Archives for Coping with Depression


Six rules I follow to avoid depression during the holidays

Yesterday, as I was sitting on the front porch I was smacked upside the head by a Hallmark moment. An SUV with license plates from another state pulled in the driveway of the family across the street. I love having this family and their little ones across the street.

From the SUV spilled little cousins and what looked to be an aunt and grandmother. Their front yard was filled with hugs and babies on hips and...
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Coping with Depression

Death and depression: Two questions you must ask

I am now in the midst of watching a loved one die - slowly. This is the third time I've been down this road. The first two deaths were my parents. Cancer ate them little by little and they died 16 months apart.

Today, it is the man of my dreams, the love of my life. His cancer has metastasized again and I'm afraid it won't be long. He is a wonderful man and I will miss him dearly...forever.

About two years after my mother died I slid into the darkest depression I had ever experienced. Frankly, it scared the heck out of me and when I finally clawed my way out of it I vowed I would do everything and anything to never fall into that black hole again.

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anxiety and dreams

How much sleep is enough/too much when you have depression

The first thing my psych-nurse practitioner said on my first visit during my last major depression was this:

"First, we need to get you some sleep."

What? I expected her to say anti-depressants - at the time a major fear of mine. But sleep? Really?

I immediately decided that I liked this woman because her top priority was something natural - sleep. Although she did prescribe a very low dose of Seroquel to help me sleep soundly, I liked her recognition of the body's own ability to heal itself.

Plus, I hadn't had a really good night's sleep in a long time. And I really, really like to sleep.
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Coping with Depression

Four reasons to exercise when you have depression

Shortly before my depression snapped me in half, I went to a spin class at the gym. Of all the exercise I have done - and I have done a lot - spin is the most intense aerobic workouts.

An hour of riding a stationary bike -mostly at your maximum heart rate - and my body is toast. However, my brain is on a pink cloud - awash in endorphins.

But on that day, the endorphins did not...
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Coping with Depression

Fuel for depression: I get paid when bad stuff happens

It's 6:32 am and I just had an epiphany: I spend too much time thinking about what's wrong.

I'm a journalist so it goes without saying that that's what I get paid to do. We write about what's wrong. Have you seen that commercial where the kid says to his buddy, "My dad's company didn't get hacked today." That's not news.

So, basically I have spent the better part of the last 30 years focusing on what's wrong, why...
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Coping with Depression

Anger management techniques for a middle-aged woman

Last Friday afternoon I found myself standing behind what used to be an auto repair shop with a 16-pound sledgehammer over my head, beating the crap out of a large tire. It's not something you would expect a 56-year-old woman to do on a sweltering summer day in Florida.

But I was angry. I had just spent an hour in what I shall call "intense fellowship" with a handful of my colleagues and a lawyer and I was not at all happy with the outcome of the meeting. I knew if I did not get rid of that anger in an "appropriate" way, it would come out sideways.

Most likely I would verbally eviscerate someone and remain pissed off for days. I would relive that intense hour of fellowship over and over - fuming, stewing and creating scripts of what I would do next.

And then I heard a little voice: Depression is anger turned inward.
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How my depression nearly killed my sobriety

This month I celebrate 17 years of sobriety. Let me say that again. This month I celebrate 17 years of sobriety.

I can't believe I just said that because it seems so impossible and sounds so weird coming from my mouth.

17 years.

How the heck did that happen?

One day at a time. I also followed suggestions, especially from a doctor friend who told me about 12 years ago that I was in a major depression and needed antidepressants.
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How to avoid anxiety and loneliness when vacationing alone

Since my last major depression I have created for myself a small, insulated world - completely accessible on a 20-plus-year-old pink bike. My doctors, work, favorite restaurants, grocery store, dog park, gym and ocean are within a five mile radius of my cozy little house.

I like it that way. Driving a car is unnatural for me. It brings back heavy, gray memories of commuting 25 miles from the suburbs of Detroit into the city to work. In March, when dirty snow and a gray, seamless cloud took over the sky, the commute fueled my depression, already acute from months of seasonal-affective disorder.

Life got better after I moved to sunny Florida but depression still smothered me. Death and divorce will do that regardless of the weather. I responded by making my world small. I preferred riding a bike to driving. For awhile I had a scooter but then went back to my beloved bike.

When I ventured out of my bubble for work or vacation, I always had a reason and purpose. Conferences, graduations, reunions and exciting adventures meticulously researched. For years I have travelled with my boyfriend - a free spirit like me. We research what is available to see and do in an area, but make few plans and reservations besides renting a car.

We have slept in the back of an SUV and stayed in five-star hotels. When a mountain stream looked as though it might have some trout in it, we pulled over and fished. No timetable. No plans besides the occasional baseball game at legendary fields - Wrigley in Chicago and the Green Monster at Boston's Fenway.

Vagabond wanderlust.

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Coping with Depression

Depression relief: Why standing-up matters

Sometimes, getting vertical is the hardest thing to do when we you are depressed. Just getting up - off the couch or out of bed - is a major accomplishment. Getting up and out the door is monumental.

In my last depression, I forced myself to do this. I knew that shutting myself in would only make the depression worse. Of course, I had the fear that if someone saw me out and about they would accuse me...
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Coping with Depression

The importance of passion

If we want people to take us and our mental illnesses seriously, then we have to take them seriously. Unfortunately, it's a little more involved than just taking some pills in the morning.

For me, this has meant figuring out the things I do that turn on and off certain chemicals in brain. I did years of therapy to deal with my emotions - especially anger. I learned part of my depression is anger turned inward.

I had to learn how to eat and sleep well - watching carbs, especially sugar consumption, which can spike my blood sugar levels causing quick highs and lows. I had to learn how to exercise in moderation because I tend to be a teeny bit extreme when it comes to working out.

I do not drink alcohol. I do not do dairy or gluten - which cause inflammation and make me feel old -something I DO NOT LIKE AT ALL! And sleep - ahhhh sleep. Eight hours, minimum with 20-minute power naps when needed. One day a week I sleep until my body wakes me up - usually after 10-12 hours.
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