Skip to main content

Being the Light: Anxiety and Depression in our Youth.

Several years ago I found myself working in the home of Dr. Norm Rosenthal, the South African, author, psychiatrist and scientist who in the 1980s first described winter depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and pioneered the use of light therapy for its treatment. It was an acting gig and I was to play a depressed patient in a video for doctors to use in diagnosing patients with anxiety and depression. The job was fascinating in that I learned a lot about depression but also because I was able to pick the brain of this well-known scientist in the field of psychiatry and brain disorders. 

Dr. Rosenthal told me that he had grown up in South Africa where the sunlight was available almost daily and when he moved to the United States and studied in New York he found himself becoming increasingly sad during the winter months when the sunshine was less available. That’s when he began to study the phenomenon of Seasonal Affective Disorder or “SAD” and he coined the term. He also studied the effect of light on this disorder and created light boxes for treatment. In his home where we shot the video Dr. Rosenthal had light boxes all over the place. He could sit in almost any chair in his house and bathe himself in light. 

Cut to: this week and the podcast.

I have been producing the Happy Healthy You! podcast for close to three years now and have really enjoyed talking to the many guests who have come on to talk about their specialties. This week we are talking about an important subject for parents; depression and anxiety in our youth. A few months back I recorded a show with my sweet niece Jennifer who talked about her friend who had committed suicide. Her friend had been suffering with anxiety and depression for years and it was a big surprise to many of her peers at school to hear this news.

According to our guest this week, the numbers are up with so many young people suffering in silence. How did we get here? 

Natalie Moore, a Holistic Psychotherapist from Los Angeles and our guest on the podcast is concerned that the more busy we are as parents, the more anxiety and depression is manifesting in our children. But there are so many more factors that can come into play and it is important to look at the young person in a holistic way, taking body, mind and spirit into consideration. 

The most important thing is to be aware of the symptoms and not be afraid to have the conversation. The podcast has lots of suggestions for us, so take a listen here. Also, here is a link for parents that has some great information about talking to kids about anxiety and depression.

As we navigate this winter season when the light is less available to us, remember to be kind for we never know what internal battle people are fighting. 

With Love and Light,
Connie






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fresh Start for A New Year

Happy Healthy New Year my friends! Have you made your resolutions and set your goals for this new year? We all know how that goes. We have good intentions but often no real plan. I read someone said “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. I have made a lot of wishes. Most of them never really panned out. 
I've learned a few things from living my life and from the many people I have interviewed on the Happy Healthy You! podcast. Here’s the thing about goals; goals are like trees. Stay with me here.
In my backyard the county has planted a tree farm as part of a restoration project. From our back deck we see rows of plastic tube things sticking up out of the ground. After a couple of years some of them still have live trees growing inside but many of them just didn't make it. I guess the logic was to plant as many as possible and see what happens. Many of the trees never took root. Some were surely eaten by deer. Those that are still growing must have had an advantage and it wasn&#…

For When the Nights are Longest

On this longest night of the year we are reminded that our days are short on this Earth. We are invited to reflect on the seasons past and find stillness in this darkest time. 
Does that scare you just a little? It does me. 
I am a lover of the light. I enjoy the sunshine, happy people, belly laughs, karaoke, musical theatre... I named my podcast Happy Healthy You! and wrote a book entitled Back to Happy for goodness' sake!
Being with darkness and grief is not a pleasant thing for me. Or for any of us I suspect.
Yesterday I found out that a dear friend from my school days had passed from this world. He was a sweet, loving generous soul who was a friend to everyone he met. His life was way too short.
How do we reconcile in our hearts and minds sad events like the passing of a dear friend during this “hap-happiest time of the year”? I found myself yesterday praying one minute and then bustling around preparing for our family holiday celebration the next. It was a strange, surreal day. 
Th…

Breath and Happiness

“Remember to breathe. It is after all, the  secret of life.”  ~~ Gregory Maguire, A Lion Among Men

A lot of us walk around with neck, shoulder and back pain. It’s almost epidemic in this culture that spends much of its time slumped over a computer or steering wheel. Aside from the problem of inactivity there is a subtler influence this is having on us that can affect our minds, our bodies and our spirits. 
In a July, 2009 edition of the Journal Cephalalgia, a pilot study on dysfunction of breathing in chronic neck pain patients resulted in findings that chronic neck patients have decreased breathing capacity as well as poor breathing muscle strength. They also found a significant association between forward head posture and low breathing muscle strength in neck pain patients. They consider the relationship between breathing and neck pain to be an important factor in the assessment of neck pain patients, as well as in rehabilitation and medication use. In a June, 2013 edition of the Manua…