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Kathy Marshack News

Depression Is Not Your Fault

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Depression is a real and very serious disease that affects millions. There are many reasons why someone may suffer from depression, but it is important to note that if you have depression it is not your fault. Many tend to think that it is their fault and because of that they are embarrassed and sometimes even shy away from getting proper help.

I wanted to share with you some of the often underlying reasons why someone may have depression. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Gender. Women, regardless of nationality or socioeconomic level, have higher rates of depression than men. This may be in part due to hormonal changes often experienced during the days before menstruation, the postpartum period after delivering a baby, and around menopause. Women are also affected by the difference in their social status from men.

2. Social and economic considerations. Being in a low socioeconomic group is a major risk factor for depression. However, people of all income levels are likely to be depressed if they have poor health and are socially isolated.

3. Severe or chronic medical conditions. Depression follows or is caused by many medications or serious medical problems.

4. Emotional and personality disorders. Chronic depression is a frequent companion to anxiety disorders. Personality disorders, such as borderline and avoidant personalities, appear to strongly predispose people to depression.

5. Substance abuse and addictions. It is estimated that 25% of people with substance abuse problems also have major depression. Internet addiction is a recent phenomenon that may a pose risk for depression as well.

6. Sleep disorders. A study of male medical students found that young men who experience insomnia are twice as likely to suffer from depression at middle age.

7. Family history. A family history of mental illness, especially mood disorders, appears to predispose a patient to the development of depression. Often a combination of genetic, biologic, and environmental factors are at work. Children of depressed parents are at a higher risk for depression and other emotional disorders.

If you or someone you know has depression, seek help. Depression is a disease that can be treated effectively. Click here for more information and depression and available treatments.

Are You a Survivor of Survivors?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


How do you describe a person who has been traumatized by another person's trauma? I would describe them as a "survivor of survivors." Whether it is from PTSD, alcoholism, Asperger Syndrome, or something else, the actions of that person will affect their loved ones, sparking a cycle of re-traumatization. This type of cycle is vicious and harmful to say the least.

It's hard to explain why a person will feel traumatized by the behavior of another person, but those feelings are very real and should not be minimized. If those feelings are not addressed, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem will set in.

The key is to try and stop the cycle so no one else turns into a survivor of survivors. For the cycle to stop, both parties must seek professional help. There are a variety of effective therapies now available. In addition to therapy, joining a support group is an excellent way to gain comfort and strength from those in a similar situation.

If you have a family member with Asperger Syndrome and live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, I invite you to join Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. On March 19, 2011, we will be discussing "Are You a Survivor of Survivors?" and exploring this topic in detail.

If your loved one is suffering from another type of trauma or disorder, please contact my office for more information. Do not delay in stopping the cycle!

What You Feed Your Children Impacts Their IQ

Monday, February 28, 2011


A parent’s natural desire is to give their child the best. Healthy, happy children that grow into happy, healthy adults is the ultimate goal. Sad to say, in our society, parents are struggling. We are living in the era of convenience. The problem with convenience is that it is taking a toll on children especially in one particular area…food!

Children are consuming large amounts of food rich in sugar and fat. The culprit is primarily processed foods. Parents may say that it’s no big deal, it's easy and convenient, so what's the problem? The problem according to a recent British study is that there may be a correlation between what young children eat and their IQ. A processed food diet may result is a lower IQ.

So, what lesson is there for parents? Parents, what you feed your children may have a serious impact on your child's future. Take the time to prepare healthy meals for your children. A well balance diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish is recommended. One way to improve eating habits is to eat one meal a day together as a family. It can help the family to eat a healthy and balanced diet. You will be able to observe any unhealthy habits that your children may be developing. Another benefit is it improves family communication.

It’s well worth your while to make the necessary changes in your family’s eating habits – it will only lead you closer to your ultimate goal.

For more information, visit Am I a Good Parent?

5 Steps to Develop a Fair Compensation Plan for Your Family Business

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Compensating relatives is a sticky business. Not all people are really created equal. It is sometimes very difficult to assess and compare the talents of family members who are also employees. Nor do all family members contribute equally to the business. As a result of the stress that this causes, many family business owners ignore the problem and let compensation become a breeding ground for dissension in the family.

If you want a successful family business, you must push your anxiety aside and develop a compensation plan. To develop a fair compensation plan for your business, follow these five steps:

1. Write up accurate job descriptions for each employee. Include responsibilities, level of authority, technical skills, level of experience and education required for each job.

2. Identify what your compensation philosophy is. Do you want to pay about average, or higher? Do you want to attract talent from other companies? Do you want to offset the typical male/female wage differential? Are you a training ground for young, inexperienced people?

3. Gather information on the salaries of similar positions in your industry. Size up companies that are similar to yours in number of employees, revenue, product, geographic location, etc. What salaries and other benefits do these similar organizations pay their employees?

4. Develop a succession plan. How will a successor to the leadership be identified among family member/employees? How will they be prepared for leadership? How will this choice affect the morale of the family/business? How will this successor be compensated?

5. Design an affordable plan. Obviously you want to do the best you can with the dollars you have. What can you afford to compensate each family member/employee relative to their contribution?

After you have a compensation plan that reflects the family’s values as well as sound business practices, you are in position to negotiate an employment contract with a family member. It is important that everything is spelled out up front so that when you have an annual review, there is a way to compare employee performance with outlined expectations in the job description. Salary increases can then be based upon the employee’s true accomplishments.

As the CEO of a family business, make the best decision you can for the business. As a parent or a spouse, encourage your family member/employee to achieve their greatest potential within or outside the business. In this way both business and family wins.

For more on Entrepreneurial Life, visit Families in Business.

High Risk of Substance Abuse for Children with ADHD

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Twenty seven long-term studies show a connection between ADHD and substance abuse. Research shows that someone with ADHD is two to three times more likely to suffer from some type of substance abuse than someone without the disorder. Gender and ethnicity did not change the results. (For more on this study, read ADHD Linked to Higher Risk of Substance Abuse.)

This type of research should move parents to pay close attention to the development of their children. If you suspect that your child may have the disorder, it is vital that you take appropriate action and schedule an evaluation. A diagnosis can be made by gathering information from a variety of sources. In the case of a child this is done through a detailed, structured interview with the parents. Behavior rating scales are filled out by parents and teachers to provide information on types and severity of ADD or ADHD symptoms, as well as types and severity of other emotional or behavior problems.

Once a diagnosis has been made, then appropriate treatment can be administered. Therapy is highly recommended for childhood ADHD. In individual counseling, a therapist can help the child learn to feel better about themselves. They do this by helping them recognize that having a disability does not reflect who they are as a person. Over time the therapist can help people with ADD identify and build on their strengths, cope with daily problems, and learn to control their attention and aggression. Taking these proactive steps are vital and will hopefully protect your child from taking the path of substance abuse.

For more information, visit Parenting a Child with ADD.

How to Find the Right Support Group

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Joining a support group can feel intimidating. The idea of sharing intimate stories with people you don’t know can make even the most outgoing person anxious. A lot of times, fear of joining can be dispelled by doing your research to see if the group fits you and your needs.
 
Here are a few thing to keep in mind when searching for a support group:
 
Join Online
Many support groups have websites that include the members, message boards, and meeting information. Joining online before going to the group in person will give you some time to get to know the members and their personalities. You can also get a clue as to what they are discussing and see if it will suit your needs. Don't feel bad if it is not a fit. Remember, this is about you and it's okay to be picky!
 
Ask Questions
Contact the group facilitator and ask questions about the group. Think of the questions ahead of time and be specific about what you are looking for. Ask about location, price, meeting format, and confidentiality.  
 
Avoid Negativity
Look for a support group that is solution-oriented. Having a safe place to “vent” is important but beware of groups that turn into a pity party or a place to constantly spew negative emotions. The goal of a support group is to walk away feeling refreshed. A sign of a healthy group is when there are regular members attending and you see friendships budding. If arguments are a regular feature, then walk away.
 
I have been facilitating a support group for the last couple of years –  Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. This group has continued to grow because members realize that in order to cope effectively with their unique situation, they need love and support from others who can completely relate. I have been receiving many messages from our members sharing their feeling about our group. Here are some of the latest comments:
 
"Thank you for this site and your ongoing support. I have only been a member here for exactly one month, but it has meant more to me than all the counseling I've attempted over a 30-year marriage. I just can't emphasize enough what a relief from profound confusion, invalidation, and loneliness this experience of being heard and guided here has been. I think I'm finally making some real progress in regaining myself."
 
"In starting this discussion group, you are truly creating something big. Out of your pain and life lessons, you are giving others life through awareness and the chance to express and feel. . .normal again. Further, your continued presence on this site is amazing since you already have a business to run yourself."
 

Thank you to all who have shown your support to our group. If you are interested in joining, please take the leap! We would love to meet you. Click here for more information about Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD.

Interview with Dr. Kathy Marshack on Entrepreneurial Couples

Monday, February 07, 2011


Married couples who share ownership, management and responsibility for a business are known as co-entrepreneurial couples or "copreneurs." This type of relationship is unique and for the marriage and business to be successful, extra patience and thoughtfulness is required.
 
Shani Leccima of MarriedMillions.com interviewed me about this unique type of relationship. The interview is based around my book, Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home. Click here to listen to the interview.
 
Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home is available for purchase on my website. The book examines the traps entrepreneurial couples can fall into and offers practical advice for dealing with them. 

Appreciate the Lighter Side of Asperger Syndrome - Don't Forget to Laugh

Thursday, February 03, 2011


If you have a loved one with Asperger Syndrome, life can be filled with frustration and tension. As easy as it is to focus on the negative, it is not always healthy. So I want remind and encourage you to laugh!

Countless studies have shown that laughter really is the "best medicine." Laughing can reduce your level of stress hormones, change your perspective on a difficult situation, and is also good for your physical health. Such a simple idea!

Aspies are known for their unique perspective on life and with that comes many humorous situations. Do you choose to laugh at those types of situations or do you get frustrated? There can be great value in looking for the positive and humorous side of their personality or situation. By doing this, you will grow to appreciate some of the differences in your loved one and look at the lighter side of things now and then.

If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please join us for our next Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD support group on February 19, 2011. We will be discussing the lighter side of Asperger's by sharing our funny stories. We all need a good laugh and this will be a perfect opportunity to do so! If you are not able to attend, please become a member on our website and join our lively discussion groups. We would still love to hear your funny stories.

 

Obesity Now Linked to Emotional Problems

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Obesity is known to cause serious health problems, but studies now show that it is also connected to emotional problems. A study performed in Australia targeted middle-aged men and women who were overweight and found that they are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. For a more complete look at their study, read Being Overweight Tied to Anxiety, Depression.

If you find yourself relating to the situation described, it is vital that you take action to tackle both weight control and anxiety/depression. You may not realize it, but enlisting the help of a mental health care professional is a necessary step to get the help you need. A mental health professional trained in the area of weight control can be helpful in re-educating your habits. They can assist you in getting over the rough spots and redirecting your thinking. They can also help you determine if there may be medical reasons for being overweight.

Do not delay in seeking the help you need. By taking this first step of seeking professional help, you will be on your way to being a happier and healthier you! For more information, visit Weight Control on my website or contact us for an appointment if you live in the Portland/Vancouver area.

Look for Similarities When Searching for a Romantic Partner

Thursday, January 27, 2011


We often hear that opposites attract, but the truth is that you are more likely to have a lasting relationship with someone who is similar to you. We are often attracted to our opposite, especially when we are young or when we are unsure of ourselves. The reason is that at some unconscious level we are trying to find in another person the skills we lack. It is as if we love that person, they will somehow fill in the missing gaps in our personalities or our maturity. The problem is that you cannot grow by osmosis. You can’t just absorb what the other person has taken several years to develop or what they may have been blessed with by genetics. So relationships between opposites generally fizzle out shortly, or at the worst linger for decades providing a boring, or even hostile relationship for the couple. Think about it, if you are opposites, what can you talk about?

It is actually much more work to look for a sweetheart that is a lot like yourself. This requires that you use introspection, that you go on a journey of self-exploration. Knowing yourself first makes it much easier for you to find a partner who shares your ideals and interests. To begin this process of self-exploration take out a sheet of paper and one side list your strengths and on the other list your weaknesses. Cover everything from physical to mental to spiritual.

Once you know yourself a little better, the next step is be honest and clean up those traits that are unfinished or undesirable. If you want a match that is lasting, you will want a partner who has worked on his or her own personal development and who has cleaned up her or his bad habits too. For example, if you love art and music and historical novels, and you are healthy, vibrant and spiritually alive, you will find this same type of person attracted to you. So take the time to get to know and develop yourself before embarking on finding a sweetheart.

If you take the time to get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and if you take the time to improve yourself and to become the person you have always wanted to be, you will be more attractive to this same kind of person. Remember that personal growth is a lifelong process and to keep love alive, two people need to be engaged in this process forever. If you get stuck along the way, use your common sense and seek out the counsel of a psychologist who specializes in relationship development and personal growth.

For more information, visit Advice for Singles Only.


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