How to Help Someone Through the Grieving Process

Grief is a potent, traumatic, and ever-changing emotion that can completely change the course of one’s life. If you’ve never experienced the loss of a loved one before, it may seem very difficult and confusing to try to provide comfort and support for a friend currently going through it. You may be worried about saying the wrong thing, intruding, or somehow making their pain worse. It is essential not to let your fear or discomfort hold you back from reaching out. You don’t have to have the perfect answers or advice; you need to show your friend that you care and want to be there for them to lean on as they go about their journey with grief. 

Understanding the Grieving Process

Grief is often described as a five-stage process including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, everyone experiences grief differently, and everyone is on their own timeline. It’s also important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and whatever emotions your friend experiences throughout this process are valid. You may watch your friend go through a wave of different emotions, from deep sadness to anger during this time. They may even lash out at you at times. This isn’t because you have done anything wrong, but simply a normal part of the grieving process. 

Speaking to Someone Grieving 

There are some important things to remember when speaking to someone who is currently grieving the loss of a loved one. 

  • You don’t have to try to avoid saying the name of the person who passed away or the subject of their death. In fact, your friend would likely appreciate that you’re acknowledging their loss instead of simply ignoring it. 
  • Take cues from your friend regarding what they do and don’t want to talk about. What they need from you may vary from day to day. Sometimes they may want to share memories of their loved ones, while other days, they may simply want to vent, sit in silence, or need a shoulder to cry on. 
  • Be sure to verbally express your concern and sorrow for your friend and make it clear that you’re there for them for whatever they may need throughout their grieving process. 
  • If they are willing, encourage your friend to open up about their feelings. This may involve them telling the same stories over and over again. Be sure to listen compassionately, as this is all part of how they are processing their pain. 
  • You don’t always have to feel the need to fill the silence. Your friend may not want to speak but simply want someone to sit beside them so that they’re not alone. 
  • Remember to accept their mood swings as they will likely experience a wide range of emotions during this time. 

 What Not To Say To Someone Grieving 

  • Please don’t rush the grieving process by encouraging your friend to move on before they’re ready or scold them for not being further along in their grieving journey. Everyone grieves at their own pace. 
  • Don’t try to minimize or invalidate how they are feeling or acting. 
  • Not everyone is faithful or believes in life after death. It is wrong to push this belief on someone mourning a loved one. Don’t use the phrase “they are in a better place now.” 
  • Please don’t encourage the individual to focus on the things in their life they still have to be grateful for. While they may be grateful for these things, they don’t make up that their loved one is no longer with them. 
  • Don’t provide unsolicited advice. 

Other Ways of Helping a Grieving Friend

  • Especially if they are dealing with funeral plans or other arrangements, your friend may not have the time or energy to cook. Consider dropping off meals for them to ease a little bit of their burden.
  • Consider picking up some groceries or coffee for them to save them time. 
  • Help provide care of their pets. 
  • If they have children, volunteer to help with carpooling or babysitting. 
  • Offer assistance with insurance, paperwork, and other bills. 
  • Provide help with any necessary housework such as cleaning or laundry. 
  • Offer to help with funeral arrangements. 

Remember that your friend doesn’t just need you in the days and weeks following the loss of their loved one, but for the long haul. Their pain may continue for a long time. Remember to continue to check in with them and offer a listening ear whenever they need one. 

Grief is a complicated, overwhelming, and ever-changing emotion. Suppose you’ve never lost someone close to you before; you may not be sure how to help a friend going through grief. You may be afraid of saying the wrong thing or somehow making things worse. Don’t let this hold you back from supporting your friend during this time. Let them know that you’re there for them for whatever they need, whether that be a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to. Be respectful of their journey with grief, and don’t encourage them to move on before they are ready. Remember that grief takes time and affects everyone differently. Even after months since your friend’s loved one has passed, continue to check in on them and let them know that you’re there for them. If you’re struggling with your mental health, our team at Achieve Concierge is here to help. Call (858) 221-0344 today to learn more. 


The Tie Between Nutrition and Mental Health

Everyone knows that eating well-balanced, nutritious meals is essential to staying fit and physically healthy. However, many people do not realize the true extent to proper nutrition, or lack thereof can impact the quality of one’s mental health. Regularly eating food full of fat and processed sugars can decrease one’s energy and impede their ability to focus. It can even impact things like mood, sleep, and performance at work or school. However, perhaps most importantly, a poor diet can cause and worsen mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. If you feel like your mental health is suffering and don’t know why it may be worth looking at the types of food you’re eating and investing the time to learn how to prepare nutritious meals. 

How Diet Can Affect Mental Health 

  • Do you find yourself surviving on coffee all day and not eating a proper meal until you get home from work? This could be what is causing you to feel irritable and tired throughout the day. 
  • Consuming healthy food promotes the growth of good bacteria throughout the body. This, in turn, ensures that neurotransmitter production within the brain is functioning properly. Proper neurotransmitter production will positively affect your overall mood. 
  • Eating too much junk food can lead to inflammation, which can prevent neurotransmitter production from acting as intended. This can cause your mood to plummet. 
  • Eating too much sugar throughout the day can lead to a spike in the production of a chemical called dopamine within the brain. Dopamine is known as the feel-good hormone that helps to regulate one’s mood. Unfortunately, when you overeat sugar, you’ll later experience a crash that can be disastrous for your overall mood. 
  • There is an important relationship between the gut and the brain. When unhealthy foods are introduced to one’s diet, the good bacteria within the gut are disrupted. The inflammation that occurs, as a result, can lead to depression and anxiety. 

Ways to Change Your Diet to Improve Your Mental Health 

You don’t need to implement major changes within your diet to enjoy some positive mental health results. You can start simply by slowly introducing new, nutrient-rich foods into your meals each day. If you’re wondering what foods to look for the next time you go grocery shopping or plan what to make for dinner, consider the following. 

  • Include more whole foods. Whole food is considered to still be in its natural form without having been preserved or processed. Some examples include unprocessed meat, eggs, fish, nuts, and of course fruits and vegetables. Because these foods are not full of chemicals, they are less likely to cause anxiety or depression.
  • Look for foods that are high in fiber. High-fiber foods can help the body process glucose more productively, preventing crashes in energy. 
  • Try to include as much Vitamin D as possible. Vitamin D helps with the production of serotonin, another feel-good hormone that can help regulate your mood. Some examples of foods high in Vitamin D include salmon, tuna, egg yolk, and swordfish. If you want to kick your Vitamin D intake up a notch, you may even consider adding a supplement to your diet. 
  • Ensure you’re eating plenty of foods that are high in magnesium. Magnesium is essential for nerve and muscle function as well as heart health. Additionally, it can help prevent poor gut health that triggers symptoms of anxiety and depression. 
  • Include a variety of vegetables and fruits within your diet. They aren’t just important to stay physically healthy, but they contain valuable vitamins and minerals that your brain needs to continue to operate at its fullest capacity. 
  • Avoid drinking too much caffeine. This can lead to anxiety, restlessness, and problems sleeping. 
  • Make sure that you’re staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This can help regulate your mood, improve your energy levels, and increase your ability to concentrate. 
  • Ensure that you include protein with every meal. If you don’t have enough protein throughout the day, you’ll find yourself consistently hungry and more likely to turn to processed foods that can be detrimental to your mental health. 

Taking Small Steps to Improve Your Diet

Consider trying out the following small steps to ensure you’re eating more nutritious meals. 

  • Meal prep at the start of the week
  • Prepare a list of foods and carry it with you while grocery shopping
  • Never grocery shop on an empty stomach 
  • Try cooking more at home as opposed to going out
  • Speak with a dietician to come up with meal plans that are right for you

While it is common knowledge that eating healthy, nutritious meals is vital to prevent weight gain and stay physically fit, not everyone realizes the real and powerful influence that diet has on one’s mental health. If you have found you’re often feeling sluggish or if your symptoms of anxiety and depression have recently worsened and you don’t know why you may consider changing up your diet. To ensure that your mental health is the best, make sure you’re staying hydrated, avoid too much caffeine, include as much Vitamin D as possible, and eat as many whole foods as possible. You may also want to consider meal prepping at the beginning of the week, planning out your grocery lists ahead of time, and speaking with a dietician. At Achieve Concierge, we want to ensure you are able to enjoy the best mental health possible. Call (858) 221-0344 today to learn more. 


How to Cope When the News Becomes Too Much

In recent years, in particular, the news has featured a lot of very negative things. From the pandemic to war and violence, it may seem as if the bad news far outweighs the good. It comes at us from many different angles, whether through television, radio, or social media. This onslaught of negativity can become stressful and overwhelming. It can even lead to mental health problems like depression and anxiety in time. While it is normal to want to stay informed about the events around the world, if your news consumption is taking a toll on your mental health, it may be time for a change. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up watching the news entirely, but you may consider changing the way you consume media and implementing some rules for yourself in order to protect your own wellbeing.

How Negative News Can Affect You Mentally and Physically

In addition to causing stress, anxiety, and depression, too much negative news can also lead to other side effects. For example:

  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Changes in diet or lack of appetite
  • A lack of motivation
  • Low energy
  • A sense of dread or helplessness
  • Panic attacks
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Decreased performance at work or school

Changing the Way, you Go About Media Consumption

How you decide to go about changing the way you consume the news is entirely up to you and your own personal needs. However, you may consider trying one of the following tips.

#1. Set time limits for yourself throughout the day to consume the news in whatever facet you choose. You can set alarms on your phone to alert you of when this pre-determined window has arrived and when it is over. Avoid watching the news or checking social media outside of these set time windows. This can help ensure that news consumption isn’t taking up too much of your time and you are able to focus on other things. This can take a lot of self-discipline but can lead to some great results.

#2. Consider taking a news detox. Sometimes, it can help to completely take some time away from the media and give yourself a break. Going on a news detox for a week or even longer can do wonders for your mental health. It can help you re-focus on what matters most in your life and change your perspective. You may find this time to be very restful and therapeutic, and you may even decide to extend the detox longer than you originally planned.

#3. Choose your news sources carefully and consider limiting them. Not every news station is going to broadcast negativity regularly. In fact, there are some news channels that make an effort to include a good news segment each day or on certain days throughout the week. You’ll also want to ensure that when you are choosing a particular news source, it is credible. Consuming misinformation can lead to excessive levels of stress and anxiety.

#4. Don’t watch the news or check social media before bed. When you are consuming news that could be very negative right before you go to bed, this information will be the last thing you’re thinking about that day before drifting off to sleep. Those negative stories can not only impact your quality of sleep but can stay with you and affect your mood going into the next day.

Taking Care of Yourself When it Becomes Too Much

Whenever you find yourself in a place where you’re overwhelmed by the events going on around the world, take some time to take care of yourself and recharge. Some ways to do this include:

  • Get out into nature. Being in the great outdoors can help if you feel overstimulated. There are fewer noises and distractions in nature, and you can regain your sense of focus.
  • Consider what activities help you to feel better when you’re stressed. Spend time doing an activity you enjoy while staying away from the media. This could be painting, playing with your dog, or spending some time with family and friends.
  • Consider practicing yoga or a type of meditation. This practice can help ground you and make you better aware of your mental and physical feelings.
  • Don’t be afraid to consider therapy. Speaking with a counselor can help you get a better understanding of your own emotions and learn how to handle stress in a much healthier manner and also help to reduce stress.

It’s no secret that the news, especially in recent years, has become scary at times. There is a lot of serious things going on in the world and when you’re hearing about them all on the news each evening, it is easy to become stressed and overwhelmed. This can also lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. This is why it is so important to stay in touch with how you’re feeling and make changes in how you consume news if necessary. This may involve only watching the news during certain time windows or even going on a news detox and giving it up for a while entirely. When you begin to feel yourself become overwhelmed by negative news, consider getting out into nature or speaking with a therapist. Good mental health is crucial for living a happy and healthy life. If you’re struggling, our team at Achieve Concierge can help. Call (858) 221-0344 today. 

man walking in the woods during winter

Navigating Mood Disorders When Struggling With the Winter Blues

There are numerous mood disorders, but the most common include depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymia. These disorders often include symptoms such as persistent feelings of sadness, losing interest in parts of life that are important to you, and going between feeling extremely happy to extremely sad. Although it’s perfectly normal for moods to change, symptoms for mood disorders must be present for several weeks or longer to be diagnosed.

Now that we are in the winter months, it’s essential to pay attention to your symptoms and their regularity. Millions of Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) but don’t know they have the condition. In fact, 14% of the U.S. adult population suffers from the “winter blues.” It’s more common in women than in men, especially those who live farther north. 

Struggling with SAD while also trying to navigate a mood disorder can be challenging. The onset of SAD symptoms along with symptoms of mood disorders can feel impossible to get through. Luckily, it is possible to get through the winter months while struggling with a mood disorder and SAD.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder? 

SAD is a type of depression that occurs during certain seasons of the year, more commonly starting in the late autumn or early winter months. Many people start to feel gloomy and weak when the days get shorter in the fall and winter, which is why it’s referred to as the “winter blues.” 

The months of January and February tend to be the most difficult. Typically individuals will start to feel better in the spring when daylight hours lengthen; however, SAD episodes can also less commonly begin in the spring or summer months.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

In some cases, this form of depression can affect how a person thinks, feels, and handles daily activities for up to four or five months of the year. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), not everyone will experience the same SAD symptoms in the winter, but some common symptoms may include:

  • Feeling depressed every day for most of the day
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Experiencing changes in appetite and craving more carbohydrates or sweets
  • Weight gain
  • Oversleeping (hypersomnia)
  • Feeling sluggish or constantly agitated
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Not being able to concentrate
  • Avoiding social situations and not wanting to go out

Moreover, symptoms of summer depression have some similarities and differences compared to winter depression. Overall, either type includes feelings of guilt, loss of interest in activities, or physical problems such as increased headaches or stomach aches.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Scientists and researchers don’t fully understand what causes SAD, but they believe it sometimes runs in families who have a history of other mental health disorders such as major depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. 

Those with SAD may also have decreased serotonin levels in the winter due to reduced activity of the brain chemical that helps regulate mood. It is also believed that people with SAD may produce too much melatonin, which increases sleepiness. Serotonin and melatonin are vital in maintaining the body’s daily rhythm, so the changes in both disrupt the seasonal night-day cycle. Due to this, people experiencing SAD struggle to adjust to changes in daylight length.

Combating the Winter Blues

Overcoming SAD while having another mood disorder can feel like a challenge. Luckily, there are several ways you can help yourself combat the winter blues, including: 

#1. Therapy Options

There are a number of treatments that can relieve symptoms of SAD, such as light therapy, psychotherapy, antidepressant medications, and vitamin D. Light therapy means exposing yourself to artificial light in order to keep your circadian rhythm on track. Investing in a phototherapy box or lightbox can boost your mood and alleviate symptoms of SAD by mimicking sunshine. 

Dawn simulators are also a great alternative to a traditional alarm clock because they produce light that gradually increases in order to wake you up in a peaceful manner. These simulators can also motivate you to start your day, especially when gloomy, dark mornings make it hard to get out of bed most days.

#2. Prepare Yourself

Another way to help cope with SAD is to prepare your mind for the transition as fall approaches. Begin regularly partaking in activities that will help you feel physically and emotionally better. This may include fall festivities such as pumpkin patches or something unrelated to the season like community service or picking up a new hobby. 

Either way, prioritizing keeping yourself busy ahead of time will help you once the winter blues set in. Soak up any daylight you can by spending more time outside or rearranging your home or office, so you’re exposed to a window often throughout the day. 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) impacts millions of people each year. Whether it’s during spring, summer, fall, or winter, the effects of SAD can significantly influence one’s daily routine. With winter already underway, you may be feeling sleepy, hopeless, unmotivated, or withdrawn. If you find that you’re feeling more and more depressed every day, you may be suffering from SAD, also known as the winter blues. It’s important to know you are not alone, and Achieve Concierge offers a variety of treatments to help alleviate the symptoms of SAD and other mood disorders. Treatment options include medications, psychotherapy, light therapy, and developing an exercise regimen. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is dedicated to providing you with a customized and evidence-based treatment plan to meet your every need. Achieve Concierge is committed to ensuring that every patient is taken care of successfully and holistically. To schedule a treatment consultation, call us today at (858) 221-0344.

Sad lonely Woman in depression with flying hair

5 Things You Should Know About Depression

Depression is an extremely serious but treatable illness. It has no specific gender, age, or ethnicity that it chooses to overtake – it truly can happen to anyone at any point in their life. Unfortunately, there is a plethora of misinformation, myths, and stigmas that continue to be barriers to those who desperately need help. These negative outlooks act as a barrier to those needing treatment, leaving many that need help alienated and untreated. For some, untreated depression can lead to severe outcomes such as self-harm or suicide. It is important to understand the facts about depression to help those living with it, as it can help to save their life. Here are multiple things everyone should know about depression and depressive disorders. 

There’s Not Always an Exact Reason


Sometimes people can become depressed because of a particular reason such as the death of a loved one or maybe they lost their job-but with clinical depression, there is not necessarily a pinpointed reason why someone may feel the way they do. Chemicals in our brain are responsible for how we feel and how we can control our moods. At times, those chemicals become off-balance which causes us to feel completely awful even if everything in our life is going magnificent. 

There Can Be More Than One Contributing Factor


You know the old saying “one size fits all”? Well, the opposite stands true for those with depression. There are so many factors that can contribute to a person’s depression including underlying genetic tendencies towards the condition, as well as environmental factors that can act as a trigger. If your family has a history of depression, this can increase a person’s risk of depression which suggests that genetics play a huge role. If you are someone who struggles with a substance use disorder, you will have a higher chance of depression. Additional factors linked to depression include brain chemistry imbalances, hormones, seasonal changes, stress, and trauma. 


  • Brain Chemistry Imbalance. Depression has been linked to an imbalance in the neurotransmitters that directly impact mood regulation. This can include dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, glutamate, and gamma-aminobutyric (GABA). The theory is that having too much or too little of these can cause or at least contribute to depression. 
  • Hormones. When a person experiences any flux in the production of hormones such as pregnancy (during or after), menstrual cycle, menopause, or those with thyroid issues, they could experience symptoms of depression.
  • Seasonal Changes. Many people feel waves of sadness and develop depression with the change of season. This is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and affects about 1-2% of the population. 
  • Stress and Trauma. The loss of a loved one, trauma, abuse or chronic stress – even big life changes can trigger depression. Studies have shown that women who were physically or sexually abused as children, experienced extreme stress responses possibly due to the higher levels of stress hormones adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol.

It’s More Than Being Sad


We have all experienced being sad in our life, but depression is an illness that goes deeper than the base feeling of sadness, which is why those struggling, can’t just get over it. Here are some telltale signs that your sadness has turned into depression:


  • Dramatic changes in appetite, weight gain, or weight loss
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Extreme feelings of anxiety or helplessness
  • Feeling irritable and restless
  • A constant feeling of sadness that can make you feel empty and alone
  • Physical symptoms that can include body aches, stomach cramps, or headaches
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Feelings of fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating, experiences with memory loss, and an inability to make decisions

Children Can Be Depressed


A common misconception that exists is that all childhoods are filled with joy and happiness. The reality is that some children experience trauma and are consumed with ongoing stress. The stresses that children face are not always those that adults may face, but they can cause serious harm to a child’s overall mood and behavior. Childhood can bring on its own set of stresses that can include bullying, pressures for academic success, and peer acceptance. Examples of behaviors often seen in children with depression can include:


  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or irritability
  • Refusing to engage in activities they once loved
  • Changes in their sleep and eating patterns
  • Loss of energy
  • Having a hard time paying attention
  • Feeling worthless, or useless
  • Engaging in self-injury and self-destructive behavior

Depression Is an Illness

Depression is a real illness that can affect the strongest person you know. When someone suffers from depression they are not weak nor should they be criticized in any way. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States and ranks among the top 3 workplace issues. Current research shows that depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults in any given year. 


Feeling sad is a normal emotion that everyone has experienced throughout their lifetime. When someone is depressed it goes beyond being sad. The ability to “snap out of it” is not possible, nor can they just get over it. Depression affects over 18 million adults in any given year and is the primary reason individuals commit suicide. Eliminating misinformation and stigmas surrounding depression is necessary to help those struggling and for them to seek the professional treatment they need. Educating yourself and those around you regarding depression is a great way to help you support your loved ones struggling with any mental health disorder. If you are looking to gain additional knowledge regarding depression, reach out to Achieve Concierge today. We want to help break stigmas and provide for those battling mental health disorders. Reach out to us today to help yourself and others. Call us at (858) 221-0344.

Lonely woman suffering from depression at home

Am I Grieving or Depressed?

Losing a loved one is a jarring, tragic experience. It brings on a period of grief that can be filled with sadness, anger, and anxiety. It can make you uncertain if the sadness will ever go away. Although grief and depression share many similar symptoms, they are unique and distinct states. Being able to recognize these distinctions is important, yet it can be difficult to understand if you are just grieving or if it could be something more.

What is Grief?

Grief is a normal and natural response after you have experienced loss. Although you may associate grief with losing a loved one, many significant losses can trigger grief. These can include:

  • The end of a relationship
  • Moving to a new location or job
  • A much-anticipated opportunity, or life goal that abruptly didn’t work out as expected
  • The loss of a pet

Allowing yourself to grieve is important, as it frees up energy that connects us to the lost person, event, or experience. Grieving does not make you weak, nor should it have any negative connotations. Healthy grieving allows us to remember the person or experience and achieve a sense of peace.

Experiencing Grief

During a period of grief, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite, which can result in significant weight loss
  • Overwhelming feelings of sadness, despair, and mourning
  • Anger at the person, God, those responsible, themselves, or others
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Poor concentration
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of guilt (“if only I had…”)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Feeling of numbness
  • Loss of the meaning of life

The Emotional Ups and Downs of Grief

Some describe the experience of grief as an emotional rollercoaster. Grief sweeps over them, then seems to subside, only to come back again. Grieving the loss of a loved one can come with many different emotions. One minute you may be filled with sadness as you think about how they are gone forever, while the next you’re filled with laughter as you remember moments you shared.

All of this is normal. It is common to start feeling better in certain situations, such as when you are enjoying time spent with family or friends. Then a triggering event occurs, such as the deceased person’s birthday or another instance when feelings of sadness resurface. Again, this is normal.

Your reactions may be so intense or irrational that you feel as though they are going crazy or will never get over the loss. In other cases, you may be afraid to allow yourself to grieve in fear of being consumed by negative emotions. No matter what, these feelings eventually start to decrease in intensity, allowing you to regain your composure and get back to living your life. The length of time for grief varies greatly. Everyone grieves differently, and that’s okay.

Complicated Grief

Grief can develop into complicated grief, which does not dissipate with time and can resemble depression. In extreme cases, a person with complicated grief may engage in self-harm behaviors or even think about or attempt suicide. Other symptoms associated with complicated grief include:

  • Intense sadness and/or anger
  • Consistent irritability
  • Difficulty accepting that your loved one has passed
  • Excessive focus on what has happened
  • Thoughts of “joining” or being “reunited” with the deceased
  • Sensations of seeing or hearing things that are not present

If you or someone you love may be struggling with complicated grief, reach out. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can provide you with professional help. You can also reach out to your healthcare provider. Complicated grief is a volatile condition, and it’s important to reach out as soon as possible to get the help you need right away.

Getting Through It

While grief might carry generalized symptoms, your personal emotional experience is unique to you. Finding healthy ways to cope and balance yourself through trying times is vital for your mental health. Here are some ways to cope with this difficult experience:

  • Reach out to loved ones
  • Express your feelings
  • Take care of your mental and physical well being
  • Enjoy life however you can
  • Be patient with yourself
  • Seek assistance from a mental health provider

Be gentle with yourself. This is a hard time for anyone, and if this is the first death you have experienced, you’re trying to navigate uncharted emotional waters. The main difference between grief and depression is that grief tends to decrease over time, whereas depression tends to be more persistent and pervasive. Either way, if you or a loved one are experiencing overwhelming feelings of grief, depression, or unidentified sadness, reach out for professional help right away.

Losing someone or something that we care about can be an indescribably difficult experience. The intensity of grief can wax and wane over time, leaving you emotionally fraught and impairing your ability to function. The symptoms of grief can overlap with signs of depression, leaving you feeling uncertain whether your heavy feelings will ever pass. While grieving any loss is a healthy and important part of your relationship with the world, depression can snowball into a dangerous burden that saps your enthusiasm for the good parts of life. If negative feelings are interfering with your ability to live, don’t let them accumulate in silence. Seeking professional help can get you back on track to emotional well-being. It can be difficult to get help during a difficult time, but it’s important to invest in yourself so that you can go on to experience life’s highs and lows to your fullest capacity. Reach out to Achieve Concierge at (858) 221-0344 to get help today.


Smiling Depression

Have you ever heard of smiling depression? It’s a form of depression in which a person seems happy and thriving on the outside, while inside they are severely struggling. Smiling depression, also known as walking depression or high-functioning depression,  is one of the most dangerous forms of depression because it can go entirely undetected, making it less likely for those who struggle with it to get the support or treatment they need. Because they don’t show signs like people with other forms of depression, individuals with smiling depression can also be at higher risk of suicide.

When you think of someone struggling with depression, you may think about someone who is consistently sad and acts distant. While in many cases, people who suffer from depression are sad, lethargic, and full of despair, it’s important to recognize that depression can look different for everyone. This is why it is so important to always check in on those around you.

Is Smiling Depression a Real Thing?

Although “smiling depression” is not recognized as a distinct condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (“DSM-5”), those who may show symptoms would likely be diagnosed with major depressive disorder with atypical features, forming what is known as atypical depression. It is important to seek treatment to be properly diagnosed and to receive effective treatment.

How to Identify Smiling Depression

A person who suffers from smiling depression may appear to have it all together. They can act entirely normal and have a well-arranged public life. Their social media presence may look almost perfect, showing only images of their best, happiest selves.

On the inside, however, individuals with smiling depression are experiencing the distressful symptoms of depression. While the symptoms may be essentially identical to those of major depressive disorder, what makes them atypical is the fact that the person is experiencing them internally and not visibly expressing them. People with smiling depression can also experience a lift in mood due to positive events around them, further enhancing the facade that they are emotionally healthy.

False Beliefs

False beliefs can prevent individuals with smiling depression from seeking support and treatment. Here are some examples of common false beliefs:

  • “I can’t complain because so many people have it way worse than I do.”
  • “My parents have a lot on their plate already; I don’t need to add any more stress or worry to their lives.”
  • “Asking for help is a sign of weakness.”
  • “Everybody thinks I’m doing great, and I don’t want to disappoint them.”
  • “I just need to suck it up.”
  • “It’s not really that bad.”

Smiling Depression and the Risk of Suicide

Because the person appears to be happy and content on the outside and doesn’t fit the stereotypical image of depression, family and friends often fail to notice that someone with smiling depression is struggling at all. In some cases, the person themselves may not even realize they are depressed. This can create extremely dangerous internal conditions. One of the biggest risks of smiling depression is that it goes unnoticed, untreated, and ultimately ends in tragedy.

Teens with Smiling Depression

Teenagers can often seem full of energy while internally experiencing intense symptoms of depression. Teens coping with smiling depression often feel isolated and obligated to put on a happy face for the world. Internally, they are exhausted from the facade that masks their depression, and often experience deep anxiety as they try to hide their symptoms from those around them. Other symptoms teens may experience include:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Feeling “too fast” or “too slow”
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Lack of self-confidence and self-worth
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loneliness

Teens with smiling depression are often able to hide their symptoms from close friends and parents. It is vital that parents watch out for physical and behavioral signs that their teen is struggling internally. Some important signs to look out for include:

  • Changes in their sleep patterns, including sleeping too much or too little
  • Significant changes in their appetite and/or weight
  • Feelings of heaviness in their arms and legs
  • Complaints of body aches and/or headaches
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Substance abuse
  • Extreme reactions to what they feel is rejection or criticism

Seeking Help for Smiling Depression

Since the warning signs of smiling depression can be so subtle, it is extremely important to maintain open, honest communication with your loved ones. Cultivating a space that is safe and judgment-free can help those struggling with any form of depression to feel comfortable enough to reach out for your help.

Smiling depression, also known as walking depression or high-functioning depression, can affect anyone. Symptoms can look different than the common stereotypes of depression, making it a difficult condition to detect. On the outside, those struggling with smiling depression appear to be happy and thriving, while on the inside they are dealing with severe, life-consuming symptoms. Teens with smiling depression can often keep their symptoms hidden especially well from their friends and family members and may cultivate a strong image on social media that portrays someone who has a perfect life and who is extremely happy.  Because symptoms can go undetected, those with smiling depression are at higher risk of suicide. If you or someone you love are struggling with any symptoms of depression, reach out to Achieve Concierge today. We have a stellar team of clinicians who can help children, teens, or adults overcome mental illness and achieve emotional health. Call us at (858) 221-0344 to learn more.

loved one

Supporting the Mental Health of Your Loved Ones

There’s no sugarcoating it: watching someone you love struggle with symptoms of mental illness can be one of the most heart-wrenching and confusing experiences you will ever endure. Though you wish you could, you may not know how to help someone grappling with mental turmoil. Every person deals with mental illness uniquely; searching for answers on the internet can leave you more confused than before on how to support your loved one. 

Many people living with mental illness have been misdiagnosed or diagnosed unprofessionally, making it hard to recognize and interpret their symptoms. Whether you suspect your loved one has a specific diagnosis or you’re simply concerned for their well-being, trust your gut if you think something’s wrong. While you might have an idea of where to begin supporting your loved one’s mental health, you might benefit from further guidance, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Here are some ways that you can support your loved one or connect with a professional who can provide them with the help they need. 

Know the Warning Signs of Mental Health Problems

Everyone deals with bad days and challenging circumstances that make life seem dark and stressful. There is an enormous difference between normal anxiety and a state of depression. You know when your loved ones aren’t themselves. Keep an eye out for behaviors such as:

  • Withdrawal from social interaction or a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Trouble functioning at work, school, or social activities
  • Dramatic changes in sleep and appetite
  • Intense changes in moods or behaviors
  • Problems with concentration, memory, or logical thought
  • Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells, or touch
  • Feeling disconnected from the world or a sense of unreality
  • Fear or suspicion of others, paranoia, and nervousness
  • Erratic, unusual, or unsafe behavior

Although these signs alone do not confirm mental illness in your loved one, any of them is a good reason to follow up with an evaluation from a medical professional to help get to the root of any problems.

Learn to Say “I See You”

Gut-wrenching and uncomfortable though it might be, initiating a heavy conversation with your loved one can play an invaluable role at this point in your relationship. You don’t have to be a psychological expert to let somebody you love know that you’re there for them. Chances are your loved one isn’t looking for you to solve their problems or banish their pain; they just want to be seen and understood. Dealing with mental illness can be intensely lonely. Opening up to someone who loves you can eliminate some of that loneliness. 

Express your concern in a non-judgment way, and let them know that you are willing to learn and to be there for them. Don’t let fear guide you; be proactive and ask questions. Reassure them that you are there because you care for them. Use “I” statements, such as “I am worried about you” and “I want to help you,” rather than “you” statements like “You are” or “You should.”

Encourage Your Loved One to Open Up

Be patient with your loved ones, and don’t pressure them to talk to you. When they want to talk, listen; don’t invalidate their feelings or perceptions, for they are their own. One of the worst things you can do during these tough conversations is to invalidate how the other person is feeling by using dismissive statements like “You’re crazy,” “That’s not true,” and “It’s not that big of a deal.” 

Encourage your loved one to talk with a mental health professional. If you have ever spoken with a therapist and feel comfortable talking about it, share your experience with them. One of the best ways to eliminate the stigmas surrounding mental health issues is to share your stories and normalize things like seeing a therapist. Seeking professional help is a sign of strength.

Be Prepared to Handle Objections in Advance

Before you bring up the possibility of seeking professional help with your loved ones, make sure to invest some time into researching and eliminating potential barriers that could arise. For example, have on hand a list of therapists who are taking on new clients, or look into childcare services if needed. Try to anticipate any objections or obstacles your loved ones might cite as objections to your suggestion for treatment. In the end, you want what’s best for them, and that means knowing when you can’t help them on your own.


It’s difficult to watch as someone you love struggles with mental illness. You may want to jump in and do anything you can to help, only to realize that you simply don’t know what to do. Don’t let yourself be overcome by feelings of helplessness when your loved one needs you. You don’t have to be an expert to take fundamental steps to provide the people you care about with effective help. Educate yourself on mental illness to learn which symptoms your loved one is experiencing and to identify behavioral red flags that signify the need for professional help. If you or someone close to you is battling mental health problems, reach out to Achieve Concierge. Our mission is to provide you with the tools and skills you need to make a tangible difference in the lives of the people you love. Call Achieve Concierge today at (858) 221-0344 to learn more.


Telehealth Doesn’t Work for Everyone

There is no doubt that the current pandemic has created numerous obstacles for each of us. For those who were receiving in-person therapeutic services before the pandemic, the challenges were felt almost immediately. Scheduled appointments were put on hold indefinitely while healthcare officials scrambled to figure out how to best assist the community in need.

In 2019, 19.2% of adults reported receiving some form of mental health treatment, and 9.5% had received counseling or therapy from a mental health professional. As the pandemic took 2020 in a completely unexpected direction, people who depended on consistent mental health services were faced with sudden instability in their options for care. While healthcare providers and treatment professionals worked to find solutions for their patients, many people felt the immediate whiplash of change when in-person therapy came to a halt.

Between social distancing requirements and widespread fear of coming into contact with the virus, many people who need mental health services were no longer receiving the care they depended on. Furthermore, we saw a huge spike in mental illness symptoms across every section of the population as the pandemic’s compounding stress grew to affect nearly every aspect of our lives.

What Are Telehealth Services?

Although many people were unaware of telehealth services’ availability until the 2020 pandemic, this type of care was first used as a form of healthcare delivery in the late 1960s. The purpose of telehealth services is to allow a person to receive assistance in their homes’ comfort and safety by communicating through their smartphones or other mobile devices. In light of the restrictions caused by the ongoing pandemic, including social distancing requirements and widespread reluctance to meet in person, telehealth services offer a uniquely accessible approach for patients and staff alike to connect and continue care.

The Challenges Posed By Telehealth

As convenient as it is, telehealth isn’t a perfect solution. The lack of in-person services posed difficulties and complications with intakes, comprehensive assessments, and patient engagement. Some healthcare providers reported needing solutions for patients who couldn’t communicate through phone or video conferencing due to a lack of privacy in their living situations. The lack of in-person services also made it challenging for medical personnel to monitor medication and administer direct treatment.

On top of struggling to navigate the new world of online services, medical staff also had to quickly ascertain how to implement safe, effective care for their patients. Staff grappled with technological issues, a lack of HIPAA-compliant platforms, and the fact that telehealth options made it more difficult to foster a personal connection with their patients, which served to negatively counteract their efforts towards offering a successful therapeutic process.

While staff encountered obstacles as they attempted to reach their patients, their patients reported a dramatic rise in the negative emotions reported across the country. More people than ever were experiencing trouble with anxiety and depression due to problems related to the pandemic and the way that they were compounded by lack of direct treatment options.

The Digital Divide

Since the advent of the digital age, staff and patients alike have faced the increasing challenge posed by the divide that forms when all individuals are expected to rely upon technology. To people with fewer socioeconomic resources, struggling with disabilities, or living in disadvantaged areas, being able to depend on reliable access to technology isn’t always an option. 

Pew Research reported that people with disabilities, both physical and psychiatric, were three times more likely never to utilize online services and that about 20% did not even own an electronic device that could give them access to telehealth services. 

Exercising Caution With In-Person Services

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and numerous other healthcare officials have stressed the importance of social distancing. Many people are worried about coming into contact with someone infected with the COVID-19 virus or spreading it themselves, making the prospect of attending in-person services seem scary and irresponsible in many. For some, however, in-person services are the only way to receive the care they need. 

Many organizations, such as Achieve Medical Center, are taking every necessary precaution to provide in-person services to those in need while keeping everyone safe. At Achieve Medical Center, we leave ample space in between each appointment to allow for social distancing. Staff members wear masks at all times and thoroughly disinfect treatment areas between all sessions. The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty and discomfort, causing many to disregard their treatment needs. Remember that your mental wellness and your safety are both important parts of a healthy life.


No matter what else is happening in your life, your mental well-being should always be a priority. While telehealth services provide numerous benefits to those who can access them, they may not be perfect for meeting your needs. Both staff and patients have complained about the inability to connect and not being able to gain efficient care through telehealth services. For some individuals, having reliable access to telehealth services is simply not an option. While the ongoing pandemic has tremendously decreased the availability of in-person services, there are still some forms of care available to those in need. Treatment centers like Achieve Medical Center want you to get the help that works for you while respecting your boundaries and ensuring your safety at all times. You don’t have to go it alone. To learn more about how our services can help make a difference, call Achieve Concierge today at (858) 221-0344.


It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

If you look around you, you’ll notice a growing trend of people encouraging one another to speak freely about their struggles with mental health. It’s become increasingly normal for people to share their experiences with mental illness in an attempt to let others know that they are not alone while striving to normalize mental health conversations in the long term.

For many generations, it was considered taboo to discuss any form of mental or psychological challenges you were facing. Suppose you did attempt to open up to your loved ones about issues like depression, anxiety, or hopelessness. In that case, you might have been told to just “suck it up,” and as anyone who struggles with mental illness already knows, “sucking it up” doesn’t work. If only it were that easy!

It can help to know that we have come a long way since then. These days, people of all backgrounds and identities are working together to spread the message loud and clear that it’s okay to not be okay. Life is hard, and the myriads of challenges you may face can become overwhelming, making you feel completely out of control. At one point or another, every single person faces low points where they feel consumed by negative emotions. These feelings are normal, and they can be addressed. Having the ability to talk openly about your destructive emotions is a necessary component of long-term health and happiness.

The Benefits of Sharing Your Struggle with Mental Illness

The National Alliance of Mental Illness reports that one in five adults in the United States will experience mental illness each year, yet fewer than half of them will seek treatment. Chances are that someone you know has or will struggle with some form of mental illness in their lifetime – it might even be you. 

The more we talk about mental illness, the more acceptable we make it for people everywhere to open up about their issues without shame. When high-visibility spokespeople like celebrities discuss their personal experiences, they invite a throng of commentators online to share their stories as well. Never underestimate the power of sharing your journey, no matter who you are. Choosing to open up about your struggles with mental illness can cause a powerful chain reaction effect. Some of the benefits include:

  • Helping reduce stigma: the more people speak up about their history of mental illness, the less fear someone else may have when admitting that they need help for similar reasons. This can empower people to get assistance and change the course of countless lives.
  • There is power in numbers: The more we make mental illness a genuine part of the national conversation, the greater comfort others will feel in talking about it. Together, we can create a supportive community. Feeling alone can keep you from opening up about important challenges. We can work to eliminate those feelings of loneliness by taking the first steps towards honesty.
  • We feel heard: Being listened to without judgment can relieve our stress, alleviate negative emotions, and inspire us towards positive change. Though our loved ones may not be mental health professionals, they can support you by making you feel heard and trusted in a major way.

Overcoming Stigma

No matter how well your life is going, you’re going to have hard days. When they arise, you should be able to share your feelings without being received in a way that lacks support or empathy. Being unable to speak freely about mental illness contributes to the greater stigma that surrounds it. This stigma can have wide-reaching negative consequences, including:

  • Being subject to discrimination
  • Lack of understanding by friends and family
  • Fewer opportunities in your career, education, and social activities
  • Being bullied or harassed
  • Long-term negative emotional issues like depression and isolation
  • Lack of services made available by healthcare providers
  • Lack of services covered by health insurance

How Can We Help Normalize Mental Health?

Learning is a powerful tool that can allow us to eliminate judgment and reverse incorrect assumptions. Take the time to educate yourself about mental illness and share that information with others. If you are already comfortable talking about your mental illness struggles, share them with others. Although your story is unique, you may be surprised by its ability to touch the lives of numerous people by helping them feel comfortable enough to open up about their own experiences.

Remember to be conscious of the language you use when speaking about mental health conditions. Use care when considering calling someone “crazy.” We live in a world that is quick to judge in the absence of facts. Try to take a step back and actively treat other people with kindness. The reality is that we don’t know what someone else may be going through, so don’t make hasty assumptions for the negative. 


We all face challenges throughout our lives that impact our mental health. Having a place to speak freely and honestly about your struggles with mental health is a vital part of a successful recovery. The human race is continuously growing, and our society is beginning to realize that one of the most powerful ways to improve our collective mental health is to normalize the fact that we all struggle with it. We are not always okay, and that is okay. Make it a personal goal to do your part in destigmatizing mental health. Having a trusted support system is an integral part of mental wellness. If you need to speak with someone about your struggles with mental health, reach out to Achieve Concierge as soon as possible. We are here to listen, understand your circumstances, and connect you with effective treatments to find relief and clarity. You don’t have to grapple with the challenges of mental health on your own. Call Achieve Concierge today at (858) 221-0344.