Friends Articles

What I Wish You Understood About My Depression

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

What I Wish You Understood About My DepressionThere are many persistent misconceptions about depression. For instance, people assume depression is synonymous with sadness. (It’s not.)

They also assume that individuals with depression can simply snap out of it. (They can’t. Mild depression may abate with exercise, meditation and other self-help strategies. But most people’s clinical depression usually requires treatment.)

Such misconceptions can lead us to misinterpret what people need. It can lead us to make insensitive comments — “are you sure you want to get better?” — and to be dismissive of a disease that is actually devastating and really hard.

We asked people who have or had depression to share what they wish others knew and understood about the illness.

Confessions of a Stage-Four People-Pleaser

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

zen cat anyaMy junior year of college, I bought a used computer for $100. It was cheap because the thing was as huge as it was heavy. The challenge was to walk with this cumbersome piece of technology across campus to my dorm. I was finally to the steps of Holy Cross Hall when I tripped and fell flat on my face.

Did I issue a four-letter word?

Of course not.

I apologized.

To the student who was on the stairs staring at me.

How to Support & Help Someone with Depression

Friday, November 14th, 2014

How to Support & Help Someone with Depression  Someone you know is struggling with depression. You want to help but you’re not sure how. You worry about saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing. Or maybe you’ve already done or said the wrong thing.

There may be many reasons you’re having a hard time helping your loved one. But there also are many ways you can help.

Offer “love and kindness, first and foremost,” said writer Alexa Winchell. “Be kind to those of us suffering just as you would care for someone with the flu,” said Lisa Keith, PsyD, an assistant professor of special education at Fresno Pacific University.

What does this look like?

Below, you’ll find specific insights into the helpful — and unhelpful — ways you can be supportive from people who had or have depression.

Are You Living Authentically or According to Others’ Expectations?

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Are You Living Authentically or According to Others' Expectations? Ever feel like you’re just not getting enough done? You’re not heading in the right direction or being productive enough with your time? There may be a general malaise that creeps over you at the end of the day because you still haven’t gotten that raise or started working out or cut back on watching TV. You feel generally discontent because life isn’t looking the way you thought it would and you’re certain you should be doing more.

But what should your life look like and why? Where do these expectations come from and are they even what you want?

How to Respect Other People’s Boundaries

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

The KissThere are many articles on how to create and maintain personal boundaries. But there isn’t as much guidance on how we can respect other people’s limits, because this, too, can be as difficult as setting our own.

Boundary violations typically fall into three categories, according to Chester McNaughton, a registered professional counselor who specializes in boundaries, anger management and dysfunctional relationships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: aggressive, passive-aggressive or accidental.

Relationships: Evaluating Your Return On Investment

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

relationship resolutions

For nearly 20 years I have been teaching at CEO Space, an entrepreneurial training and business growth conference. Being steeped in the concept of Return on Investment as it relates to money, I can’t help but transfer that concept to the realm of relationships.

Most of us start with “What is in it for me?” questioning what we are getting back in our partnerships, but I invite you to consider, “What are you returning others on their investment (of time, love, energy, money, prayers) in you?”

The Solitude Dilemma

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The Solitude DilemmaThis week The Atlantic shared a video in its Editor’s Picks series called ‘The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain.’ It followed a young man named Leif Haugen, a Forest Service firefighter in Montana. For three months out of the year, Leif lives alone at the lookout on top of a mountain.

Watching the video, I couldn’t help but feel a rather fervent mix of desire and fear.

Living in solitude like that, with no one to talk to and nothing to distract you but books and chores seems like a dream to me. At the same time, though, it made me wonder if, were I to live like that, I would get lonely.

Reasons for Living: World Mental Health Day

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Reasons for LivingReasons for living never come cheap
Even your best ones can put me to sleep
What I am saying, or trying to say
Is that there must be a better way

~ Duncan Sheik

I have bipolar II disorder, which means the depressive side is far more prominent than the manic one.

Recently, when I mentioned my suicidal ideation to my psychiatrist, he challenged me to come up with five reasons to live, write them down and put them where I could see them.

Getting Your Needs Met

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Surefire Strategies That Don’t Work for ADHD – And Some That DoAre you a nice person? Are you considerate, thoughtful and sensitive to the needs of others? That’s admirable and praiseworthy!

So how come you’ve been feeling unappreciated lately? Your needs never seem to count. It’s not fair.

You take other people’s feelings into account. How come they run roughshod over yours?

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social Media

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social MediaA lot of folks these days are talking about unplugging from social media. Maybe not permanently, but for a period of time in order to have face-to-face connections with people again.

But what if not logging onto Facebook meant you wouldn’t know that your friend had died? That’s what happened to me earlier this year.

7 Ways to Deal with Family and Friends Who Don’t Get it

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

mentalhealthforparentsIf “I believe you” are the three most powerful words you can say to someone with an invisible illness. Four of the hardest or most painful words to absorb — whether they are said directly or communicated indirectly through insensitive behavior — are “I don’t believe you.” And yet, people who live with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders hear them over and over and over again from family members and friends.

You Don’t Have to Do Everything Perfectly

Friday, September 26th, 2014

self-image-meme

One of my biggest struggles is the fact that I feel like I have to do everything just right. There’s some small part of me that kind of panics if I don’t do things correctly, or the way I imagine they should be done.

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