Denied!

Yesterday on 60 minutes there was a segment on depression and health insurance. Several of the stories were heartbreaking. One particular story told of a young man who told his psychiatrist that he wanted to kill a lot of people. His claim for continued treatment was denied. Not long after, he went out and put his words into actions.

It brought up the fact that too many mental health claims are denied. They are denied either because the treatment is taking too long or denied because the treatment is affecting the expense bottom line of the insurance company. I know that there is more research that I have to do to look at a clear, unbiased picture of the situation, but the segment raised for me the brutal fact that too often mentally ill individuals are overlooked or shorted on treatment because the disease is not able to be seen, not understood, and so very, very stigmatized.

My heart goes out to the parents who lost children as a result of denied treatment. It is wrong that we allowed this to happen.

– Bernadette

On-Line Kick Depression Party! Come, Celebrate!

love heartIt takes a village to kick depression.

Come to the Party!

On-Line Kick Depression Party

suggested by our readers.

Open to anyone who has or has lived with someone with depression.

Let’s celebrate by sharing with one another the good stuff that has happened to us.

Let’s celebrate the times we have kicked depression,

even if it is just a tiny glimpse of the good life.

When: August 15th

Where: Depression’s Collateral Damage Blog at https://depressionscollateraldamage.wordpress.com/

What’s taking place:   A sharing of all the positive times that depression has disappeared, whether for a moment or for a length of time.

Write a comment on what happened or any thoughts you have about kicking depression.

Send it to depressedlovedone@gmail.com before August 10th

We will post them on August 15th.

And please, between now and then,

pass this onto your friends

on facebook, tumblr, twitter,or those in your address book or any other place.

We want this party to reach people

so they will all know that depression can be overcome in some way, shape or form.

And together we can kick depression.

Let’s get that support going and growing.

Let’s beat the stigma.

Come, kick depression with us.

people on world

And Baby Keeps Crying…..

Having a child carries much with it.  There is the physical pain of childbirth.  Add to this the physical changes to the woman’s body.  Then there is a new member of the family – a baby who, although cute and cuddly, is often difficult – crying for no reason, sleeping and not sleeping, hungry when you swear you just fed the child.  We often put pressure on ourselves to  know the right thing to do, forgetting that this is new experience and will take some getting used to.  And aside from all this, the change in the relationship with your significant other is different.

So, it is normal to feel a little sad during this period, a little down.  There will be days when you are short because you didn’t get enough sleep, days when you feel you can do nothing right.  It is when these days become a week where there is little or no interest in the baby, in the day to day activities of becoming a family.  This type of prolonged sadness could mean that depression is developing and post partum depression it at the door.

There are some things to do that can help any new mom to lessen the sad and tense times of new motherhood.  Postpartum depression, however, can still occur and it is important to watch for the signs but these few tips on caring for yourself following birth might help whether or not depression strikes.

Watch the type of picture you have about motherhood.  Everything around us pushes the perfect mom; however,  being a perfect mom is impossible.  Recognize the unrealistic expectations of those around you and you yourself have and let them go.  Just work to be a good mom, not a perfect mom.

Life has changed and don’t try to fit a new baby and all the new responsibilities into that old life.  Remember that you can say no, you can set new boundaries, and you can be okay with doing what you think is best for yourself and your child.

Remember to take time for yourself.  Perhaps a bath with a chance to just sit and be with yourself, or a date with your spouse while a helpful friend or family member takes care of the new baby.  You need quiet times like these to adjust to being a mom and to the change in your couple life. Across the board, whether you are a new mom or a senior citizen or anyone in between, self-care is important for keeping you happy and healthy.

And lastly, ask for and accept help.  All of us need some help.  That might be in babysitting  meals, housework, whatever.  And it means also asking for help if that sad feeling persists for more than a few days.  Set an appointment  with someone who can help you through this post partum depression.  It’s the very best thing you can do for yourself, your baby and your family.

And if you are a mom a few times over or a friend or family member of that mom, remember these tips and remember that post partum depression can strike on your first, fifth or tenth child.  Depression is an equal opportunity destroyer and it doesn’t care what number child it is but together, we can defeat it.

Time to Kick Depression

fireworks-728413_1280This past weekend I was invited to a Kick Cancer Party. The reason for the party was to celebrate all the people who helped during the diagnosis, the surgeries, the chermo and the radiation. It was to celebrate the fact that the cancer was gone – at least there had been none on the last CAT scan. It was good to see all the people together and the young woman who had the cancer talking to each of them and thanking them for their help. It was a joyous time and a good celebration.

As I headed home, I started thinking about the fact that, whereas I had been to a few cancer gone celebrations, I had never been to a celebration centering on a mental illness being gone or being better. There are no Kick Depression parties.

Often with mental illness you cannot see or in some instances believe that an illness is going on. People often can’t believe that someone is depressed because “they don’t look depressed.” They don’t see any surgeries or chemo or other such treatments. They only see a person and those around that person going day after day through all the rituals of living.

If they do see that something is amiss, they often don’t know how to react or how to help. They feel that this just is not an area you go into. But let it be said that a hot meal cooked by a friend is just as welcomed by a family where depression is present as it is by a family when cancer is present.   A respite from the daily care is just as welcome in a household with depression as it is in a cancer household. Words of support and prayers are something that both need and want and sadly, sometimes no one prays for those with mental illness.

People are talking now about how the Chatanooga shooter was depressed. I wonder what kind of support those around him were able to give. Did they respond so that that young man knew he was being supported and helped through a very terrible illness? Sadly there is no Kick Depression party in his near future.

An illness is an illness whether it is physical or mental. We need to support each other through those illnesses and we need to celebrate together recoveries in both the physical or mental realms. It’s about time that we kick mental illness. It is long, long overdue.

-Bernadette

What Can I Do For You?

Amy and I have five pages of type of things people should not say to someone who is experiencing depression. All of us have said some of them and all of us have caught others saying them to someone. We sorely need to erase those phrases from our speech.

The flip side is often we don’t know how to respond. What does one say in such a situation? Do you ask how is the depression today or do you suggest activities for involvement or do you just keep quiet?

Perhaps one of the best things to say, and to say it with sincerity is “What can I do for you?” For people who mean what they say, that opens the door for some real possibilities of help. And that means that the depressed individual or the caregiver must be ready to respond.

So I asked some people with depression and I asked their loved ones what could be done to help. Here’s some of the replies:

I could just use some space at time. I need to be alone. I want to be alone. I’m not going to hurt myself but being alone is a way I try to get myself together.  

and

I need people around me. I could go to the local coffee shop but sometimes it is just nice if someone drops over or calls and asks to come over. Not only does it give me people, it gives me the feeling that there are people who care enough about me that they want to spend some time with me.  

and

Bringing over dinner at times. I know that my overstressed and overtired family and I would appreciate that very much. Seems like people do that all the time for funerals or for people who are sick in the hospital. But depression isn’t a “seeable” illness so people don’t think we need the love and care that others in the hospital or at home with a physically-visible illness does.

and from a family member whose brother has depression:

Sometimes I just want someone to hug me. They don’t have to even say anything. I just need to know that I am still noticed, that my struggle in noticed, and that someone out there is willing to be there for me.hugging-571076_1280

As a depressed individual or as someone who loves a person who is depressed, what are you looking for from others?   The more all of us know, the more all of us can help stop the devastation being done by this illness.

– Bernadette .

Sanctuary in a Storm

Sanctuary.  Such a calming word.  Immediately it puts into my mind a place where I will be safe, with friends, with family, with quiet.  I seek sanctuary in times like I am experiencing now – my husband falling to the depths of depression – because it is the only thing that can keep me afloat.

There is sanctuary in the support from friends who understand, who have been there.  There is sanctuary in the laughter shared over a coffee.  There is sanctuary in the tears shed together amid the tales of the long and difficult struggle.  Depression hates sanctuary because sanctuary gives light and erases the darkness if only for a time.

Sanctuary is a quiet moment, a chapter read in a good book, a surprise telephone call from a friend, a beautiful bird searching for worms in the backyard.  Sanctuary comes in many forms, in many places.

It is up to us to open our eyes.

– Bernadette

Connect with Nature

nature walk

Recently the Washington Post gave a report of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which found that the brain most positively reacts to walks done in natural environments than those done in cities and suburbs.

The study took 38 individuals who lived in cities and had no history of mental illness and had half of the group walk 90 minutes through a natural area and the other half through a downtown area.  The participants were asked before and after the walk to respond to a questionnaire designed to measure the “tendency toward rumination, a pattern of often negative, inward-directed thinking and questioning that has been tied to an increased risk of depression” according to many in the mental health field.

Not surprising was that those individuals who were on the nature walked showed a decrease in rumination and actually answered questions differently from before the walk and after.  Other tests done confirmed the findings.

The lead author of the study, Gregory Bratman, said, “This provides robust results for us that nature experience, even of a short duration, can decrease this pattern of thinking that is associated with the onset, in some cases, of mental illnesses like depression.”

We knew that walking and getting exercise was helpful in dealing with depression and in keeping an even keel when you are taking care of someone with depression.  But now we can look to those nature walks as doubly important in keeping the brain on a most positive track.

So, find a scenic nature walk near you and get out and moving on it at least once a week – more often if you can.  Your body, your brain and your family will benefit.

– Bernadette

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