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Brookhaven Retreat is Accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Organizations and is licensed by the State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.


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We are a private pay treatment center and do not accept any type of insurance. Costs associated with care are the responsibility of the client.

Monday, 31 December 2018 13:37

How Anxiety Can Affect Your Sleep

Can you recall a time when worrying has kept you awake? Maybe you couldn't stop thinking about problems with work or relationships, and the hours ticked away before your eyes. If worrisome thoughts and anxiety regularly prevent you from sleeping, it's understandable if you feel helpless or frustrated. Not being able to sleep can make anxiety worse, and soon, you might feel stuck in an endless cycle.

Anxiety and sleep issues often go together. If you can't sleep due to anxiety, you are far from alone. Millions do not get the sleep they need due to anxiety and stress, and for some, it becomes a chronic problem. However, even if you feel like the cycle will never end, there are ways to manage anxiety and get a good night's sleep. Here we will explore what you need to know about anxiety and sleeplessness, and we'll help you find ways to reduce anxiety, sleep soundly throughout the night and wake up feeling refreshed and energized.

Millions suffer sleep deprivation due to anxiety

What Is the Difference Between Anxiety and Stress?

Before we get started, it helps to consider the difference between anxiety and stress. Everyone experiences stress and anxiety occasionally. Both conditions may create feelings of unease or lead to sleeplessness. The difference is, stress goes away once the stressor is gone, but anxiety lingers long after a stressful event.

For example, it is normal to feel stressed over an external factor such as getting stuck in traffic when you're running late. Anxiety, on the contrary, occurs internally, even when there is nothing to worry about. Anxiety may cause you to feel dread or fear that a stressful situation will happen.

Imagine you argued with a co-worker. You may have felt high levels of stress during the argument. Now imagine that several weeks have passed since the disagreement, and you have since made up with the co-worker. If you are afraid to eat lunch with the co-worker, or if you dread going to work due to the past stressful event, you might say you're experiencing anxiety.

GAD affects twice as many women as men

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

If you worry excessively for months, and anxiety interferes with your life and sleep habits, you may have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Although GAD is less common than experiencing anxiety once in a while, it affects twice as many women as men. GAD can lead to insomnia or persistent restless sleep. Other symptoms of GAD include:

  • Frequently imagining the worst-case scenario
  • Indecisiveness due to the fear of making the wrong choice
  • The inability to relax and let go of troubling thoughts
  • Continuous and excessive worrying

Physical symptoms of GAD may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Trembling or twitching
  • Muscle tension

How to Tell Whether It's Stress or Anxiety

It can be difficult to determine if you are experiencing a temporary period of stress or if you have an anxiety disorder. Here are a few ways to tell the difference.

  • Worrying is persistent: If you have been worrying almost every day for at least six months, you may have GAD. If your worry goes away after a short amount of time, it is probably regular stress.
  • Worrying is excessive or intrusive: If you feel unable to control your worries even when there is no obvious reason to worry, you may have GAD. However, if you can control your worrying, it is likely just stress.
  • Worrying is disruptive: If you worry about ordinary things such as job security, health, finances or household chores and it interferes with daily activities, you may have GAD. If your worries do not interfere with your life, it may be regular stress.

Sometimes it's best to speak with a mental health professional to help you determine if you're experiencing an anxiety disorder, or if your stress will pass. Either way, a professional can help you find the best treatment for your situation and help you learn coping strategies.

Professional treatment for anxiety

The Relationship Between Anxiety and Sleep Deprivation

GAD often causes insomnia, which is one of the most common sleep disorders. Insomnia means you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Sleep issues also commonly occur with other anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Many times when we intend to go to sleep and are free from the distractions of daily activities, our fears and concerns rise to the surface. If you have anxiety, you might ruminate about your worries and hope to find a solution by doing so. You might also worry about not being able to sleep and having to face the morning without rest. Many women know exactly what you're going through.

To get an idea of how anxiety prevents sleep on a scientific level, imagine anxiety as an internal alarm system that goes off to warn you of potential danger. In some cases, this can be useful. However, women who have an anxiety disorder receive false alarms. In other words, they feel anxiety when no real danger is near. This alarm system can go off all night, causing you to remain somewhat awake and alert even while you sleep. The result is interrupted sleep or unrestful sleep.

Alarm when there is no real danger

To benefit from the effects of sleep, you need to sleep continuously. For example, someone who sleeps normally cycles between two main categories of sleep every 90 minutes throughout eight hours. A person moves through four stages of sleep before they reach deep sleep. As the body sinks into deep sleep, body temperature drops, muscles relax and breathing and heart rate slow down. This time is also when the immune system gets a boost and body tissues regrow. Once a person enters the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, their body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure go back to normal waking levels. This stage is also when dreams occur. REM is useful for "cleaning" your brain and promotes emotional health, learning and memory.

When any of these stages get disrupted, your brain does not reap the full benefits of sleep. As a result, insomnia may amplify the effects of anxiety and make it more challenging to regulate emotions.

Overall, studies show good sleep promotes emotional and mental resilience. It's helpful to know you can alleviate anxiety symptoms by treating sleep problems.

What Are the Symptoms of Anxiety-Related Sleep Issues?

It is hard to say which comes first — insomnia or anxiety. Insomnia may increase the risk of developing GAD or another anxiety disorder, and anxiety can cause insomnia. Regardless of the cause, you may experience the following sleep anxiety symptoms:

  • Trouble falling asleep due to worrying about past or future events
  • Difficulties staying asleep or waking up too early due to worrying
  • Feeling overwhelmed about work, school or other responsibilities at bedtime
  • Experiencing a sense of overstimulation
  • Experiencing dread or panic about the inability to fall asleep

The Effects of Anxiety and Sleep Issues

Have you ever woken up feeling tired? If anxiety is preventing sleep, it can be frustrating and can make it hard to get through the day. If you have anxiety, you might feel even more anxious after a night of sleeplessness. Here are other ways anxiety and sleep issues impact life:

  • Lack of sleep and anxiety can affect work or school performance.
  • It may be hard to remember information or concentrate on tasks.
  • Sleep issues increase the risk of a delayed reaction, which could lead to an injury.
  • Sleep problems increase the risk of unhealthy behaviors such as eating sugary foods for energy or using alcohol to fall asleep.
  • Poor sleep can lead to severe health conditions and weaken the immune system.
  • You may feel more irritable when you have anxiety and can't sleep, which can impact relationships.
  • You may feel unable to cope with excessive worrying due to lack of sleep.
  • You may experience worse muscle tension.
  • Sleep issues and anxiety can make it feel more difficult to manage daily responsibilities.

Tips for Managing Anxiety-Related Sleep Issues

It's true anxiety-related sleep issues make an impact on mental, emotional and physical well-being. However, there are many ways to manage anxiety and get restful sleep. Once you experience a night of continuous sleep, you'll wake up feeling refreshed and strong. Here are some tips for reducing anxiety so you can feel relaxed when it's time for bed:

  • Exercise: Exercise is beneficial for your physical and emotional health. It helps you release energy and provides a surge of relaxing, mood-boosting endorphins. Do something you enjoy, like going for a scenic walk or dancing to uplifting music.
  • Breathe: Sometimes taking slow, deep breaths can help you feel instantly calm. There are many simple breathing exercises you can do anywhere, at any time of day.
  • Focus on your true priorities: If you have a seemingly endless to-do list, you may feel anxious and overwhelmed. Spend your time on the tasks that are truly meaningful and important to you, and save other tasks for later or eliminate them from the list. Break large tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Listen to relaxing music: Listen to calming, soothing music to slow down your heart rate and feel more relaxed.
  • Redirect anxiety and stress: You do not have to keep anxious feelings inside — you can direct them outward in a positive way. You might do volunteer work to take your mind off your worries, or consider expressing your anxiety through art, writing or playing an instrument.
  • Talk about it: Sometimes, talking to someone you trust feels like taking a massive weight off your shoulders. Talk to a close friend or family member about your stress or anxiety. Consider speaking with a therapist to help you gain insight into your worries and see things in a new way.
  • Get adequate sleep: Getting enough sleep allows your brain to recharge. You'll experience an improved mood and be able to cope with life's stressors better when you get good sleep.

To get better sleep, try these steps:

  • Prioritize sleep: If you have anxiety, you may feel your worries need immediate attention. However, sleep is just as vital as eating and breathing. Make it a priority to get seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
  • Develop a sleep schedule: Getting into a sleep routine will help you beat insomnia. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. You might be tempted to catch up on sleep on your days off, but catching up does not eliminate the effects of sleep deprivation you experienced during the week. It's more important to get into a regular sleep schedule.
  • Establish a bedtime routine: Aim to enter a state of relaxation before going to bed. That means turning off the computer or TV and saving emails for the next day. To prepare for sleep, you might read a book, take a hot bath or listen to peaceful music.
  • Turn your bedroom into a cave: Design your bedroom to promote restful sleep. Keep it cool, dark and quiet. The best temperature for sleeping is generally between 60 and 67 degrees. If it's noisy outside your bedroom, consider using a fan or white noise machine to mask unwanted sounds. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable, and if possible, use your bedroom only for sleeping.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise is great for reducing anxiety and helping you sleep at night. Aim to exercise in the morning or afternoon for the most positive effects on sleep.
  • Avoid the clock: It is normal to want to check the clock every hour when it's hard to sleep. However, doing so will add to anxiety and can keep you awake even longer. Turn the clock away from you before bed, and avoid checking the time on your phone.
  • Go to bed only when you're sleepy: Avoid spending time in bed until you are ready for sleep. If you do not fall asleep within 15 minutes of going to bed, get up, go to a different room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.
  • Spend time outdoors: Spending time in daylight will help you set a sleep pattern. If possible, try to spend 30 minutes a day in daylight. For example, you might go for a brisk walk during your lunch break to get exercise and a healthy dose of daylight.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine: Try not to consume any stimulants such as coffee, chocolate or nicotine before bed. You might avoid caffeine altogether if you can, especially if you experience panic attacks. It can take as much as eight hours for caffeine to wear off.
  • Avoid eating or drinking a lot before bed: If possible, try to eat your last meal of the day at least three hours before going to bed, and try not to drink anything 90 minutes before bed. If you get thirsty, take a small sip of water. If you are worried hunger will keep you awake, aim to have a snack that is no more than 200 calories. You might have a small container of nonfat yogurt or a sliced apple with peanut butter.

Contact Brookhaven Retreat for Help

Using these and other strategies to manage anxiety and insomnia may help you develop a quality sleep routine. However, if you try the above tips and still find yourself lying awake worrying, try not to get discouraged. Great sleep and less anxiety are still within your reach. A mental health professional can help you to identify and cope with underlying issues.

Brookhaven Retreat is a women-only treatment center located in the peaceful foothills of the Smoky Mountains. At Brookhaven Retreat, we offer The Lily Program®, which is a customized mental health program for women. The Lily Program® begins with an individualized treatment plan designed to address your unique mental health needs. Our compassionate staff will help you gain insight and work through underlying problems.

As part of The Lily Program®, you may partake in individual therapy, group therapy and more for comprehensive treatment. We aim to help you grow and develop life-changing coping skills, so you can embrace who you are, no matter what has held you back before. To learn more about our treatment programs, reach out to us today.

Contact Brookhaven Retreat for help with anxiety sleep issues

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Wednesday, 26 December 2018 14:13

Turning from SAD to GLAD This Winter Season

As the winter months are on us and daylight becomes shorter, many people can’t shake the feeling of sadness. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression, affects more than 11 million Americans. Depression signs such as sluggishness, weight gain, food cravings and fatigue can occur when the lack of Vitamin D from sun exposure during the shorter daylight hours disrupts our sense of balance and our internal body clock.

The changing of the seasons doesn’t have to change our mood though. Try using the following tips to turn your winter season from SAD to GLAD.

G – Group Up

Get your group on! Gathering together with friends and family during the winter season can lift your spirits. Surrounding yourself with those you love and who love you can be a powerful antidepressant. Whether you join a group therapy session, host a get-together or just organize a group outing, there is power in numbers when combatting SAD. Let your people help you turn SAD to GLAD.

L - Laughter

We’ve all heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine.” In the case of SAD, it truly is! Laughing with friends releases endorphins, which relieves pain and makes your brain feel good. According to a study published in the journal proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (, researchers found that the long series of exhalations that accompany true laughter cause physical exhaustion of the abdominal muscles and in turn, trigger endorphin release. This endorphin makes you feel happy. So, grab your friends and your favorite “Friends” episodes and laugh until your belly hurts during this winter season!

A – Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses essential oils to improve mood and overall health. Just as you light a scented candle or smell the first morning brew of coffee, your senses are awakened and uplifted; aromatherapy essential oils can do this and more. Using the correct essential oils can help improve sleep, enhance mood and overall improve a person’s quality of life. During this winter season, use your sense of smell with therapeutic aromatherapy oils to give you the gift of GLAD. Speaking of gifts, if you know someone who is prone to SAD, aromatherapy is a great uplifting gift to give.

D – Dance

Sometimes it helps to just get up and dance. Science has proven exercise lifts moods. Aerobic exercise strengthens both the body and the mind; and when you add the benefit of uplifting music, the power to enhance happiness grows. Zumba broke into the exercise world in recent years combining the power of music and the power of dance for gym exercising. If you’ve ever seen a Zumba class, you are hard pressed to find a joyless face in there – the release of energy through dance is a perfect antidote for the hopelessness of SAD. So put on your favorite music, stand up and start grooving this winter season.

We are GLAD you took the time to read this. This winter season, use these tools to get your GLAD on or help someone else turn feelings of SAD to GLAD.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Tuesday, 18 December 2018 08:51

Healthy Family Relationships

Families are unique. Each family has its quirks and idiosyncrasies, and no family is perfect. The most important aspect of family is that you are there to support and love each other through all of life's circumstances. However, sometimes dysfunction is a weed that hides among the flowers, quietly killing off what makes the family bond so beautiful.

When we grow up in a certain kind of environment, it seems normal. For that reason, it may be difficult to figure out if your family is healthy or unhealthy. The goal is not to create an idyllic picture like what you see on TV. Your main objective should be to recognize the difference between healthy and unhealthy characteristics and to address any dysfunction so that you can improve your relationship with your family. With that in mind, here's are some of the features that characterize a healthy family versus an unhealthy family.

Characteristics of Healthy Family Relationships

Families are the most basic social unit. Within our families, we learn the skills that make us successful at school, work and in all different kinds of social interactions. All families are different. Some are loud and boisterous, making jokes and picking on each other affectionately. Others are quiet and subdued, content to sit in silence in each other's presence or have quiet, meaningful conversations. However, no matter what your family looks like, there are a few characteristics that make a family healthy. These are the six C's of a healthy family unit:

  • Caring: Caring families encourage each other toward success. They're not afraid to show affection through words or deeds.
  • Consistency: Families make themselves available and work for each other's good. Whenever possible, they help each other out and share responsibilities. They also keep promises they make to each other.
  • Communication: This is the foundation of any good relationship, especially families. Healthy families enjoy sharing positive news and tidbits about their lives. However, they're also able to address issues or hurts constructively.
  • Coping skills: Crisis is a part of life. Healthy families use their collective coping skills and grow stronger together when forced to face adversity.
  • Core beliefs: Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and values. However, healthy family units generally share the same core beliefs. These positive values give them a sense of belonging and peace.
  • Common interests: Healthy families enjoy spending time together. Despite the individual personalities of each member, they share common interests and have fun and laugh together.

Signs That You May Be Experiencing Unhealthy Family Relationships

If you come from an unhealthy family, you may not even realize it. After all, over time, you get used to the status quo. You may have noticed that your family doesn't treat each other the same way as your friends' families, but you may have chalked that up to different personalities. An unhealthy family unit, though, impacts how you view yourself and the world around you and can play a negative role in your mental health and self-esteem.

Dysfunction in family relationships can be caused by a number of different factors — unresolved conflict, misbehavior, abuse and more. Whatever the cause, there are a few things that characterize unhealthy family relationships, including:

  • Poor communication: As we said before, communication is crucial to the family unit. Whether it's passive aggressive comments, angry and explosive fights or families that avoid communicating altogether, poor communication leads to misunderstanding and hurt.
  • Lack of empathy: Your family should be a place you run to for solace, where you're welcomed with compassion and understanding. However, in unhealthy families, instead of empathy, there is anger and judgment.
  • Perfectionism: Healthy families understand that there's no such thing as perfection in people. However, surprisingly, many unhealthy families have a dysfunctional need to be or appear perfect. This perfectionism can manifest in keeping up false appearances or having unreasonable expectations of perfection on their children's, or parent's, behavior.
  • Lack of boundaries and control: Accepting boundaries means you respect someone as an individual with their own distinct thoughts and ideas. Some families, though, refuse to accept these difference and instead seek to control the other family members. Lack of boundaries and control can manifest in manipulative behavior or barging into situations inappropriately.
  • Excessive criticism: There is a difference between encouraging a family member to improve and always finding fault. Excessive criticism means that no matter how hard you try, the other members of your family never find anything good in your behavior or actions.
  • Fear and abuse: Families are supposed to be a safe place. When a member of the family is abusive, this creates an environment of fear. You may not feel safe being yourself, or you may try to get away because you're always afraid of the other person's actions. This is a red flag indicating that there is an unhealthy family dynamic.

Addressing Underlying Issues

In unhealthy families, the dysfunctional characteristics that define them are left unaddressed and thus never resolved. However, to improve your family relationships and take steps toward becoming healthier, these underlying issues should be acknowledged and talked through. If you and your family decide to work through some of the unhealthy aspects of your relationships, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You cannot change the past, so don't let it control your present.
  • You can't change people or control their actions, you can only control your own reactions.
  • Protect your own well-being, and be willing to move on if a relationship is unhealthy and unchanging.

At the end of the day, your success and happiness are in your own hands. The dysfunction of your past doesn't have to dampen your future. If your family refuses to discuss the unhealthy aspects of your relationships, then it may be time to move on from trying to address those underlying issues.

The most effective way to heal is to lead a full and fulfilling life and to create a family of your own with healthy bonds. You can forgive your family while at the same time recognizing their dysfunction and establishing healthy boundaries to protect yourself.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Friday, 14 December 2018 18:41

Signs of Anxiety in College Students

On college campuses across the nation, psychological health is a growing concern. Most universities provide mental health clinics where students can receive help if needed, but not everyone takes advantage of these opportunities. One of the most pressing mental health concerns among college students is anxiety. About 40 percent of students on campus struggle with some form of anxiety. Anxious feelings can be natural. After all, between finals, presentations in front of your class and concerns about the future, nervousness and stress are bound to crop up from time to time.

However, there reaches a point when anxiety becomes a real concern, as it can affect a student's ability to function and enjoy life. Thankfully, there are mental health resources that can help alleviate anxiety and allow students to cope. But first, students, friends and family need to look out for warning signs that anxiety has become too much and requires intervention.

6 Signs That a College Student Has Anxiety

Anxiety is more than just feelings of stress or anxiousness. It is a mental health disorder that can stem from genetics, biochemistry and even stressful life events. More than 40 million adults 18 years and older have an anxiety disorder, but that number may even be greater as some people don't recognize the signs that they struggle with anxiety.

What differentiates stress, which is common to almost everyone and perfectly normal, and an actual anxiety disorder? If you're a college student, here are six signs to look out for that could indicate you've crossed the line and may have an anxiety disorder:

  1. Excessive worry: This is often the hallmark of anxiety. Excessive means you worry too much about everyday things, both large and small. But how much is too much? A good rule of thumb is when you have persistent anxious thoughts most days out of the week for more than a few months.
  2. Difficulty sleeping: Whether it's trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, anxiety can cause chronic sleeplessness. You could find yourself agitated about school or nothing in particular, but many of those who have an anxiety disorder have difficulty sleeping.
  3. Physical symptoms: Although anxiety starts in the mind, it can manifest in physical symptoms felt throughout your body. The most common of these are digestive issues, muscle tension, rapid heart rate, dizziness, sweating, shaking and even difficulties breathing.
  4. Episodes of panic: A panic attack can be a terrifying event. These episodes cause you to feel intense fear and helplessness accompanied by physical side effects like dizziness, chest pain, numb or tingling hands and difficulty breathing. However, not everyone with anxiety has panic attacks.
  5. Compulsive behavior and obsessive thoughts: Even if you don't have obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder, many people with anxiety struggle with repeated, unwanted thoughts or actions. OCD can be hard to spot as there are a number of different ways that it can manifest.
  6. Avoidance of social situations: Anxiety can be provoked by feeling uncomfortable in everyday situations like meeting someone new, making small talk or even eating in front of a small group of people. These feelings lead some people with anxiety to avoid social situations.

Brookhaven Retreat Can Help Women With Anxiety

If you're a woman in college experiencing severe anxiety, this disorder can make it difficult to perform daily activities, causing your school performance to suffer. It's okay to admit you need help. That's why Brookhaven Retreat is here. We offer support to women struggling with mental health disorders like severe anxiety. We provide a safe environment where you can learn techniques to cope with these symptoms so you can continue to thrive at school.

If you feel that you may need help with severe anxiety, we invite you to contact us today to find out more about our mental health services. We are a residential women-only mental health retreat that offers individualized treatment plans for longlasting recovery.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Wednesday, 12 December 2018 18:25

How to Recognize Depression in Your Spouse

Most people have heard of depression and have a basic understanding of what it is. Yet when it sneaks into a marriage, some spouses have a difficult time recognizing that their husband or wife is depressed. That's because depression doesn't always look the same. After all, people don't generally walk around saying "I feel sad and hopeless." Everyone is unique, which means your spouse may display the symptoms of this disorder in different ways.

Common Signs of Depression in Your Spouse

As the most common mental disorder in the United States, the stigma around depression has grown less in recent years. However, most people still feel the need to put on a brave face and hide what's going on inside. In a marriage, signs of depression may manifest as part of their relationship with you. To find out if your husband or wife is one of the almost seven percent of adults who have experienced a depressive episode at least once in their life, here are some of the signs to look out for:

  • Loss of interest in things that once brought pleasure: Unfortunately, this doesn't just mean a loss of interest in hobbies or activities. Your spouse could actually lose pleasure in their relationship with you. That doesn't mean she doesn't love you. Engaging with another person and meeting their needs requires effort and energy she may be unable to muster up. One of the early signs of depression you may notice is your spouse spending more time on their phone, surfing the web or watching TV, as these are activities that require minimal effort or interaction.
  • Change in sleep patterns: A more obvious sign that your spouse is depressed may be that their sleep patterns begin to change. They may have difficulty falling asleep or insomnia that keeps her up most of the night. You might notice them leaving the bedroom to watch TV or walk around the house. However, depression can also manifest in excessive sleeping as the disorder can cause fatigue and lack of energy.
  • Eating changes: Another place depression can reveal itself is at mealtime. Changes in eating can go either way, causing your spouse to gain or lose excessive amounts of weight. You may notice your spouse overeating, usually in an attempt to cope with the symptoms of depression. Yet the disorder can also lead him or her to lose interest in food or struggle with digestive issues that make eating difficult.
  • Negativity: This side effect of depression may be hurtful. You might be excited or optimistic about something only to be met with a "downer" response. When your husband or wife says these things, it may feel calculated and cruel. However, they're not trying to make life difficult. These utterances stem from their own depressive thoughts.
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts: One of the most serious effects of depression is that it can cause people to think about or attempt self-harm. If your husband or wife has mentioned that they think about dying or that he or she doesn't think it matters if they live or die, take these statements seriously. This is usually an indication that their depression requires immediate professional intervention.

How to Help When Your Spouse Has Depression

The above signs are just a few indications to look out for. Other signs could include irritability or drastic changes in mood, difficulty concentrating, excessive anxiety, a loss of self-confidence and feelings of guilt. If your husband or wife is showing signs of depression, you may be tempted to take responsibility for your loved one's recovery. This likely won't help them, and it could put a huge strain on yourself and your relationship.

Think of your job as more one of providing compassionate support, which includes:

  • Listening without judgment: While you are not directly responsible for your spouse's recovery, you can offer support and provide a listening ear. Even if you've never experienced the hardships they're living through, listen actively and empathetically as they explain their reality. This can help to reduce some of the feelings of isolation your spouse is likely experiencing, which can be helpful in lessening the overall effects of their depression.
  • Responding to emergency situations like suicide attempts: Sometimes, a bit of space can be needed for your spouse to work through their depression. However, if you witness any signs of self-harm or if your loved one makes comments about suicide, take those signals seriously. Get help quickly by contacting a suicide hotline, mental health professional or 911 if necessary.
  • Being sure to care for yourself: Addressing depression can be difficult for loved ones as well. Offer your support and assistance as much as possible, but remember to take care of yourself. Be sure you get enough sleep and take the time to do the things you enjoy. Stress and burnout can affect how much you're able to support your spouse. It can also be helpful to set healthy boundaries — offer comfort and reassurance for your spouse, but try not to take on your husband or wife's feelings as your own.
  • Encouraging your spouse to get the help they need: Depression can be extremely difficult to overcome without the help of a professional. Try doing a little bit of research to determine some available options, and discuss them with your spouse — but be careful to avoid pressuring them. If they are not ready to take part in therapy or in a specific program, ask if there is someone in their life that they would be comfortable talking to. Remind them that seeking outside help to get better is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Brookhaven Retreat Can Help Women With Depression

If you believe your wife has severe depression, then we can help. Brookhaven Retreat is a residential women-only mental health facility located in the beautiful Tennessee foothills. In this safe and comfortable environment, your spouse can get the help she needs to find positive ways to cope with her depression and find her way to longlasting recovery. We invite you to contact us to find out more about the compassionate services offered at Brookhaven Retreat.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Tuesday, 04 December 2018 17:17

Blackberry Mocktails

Did you know blackberries have numerous health benefits? Here are a few: packed with vitamin C, high in fiber and high in magnesium! Not only can you enjoy them alone blackberries can be made into a delicious Mocktail for your gathering or just for fun.

Blackberry Lemon Mocktail

Serves 1


  • 1/3 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. honey or more
  • Sparkling Water
  • Rosemary or Mint for Garnish


  1. Muddle blackberries, lemon juice, vanilla, honey, and a splash of the sparkling water.
  2. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any blackberry seeds.
  3. Transfer it to a lovely glass filled with ice and fill the remainder of the glass with club soda or sparkling water.
  4. Garnish with some fresh blackberries and rosemary.

Blackberry Simple Syrup

This simple syrup can be made up to 5 days ahead of time. Add to soda water, pour over ice cream or even pancakes.


  • 4 cups blackberries
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • ½ T lemon juice
  • Options: add a pinch of ground cinnamon or a few sprigs of mint


Bring all ingredients in a medium saucepan to boil while stirring frequently over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes, mashing the berries and stirring frequently. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard solids a and let liquid cool. Store in an airtight container up and refrigerate.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Tuesday, 04 December 2018 17:11

Tricks to Survive Family Gatherings

Plan, prepare, create and give to help ensure wellness before and after a family gathering.


Gatherings roll smoothly when there is a conversation and entertainment plan like games, fun videos, a news board etc.

For a much better chance of success, have a plan A and plan B in case things suddenly go quiet and awkward.


Design a task list for your guests who want to help. They can scatter cozy throws, pretty pillows, flowers and candles.

A good hostess does best when she accepts help and has all hands busy under her direction.


Create a music playlist in advance.

Always have at least one exciting Mocktail. Read on for a couple of recipe ideas.


The best guest greets the host and thanks her before leaving and never wanders around areas without permission.

Be generous with compliments and accept any with grace.

Gatherings end positively when all assist with the clean-up.


A person remembers how you make them feel!

Published in Brookhaven Blog