Tag Archives: Depression

Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine January 2019

Very proud to be the co-founder and a co-editor of this magazine. I hope you enjoy it.

The Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine January 2019

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In this edition

  • An exclusive interview with bestselling novelist and Dr Who screenwriter Andrew Cartmel 
  • Who was Jack the Ripper?
  • An insight into the troubled life of Hollywood legend Gene Tierney
  • Overcoming depression and anxiety 
  • Exercise, nutrition and wellbeing for you and your family 
  • Women’s Suffrage a hundred years on
  • Short stories 
  • Bestsellers and Hot New Releases
  • Activities for adults and children
  • And so much more!

You Say Psychiatrist, I Say Psychologist…

My Sam Smith Mystery Series features psychologist Dr Alan Storey. Occasionally, reviewers refer to Dr Storey as a psychiatrist, which invites the question: what is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? 

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour of humans and animals. As a social science the aims of psychology are to understand individuals and groups through a set of general principles and through research into specific cases.

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The roots of psychology can be traced back to the ancient civilisations of China, Egypt, Greece, India and Persia. Aristotle and Plato wrote about the mind while in the 4th century BC, Hippocrates identified that emotional disorders had a physical rather than a supernatural cause. The teachings of Confucius and Buddhism added to our knowledge.

During the Age of Enlightenment, psychology became a ‘hot’ topic. Many notable thinkers, including Rene Descartes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill expressed opinions on the subject. While in the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin’s Theory of Revolution invited more radical thought. 

As the tree of psychology grew, inevitably, it developed numerous branches, or schools. These included: Psychodynamic, Behaviourism, Cognitive, Humanistic, Bio-Psychology and Social-Cultural. Dr Alan Storey is a Humanistic Psychologist, someone who believes in an holistic approach to human existence with the emphasis on creativity, free will and the positivity of human potential. Humanists also believe that we need to fulfill an hierarchy of needs, outlined in the graphic below, before we can achieve self-actualisation, the process of realising and expressing our capabilities and creativity.

DEC7E734-4C7E-4E43-B5DF-AB30C2D20FC9In contrast, psychiatry is a medical discipline devoted to the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental disorders. These disorders include various problems related to behaviour, cognition, mood and perceptions.

The earliest known texts on mental health stem from Ancient India. Indeed, psychiatric hospitals were established in India in the 3rd century BC. Moving through the centuries, specialist hospitals such as the Bethlem Royal Hospital were established in medieval London.

By the turn of the eighteenth century, asylums were rare. However, by the beginning of the twentieth century they had become familiar landmarks on the landscape. Psychiatrists believed that asylums were the answer. Unfortunately, these asylums created problems such as institutionalism, which led, in the late twentieth century, to more enlightened thinking and a wider range of treatment options for the patient.

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So, to answer our initial question, what is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? Psychologists focus extensively on psychotherapy and treating emotional and mental suffering in patients with behavioral intervention. Whereas, through their medical training, psychiatrists can prescribe medications and therefore they spend some of their time with patients on medication management as a course of treatment.

For detailed advice about psychological and psychiatric issues please visit your medical practitioner or the BetterHelp website.

Loving Someone Who Hurts You

Loving Someone Who Hurts You

My novel Sam’s Song discusses the taboo subject of domestic violence. Many thanks to Sarah Fader for this guest post.

Domestic violence is a serious problem that affects people of all races and genders. There are two parties involved in an abusive relationship, the abuser and the survivor (the abused). Some people might not understand why a person who was getting physically abused would stay in a relationship. To the outside observer this doesn’t look like love, it looks like violence. Here’s an innocent person who is being beaten or intentionally hurt in a violent manner by someone whom they’ve grown to trust and love. Why would they stay in this situation?

People stay in abusive relationships for a multitude of reasons. First, the abuser isn’t always mean. In order to gain the trust of the survivor, the abuser can be charismatic and even appear warm and loving. Once they’ve secured an attachment and gained the trust of the abused, they have power over them. Another clever trait of an abuser is that they put on a good show to the outside world. People often don’t believe survivors because the abuser is a good “actor.” They might be well-known in the community as a good father or a hard-working professional.

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There are many different forms of abuse that fall under the category of domestic violence. Physical abuse is a form of harm that can sometimes be seen. When a person is abused they may have broken bones or bruises. The abuser has to come up with clever ways to hide what they’ve done to their partner. They might threaten to harm them further if they tell a family member, friend or the authorities what’s actually going on.

In domestic violence relationships, there is a constant dynamic of power and control. The abuser wants control over the survivor. They will do just about anything to get this control and maintain it. They often cut their partner off from family, friends, and any social contact outside out of the abuse. The survivor (or the abused) feels that they need the abuser in their life, because they’re made to feel that they have no option other than to stay in the relationship. And the abuser continually reminds them of this. The abuser might say things like “you can’t do any better than me,” or “you’re nothing without me.” This makes the survivor feel like they are trapped and cannot leave the relationship. They also start to view abuse as love, because that’s all they know.

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Sometimes people do not realize they are in an abusive relationship until other people make them aware of signs of abuse. The abused person may not believe their friend at first. They might make excuses, become defensive or blame their friend for being jealous of their partner. All these behaviors make it difficult for the survivor to affectively see what is going on in their abusive relationship.

If you suspect that you are in an abusive relationship you might think to yourself “where can I find a therapist near me?” There are so many resources that you can use to find a mental health professional whether that person is an online therapist or one that you meet in person. If you suspect that a friend or loved one is in a domestic violence situation speak up and let them know that you are there to help. Nobody should suffer alone.

For further advice please visit:

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy

Sam, the Genesis of a Series

During the summer of 2014, I had an idea to write a private detective novel. I outlined the main character, a female narrator with a wacky sense of humour who lived and worked from a houseboat. The initial idea made me laugh, but then I realised that the character was too light-weight and didn’t really appeal to me. I was about to abandon the idea when I swivelled in my chair, looked up from my notepad and a little voice inside my head said, “Why don’t you write about me?”

That voice belonged to Samantha Smith. I don’t believe in ghosts or harbour fanciful notions about ‘inspiration’ – writing is a craft that requires dedication and discipline – but Sam appeared to walk through the wall, a fully-formed character. Within a finger click, I knew her name, what she looked like, and her background. It was a magical moment. I’d found my narrator, or more accurately, she’d found me.

MOCK-UP SAM'S SONG

So, I had Sam. I knew where she worked from – not a houseboat at this stage, but events would take her there – and her family history. But what of the other people in her life? A relationship strand to the story seemed like a good idea and so I created Dr Alan Storey. The humour element remained important, therefore enter Sam’s mentor, Detective Inspector ‘Sweets’ MacArthur. Sam was a loner at the start of the series, but as the stories progressed a number of regulars joined the team: Sam’s friend and colleague, Faye Collister, a beautiful woman with a troubled past and chronic OCD; Mac, a heavy with a heart; and later, Blake, a man who combines the renaissance with the Neanderthal, plus many others.

With Sam in place, I needed a story idea. So I wrote a list of potential subjects. Music topped that list and the initial story developed into Sam’s Song, a book that’s reached the #1 position on the amazon.com private detective chart on six separate occasions. My idea was to write a one-off novel. However, two-thirds of the way through the writing of Sam’s Song I realised that Sam had the potential to be a series character. Thirteen books later, she is fulfilling her potential and has developed substantially as a character.

MOCK-UP PAPERBACK FAMILY HONOUR

The mystery genre has always appealed to me, hence my decision to write mysteries. However, I knew from the outset that the mystery element within my stories would be one strand. The relationship element would be the second strand and the third, and arguably most important strand, would be the emotional strand, based on psychological problems and sociological issues. This third strand is the starting point for all my stories and represents their heart. I have written about domestic violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, eugenics, delusions, schizophrenia, suicidal tendencies, rape, OCD, phobias, obsessional behaviour, depression and many other subjects. The Sam Smith Mystery Series is about mysteries, but it is also about individuals in crisis and finding ways to help them through that crisis.

With fair weather and good fortune, I hope to write forty books in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. To date, I am a third of the way to that target. It has been an exciting journey so far with sales beyond my expectations, audio books and translations. I have made friends amongst my fellow authors and received warm words from my readers. Sam has served me well. I love her as a character and feel that I know her as well as I know any person.

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If the emotional issues mentioned in this article or my books affect you, your family or friends then please seek professional help and advice. You can also visit the BetterHelp website and receive support there. If you have landed on this page due to the emotional issues mentioned here, I wish you well.

The first thirteen books in the Sam Smith Mystery Series have been great fun to write. Sam will return later this year in Boston, book fourteen in the series, my homage to the American private detective novel and the late Robert B. Parker. The Devil and Ms Devlin, and Snow in August will follow.

My books are available in paperback, eBook and audio book formats from all major retailers. If you haven’t done so already, please check them out, and thank you for reading.