Saturday, September 3, 2016

Masking Depression With Alcohol



Depression and alcoholism are both serious medical conditions. They are not symptoms of a weak a character or lack of will power. They are, however, conditions that can destroy the lives of people suffering with either one of them. Ironically, it is not unusual to have depression lead to alcoholism.



Let me explain by telling you my own story.



There is a history of both alcoholism and depression in my family. My mother was subject to periods of depression that would last a month or longer. I also had several uncles and a great grandfather who were alcoholics.



I bring this up because with both depression and alcoholism a family history seems to create a predisposition. Some who work in the field  believe the predisposition to a alcoholism skips a generation --- but other experts do not necessarily agree.



When my wife and I were first married we had decided that after our first year of marriage we would accept a missionary assignment that would let us help others. The assignment was voluntary and required that we finance our own way.



Our assignment was in a very rural area of Appalachia where there was no work to be found.

As much as we enjoyed what we were doing, and made close friends, we simply ran out of money

Others who accepted similar missionary assignments had skills they could use to support themselves such as auto mechanics or heating and air conditioning. Unfortunately all of my experience was working with my office skills. As a result, we had to leave the assignment and return home.



Looking back I can see that there was no shame in going home; in fact I am now rather proud that we put forth the effort and tried. But at the time I felt like a failure and was devastated. Despite my wife's attempts to console me, I developed a deep depression. I did not realize what I was feeling was depression, but I did discover that having a few drinks made me feel better. In reality the drinks masked the pain of the depression and that is what felt better.



What developed was almost ten years of alcoholic drinking. The drinking, in turn, increased my depression.



For years I only sought help for my alcoholism --- in fact I went through three different treatment programs during the early 1980s. Treatment back then did not focus on depression.



It wasn't until years later, around 1991 that a counselor I was seeing suggested I try Prozac, which was a new anti-depressant. Since my counselor was herself a recovering alcoholic, I listened to her advice.



It became apparent that at each weekly appointment I was feeling a little bit better. Finally, on that 7th week, I will never forget her telling me "welcome back."  She explained that I had been self-medicating my depression for over 13 years!



I have not had a drink since that time and I still watch myself closely for signs of depression. It turns out that my case was not unusual. Doctors have since learned that masking depression with alcohol is very common. If you are having problems, I hope my story helps you.

Identifying Depression Triggers



More than twenty million Americans suffer from depression every year, but just because someone is suffering from the blues doesn’t mean it has to turn into something more serious.  There are certain triggers that can often flip a person from sad to clinically depressed.  Depression is triggered by the following ten common situations:



1. Job loss.  Losing a job is the number one depression trigger.  It causes financial strain, impacts the sense of self-worth and self-identity, puts strain on relationships and marriages, and brings conflict into situations that are already stressed and unhappy.  Older, higher salaried workers are particularly vulnerable to bouts of depression following a job loss.



2. Sexual issues. Depression and sexual problems are interrelated with one often triggering the other.  Many antidepressant medications cause sexual issues.



3. Empty nest syndrome.  Loss and change are two of the hardest things we deal with, so when a child leaves it’s a double blow.  Everything that’s normal changes, every day is different.  For some, this is a real problem and can trigger depression.



4. Alcohol abuse.  Depression has been linked to alcohol abuse for many years.  Alcohol effects mood and is a depressant on the central nervous system.  This can trigger depression in a person.



5. Illness.  Diagnosis of a serious illness can trigger depression.  It can change how a person thinks about the future, it can change their outlook, and how they think of the possibilities of a future.



6. Divorce. Change is hard no matter how it happens and a divorce is a huge change.  It is not only a change, but the change is to the social unit, to the status that goes with that social unit and this can trigger depression.  Loneliness, fear, sadness – these are all common reactions following a divorce.  Additionally, there is often financial strain which can add to the depression trigger.



7. Debt and financial stress.  Constant worry about how to pay the bills will, over time, add to stress and may eventually trigger depression.  It may also effect self-esteem and cause frustration.



8. Fertility.  Trying to have a baby and not being able to conceive can be a powerful trigger for depression.   Being forced into early menopause because of illness or as a result of surgery or chemotherapy may also trigger depression as a woman realizes she may never have children.



9. Providing fulltime care for someone with a debilitating disease such as Alzheimer’s.  The caregiver role is extremely demanding taking incredible time and energy on the part of the caregiver.  This role often requires the caregiver to make conflicting choices resulting in guilt, feelings of inadequacy, and resentment.



10. Menopause and male menopause.  Hormonal fluctuations set off symptoms which can include depression, fatigue, anxiety, and low libido.  Any or all of these can lead to depression as well.



Knowing the depression triggers will help to identify potential situations and what might cause a slide into depression.  This knowledge can help prevent these bouts of depression by understanding what causes them and being able to head it off before it becomes too bad.

Benefit From Staging A Home



To increase the chance of actually selling a home you need to think about different ways you can make a home look appealing. Staging a home is one of the most overlooked ways you can interest buyers to make an offer. When you present a property you want it to look like the type of home a family or couple would want to move into. Read this article for some tips on how to stage a home to catch the interest of potential buyers.



Before you decide to add furniture and items to stage a home clean it out first. Repaint any rooms that have faded paint and redo floors that have been chipped. Take a tour of the interior of your home and fix anything that is not working properly or that does not look presentable. Homebuyers thoroughly look through a home to determine whether or not it is a place they want to live. Remember, this could be a place they are going to commit a lot of years to live in so they want the home that is in the best shape possible. Closely inspect your home and change anything you feel doesn't look presentable.



If you have already moved out of the home then you are going to want to fill it with furniture. Either place some of your old furniture back in the home or borrow some from neighbors and friends. You can add a combination of the two and mix furniture together. Just as long as you make the home look like it's being live in it will help increase your chances of selling. This is called staging a home to look presentable during an open house. When you do not have access to furniture consider calling a local furniture store. Work out a deal where you can present their furniture in a home you are trying to sell. You can let them know this is free advertising and that you can hand out business cards or flyers to people that are interested in the furniture.



The inside and outside of a home must both be staged. Clean up the landscape of a home to make it look appealing to buyers. Take advantage of any patios or decks. Add a grill and lounge area if possible to give people an idea of what it would be like to experience the backyard during those warm summer days and nights. A lot of buyers look to have a home that has promising backyard.



Staging a home is part of the selling process. Empty rooms make a house look dead. Do what will help improve your chances at selling a home and give people an idea of what the home would look like with furniture. The biggest mistake people make is neglecting to take the time to think about what will appeal to buyers. Do not forget to take pictures of the home when it is staged so that you can upload them online and on the MLS to attract buyers.

Buying A House With Small Children



I had been wanting to buy a new house for a long time. We had outgrown our first house, especially now that we had two small children. I had always dreamed of something a bit bigger, and finally we saved up enough money that we could start looking.



Buying a house with small children is an interesting experience, because you have to think about a lot more. Before kids, when buying my first house, I thought about the neighborhood, the view, whether I'd be able to get to the mall....and now I think about other things. I still cared about whether the neighborhood was safe, but this time I started to think about how close to the schools we were, whether there were other children on the street, and things like that.



We started looking for houses in the usual way, by calling up a real estate agent. We used the same one that we used the first time, so that saved us a bit of a headache. She did a great job for us when we bought our first house, so we wanted to use her again. This time we were selling a house as well, so we needed her expertise on that end as well.



It's a big challenging to sell your house at the same time you're buying a house, I can tell you that. It was especially a challenge because the children didn't understand that they had to keep their rooms neat so that new people could come and look at the house. We had a number of funny conversations about whether the new people would keep their things, and whether the new people would have a sleepover with us to see if they liked the house!



I was really concerned about schools, no matter where we went, so I did a bit of extra research on the different neighborhoods. I wanted to make sure that my children were near the school, and that turned out to be more difficult than I thought. There weren't many places for sale near the schools I wanted the kids to go to, and I had to start thinking about whether they would be in the proper school district at all. That was a bit of a concern.



Meanwhile, we started to get buyers looking at our home, and a few offers we didn't accept. Of course, that made me wonder what would happen if we sold the house too soon, without a place to live. How would the kids feel about that? My husband assured me that we would be fine, and I had no choice to believe him.



Finally we found a house that we all really liked. We had left the kids with relatives when we went looking at houses, but when my husband and I agreed on one, we brought the kids over to see it. The excitement on their faces was adorable. We were able to move in, which made our house look more sellable (or at least I thought so), and the house sold within a few weeks. Everything worked out!

Buying A House In A Sellers Market



In different parts of the country right now it's definitely a sellers market.  Inventory of homes for sale is low, interest rates are below 4%, and there are a lot of buyers out there looking to get into a home.  So how are you going to find your dream home when you are competing against so many other buyers?



If you are looking to buy then staying on top of new listings should be your top priority.  If Redfin is in your market, I would highly suggest checking out their search tools.  They give you access to the MLS listings meaning you'll be seeing new homes come onto the market at the same time any other relator would.



When you find a home you like be sure to act on it quickly!  Have your agent give you a tour of the house, don't want for an open house to happen!  A lot of homes are getting offers within the first couple weeks of being on the market, so it's important to arrange a showing quickly if it's a home you are interested in.  Wait too long and the home could be under contract.



Once you find the home you like it's time to make an offer.  Your agent should be doing a comparative market analysis of recently sold homes in the area that are similar sizes.  This will help you determine if the list price is over or under what it will most likely be appraised at.  Once you come up with a number you feel comfortable with, submit it to the seller and hope for the best!



If you find yourself in a multiple offer situation you might want to take a different approach.  If it's a house you really love consider doing an escalation clause.  Instead of listing a price of what you'd like to buy at, tell the seller you are willing to pay $2,000 to $3,000 more than the highest bidder and want right of last refusal.



A seller is not going to object to getting more money for their home, and if the highest offer is outrageous you can always walk away from the home knowing it's not worth it.  But this way you'll have the peace of mind knowing that you didn't overpay by thousands of dollars.



If the seller accepts your offer the house isn't your quite yet.  It's key that you get a home inspector to look over the home and try to find any damages that you might not be aware of.  This includes things like a cracked foundation, mold, leaks in the roof, and other major repairs.



You can use your inspection as a way to gain leverage in negotiations, asking for items to be repaired or for credits at closing to make up for the repairs that need to be done.  If the seller refuses to renegotiate this is one of the several  points in the buying process in which you can walk away from the home with a valid reason.



The purchase of your home will also be contingent on the appraisal and your mortgage being approved.   While the mortgage process can be long and frustrating, once you are clear to close by the bank the house can finally be yours!  But until then be prepared for the emotional roller coaster that is buying a home.

Buying A Home: The Personal Benefits Of Ownership

You may have heard over and over again that owning a home is wonderful and truly a dream come true. Certainly there are risks involved with purchasing a home, but when there are so many positives, they can in turn outweigh the negatives. If you have played it safe and have been renting for years, you are throwing your money out the window. You are making the landlord rich, but do you get any benefits?


What are your benefits of owning a home?


Let's take a look at renting. When you are renting a place, you are automatically limited as to how you can transform the space and make it your own. In other words, there is very little personality you can infuse into a rented space. Any improvements you make will ultimately benefit the landlord and not you.


Does it really make sense to spend money to improve someone else's space? Probably not. In any case, you may not even be able to paint the walls a different color than eggshell white without having to ask for permission from the landlord. At the end of the day, the landlord gets the last word in and not you.



If the place you are renting has severe structural damage, mold, old carpeting or any other number of things, there is little chance that your landlord will ever fix them. The point is to increase the profit margin by spending a minimal amount of money on fixing the building, so your comfort is not important.



When you choose to own a home, you are given freedom to decorate your home as you pretty much please. If you want paint your walls a shocking blue, that is your decision and the landlord won't be there to discourage you.



Apartments are set up to accommodate as many families in one building as they possibly can. This means that your space is very limited and you  usually won't get a garage or a storage facility to store your belongings. For growing families, this can become a real hindrance as children don't have enough room for privacy and neither do the parents. If you strive to get as much closet space as you can or time in your bathroom, that certainly won't happen in an apartment.



Owning a home is not cheaper than renting an apartment in the beginning. However, over the years, you will find that your costs are slowly decreasing as you don't have to rent extra storage space for your belongings or use a coin-op laundry to get your clothes washed.



Purchasing a home can also be beneficial in letting you choose a high-end neighborhood or an area that otherwise doesn't have a lot of rentals. If you want to enjoy private mountain life or live in the suburbs, most areas don't have apartments for rent, or the ones they do have are pricey and have a waiting list.


It is important that you don't take the concept of home ownership lightly. It is not an easy overnight decision to make. There are costs involved as well as a certain amount of anxiety. Keep these tips in mind for making an informed decision!

It's A Fruit (2014)