Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In the News: Tony Scott and Suicide

Image Source
It seems like it's been awhile since there has been a high profile celebrity suicide in the news...or at least one that was so clearly a suicide. It had a strange effect on me as the initial reports were breaking. I finally felt like, "Wow, I 100% can relate to that feeling." As much as we want to put that dark place and all that pain behind us, it can be so easily accessed again when you meet someone or hear of someone who is struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide.

The rumors surrounding Tony Scott's death, such as whether or not he was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer before taking his life, I think show how uncomfortable the media and the general public is with handling questions of suicide. He has it all! Success! Money! Fame! Family! etc. And we even satisfy ourselves with the answer of "we'll never know why."

I obviously can only speak for myself and my experience and that is to say, even being young and intelligent, and having family and friends, and born in this fabulous day and age...my depression was so bad I felt almost inhuman with apathy. Nothing mattered. Luckily, I reached out, I got help. I asked to go on medication. And the worst it got I was on medication and I asked to change medications because it clearly wasn't helping.

All I want to do with my life is help others, but it turned out I really needed to help myself first. All that is available is the belief that it's not supposed to be like this. There is help. There's no quick fix, but it will be so worth it. I really feel like I wouldn't be this happy now if I hadn't been so unhappy before.

The difference now is that I access that pain in a new way. Reflecting on it rather than letting it completely overwhelm me. It's nice to be able to feel a range of emotions as opposed to just one, but it's still a process.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Personal Experiences: Making Adjustments

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So this will be my last week and a half of having student health insurance and therefore I will lose coverage for my prescriptions until I find employment. I've looked into the costs of my medications and one of them in particular has no generic version and costs $$$. I have an appointment to discuss my options with my psychiatrist but needless to say I'm still a little anxious. While I generally subscribe to the belief that it's better to be on as little medication as possible, I also stronglyyyy believe that if it's not broke, don't fix it. I know there are several contributing factors to my current state of happiness, and having to make adjustments to my medication is an inevitable step, but I don't want to sacrifice another minute of feeling better!

This is a negativity trap. Thinking that the other shoe is going to drop at any moment...being SO sure that something awful is around the corner...instead of enjoying the present. I at least know I have all the support I need while I make these changes (and maybe some side effects will go away! The change could be for the better!) and need to continue to pay close attention to what is happening internally.

You hold the key to your own happiness :-)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Update: Trusting Your Instincts

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So I forewarned that I would be MIA from this blog as I finish up my master's in the next few weeks (final presentation August 12th!!!). However, I did want to say that things have been going extremely well. I feel more sure of myself than I've ever been. And this was recently proven to me when dealing with a certain person and realizing that I was trying way too hard to impress them. As I figured this out, I also had a gut check moment when I truly saw that I've got really good instincts. I have a lot of amazing people in my life and that's not by accident. So when dealing with this person, I realized that I was repeating some past patterns that were going to ultimately lead to me feeling bad about myself because I wasn't putting myself on equal ground with this person (I was putting them above me). So a big weight was lifted when I made the choice not to continue with that relationship anymore. The next day I immediately felt so much better.

I think the biggest change I can credit a bit to this blog. I was always very secretive and as I've grown over these past few months especially I feel myself opening up a lot more. Being honest and straightforward is coming more naturally. First it was out of necessity, but now it's out of habit. And it has been immensely helpful.

It's harder now, because I feel like I'm a little in hindsight mode, to be as helpful to others in terms of talking about my depression. At the same time, I know I'm in a good place right now because of all the hard work I put in on myself. Unfortunately, I'm also headed into the rough waters of searching for a job, which in the past has been an incredibly demoralizing process. I'm arming myself with as much support as possible now, and hopefully I will be able to navigate it better this time around.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In All of Us

Image Source (You can buy the print!)
"It is in all of us to defy expectations, to go into the world and to be brave. To want, to need, to hunger for adventures. To embrace change and chance and risk, so that we may breathe and know what it is to be free." ~Mae Chevrette

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Take a Respite

Just a brief note to say I am spending the next several weeks finishing up my master's degree and final project presentation and may be noticeably absent in posting here. Definitely check out the resource pages for other helpful links!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Today I Feel...Stronger

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So what I've been thinking about lately, as I have started my final semester of grad school, and have really begun to delve deeper into learning about the things that I am passionate about and want to build my future around, is how much strength and confidence I've gained in--even the last six months. I think as you grow older and gain more experiences, you slowly do naturally become more comfortable with yourself. However, I've noticed a huge difference thanks to this blog, reaching out to peers about my depression, getting on medication, and learning about myself through my grad classes.

One thing that really stands out is that, being an introvert (who thought I should be/was an extrovert), there were so many times that I let other people affect how I behaved because I thought they knew better than me. Looking back, the instances that irritate me the most are those in which I was in the leadership position, but I still let particular people influence what I did because I thought they knew more than me, or were better than me or I wanted their approval...all of the above. I have always been very sensitive and emphatic to other peoples' emotions etc., which practically dictates that I am a people pleaser...but truly there are some people that can't be pleased.

Even now, I can recognize when I feel guilty or upset by something I have no control over (i.e. other people), so I really feel a whole lot better about myself and where I am than ever before. Lucky for me, I don't have any of those people in my life anymore, where I somehow felt obligated to put them up on a pedestal for no good reason other than my whacked out perception of their superiority over me.

However, I think one good thing that came out of that is my leadership style has evolved into a much more collaborative style. I don't want anyone to feel like their ideas are less valid, or won't be heard, especially because I know how crappy that feels. One of my professors likes to say that every experience is a positive experience, because you either learn what you should do, or what you shouldn't do.

What makes you strong? What gives you confidence in yourself?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Celebs Who Inspire: Demi Lovato

Pic/Interview at Seventeen.com
You'll notice Demi is also a supporter of the Love is Louder Movement! 
I've been wanting to write about Demi Lovato for awhile. Finally, I was up in the middle of the night thinking about it, so I decided it was time. It's important to note that I was a fan of Demi's before all this, she is a super talented singer and has pipes that rival Kelly Clarkson's. However, since she has opened up about her struggles, I find that my admiration and respect for her has deepened immensely. In fact, when she said she didn't know she was bipolar until going into treatment, I realized "Wow, there must be so many people that don't know they're bipolar, depressed, etc." This may sound obvious, but it was honestly the first time I had really thought about it in terms of how severe an impact that would cause on people's lives.

I began to realize that I was probably one of the many who are currently undiagnosed, with a mental illness or disorder.

I was hitting another period of depression in my life, but I, buying into the stereotypes, was both not interested in medication and thought it would eventually go away. As Demi started to share her story, I began to educate myself on the bipolar spectrum and also major depressive disorder. What were other people's experiences? I didn't want just a list of symptoms, I wanted to here what people went through.

This was a turning point for me, finding myself identifying more and more with these stories, I finally asked my therapist to recommend someone to evaluate me and started trying out medications. Trying out medications hasn't been a particularly fun process, but I had to hope that eventually I would find peace. At the moment, things are going very well.

So the reason I wanted to honor Demi Lovato is that her story was really the catalyst for my story to move on to the next chapter. I started this blog in hopes of inspires others in even the smallest way, and to continue to express my own experience that I kept hidden for so many years. Even though Demi is 6 years younger than me, I really look up to her. Inspiration is where you find it.

Demi shares in her MTV documentary "Stay Strong," that she can't say she hasn't relapsed since being in treatment. I think it's extremely important to share with others that the journey isn't a smooth one, and I appreciate her candidness. I've included the first part of her documentary here, all of which is worth the watch and available on MTV.com

Get More: Music News

Also, I previously included her song "Skyscraper" in my first post on Music that Inspires:

What do you think of Demi's story? Who has inspired you?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Depression in Movies: Crazylove

I think this might have originally aired as TV movie, but I am not entirely sure. I watched it on Netflix Instant, partly because I wanted to see the main character go through her journey of recovery and I'm a sucker for any story about finding love in a hopeless place (not necessarily hopeless, I just wanted to quote Rihanna's song there).

Anyhow, the main character, Letty struggles with extreme anxiety and depression which results in OCD. She is very much a people pleaser, giving above and beyond to her students, her lawyer boyfriend and gluing her family together post-messy divorce. In fact, for a lot of the time you wish that Letty would just yell at them all to  deal with their own problems (well..not the kids). Instead, she has a breakdown and ends up in a facility where she meets a guy with schizophrenia, who has a rocky history of coping with his illness.

I think the movie definitely delves into some good territory, such as how difficult it is for her to get her job back after her breakdown, but they focused on the love story and then Michael's story, and we never really got to see Letty's "breakthrough" in a way. I'm also not so sure how they would get away with fraternizing at the facility, as it's specifically against the rules.

I felt it had an overall positive message, specifically not to give up on the people you love--even if they are going through something you may not understand.

I'd give it 2 1/2 out of 5 stars...it was fair.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Website to Inspire: HealthyPlace.Com

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I was actually recommended to HealthyPlace on Twitter and I'm very glad I starting following them! They post a lot of great blog posts and I've only just begun to discover what else they have to offer.

I particularly like this article addressing "Speaking Up" which is something that I hopefully manage to advocate on this blog. It was very difficult to even admit I needed to seek outside help to myself, even with a family history of depression. I am also naturally an introverted person, so it took a lot for me to then take the next step and start talking about my experiences with others. Lucky for me I have gotten a lot of support and now have a great outlet in the form of this blog.

This short blog post on the HealthyPlace mental health website talks about how opening up will help your self-esteem as well as some ways to say what you're feeling: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2012/05/speak-up-and-increase-your-self-esteem/

What are some things that keep you from speaking up? How do you deal with them?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Stars Come Out

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      "Don't lose hope
                    when the sun goes down
                                                 the stars come out"                                                                          
                                       ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today I Feel...Guilty

Image from item found here
One thing I've only recently begun to become aware of since starting therapy was how guilty I feel. This comes up time and time again in my relationships with others and also in how I view myself. If I do something fun instead of something I "should" be doing, then I feel guilty. It's my go-to form of self punishment, that reminder to tell myself "you're terrible!"

Hanging on to these guilty feelings has really weakened my self confidence. I am still discovering that I feel this way especially when I choose to do what I want to do (or what I think is best for me) instead of what someone else wants me to do. Then, no matter my logic, I feel as though I am letting them down. What I realize is that maybe I am letting them down, however, that doesn't mean I should feel badly and doubt my decisions. I've still been feeling guilty about quitting my job a year ago, when I know it was the right decision for me. I've kept questioning it too, even though I knew it was what I needed.

I'm slowly working on building myself up again, recognizing that I have the strength to speak up for myself, and also trying to let go of the voices that are trying to get me to be a people pleaser. I'm actually a terrible people pleaser because I'm fighting with myself the whole time to do what I really want!

What do you feel guilty about?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Music to Inspire: The Fray "How to Save a Life"

This song is a couple years old, but I think it shares an important message. We need to reach out to our friends, our family, our peers. Sometimes it's hardest to talk to the ones we are closest to, but even if they never speak to us again, isn't it better that we tried? Imagine how guilt-ridden you'd be for the rest of your life if you thought you could've done something, ANYTHING, to help and didn't do it.

We all live side by side in this life, but we're often in our our heads, stuck inside our own thoughts. Take notice of those around you. We are not alone and the more we include others in our lives, the richer it will be. I've noticed one sign that I'm feeling better for me, is wanting to hang out with people, especially those I haven't seen in awhile. I want to catch up and talk and laugh again and just enjoy other people's company. Try not to let people slip away from you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Movements That Inspire: Love is Louder

Love is Louder is a movement dedicated to connecting people who are feeling bullied, abused, sad and alone.  I first noticed it on twitter, as celebrities and others would hashtag #loveislouder than...hate, bullying, frenemies. Anything. Twitter is a really great way to spread such a powerful and positive message. There are people out there who won't believe you, who will ignore your pain and suffering, who will tell you to 'suck it up.' However, there are also people who love you as you are, and if not, you can also be the one to love and believe in yourself. I realize I am bordering on cheesy here, but Brittany Snow, MTV and the Jed Foundation have partnered in creating something special here. I think we need to consider all the ways that Love is Louder in our lives, or how to turn up the volume!

I even submitted my own photo and writing on my palm/taking the picture took some skill.
You can also visit their facebook community page here

What do you think Love is Louder than?

Friday, April 6, 2012

In the News: Too Much Focus on Happiness?

This short clip I stumbled across raises some interesting questions. If we are constantly focused on 'being happy' we could end up being miserable. I think often times we don't really have a clear idea of what being happy looks like for us. Being carefree is not truly a possibility as an adult (however, I did spend a fair chunk of my adolescence being miserable with depression, which I wish on no teen). And maybe just as often we really think others are so happy in comparison and they are not. I think the best we can do is be open and honest about our pain and try to lean on others for support.

At the same time, another thought being raised here: "Is happiness a choice?" This of course is something I struggle with so much. Mind over matter. I do believe in the power of positive thinking, however, sometimes my mind fights a losing battle with my depression. Then I think, "I'm weak, I don't deserve to be happy."

Unfortunately, this discussion was so brief, and I really think there's a lot more meat to it. I do like the suggestion of breaking it down to small, conscious choices to improve your mood. Some things I do are:

1) When a song is in my head, I like to find it and listen it, and sing along.
2) When I'm out and about, I try to smile at people and show patience.
3) If someone lets me cut in during traffic, they always get a wave :-)
4) I like something, I say something because why not share the good stuff?
5) If I need to be reminded there's good in world, I watch this

What are your 'happy' choices?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Today I Feel...Inspired

Photo credit / More by artist 
In a bit of a reversal, as my emotions are sometimes in constant swing, I feel very inspired today. After the last "Today I Feel" post, things were not so hot. I missed some classes, got behind on work, even skipped therapy which I NEVER do. I just felt so disconnected, ugly, worthless and...defeated, as I mentioned. Luckily, I made it though, and it was my lowest low, because the only thing that got me through was the fact that I had started new medication and thought I should wait to see if it may kick in. And it did.

I actually feel medicated now, which is a bit of a downside, but at the same time, I know I need it to help get my life back in order. So I'm pretty grateful for that. I also decided to open up and tell more people in my life about my depression. I somehow wanted to preserve this "normal" image in their eyes and honestly, that isn't my normal. And I'm actually hurting myself by trying to keep up appearances, as being depressed was my secret shame.

This past weekend I had to present my blog to my advocacy class (hence the previous post) and I feel like I 'came out' as a person that suffers from depression/anxiety. It felt really good.

I feel inspired now, as today the host of The Mental Illness Happy Hour Paul Gilmartin commented on my blog post on the show, and it was really encouraging. Then looking back, I found out that Teresa Strasser who I really respect and admire had actually responded to my comment on her blog too. Seriously, when you reach out and are honest, people do respond, maybe in not the ways you expect, but they do.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Advocacy Class: H.R. 6983 Mental Health Parity Act

This act, named for Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici, was introduced in 2008 and is currently tabled. However, it highlights the inequality between insurance coverage regarding mental health concerns versus other health concerns. With the passing of this act, it would help to ease the fallout from mental health stigma. Insurance plans that cover mental health treatment less than other types of treatment are essentially saying to those that they cover that issues concerning mental health  (including addiction) are their own problem and not a legitimate health problem. Without proper coverage, many people may then not seek the proper treatment because they are unable to pay the out of pocket expenses. 1 in 4 adults suffer from a mental health disorder any given year.

Here is a brief excerpt from govtrack.us:
Section 2 -
Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the Public Health Service Act, and the Internal Revenue Code to require a group health plan that provides both medical and surgical benefits and mental health or substance use disorder benefits to ensure that: (1) the financial requirements, such as deductibles and copayments, applicable to such mental health or substance use disorder benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant financial requirements applied to substantially all medical and surgical benefits covered by the plan; (2) there are no separate cost sharing requirements that are applicable only with respect to mental health or substance use disorder benefits; (3) the treatment limitations applicable to such mental health or substance use disorder benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant treatment limitations applied to substantially all medical and surgical benefits covered by the plan; and (4) there are no separate treatment limitations that are applicable only with respect to mental health or substance use disorder benefits.
 Check out Mental Health America's Action page and learn more!

Parity law can be confusing, but many organizations have broken it down and formed coalitions in support of appealing to denial of insurance claims for mental health services. Toolkits are available, including sample appeal letters. You deserve the best treatment and care possible!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Depression in Fiction: Ducks in a Row By Yours Truly

                                                             Image source
Here is another little piece of me. A short story I wrote a few months ago, about two friends that suffer from depression. It's the first time I ever really tackled anything 'serious' in my writing, but it felt really good to get out. I'm able to sort out my thoughts and emotions a lot better through writing, than I ever feel like I can through talking. I feel like I can pause, reflect, erase, re-word. But once you say something, you can't un-say it. Plus, I always turned to writing because I could say all that I wanted without being ignored. My characters were able to have conversations that I wanted to have, they were bolder and accepted and listened to. I didn't want to write about 'real' things because I needed an escape from my awful reality. Now, I find, that I really do need to reach deep down and pull out this stuff in order to write something that is meaningful to me.
Here is an excerpt (it's short because the story itself isn't terribly long):

                "Sam didn’t want to take meds, didn’t want to see doctors. She knew that was the long journey and it didn’t guarantee she would ever stop feeling useless and undeserving.
                That was all I could guess anyways, about why she’d tried it.
                The rumors were much more gruesome, blood and razors. I knew different, thanks to a grim conversation many months before. I missed her birthday party and she was so angry, I came clean about my meds, having just switched over and feeling too nauseous to attend.
                Everything spilled out then. She had thought I was the paragon of normal, albeit a little antisocial. Then she shocked me further by revealing how apathetic she felt sometimes—like so little really mattered.
                As our conversation unfolded, I was both cheered and distressed. We were closer than ever, but more similar than I was used to. "

 The full story can be found at http://mc-writes.blogspot.com 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Today I Feel...Defeated

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"The only way out is through..." somebody famous, or semi-famous said that, and I am the queen of trying every other way possible, usually multiple times. In another life I was most likely a turtle, or a hermit crab, frequently retreating to the safety of my shell for comfort and hiding from the rest of the world. I manage to spend a lot of time going in the opposite direction, even when I can clearly see the right way to go...

Okay, enough metaphors. I obviously started this blog for a reason, but have managed to skirt around my own personal stake in it...I struggle with depression. I have since I was 14 years old, but this current bout has been the most serious and difficult. I've only opened up about the worst of it to a few close family members and friends, but mostly, I feel like I'm in it alone. Starting with a base of someone who is introverted and lacks a lot of self-confidence, my depression is often really crippling. I don't want to get out of bed, partly because I don't see the point, and partly because it is the place that I seek comfort. I don't answer the phone just because I can't take the minimal small talk I know I will have to make. Those people on the other end, they have purpose, jobs, lives. And I do not. I cannot deal with their hypothetical happiness.

When I manage to successfully cope my way through the day, what is my reward? Often times, I get to reflect on the "real" things I did not accomplish. Homework. Looking for a job. Anything productive. Which unfortunately, brings me back to feeling awful about myself again. Being hard on myself, unfortunately, is not a realistic long-term goal. I can't "hate" myself into changing.

So what am I doing about it? I've been going to therapy for just over a year and also testing out medications for almost 6 months. Before today, I actually had a really amazing week (the first in many, many months) of feeling normal and sleeping regularly (normal hours and through the night). But today, not so much. I feel the whole troubling spectrum of emotions...anger, panic, sadness, hurt, frustration, stress.... Mostly, I feel defeated. I'm in the self-blame game where I'm the ultimate loser.

I wanted to wait until I felt brave enough to share all this, but then I thought maybe it's better if I don't. Even if I didn't do all that I was supposed to today, at least I did this for myself, and this was very important. This is me.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Depression in Fiction: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Photo from http://www.thirteenreasonswhy.com/
This debut novel by Jay Asher caught my eye as a book lover by continuing to resurface on the New York Times Best-Seller list. I am a big fan of young adult fiction, but initially I wasn't interested in reading a book dealing with teen suicide.

From the official book website:
"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers."

The premise made me nervous. I imagined an angry, depressed teenager planning revenge against her tormentors, hoping to crush them with guilt after her death. How was this kind of bitter story going to help?

However, the book kept resurfacing, and I knew it had to be a richer story than that. I actually listened to the audio version, which was extremely powerful, like I was hearing Hannah's tapes along with the other main character, Clay. As the story unfolded, we are taken on a journey of chain reactions. Rumors compound with bullying and accusations and self-perception. Ultimately, we see both the power of speaking up and reaching out. Through Clay, we gain hope for the future. I would definitely recommend this book as it is so layered, and would be a great catalyst for discussions (a discussion guide is conveniently posted on the official website).

The book's website also has a great community based on reactions to the book, called 13RWproject, where readers are encouraged to share their stories.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Personal Experiences: Mental Illness Happy Hour

I stumbled across this podcast while looking for appearances/interviews of two of my favorite comedians, Adam Carolla and his former radio show co-host, Teresa Strasser. The host, Paul Gilmartin, most famous for TBS' Dinner and a Movie, is often a guest on Carolla's top-rated podcast. Gilmartin admits on the podcast to being a long sufferer of depression and talks with other comedians, entertainers, and every day folks about how depression, anxiety, addiction etc. manifests itself in their lives and in many ways how it contributed to their creativity.

It is interesting to hear other people's perspectives, experiences with medications and talk therapy etc. in an ultimate effort to let others know "You Are Not Alone." Podcasts are also one of those intimate mediums where you feel an immediate connection with those you are listening to, as if you were simply overhearing a conversation between people you know. The best part is that as Gilmartin and guests are not 'mental health professionals' you are spared any clinical talk.

I highly recommend a visit to his website, mentalpod.com, where you can stream the episodes and is also a forum to discuss the shows.

(Image courtesy of mentalpod.com)

Friday, February 17, 2012

In the News: Bullying and Suicide

This is consistently a hot topic and an important discussion to continue, as teens continue to commit suicide in the face of bullying. Is it possible that bullying has actually grown worse over the years? What are the other possible factors--lack of dialogue and underdeveloped coping strategies due to the detachment of the "techno" age? Is it a fad, now that bullying has become a hot button issue? With all that we know about how high risk teens are for depression, and possible ties to becoming bullying victims, is a crackdown on bullying the best solution?

As Dr. Drew points out, the bullies are not well themselves. We need to better recognize those in need of help and it is the shared responsibility of everyone. These teens might still be with us today if a friend recognized there was a serious problem and know how to act on it. I think suicide talk among teens is often said jokingly or hyperbole.

What do you think? How can we help prevent these suicides?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Personal Experiences: Depression in Cartoon Form

                                      Illustration by Allie Brosh at hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com
A friend of mine pointed out this specific blog post entitled "Adventures in Depression" as an accurate reflection of some of her experiences as well. Sometimes the most difficult part of dealing with depression is feeling like no one can understand what you are going through and you feel very alone and isolated. This blog post, as evidenced by the comment section, shows that no one is alone in these experiences.

I hope to bring attention to more personal experiences like these to encourage depression sufferers that it is okay to speak up. You will be heard and you are not alone. Read "Adventures in Depression" here*

*Please note that some of the illustrations in the linked blog post feature strong language.

Monday, February 6, 2012

In the News: Facebook Depression

                                                          Photo source

Facebook and social media have always proven to be quite controversial, mostly because we recognize that there may be unforeseeable consequences to their use. Most people have noted for themselves the lack of interpersonal skills that the new tech generation has. Texting, email, and posting on each other's Facebook walls are more popular forms of indirect communication favored by the younger set.

Now a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org) has pointed out a new hazard of social media use called "Facebook depression." There is an "intensity" in the online world that parallels real world social circles and therefore, someone who feels ignored and excluded in virtual world may then exhibit the same depressive symptoms as someone in the real world. I think the internet has both the power to connect and the power to isolate. What is of particular concern is the fact that it may be even more isolating if you consider that many people use the internet when they are by themselves.

I think it's important to keep in mind that social media sites, despite their name, should not replace socializing in person. We lose the ability to understand each other as human beings via the internet because you cannot comprehend someone's facial expression or tone of voice through an email, text or a status update. I suspect that miscommunication has also been on the rise despite everyone becoming more able to connect with a wider range of people.

Full original report can be found here

What do you like/dislike about social media sites?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Music to Inspire: Dia Frampton "Don't Kick the Chair"

I have really enjoyed the musical trend, as of late, of encouraging, hopeful songs. I think music can have a significant part to play in the healing process, by surrounding yourself with positivity. This is the latest one I found, listening to Dia Frampton, from The Voice and the sister duo Meg & Dia.

Some other Positive Inspiration songs that have been on the radio in the past year...
"Firework" by Katy Perry
"Who Says" by Selena Gomez
"Skyscraper" by Demi Lovato
"Perfect" by Pink
"Loser Like Me" by the Glee Cast

What type of music makes you feel better?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Organization that Inspires: TWLOHA

                                                                            Photo source: http://www.smithmag.net/twloha

To Write Love On Her Arms (also known as TWLOHA) is non-profit that is dedicated to helping those who struggle with depression, suicide, and self-harm. It has tremendous youth and celebrity support, and was recently voted the recipient $1M from Chase Community Giving for the American Giving Awards.

I've chosen to highlight TWLOHA because I believe they have bought awareness to the issue of self-harm. They are getting out the word that everyone has different ways of coping, and NO ONE IS ALONE.
Visit the TWLOHA website!