Judith Joseph, M.D., M.B.A, is a Board Certified Psychiatrist. Dr. Judith is Chair of The Women in Medicine Initiative for Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons. 

Dr. Judith is a clinical assistant professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center. She recently received a US Congress Proclamation Award from the US house of representatives for her social media advocacy and research in mental health.

Her behavioral research lab, Manhattan Behavioral Medicine, is conducting the first study in the world on High Functioning Depression. She studies conditions related to pediatric and adult mental health. Dr. Judith’s research in women’s mental health focuses on postpartum depression and perimenopausal mood symptoms.

445: When Moms Get Depressed

Dr. Judith Joseph

Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting more than 8% of American adults each year, and a lot of parents.

What leads to a depressive episode in parents?

How can we ward it off?

Dr. Judith Joseph share the 4 most important steps to prevent depression and more. Listen to the end for what to ask when interviewing a therapist!

When Moms Get Depressed-Dr. Judith Joseph [445]

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Dr. Judith Joseph: I think that cultural competency is so important because you really want to take into consideration what people face when they go home because you can, you know, come up with a great. treatment plan in your office, but is it doable? Is it feasible given their backgrounds, given their family dynamics, given their culture and their religious beliefs?

[00:00:26] Hunter: You're listening to the Mindful Parenting Podcast, episode number 445. Today, we're talking about when moms get depressed with Dr. Judith Joseph.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Parenting, we know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 25 years, I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course, and I'm the author of the international bestseller, Raising Good Humans, and now, Raising Good Humans Every Day, 50 Simple Ways to Press Pause, Stay Present, and Connect with Your Kids. Hi, welcome back to the podcast.

Dear listener, so glad you are here today. If you get some value from this podcast, please help the podcast out by just telling one friend about it today. Tell one friend, Hey, this is what I'm listening to right now. Share it with a friend and it makes such a huge, huge difference. And I really, really, really appreciate it.

And so does my whole team. In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Dr. Judith Joseph. She is a board certified psychiatrist, chair of the Women in Medicine Initiative for Columbia University. Dr. Judith is a clinical assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU. Landgone Medical Center.

She recently received a U. S. Congress Proclamation Award from the U. S. House of Representatives for her social media advocacy and research in mental health. Dr. Judith's research in women's mental health focuses on postpartum depression and perimenopausal mood symptoms. And we're going to talk about depression and mental health.

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, right? It affects more than 8 percent of American adults each year. A lot of them are parents. And what leads to it? What leads to a depressive episode? How can we ward it off? And Dr. Chudis is going to share the four most important steps to prevent depression and so much more.

And listen to the end for what to ask when interviewing a therapist. I know you're going to get so much out of this episode. I love talking to Dr. Judith. Join me at the table as I talk to Dr. Judith Joseph.

Well, Dr. Judith, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Parenting podcast. I'm so glad you're here. Thank you for having me.

[00:03:15] Dr. Judith Joseph: I'm excited to be here.

[00:03:17] Hunter: Yeah. I'm, I'm excited to have you here too. I think it's been a while or maybe a long time since we've talked about moms and depression and parents and depression.

So I'm looking forward to diving into that and getting the information that you're going to give us from that because I know you have a wealth there. Uh, but I, before we do that, I would just love to dive in as always to your own upbringing and kind of what. Brought you to this, but I know, understand that you're an immigrant from Trinidad and you came to the United States when you were four years old and you were the child of a pastor.

So you're kind of in that religious zone. So just curious about kind of like what was your own upbringing like and how did that affect you in some ways?

[00:04:06] Dr. Judith Joseph: I always say that I'm the, that my dad was the first therapist in the family because growing up in a pastor's home, you always kind of like linger after church and you listen to people's stories and they're waiting to talk to your dad and he was really a counselor.

Him and my mother and, um, you know, in, in Christianity, especially in some communities, people have a tendency to explain mental health issues as being somewhat spiritual. For example, uh, you know, people who have, um, psychotic symptoms sometimes. It's explained as being spirits or being caused by the devil.

Um, and other times, things like depression or anxiety, uh, are, are, are often attributed to things that are like spiritual weaknesses. And so, I know that's not everyone's experience, but growing up in a Caribbean American community, that was you know, some, I saw that a lot. And, um, I, I think that my interest in studying Mental health and science at the same time, um, was, I think, inspired by my experiences in the church.

Um, and so I also studied religion when I went to college and challenged a lot of the things that I was taught, um, as a child growing up in the religious community. Uh, when I studied science and biology and chemistry and so forth. Um, so I think that having that unique background is interesting. I apologize.

There's an alert going on. I don't know if you hear it. 

[00:05:44] Hunter: I can hear it a little. Dr. Judith is in the hospital right now as we're speaking.

[00:05:52] Dr. Judith Joseph: No, it's a, it's a, it's a clinic, but there's an alert outside. So I apologize for that sound. 

[00:05:57] Hunter: If you need to leave, if the building's on fire, just go, it's okay. 

[00:06:01] Dr. Judith Joseph: Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. But, but I do think that my unique background allows me to understand people and take into consideration cultures and religion in making my mental health assessments. I, uh, I think that cultural competency is so important because you really want to take into consideration what people, uh, face when they go home because you can, you know, come up with a great treatment plan in your office, but is it doable?

Is it feasible given their backgrounds, given their family dynamics, given their, their culture and their religious beliefs. And, um, and I think that thinking about depression from this lens allows. It helps me to work better with the families that I work with in terms of understanding how they perceive their depressive symptoms, how they perceive who they are, um, in their cultural context, in their communities, and what it means to get treatment, uh, for, for depression in a clinic.

I have to think about all these things when I come up with a treatment plan with my patients.

[00:07:01] Hunter: It sounds like a lot more than just a 10 minute conversation that often happens. Um, were there things, like, in your Christian background that you had to kind of, like, move beyond that, that were kind of leftover ideas that were holding you back as you discovered, as you dove into sort of science and psychiatry?

[00:07:22] Dr. Judith Joseph: I think that, um, allowing myself to accept that two things can be true, right? You can have faith, you can have beliefs, and you can also incorporate evidence based medicine into your, your treatment plan, into your life, into thinking about, um, how you want to approach your mental health journey. So I think that really allowing space for two things to happen was really important for me, and it helped me To reconcile that, okay, there are some elements of my, of my faith or what I was taught that I'm going to take with me and other things that I'm not going to weigh as heavily.

Um, and I think that that having, you know, my experience, my personal experience with this, um, allows me to have more, I think, more empathy with certain, um, patients given their unique backgrounds or their unique perspectives. 

[00:08:22] Hunter: I mean, it's interesting, I think that sometimes we can be so black and white about things, you know, like it's either this or that, and we get so polarized about things, whereas, you know, at least in, you know, the tradition that I study in the Buddhist tradition, like, It is both true, at the same time, that you are, you know, you are Part of the universe, right?

Like you are, you are made of the same stuff as everything. You're in the same universal soup. There's no separation between you or, you know, the separation between yourselves and the rest of the world is really a nebulous thing. The idea of that is all, um, you know, so there's this idea of like no self.

And that's actually like kind of true, right? Like there's not any place we can say that there is a separation between me and the rest of the world. Yet at the same time. Uh, it is also true that I'm a human being going out into the world to study separate needs and interests and from everybody else, right?

Like, so both of those things are true. It just is like, kind of like these different lenses we're looking at the world with. And that's kind of what I'm hearing from you with the idea of the sort of a more spiritual or religious lens versus that evidence based treatment lens.

[00:09:36] Dr. Judith Joseph: Mm hmm. Yeah, absolutely. I think that that's how I have made peace with the conflict, right, and I think that if, if one can make peace with that and say two things can be true or two things can exist at the same time, then I think you can move forward more easily and, um, you know, more at peace with yourself.

[00:10:04] Hunter: Yeah, you've done a lot of moving forward. You have so many accolades on your, like, list of things that you've done. You're on boards, you all these different things. You know, you have a business degree, you're you're a psychologist, psychiatrist, sorry. All the things, right? And, uh, so I'm wondering, like, were you, um, were you in a very achievement oriented culture?

Like, was your upbringing very achievement oriented for you as a kid? Is that something that you work with?

[00:10:30] Dr. Judith Joseph: Like many Caribbean American households, absolutely. I do a lot of content on my social media about, uh, children of immigrants and high functioning depression because, and I, and I'm constantly amazed at how many people are like, Oh, this sounds like the African Hustle, or this sounds like an Eastern European Hustle, or this sounds like, you know, a Japanese Hustle.

I'm like, you know what, there's a little bit of this in a lot of different cultures, um, that when you are raised as the child of immigrants in a country where you have all these opportunities. Then you, it's, it's almost like you're expected to go above and beyond to take advantage of these opportunities.

And I create content around this because I think that we often get lost in the accolades and the achievements and We get so busy trying to find, you know, what's the next best thing we can achieve? What's the next thing that we can accomplish that we lose meaning? We, we, we start to find ourselves feeling empty.

At least that's what my experience has been. And so I started putting out content on this a year ago and it just went viral. So obviously it's not just me. And I talk a lot about scarcity trauma as well online. Like a lot of my reels have to do with, you know, coming from places where you don't have a lot of resources and then you find yourself, uh, Putting off pleasure, putting off joy so that you can make sure that you, you're never in a place where you don't have enough.

And, um, that content also went viral. So I think that having an understanding of how your background and how your ancestors and their beliefs play a role in your day to day gives you, gives me so much clarity. I think it gives a lot of people more clarity as to. You know, what they want to do with their lives, how they want to feel present in their lives, what really matters, and I think that having that holistic approach allows you to see way past, okay, do you just need therapy?

Do you just need medication? Do you need X, Y, Z? Really thinking about your ancestors, your, the intergenerational trauma, um, and you know, all of these things that brought you to who you are today helps you to gain clarity as to what you really need to live a fuller life, a more present life.

[00:13:02] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

Yeah, I, I couldn't agree more. I think that understanding. Understanding our background and upbringing and our ancestors and all those things, those are key to understanding us. I mean, because we are a continuation of that, right? Like, my temper is a continuation of my father's temper. I could, like, see it very clearly.

So, understanding his trauma and where that temper came from for him was just so important for me to be able to forgive him and move on and things like that. I mean That's really interesting. I've never heard that term before. Scarcity trauma, that, you know, you don't have a lot of resources. You're putting off pleasure and, and joy.

That's really, it's fascinating because a lot of times I'm, I'm thinking about the idea that we're so many women and moms in particular and parents, but But women are often like, we're doing all the things, like, even if it's not achievement in like, I'm on the board of this and I'm getting another degree, it's an achievement in the household or in the community and I'm doing all these things and checking all these things off the list.

And then when I get to this place where all these things are done on vacation, then I'm going to be. Present with my child, and then I'm going to be able to enjoy my life, and I'm going to be able to really be there and soak it in. But because of this kind of achievement orientation, right, like we're always going, going, going, and doing, doing, doing, we get to that place, and your brain doesn't know how to do it, because it's been training to just go, go, go, and do, do, do.

And that sort of like sounds like almost like a version of that scarcity trauma, like there's

[00:14:54] Dr. Judith Joseph: It's like an addiction to wins. And then once you get the wins, you don't feel it anymore. You know, you become numb to it. So when you finally say, when X happens, I'll be happy, then you're not happy. And like, we know this from research that if you're, if you have this like delayed, delayed happiness mindset, like I won't be happy until X happens.

Then even when the X happens, you're not happy. So then you're looking for the next best thing. And I found that with Scarcity trauma, um, with a lot of children of immigrants or even immigrants themselves, you know, when they come here, they save, they have the money, they buy things, but then they won't, like, wear the things.

Like, you'll save up for the nice furniture, but then no one can sit in the nice furniture room. Everyone has to sit in the regular room. So then you don't really enjoy the things that you worked so hard for, and then you're kind of like constantly on to the next best thing, and then you don't really enjoy that thing.

So, uh, with my clients, I try and have them challenge that. thought that, okay, any minute now, things will go away. Any minute now, I won't have resources. And, you know, really try and shift the behavior to see if they can, like, enjoy the things that they have. Like, what, so what's the worst thing that can happen if you sit on the nice furniture?

What's the worst thing that can happen if you pull out the shoes that are still in the box with the tag on, you know? Um, you know, just test that a bit. And, um, and when they push back on those. thoughts that, you know, things any minute now will go away and they actually engage in behaviors where they're, you know, finding these experiences pleasurable.

It shifts the way that they behave in the world. It shifts the mindset and they start feeling more present and less numb and have less anhedonia, which is that like lack of feeling that lack of pleasure. It's a fancy word that means a lack of joy that a lot of the clients that I treat experience, they'll say like, Oh, I'm not depressed, but I feel, uh, I feel, uh, meh.

You know, I'm not really feeling anything, right? And I have to remind them that that's a, that could be a symptom of a, of depression. You know, we see anhedonia in a lot of things. We see it in substance abuse. We see it in schizophrenia. We see it in depression. So you may not identify as feeling depressed or having a sad mood, but you may say that I don't really feel much of anything or I don't enjoy things as much.

And that's something that's very important to pay attention to. But a lot of people walk through the world feeling. Meh, or bleh, or uh, and you know, how do you describe that to a doctor? You're not going to go into a doctor and say, I feel meh. You're going to be feeling very meh today. Right.

[00:17:35] Dr. Judith Joseph: Like most doctors would be like, well, at least you're not feeling depressed, you know, on to the next.

But I think it's a really important to get that word out there in everyday language. And hedonia, like that meh and that lack of pleasure is so important to identify and address. Because it's a, it's a, it could be a sign of, of depression, so it's one of those sneaky signs that if you don't know it exists, then you don't think you have to do anything about it.

[00:18:01] Hunter: I mean, what, it sounds like what you were saying is this idea that we have to Do the thing that's uncomfortable and interrupt these patterns. And what you're doing with your clients is like, you're saying, push past, like, cause these, the things or the patterns that we do, they, they become just ingrained, this is just how we're living very habitually, we're repeating kind of the same patterns, and so you're, you're trying to kind of be.

a little bit of a pattern interrupter and just get them to, to interrupt that pattern that, that one time and do that uncomfortable thing of maybe even enjoying it, which probably feels uncomfortable the first time. And then, and then that can be a catalyst for change.

[00:18:39] Dr. Judith Joseph: Yes, because I think that for a lot of my clients, they are not very in touch with their feelings.

So, you know, like that thought feeling behavior triangle with cognitive behavioral therapy. If you, if you're not, if you need a lot more practice with identifying feelings and thoughts, then sometimes Changing the behavior kind of pushes things in the right direction, you know, like, so I, for some people, I'm very like behavior oriented, let's try doing and then see how it pushes the feeling and the thoughts and changes the feeling and thoughts versus, you know, let's spend a lot of time on the thinking part or the feeling part.

And sometimes I do have to spend a lot of time on the feeling part because people sometimes numb themselves. So that they can get through painful experiences or, um, or avoid processing painful experiences. to do. And so for others, I have to spend a lot of time on the feeling, right? Like, how did it feel?

You know, when you go back to that moment, how did it, how did you feel? You know, like, so I think that it depends on the individual, but the behavior and like engaging in a behavior that seems taboo or uncomfortable, like enjoying both that pair of shoes or like wearing that dress out that you've had in the closet forever that you'll probably never wear because you know, you, you, you hold onto it because you're either afraid that you'll lose.

Resources or that you're, maybe there's a deep sense of unworthiness, you know, I try and, um, try and, uh, approach things that way. So everyone's different and, um, and, and everyone needs a different approach based on, you know, what you learn about them through the therapeutic work. And sometimes the behavior itself can change.

The thought and the feelings.

[00:20:22] Hunter: I like that kind of, you know, go for where the, the change can happen. And I'm wondering, I mean, one of the things we talk about here a lot, you know, we sold hoodies that said, self care is not selfish. It is your responsibility, right? Because it's so hard, it's so ingrained in us in this culture.

In this sort of patriarchal culture that moms especially are, that we, that mom's needs come last, kid's needs come first, so they put everybody before themselves as far as their needs go. Is that, does that mindset, is that something that can contribute to some kind of the, like falling into these depressive states or an anhedonia state?

[00:21:06] Dr. Judith Joseph: Yes, I see this with, uh, working mothers a lot, they are so busy and, you know, sometimes culturally it is taught to put your child first and also, you know, some religions as well and then, you know, just the way that society is at times sets You up for feeling guilty if you put your needs first, and I think that when you internalize that guilt, you know, sometimes the message that you're sending to your child is that you have to put others needs before your own.

And do you want your children, you know, repeating that pattern? You know, not to put more guilt on a mom's plate, but when you, when you send that message, Um, they may internalize that and go on and put other people's needs first. So I try and shift things and rather than having, you know, the mom have a lot of self blame, just really, you know, work with them in terms of what are their treatment goals.

So, you know, if your goal is to feel better, to feel less depleted, to be less exhausted, then maybe try listening to your body, you know, how you treat. How teachers, um, show kids the face chart and they're like, you know, this is a sad face. This is an angry face. This is how you know you're in pain, you know, go back to the basics.

Are you, how are you feeling? You know, like, how do you feel in your body when you take on another project at work? When you, you know, you really don't want to, but you feel like out of guilt because you let, you had to leave early the last week because your kid was sick and you feel like you have to prove yourself, you know, like, does that feel good?

You know, like, is that going to feed you? Is that going to nourish you? Um, or are you going to feel even more depleted? So I really. You know, these are the, some of the clients that I say, listen to your body, listen to how you feel. If your body's saying no, sometimes it's good to listen to it, right? Like we tell kids, you know, if you feel your tummy hurting, go to the bathroom cause it could be a sign that you have to go to the bathroom.

Well, some of the working mothers that I. Uh, have as clients, they'll work through a lunch break. They'll work through a day without even going to the bathroom. Right? Like, so listen to your body and sometimes listening to your body tells you about what you should be doing. It points you in the right direction.

Like, okay, my body's. In pain or my body's achy, I need to take a break. I need to rest. I need to eat, you know, I need to drink water. Um, so, so with some of my clients, I spend a lot of time with that. Like, let's listen to how your body feels because if you're busy and you're not accustomed to listen to your needs, then you ignore it.

So just take the time to listen to your body. And I use mindfulness with some of my clients so that they sit still and they're really paying attention to one thing. And they can learn a lot just from being still, and it's hard for some people just to be still. If you're constantly on the go, and you're constantly busy, and you're constantly doing for others, sitting still is like, very foreign to you, you know?

Um, and so, really, what is the culture, what is the legacy you want to leave behind, if you want to think about it that way? Um, how, how do you want your children to be treated? Because If your, if your mindset is, I have to do this for my kids, they come first. Well, then reframe things. You know, do you want your children to repeat that pattern?

Um, because you probably learned that pattern from somewhere. It could have been your own parents that your own mother who was, you know, putting the kids first and ignoring her needs. And, and is that something that you really want your children to model? And that's for the client who's very much like. I want my kids to have this and everything's for them.

So then you reframe them, you know? Use the kids as a motivator. Correct,

[00:24:52] Hunter: yeah. Okay, well, I think that's such an important message and I really appreciate that. But I want to like kind of go there and think about like, if a mom or dad is depressed or is You know, anxious and how does that parental depression affect kids?

How does it affect kids in the short term and in the long term? And maybe it's different at different ages. I bet it is. I'm sure.

[00:25:19] Dr. Judith Joseph: There was, there was a long, um, there was a campaign a couple of years ago about postpartum depression where, um, you know, they, we have to be careful cause we don't want to shame mothers if they're feeling, you know, depressed and like, Oh, like, you know, your, your kid's not going to bond with you.

Right. Like, I think that we have to be very, very careful. So, specifically with, with, with postpartum depression, education is, goes a long way. So explaining to mothers that during your third trimester and after birth, hormonal fluctuations can lead to symptoms. Like, you know, low mood, crying, uh, you know, not feeling hopeful, uh, tearfulness, irritability, poor concentration, low energy, the symptoms of depression, right?

That these are hormonal changes that, that may lead to worsened, uh, functioning, right? Um, so explaining goes a long way because I think that especially with women who go through postpartum depression, there's a lot of guilt. Like, why can't I do this for my child? Why am I not as happy as the other mothers?

There's a lot of that going on, which is also a symptom of depression, by the way, right? Guilt and, um, and shame. Uh, you know, really educating them about this and about ways to feel supported, I think, is very important. So if you don't know what you're dealing with, right, if you're in a dark room and you don't know what you're dealing with, you will panic.

But if you turn the light on and you see what, you know what you're dealing with, then there's less anxiety. So educate, and that's why psychoeducation is so important. When you know what you're dealing with. Then you feel more clarity, you have more clarity, you're less anxious. So I think in terms of, you know, postpartum education is important.

Um, you know, with major depressive disorder, uh, with my clients, what I do is I draw a family tree in my office. So we try to look for. You know, past history of depression to understand this so that they know that this is not their fault, right? Because again, guilt, shame and blame are symptoms of major depressive disorder.

Um, so we look for symptoms and signs in the family. So they may say, well, you know, my parents never talked about it. And I said, well, what was your, what was your dad like when they came home? Oh, like they were, they were grumpy. They'd go straight to the fridge and knock some bears back. And it's like, okay, maybe that could be, you know, irritability could be a sign of depression in men.

You know, a lot of men won't talk about it. But it's possible that that was a self medicating. So like, you know, getting some clarity about that is helpful. And also looking at trauma histories and seeing if there were a history of trauma in the family or in the individual that makes you more likely to develop a depression.

So all of this is important because time and time again, when I have patients who are depressed, they will blame themselves like, why can't I just be this for my family? Why can't I just do this? And it's a very important. Explain depression. Like this is a medical condition, right? If you have asthma, if you have diabetes, no one's going to be like, what's wrong with you?

How did you get asthma? You know, like, why didn't you do this? And that it's like, Oh, you know, this is what happens with your lungs. It may be running a family. It could be an environment. But, but we don't do that enough with depression. So the person walks around feeling bad that they have depression and then they blame themselves and then they don't get help and they don't tell you when the depression is getting scary and they're having scary thoughts because there's so much blame.

So I really like to do a lot of education around depression and explain risk factors and family history and hormonal components and biological components so that the person knows that. Okay. This is something that's not my fault and then we can do something about it. So I spent a lot of time on that because I do spend a lot of time on psycho education, um, with my patients around depression specifically.

[00:29:25] Hunter: Um, yeah. Okay. Well, I mean, sounds like it's obviously it's affecting the family. It's affecting the mom, but in, in almost, and it sounds like kind of what I'm hearing from you is that almost. If you're in that place, you have to take a moment to, to not be considering all the larger implications, but kind of just offering yourself some compassion in order to move forward is what the message I'm getting from you, from what you just said.

[00:29:50] Dr. Judith Joseph: Yes. Because, you know, it's like, It's just so interesting how we view mental health issues compared to other conditions, like if you were diagnosed with hypertension. You know, like no one would say to you, like, have you considered how your hypertension affects your, your family? You know, like, yeah. Did you consider that?

Like everyone in the house has to now eat a low salt diet and watch what they, you know, it's like, it'd be like, no, like I, it runs my family. Like I'm getting older, like this happened and this happened and like, I don't have access to this, you know, food. And, but with depression, it's just like. Oh, like, but you, you know, like, you got to see how it affects your kids, you know, like, it's almost like, oh, like, it's your fault.

Right. And so I have to be, I really want to be careful about that because. The guilt and the blame and the letting your, letting people down part is just, um, something that we see as a symptom of depression. So we have to be careful how we talk about it because then you're adding to that symptomatology, right?

And the, and the stigma and the getting in the way of help.

[00:30:52] Hunter: Sorry. No, I was just going to say, it's like a downward spiral, it sounds like. It's like feeding itself. Like if we start to get into these larger issues of blame or. Effects on the family. Stay

tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts. Right after this break,

[00:31:17] Dr. Judith Joseph: one of my skits coming out is like, what if we talked about depression, like everything else? Like, you know, you go to work and you're like, I have to get a colonoscopy next week. And then you're like. Oh, yeah. I got my, my antidepressants got switched because it wasn't working. Like, what if we talked about it that way versus like, you know, how we talk about it now?

Um, it being some defect or so forth, like depression is so common. It's such a common condition. And if we decrease the stigma and people can talk about it, then I think we'll have less rates of self harm, less rates of suicidality, less rates of self medicating. depression, um, and, you know, less substance abuse because people feel like, you know, if they talk about it, then there's, there's something wrong with them that people will then blame them for what's happening with their kids and all that stuff.

And then, and then when we talk about How, um, you know, depression affects your life, I talk about it in terms of, well, what do you want to achieve? What are your goals? Um, and I think that if there's, if the patient, the client is a part of the treatment team, they have better success. So if they come in saying like, Oh, I want to be able to enjoy things again, or I want to.

You know, be able to spend more time with my family and really enjoy and be an active member of my family or, um, you know, I want to do better at work or I want to find a job or, you know, like we have to talk about their goals, um, because then if we're all working towards a goal, a common goal, then there's a better chance of success versus, you know, if I just think about my goal, well, you Okay, if I'm thinking about it from a doctor's perspective, I just want you to no longer have depression, and then like, you know, then like, I could say, check your cure and move on, but that's not how we think about it, because these are things that you have to manage, um, just like the hypertension, just like diabetes or asthma, you manage it.

[00:33:11] Hunter: I mean, that sounds great. You're obviously, you're tapping into that intrinsic motivation rather than, you know, making it sort of this top down thing. So what are ways that parents can prevent depressive episodes?

[00:33:26] Dr. Judith Joseph: So I think that knowing the, the, your, your child's baseline is really important. So if your child is someone who's very active.

and they're no longer active, then you want to have this environment where they can openly come to you, right? It's not like you have the one talk and you're good. Uh, if, if you have this culture in the home where talking about your feelings and about your wins and your losses, right, your perceived wins, your perceived failures is encouraged, then I think You'll know what the signs are with your child.


[00:34:06] Hunter: So yeah, I was, um, so the, those are ways to prevent it with kids, which I love that. I want to hear about that, but I also was, I guess I was asking like, how can we prevent it in ourselves? Well,

[00:34:20] Dr. Judith Joseph: I do, I do think that we all have, you know, things that make us very excited to keep going. So like, again, the behaviors that, uh, that motivate us, um, you know, it could be for me, it's exercise.

I know that I have to stick to a routine or else I'm cranky and irritable. And so, you know, everyone has their, their routine, but for me, it's exercise for others. It could be Um, you know, reading, so like sometimes engaging in the behaviors that keep you afloat versus waiting to feel like you want to do it, um, is so important, right?

If you, if you know you have a history of depression and that when you become depressed, you don't read as much, then When you're starting to notice that you're not reading as much, really important, start reading again, right? Don't wait to feel ready to read. Don't wait till you feel like you want to read.

Engage in the behavior because again, sometimes shifting and doing that behavior shifts the thoughts and the feelings versus the other way, right? Like the cognitive behavioral therapy model is change the thought and change the feeling and then the behavior, but sometimes actually engaging in that behavior shifts at all.

So that's one thing, you know, what is that one thing that when you're not depressed, you feel like doing, you got to do more of that, right? Increase those points of joy, um, and routines in terms of sleep. So important. Um, this, this past week we had, uh, well, I mean, when you have daylight savings changes, um, that one hour, you In sleep, that, that change in your wake and sleep cycle can really shift everything.

So I encourage my, my patients and the people I work with to stick to a set sleep and wake time and try your best not to disrupt that. Um, so sleep hygiene is important, minimizing the amount of caffeine. Decreasing the amount of exposure to light, um, after nine, and, you know, keeping your room cool, not scrolling or checking emails before you go to bed, um, preserving your sleep because sleep is so sacred, treating it in a sacred way because for us in mental health, Um, looking at changes in sleep can predict a lot of things.

It can predict a manic episode, predict a depressive, um, episode and so forth and anxiety as well. I'm

[00:36:40] Hunter: sorry. Now I'm going to say that's interesting though, I think cause sleep, sleep is so, so important. You just were talking about how important sleep is. Let's keep it secret. But I think it's really interesting when it comes to parents and especially when you're thinking about parents of young kids or parents of infants and parents of toddlers and that you can be, I know a lot of parents in the audience are torn.

Between, oh my gosh, I want to, I don't want to maybe sleep train my kid, yet I'm, I'm really falling fast because of this lack of sleep is hitting me incredibly hard. And for some parents, it hits them really, really much harder than others. So it's really, it's kind of interesting to kind of think about how this is something that parents are weighing is the, once again, the needs of their child, which a lot of people feel really, really strongly about.

You're going to serve on both sides of this versus your needs to, to hold sleep sacred.

[00:37:35] Dr. Judith Joseph: Very sacred, especially if you have a history of depression or, um, generalized anxiety or panic. Sleep is so important. Sleep is medicine, you know? Uh, so if, if that's something, if you have that history, you, you'd want to take that into consideration when you're considering sleep training your child, because it could literally be your lifeline, you know?

Um, and then diet is important. There's a, A field, uh, called nutritional psychiatry where there are these evidence based foods that are known to support your brain, uh, certain types of fish and green leafy veggies that you know, at Harvard, there are several studies done where people on these types of diets for a consistent period have better brain functioning and report lower, um, anxiety and depression.

So you can feed your brain, you know, food can be medicine as well. So those are, you know, ways that you can support yourself and, and this is outside of, you know, therapy and, and, uh, medication. We haven't even gone into those areas as yet. Yeah. Well,

[00:38:43] Hunter: I just want to recap here for the listener, cause this is like, first you talked about exercise.

I mean, I. It's so, so vital. I mean, it gives you that boost. For me anyway, it's incredible. Sleep, exercise, sleep, and diet. These are not, no surprise, right? And sometimes we can just see, so, you know, we can forget about them. But the one thing you talked about even before we talked about sleep and diet was like reading and it's not reading specifically, but like something that gives you joy.

And I love that that is really included in this list. Yay.

[00:39:14] Dr. Judith Joseph: You've got to deal with the activities that give you joy, even if you don't feel like it. Yeah. Because when you are feeling depressed and stressed, you don't feel like it, right? That anhedonia creeps in, uh, and so engaging in the activity pushes back on that.

[00:39:30] Hunter: And what about, and I want to talk about, you know, what people should consider when thinking about pharmacological interventions, but what about other sort of natural remedies in some ways, including meditation and mindfulness meditation? Because I know the studies have shown that it decreases anxiety, decreases depression, increases well being. What do you recommend around those?

[00:39:51] Dr. Judith Joseph: I think that if you are ready for that, please try it. I mean, it's, it's cost effective. It just requires an open mind. And, you know, yes, it may sound loose, like mindfulness sounds like granolary and all that, but it's so important. And it's even incorporated into mindfulness.

Uh, a type of therapy called dialectical behavioral therapy that is targeted at helping people support their relationships and feelings of hopelessness and mood dysregulation, and it works. Um, so I think that if you are open minded and willing to try mindfulness techniques, even a little bit a day, just start with like five, 10 minutes a day, and then, you know, increase as you feel comfortable.

That can help you with anxiety and sometimes depression, um, and, and those skills will help you throughout your lifetime. Um, and then you can mirror that for your kids. Some of the schools that I work with in New York start the day with mindfulness because they know that children who are better regulated in terms of their emotions will learn better.

Uh, they'll be, they'll have better behavioral control. They'll have more. Um, control over how they react to, uh, stressful stimuli. So, um, if you can incorporate that into your daily routine, that would work wonders for you, I think. Um, and then there's therapy. So depression and anxiety, uh, depending on, you know, what access you have to therapy, you know, some people don't have a therapist for miles, so consider, you know, teletherapy and when you're interviewing your therapist, you want to ask them about their qualifications.

You want to ask them about their comfort with dealing with anxiety and depression, you know, what's their success rate, what are their modalities, what do they use, um, and really interview the therapist, um, because. Not all therapists are equal. Some therapists are more comfortable treating kids. Others are more comfortable with adults, right?

So you want to ask those questions because, you know, I've, I've seen this so many times where people start a therapy and then they feel defeated because they're like, Oh, the therapy didn't work out. So I guess therapy is not for me. It's not the case. There are many different types of therapies. There are different modalities.

There are different therapists out there. Um, and so just because you don't have success with one doesn't mean that therapy is not for you. There are different types of therapy. So if you're someone who has maybe more like, um, mood dysregulation and anger issues, you may want to consider something like dialectical behavioral therapy.

If you're someone who has a lot of anxiety, you may have to use a different type of approach and have more of a cognitive behavioral therapy. Um, some people aren't ready for structured therapies and they just want to open up to someone and a supportive psychotherapy is appropriate. Um, so, you know, you really want to know that there are different types of therapies.

Others don't want to do one on one at all. And they're comfortable with, with group therapy and, um, you know, there are online group therapies and also therapy has to be within your budget. So if you know that you, um, cannot afford therapy and you feel resentful, you know, maybe it's not the right thing for you right then.

You may want to look at Laura. Um, cheaper options or more affordable options, or wait until you get on a sliding scale plan, right? There are a lot of things to think about, you know, I, I think that saying therapy is for everyone, um, is, can be challenging because not everyone can afford therapy and not everyone has access to therapy, so you want to, um, take that into consideration.

[00:43:45] Hunter: So much to consider. I mean, I think what I'm hearing from you is like this, the overarching message is that this matters. This matters a lot. And, and we didn't even go into all the ramifications or whatever, why this matters. We can just say it matters because, you know, you as a person matter, right? Like you as a listener, you matter.

If you are feeling, if you're not feeling joy, if you're feeling meh in life, if you're feeling sad, if you're feeling in a hole. This matters enormously. And yeah, your happiness affects everybody's happiness around you, right? And et cetera, like our, our emotions are contagious. Um, so this is important, right?

This is, this is important and this matters. It's kind of the overarching. Message I think I'm getting from you, Dr.

[00:44:34] Dr. Judith Joseph: Judith. And, and your story is unique. And so, you know, think about your individual uniqueness and your own needs. And, and if you're working with someone and you don't feel heard, then listen to that and validate that and know that there are many options.

You know, just because one didn't work out for you doesn't mean that there's nothing

[00:44:58] Hunter: for you. Well, obviously there's so much more we can say about this. There's so much more to talk about. Um, I really appreciate you taking the time to come on the Mindful Parenting Podcast. It's been a great pleasure. Uh, is there anything else you'd like to leave the listener with or, and do you wanna share where people can find you?

Definitely share your Instagram handle with all your awesome skits and reels that are

[00:45:27] Dr. Judith Joseph: great. Yes, you can follow me at DrJudithJoseph on Instagram and TikTok and you can sign up for my newsletter because I have a lot of weekly tips and book suggestions so you can learn more there.

[00:45:45] Hunter: Thank you so much.

Again, this has been a pleasure. I'll let you go back to the hospital in NYC, or the clinic, sorry, in NYC, and back to your, back to your workday. Uh, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Parenting podcast.

[00:46:01] Dr. Judith Joseph: Thank you for having me.

[00:46:11] Hunter: Hey, I hope you appreciated this episode. I hope it developed some insight and understanding for you or those you love. You know, I think this is such an important issue to talk about, so I, I hope it is helping. What are some good seeds for you today? And this week and beyond. And I hope you're doing well.

I hope you're getting moments of peace and ease and all of that stuff. If the podcast is supporting your life, please support this podcast by just telling one friend about it today. That would be a great support. My word of mouth is the best. So um, wishing you a beautiful week, wishing you peace, wishing you ease, wishing you rest.

Good sleep, all the good things, and I will see you again next week. Thank you so much for being here. Namaste.

[00:47:08] Dr. Judith Joseph: I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better. And just, I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse. It's been really a positive influence in our lives, so definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential. You get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like you're connecting more with them and not feeling like you're yelling all the time or you're like, why isn't this working? I would say definitely do it. It's so, so worth it.

It'll change you. No matter what age someone's child is, it's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working. Or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective to shift everything in your parenting.

[00:48:11] Hunter: Are you frustrated by parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting Membership. You will be joining Hundreds of members who have discovered the path of mindful parenting and now have confidence and clarity in their parenting. This isn't just another parenting class.

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique, lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting, connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to mindful parenting course.

MindfulParentingCourse. com to add your name to the waitlist so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment. I look forward to seeing you on the inside. MindfulParentingCourse.com.

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