I have been missing quite a bit lately, and figured it was about time I gave a reason for my disappearance. It isn’t that I don’t love writing about my experience with ADHD — I do. It’s therapeautic and I love talking to all of you and hearing your stories and suggestions.
I have been MIA and have not written, quite frankly, because of all of the wonderful things added to my schedule and my ADHD. I embarked on a journey of my dreams in working to create a better world for all, including those with mental health issues, and simply have not found the ability to focus to sit down and reach out. My apologies!
I thought first I would fill you in on my progress as it relates so very well to all of us in many ways.
I started the nonprofit iFred seven years ago, by default, but it has grown to be a strong passion of mine as I continue to learn the truths about depression and the lack of resources available. I launched a national cause marketing campaign through my for-profit company, the Mood-factory, in Lowe’s stores nationwide, where iFred earns $0.25 of each light bulb sold for iFred, the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression.
I started a company eight years ago to develop a product line of light bulbs based on how colors affect moods and named them Mood-lites. Researchers have shown that colors have an affect on moods, so I took the theory and applied it to lighting.
These lights are NOT meant to treat any depression, but function as an additional way to create a certain mood in a room as you would with colored pillows, art and wall colors.
The World Health Organization states that depression is treatable, yet less than 25% of people in the U.S. needing treatment are getting treatment due to stigma and lack of resources (which is most likely due to stigma). Stigma, put in marketing terms, is a negative brand or perception. It shocks me each and every day that people are not getting help because they feel ‘shame’ connected to walking in to the doctor and saying “something is just not right with my brain.”
The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. Just as the heart and liver get diseased, so does the brain. We need to do what we can to take care of it, and treat it when it gets sick. The brain is impacted by everything we put in our body; alcohol, food, nutrients, chemicals AND by the thoughts, perceptions and experiences of our every day lives. It seems quite natural that it may become imbalanced, and need some assistance, especially if we have any of the three things most likely to cause a person to be depressed; genetic disposition, history of child abuse, or traumatic life event.
So I started iFred, the International Foundation of Research and Education on Depression. There is a fancy mission statement, but it’s basically this: to re-brand depression. The concept is, if we change the image people associate with depression, it will lead to more people feeling comfortable seeking treatment, more organizations willing to fund nonprofits supporting depression, and an overall prevention of depressive episodes through lifestyle education. Think of Maslov’s experiments, and how he got a dog to salivate from ringing a bell.
We are focusing on primarily three things:
The focus on Hope
The Color Yellow
This may seem simple, but we have spent centuries associating problems of the mind with imagery of isolation, loneliness, solitude, sadness and hopelessness, and the negative imagery seems to be ‘branded’ in every single person’s heads. While this picture may very well be what a person feels when in the midst of a depressive episode — it is NOT the overall outlook for depression.
I am a vibrant, funny, creative and happy person when not in the midst of a depression — it is time we focused on getting all people to that state.
So while I have been gone for some time, it is not for my lack of care for all of you or disinterest in the work. It is my need to find a healthy balance in life to balance the nonprofit, my for profit company and other activities. I hope to be writing on a much more regular basis, as I absolutely adore this group and find writing an incredibly healing part of my overall journey.
We launched Field for Hope this year from the money generated, so please be sure to visit it at www.fieldforhope.org. Donate a dollar and plant a seed for hope to honor someone with depression. Watch it bloom in one of our fifteen locations around the world, and support international work to eradicate the stigma of depression.
Looking forward to your feedback, comments, and suggestions on this new work.