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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

touching-1

 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

Learning from Breasts and Depression

This morning as I was dressing I recognized once again the changes in my breasts following treatment for cancer. The breasts are not identical. One is significantly smaller than the other and finding a bra is a pain. As soon as I think I have found the perfect bra, something changes and it doesn’t fit right. As I looked in the mirror, I also remembered a picture I saw about five years ago of a group of women who were nude from the waist up. Each breast was different, some were missing, scars adorned some and others were perky and young. And then the thought came to me of the importance of a picture of depression.

Imagine if you will, a group of people gathered in one room, around their necks they wear an explanation of their condition. One reads “circumstantial depression with several panic attacks”; another reads “lifelong depression with growing anxiety”; still another proclaims, “dark depression with daily thoughts of suicide.” Each sign is different. Some have tattered signs from many years of wear; others carry simply the word “depressed”. Some signs although somewhat new show signs of struggle as if someone was trying to remove the sign and didn’t succeed.

There are very young and very old people in this picture. The three-year-old, the teenager, the smart business man, the new mother, the seventy-five year old, the famous actress, the homeless man. The room is filled with every person with no regard to race or religion.

Everyone should have a picture like this to remind them that depression affects many people and we encounter these people day after day with no way to tell, the visible signs of depression no longer around their necks. And they have to deal with finding the right medication, the right therapy, the right support system and often that changes, just as my bra size does.

Next time you see someone, look at them through new eyes. The person you are seeing is carrying some wound, whether physical or mental. Be kind to them and remember we are all in this together.

– Bernadette

Depression Treatment For All: Thinking Outside the Box

An article on PsychCentral this week  (Screening, Home-Based Therapy Help Low-Income Moms Combat Depression) blew me away in two respects:

  • The study reviewed shows that screening for depression and providing therapy IN THE HOME can relieve depression in minority mothers. These were low-income women, unlikely and/or unable to attend therapy sessions if left to their own devices. Someone had the incredible insight to go where these women live and help them. The group studied, on average, experienced an improvement of scores on a widely used depression inventory – from 27 to 9.6 (a score of 19 or higher indicates major depression). These results remained in place eight months after the program ended.
  • The lead researcher, Dr. Sheree Toth said of the importance of depression screening, especially for high-risk populations, “When I go to the doctor, they ask me if I use my seatbelt. Why would we not be asking questions about depression when we know the chances of being hit by a car are way less than the chances of being hit by depression? People are suffering needlessly.”

It’s unusual to read of a depression study with such practicality, such impressive results, and such compassion. Framing the way we look at depression the way Dr. Toth has done is an enormous step in the right direction.

-Amy

Depression….Too Much with Me

I have been struggling, trying to get myself to sit and write about depression. And I have come up with every excuse in the book (and then some) as to why I cannot write at this time. I have dishes to do, I have letters to write, I have a garden to plant. I cannot write about depression. It’s too beautiful a day, it’s too full of activities to write about depression. The truth is depression is too much with me.

Several of my family and friends are struggling with it now. Amy and I both are dealing with depression flare ups with our spouses. Everything I read seems to scream depression. In short, this is the time when I want to say that depression is something I don’t want a part of.

And yet I can’t escape it. In the morning I find it sleeping next to me in the man I love. At lunch it is in the conversation with a good friend as she relates what is taking place with her son. In the evening, it is a phone call which carries the franticness of someone who is facing a loved one who is considering suicide.

I don’t know how therapists and psychiatrists do it. How do they maintain their own equilibrium? How do they love their families and friends despite facing depression each day? How do they look and deal with yet another client who has depression without falling into a form of tried and true treatment while neglecting the unique story of the person in front of them?

I know this feeling toward depression will pass. I know that fighting the stigma is an important part of who I am. I know that despite the present feelings, life is good and loving those around me is so very important that, yes, I will listen with new ears and an open heart to yet another depression story because hope is always around the corner. Let’s hope that all people working with those who are struggling with depression feel the same.

– Bernadette

Christian counseling: be careful.

Okay, so this is may be controversial for some and offensive to many, but I have to say it.  I’m extremely wary of Christian counseling.

No details, but I had a conversation yesterday with someone who is in a very dark and painful place.  She described how she’d been feeling as a result of her husband’s severe mental illness, and everything she described is on the checklist of depression symptoms.  She also talked about the counselors they’ve been to recently…so-called “Christian counselors.”

Everything she reported about what her Christian marriage counselor and her husband’s Christian psychiatrist (which I’d never heard of before) raised enormous red flags for me.  I had the strong impression that guilt and some kind of fundamentalist biblical understanding were behind every piece of advice she’d been given.  I suggested she find a therapist to see individually, one who would be on her side.  What I wanted to say, though I managed to hold my tongue, was “For Pete’s sake STOP going to these Christian counseling people.”

I will admit that I have witnessed Christian therapists who are good at what they do and who really and truly help their patients.  But this was not the first time I’ve been appalled by reports of people’s negative and potentially harmful experiences with Christian counseling.  Too often, mental health professionals who advertise themselves as Christian or faith-based are coming from a theological base that puts huge emphasis on “biblical values” at the expense of common-sense thought or up-to-date mental health practices.  I could rant for a very long time about the dangers of revering a very strict and literal interpretation of the bible, but I’ll hold my tongue again.  Suffice it to say that faith and theology are an important part of life for many people, but sound psychological and psychiatric advice has to be the top priority when you’re talking about diagnosed mental illness.

If a therapist tries to tell you that your responsibility is being a good, biblical wife (or husband) to someone who is putting your health or safety at risk, or that praying more/having stronger faith will heal you from mental illness, run as far and fast as you can to a new therapist.  ‘Nuff said.

-Amy

No matter the treatment, death can result.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/01/15/aaron-swartz-a-culture-of-denial-depression-suicide-in-tech/

I just finished reading this article about Aaron Swartz and his death from suicide.  One of the statements in the piece gave me pause.  It reads: If Aaron Swartz was like most of the 100 people every day who take their own lives in this country, the biggest thing that likely led to his death was untreated or under treated depression………And at the time the person has taken their life, it is depression that is either not being treated at all, or being treated inadequately.

I’m not sure we can say that.  We might be able to say untreated depression can more quickly lead to suicide but inadequately treated, under treated? Continue reading