Monday, November 6, 2017

Struggling with depression or anxiety? Healing Spokane forum can help

Posted By on Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 1:16 PM

Struggling with depression or anxiety? Healing Spokane forum can help
Ali Blackwood Illustration

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health concern in the U.S., but the good news is, there are ways to help.

Healing Spokane is bringing back its forum on the Depression and Anxiety, looking beyond the traditional approach, and offering information on evidence-based practices that can complement care received by a doctor or physician.

At the most recent forum, Dr. Sean Smitham, a clinical psychologist in Spokane, explained that struggling with depression and/or anxiety doesn't mean you're broken: you're just dealing with a human problem, which we wrote about for InHealth earlier this year:

First, he says, no one ever taught you how to deal with your incredibly powerful brain, about feelings and how to cope with them. Second, when two parts of your brain are in conflict, the more ancient part is going to win, Smitham explains at a recent Healing Spokane forum at WSU Spokane.

The newer, chatty, mammal part of the brain — the part behind what we think of as the voice in our head — can get overpowered by the more ancient reptilian brain, where our fight-or-flight responses are located, he says. Call it a design flaw.

"Every time (fight-or-flight) gets activated, the reptile brain gets in the driver's seat," Smitham says. "That top part keeps chattering away, but it's no longer driving the bus. This is why you can't talk yourself out of a panic attack. You can't talk yourself out of anxiety very well, either."

Smitham and others will return for another look at the topic, "back by popular demand," at a free forum from 6 pm to 7:30 pm, Tuesday, Nov. 14, on WSU Spokane's Campus, 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd.-EWU Center Building, Auditorium, Room 122.

Speakers will touch on a variety of perspectives, including Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, yoga and meditation, integrative nutrition, naturopathy, psychotherapy and family medicine.

Last time, suggestions to help included moderate exercise, mindfulness, diet changes, herbal remedies, and refraining from caffeine and alcohol consumption.

RSVP for the free event at Eventbrite.

click to enlarge Struggling with depression or anxiety? Healing Spokane forum can help (2)
The event will take place in the EWU Center Building, southeast of the Orange lot 1 in this map.

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Samantha Wohlfeil

Samantha Wohlfeil is the News Editor and covers the environment, rural communities and cultural issues for the Inlander. She's been with the paper since 2017.