Category Archives: Depression

Depression Blogs and Games

I linked to this yesterday on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, but I wanted to also add it to this post. The Psych Central website has listed their Top 10 Depression Blog of 2014. I have to admit that there are a few on there I’ve never read, but I will definitely be checking them out!

Do you have a favorite depression blog not listed there?

Also, I wanted to share a Mashable article I saw as well. Titled 3 Free Games That Can Help You Cope And Understand Depression it goes on to talk about three video games with depression as the central theme. I’ll let the author, Matthew Hughes explain:

The UK’s Office of National Statistics says that one in five British adults suffer from depression. It’s an epidemic of massive proportions, comes with a massive societal impact, with depression costing the European economy almost 118 million Euros in lost worker productivity and expenditure on treatment.

It’s not just a feeling of sadness. It’s not laziness. It’s a complex, confusing mental illness that impacts people in different ways. It can pull you into a spiral of numbness, anxiety, hopelessness and apathy, and make the simplest things like getting out of bed feel like an excruciating effort.

So, where do games come into this? Games – like any other genre of popular culture – can help us understand complex issues. Complex issues like depression and mental health. Don’t believe me? Here are 3 that walk you through what it’s like to suffer from depression, or give you helpful strategies for coping with it.

Now, I’ve never been a big gamer so I’m going to reserve judgement on whether video games can help. I’m willing to admit that anything that helps is a good thing, and if there are folks out there who are helped by playing these games, I’m glad they exist! I don’t think they’d be for me, but that’s just the point, they aren’t for me. Maybe they are for someone else.

Have you played any these games? What do you think?

A Day in the Life Of Someone With Mental Health Issues

Over in the UK, there’s a project due to start this coming Friday, Nov. 7 that bears keeping an eye on:

A Day in the Life is a year-long project to collect the everyday experiences of people who experience mental health difficulties in England. If you experience a mental health difficulty sign up to share with the world what your day was like on four calendar dates across the length of the project.
You don’t have to use your real name and you can be as anonymous as you want to be.
The everyday life of people with mental health difficulties has tended to remain hidden. Together we can change that by sharing what makes life better and what makes life worse. The first day in the life will be Friday 7th November 2014.

The link is here:

Let’s hope that getting a glimpse into the day to day lives of people in the UK dealing with mental health issues can help end the stigma of depression and other mental health issues.

World Mental Health Day #wmhd14

If you haven’t seen it mentioned on other blogs, today, Oct 10, 2014 is “World Mental Health Day”. The fine folks over at Psych Central are throwing a “blog party” to celebrate, getting bloggers to write a post about mental health and linking to it from that page.

One of the things you can see on that page, or looking at Twitter for the #wmhd14 hashtag, it becomes pretty obvious that there are a lot of people writing about mental health today.

I think that’s fantastic, for one very big reason. When I was in the midst of the worst of my depression, the one thing that I remember most clearly is the feeling of being utterly alone. That’s one of the lies depression tells you, that no one will understand, no one knows what it’s like, and no one can help you. Looking around today, I can see just how untruthful that is. There are resources, (Though we need more!!!) there are people who care and, most importantly, there are people who’ve been where you are, and survived.

Today is also a day that I saw an article about the 40,000 people we lose to suicide every year in the US. How many of those people would still be with us if they could have known how many others are out here dealing with the same thing they are, and offering support for one another. So do me a favor, ok? Share what we’re seeing online today with the people you care about. You never know how many of them might need to know.

TED Talks on Mental Illness

In light of yesterday’s news about Robin Williams, lots of folks have been reaching out on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to share their own stories of depression and other mental health issues, or make sure folks know where to go to get help, and that there is help for mental illness.

I even shared out my post from a couple of years ago about my story with suicide on Twitter and Facebook as well. It has been heartwarming to see so many, from all walks of life, coming out of the darkness and sharing their own struggles. I hope it’s something that continues. We all could do with feeling less alone.

TED Talks shared this playlist that I thought many of you might want to take a look at.

7 talks on the struggle of mental health.

There’s quite a lot there, real stories from real people dealing with metal health issues. Exactly more of the kinds of stories we need to be talking about if we hope to stop losing good people to the lies their illness is telling them!

Career Advice That Is Relevant to Healing as Well

appreciationIn my quest to try every new piece of social media tech that exists, (that might be a bit of hyperbole, but not by much!) I have penned a piece with some career advice called The Appreciation File over on LinkedIn.

It did not escape my notice, however, that this same bit of helpful advice could also apply to healing from abuse, or helping with depression, or whatever else you might be struggling with.

So, fellow survivors, start hanging on to cards, notes and emails thanking you for something. Then on the rough days, go back through the stack and remind yourself of all the good you have done, and continue to do, all the worth you have and all the value you bring to others. Also, make sure you’re letting people know the value they have, so they can start building their own file!

If you’re so inclined, I’d appreciate it if you went over to LinkedIn and shared the plan with your own contacts! Thanks!

Even The Little Things Are Too Much

BW Ice

I really liked Natasha Tracy’s description of depression when I read it.

I have problems with lots of the little things. Opening mail, for example. You would think that tearing tiny pieces of paper and reading letters would be relatively simple, but it’s not – at least, not for me. For me, I just think about the mail and I get overwhelmed. I actually have to talk myself into actually opening little envelopes.

And while this could be driven by, say, an inability to pay bills, for me, it’s not. For me it’s just mail, in and of itself. For whatever reason, I just can’t do it.

And I know I need to do things like shower and open the mail. These are normal, everyday activities that need doing. But so often, at the end of the day I find that I haven’t done them – again. And this knowledge of failing at the little things is so depressing. I tend to beat myself up about it.

I think anyone who has ever suffered from depression can recall those days. The days where you really just get overwhelmed doing the smallest little thing, and then feel like a failure because you couldn’t even do that little thing without getting overwhelmed, thus leading to feeling more overwhelmed, and so on and so on.

I don’t think people who’ve never had, or were close to someone who had depression, understand this. You go to the mailbox and get the mail without a second thought. You get up in the morning, shower, make some coffee and so on. When you have depression, nothing is that easy. There aren’t any activities that you can do without a second thought. Everything is a struggle, everything requires monumental effort just to even attempt to do it.

I can remember, for example, trying to boil water after I was released from the hospital. Granted, I was both depressed and physically unwell, recovering from a 9 day hospital stay for a virus. Anyway, I tried to just boil some water to make some pasta for myself, and wound up spilling it. The only thing I could do was sit on the kitchen floor and cry. It was at that point that I realized that was about as low as I could get, and much like Natasha’s advice, if I saw someone else suffering in this same way, I’d help them up and walk them through doing what they were trying to do, all the while telling them it was ok, they could accomplish this, and then they could accomplish the next thing, and so on until they were doing amazing things. Needless to say, while I thought that, actually putting that thought into practice was hardly an overnight thing. Overcoming depression doesn’t happen all at once. You don’t suddenly snap out of it, for the most part. You start to build yourself from the ground up. You hit bottom, and then you figure out what you need to do to get the mail and showered today. Once you’ve started accomplishing that, you move on to the next thing, and before you know it, you’re living life and doing the little things again.

So, feel some compassion for yourself, find the correct treatment, and start with one accomplishment today. Then go from there. At least, that’s what worked for me!

What is it Like to Not Have Depression?

Children's Grave Marker

Last night, I came across an interesting article about depression, titled 50 Sufferers Describe Depression For People Who’ve Never Been Depressed

In response to sharing that article, on Twitter, Reine Jade had a wish that took the concept and turned it around.

An interesting idea to be sure. So, here’s your chance. If you have either never suffered from depression, or have come out of depression, what does that look like?

As for myself, the big difference that I see about when I had depression, and now that I really don’t, is balance. When I was depressed, I was really unable to feel happiness or joy about anything. It was all about what was wrong, and how everything that was wrong was specifically targeted at me. (Depression is actually a very narcissistic disease, everything negative effects you, directly, even when it has nothing to do with you.)

Not being depressed means having things that I enjoy, and the freedom to enjoy them. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have times of feeling sad, lonely, or stressed. Life is full of those emotions, but it is also full of joy, excitement, happiness, love and contentment. It’s when I can experience both positive and negative emotions without fear of being overrun by negativity that I know I am living a healthy emotional life, not suffering from depression.

In other words, when I get a good evaluation at work, I’m happy, and when I get a flat tire while driving, I can deal with it and take care of the situation in some way, I’m balanced emotionally. When my tie goes flat and I sit in the car and cry, unable to do anything about it, not so much.

Now it’s your turn? What does a life free of depression look like?