Pamela K Boylan, LPC-MHSP 

Individual, Couples, and Family Therapy

Blog

Welcome to my blog.  I will post helpful tips, ideas, and musings here that may help you.  Feel free to post your input!

 

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Relight the Light

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

So much on the news and radio about Robin Williams.

I’ve read some positive and not so positive remarks regarding his suicide: “There’s so much going on in Palestine/Gaza and other parts of the world, yet, one celebrity’s death gets more news…pathetic. Why does his death affect people so much?”

So I begin to ask myself that question. Why does HIS death affect us…me…so much? And then it hit me. Robin represented laughter. Hope. In the face of darkness. In the face of the horrible situations such as Gaza, Haiti, etc. So much sadness in the world. But one look at Robin Williams, and we saw a little glimpse of light and laughter. I’d read years ago that he fiercely battled manic depression and drug addiction. Robin was the guy that we could say, “look at what this guy is dealing with, and with all the other crap in the world, he can still look the world in the face and laugh. Even when he feels like death on the inside.”

Robin represented that light for us, when we couldn’t see it. And yesterday, he lost his battle. And when I learned that his light went out, it shook me to the core. I have a feeling many others feel this way.

As a therapist, I’ve heard these words (personally and professionally) regarding depression.

“Snap out of it.”

“You just need to choose to be happy.”

“Go to a third world country and I GUARANTEE, you’ll appreciate what you have now!” (Heck, even I’ve said this one...)

“Pray about it. Give it to God.”

If you’ve never suffered from depression, or seen firsthand the effects of it, it is hard to understand. It is a HORRIBLE disease. It is a BLACK, BLACK HOLE that swallows a person, sometimes slowly like Robin, sometimes too soon as we see in our precious tweens and teens. The blackness can take over so severely that the depressed person truly believes that the world and their family is better off without them. You might see suicide as a “selfish” act. To a person suffering from severe clinical depression, they might see it as a gift. That they would be doing their family and the world a favor by just getting out of the way. See what I mean? Blackness. A third world country can’t solve it. Neither can choice. Or dare I say it, prayer. (Before you send me hate comments, keep reading, please.) For some, suicide is not the answer. It is drugs, alcohol, sex, and other addictions that “Band-Aid” the symptoms.

Approximately 100 people die by suicide in the U.S. in a day (approx. 30,000 in a year). More people die by suicide than homicide. Depression is a disease that CAN be maintained (for the most part). Therapy, medication, meditation, prayer, spirituality, religion, love, and support are just some of the ways that the clinically depressed can be helped. I’ve seen the black holes grow smaller for some with the above mentioned tactics. It CAN work. It CAN be manageable for some, even most. Communication is key. We have to listen. To ourselves and others. We have to ask hard questions if we don’t understand. We have to do research. Suicide.org is a good place to start. Even after all that, we don’t have all the answers. Sometimes even when we’ve “done all we can do” to learn, help, support, research, etc., we lose someone to depression. I’m sure Robin’s family is feeling that now.

So what is the answer? The only one I can come up with is LOVE. Love love love. Smile and wave at the homeless man on the street. Ask the cashier about their day. Hug it out with friends, family, even strangers (if you’re into that.) It might not solve this disease. But it’s a good place to start. Relight the light.

 

The "C" Word

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I've been there.  Knowing I did not have tools to "fix" things in my life and not knowing where to start, how much it would cost, what others would think.  I had scary ideas about counseling.  ESPECIALLY in my background, where it was not considered "proper etiquette" to air one's dirty laundry.  And here was the funny part:  I was already a COUNSELOR!  If I was nervous (and I had an idea of the process), I cannot IMAGINE what it must feel like to someone who has never even stepped foot in a practice.  But much like other healthcare professionals, counselors can be essential in helping clients navigate through unchartered territory.  If your car was leaking fluids, you'd take it to a mechanic.  Well, we are much like mechanics, except our job is to not only help you work through the problem at hand, but to give you the tools to be able to work through future problems.  So you don't HAVE to keep coming back.  Yes, some folks (even me) like an occasional tune up now and again, but once you have sailed through the rough waters, you can do so much for yourself and others!  You begin to recognize what I call the "red flags" (others might call "dysfunction") in your life and deal with it directly.  And if you are wondering, I absolutely have been in counseling during my adult life.  I wish I would've had these tools as a teen...I might have done some things differently.  So it's never too late to start working on yourself.  You are worthy and precious.  I look forward to reminding you of that!


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