• Our latest book:

    By Amy and Bernadette
  • Also by Bernadette and Amy:

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.

*********

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. 

*********

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.  

**********

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.  

**********

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.

**********

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.  

********* 

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.  

hope-hands1

*********

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.  

*********

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?  

**********

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.

**********

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.

*********

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.  

**********

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

**********

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.  

*********

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.  

*********

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.  

**********

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.

**********

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. 

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

Live in the now!

imageAs so often happens, my good friend and awesome co-author, Bernadette, summed up exactly what I’ve been thinking about lately. In her post yesterday, “Hope in the present moment” she described what each of us has been living with – a treacherous roller coaster of ups and downs with our depressed husbands.

Lately I don’t know from one day to the next (sometimes even from one hour to the next) whether my husband will be optimistic, energetic, and capable or morose and defeated. At times the good spells last long enough that when a low point comes out of left field I’m stymied, and react badly. Other times, when things are looking up, I walk on eggshells, waiting for the other shoe to drop…knowing that a heavy thud could fall at any moment.

And so Bernadette’s reminder to appreciate each of the good moments and celebrate the hope of the here and now, comes at a good time. Today, in this moment, I’ll savor the top point of the roller coaster and let tomorrow (or a few hours from now) take care of itself.

-Amy

Hope in the Present Moment

Hope.  We all have it, especially when we deal with illness.  With depression it is the hope that things will get better, that the person we love and care about will know what it is to be happy.

The other day I was reading my daily meditation   It was from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist holy man.  “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”  But then he went on to say thtr we cannot dwell on hope or we will forget the present moment.  We will miss the moments of pain, the moments of joy, the moments of learning.

When I took time to think about it, it made real sense to me.  Too often I spend time hoping about the future, how things will be better, how I will return to a sense of normalcy.  I fantasize about how great life will be once depression is behind us and in the process I miss the present moment.  I miss when there is laughter at a joke after many days of moroseness.  I miss the things my depressed loved one is saying because I think I have heard it all before.  And I miss the little hints that what I hope for is just around the corner.

Much as we should “trust in God but tie up our camel,”  so too we must hope but nurture that present moment or we will miss the signs of the good things to come.

-Bernadette

Hope Rocks

20130607-060657.jpg

Hope rocks. Noun/verb or adjective/noun? While playing around with a new look for our blog last night, the phrase stuck in my mind and gave me something to muse on.

When Bern and I attend conferences to do presentations and an information table, we lug along a big box of shiny, smooth river rocks on which we’ve written the word hope. A lot of people glance at our display and hurry on without making eye contact – depression isn’t exactly an alluring topic. We have a secret weapon, though in our “hope rocks.” People who are obviously uncomfortable with the subject of depression and brain illness can’t resist when we invite them to paw through our bowl of hope rocks and choose the one that feels best in their hand. The coolness and texture is a tactile sensation that makes even the most stoic smile and say, “How fun! I love rocks!” While they’re enjoying the experience, we throw in a few words about carrying their rock with them as a reminder that we can always have hope, even in the darkest of times. We encourage them to take an extra rock or two for a friend or a child, and they walk away from our table with a smile.

To put it simply, our hope rocks are a reminder that hope rocks (see what I did there?). I’ve had a lot of days lately when I needed to be reminded. Today, on an absolutely glorious and sunny late spring morning, I’m going to go out of my way to collect figurative hope rocks to add to my smooth, shiny, touchable specimens. That sunshine and the cardinal singing its almost-decipherable song in the back yard will be the first two of the day. An intentionally positive attitude about an extended family event taking place this evening (which has the potential to be anywhere from uncomfortable to miserable) will be an important virtual hope rock for me today.

What hope rocks will you collect today?

-Amy

The Healing Touch

touching-1It has been a rough weekend. And such a weekend makes me wonder if there is an end in sight and if that end is not a good one. Over the information line, stories came in about a country singer who took her own life on the heels of her boyfriend doing the same., about a high increase in suicide among the elderly in South Korea as families become more splintered, about sleep deprivation complicating depression in a society that is getting less and less sleep, and about depression being right up there with vision and hearing loss for the elderly. Complicating things even further for me was the fact that a good friend plunged this weekend even deeper into the depths of depression, claiming he was emotionally dead and just wanted to sleep and sleep and sleep.

One shining light that made me stop and think was a report about a decline in post partum depression if parents practiced skin to skin contact with their babies. Touch. I wonder if that is the key to everything. Have we become a touchless society? Is that why depression has climbed to epidemic proportions? We seldom shake hands for fear of spreading germs, we don’t hug one another lest we be thought of as attempting something sexual, we have strict rules about when, where and how a teacher can touch a child.

Touch is the most important, most abused and yet most neglected of our senses. We can survive without sight, without taste, without smell but studies show we cannot survive and live with any degree of comfort and mental health when we are not able to feel, to touch. Not one of us is without a need for contact with a warm being. Poet and composer Rod McKuen once said, “The need to touch someone can be so great at times that it is as close to madness that I ever hope to come.”

And granted, although we were born with strong touch needs, many of us have experienced birth trauma, injury or a physical punishment or unwanted sexual touch that makes us cringe when we are touched. But those incidents do not remove our need to be touched. Being touched is integral to our mental well being. We need to find how we can touch one another in healthy ways. When we do, we can respond like Walt Whitman in his “Song of Myself” when he said, “I make holy whatever I touch or am touched from.”

It has been a rough weekend, but I think I will find a friend I can touch or simply hold the hand of so that I don’t feel all alone, so I don’t despair, so that I know there is hope always and that hope is often in a simple touch.
-Bernadette