Knowing the Difference: Depression and Change


The theologian Reinhold Neibuhr wrote the first version of one of the most famous prayers in America: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Though most often associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, this prayer is useful advice, whether or not you’re religious, and whether or not you have any sort of mental illness.

With depression, in particular, it’s important to take stock over what degree of power you have to change your life. Sometimes, we have very little that we can change. Other times, we find ourselves in a position where, if we try hard, we can change almost all of the external factors contributing to our depression. Randy Paterson Ph.D. at Psychology Today calls this “Column A” and “Column B,” but he also says that it’s more of a continuum. For most of us, it’s in between.

The things that we have the most power to change are the same things that a depressed patient might be advised to do in therapy. Most of this change starts with our own bodies. This includes things like:

  • My diet
  • Whether I exercise
  • What I do with our free time
  • The way I rely on technology
  • My depression treatment plan

It also includes factors within our own minds, such as:

  • My expectations of other people
  • The values I choose to prioritize

Most of the things that we absolutely cannot change are locked in the past. This may include things like:

  • The opportunities I’ve let pass
  • My relationships with people who are now gone out of my life forever
  • Chronic conditions I suffer from
  • Genetic factors contributing to my mental illness

As Dr. Paterson says, we’ll never be able to get rid of everything that’s “causing” our depression. But because a depressed state usually arises out of a number of factors working together, we might be able to eat around the edges of these “big” problems until they become emotionally manageable.

In the middle of the “two columns” are lots of problems that are somewhere in the middle. These are things that we theoretically can change, but not without enduring great pain and stress; it often isn’t feasible to think about changing these things right away. This can include things like:

  • My romantic partner/living situation
  • My choice of career/level of education
  • My choice of doctor/therapist
  • My relationship with my family, friends, and colleagues

Here’s where Neibuhr’s “wisdom” comes in. Are these really things you can change, and if you can, would you want to? What emotional and financial state would you want to be in before you quit your job? Would spending more time with your parents make you feel better or worse? If you conclude that a source of stress is going to be part of your life for the foreseeable future, that may help you learn to accept it. If you decide that something needs to change, think about creating a long-term plan or goal, like, “I want to move out before the end of the year.”

If you’re not sure, continue to think about it now and then. Our lives are changing all the time, even when we don’t realize it, so you might come back around to an issue and see an open door that you didn’t see before.

Do you or a loved one suffer from depression? See if you qualify for Lincoln’s clinical research study on depression today!

Studies Enrolling at Lincoln Research — July 2016


Lincoln Research is looking for volunteers for several studies exploring different conditions and treatment options. Here are some of the studies we’re conducting right now. This list changes often, so make sure to like us on Facebook or subscribe to our newsletter for updates.

Migraine Studies

We have two different studies looking for volunteers who suffer from migraine headaches. Information on both is here:

Migraine fixed


Bipolar Disorder

We’re also looking for patients with Bipolar Disorder for a study. Information is here:



We’re looking for subjects with depression (Major Depressive Disorder) to volunteer for a new study. You can find more information on our website or check out depression resources on our blog, here.


For our study on schizophrenia, we’re interested in speaking to people who suffer from schizophrenia, caretakers of patients with schizophrenia, and clinicians who treat patients with schizophrenia. You can find more information on our website or call at (401) 305-5200.

If interested in participating in a study, call (401) 305-5200 or contact us using our web form.

How to Accept Mistakes with Depression


Depression often makes one catastrophize, and never more so than when we find ourselves the cause of our own problems. When combined with social anxiety, hearing criticism from your friends and colleagues can feel like a death sentence. This outsized fear of criticism can lead to a desire to do everything perfectly, or not at all.

Being perfect isn’t an option, and withdrawing from activities due to fear can be one of the worst things for your depression, if you make a habit of it. Instead, the best thing you can do is learn to accept your mistakes and deal with criticism head-on. Dr. Susan Heitler at Psychology Today has a series of mantras that will help you put your mistakes in context:

1. Nobody is perfect. You’ve heard this before, and it might not have brought much comfort. Try the more accurate version: “Most people are faking it.” Most of what you see of people is their best side, and even that isn’t perfect.

2. I can admit that I did something wrong. It takes strength to own up to your mistakes; most people who criticize you are just trying to help you with that. You can get ahead of the curve by admitting fault early and without blame.

3. I can learn from my mistakes. Again, criticism (when used properly) is a way of helping you learn from your mistakes. Resolve to learn what you can from your mistake. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll never make a similar mistake again. Learning is a slow process, and the end goal is only improvement–never perfection.

4. My actions are not me. Your mistake does not define you in that moment or afterwards. You are a human being, and nothing you do diminishes or overwrites that. The mistake that you made only represents a small portion of who you are.

There’s no way to insulate yourself against mistakes, and trying too hard is likely to do more bad than good. Instead, you need to live with yourself as a flawed human being–and live in a world that might not always be happy with what you do. Learning to do this is an important step towards getting your depression under control.

Do you or a loved one suffer from depression? See if you qualify for Lincoln’s clinical research study on depression today!

5 Ways to Beat Depression in the Summer


For many people, intense heat can be just as distressing as intense cold, or worse. About ten percent of people whose mental illness is affected by the weather report being more depressed during the summer months.

2015 was the hottest summer on record, and we’re unlikely to see a return to cooler summers anytime soon. As the nation starts to heat up again, here are some tips from Therese Borchard at EverydayHealth on how to beat the summer blues:

1. Get out of the house and into the water.

This is advice you’re likely to hear all through the summer, but it does ring true. Not everyone enjoys the beach equally, but being near water (even if you don’t go swimming) is known to have a calming effect on mood, as well as being a great way to stay cool. Whether or not it involves water, scheduling fun activities is always a good way to break the cycle of depression.

2. Stick to a routine.

This applies both to day and night. If you’re a student, teacher, or other seasonal worker, you might be “free” the whole summer; even if you’re working, holidays and vacations might make your schedule more relaxed. If you find your mood worsening, it might be due to a lack of routine. Daily routine is important, but so is nightly routine–during summer nights, it’s easy to let your sleep schedule fall to ruin, but a regular sleep schedule is one of the best things you can do for your mental health.

3. Stay hydrated.

The best thing for you during the summer is water–or, if not water, a healthy, electrolyte-boosting alternative. You don’t need to measure out how many cups of water to drink each day–just make sure you have water on hand to drink when you’re thirsty.

Remember that both caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration when the body tries to flush the drug out of your body. However, drinking coffee is associated with slightly lower rates of depression, so there’s no need to cut out caffeine if you’re also drinking water.

Diet soda may also be detrimental to mental health, according to one study, possibly because of the use of the artificial sweetener Aspartame. Aspartame hasn’t been strongly linked to any negative mental health, but if you want to play it safe, Diet Pepsi has been reformulated in the past year to no longer include Aspartame.

4. Eat well.

What food do you associate with summer? For many, it’s cookout food–popsicles, ice cream, hamburgers and hot dogs on white bread–and carnival or “beach food” such as fried dough. Eating lots of sugar and processed food might be making you feel worse over the summer.

You can eat for your mental health without punishing yourself with a restrictive diet. Try subbing in some trail mix, seafood, dark chocolate, and occasionally some leafy greens. Salty snacks carry their own health problems if you have too much, but sodium deficiency from sweating can lead to decreased mood as well, so don’t shy away from lightly salted snacks (especially nuts and seeds). The salt may help remind you to hydrate as well.

5. Stay active and engaged.

Just like the winter holidays, the most active weekends of summer can make social interactions seem overwhelming. You might be tempted to just stay in with the A/C or a fan and avoid human contact. However, staying around people–whether in a relaxed or an active setting–is key to beating back depression.

Summer is a good time to figure out what sort of social life you want to have. You might not be much for beach parties, but you may be able to get a few close friends together for a backpacking trick or for some kayaking. This is a great time to learn new skills and see new things. On the days when you aren’t up for staying out in the heat, bring someone to a movie theater or to the mall to stay cool.

Do you or a loved one suffer from depression? See if you qualify for Lincoln’s clinical research study on depression today!

4 Tips for Making it Through Times of Crisis


Even when you strive to keep your life simple, sometimes you can’t avoid everything getting turned upside down. Chances are, at some point you’re going to find yourself facing down difficult choices, where the wrong choice or the wrong answer could lead to poverty, loneliness, or even injury or death.

We all have challenges to overcome, and for those of us who suffer from mental illness, those challenges can often seem insurmountable. Depression and anxiety can make it difficult to make decisions at all, let alone decisions in our best interests. But you can make it through these challenges and come out stronger for them. Professor Jennice Vilhauer at PsychologyToday has four crucial pieces of advice that can help you push through the most difficult situations of your life.

1. Think before you act. It’s good to work out a plan before you respond to a crisis, but even if you aren’t planning, it’s best to take some time before responding to new information. Professor Vilhauer makes the distinction between “reactions”–which are immediate, and based on the emotions of the moment–and “responses,” which are thought out and presented in an appropriate timescale. While you’re making a plan:

2. Plan for the best outcome. This might seem counterintuitive to pessimists, and it is good to have backup plans in case things go wrong. But many people make the mistake of planning for failure, and never planning for success. In truth, the way we act often moves us subconsciously towards the outcome that seems the most likely or most certain. What would the world look like if everything turned out fine? What would you want to do next? These are important questions too.

3. Have a little faith. One of my parents’ favorite phrases when I was a kid was “almost died.” If I ran across the street and a car passed by ten seconds later, I “almost died.” If I flipped my canoe, I “almost died.” If I wasn’t looking and almost hit someone with my bike, I “almost killed” that person. I must have “almost died” a thousand times between the ages of 4 and 12–but I’m still here. Either I’m a miracle child, or “almost died” was just a way of saying that I put myself in slight danger.

If you’re standing at the edge of the cliff, the edge seems closer than when you’re standing the same distance from the edge of a sidewalk. Things always seem harder when the thought of failing is very scary. But the truth is that just because something is high-stakes doesn’t mean it’s beyond your capabilities. It’s just as easy to walk along a cliff as along a sidewalk.

Everyone faces down crises in their lives, and most of them pull through. That said:

4. Don’t assume that the “bad” outcome is the end of the world.

The truth is that everyone fails sometimes. The vast majority of people who lose their jobs get new jobs. The vast majority of people who get dumped are able to move on and find someone else. The vast majority of people who fail a class are still able to graduate. You can do the same.

Keeping things in perspective during times of great stress can be difficult. But you’ll be able to make the best choices if you can hold failure and success in your head at the same time. What would failure really look like? What would success really look like? If you can answer these questions, you can better understand the position you’re in now.

Do you or a loved one suffer from depression? See if you qualify for Lincoln’s clinical research study on depression today!

5 Ways to Overcome Boredom and Apathy

Courtesy of: by nenetus

Courtesy of: by nenetus

Apathy can stem from clinical depression, but it happens to everyone to some extent. People’s interests, habits, and personalities change; as they do, we can become bored with the things that used to interest us. Apathy is a sign that it’s time to make a change; however, apathy sometimes stops us from making those changes.

Leon F. Seltzer Ph.D. at PsychologyToday wrote a lengthy article about apathy, including some important and useful tips for getting the excitement and feeling back into your life. Keep this advice in mind when you feel yourself stuck in an emotional rut.

1. Try to find the source of your apathy. What might seem like a lack of feeling might actually come from a very strong feeling somewhere in your core. Are you feeling guilty about something? Do you feel like you don’t deserve happiness? Have you staked your happiness on some goal you can’t possibly attain? If you can discover a feeling at the root of your emotion, find ways to challenge it.

2. Change up your routine. Habits tend to calcify when we stay in one living situation for a long time. Think of the things you do the same way every day, or every week. Start with your food habits, your exercise routine, and the routes you take to work. Change the little things, and you might shake loose some of the big things that have stalled in your life as well.

3. Look to the past. Think of times when you were feeling better. What did you stop doing? Is there a friend you want to reconnect with? A hobby you want to pick back up? Try something from a nostalgic period in your life and see what feelings it stirs up. At the same time, don’t only look backwards; make sure you’re thinking of your future as well.

4. Stay in the now. The big problem with vowing to “make changes in your life,” in the abstract, is that those changes will stay in the abstract. Instead, think of what you can do at this very moment that won’t bore you. If the TV’s boring you, turn it off. If Facebook is boring you, close out of it. If you feel stuck in your house, go for a walk. Sometimes this is more difficult than it sounds, but if you can get past your own inertia, it can be worth it.

5. See a therapist. If little changes aren’t working, and big changes are beyond your reach, professional help is available. Sometimes, what seems like boredom is actually anhedonia brought on by depression. Anhedonia–an inability to feel pleasure–is one of the main diagnostic criteria for depression. This is an appropriate thing to talk to your doctor about, or to seek a therapist for. You deserve to feel excited about your life.

Do you or a loved one suffer from depression? See if you qualify for Lincoln’s clinical research study on depression today!

Surrender Vs. Acceptance with Depression


There are many forms of surrender in the world–some that turn out good, others bad. We stop treatments, end marriages, leave jobs, switch majors, and abandon projects. We take sick days, break our New Years’ Resolutions, and concede arguments. We decide it’s more important to get six hours of sleep than to make that 9 AM deadline. We write texts and emails, but delete them before sending. Most people’s lives involve some degree of strategic retreat–from year to year, from day to day. We can’t win all the time.

For many people with depression, this drive to give up is inflated to an unhealthy degree. Sometimes, you may want to give something up before it even starts. Often, it’s important to fight that urge–to stick with your intentions even when it’s hard. But, just like anyone else, sometimes you have to know when to surrender. And the way you surrender can be just as important as when to surrender. Toni Bernhard at PsychologyToday calls this “giving in” rather than “giving up.”

One of the most important aspects of “giving in” is to replace self-loathing with self-compassion. You shouldn’t hate yourself from needing a break; you should take a break because you love yourself. For instance, instead of thinking:

“I can’t finish this. I’m useless.”

Instead try and think something like:

“It’s not worth beating myself up when I’m not making progress. I’m going to set this aside for now and relax.”

Another important thing difference is whether or not you’re projecting your surrender into the future, or mistaking a setback for a failure. So instead of thinking:

“I stayed in all weekend. I’ll never make any friends.”

Try to think:

“Making friends isn’t working right now. I’ll need to take care of myself for a bit, and focus on the relationships I have, before I’m ready to pursue new friendships.”

Thirdly, it’s important to accept that change is a part of life, and sometimes “giving in” just means letting go of a status quo that doesn’t work for you anymore. According to Ms. Bernhard, instead of saying:

“I give up on my friends. They don’t understand me or paying attention to me.”

You should say:

“These friendships aren’t working out for me in their current form. It’s not their fault that they don’t understand, but I deserve friends who will be responsive to my needs.”

Sometimes, what seems like failure can be easily reframed as an opportunity to expand your boundaries. There’s no way to make everything easy, or to make sure that everything you try works out the way you want it to. Life comes with its share of disappointments, and that can be especially difficult for the depressed. But you can make sure that your failures don’t come to define your life.

Do you or a loved one suffer from depression? See if you qualify for Lincoln’s clinical research study on depression today!

Five Ways to Live Well with Depression


Sometimes it can feel hard to get away from your depression. As with any illness, sometimes you just want to leave your treatment in the doctor’s (or therapist’s) office and keep it separate from your life. But, like many illnesses, managing depression can be a full-time job. Medication and therapy are very helpful, but the way you live your everyday life can count just as much.

Diana Rodriguez at EverydayHealth has some tips for how to live well every day with depression. These tips may be difficult at first, but it’s not about torturing yourself–it’s about little ways to make your life easier without sacrificing the things that are important to you.

1. Make friends with the mirror. You may have heard “fake it ’til you make it” as a strategy for depression, and this applies even at the most basic level. Practicing smiling in front of the mirror can lift your mood and help you find some things to smile about in real life. And “power posing“–standing before the mirror in a confident pose, such as the “Wonder Woman pose,” with your hands on your hips–is has shown to boost confidence on a neurological level. Try it out! It might seem silly, but even a minute a day of these types of behaviors might be a huge help.

2. Set goals you can achieve. Much has been made of “gamification” as a way of increasing learning and productivity. Games are all about finding an optimal groove of challenge and reward, and this applies to life as well. At the most basic level, all you need to do is break your day down into simple, important, and daily tasks, and rewarding yourself by “checking them off” over the course of the day. There are many smartphone apps that let you manage productivity in this way; I and many people I know use a Bullet Journal for task management.

3. Create a routine. While you’re organizing your task management, you can also take the time to set up a calendar, agenda, or reminder app (Bullet Journals can serve this purpose as well). Daily routines are helpful; it’s much easier to keep yourself from spending all day on the couch when you have some level of structure to adhere to. You don’t need to micromanage every aspect of your day, but when you’re suffering from depression, it’s easy to let time get away from you; get time working for you again.

4. Take care of your body. Your mental health can’t be separated out from what your body’s up to. Diet and exercise are great ways to alleviate your depression, but don’t forget about personal hygiene as well. You don’t need to look a certain way to feel good about yourself, but basic routines such as showering, brushing and flossing, and grooming habits might do more for your self-esteem than you think. And even if you can’t exercise, make sure not to spend too much time sitting down. Smartwatches and other fitness aids sometimes include “stand goals,” reminding you to get on your feet for a few minutes every hour. This is a simple goal that can do a surprising amount for your health.

5. Practice kindness. Just as the body is tied to the brain, your feelings about yourself are connected to the way you treat others. Sometimes depression makes it hard to be nice, and sometimes it makes it easier to be nice to others than to yourself. Allow yourself to just give and receive kindness; if your every day life doesn’t give you many opportunities to be helpful, consider volunteering or donating to a cause that you care about.

Do you or a loved one suffer from depression? See if you qualify for Lincoln’s clinical research study on depression today!

Five Tricks That May Prevent Migraines


For many who suffer from migraine, there seems to be no relief in sight, with or without medication. The onset of your headaches might seem random, but there may be many things that can contribute to–or prevent–migraine headaches. Dr. Shilpi Agarwal at EverydayHealth has shared some tips that may help some people stave off migraines.

1. Avoid triggers. Do you notice any particular factor that links your migraines togerher? It might be too subtle for you to catch up on. Certain foods and substances, in particular, have been linked to migraines, including chocolate and alcohol.

2. Try these supplements. Ask your doctor about vitamin supplements that might help combat migraines. Vitamin B2 and Magnesium are two substances that might be able to fight off migraines. However, be sure not to take them unsupervised, especially magnesium, which can interfere with several other medications.

3. Get a massage. A professional massage is best, but if you can’t get a professional masseuse, recruit a friend. It’ll feel good, and the release of tension might prevent migraines, or make them less severe.

4. Try acupuncture. Many clinicians are suspicious of acupuncture, and it’s tough to say exactly what effect it has on migraines, but it’s proven a huge help to many people. If you aren’t afraid of needles and have access to an acupuncturist, it might be worth a shot.

6. Reduce stress. Mental and emotional stress may be one of the biggest precursors of migraines. And just like many symptoms of poor health, there’s plenty that you can do to reduce excess stress. Try to simplify aspects of your daily routine, meditate, and stay physically active. If certain relationships or obligations are causing you lots of stress, consider whether they may be more trouble than they’re worth. Some stress is good, but too much stress can wreak havoc on the body and mind, including migraines.

Migraine is a recurrent condition, and there’s no “cure” that’s guaranteed to work. However, you are not powerless against your migraines. Try these tips and others to see what works for you and your migraine in particular.

Do you or a loved one suffer from Migraine? See if you may qualify for Lincoln Research’s study on Migraine today!

Current Studies at Lincoln Research


Lincoln Research is a clinical research site dedicated to high-quality patient care. We specialize in research of psychiatric conditions such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), but have conducted studies in a wide variety of areas. If you’re interested in participating in a study, but none of our current studies interest you, be sure to check back in on our study listings page every couple of months to see what’s new.

Here are the studies we have going right now.


Migraine fixed


Are you or a loved one currently taking Invega Sustenna (paliperidone palmitate) for the treatment of schizophrenia and not having an adequate response?

This study is investigating whether a newly FDA-approved medicine may provide adequate treatment for your symptoms of schizophrenia

To be eligible for this study, you must:

  • Be 18 to 65 years of age
  • Have a diagnosis of schizophrenia
  • Have received at least 3 doses of Invega Sustenna (paliperidone palmitate) prior to the study

Call our office to see if this clinical trial may be appropriate for you!

Genetic Testing for Depression


To stay updated with information about new opportunities at Lincoln Research, like us on Facebook or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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