In honor of May being Mental Health Month, I decided to jump start the discussion on a common mental health disorder we hear a lot about but many do not know what it is... Depression.
What is Depression?Depression is a common, treatable mental illness that affects millions of people in the United States every year. Researchers estimate more than 12 million women and 6 million men are affected by depression in any given year. Depression treatment options include: medical, self-help psychotherapeutic and alternative techniques. No one depression treatment is right for everyone, but with treatment, most people experience a significant reduction in depression symptoms.
Most people feel sad or depressed at times. But when intense sadness -- including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless -- lasts for many days to weeks and keeps you from living your life, it may be something more than sadness. You could have clinical depression -- a treatable medical condition.
SymptomsAccording to the DSM-5, a manual doctors use to diagnose mental disorders, symptoms of a major depressive episode include the following:
Therapy is often the first choice of depression treatment in mild to moderate cases of depression. Several types of therapy have been proven effective in the treatment of depression. They include:
What Can Therapy Do For Depression?
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Available 24 hours everyday
As always thanks for reading and until next time,
L.Nicole Edwards, LCSW
May is mental health month! As a way to make everyone aware I have embarked on posting twice a week on this blog and my IG page @therapy_wnik regarding mental health issues that effect many people all over the globe... Join me, as I walk you through your healing and educate those who are interested...
Tune in every Monday AND Wednesday starting this Monday, May 7, 2018. #talktherapywnik #talktherapywithme #breakthestigma
The word "codependency" gets thrown around a lot: There are codependent couples, codependent companions, and codependent caretakers. But what does codependent actually mean — and is it really all that bad? Codependency is typically discussed in the context of substance use, where one person is abusing the substance, and he or she depends on the other person to supply money, food, and/or shelter. But codependency is much broader than that. Codependency can be defined as any relationship in which two people become so invested in each other that they can’t function independently anymore. Your mood, happiness, and identity are defined by the other person. In a codependent relationship, there is usually one person who is more passive and can’t make decisions for themselves, and a more dominant personality who gets some reward and satisfaction from controlling the other person and making decisions about how they will live.
Enabling is another sign of an unhealthy codependence. Enabling behavior, which is rarely seen in healthy relationships, includes bailing your partner out, repeatedly giving him or her another chance, ignoring the problem, accepting excuses, always being the one trying to fix the problem, or constantly coming to the rescue.
8 Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship
Cutting Cords of codependency consists of releasing or cutting away energetic cords that connect you with someone else. You are energetically corded to anyone who you have a relationship with including family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances in some way whether it is harmful or healthy. When you are corded in an unhealthy way to someone, these bonds can negatively impact all aspects of your life. For example, your behavior may be influenced or controlled by the person you are negatively bonded to. You may be easily manipulated, feel stuck, depressed, have low energy levels or simply feel bad in the other person’s presence.
It is important to remove the cords to improve your emotional, spiritual and physical well-being by doing the following:
Below are some amazing resources I have used and strongly recommend for overcoming codependency and relationship woes.
Thanks for reading,
L. Nicole Edwards
As we know mental illness is still a very taboo subject in the black community. Not only are many African Americans not willing to speak on it, but a lot find it to be a personal weakness. “Black people don’t go to therapy we pray about it” or “depression is a weakness, stop complaining about your life” is thrown out there a lot.
A quote I heard the other day as I was driving to work really resignated with me. "When you help yourself, you help your ancestors." I found that to be so true and enlightening. Once you start helping yourself and naming the things in your life that is effecting your daily routine or growth, you are able to identify and share it with others and as a result people in your life will begin to identify what they struggle with. Many issues we face as black men and women as it relates to depression, anxiety, and suicide are sometimes swept under the rug. By seeking therapy/counseling it can help reduce the stigma of mental illness in black families.
To help learn more ways to start the conversation, and to reduce the shaming of other black people who want help for their mental illness. I can be contacted for speaking engagements and/or booked for individual therapy to help you break the stigma and no longer live in silence. If not with me, please feel free to check out my previous post about how to locate the right therapist you.
As always stay and be encouraged,
Looking for a therapist is an exciting and scary thing. It is kind of like dating where you are trying to find “The One.” Your mind is probably racing trying to figure out what steps do you take to locate one, and as with any successful relationship, he/she was worth the wait. Here’s what I’ve learned on my journey.
Treat your first appointment like a date.
No one goes on a first date without checking the other person’s Facebook profile. The same applies to choosing a therapist. Fortunately, there are several online provider directories that make this process smoother than it could be. The two that I pay to be featured on are Psychology Today and Therapy for Black Girls, I am also featured on Open Path, all three give potential clients the opportunity to view photos of prospective therapists, read blurbs about what types (i.e. individual, group, family, couple counseling) of services and modalities (i.e. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, DBT,etc) prospective therapists provide/use. Another fun thing about these site that with a one simple click you can see your prospective therapists’ webpages. If this isn’t enough to completely sell a client to a specific therapist, all three directories give potential clients access to provider phone numbers so they can call or text to better determine if you feel it is the right fit.
So, what exactly does it mean for a therapist to be the “Right Fit” for you?
The Right Fit is almost like trying on the right pair of shoes or dress. It was even more important than whether or not that therapist was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Psychologist, or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). I have learned that the perfect/Right fit is bigger than ethnicity, gender, or educational journey; it is personality, style, ability to instill hope, and above all, ability to provide growth. Your therapist doesn’t need to be your best friend, of course, but you should be comfortable with that person, and with sharing your thoughts and feelings. If you’re not, look for someone else. That’s right; meetings with your therapist should leave you with a deep knowing that you’re in the right place.
Look for affordable options.According to a recent survey by the nonprofit Mental Health America, 56 percent of the 40 million Americans suffering from mental health issues do not seek treatment primarily because of insufficient insurance and high costs. But that doesn’t need to be the case.
First, verify what types of accreditation your insurance accepts, what the diagnoses need to be, what kind of documentation you need, and how many sessions it covers. Also in the article,Ms. Katz suggested asking your therapist for a cash rate, because deductibles and other costs can, surprisingly, make insurance more expensive.
DIscuss a timeline.Seeing a therapist for a while does not necessarily mean it’s a match made in therapeutic heaven. Your relationship or needs may change over time, or the therapist’s career may go in a different direction. Similarly, for some the goal is not to pay for lifelong sessions, but to help you recover from or learn to cope better with the issues that led you to a therapist in the first place.
My biggest piece of advice to potential clients searching for a therapist is to construct a sentence of loose qualities you’re looking for in a therapist and use one of the aforementioned directories to locate someone who fits those criteria. While this sentence can be as specific as “Young black male psychologist with an office in West Philadelphia who has experience treating clients suffering from severe trauma using Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EDMR) ,” it can also be as broad as “Mental health professional in Ft. Worth, TX who treats anxiety and depression.” Because needs and wants change over time, you may find yourself with more or less specific criteria at different moments in your life. The fundamental factors are that you feel safe and comfortable with whoever you are meeting with, that you believe in his or her clinical competence (WARNING: not everyone who practices has had proper training) and that he or she is helping you develop a deeper understanding of how your heart and mind work, particularly in relation to other people’s hearts and minds. Your therapist’s office should not be just another place to vent (you can do that with your friends, for free). Your therapist should not offend you or make you feel judged. And most importantly, your therapist should click with you! Because, well, you deserve to embark upon wholeness with someone who GETS you!
L. Nicole Edwards, LCSW
When many people think of social workers, they do not think Psychotherapist. In fact many people do not know what to think. I love to see the look of surprise on many people’s faces when they learn exactly what social workers do. I am a psychotherapist and a social worker. I think and work with people with various mental health disorders. As a social worker, we are seen in various arenas, i.e. hospitals, schools, active duty military, veterans, inpatient, outpatient, in the home, hospice, nursing homes, and even in private practice to name a few. Social workers are literally with people from their first’s breath (pregnancy and birth) to their very last breath(death). Social workers help clients cope with problems such as poverty, abuse, addiction, and mental illness by providing counseling/therapy, connecting clients with service providers, and empowering clients to meet their own needs.
I can say that being a social worker was never in my plans. I will admit that I too was oblivious to what exactly a social worker did. It was also never in my radar to become one. I originally wanted to be a lawyer. My passion grew when I was first introduced to three fictional characters on television (Claire Huxtable of the Cosby show, Maxine Shaw of Living Singles, and Terry from Soul Food). Seeing these three powerhouse women live out their dreams, take charge and not only advocate for their clients, but their families as well. Seeing them led me to do more research on what attorneys did and law schools. I had two real life idols and my versions of superstars. I decided that I wanted to be a Civil Rights Attorney after reading and researching two well respected people; Thurgood Marshall and Johnny Cochran. I wanted to advocate for those who were voiceless. When I thought of lawyers, I thought lawyers were in a unique position to help individuals, groups, and organizations with their legal problems and further the public good. I had dreams for the greater good of society and help those in need of legal assistance who might not otherwise be able to afford a lawyer. I also had hopes to help low-income individuals and underserved portions of the population such as the elderly, victims of domestic abuse and children.
I had it all planned out. (At least so I thought) a 45 year plan which consisted of me going to law school and being a judge by age 37. That dream was going well in college; I majored in political science, joined a pre-law fraternity, and even went to a few law school conferences. Then life stressors and heartbreak struck and I found myself on the couch for therapy. I began to see a social worker/psychotherapist. She was able to help me get out of a rut and it really changed my perspective of not only what a social worker is, but in a way they do the same thing as an attorney. They advocate and help individuals who cannot help themselves, and provide resources to those who otherwise might be lost. I then switched my major to sociology with an emphasis in social welfare. (Mainly because the university did not offer a social work major and it was the closest that I could get to a social work degree). Being a sociologist not only helped me study people and learn development, structure, and functioning of human society and social problems.
I told myself that I would obtain my master in social work. After graduating from undergraduate, I took a two year break from school and became an AmeriCorps VISTA. During that time I was able to learn more about various cultures and populations. I was able to work with individuals who homeless, survivors of domestic violence, HIV positive, LBGTQ, substance use disorders, etc.. Since I was blessed with the gift of talking and helping, the field of social work came so naturally to me. While being an AmeriCorps VISTA I did not earn a lot of money but I said if I love what I do and make hardly any money then this is the field for me. I loved it in fact. I completed 2 years as an AmeriCorps VISTA and eventually graduated from Norfolk State University with my Master in Social Work degree. Was the program easy? Not by a long shot. They pushed and challenged me to be the best clinician I can be.
It is interesting because as I type I realize that I have been a social worker well before I even realized that I wanted to be a social worker. I am always rooting for the underdog. I have a way of seeing the good and I am constantly processing and attempting to find out what and why a person is the way they are. I have been told that I have a way about me that makes people feel safe and unjudged. When I think of social workers I see more than what television says (which is that we take people’s children and provide government assistance to individuals. And after much research, I discovered that most of those employees do not even have a degree in social work.) I see myself as a cheerleader and motivator not only for myself, but for my co-workers and clients.
The field of social work is so broad and ever changing like the clients we serve and even in my life. I picked the field of social work, but I oftentimes feel that social work choose me. I get great pleasure in helping clients “get unstuck”. I oftentimes tell my substance use clients, “the substance you use brought you to me, but I want to uncover what happened in life that caused you to want to block it out by using.” Life stressors get in the way for many of us and oftentimes caused us to need assistance with the next steps in our lives. I am merely a small part in a lifetime of change. You are the driver, I am just here to guide, assist, & empower you with building the coping skills to teach you not only how to drive the car on your own verves driving the car for you or watch you sit in the parking lot.
In a nutshell, I love what I do, hence why I have never worked a day in my life. I would love to help guide and assistance you on this journey called life.
L. Nicole Edwards, LCSW
herapy with Nik is an online blog space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness for individuals, couples, and family around the globe. So often the stigma surrounding mental health issues and therapy prevents many men and women from taking the step of seeing a therapist. I developed this blog to be a safe space to present mental health topics in a way that feels more accessible and relevant.
I am a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Virginia. My specialties include working with men and women in both individual, couples, and family counseling. My primary areas of interest include break up, divorce recovery, depression, work-life balance, relationship skills, self- esteem improvement, substance use disorder, trauma/grief, anxiety, and life transitions to name a few. I also have a wealth of knowledge in working with undergraduate and graduate students in areas including procrastination, stress management, and career development.
My approach to psychotherapy/counseling is heavily focused on the therapeutic relationship and I place a strong emphasis on co-creating an environment where clients feel safe, supported, and challenged to become the best possible versions of themselves. I completed a Dual Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Welfare and African American Studies with dual minors in Political Science and Women’s Studies at Old Dominion University and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work with an a specialization in military service members and substance use disorders at Norfolk State University. I have worked in various clinical settings and populations which includes inpatient, outpatient, crisis intervention, case management, colleges/universities, community mental health, hospitals, schools in home base, and most recently private practice.
Macaroni and cheese.
Thunderstorms (only if I’m already home and tucked in bed).
Reality TV shows.
The colors yellow and orange.
Anything Kate Spade.
binge watching Netflix shows…
every person should have a theme song and/or quote that helps motivates and encourages them to push through.
in good kisses, good cries, good friends, and good food!
broken hearts can heal.
there is nothing more awesome than a woman who knows her power and walks in it.