How To Stay Emotionally Healthy During A Divorce: by Lizzie Weakley

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When you are in the midst of getting divorced, you may be surprised at just how much it will drain you emotionally. Whether you have been married only a short period of time or perhaps for decades, knowing you will soon be divorced can be a scary thought that may leave you very depressed, which can result in you making poor decisions as your divorce moves forward. If you want to emerge from your divorce with some emotional health, here are some steps you should take along the way.

Don’t Stay Isolated

As your divorce process moves forward, don’t make the mistake of staying isolated. Instead, stay in touch with your family and friends. If your social network is now cut in half due to your divorce, make new friends by perhaps attending church/synagogue or learning a new hobby- whatever feels right for you.

Don’t Blame Yourself

When couples divorce, it is not unusual for one spouse to blame themselves for the marriage breaking up. Even though there is usually fault to be found on both sides in most divorces, this does not mean you should continually beat yourself up emotionally day after day about your marriage ending. Instead, you need to accept that it happened, plan your future, and try to move forward as best you can. You should reach for support if you need it.

Write Down Your Thoughts

During your divorce, you will be having plenty of meetings with your divorce lawyers and others as well. Needless to say, you may feel a bit drained at the end of the day. If you have plenty of thoughts running through your mind, take some time to write them down in a journal. By having the chance to express your innermost thoughts in this manner, it can be a great way to relieve stress and keep your emotions in balance. Another option would be to talk about your feelings with a therapist when you are ready.

Take Care of Yourself

Last but not least, taking care of yourself physically will play a big role in keeping you feeling ok emotionally. Therefore, you should eat healthily, exercise regularly, and treat yourself to something special now and then, such as dinner at your favourite restaurant, a relaxing vacation, or getting pampered at a day spa. By doing so, you will find many things that were eating away at you will suddenly not seem nearly as important. Self care is vital in the aftermath of a relationship breakdown.

Though you may wonder what the future will hold for you after your divorce is final, looking after yourself and your mental health will pave the way for a new chapter in your life.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer, based in the USA.

4 Kinds Of Therapy To Consider by Rachelle Wilber

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Therapy can be a great way to work through personal issues, improve your mental health, and make positive changes in your life. But with so many different types of therapy available, it can be hard to know where to start. Many people find that a kind of therapy works well for them, while others may benefit from a combination of different approaches. This overview will help you learn about four of the most common types of therapy to make an informed decision about what might work best for you. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps some people change negative thinking and behaviour patterns. CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected. Changing our thoughts and beliefs can change our behaviour and emotions. CBT is effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, so its worth a shot to see if its right for you. 

Group Therapy 

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves meeting with a group of people who are dealing with similar issues. Group therapy can be helpful because it allows you to share your experiences and feelings with others who understand what you’re going through. It can also help you learn new coping skills and gain insight into your thoughts and behaviors. Many people find group therapy to be a supportive and helpful experience- but see how it goes for you as an individual too. 

Interpersonal Therapy 

When we have issues with our relationships, it can be challenging to know how to make things better. Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people improve their relationships with others. IPT focuses on the here and now, helping you to understand and change patterns of behaviour causing problems in your relationships. Several studies have shown that IPT is an effective treatment for depression- so this could be one to try. 

Family Therapy 

Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves meeting with a therapist along with your family members. Family therapy can be helpful because it allows you to address problems within your family system. It can also help improve communication and relationships within the family. Research by experts found family therapy to be a supportive and helpful experience. However, some have said that it wasn’t the right experience for them and their family, so it is trial and error too.

These are just a few of the many therapy types available. If you’re considering starting therapy, talk to your doctor or mental health professional about what might be right for you. Also, remember, there is no “right” type of therapy. What matters most is finding a therapist you feel comfortable with and who can help you achieve your goals. You may also try a few therapies before finding the correct one to help yourself, your relationships and your family.

This article was written by freelance writer, Rachelle Wilber, living in the San Diego, California area, USA. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; https://www.facebook.com/people/Rachelle-Wilber/100009221637700/

5 Valuable Tips for Communicating With a Parent/ Person with Dementia

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Due to various factors, including the ageing population, dementia is on the rise. In the future, it could touch the lives of half the population, becoming one of the most common degenerative diseases. 

When a parent gets dementia, it can sometimes be disorientating and upsetting. All of a sudden, their behaviour changes and it’s not clear what’s going on. They just don’t seem like themselves and they can’t take on board what you say. 

Adjusting to this new reality can be challenging, but this article is here to help. In it, we run through some tips for communicating with a person who has dementia so that you can keep your relationship with them strong. 

Give Them Your Full Attention

Communicating with a person who has dementia becomes challenging when you don’t give them your full attention. Misunderstandings are common, so trying to watch TV or do the dishes at the same time as talking to them is a bad idea. 

Instead, address your parents directly in quiet surroundings. Make sure that there is nothing else going on at the same time, including screaming kids and so on. When approaching your parents, use non-verbal cues, such as touching them on the shoulder to indicate that you want to talk to them. 

State Your Words Clearly

Language can be fuzzy sometimes. But when our brains are healthy, most of us can get by. 

However, that’s not the case when your parents are receiving dementia care. It is considerably more challenging for them to understand what is going on and their surroundings. 

Therefore, always state your words clearly. Avoid raising your voice, as your parents may mistake this for aggression unless they are also hard of hearing. 

When you speak, use the same wording. Prepare yourself to repeat what you need to say several times.

Ask Simple Questions

If you do ask questions, keep them simple. Ideally, you want questions that your parents can answer “yes” or “no” to. Refrain from asking open-ended questions, such as “what type of food do you prefer?”

Break Down Activities Into Smaller Chunks

Telling a patient with dementia that they need to go shopping or get ready for the day is generally a bad idea. That’s because these tasks involve multiple smaller steps that they need to go through. To a healthy person, this all seems simple. But for a patient with dementia, it is considerably more challenging. 

For this reason, try breaking down tasks into a series of smaller steps. Instead of telling your parents to get ready, ask them to put on each item of clothing one at a time. 

Distract And Redirect

Sometimes people living with dementia can become frustrated and angry. Many do not understand what is going on. 

Because of this, it’s a good idea to distract and redirect. These psychological techniques make it easier for you to manage difficult interactions. Focus on the feelings they have and offer support, but then if that doesn’t work, offer immediate redirection, such as suggesting getting something to eat or going for a walk. 

It can be really challenging when a parent or family member has dementia- it can affect both mental and physical health. You may find yourself feeling exhausted, stressed and frustrated too- as well as sad that the person you love is being affected so much. Your loved one may also feel like this at the beginning and struggle with any loss of memory or function. Make sure they get the correct support and you look after yourself too- by practising self care and speaking to a therapist if need be.

This article was written by a freelance writer and contains do follow links.

How To Let Go Of Hurtful Memories And Live A Happier Life.

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Do you ever feel like your past is holding you back from being happy in the present? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to let go of hurtful memories, especially if they’ve experienced a traumatic event. However, carrying around these negative memories can be incredibly damaging to your mental health and wellbeing. That said, this blog post will discuss how to let go of hurtful memories and lead a happier life!

Acknowledge your hurtful memories

The first step to letting go of hurtful memories is acknowledging them. This may seem like a difficult task, but it’s important to face your demons head-on. Once you’ve acknowledged your hurtful memories, you can begin the process of healing. If you’re not sure how to start this process, consider talking to a therapist or counsellor. They can help you work through your feelings and start the journey to recovery.

Understand that your past does not define you

One of the most important things to remember when trying to let go of hurtful memories is that your past does not define you. Just because you’ve experienced trauma or pain in your life doesn’t mean that’s all there is to you. You are so much more than your hurtful memories! Allow yourself to see the good in yourself and know that you deserve happiness.

Also, don’t forget that your hurtful memories don’t have to control your present or future. Just because something bad happened in your past doesn’t mean it will happen again. You have the power to create a bright future for yourself, no matter what your past may hold.

Focus on the present and build a positive future

Once you’ve acknowledged your hurtful memories and accepted that they don’t define you, it’s time to focus on the present. What makes you happy right now? What are your goals for the future? Start spending your time and energy on things that make you feel good. Fill your life with positivity and watch as your hurtful memories start to fade away.

It’s also important to forgive yourself for what happened in the past. Forgiving yourself doesn’t mean forgetting what happened or downplaying its importance. It simply means letting go of the negative feelings associated with the event and moving forward with your life. Remember, you deserve happiness!

Seek professional help if needed

If you find yourself struggling to let go of hurtful memories, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. There’s no shame in admitting that you need assistance to deal with your past. A therapist or counsellor such as from The Awareness Centre, can help you work through your feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms. They can also provide support and guidance as you begin the process of healing.

Letting go of hurtful memories is a difficult but necessary task if you want to lead a happier life. However, by following the tips outlined above, you can start on the path to recovery and begin living the life you deserve!

This article was written by a freelance writer.

What It Means To Have An NHS Perinatal Psychiatry Planning Meeting.

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Yesterday was the first NHS meeting with the Perinatal (pre conception/birth) Psychiatrist. I didn’t know what to expect from it, though a few weeks ago I had the non NHS meeting with a very good consultant psychiatrist. They were both lovely women who are very good at their jobs- I had had to initially try for a private referral due to NHS waiting lists, but then managed to get an NHS appointment.

I was a bit nervous to see how the NHS would handle it, as they will be who I have care with going forward, so I was pleasantly surprised to be treated with respect and insight and kindness. I know that sounds weird, but those of you who know what my hospital admission in 2014 was like, will know that it wasn’t all plain sailing. Due to lack of insight, decisions happened about me and not always with me and so to feel empowered for me and my husband is very important.

Essentially these meetings now I have been well for a long time, are to plan ahead and discuss psychiatric history, what medications are needed, how it can be managed and what this would mean for a foetus and baby too. Birth carries a strong risk of relapse with the bipolar disorder, including the risk of psychosis and depression and so medication particularly for me needs to be planned carefully. I will need to be monitored once pregnant.

I am on 3 different types of psychiatric medication and also a contraceptive pill. Before we start trying to have children, I will need to have a time of withdrawal from the pill, which could send my hormones all over the place (i used to have PMDD symptoms where I felt very depressed and suicidal on periods so this is a slight concern). Then I may need to taper down one of my medicines (possibly sertraline) with the assistance of the mental health team, to reduce the effect on a baby. As baby will have a time of withdrawal from medications after birth while in hospital- which scares me too that they will be affected temporarily so want to make sure any baby is safe, as do the team I will work with.

The Dr also mentioned I would need to be in hospital for 5 days after birth so my Lithium level can be monitored (too high it can be toxic to humans) and I will need regular blood tests also- which are a source of anxiety, I hate hospitals due to past trauma. There was also a mention of needing to stop Lithium pre Labour and my Lithium levels as a result being quite high from birth too. So this information is good, knowledge is power but its also a bit terrifying to factor this all in.

I am scared but its also…. exciting in a weird way. Despite not yet trying to fall pregnant for a number of reasons so far- (which include possible bipolar relapse and changing meds/ time frames and starting a new job role), I have wanted to be a mother my whole life and I have more challenges than most due to the psychiatric and hormonal changes and how the baby would be. I question whether I am doing the right thing too by trying for a natural pregnancy in future and thats really hard. But egg harvesting and surrogacy is not easy either.. and its like going between a rock and a hard place at times with the best thing to do.

The doctors also mentioned I should visit a mother and baby hospital unit during my pregnancy to see what its like and what support is given- as my worries about it being like a severe psychiatric ward are high. Apparently, its a much calmer, supportive and therapeutic environment. I don’t want to be in hospital but these are the types of things one has to factor in with the bipolar being biological with mood changes.

Rob is endlessly supportive – we are embarking on a somewhat unknown journey – but are now armed with way more information from both psychiatrists and are very thankful to live in the UK.

So, this will be the last update from me on this for a while but knowledge truly is power and I know that with the help of our healthcare system- mental health teams and perinatal psychiatry/ obstetrics, my family, medication, self care etc I should be safeguarded and cared for well.

When the time is right, we pray our miracle will manifest.

Thanks for reading,

Eleanor x

PS shout out to my parents, Rob and family for their constant support.

Surviving Trauma Makes Relationships Difficult. Self Compassion Can Help: by Taylor Blanchard

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You sabotage your relationships when things feel too calm.

You panic when your partner goes on a family vacation, believing that they’re leaving you forever.

Perhaps you can’t stand hugs or gentle touch.

Maybe you’ve wondered to yourself: “What in the world is wrong with me?! Am I just not cut out to have close friends or a romantic relationship?”

Actually, that’s not the case! You deserve close relationships– everyone does. If you resonate with these scenarios, though, you may have some unprocessed trauma– and that trauma may be making your relationships feel like a rusty, ungreased wheel.

You’re not alone. Here’s how trauma can blow our relationships off-course, and also, how self-compassion can help to ease that struggle.

Trauma Creates Hypervigilance

Trauma is any incident that overwhelms your ability to cope (abuse, neglect, or surviving a natural disaster, just to name a few examples). These abhorrent experiences cause our brains and bodies to swirl with cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.

After a seriously traumatic event (or relationship or childhood), our cortisol levels don’t always return to baseline. Often, the nervous system creates a new baseline of heightened stress response. In short: you don’t go back to being as calm as you were before the storm. Now, you’re hypervigilant all the time. You’re always stressed, always scanning for the next attack.

Unfortunately, relationships can’t be created without vulnerability, and vulnerability can’t happen if you’re constantly scanning for attack.

You might be hypervigilant in your relationships if:

  • You feel uncomfortable, fidgety, and unsafe during social situations
  • You constantly micro-analyse everything other people say to make sure they’re not going to hurt you
  • You constantly micro-analyse everything you say to make sure you don’t say anything “wrong”

Aversion to Intimacy

Trauma, and the excess cortisol it triggers, also creates an aversion to physical closeness. When we’re stressed  (i.e., when our cortisol is on full blast), our nervous systems naturally resist being touched.

Do you find yourself shrinking away from hugs? Do you feel an urge to run away when someone gently touches your arm? That’s likely a trauma response.

Of course, if you’ve experienced assault or physical or sexual abuse, this is a double whammy. Since your trauma came from physical touch, your brain has registered any physical touch as dangerous– on top of your increased baseline level of cortisol. Of course you’d feel sick at the thought of a hug! If this sounds like you, go extra easy on yourself if you struggle with relationships; this struggle isn’t your fault.

So, This Sucks… How in the World Do I Heal?

Yes, it sounds bleak. If this is you, you may feel hopeless. I’m with you; I’ve been there. It’s not hopeless, though. This is healable.

Therapy: Do I Even Have to Say It?

Yes, healing this will probably require trauma-informed therapy. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can begin to shift once you see a therapist who validates your traumatic experiences.

Here’s a hint: Psychology Today’s find-a-therapist tool can help you easily find a trauma-informed therapist. (Make sure to select “trauma focused” under the “types of therapy” menu.)

Now That That’s Out of the Way: Self-Compassion Comes Next

I’m 100% serious when I tell you: you deserve to go easy on yourself.

I say this with firmness, and yet, I forget to go easy on myself most days. Regardless, it helps immensely to stop comparing your relationships to other people’s relationships (both friendships and romantic relationships!).

Yes, it may likely take you longer to learn how to develop lasting relationships, both friendly and intimate. It may seem unfair that making and keeping tons of friends, as well as a life partner, comes so easily to some, while you’re struggling to simply text one person back.

Know what? It is unfair. You shouldn’t have gone through the trauma that you went through. What this means, though, is that you can recognize that you face more relational setbacks than someone who didn’t suffer the same trauma as you did. You’re starting further behind with a ball and chain tied to both feet.

Thus: you can stop comparing, and you can stop feeling like you’re “behind” somehow. Always try to recognize even your tiniest victories, even and especially the challenges which seem “easy” to other people.

Wrapping Up

Relationships make our lives juicy and sparkly, and so, if trauma has impacted your ability to form relationships (I’m with you!), then you’re probably struggling.

Try your best to go easy on yourself. You’ve been through a slog of painful experiences that, unfortunately, can make life on Earth feel like walking straight uphill all the time. Therapy helps. Self-compassion helps.

And yes, I know it’s tiring, but there is help for you out there. Just keep going.


Taylor Blanchard is a freelance mental health and wellness writer for hire. Her lived experience and extensive knowledge on mental health, emotional wellness, and spirituality guide her to create deep, compassionate blog posts, which she hopes will help people to feel less alone in the world. Self-care for Taylor looks like staring at the sky, drinking cacao while listening to metal, or cuddling with her rescue Pitbull mix.

The Difference Between a Therapist and a Life Coach by Lizzie Weakley.

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When you need help solving complex problems in your life, you turn to those who are considered to be “experts”. In this case, that may mean working with either a therapist or perhaps a life coach, which is an option gaining in popularity with more and more people. While working with either of these will be similar in many ways, there are distinct differences between a therapist and a life coach.

Licensing and Credentials

To begin with, major differences exist in terms of credentials and licensing. A life coach may have a college university degree in psychology or counselling and have many years of experience working with clients but is not a qualified therapist. On the other hand, a therapist is required in most cases to not only possess graduate-level training, but also be properly licensed where they practice.

Past or Future

When you work with a therapist, the focus usually is on past traumas that are impacting your current life, such as being abused when you were a child. But when you work with a life coach, these sessions often pinpoint specific problems that are happening right now that are impeding your ability to move forward. For example, you may work with a life coach to discover a new type of career you would find more fulfilling.

Long-Term or Short-Term

When most people begin visiting a therapist, they may continue to do so for many years, or in some cases forever. However, personal life coaching is more of a short-term commitment. In fact, the goal of the life coach is to give you the tools and skills needed to eventually coach yourself, but some therapies also aim to do this too.

Structured or Unstructured

While you may have thought therapy sessions are very structured, they are typically quite the opposite. In fact, therapy sessions are guided by the patient and the type of therapy is used to treat them. While a personal life coaching session has the coach, and you, working on developing goal-oriented strategies that let you experience personal and even professional growth along the way.

In conclusion, depending on your situation, it is always possible you may at some point in your life work with both a therapist and life coach. Whether you have sessions with a therapist to work through unresolved childhood trauma or seek out a life coach to help you achieve a better balance between your personal and professional lives, you will soon learn why these professionals and their services are so valuable to clients.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio.

Stress and Panic Attacks Part Two- My Mental Health.

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Hi friends,

8 weeks ago when I last wrote, we were about to move into our new home. We have now been settled in and been there 5 weeks. It is so exciting and we have been overwhelmed with love. Moving though is a big life change and has triggered my mental illness again.

Lurking under the surface is my Bipolar/ PTSD anxiety disorder. If I do a lot and am more active, I can’t cope. I always try and do more than I am able and then end up crashing into panic- insomnia, racing anxious thoughts mainly and having to cancel plans. Social anxiety becomes heightened. Last week, I went to my mother in laws in Essex three times and also went to a family wedding (which was so special!). Both were lovely, but on Saturday night, my anxiety was triggered, thinking about going back home and socialising the next day- and my body and mind said Enough. This is too much.

Being on your own when you’re anxious and can’t sleep (but everyone else is) is one of the worst places to be. I actually posted an Instagram message at 6am about how I was feeling because I didn’t want to wake anyone up. People were really kind. I slept for maybe 2 hours and felt teary and emotional on Sunday, but had support from Rob and my family too.

The past few days my anxiety has been unleashed and remains high. I am writing this from my Mums house today as I didn’t want to be on my own again working in our flat . I have booked a session in with my therapist too because I am waking up feeling panicked. Its like my body and brain are trying to protect me from something, an old fight or flight response. I keep having regular panic attacks where I shut down, cry and hide in bed. Speaking to my therapist I know will help me process and clear the triggers behind whats going on.

Living with this is debilitating- but I will not be beaten. I will keep doing all I can to improve my low mood and anxiety, to keep going despite any setbacks and to try to heal my mind and soul so I can feel more confident and happier again.

Thanks for reading, I send love to anyone struggling

Eleanor

x

How to help others with their Mental Health when you live with it yourself.

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Dealing with mental health problems is tough, especially when there is a stigma. ”Man up? Why don’t you man up?!” (you don’t need to). However, you get to a point where you strike a balance that lets you lead a healthy and productive lifestyle. You’re on an even keel, which is essential as it stops the intense emotions and feelings.

Still, this isn’t the end of your journey. Once you get to a point where you feel you are on top of things, you might want to help others reach the same summit. After all, there’s no greater sensation than giving back. Here’s what you need to do.

Reach Out

You understand the warning signs better than anybody because you’ve been through the ordeal. You also know that people who are finding life difficult tend to bottle up their emotions and push them deep down. As a result, the likelihood of a fellow sufferer reaching out isn’t realistic. Instead, they’ll suffer in silence. Reaching out can be as basic as asking them if they are okay, or letting them know that they have a shoulder to lean on if they want. And, with the development of tech such as Zoom, you don’t have to be in the same room to eliminate loneliness or anxiety.

Share Your Story

Be honest – did you open up to anyone who asked about your issues? No, because it’s tough when there isn’t a sense of empathy. People who haven’t experienced what it’s like don’t understand, making it hard to relate to the pain. You’re different. Having dealt with it, you are better positioned than anyone to offer advice. Of course, they don’t know that until you share your story. Revealing what you went through will encourage them to trust you, ensuring your advice doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

Make It Your Career

If you love helping others and have a passion for mental health, you should consider turning it into a career. Your experience makes you well placed to get to grips with the complexities of the industry, and the advancements in technology mean it’s easier than ever to become certified. Becoming a counsellor is never a walk in the park, but some features make it simpler to juggle. For example, attending an online course instead of being on-campus. Or, doing it part-time to ensure it doesn’t overwhelm you and get in the way of your routine. You’ve got something to offer, so don’t be afraid to show it!

Be Flexible

Due to your success story, you will want everyone to try the method you used because it has had positive results. That’s perfectly acceptable since people draw on their experiences when helping others. However, no two individuals are the same, which means you must be flexible when providing your opinions. Sure, you can lead with what assisted you, yet it’s essential to keep an open mind and encourage whatever makes them happy. Also, never guarantee anything as there are no sure things with mental health.

It’s a process, an unpredictable one with lots of twists and turns, so you need to be prepared for ups and downs.



This article was written by a freelance writer
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The Difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist. Which can best address your needs? By Anita Ginsburg


It’s always important to seek professional help if you are dealing with a mental health issue. Unfortunately, finding a professional can be harder than you might think. Even if you can find someone for you, you’ll still have to decide upon which type of professional with whom you should work. For most, the answer comes down to knowing the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist.


What Is a Psychologist?

Generally speaking, a psychologist is a person with an advanced degree in psychology who works with patients on their mental health. These individuals usually use various types of talk therapy to help individuals work through a diverse number of mental health issues. When many people think of the basic idea of therapy, they’re thinking about what a psychologist does.

When to Choose a Psychologist

It makes sense to choose a psychologist when you’re looking to address your mental health issues without medication. Attempting to change behavior of the long-term is usually best done with the help of a psychologist, especially if you’re looking to get to the root causes of why you feel how you feel. It should be noted, though, that even those who do seek medication can often work with a psychologist as well as a psychiatrist.

What Is a Psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is specifically an individual who holds a medical degree and specialises in psychiatry. While psychiatrists do conduct many of the same types of therapy as psychologists, they differ from psychologists because psychiatrists can prescribe medication to their patients when needed.

When to Choose a Psychiatrist

The most common reason to choose a psychiatrist is because you are considering the possibility of pursuing some type of medical treatment for your mental health problems. This can range from specific types of medical therapies to medication, but all of these therapies do require a psychiatrist’s oversight. While most do choose psychiatrists because of the medical angle, many psychiatrists do still use talk therapy in a manner similar to psychologists.

It’s important to know what you want from therapy before you make a choice between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. While each type of professional does deal with mental health from a specific angle, whether one is better than the other has everything to do with your personal situation. While you will ultimately need to make the choice between the two, choosing to pursue at least some kind of therapy is a good step on the path to a brighter future.

This article was written by freelance writer Anita Ginsburg