, care, and most of all, understanding. This may be difficult, especially if a loved one has said or done hurtful things while depressed. 

 

Although you should never accept bad behavior, it’s important to remember that depression is a complex mental health condition. Not everything may be as it seems.

 

People with depression sometimes experience major depressive episodes (MDEs). During an episode, their mental health may decline, leading to overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness.

 

For some people, these feelings may manifest through anger. One study in 2013 reported that over half of participants with MDEs also reported overt feelings of anger and irritability

 

When offering your support, here are a few ways you can help without enabling or accepting negative behavior:

 

1. Don’t forget to take care of yourself

To be an effective support person, you need to prioritize your well-being. You are not their therapist nor can you be emotionally available 24/7, especially if you feel burnt out or unsafe. 

 

Take time to tend to your own needs. Practice self-care by enforcing boundaries and voicing your opinions. Reinvest time into friends, family, and interests outside of them.

 

Physical and/or verbal abuse is never okay, even if the person is unwell. If their behavior has greatly affected your mental health or resulted in domestic violence, it’s time to step away. Consider reaching out to the helplines listed here for additional support.

 

2. Educate yourself on depression

Not everyone experiences depression the same way. This also applies to treatment options; what may work for one person may not work for you or your loved one. Research is key.

 

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, major depressive disorder (MDD) affects over 16.1 million Americans and is often associated with anxiety disorder. A different study has also linked anxiety with increased levels of anger.

 

In cases of either or both conditions, medication (e.g. antidepressants), support groups, or therapy may be effective in managing symptoms.

 

3. Learn their triggers

Triggers are psychological responses to reminders of past trauma and may prompt upsetting emotions, such as anxiety or stress.

 

Although triggers may be mild, they can also turn physical. For example, a person with depression and anger issues may direct their emotions on themselves through self-harm. According to the Recovery Village, adolescents have the highest rates of self-harm.

 

To help someone with triggers, identify their specific warning signs. Ask questions without being pushy and note what may have caused a sudden mood swing or an angry outburst.  

 

In some cases, triggers may lead to suicidal ideation. If you suspect someone is suicidal, do not leave them alone. If needed, call 911 or encourage them to speak to a crisis hotline such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

4. Don’t judge, blame, or attack them

Mental illness often affects interpersonal relationships. When supporting a person with depression and anger issues, don’t judge or blame them for their mental illness. Shame is rarely helpful and may push them away from you or provoke an emotional outburst.

 

However, do not condone their bad behavior either. Honest communication is vital when addressing not only their needs but yours as well.

 

5. Make an effort to invite them out and do engaging activities together

People with depression often have low self-esteem. They may be consumed by negative thoughts and believe they are unloved or hated and try to socially isolate themselves.

 

Take the first step and invite them to go out. Encourage them to re-engage with past hobbies by doing activities together. By being physically present—and verbally reaffirming that you care for them—your support may be felt when they need it most.

 

6. Don’t retaliate or engage in a fight/argument

When faced with an emotional outburst or an anger attack, do not engage with them negatively. Try to keep your cool and acknowledge their feelings without undermining your own. Diffuse the argument by speaking calmly and listening to what they have to say.

 

If they’re acting in a way that is physically unsafe for you, remove yourself from the situation. If you believe they may harm themselves, call a helpline or 911 immediately. 

7. Find healthy coping mechanisms to diffuse anger (breathing exercises, meditation, etc.)

Healthy coping mechanisms can help alleviate anger and manage depression.

 

Deep breathing exercises, such as the 4-7-8 Breath, can settle frantic thoughts, quiet overwhelming emotions, and relax the body. You may also suggest mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness is the practice of acknowledging your senses and feelings without judgment or action via mediation. Mindfulness can be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

8. Have resources readily available

Emotional outbursts can drain what little energy a person with depression has. By directing them towards resources available both off- and online, they can seek help even when they’re at their lowest.

 

If they are comfortable with it, check in to keep them accountable with their treatment plan. Remind them of healthy coping strategies and suggest fun distractions. Help them with things they may find overwhelming such as filing for insurance, making appointments, or reaching out to helplines.

 

9. Encourage them to seek professional help

Psychotherapy can help treat depression and anger management issues. One study showed that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective in treating patients with excessive anger and depression.

 

Begin by gently encouraging them. Mental health professionals like therapists and counselors can provide tools and resources friends and family members cannot. Therapy can also provide a safe space to discuss difficult or intimate topics.

 

If in-person appointments are not an option, therapy can be conducted online without sacrificing comfort or quality of care.

 

Get the Help You Need with Emote Online Therapy

Getting help can be scary if you don’t know where to start. At Emote, you don’t have to take that first step alone.

 

Through our online services, therapy is on your terms. You can communicate when and how you want—whether that’s through text or video chat appointments, Emote provides a safe space wherever you go.

 

Our team of certified therapists is here to empower you and your loved ones. Whatever challenges you may be facing, you can face them together or, if you prefer, individually through one-on-one encrypted sessions. 

 

Learn coping skills, discuss difficult subjects, and diffuse overwhelming emotions like anger or depressive episodes by reaching out at a moment’s notice. 

 

Sign up today and start therapy for only $35 during your first week. For more information about mental health, check out our blog or contact us to learn more.

My Partner Has Depression… How Can I Help Them?

Coping with how to help a partner with depression.

Is My Partner Depressed? How Can I Tell?

When the person we love is struggling with something they can neither fix nor explain, as their other half, all we want to do is help

 

This is especially true in the case of mental illnesses like depression.

 

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the world. Globally, it affects over 264 million people and approximately 17.3 million American adults

 

As everyone experiences depression differently, it may manifest in ways your partner may mistake or excuse as something else, like stress or fatigue.

 

However, as their partner, you may have noticed changes in their mood or behavior. They may often appear sad or tired for long periods or are constantly unmotivated and struggle to get things done.

 

Signs of depression may also manifest as:

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
  • Changes in their sleep and appetite
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Inability to keep up with daily activities
  • Unexplained physical aches and pains
  • Trouble concentrating, making decisions, or thinking
  • General dissatisfaction and carelessness
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Trouble concentrating at work and/or school
  • Angry or emotional outbursts
  • Thoughts/talk of death or suicide
 

If your partner has depression, offering your love and support can be pivotal in learning how to manage their symptoms and possibly recover

 

In this article, we’ll go over what you can do to support a depressed partner and how they can get professional help.

10 Ways to Help Your Partner Dealing with Depression

Depression can be an exhausting and sometimes confusing illness. Someone with depression may not even realize they’re unwell or, if they do, they may choose to suffer in silence rather than ask for help due to internalized stigma.

 

But as their partner, you have the power to motivate them simply through words and actions.

 

To help you get started, here are a few ways you can show your support:

 

1. Let your partner know you’re always there for them.

People with depression often struggle with negative thoughts and believe they are worthless or unlovable due to supposed faults.

By vocalizing your commitment to them, you can help reaffirm their self-worth and remind them they are lovable, no matter what.

 

2. Educate yourself on their symptoms and triggers.

Depressive symptoms may be chronic or temporary, severe or mild. Some people have consistent mood levels, while others fall into depressive episodes due to triggers.

Though it’s impossible to fully comprehend someone’s mental health, by learning more about their illness and how it works, you can better understand their needs. 

 

3. Come up with an action plan together for really bad days.

You and your partner can draft up an action plan. An action plan is essentially a strategy your partner can employ during a difficult depressive episode.

An action plan may be things they can do to pick up their mood, helplines they can call, or ways you can help out without being asked, such as cooking their favorite or completing a chore for them.

 

4. Plan fun and engaging activities you can do together.

According to research, physical activity can be effective in both preventing and managing symptoms of depression.

Encourage exercise by trying new and fun outdoor activities together, like bike riding or hiking. You can also help your partner get back into old hobbies by doing them outdoors. Even if it’s sedentary, fresh air and sunlight can help pick up their mood.

 

5. Don’t take it personally.

You can’t control your partner’s depression. On bad days, they may act distant or irritable. They may snap at you or withdraw from family members and friends. 

It’s important to remember that it’s not you—it’s the depression, and it’s best not to take things too personally.

 

6. Have professional and medical resources readily available.

People who are mentally ill sometimes feel like they must “endure” their illness, even when it’s hard. 

Reassure them that that’s never the case by suggesting support groups, prevention hotlines, and treatment options available to them. Mental health professionals like therapists and counselors can also provide resources for depression. 

 

7. Don’t assume what your partner needs. Ask first. 

Being a part of someone’s support system calls for compassion and empathy.

By asking questions like, “What do you need me to do?” or “How can I help you during an episode?” you’re respecting their agency and reminding them that you’re here to help.

 

8. Try to stick to healthy routines and diets (without forcing it upon them).

To effectively create healthy habits, researchers suggest sticking to simple actions you can do every day at scheduled times. Though this sounds easy, there may be days where your partner can’t get out of bed, much less follow a routine.

Promote wellness through gentle encouragement and positive affirmations. Never push your partner nor enable codependent behavior, as both can reinforce feelings of helplessness.

 

9. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too!

Just as your partner’s mental health is important, so is yours.

Practice self-care by getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. Remember to spend time apart by focusing on your own life and hobbies. 

If you’re feeling burnt out or depressed yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help

 

10. Encourage professional treatment, don’t force it on them

When it comes to getting professional help such as psychotherapy, your partner may be hesitant or scared. Never force the subject or make ultimatums. Instead, gently remind them that they have options, and you’d be happy to help them in whatever way they’re comfortable with.

What Not to Say to Your Partner Dealing with Depression

Like in any relationship, you may sometimes say the wrong thing. You may upset your partner without meaning to or offer empty platitudes and unsolicited advice when you shouldn’t.

 

Though you mean well, it’s important to think before you speak.

 

When discussing your partner’s mental health, here’s what you shouldn’t say:

 

“This is what your problem is.”

Don’t try to explain away their illness or identify how they are “failing.” Though it may sound like you’re offering worthwhile advice (and you might be), someone with depression won’t necessarily take it that way if it’s delivered too frankly.

 

“What’s the matter with you?”

Someone with depression may be sensitive to criticism or rejection, whether intended or not. When addressing their feelings or bringing up your concerns, avoid speaking in an accusatory and/or exasperated manner.

 

“Others have it way worse than you.”

Comparing your partner’s pain to others (including your own) is never helpful. It only serves to shame and devalue their personal experiences with depression. 

 

“You’re so lucky. What do you have to be depressed about?”

Mental illness never requires justification. People can’t control how or why they develop depression any more than they can control the weather. Furthermore, it’s impossible to fully comprehend another person’s mental health, much less their life experiences.

 

“It’s all in your head. It’ll pass.”

Though depressive symptoms may change over time, it is no less real than a broken arm. Statements like these reaffirm the idea that depression isn’t a real disease that requires proper care and support.

 

“But you seem totally fine.”

Someone’s (perceived) physical well-being is not a reflection of their mental health. To add, people with depression tend to not only withdraw from friends and family members but may also hide their illness due to internalized shame or guilt.

 

“Just cheer up. It’ll get better.”

No matter how severe or mild your partner’s depression is, it cannot be wished away or fixed through sheer willpower. Though you may mean well, comments like these can come off as disheartening and dismissive of their health.

 

Know the Suicide Warning Signs

Depression can sometimes cause overwhelming, negative thoughts that distort perception and create feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness. Such thoughts may lead to suicidal ideation and, in severe cases, suicidal intent.

 

If you believe someone with depression may be suicidal, there are several warnings signs to look out for, including:

  • Talking about suicide/glorifying death
  • Social withdrawal
  • Getting a means to attempt suicide (gun, pills, etc.)
  • Risky or self-destructive behavior such as alcohol or drug abuse
  • Saying goodbye 
  • Getting affairs in order
  • Talks of being a burden or feeling trapped
  • Giving away possessions
  • Taking strange trips by themselves
 

If you believe someone is suicidal, do not leave them alone. Call 911 for immediate assistance or contact a helpline such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386.

 

You can also reach out to other crisis resources listed here.

 

There is Hope with Emote Online Therapy

Depression can affect many aspects of our lives, including our relationship with our significant other or those closest to us.

 

It may create unforeseen challenges or lead to misunderstandings that make it hard for both people to cope. However, with professional help, you and your partner can learn how to heal and possibly overcome depression—together.

 

At Emote, we offer couples the chance to strengthen their relationship and tackle issues as a team through dedicated online therapy sessions.

 

With our remote services, you can take therapy wherever you go. Text your therapist as depressive episodes occur or develop long-term treatment plans over private video chat appointments.

 

With Emote, you’re not alone.

 

Discover effective coping strategies, couples exercises, and more by signing up today for only $35 during your first week. To learn more about your experience with Emote, check out our FAQ or reach out to us at [email protected]

10 Ways to Help Someone Suffering From Bipolar Disorder

How to help someone with bipolar disorder depicted in a watercolor painting

What is Bipolar Disorder?

When a loved one is diagnosed with bipolar disorder (BD), we may feel overwhelmed or powerless. But given the right tools and information, we can learn how to offer support and encourage them to seek help.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an estimated 7 million adult Americans have bipolar disorder. Sometimes called manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that causes severe and sometimes sudden mood changes. 

These mood changes (or mood episodes) may range from extreme highs (mania or hypomania) to extreme lows (depression). They may occur rarely or several times a year. 

For some people, episodes can be debilitating—impairing their ability to function in day-to-day activities, control their impulses, or listen to medical advice. 

Emotional support from friends and family members can be pivotal in overcoming such episodes.

If you want to support someone with bipolar disorder, here’s what you need to know. 

Bipolar Disorder and Depression: The Warning Signs to Know

Bipolar disorder exists on a spectrum, meaning everyone experiences it differently.

Ordinarily, there are three types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia), also called bipolar III disorder. If someone experiences some symptoms of bipolar disorder but does not meet the criteria for I, II, or III, they may be diagnosed with unspecified bipolar disorder.

In some cases, the disorder is induced by substance abuse, medication, or another unrelated medical condition.

Each form of the disorder differs in terms of severity and treatment methods, but symptoms can often intersect. Each is characterized by two mood episodes: mania and depression. Some people also experience hypomania, a lesser case of mania that may be mild enough that episodes go unnoticed.

Mood episodes typically do not follow a pattern. They may not occur for long periods of time or come on without warning. Sometimes, they occur at the same time, also known as a mixed state.

Manic or hypomanic symptoms include:

  • Very extreme emotions
  • Unrealistic beliefs of one’s capabilities (euphoria)
  • Abnormally energized, hyper, or upbeat
  • Talking so rapidly that others can’t understand or keep up
  • Inability to concentrate or focus 
  • Acting recklessly without thinking or caring for consequences
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Racing thoughts

Depressive symptoms include:

  • Irritability 
  • Changes in appetite and sleep
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Feeling sad, angry, or empty
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

10 Ways to Help Someone Suffering From Bipolar Disorder

When a loved one has bipolar disorder, you may have a lot of questions. You may also feel stressed or scared, especially if it’s a recent diagnosis. 

In the beginning, neither you nor the person with the disorder will have all the answers—and that’s okay. The best thing you can do is offer your support and be willing to learn alongside them.

To help you get started, here are a few ways you can support someone with bipolar disorder:

1. Educate yourself

When someone we know is diagnosed with a mental health condition like bipolar disorder, we may be taken by surprise. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there is likely no single cause behind bipolar disorder. People with a family history of the disorder are at a greater risk of developing it than those without. Abnormal brain functions and past trauma are also possible factors.

When faced with unknowns, one of the best things you can do is educate yourself. While you can’t prepare for everything, information will be your greatest tool if the unexpected happens.

2. Listen without judgment

Another way you can help is by being a compassionate listener. You can do this by offering a safe space for them to express their anxieties, frustrations, and triumphs. 

Don’t try to provide all the answers; instead, remind them of their strength and how far they’ve come. By simply bolstering their courage, you’re helping them face their fears and discover new ways to healthily cope.

3. Don’t try to fix all their problems for them

Any mental illness comes with challenges, many of which may be beyond our capabilities as a support person.

Severe depressive or manic episodes may come on without warnings. At other times, your loved one may refuse help, act irrationally, or encounter setbacks with their treatment. 

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to know your limits. Respect the advice of mental health professionals and step back when you need to.

4. Learn their triggers and avoid situations that can trigger them

Triggers are reminders of a traumatic event. They can be caused by external or internal stimuli, such as sounds, places, people, or upsetting thoughts and feelings.

Triggers may be mild, or they may be severe enough to set off an episode of mania and/or depression.

If they are comfortable with it, ask about the circumstances leading up to previous episodes to identify potential triggers. If they already know what their triggers are, ask them to share them with you so you know what to avoid.

In severe cases, triggers may prompt suicidal ideation or a suicide attempt. If you believe someone is suicidal, contact a helpline or call 911 immediately.

5. Set firm and healthy boundaries

Bipolar disorder can lead to poor impulse control and difficulty managing interpersonal relationships. Someone with the disorder may act or do things that upset you whether they’re in the middle of an episode or not.

Setting boundaries is a vital act of self-care. Boundaries also help establish your limits and keep you from enabling unhealthy and possibly dangerous behavior.

6. Don’t neglect yourself and your own mental health 

No matter what your loved one is going through, remember to take care of yourself first. You can’t help someone if you’re also mentally unwell.

Spend time apart to focus on your own life. Remember to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

7. Engage in outdoor and fun activities together

During a depressive episode, someone with bipolar disorder may isolate themselves by sleeping all day, canceling plans, and staying inside. This can sometimes worsen symptoms.

Gently encourage them to spend time outside. Regular exercise may be beneficial for some people with bipolar disorder. If they can’t manage much, suggest a walk on a sunny day or plan a fun activity outdoors that you can do together.

8. Make sure they take their medications

Bipolar disorder is usually a lifelong condition and requires management. Typically, the disorder is treated with medication. A doctor may also suggest antipsychotics, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medication.

For treatment to work, it needs to be consistent. People with bipolar disorder may sometimes go off their medication once they start feeling better, so it’s important to check in and help them stay on track.

9. Help them find or encourage them to seek professional help

In addition to medication, psychotherapy can be effective for people with bipolar disorder. According to a study in 2014, therapy can help prevent mood episodes and tackle depressive symptoms, improving patients’ overall quality of life

When discussing professional help, do not push or force the topic. Start with a gentle approach. Remind them that mental health professionals such as therapists and counselors can provide support in ways friends and family may not be equipped to.

If they’re uncomfortable with or unable to attend in-person sessions, you can also suggest online therapy. Services like Emote provide affordable, on-the-go assistance for anyone in need. 

10. Offer to go to therapy or counseling with them

Getting professional help is a big step. You can further support someone with bipolar disorder by signing up for support groups together or by driving them to and from their appointments. 

Depending on the type of care, you may be able to join them for a therapy session. 

Get the Right Support with Emote Online Therapy

Though it is often a lifelong condition, bipolar disorder doesn’t have to be scary or isolating. Given the right kind of support, anyone with the disorder can live a full and happy life.

Here at Emote, we offer a helping hand.

Alongside one of our highly qualified therapists, you can learn how to best manage symptoms, cope with episodes, keep to a treatment plan, and more through confidential, digital therapy sessions.

Whether you’re a support person or have been recently diagnosed, our services can provide a safe space whenever you need it most. Be it through daily texts or weekly video chat appointments, your therapist is just a click away.

Cut out months-long waiting lists and sign up today for only $35 during your first week. To learn more about mental health, check out our blog or contact us.

How to Help Someone Struggling with Drug Addiction and Depression

A man sitting at a table needing help with drug addiction and depression.

Substance abuse and mental health go hand in hand. 

 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), half of all people with a mental health disorder are likely to develop a substance use disorder at some point in their lives or vice versa. 

 

When addiction and depression occur at the same time, the condition is known as a dual diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder. Of the mental disorders frequently paired with substance abuse, depression is one of the most common.

 

In order to tackle both conditions, a specialized treatment plan is required. 

 

The first step of this plan is admitting something is wrong. This can be difficult, especially if it’s a loved one who is depressed and addicted to drugs or alcohol.

 

To support their recovery—and potentially save their life—we have to start the conversation.

 

To help you get started, we’ll go over warning signs to look out for, how to get help, and other ways you can provide support during this difficult journey. 

Drug Addiction and Depression: The Symptoms and Signs to Know

There are many reasons why a person may suffer from addiction and depression at the same time.

 

Addiction is a mental illness of its own capable of creating other mental health issues like depression.

 

Likewise, someone who is already depressed may self-medicate to feel better, but the use of depressants (like alcohol) and/or other stimulants only makes things worse.

 

Regardless of which disorder came first, recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression and addiction can help you and your loved ones come to terms with the gravity of the issue. 

 

Some signs to look out for include:

  • Family history of substance abuse and addiction
  • History of physical abuse, neglect, or other trauma
  • Appearing anxious, paranoid, and shaky 
  • Change in appearance and personal hygiene
  • Slurred or fastened speech
  • Bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils
  • Strange changes in sleeping patterns
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Problems concentrating at work, school, or in daily activities
  • Lack of energy and/or physical pain such as headaches or back pain
  • Prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and emptiness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, sports, and daily activities
  • Frequent thoughts of worthlessness, death, and suicide

How to Help 

When a close friend or family member is suffering, it’s easy to feel guilty or somehow at fault for their problems, but in truth, depression and addiction are complex health conditions. 

 

The why or how doesn’t matter as much as the fact that they’re sick and need professional help. 

 

With the assistance of a therapist or counselor and a dedicated treatment program, your loved one can begin to heal.

 

Ultimately, their health is in their hands. But as someone who cares, there is a lot you can do without enabling them or endangering yourself.

 

Here are a few ways you can help:

 

Start the dialogue carefully and listen intently

The first step is starting a conversation. This can be difficult, as people suffering from addiction and depression tend to be avoidant or in denial. 

Begin by approaching them gently. As you listen, keep an open mind and try not to interrupt them. Allow them to speak fully before asking questions and accept that neither of you will have all the answers right away.

 

Set boundaries

When supporting someone who is depressed and addicted to drugs or alcohol, it’s easy to fall into codependent patterns and enable certain behaviors to the detriment of your own well-being

By setting boundaries, you are not only practicing self-respect but self-care. It’s also one of the best ways to encourage an addict to seek help and become independent. 

 

You can set boundaries by:

  • Scaling back financial support that has made them overly reliant on you
  • Not allowing drug use, paraphernalia, or alcohol in your home
  • Not covering up for them or lying to get them out of trouble

Help them come up with a plan

If welcomed, bring up treatment options. Browse addiction treatment centers together or recommend an outpatient program you think they might like.

If they’re not interested in rehab, suggest other forms of help like online therapy or peer support. Encourage them to speak with health professionals to learn more about dual diagnosis treatment.

 

Have resources readily available. 

Those with substance abuse problems and depression often aren’t thinking right.

For example, they may choose to detox without medical help, the side effects of which are dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

They may even suddenly become violent or suicidal while inebriated or in a depressive episode. To ensure their safety and your own, be prepared to act fast and call 911 if needed. 

You and your loved one may also reach out to helplines for emotional support and advice, such as:

For additional support, you can also reach out to other crisis resources listed here.

 

Get them the right professional help. 

Seeking professional help can often be the turning point during the recovery process. 

Health professionals like therapists and counselors can help develop relapse prevention plans, teach them how to cope with withdrawal symptoms, and provide support in ways you might not be able to. You may also recommend an online therapy platform like Emote for convenient, affordable access to therapy over text and video.  

Your loved one may also seek substance abuse treatment at an inpatient clinic or sign up for peer support groups like AA meetings to combat alcohol abuse. 

 

Tips and Best Practices When Offering Support 

Confronting mental health issues is difficult for both the addict and the people they love. That said, recovery is possible as long as everyone involved agrees to work hard and does their best to listen to each other. 

 

It’s also important to keep in mind that addiction and depression are serious medical conditions. As a support person, you are not a medical professional and can only provide emotional support.

 

This way, you will not enable destructive behaviors or endanger your well-being.

 

When supporting someone with a substance use disorder and depression, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

 

Educate yourself about addiction and depression. 

There is a lot of crossover between symptoms of addiction and depression. There are also different kinds of treatment plans for a dual diagnosis such as this.

Researching both can help you develop coping skills and teach you what to expect during the recovery process.

 

Don’t delay or ignore the signs.

Friends and family of addicts can also suffer from denial. 

If you suspect something is wrong, don’t ignore signs or try to find alternative solutions. This will only prolong recovery and potentially worsen the situation.

 

Don’t attack or accuse them.

Addiction and depression are mental illnesses that alter brain patterns and behaviors. Though you’re allowed to be angry, hurt, or frustrated, hostility ultimately hinders recovery and rarely encourages it. 

 

Don’t preach to them or guilt them. 

No one sets out to be an addict or to develop depression. Preaching or shaming them will only validate feelings of self-hatred and keep them from being honest.

 

Be prepared for denial and a strong, negative reaction. 

Though you may have accepted the situation, the other person may have not. Be prepared for adamant denial and emotional outbursts. 

 

Accept the likelihood of relapses and be there for them.

The road to recovery is full of ups and downs, curves and pitfalls, and, yes, relapses. Accepting this likelihood will help you prepare to handle the situation.

 

Help is Available with Emote Online Counseling

Just as addicts struggle to come to terms with their mental health, so do their friends and family.

 

At Emote, we extend a helping hand.

 

By working with one of our highly experienced professionals, you and your loved ones can learn how to cope with addiction and depression without overextending yourself or enabling self-destructive behavior. 

 

You and your loved ones are also free to open up about any personal issues in group therapy sessions. If you’d rather attend counseling alone, you can also schedule an appointment over video chat or communicate solely through text.

 

All this and more can be done from the comfort and security of your home. 

 

Sign up today, and your first week of therapy will only cost $35. After your first week, you’re free to select any one of our affordable payment plans.

 

With Emote, you’re not alone

 

View our FAQ to learn more or contact us to find out about how we can support you and your friends and family during recovery. 

8 Effective Ways to Support Someone Struggling with Postpartum Depression

A new mom dealing with postpartum depression.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Everything about the birth of a new baby is an emotional rollercoaster. From sleepless nights to busybody grandparents, the first few months of motherhood are undoubtedly hectic.

 

But for some mothers, this time is neither joyful nor exciting, but lonely and troubling.

 

Postpartum depression is different from the “baby blues.”

 

Baby blues is a period of sadness many women experience after giving birth. Caused by a sudden drop in hormones, baby blues are perfectly normal and last about one to two weeks. 

 

However, if feelings of anxiety and depression persist and intensify, the mother has possibly developed postpartum depression.

 

Affecting 1 in 8 women in the United States, postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder that typically develops the first few weeks or up to a year after giving birth. For some, it may even develop during pregnancy

 

If a mother you know is experiencing postpartum depression, here’s how you can offer emotional support and encourage them to seek professional care.

How Can I Tell if Someone is Dealing with Postpartum Depression? The Signs to Know

Postpartum depression manifests in different ways and, like pregnancy, no single experience is the same. However, there are commonalities. 

 

New moms may misunderstand what they’re feeling and believe they’re somehow failing at motherhood. Mothers with older children may also be caught off-guard, especially if they’ve never experienced postpartum depression before.

 

The exact cause of PPD is debated, but it’s theorized postpartum depression is caused by sudden hormonal changes following birth

 

Women with a personal or family history of depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorder are at risk of developing PPD. A lack of emotional support, birth complications, and financial issues can also contribute.

 

To best care for a loved one during this, it’s important to know what to look out for before starting the conversation.

 

Symptoms of postpartum depression include:

 

Excessive crying, depressed moods, or extreme mood swings

The mental health of new moms can be deeply affected by pregnancy hormones and other bodily changes.

Mothers with postpartum depression may cry constantly, appear depressed or listless, and have trouble controlling their moods. They may lash out or act “overly emotional.”

 

Difficulty bonding with the baby

Mothers with PPD sometimes remark that they feel “nothing” when looking at their baby and struggle to bond them. They may also become so stressed or paranoid about the baby’s well-being, they’re reluctant to be around them, much less hold them.

 

Withdrawing from close friends and family members

Mothers suffering from PPD often struggle with feelings of guilt or worthlessness. They may blame themselves for their mental illness and pull away from loved ones.

They may refuse visitors, decline invitations from friends, and emotionally or physically distance themselves from their partners. 

 

Thoughts of harming oneself or the baby

Mothers with PPD may struggle with suicidal thoughts or think about harming their baby.

In severe cases, these thoughts can manifest as delusions or hallucinations. This is called postpartum psychosis and requires immediate help. 

 

If you believe a loved one is suicidal, encourage them to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or any of the helplines listed here.

 

Strange changes in appetite

Mental illness can also cause physical changes. While suffering from depression, a mother may overeat or undereat and experience rapid weight loss or gain.

 

Inability to sleep, loss of energy, and overwhelming fatigue

For mothers with PPD, sleep is almost impossible. They may be unable to relax or are too consumed with anxiety to sleep for more than a few minutes at a time. 

 

Loss of interest in activities and hobbies

As with clinical depression, mothers with PDD may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. They may feel listless or unmotivated and reject any attempt to get out of the house, exercise, watch a movie, or other activities they used to enjoy.

8 Ways to Help Someone with Postpartum Depression

The perinatal period (the period before and after birth) is emotionally and physically intense, especially in the case of PPD.

 

If left untreated, symptoms can worsen or prolong. In some cases, depressive symptoms can persist for three years after birth and could even affect the health of the baby

 

A serious medical condition, postpartum depression requires professional care to overcome and possibly medication, such as antidepressants or sleeping aids.

 

Most of all, however, a mother needs emotional support.

 

If you’d like to help someone you know get through postpartum depression, here are a few things you can do:

1. Provide a safe space and time to listen to her

The first year of a baby’s life is stressful for any mother, but especially for those struggling with PPD.

As they overcome challenges and discover new ones, you can provide a safe space for them to express themselves and a shoulder to cry on whenever they need it. New mothers with PPD often experience an emotion close to grief; try to help her through this transitional phase of her life by having open talks and listening intently.

 

2. Focus on her, not the baby

Babies are exciting and require lots of love and attention, but for mothers grappling with mental health issues, it’s easy to feel neglected.

If you are a friend or family member, try to hang out with her without the baby involved. If you are her partner or spouse, schedule some alone time so you can focus on her needs. 

 

3. Celebrate her successes as a mother and notice the small things

Motherhood is filled with triumphs and disappointments. For mothers with postpartum depression, it’s easy to fixate on mistakes or what they perceive as mistakes.

Remind her that she’s a good mother and acknowledge the little victories. Praise her for completing chores, making plans, or just taking five seconds to prioritize her needs.

4. Offer to babysit so she can enjoy some alone time

When people become parents, they develop a new identity, but they don’t need to lose themselves in dirty diapers and sleepless nights.

Offer to babysit on weekends so she can focus on self-care and catch up on sleep. If she’s comfortable with it, get the whole family involved and take the kids out for the day. 

 

5. Don’t compare her to other mothers

Hypercritical thoughts can be intense and even obsessive for mothers with postpartum depression.

If they are a first-time mom, don’t bring up other mothers’ experiences (especially if you are a mother yourself). If they have older children, don’t compare her relationship with them with that of the newborn. Avoid debates about breastfeeding, vaccines, schools, and childcare in general.

 

6. Remind her that this is temporary 

A mother with PPD may believe she’ll be depressed forever. Remind her that this isn’t true and how she feels isn’t her fault. She will have good days while she fights depression and, before she knows it, she’ll have overcome this chapter of her life.

 

7. If welcomed, help her maintain a balanced diet and exercise routine

Another way you can support a mom with PPD is through food and exercise. 

If she is receptive, encourage her to eat better and more regularly. If you live together, take over cooking responsibilities and help her maintain a healthier diet without forcing it upon her. You can also motivate her to exercise and set up a simple routine together, like daily walks or yoga.

 

8. Get her the resources and professional help she needs

Through professional care and emotional support, postpartum depression can be treated.

Encourage her to speak with mental health professionals who can offer additional resources and treatment plans like psychotherapy. You can also recommend support groups where she can communicate with other mothers who’ve experienced PPD.

If she’s interested in therapy but doesn’t have time for traditional therapy, Emote’s online services offer an affordable and convenient solution.

Remote and completely confidential, Emote’s team of therapists and counselors can provide much-needed insight at a moment’s notice. With exclusive payment plans, new mothers are free to communicate in whatever they feel comfortable.

How Emote Online Therapy Can Support New Mothers

If someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression, the best thing you can do is offer them support and remind them that they’re not alone.

 

At Emote, we provide quality care for new parents.

 

Whether they’re struggling with feelings of resentment or childcare, Emote’s therapists can provide a safe space for them that’s free of judgment, responsibilities, and parenting stress.

 

With comfort and convenience as our main objectives, new moms are also able to schedule 30-minute sessions over the computer or have text conversions throughout the day. 

 

Under the guidance of a licensed professional, they’ll learn how to cope with depression and manage self-critical thoughts. All this and more can be done from the comfort of home.

 

Sign up today to be matched with an experienced therapist from your state. With Emote, your first week of therapy will only cost $35.

 

To learn more, check out our FAQ or contact us for any questions or concerns.

Does Couples Counseling Really Work? What to Know About Couples Counseling

A couple in therapy wondering does couples counseling work.

What is Couples Counseling, and Does it Actually Work?

In a world of Instagram-perfect power couples and Disney fairytales, it might feel easier to ignore relationship problems and hope for the best.

 

But when communication breaks down and trust is broken, sometimes the best thing you can do is speak to a couple’s counselor.

 

Also known as a couples therapist or marriage counselor, couples counselors act as unbiased third parties, guiding couples through whatever issues they may be facing—often with satisfactory results.

 

According to the American Psychological Association, couples counseling boasts an effectiveness rating of 75%.

 

Another report by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) documents positive results: Over 98% of clients who attended therapy described their experience as “good” or “excellent” with overall improvements to their work, home, and romantic lives.  

 

Given the right counselor and a willing partner, the same is possible for you.

 

Here’s everything you need to know about couples counseling, why you might need it, and how to get help

How to Tell If You Need Couples or Marriage Counseling

As mental health professionals, licensed marriage counselors and couples therapists can tackle a variety of issues. 

 

Although no client is the same, most clients share difficulties your counselor can provide insight on.

 

Whether this is through emotionally-focused couples therapy (also called EFT, a popular branch of psychotherapy) or the Gottman Method, a trained professional can employ skills and exercises to pinpoint the root of your problems.

 

Some common reasons for couples counseling include:

 

  • You’ve grown apart.

Many healthy relationships slow down and fall into a routine, but this can sometimes lead to an emotional and/or physical distance. This may be due to work, kids, or other priorities.

 

  • One of you is considering divorce.

Many married couples turn to couples counseling after reaching a crossroads in their marriage. One of you may be considering divorce, while the other wants to work things out.

 

  • Someone or both of you have been unfaithful.

Infidelity is understandably difficult to move on from. If one or both of you have been unfaithful, counseling may be the only way to heal old and new wounds.

 

  • There are financial issues that strain your relationship.

According to research, married couples tend to fight more about money than any other marital issue. This can also apply to unmarried couples who either share a home or depend on each other financially.

 

  • You can never seem to agree and always argue.

It’s normal for couples to disagree sometimes, but constant arguments are rarely cathartic and can leave you feeling unloved and even hated.

 

Can Couples Counseling Ever Fail?

Couples counseling isn’t a magical cure. 

 

Like any form of psychotherapy, couples counseling is an applied science that yields different results for different couples. Multiple factors will determine its overall effectiveness. 

 

In other words, while one method may not work for you and your partner, another might.

 

Just as in your relationship, there will be a reasonable amount of trial and error. And while counseling may not “fail,” certain challenges will make it harder to be effective. 

 

Some of these challenges include:

 

If one person is unwilling or completely closed off to the idea of counseling:

Marriage counseling works best if both participants are willing. If one person is emotionally closed off or against any kind of conflict resolution during counseling, it’ll be harder to improve your relationship.

 

This also applies to unmarried couples. Research shows that couples who attend premarital counseling and iron out their issues before tying the knot have a higher chance of a successful marriage than those who do not.

 

If there is an ongoing affair or infidelity: 

Positive changes are more likely to happen if one or both participants is completely invested in the relationship. An ongoing affair will only impede this.

 

If there is addiction or substance abuse involved: 

Addiction is a serious problem that requires dedicated care. If one or both partners are not receiving treatment for their substance abuse, it may be better to focus on your respective mental and physical wellness before your relationship.

 

If there is physical abuse involved:

Abuse is never okay. If your partner is physically abusive, couples counseling may not be the method to rehabilitate them. This is a change they must make on their own, and your safety should be your number one priority.

 

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you can reach out to the helplines listed here.

 

If there is crime involved:

Psychotherapy is confidential, with some exceptions. If criminal activity is involved, there is no excuse for actively endangering you or your partner’s well-being. Serious criminal activity may be outside the bounds of what can be simply fixed or resolved in a counseling session.

What to Expect in Couples Counseling

The point of couples counseling is not to repair your relationship in a single session but to lay down the foundation for new methods of learning and communication between you and your partner. To be as effective as possible, counseling sessions tend to have an overarching objective in mind.

 

To help you prepare, here is a general outline of what you can expect while in counseling:

 

Introductions:

Your first session will be all about you and your partner: where you met, how long you’ve been together, and what you hope to gain from counseling. Your counselor may also outline their methods and what you can expect from their expertise.

 

Reveal basic information about the relationship:

After introductions have been made, you will be asked basic information about your relationship. This may seem unimportant, but your counselor will gain a clearer understanding of your relationship, personalities, and why you two clash on certain subjects.

 

Get to the root of problems: 

Once your counselor has basic insight into your relationship, they will begin asking deeper questions such as when you started having problems and how you’ve dealt with them so far.

 

If you’re having intimacy issues, they may ask questions about your sex life. Though this might initially be uncomfortable, remember counseling is a safe space, and your counselor isn’t here to judge you or your partner.

 

Determine specific goals: 

Early into and throughout your therapy sessions, you and your counselor will chart out goals for your relationship. Together, you may work on improved problem-solving, empathetic listening, and how to self-soothe after arguments.

 

Learn new communication skills and resolution strategies:

During counseling, you will learn new skills and practice exercises. It may take several sessions to sink in, but by applying what you’ve learned at home, you and your partner will communicate better than before.

 

Regain balance in the relationship: 

As you develop a greater understanding of each other’s needs and learn how to resolve conflict, you may begin to feel like you’re “back on track.” The balance will have been restored in your relationship and you’ll feel more like equals.

 

Effective Online Couples Counseling with Emote

For counseling to be effective, both you and your partner need to be committed—but between missed appointments, scheduling conflicts, and months-long waitlists, counseling isn’t practical for everyone.

 

At Emote, we offer a convenient and effective solution.

 

Whether it’s work, school, kids, or a tight budget, our online marriage counselors are happy to work with your schedule rather than against it.

 

No need to drive downtown for an appointment when you and your partner can hop on a video chat session in your living room. For immediate assistance, text your therapist and get input as soon as conflicts arise, rather than days or weeks later.

 

With Emote, you’re not alone.

 

Get started today, and your first week with us will only cost $35. After that, you’re free to select any one of our affordable subscriptions for you and your partner.

How to Get Therapy and the Help You Need When You Don’t Have Insurance

A young man researching how to get therapy without insurance.

It’s never been easier to talk about mental health than it is today.

 

From non-profit mental health clinics to 24-hour helplines, someone is always ready to lend a hand whenever you need it most

 

But for those without health insurance, services like therapy can feel more like a luxury than a necessity. 

 

Why?

 

Many therapists run independent practices. With all sorts of expenses to cover, their out-of-pocket rates may be steep for someone without insurance.

 

According to Thumbtack, traditional therapy sessions (i.e., in-person therapy) average $98 to $120 per session. Meanwhile, some professionals choose to bill per hour, charging anywhere between $60 to $175 per hour. 

 

The type of therapy, the therapist’s expertise, and where you live will also affect overall costs. 

 

Fortunately, there are low-cost, even free alternatives to traditional therapy.

 

In this article, we’ll go over what to do when you can’t afford therapy and how to get professional help at an affordable price.

 

What to Do When You Don’t Have Insurance and Can’t Afford Traditional Therapy Costs

 

If you don’t have health insurance, it’s easy to feel discouraged.

 

With your budget to consider and other factors like scheduling conflicts and waitlists, you may want to give up entirely. 

 

But you can’t give up on your mental health. 

 

Just as your physical health is important, so is your emotional and mental well-being. By putting yourself first and seeking professional help when you need it, you’re paving the way to a happier, healthier future.

 

From government-funded programs to online mental health providers like Emote, there is something out there for you. A good rule of thumb is that if one method doesn’t pan out, try another.

 

Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when looking into therapy: 

 

Don’t give up, keep researching

Thanks to the internet, virtual resources offer a wealth of information on any kind of health condition or personal issue you can think of. 

 

Even navigating difficult topics like marital and intimacy issues has been made easier through online anonymity and expert advice from licensed professionals

 

Whether you’re interested in developing a long-term mental health treatment plan with a licensed therapist, or non-medical coping mechanisms like meditation, a few minutes of research can shed some light on how to get help while on a budget.

 

Check with your employer(s)

Depending on your type of employment, you may be eligible to receive EAP benefits

 

An Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, is a voluntary employee program that offers free mental health services such as counseling, psychotherapy, and confidential psychological assessments.

 

Typically, the number of free services is limited. However, EAP-sponsored mental health professionals may offer discounted rates for employees who choose to continue with their care.

 

Read blogs and articles on your specific issues

Nonprofessional medical advice should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, there are plenty of blogs, articles, and websites dedicated to specific issues like anxiety or how to deal with triggers

 

Any of these sources may offer worthwhile insight into your mental or behavioral health that you can bring up with a therapist at a later date.

 

See if you’re eligible for Medicaid

In the wake of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid has provided a range of low-cost healthcare benefits to millions of Americans. Of the benefits provided, mental health services are included, with some extending to addiction and behavioral disorders. 

 

Eligibility for Medicaid is dependent on a set of financial and non-financial criteria

 

The criteria are primarily considerate of low-income households. States, however, may also offer additional coverage for certain groups outside of the federal criteria.

6 Affordable Alternatives and Strategies to Get Therapy Without Insurance

 

Therapy can be a beneficial experience for anyone struggling with mental health issues, interpersonal conflicts, or stress.

 

Unfortunately, even with coverage, it’s likely you’ll be looking out-of-network for a therapist. This is because not all insurance companies provide mental health benefits. And for those that do, in-network therapists are often few and far between. 

 

To add, with traditional therapy, clients are often on waitlists for weeks or months at a time. There is also a limited selection of expertise from in-network providers, such as group therapy for couples and families or specialist psychologists.

 

Suffice to say: Without insurance coverage, affording therapy can feel next to impossible. 

 

Fortunately, there are alternatives.

 

If you or a loved one is interested in therapy but can’t afford traditional therapy, here are few ways to get the care you need at an affordable rate:

 

1. For students, check with your on-campus counselors and ask for resources

School is a stressful time in everyone’s life, no matter your age. 

 

One study reported that depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental illnesses amongst traditional students—most of whom are young adults who can’t financially support themselves, much less afford therapy.

 

Meanwhile, non-traditional students often have jobs, children, and households to support. Between work, school, and home life, such students have little time to take care of themselves or their mental health.

 

Whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, if your school offers free health resources, take advantage of them. 

 

It’s also worth speaking to the campus counselor about student discounts for therapy and other health services.

 

2. Scope out any local or online support groups

Outreach is an important aspect of any community.

 

Nonprofit organizations and government-funded health centers in your area may be able to provide you with affordable and/or temporary psychological care. Some therapists sponsored by city or community programs may also offer free therapy sessions for a limited time.

 

You can also reach out to online support groups. 

 

Though you should be wary of any medical advice you find online, experts frequently communicate on message boards and post articles about therapy and mental illness.

 

3. Crisis and suicide prevention hotlines

It’s never too late to ask for help.

 

Crisis hotlines operate 24/7, so no matter what the situation is, someone can always guide you through your darkest hours.

 

Here are a few major hotlines you can contact, day or night:

You can also check out any of the crisis resources we’ve listed here for help

 

(If you or a loved one needs immediate help, please contact 911.)

 

4. Sliding scale therapists

Some therapists are willing to adjust their rates and provide low-cost therapy for those in need. They may also be willing to provide discounts for cash payments or alternative payment plans for low-income clients.

 

It’s also worth speaking to your general practitioner about therapy. They may be able to give you a referral for a specialist with sliding scale fees.

 

5. Start your own support group with friends and/or family

Emotional support is what helps us grow and overcome life’s most difficult challenges, such as the loss of a loved one.

 

Whether it’s with close friends or family members, try reaching out to those closest to you. By doing so, you are gaining a vital tool: a strong support system.

 

By starting a support group with friends and family, you can encourage those around you to open up about private struggles and ask for help. You can also build a sense of purpose and belonging to help combat mental illness and nurture wellness and self-love.

 

6. Seek online therapy platforms and apps

Time is one of the most common roadblocks people face with therapy.

 

We all lead busy lives with jobs, children, and expectations to meet—it’s hard to prioritize our mental well-being and seek help when we don’t have insurance or free time. 

 

Online therapy platforms like Emote offer an affordable, convenient solution.

 

With online therapy, you’re free to schedule virtual appointments in whatever way works best for you.

 

Whether you’re interested in couples counseling or individual therapy, a qualified therapist is ready to host virtual sessions and talk you through your problems. And the best part? 

 

No insurance plan is required. 

 

Just sign up and get matched with a therapist today.

 

Get the Support You Need with Emote Online Therapy

 

For those with insurance, coverage can be lacking. For those without, finding a therapist can be time-consuming and expensive—but it doesn’t have to be.

 

At Emote, we cut out months-long waitlists and match you with a therapist that’s right for you

 

Through our affordable therapy services, you’re able to communicate in whatever you’re most comfortable with.

 

Be it through text, video chat, couples sessions, or individual therapy, our team of highly trained professionals can provide you with the tools and support to manage symptoms and navigate personal struggles.

 

With Emote, you don’t have to worry about insurance providers and copays. You have an open path to explore therapy options and pick the best plan for you with our selection of subscriptions. 

 

With Emote, you’re not alone

 

Start today, and your first week of therapy will only cost $35. Review our FAQ to learn more or reach out to us about your future therapy experience.