About the DBSA:
“The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is the leading peer-directed national organization focusing on the two most prevalent mental health conditions, depression and bipolar disorder. DBSA provides hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who have mood disorders through peer-based, wellness-oriented, empowering services and resources available when people need them, where they need them, and how they need to receive them–online 24/7, in local support groups, in audio and video casts, or in printed materials distributed by DBSA.”
“DBSA’s nearly 300 local chapters offer more than 700 support groups providing peer support to an estimated 50,000 individuals. DBSA reaches millions of people each year in-person and online peer support; current, readily understandable information about depression and bipolar disorder; and empowering tools focused on an integrated approach to wellness.” ~Conference Program…You can check out their website: www.DBSAlliance.org
The Keynote presenters this year: Victoria Maxwell, Patrick J. Kennedy, Priscilla Ridgway, Melody Moezzi. Out of the keynote presenters…Thus far, i’ve met: Priscilla Ridgway and she is very pleasant! Our girls enjoyed drawing her caricature. While the kids have been drawing various attendees/participants, i’ve been enjoying enriching conversations with them and am THANKFUL!…the kids will be drawing again Sunday (wonder who else i may meet??)
It’s cool being back in the city…absolutely loving the panoramic view from the 17th floor! Our room is mostly walls of ceiling to floor glass. This must be what life is like in a glass house. Total transparency and reflection (been living that already, eh?!:)
My new-found hobby aka…All i feel like doing is pressing my nose against the glass checking out the elevated view! i need height– far above it all. Florida is too flat for me.. missing the mountains very much! (This window view is as close as i’m going get for now…and am privileged and THANKFUL for this time with my family here!:)
“HIGH in the alpine mountains of Europe, you can find growing a sturdy …
All of us have preferences such as what we like to read and what we like to write. Where we want to live and how we want to live (i.e. stay single or marry).
Millions throughout history have never experienced “true” freedom! Have you??
Partners, Caregivers, Others–Most of us–enjoy a “measure” of freedom. THANKS for using your freedom to read my blog!:)
French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote:
“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains.”
Born Free? Are you free? or are you in chains? Think again! Everyone is in chains (of some sort)…Some self-made, some imprisoned by power-hungry people without compassion or compunction who have injured and dominated others on their way to the top of the prominence pile aka pig pile; crushing the freedoms and innocence of innocents!
A sad reality, some prisons exist without bars or chains! Poverty, sickness, hunger, hatred are brutal masters.
Please know, this post intent is Not to depress or dwell on negativity, rather my hope is You, my Readers, will think differently (reeducate) about the gifts (talents, abilities, privileges) you have/enjoy (that others may not) and the manner in which you choose to use or share your daily gifts, in particular, the gift of free will…
FREEDOM!…Freedom is Truth.
Freedom is Relative.
Freedom is privilege. How would you describe Freedom?! Why does it appeal to you?! What will you do or not do to obtain it?! And once you obtain it, how will you use it? Selfishly of selflessly? Negatively or positively? Will you choose to live in a way that respects the dignity/freedom of others? As Caregiver, Partner, Person, Friend how will you use your measure of freedom…today?
Freedom to me (figuratively)– can be liken to an innocent child enjoying an innocent childhood. A child who enjoys the warmth, affection, benevolence, protection of a selfless, non-abusive father who allows this child to play, learn and grow, …
I need a vacation, but can’t afford one! Do you feel the same way?! Not being able to afford to do something doesn’t always include not having enough money for that dream location. Sometimes, we just can’t afford the time, energy, or mental, physical, spiritual, emotional exhaustion/cost vacations take!
Caregivers and partners with lots of responsibilities, and the others depending on them, may not be able to pick up and travel so easily. Anyone suffering from any debilitating illness – Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Diabetes, you name it – probably would love to get away from the effects of their illnesses – a vacation of sorts – but can’t so easily either!
What can we do?! We all need a break! A healthy, positive, good-for-us escape. Do you feel like you need a vacation?
A MENTAL HEALTH Vacation…
Before planning any endeavor, it’s important to count the cost. What will this new endeavor or vacation cost me and my family / partner in time, energy, money, etc.? Do you have enough to spend? I’m not talking money. Will you have enough love, patience, forgiveness, endurance and energy to see this thing through to completion?
Leading up to the birth of a child, the majority of the attention is focused on mom because–let’s face it–she is doing the hard work. After birth, Mom also tends to shoulder much of the responsibility for the newborn, especially if she is breast-feeding.
Even the most well-adjusted, connected, and caring fathers are likely not going to get as much attention as mom and baby, and that includes when it comes to the adjustment period of having a newborn. While there are many programs and screenings for post-partum depression in mothers, not much attention has been paid to Dad’s well-being.
A recent study conducted in Australia had some startling findings: new fathers are just as likely to suffer from the “baby blues” as new mothers. Chief researcher Jan Nicholson, Ph.D. defined the “baby blues” as a condition which includes symptoms of anxiety, worry, stress, feeling unable to cope, feeling blue and despairing that things won’t get better.
The study results revealed that new dads have a 40% higher rate of these symptoms than men of similar age and background. The study’s authors are saying that it is time to stop thinking the “baby blues” only happen to mothers, and start paying attention to the mental health of both parents.
When you add in the fact that men are less likely to seek professional help for depression, this makes an already difficult situation more challenging. What can you do if you suspect a new dad has the “baby blues”?
When you have a partner with mental illness, you are likely always on alert for behaviors that might indicate the illness is progressing. Was that laugh too loud, and a sign of impending mania?…Does the fact that he doesn’t want to go to the party mean his depression is coming back?…Did he forget to pick up the dry cleaning because he didn’t take his ADHD meds?…Did she skip dessert because she’s full or because her eating disorder is telling her she should?…Is he jumpy because of his PTSD or did he just have too much coffee this morning?
As the supportive partner, it can be exhausting to have these thoughts all the time. You have likely been through the mill with your partner’s behaviors that are due to their illness, and having these kinds of thoughts are a defense mechanism to protect yourself from being caught off guard again.
But there’s a flip side to this story, too: your partner may not be feeling as if it is okay to be themselves.
Many people associate seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with the cold, dark, winter months. So, it may come as a surprise to you when your partner begins to experience depression during the summer. After all, summer is a time of vacations, warmer weather, and more hours of daylight, and those are good things, right?
Yes, that’s true. But summer also means changes in schedule (especially if your kids are out of school), heat intolerance for some, body image problems when pulling out bathing suits and shorts, and general feelings of not being “normal” when it seems like everyone else is happy this time of the year.
On top of that, if your partner seeks treatment for their depression, therapists and doctors often take summer vacations like everyone else, which can leave your partner without regular treatment, or with an unfamiliar provider who is offering coverage for your partner’s therapist.
What do you need to know about your partner’s summer depression?
Today’s post is Part 2 on how to help kids who have a parent with a mental illness. In Part 1, we discussed how kids think about and react to having an ill parent. This post will address how to talk with kids when their Mom or Dad has a mental illness, and provide helpful resources.
Talking with kids about mental illness
Experts recommend that you address these main topics with kids when Mom or Dad have a mental illness:
When a parent is mentally ill, children are often confused, scared, angry, and/or worried. Depending on their ages, how long the parent has been symptomatic, and experiences with Mom or Dad being sick, children need appropriate levels of education and support.
In this two-part blog, we’ll first look at how kids perceive, react to, and think about having a parent with a mental illness. In Part 2, we’ll discuss how to best help kids and offer resources.
It’s no secret that health insurance is expensive, and paying for mental health services can be outrageous as well. When you and your partner have a large pile of bills to pay, it can make a difficult decision to forgo mental health appointments and psychiatric medications appear–on the surface–to be easier.
No money = No care, no meds. Period. End of story. Right?
Unfortunately, you and your partner may have already discovered what happens when mental health treatment is stopped abruptly. Or if you are considering this possibility, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.
The ramifications of not getting appropriate treatment go much further than just a depressed mood or anxious thoughts and feelings. It could result in an untimely death.
Postpartum Support International has declared May to be National Maternal Depression Awareness Month. Has your partner or other loved one struggled with depression, either during pregnancy and/or right after giving birth?
Estimates are that 15-20% of women–that’s 1 in 8–have depression either while pregnant or postpartum. Despite such high numbers, many women do not get treatment because they may feel guilty that they are not happy during what society says should be a joyful time.
They may also not realize the symptoms they are experiencing are in fact depression, or may be waiting to see if they feel better after the baby is born, or once the baby has settled into a routine, etc. because what new mom (and dad!) isn’t tired, cranky, and overwhelmed when caring for a newborn?
The problem is, maternal depression is serious, and there is help out there that can make a tremendous difference quickly. Left untreated, your partner is at risk of developing severe depression or postpartum psychosis, which are mental health emergencies.
As a supportive partner, what do you need to know and what can you do to help?