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Welcome to the Kick Depression Party!

Welcome to the Kick Depression Party!  At this party, we hope that those who join us can help those not here to realize that there are big and little times of hope and change and wellness when it comes to depression and mental illness. 

And the sharing is lively and honest:  

My mother suffered terribly from depression until her death.  In her worst times she wouldn’t get out of bed, would not eat, and withdrew from the world.  I’m lucky because observing her gave me the determination to deal with my symptoms.

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Anyone dealing with a mental illness knows that it is a daily battle.  Sometimes it is you that has to fight or you have to help someone fight it.  Nevertheless the feelings are overwhelming.  It has been difficult to reach out to others and truly express how I feel but I have done it and will continue to do so. 

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I want you to know that there is hope for you and your loved one suffering from depression.  My husband and I have endured a lot.  He is better.  We’ve survived and through this long process I realized how resilient we have been.  

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For a time I was on medication to keep me stable enough not to jump off a bridge.  The pain and anxiety were pretty bad.  But I’m here today.  

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I realized that there are times when it is okay to be down because life is difficult.  I have to fight daily to latch onto the things that matter the most to me.

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I started researching other alternative treatments which my husband thankfully agreed to try.  Since then we have learned a lot about the brain, intestinal health, nutrition, trauma and how it can affect a person’s emotional health.  We are happy to report that since last November, life is so much better.  My husband has his sense of humor back, is self motivated and is enjoying life again.  

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I learned breathing techniques, mind games, to keep me in the present moment, and I learned to be grateful.  Through therapy I learned to accept that I am a depressed person and that each episode does not have to take me out.  

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I am at this party hoping that it will help someone out there feel connected.  Perhaps, it will help me feel connected to others again because I know there are many going through similar struggles.  

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We’ve learned that Zinc is very important for proper brain functioning.  He’s also had to make changes to his diet, eating high protein, low carbohydrate, gluten and dairy free.  He takes many supplements to improve his gut health.  Did you know that it’s estimated that 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract?  

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Some days I just let the depression come.  I submit but not without setting a time limit on how long I intend the depression to take over.  When the time limit is reached most times I can get back into the game with conscious determination.

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At different times during my loved one’s depressive episodes I’ve seen a therapist and was always told how important it is to take care of myself.  This is a challenge, but I’ve tried to do it.  I’m glad I could go to work every day and get a break.

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I still wake up a lot of mornings in fear, not liking myself, guilty for whatever reason, overwhelmed with hopelessness, but I realize it is not a permanent state.  It would be easy to give in and give up, but I also have experienced peace, joy, comfort, love and those things are worth fighting for.  

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I’m grateful for all the things that can  help in some way – breathing, meditation and yoga and brain games.  They all help.

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I think that success is having available a multitude of tricks in a bag, not just one.  If one doesn’t work, I try another.  Recognizing and believing that life is fluid with ups and down is also helpful.  

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It’s been stressful being a caregiver these past years.  I often questioned what was happening to our marriage because depression  is also a very selfish illness.  The depressed person is always wrapped up in themselves.  I often had to tell him that I’m not his therapist, but I was willing to be his advocate.  

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I can understand others’ reactions better now.  Close friends knew about our situation but sometimes they didn’t know what to say or do.  My therapist help me understand that many people feel inadequate in how to respond.  And then they do nothing which can seem so cold and uncaring.  We need to learn to me more empathetic and I’m am thankful for those who have responded with empathy to us.  

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hope4We have both counted our blessings and we are thankful that we have survived.  We’ve learned some tools to keep our brains healthy.  You and your loved ones can survive too.  By all means take care of yourself.  I wish you peace of mind.

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It’s an amazing adventure we are on – this thing we call life.  I’d rather play and participate than sit out whatever days I have left.  That’s my feeling as I struggle with depression.  I’m pretty positive that tomorrow may or may not be the best but I want it anyway. 

Thanks to all of you who came to the party to share your insights.  We are grateful for our readers and for all those who are working together to kick depression for themselves, their families and their communities. 

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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

Being There for Each Other

I have a confession to make.  I have always played little games with myself that go something like this:

If there are only five crackers left I will have them.  If there are more, no. 

Or

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 I will play only four games of solitaire if I get two emails.  

Poor examples of what games I play, but you get the picture.

Today I am feeling a bit defeatist.  My husband is again beginning the downward spiral with depression and I find myself irritable and wanting my well husband back.  And right on the heels of that thought, I realized that it was more than about time to write something for this blog.  But with everything going on, I didn’t want to.  I was tired of looking at depression.  I was frustrated that professionals are not seeing the importance of the role friends and family play in a person’s recovery from depression.  I was seeing the problem escalate more and more out of control.  And I didn’t want to write about it anymore.

So, a game with myself.  I would not write anything.  I would close the blog after talking with Amy and I would say goodbye to being a voice in the wilderness.  I would do all these things IF there was no increase in the people who were coming to the site.  I felt confident there would not be as it had been at least three weeks since a posting.  I opened up the site and low and behold the number of followers had increased.  And then it dawned on me…..

If I was feeling the way I was at this point in time, there were others who were feeling the same frustration as to where to go for support and information and ideas.  I realized that this site was doing that in some small way.  Someone out there was getting something they needed to keep going another day.  They were feeling support and understanding and they realized they were not alone.

So I’ll keep writing and I’ll urge Amy to do the same and hopefully, together with all of you, we will help professionals and others not familiar with depression to realize the far reaching scope of the damage this illness can do.  And we will be a very strong support to one another.

– Bernadette

Shock waves from “Call the Midwife.”

Today’s definition of irony: When a character on a television show you love suffers a bout of PTSD and it triggers your own PTSD experience.

I don’t think I”m exaggerating. In last night’s episode of “Call the Midwife,” the doctor character dealt with an experience that triggered a return of depression. The actor portrayed such a breakdown beautifully. So well, in fact, that I could barely stand to watch.

As his wife supported him, tucked him into bed, and cried out her fears on a friend’s shoulder, I relived the long, desolate years of my own husband’s deep depression. Almost literally, the wind was knocked out of me as I watched. All that emotion was suddenly right there again, front and center.

Of course that’s a resounding endorsement of the power of this particular program and of the actor. But it also says a lot about how very deeply depression affects not only the depressed person, but also those who are closest to him or her, even years after recovery.

I still feel just a bit shaky today, but I’ll get over it. Things are much, much better now.

But I doubt I’ll ever fully forget that pain.

-Amy

If you’re not familiar with “Call the Midwife,” which is in its fourth season, I hope you’ll seek it out. It’s currently running on PBS on Sunday evenings at 7:00 p.m. Central, with earlier season four episodes on http://www.pbs.org. Seasons 1-3 are available on Netflix.

To med or not to med…

Recently someone I care about a great deal asked for advice for a female friend of his who was struggling with depression. Just last evening he reported back to me that she did finally find some help; her GP prescribed medication and they were hoping for the best.

All well and good.

But then came the kicker: “But she really hates the thought of being dependent on medications for the rest of her life.”

FACE PALM.

I managed to temper my reaction. My exact words were, “Sometimes people are able to go off medication after a while, in consultation with their doctor and therapist. And she can think of it this way: Isn’t it better to feel good with a pill than to be miserable every day of your life without a pill?”

Here’s what really I wanted to say: “Would you really hate the thought of taking insulin every day to save your life if you had diabetes? Would you really hate the thought of taking blood pressure medication every day to avoid a stroke if you had high blood pressure?”

I am aware of and I support many of the caveats regarding antidepressants. No, they don’t work for everyone. No, scientists aren’t 100% sure how antidpresssants work. Yes, they often have side effects that require management. Yes, they work best in conjunction with behavioral therapy.

But it does not make sense to despise a medication merely because it treats mood and behavior, when we fully accept other medications that treat obvious physical problems. In reality, the root causes of the negative moods and behavior are physical, too. They just have negative mystique because we can’t “see” them.

We each must make our own decisions about medication when depression and other mood disorders are part of our lives. But we must make these decisions based on reality, rather than on the stigma that sourrounds issues of brain illnesses and their treatments. 

Depression: Always lurking around the corner.

I know a lot about the illness of depression. I’ve lived with it in my household for 23 years, I’ve experienced it myself in the form of post-concussion depression and SAD, and I’ve done plenty of research.

And yet, I continue to be blindsided by its painful effects.

My dear friend is in the thick of it with her husband, in a terribly frustrating and long-term bout of the illness. It hurts me to know what she’s dealing with.

My own SAD is in a low point right now, as we’re trapped indoors for weeks at a time and as situations beyond my control get me down.

My husband’s recent amazing depression recovery is at risk. Forced inactivity for six weeks of recovery after a broken rib, compounded by uncertainty about the future of his new career due to that injury has produced anxiety and his most commonly-used depression defense – sleeping at every opportunity.

I know the right things to do: keep up consistently with medications, use the light therapy box daily, exercise, keep as busy as possible, talk about it and reach out for support. But even when we think we’re doing the right things to combat it, depression is always hanging around in the shadows, waiting to jump out at us.

I could really use a huge dose of warm weather, sunshine, and good news about now.

How Is Depression Like the Post Office?

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No, this is not the beginning to a joke; rather, it is a reflection on my trip to the post office yesterday.

As I stood in the outer room waiting in line, I noticed lots of worn things. The pictures on the walls hadn’t been changed in years. Even the Wanted Posters were not up to date. Here and there appeared evidence of the effort to move with the times: how to print stamps, how to mail your packages and track them on line. The one postal clerk who was there to give personal help looked like he was ready to call it a day when it was just a bit past noon. He was facing a long line of people and had no help. It was at this point that I realized that I was looking at what the state of help is like for those with brain illnesses.

When we look at how depression and other brain illnesses are treated, a great deal has not changed. Doctors are treating people with brain illnesses, those with depression, like the worn post office room, treating it as if there are no new ways of doing things.  “We’ve done it this way and we can continue to do it this way” is not a mantra of change and imagination. The post office is going broke on such a mantra.

Although there has been work done on the stigma of mental illness, too many people carry it in their heads and keep up the old wanted pictures, the pictures of the crazy people with mental illness devoid of family and obviously with a real behavior problem. The people who think this way deal with the depressed in the ways they have been dealt with in the past, offering a possible fix but no hope that things might be different.

Sure just like the post office, there are the new references to moving with the times – psychiatrists and psychologists who are trying new and innovative approaches to dealing with depression and other brain illnesses. But there are not enough and you often have to really look to spot where those new approaches are and then you have to hope that those approaches are covered by your insurance.

And the postal clerk? He’s all the professionals who really want to make a change but are often understaffed and overworked and just burnt out.

We all know the post office system is in trouble. So many changes due to technology, so many poor business decisions in running the system, so much bad morale. It’s so much like those of us who live and work with people who are depressed or suffer from another brain illness. We hear of so many changes, changes that would be positive for the treatment of so many, but we watch as poor decisions are made that keep people from getting the treatment they need. It doesn’t help our morale. But like the postal clerk who comes in every morning, we will continue to speak out and work toward making the changes that need to be made to brighten the outcome of families across the country who deal with wicked brain illnesses.

– Bernadette