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Monday, April 25, 2016

Helping a Friend Deal with Depression

Depression is a common disorder in the United States, with reports showing that 1 out of 10 people will suffer from this debilitating condition in their lifetime. With modern stressors, genetics, and mystery factors not yet understood combining to increase the frequency of this disease, it is likely you will personally know someone struggling with depression at some point in your lifetime.

If you’re worried your friend might be suffering from depression and want to help as much as possible through this difficult period, consider these tips.

How is Depression Different?

Everyone has periods of sadness, but clinical depression is another type of beast. A severely depressed individual may find it a struggle to complete even the most simple of daily tasks, rendering them unable to function effectively in their normal routines. It’s not something that can always be overcome with positive thinking, and it affects so many different facets of life, including namely, relationships—don’t let yours with your friend become a victim to this disease.

Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help

Your friend might be very resistant to reach out to you, let alone reach out to a therapist or other licensed professional. However, depression is a scary condition, and it’s worth talking to your friend about accessing care should the situation require it. It can be hard to know whether they need care or not. There are certain signs to look for: if he or she mentions suicidal thoughts, if they aren’t able to eat, or if sleep has become impossible, they need to seek help and work out some sort of treatment.

Get Educated

While mental illness is more talked about in recent years than it has ever been, there’s still plenty of misconceptions about depression and anxiety. To fully be there for your friend, you need to take your time to understand the condition. Do your research; go online, check out books, look at recent studies. The more you know, the more helpful you can be.

Be There

Your friend likely won’t reach out for you, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need your support. Stay in touch as much as possible. It may be frustrating when they aren’t returning your texts or answering your calls, but it’s essential that you continue reaching out. Their retraction from life is no reflection of their feelings towards you or your friendship; depression makes even basic functions feel impossible. Part of being there might mean taking initiative to do the things he or she can’t handle anymore. This might mean picking up groceries, doing their laundry, or even dropping off prepared meals to make sure they’re eating. If you live far away, you can help do many of these things through services. You can send a cleaning brigade to their home with Merry Maids, have groceries or recipe boxes like Hello Fresh dropped off at their door, and ask close-by friends to check in on them every now and again.

Listen

You should strive to become a listener more than a talker when it comes to your interactions with your friend. Listen to their concerns, prompt them with open ended questions that will get a conversation going, and be wary of offering advice. Don’t feel compelled to say something; depression doesn’t always make sense, and there isn’t always an answer. You can, however, always provide words of support and hope, without diminishing the pain your friend is currently experiencing. Everyone deals with and overcomes depression in a different way, so what works for someone else you knew might not work for this particular friend.

Little Surprises

By no means will gifts help them “get over” their illness, but providing little bits of happiness will put bright spots into a week that might have been otherwise difficult. Grab a special gift to let them know you’re thinking of them, or drop off a bouquet of flowers just because. This is another way to show you care without overwhelming your friend, and lets them know you’ll be patient while they work through their illness.

Watching a friend suffer from depression is tough, but you can make the difference by being a pillar of support while they work to get better. Use these guidelines to be there for your friend and give them hope of a brighter future.


This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Top 10 Books on Motherhood for Mother’s Day

Motherhood is one of the most cherished societal roles that requires much physical and emotional sacrifice, unexpected challenges, and periods of great joy and sadness. In recognition of the amazing job that so many mothers do, flowers, chocolates, dinner, breakfast in bed, and new clothes are some of the many traditional gifts mothers receive on Mother’s Day. However, what many people forget when shopping for mom is that many mothers enjoy having some down time to read a good book. Along those lines, here is MedFriendly’s list of the Top 10 books on motherhood (based on reader review ratings) that mothers with different lifestyles should enjoy reading on Mother’s Day. At the end of each description, we highlight the type of mother who would best like each particular book.

http://amzn.to/1VoeKqN
1. Motherhood Realized: An Inspiring Anthology for the Hardest Job You'll Ever Love by Power of Moms. Power of Moms. This is a tangible representation of a living, breathing community of mothers (Power of Moms). The book is a collection of the best articles the Power of Moms has shared online. Each chapter is one article, so they are very easy and quick to read (10 min or less). The chapters are grouped into meaningful sections and do not need to be read from beginning to end.
Ideal for mothers with a fast-paced life. 

http://amzn.to/1RX44gt
2. Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee. Both poignant and humorous, Anchored recounts Kayla’s gripping story of learning to navigate her newfound motherhood (premature delivery) in the most unexpected of ways, from holidays in the hospital and middle-of-the-night phone calls to the joy of coming home. With vulnerability and plenty of wit, Kayla lays bare her struggle to redefine her faith, her marriage, and herself within the context of a tragedy she never saw coming. For anyone who has felt their faith in God falter, Anchored extends a gentle invitation to join her as she uncovers a hope that holds.
Ideal for mothers who have given birth to children prematurely. 

http://amzn.to/1VofbRJ
3. The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions by Pam Kanaly. Christian guidance for single parenting. Single moms face ups and downs, and this personal testimony offers advice on how to navigate the emotional roller coaster. After highlighting and defining nine specific negative emotions that often overwhelm single parents, Pam Kanaly explains how to transform these common characteristics into corresponding positive traits. Founded on love and biblical teaching, these words of wisdom and compassion will offer hope and consolation to struggling moms.
Ideal for single Christian mothers. 

http://amzn.to/1SOpJnq
4. Tales from Another Mother Runner: Triumphs, Trials, Tips, and Tricks from the Road by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. Every mother runner has a tale to tell. A story about how she realized, fifteen years after being told that she's best being a bookworm, that there is an athlete inside her. Or the one about how she, fifty pounds overweight and depressed, finally found the courage---and time---to lace up her running shoes. Ideal for the running mother or the mother who needs motivation to get more active. 

http://amzn.to/1Qaogpo
5. A Mother's Dance: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward, Full Circle by Pattie Welek Hall. A touching story about hope, resilience, fortitude, faith, and about the value of family and friends. Pattie relays her story of a mother trying to balance life goals with the need to care for a child in a coma from a traumatic brain injury.  She is later tested again when her oldest son dies. Ideal for the mother who has lost a child and/or has cared for children with serious medical issues. 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615859895/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0615859895&linkCode=as2&tag=themedblo-20&linkId=JBZOPWH7YHSLTC7U
6. Tilt: 7 Solutions To Be A Guilt-Free Working Mom by Marci Fair. Juggling work and family has never seemed more possible than in Marci Fair's parenting guide, TILT. It was written out of the difficult struggles and unexpected answers that Fair has found on her journey through the TILT of life, work, and motherhood. Ideal for the working mother.

http://amzn.to/1RX5kAf
7. Reclaiming Home: The Family's Guide for Life, Love and Legacy by Krista Gilbert. This is the go-to guidebook, helping families cultivate solid roots of meaning, connectedness, and family identity in the ever-shifting soil of modern family life. Ideal for the mother looking to simplify her chaotic family life. 

http://amzn.to/1VogaS6
8. The Mindful Mom-To-Be: A Modern Doula's Guide to Building a Healthy Foundation from Pregnancy Through Birth by Lori Bregman. Strengthening your own foundation is one of the very best beginnings you can give your child. In The Mindful Mom-to-Be, doula and pregnancy coach Lori Bregman guides you in your journey toward motherhood by empowering you to find what works best for you and your baby. In addition to concrete, prescriptive health information, including nutritional advice, natural remedies, developmental milestones, and techniques for labor, she offers simple and enjoyable spiritual and emotional exercises to help you prepare for motherhood. Ideal for the pregnant mother. 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0814436552/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0814436552&linkCode=as2&tag=themedblo-20&linkId=F5QTNHGHVVOVQP4O
9. Dial Down the Drama: Reducing Conflict and Reconnecting with Your Teenage Daughter--A Guide for Mothers Everywhere by Colleen O’Grady. Written by a popular family therapist, "Dial Down the Drama "reveals how to reclaim your center and reconnect with your teen. It helps you: Regain perspective - Break the cycle of conflict - Tune in to your daughter without drowning in her drama - Foster spontaneous conversations - Understand the developing adolescent brain and how it influences behavior - Appreciate her for who she is now--a wonderful, work in progress - Replace worrying and overreacting with effective communication and action - Forge a healthy and lasting bond together Moodiness, anger, and defiance can stress the best of us. This empowering guide gives you the tools you need to defuse the drama--and dial up the joy. Ideal for mothers of teenage daughters. 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1631528106/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1631528106&linkCode=as2&tag=themedblo-20&linkId=HZS5EXBFYFSKSOSE
10. Changed By Chance: My Journey of Triumph Over Tragedy by Elizabeth Barker. Elizabeth Barker spent years planning and working hard to achieve her version of the American dream - one that is supposed to culminate in parenthood and the role of supermom. But when her first child is born with Down syndrome and a fatal heart condition, her dream suddenly becomes a nightmare. Liz’s new reality is a detoured obstacle course of life altering encounters, medical mishaps, a breast cancer diagnosis, and cruel hardships. From the moment of her daughter’s birth, she is pummeled with life lessons that no schooling or formal education could have ever taught her.  
Ideal for mothers of children with special needs.