Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

12 Ways to Wait for Recovery

Last August, when I was going through a rough spot, I identified that place (between health and recovery) as the “Waiting Place” (from Dr. Seuss, of course). And I listed what kinds of activities are encouraged in that area. Here they are.
Thanks to another anonymous reader who asked me on the “What Makes People Relapse” post: “What are some task-oriented skills that can be used?”
Here are a few things I’m doing right now to keep me occupied in the Waiting Place, techniques that will hopefully push me into a better spot, and not back to a full relapse.
1. Talk to the Doll
One theory of depression suggests that abuse or neglect early in life may contribute to permanent changes in the brain that lead to an overproduction of cotropin-releasing factor (CRF), which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland to release hormones that cause depression.
I didn’t suffer from atrocious neglect or abuse in my childhood, but I did feel terribly insecure at times, especially in the years after my dad left and my mom sank into her own depression. When my anxiety surfaces as an adult, I feel like the scared little girl I was 30 years ago, crying in my mom’s arms.
That’s why my guardian angel Ann told me to get a doll, to represent the scared, young Therese, and have the wise, grounded, compassionate adult in me comfort her. In two days, I’m going to visit Ann and together we are going to shop for my doll. I will then put her on my desk with my angel, my St. Therese medal, and my SEF (self-esteem file), and I will try to tell her that everything is going to be okay. For real. Just as my mom says to me when her scared little girl calls her up, needing a reminder that the inner turmoil I feel is just my head playing tricks on me.
2. Read my SEF (self-esteem file)
Speaking of my SEF (self-esteem file), I get that baby out and start reading all the complimentary and loving notes that my Beyond Blue readers have left for me, or post cards from friends, such as the card my literary agent, Claudia, just sent me from France, with a picture of a statue of St. Therese, and the words: “I said a prayer for you in front of St. Therese, that you might find peace in your life. hope you know that your writing touches many people, and I’m so glad to be working with you.” It’s hard to be depressed after reading that.


3. Ditch the Jogger
Many mornings on my run, I am passed by this really fit woman who is running with a triple jogger, loaded with her three kids. She trained for a marathon, which she ran in 3 hours and 15 minutes, running with her three kids in the jogger.
Whenever I see her, my immediate response is to say to myself: “You are such a loser. You can’t even handle your double jogger with the kids. You shouldn’t waist babysitting hours on your run. You could get so much more done if you were stronger, like her.”
Thirty seconds later, the kinder, gentler (and I suspect more intelligent?) part of my brain says, “Yeah, but look at her kids. They’re boring. They are just sitting there, patiently, probably asking, ‘Mommy, how can we help you today?’ And she’s boring too. You’re fine the way you are.”
Whenever I get sucked into that hyper-competitive and overachiever mentality, I have to say to myself, “Stop it. Ditch the jogger already. You don’t have to multitask your life away and be productive sixty seconds of every minute. In fact, you will preserve your sanity and be a better person if you protect your running time as your time alone with God.”
4. Stop Running, Start Walking
Speaking of jogging , I have begun to walk as part of my run. This is a symbolic way of telling myself to slow the hell down and to start enjoying the view more. When I concentrate on my breath as I walk, I allow myself a break from my racing here and there, both physically and mentally. Walking also allows me to do some problem-solving and cognitive-behavioral therapy that is harder to do when I run.
Walking, to me, means dropping my unrealistic expectations, and shooting for only very small goals. In this Waiting Place, I allow myself twice the amount of time to complete a writing deadline than I usually give myself, and I don’t demand as much (I’m talking heart rates) from my work-outs. In general, I try to be kinder to myself, as I would be to a friend healing from a condition.
5. Eat Lunch at a Table
This is also a way of telling myself to slow down. When I get into my ultra-productive mode, I eat lunch as I type away. But my body needs this break to eat, and if I feed my face in front of a computer too many afternoons, I’m going to get frazzled, like I feel right now. More evolved persons can meditate. I have great difficulty meditating. So, until I can sit down on a prayer mat and transcend, I will take at least fifteen minutes to a half hour to eat my lunch.
6. Stay Ignorant
One of the worst things for me to do while I’m in the Waiting Place is to follow headlines. The newspaper is chock full of anxiety triggers for me–like how much energy it takes to recycle a plastic bag (I thought I was doing the right thing!) and how much sex teenagers are having today (hello … David is there in seven years!). If there is something I absolutely need to know, then Eric can tell me. But, until I reach more solid ground, I can’t read about Iraq, Sudan, corrupt politicians, teenage drug use, and global warming. It’s all too overwhelming and depressing.
7. Shake the Piggy Bank
I’m cheap by nature. I like to save. So I absolutely hate to dig into savings. But that’s what you have to do at times to stay alive and to move forward in recovery. Sometimes we have to bid farewell to an early retirement, or retirement at all, in order to reach old age in one piece.
Two years ago, Eric and I cashed out a sizable amount of retirement funds so that we could hire the babysitting help that we needed in order for me to get well. We didn’t have a family member nearby who could step in and play mom for awhile, who could or would support us in the way that we needed.
I only agreed to this only after two psychiatric nurses sat us down for a “family meeting” after three groups of patients had gone home much better, and I sat in the same damn chair crying my eyes out. “Therese is not going to get better as long as she has all of her caretaking responsibilities of young children.” They asked us if there was anyone able to fill in for me for awhile so that I could concentrate on my recovery, and there wasn’t. So we bought the help that we needed. At 12 bucks an hour.
I’m close to the same predicament now. I’m way overextended. I become incredibly anxious when I don’t write a day’s worth of blog posts in the time I have allotted to do that (and my expectations there are unrealistic). And I can’t make it up at night as I had done pre-breakdown because without regular sleep I may as well book a room right now at Johns Hopkins psych unit.
I think it’s time to walk to the piggy bank and see what I have in there, because you know that “rainy day” that you save for? It’s here.
8. Take It One Storm Cloud at a Time
Speaking of rainy days, Reader Wayne e-mailed this sweet sentiment: “I will continue to pray for you, me, and everyone who has a headful of thunderstorms.”
That’s a great description. A headful of thunderstorms. And just as my TV (some new cable service I can’t get to work right) only posts one day’s weather report, I should too only take it one thunderstorm at a time. When I try to plan out the week, or the month, or the year–when I try my best to look into the crystal ball and say that x is going to happen on y–I have just wasted a chunk of time and have just needlessly thrown my brain into hysteria. Because the whole picture is too overwhelming. I have to break it down into manageable bite-sizes that I can tackle one by one. One-fourth of a problem at a time. Only what’s right there in front of me. Or maybe a half of that. The smallest piece possible. Nothing else. Because everything is going to change anyway. Can meteorologists really predict a storm seven days out? They say yes. I say no. In other words, I wouldn’t plan your outdoor wedding on it.
9. Use Your Cushion
I’ve been manic depressive long enough to know that I should have at least one week’s worth of blog posts in the bank for those days that my brain’s fear system (my amygdala) is hosting a keg party and there’s a massive lay off of brain cells in the hippocampus (the part of the brain that plays a role in emotion and is associated with memory and learning).
Again, because I’m cheap, I absolutely hate to dig into that supply, but the days after my recent relapse I was relieved to have a few days worth of posts that I could use, written during my more productive hours.
10. Remember: It’s Just a Gland
“So how are things going?” David’s pediatrician asked me the other day when I showed up for his six-year well visit.
“For him, great!” I said. “For me, not great.”
I only said this because David’s pediatrician and I chatted at length about anxiety one afternoon, since he and his sons have experienced it. We often discuss how best to help David manage it and how to help David’s mother manage it too.
“Just tell yourself that it’s only a gland acting up … the amygdala in your brain . . .”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all about Amy, that’s what I call mine, and right now she’s gotten a hold of some girl Viagra.”
He laughed. I’m sure the other mothers were busy reporting that their kids were excelling at lacrosse and soccer and computer science. But he had a good point. If I think of my anxiety as a gland flaring up, it makes me feel less pathetic and responsible.
11. Go Back to the Couch
After a nine-month reprieve, I think it’s time to head back to therapy. I’m not really sure why counseling helps people so much–or why it’s different from venting to supportive friends–but the evidence is undoubtedly there: that psychotherapy is effective in treating depression. So it’s back the couch I go, damn it.
12. Repeat: This Too Shall Pass
I like calling this place of unease, where I am today, the “Waiting Place” because I know Dr. Seuss was not lying when he wrote (in “Oh, the Places You’ll Go“):

That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright place
where Boom Bands are playing.

  • Linda

    Thank you for the info! I feel abandoned when my friends are able to work enthusiastically then I have a limit. They don’t understand how I can’t bounce back as they do after hours of physical labor or brain taxing chores. I feel you understand and others have been there to. Once again, the info is uplifting, comforting. We know we are not alone!

  • linda

    the thunderstrom comment made me think of jesus calming the storms with his word…i hope he does that for you. also Therapy is great because they are trained to look for bad thought patterns and yet talking to friends is wonderful because they know you and your quirks (although we may be able to talk to the doctor more than our friends who we want to think of us as perfect or having no problems.

  • AJ

    I can truely relate with your reference to the quiet; the slowing down and doing nothing and the problems or issues it can trigger. When my son was little, it was rush, rush, rush.. to work, to pick him up at day care, home, errands, etc. The only time I really slowed was when I would take him somewhere for play or after he was in bed. I was a vegetable in front of the t.v. in the evenings. The life of a single parent can be like that. It doesn’t have to be but often is.
    I remember once passing a friend and seeing her out of her car and walking with her son toward a fenced-in yard. It was a busy street so their activity seemed out of place. I glanced over and saw they must have stopped to check out the beautiful setting sun. I shrugged and thought who has time or energy to interrupt the race. I think I was sort of afraid if I stopped or paused then I would get distracted and that would be that. I’d lose the momentum. Lose my focus. So I continued on in the maze. I think so many of us are like that. Life gets so hectic and it happens so gradually we don’t even notice.
    All of that was before my life fell apart. That was before I learned to place more value on a sunset or sunrise, listening to birds chirping, sipping my morning coffee or tea gazing at the majestic tree outside my window or watching children play. These times are so cherished, so revitalizing to my spirit and inner joy. Now my life is quieter.. my child grown. Sometimes I wonder about the absence of frenzied activity in my life. Did I lose it? Will it be there if I need it? Did I ever need it?

  • AJ

    Gee, I, too, am heading back into therapy myself. It does help, doesn’t it?! It feels more proactive to me. Makes me feel like I am working at becoming healthier instead of just waiting for it to happen.
    You know I talked for years to friends about feelings and trying so hard to understand so I could let it go. I probably got on their nerves like a stuck record. But when I addressed these things in therapy somehow they diminished.. vanished. They were no longer an ever present itch as they had been all my life. I tried to look back and discover why that was but I haven’t a clue. It just happened somehow. One good thing is I am not so self-judgmental and that is a major improvement for me.

  • Larry Parker

    Great tips — most of which (not all, but most) I do try to practice. I can be a little macho sometimes, though, so think I’ll pass on the doll :-) (My dog can stand in, LOL.)
    I know you meant “recovery” in the AA/12-step sense here — something we always have to work on. However (and not to put a downer on things), I would not personally use that word with depression — especially bipolar disorder — in a medical sense. It implies a more permanent sense of wellness that, as your very posts testify, is elusive even when we are rigorous with our self-care.

  • Bev

    Some more ideas…
    *Reflexology, massage, a facial…even getting your teeth cleaned; on the principal that any attention and touching is good
    *Watching the entire season of 6 feet under or something else and knowing that as the episodes progress you are slowly advancing towards your “balanced” self
    *nature, nature, nature – walking in the woods and observing, tending the garden and observing the cycle of life
    *artword – to express the blue colours of the pallette
    *doing a puzzle and knowing that as you progress you are slowly advancing towards your “balanced” self
    basically anything that helps pass the interminable moments until this too does pass; as it always has in the past – and it will this time too!!!

  • Amelia

    I’m sure you have thought about these things, but they were the first things to pop into my mind, so here goes:
    1. Consider getting someone to help you with your column: whether it someone to brainstorm and help research new ideas, or be a guest columnist for a day (or week) or even someone to just help you answer all your emails.
    2. I know you take weekends off, but do you *really* take your weekends off? If you are doing anything for Beyond Blue while you should be resting, you aren’t really escaping, are you?
    I can tell you hate to have “help” because it makes you feel guilty and lazy, but if you are sacrificing your health in order to shoulder it all yourself, that isn’t the wisest approach. Everyone, every famous (or not so famous) person who achieved mighty goals in this world understood the value of having people to help. Not just emotion or spiritual, but hands-on, real live concrete help!
    Keep on truckin

  • Chris

    I can relate to it all, but I’m not near as far as you in regards to “getting better”. I’ll be OK for a short-time, then it’s like it’s too much happy in my life, and WHAMO!–it’s baaaaack!! I hate it! I feel like a yo-yo thats being dunked into a vat of sticky-ick! I don’t have the $$ for any kind of therapy. And we all know nothing is free anymore. I can’t afford to stay in my house–the one I’ve always dreamed of having on that little road that dad and I used to walk down on Sunday’s right after dinner. I told him that “someday I want to live on this road”, and now I am–but I can’t stay. It sux!! I feel so “planted” and “rooted” here, and the thought of moving, well, it almost sends me into another galaxy–a “non-returnable” one, if you know what I mean. I’m petrified. I’m lost. I’m ever-so-sad–and yes, depressed–again. Thanx for letting me “vent” on this dreary and sun-less Monday……………………………

  • Pasha

    Today is the first time I have read one of your articles. I think. I’m in a fog of grief but I am pretty sure. I don’t even know how I got signed up for Beliefnet, but I liked it so much when I got my first message that I decided to keep it. (Probably one of those boxes I checked somewhere; I’m not accusing anyone of spamming.) At any rate, some comments.
    As I read, I could sense how overwhelmed you feel. I thought, “Woah, this Therese is really hard on herself.” Then immediately, I realized that calling the kettle black was not going to help me.
    I waited for the weekend to be over (horrible way to put it but true) so that I could see my therapist today, to allow myself to break down and tell her about the sudden death of my uncle, the meltdown my child seems to be having, and how I feel like I’m too tired and used up to continue. I’m not suicidal; I just feel as though whatever keeps propelling me to breathe is about ready to stop. I’m exhausted. I’m in the middle of a medication (anti-depressant) switch. I’m so sad I feel bereft. I don’t know how to help any one because I feel very, very fragile.
    So I went to see my therapist and I told her what had been going on and got the responses from her I needed, but then she told me that she is quitting the practice and that today would be our last session. At that point, I fell apart. I felt awful for doing that to her, when it was obvious she had made a difficult decision but the best one for herself, but the tears just kept on coming. I realize that this is an issue with me. The whole abandonment thing – there since I was a toddler – and the loss of excellent therapists – one died unexpectedly just as we were beginning to make progress, the other was taken from me after nine years because the organization he worked for made some very bad and arbitrary decisions. I waited over a year to get back into therapy because I did not feel I had it in me to start all over again with the history and the getting to know each other deal, but then I felt I had to, found my current therapist, and again, she’s going. All very strange. Her concern was apparent and even though she was ordered not to schedule any sessions after this week she is going to see me next week and get me started with a “new” therapist. Sometimes I feel like I am just along for the ride.
    Isn’t that a symptom of those “thunderclouds in our head” to feel that we are helpless? How apropos. A part of us knows we are not helpless or we wouldn’t keep going.
    I have not been diagnosed as bipolar, although I’m not sure I don’t have the condition. I have been diagnosed as having an anxiety/panic disorder with, of course, severe depression. It doesn’t seem to matter what we are diagosed with, the fact is, we are all labeled in one way or another and it’s probably how we choose to wear our labels that is truly of consequence.
    You are on the right path, Therese. Being “cheap” but having resources on which you can tap into is an invaluable aid. I, like many Americans, have no safety net. If I fall, I am going to hit the concrete full-force. The only reserves I have left to call upon are inner strength, which is lacking.
    Oh, and definitely ditch the jogger. We are all so good at comparing ourselves with others and coming out on the short end. She may feel sad every time she sees you because you are not carrying bored children. It’s something to consider. What we see on the surface of people is usually what they want us to see, and not how they really feel.
    I have no idea why I’m writing to you. Maybe because I feel that no one, including me, understands me, yet I understood you. There’s some connection…a link between us all if we pay attention.
    Dr. Seuss was right on-target. His message, via your blog, gave me hope. I want the “Boom Bands” playing in a bright place where the light doesn’t hurt my eyes and I am not always thinking about myself. Bob Dylan wrote, “…& someday, everything is gonna’ be smooth like a rhapsody.” Blessings to those who, like Dylan and the Dr., know and believe better days are still ahead.
    All blessings,

  • Shirley

    This is good and I am glad she or you can get help. I go once a month to see my shrink,and nothing seems to help. All I do is worry and I hate being by myself. I qut my job and all I do now is set home and feel sorry for myself. I am raising my 5 year old granddaughter,who is with her mom and dad this week,it seems like I always need some one around,what am I to do. I wish some one could help me.Shirley

  • Lisettte

    Dear, beliefnet
    i don’t know myself to much , and recently i been crying a whole lot
    freelings of enadacucy,tired as if i am just to burned up or i can’t think to help anyone.I bhave a boyfriend who everytime he comes around me is either crabby or not smiling i know he takes medication for depresssion however i always felt as if i was the blame even when i was younger. And he acts like i am the blame and at the end of the day i feel drained mad resentful goofy like i should have did something elsel. he beats up on his self i guess it drives me crazy tring to figure it out he said out his mouth his controlling manipulative so all that messes with my pshcye what do i do cause i am wrestling with an answer that i probably already know.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with AJ: You are well on the upward path. Loved your twelve ideas and do most of them myself. Am active in a 12-step recovery group and that is whereany therapy comes in for me. May God surround you with His arms of love, joy and peace. Have a great relaxing evening with that husband of yours. That should perk you both up :)

  • Lady_L

    Hi. Wow, in the last week or so, I have felt myself “sliding” (this is what it feels like to me) again. Your article was so well-timed! As I like to say, “It’s a God-thing”. Anyhow, I found all the tips to be good ones. I’m making an SEF file ASAP! I’d like to add too, that you have to remember to eat right, and sleep enough hours. I am a bit emotional right now, due to some circumstances in my life, but I KNOW I will be o.k. thanks to this column! You are awesome! Keep up the good work, but try not to be too hard on yourself, ok?

  • Ranger

    Thank you so much for sharing bits of your life with the world. I too have been dealing with bouts of depression, but I try to remember that life has it’s own cycles which we cannot control. We should really enjoy the moments when we are on the high side of the wave but always, always pray,(especially when things are good), for strength to face the next moment. Everyone has something important to share that may inspire or even save a life. You are a true blessing. :)

  • CLeo

    Thank you Therese! Just yesterday I found a card I’ve always had attached to my refrigerator door with the words “This too shall pass” now I read them in your column, talk about synchronicity!
    Great article! Though I’m speaking for myself, I’m almost sure, many of us have encountered “The Jogger” or the woman with “House beautiful”…

  • Janine Guida Poutre

    These are wonderful suggestions and ideas! Thanks for sharing. You are wonderful for sharing your own trials and opening up to us so we can get through ours. My own thunderstorms have abated a bit and are now chances of showers here and there. I hope yours trickle to that soon as well. You have boom bands waiting!
    Warmly, Janine

  • SalonMom

    I too know all about relapsing into depression. A few times I went of my medication thinking I was “better” only to find out that I was better because of it. I’ve accepted that I need it and it does help me. I know there are some of you that have not had success with anti-depressents but I do feel better. Whenever I went off and then went back on within days it was as if someone lifted this heavy load that i was feeling. I also found a therapist that was a good fit for me – I call her my guardian angel. She has helped me and guided me on some of my darkest days and I am forever grateful to her. One other suggestion that helped me. READ. Read as much as you can to help you understand that you are not alone and to also get as much help that is available. Two good books by Susan Jeffers – “Feel the fear and do it anyway” and “Embrace uncertainty and dance with life” They are so inspiring -when I’m feeling weak I pick up a book like this and get an instant shot of encouragement to keep moving forward and that life can be enjoyed and lighter and not so full of anxiety. I hope this helps someone out there.

  • Linda

    Right now, I too am on the relapse.. everyday gets more difficult to handle. The things that use to bring me joy are now the things that bring me sorrow. I hope I can join you on the road to recovery.
    thank you for being so frank and honest about what you are going through– some of my friends and relatives think I should just “snap out of it” but it has been over 7 years and I do not think that one cannot just snap out of it!!

  • SalonMom

    There is no such way to snap out of it. It’s ashame that people do not understand that but I guess if you’ve never experienced the pain of depression you can’t fully understand it. ( I also suffered with major anxieties). That is why it is so good to correspond with those who have been there. It makes me feel good when I know I can help someone else through it even a little. Please know that there is a bright light at the end and recovery is possible – I hope I never go back to where I was. Don’t resist any form of help, it all goes hand in hand. When i was at my worst I never thought I’d be where I am today. Never. In a much better place, that’s for sure. So keep up the faith and reach out to those who understand it and try any kind of help that your comfortable with because life can be enjoyed again. It’s all about taking baby steps. But they can lead to huge awakenings. Good luck.

  • Christine

    WOW, Thank you so much! I am in a downward spiral with my anxiety leading the way and it is reassuring to know I am not alone in this disease…I liked some of your tips, especially Talk To The Doll, I will try that tonight before going to sleep. A few other things that help me include going for a walk with God, just saying over and over God please help me, send out the troops, now, I need HELP today! Sometimes a small voice will answer back with some reassuring words of wisdom and sometimes tthere is a breakthrough in some other way, but it helps. The other tools include making a gratitude list and doing it everyday and last it is developing affirmations that counteract the negative stream of thoughts that are racing around in my brain….for example if I keep telling myself I am not a good mother, I develop an affirmation saying I am a kind, gentle, loving Mother and I start repeating it over and over to myself and whenever the negative voice tries to tell me otherwise I get back to chanting my affirmation…Another helpful affirmation I chant is I am content as I breath in and out…I hope this helps a little and I am sending up a prayer for you tonight that God will strenghen you…thanks so much for your honesty. Goodnight and may God comfort you tonight! Christine

  • SalonMom

    I agree that we all have this “chatterbox” in our head and it is all about what we let this chatterbox tell us. It can be positive healthy thoughts that can lead us to feel good feelings or they can be negative destructive thoughts that take us down even more. So I agree that affirmations are important and your thoughts can help or harm you. Very good advice.

  • kris

    a lot of good advicefor people with money, but what advice you got for us poor folks?

  • Prescilla

    Thank you for your honesty and being so candid about this condition. I have suffered since I was a teenager with depression and anxiety. It wasn’t until my early 30’s that I was finally diagnosed with DSM IV.
    Lately, I’ve relapsed like I’ve never experienced before. I’ve tried meditation but who can quiet the keg party in my head? I get anxious going out of my own home, why? I don’t know. I’m a single mom, I’ve been doing it alone before and nothing has changed. There are days I want to get into the fetal position and just stay there but who will take care of my child? I’ve tried different combinations of medication and that’s not helping at all. The one that was helping doesn’t seem to be working as effectively as before.
    I’m prayerful and hopeful that the medication and therapy combo will work for me this time. I am normally a happy, positive individual. I miss the feeling of peace and serenity that I use to enjoy from God. Like you said, this too shall pass. If God brings me to it, he will bring me through it.

  • Kay

    Therese you comfort me with your words. i am at present going through a bad phase and i am living in a sad and isolated lonely world. i keep to myself and stay home when i feel anxiety and panic and find it so hard to get down to doing anything. like you i probably need to start my psychology sessions again. I feel this condition does not allow me to live life to the full and it also makes me feel inferior to otherswho seem more capable in running their lives. i feel lost and alone.

  • Kay

    Hi its me again. I tried to feel better and went out briefly with a friend to have an orange juice. i felt better but now i am home alone again and i feel so lonely. Loneliness is a terrible thing. I read, watch TV and do my best to keep occupied although when i am like this its not easy to do things. i just want to go to bed and sleep. i switch on the PC as it seems to be my only form of contact but theres no one to speak to really. Depression, panic, anxiety, loneliness…what more is there lying in wait for me?

  • Joann

    Wow!!!! I read your thoughts with such complete acknowledgement. I, too, had some of your same experiences. When I read about the “Doll” I couldn’t help but think about my recovery with depression and anxiety. I have a wonderful therapist who knew exactly what I needed. We together “took care” of the little girl in me that was bruised so many years ago, we did some “EMDR”, which really was able to delicately “mother” that sweet little girl in me. We comforted her, loved her, and finally protected her from her angry father. I am now a changed person as a result of the EMDR. Praise the Lord!!!!!
    I highly encourage you to continue with the “doll”, or ask your therapist about his/her use of EMDR. Not everyone is trained to do this therapy. A very simple but very dangerous (if you do not know what you are doing),form of therapy if the therapist is trained for EMDR you can get some great resolution to your anxiety.
    I am praying for you and will ask God for closure for you. Please continue with your therapy, running, and most of all taking care of you. Not to worry about your children, they seem to be well taken care of, but you need to take care of yourself as well as you care for your children !!!!!
    God Bless you !!!!

  • Linda Isabella

    Hi Therese,
    Can you tell me more about what you mean by the “Waiting Place”? I seem to be there, where nothing is happening and I’m waiting to feel better. I am going to therapy, taking medication, meditating, exercising, trying learn about and to work through this depression, but nothing seems to be happening.

  • JoEllen

    Hello Therese, I too am in recovery, alittle different then yours but still the same. I know for me that I have to live a moment at the time. Staying in the moment seems to get me through the day.. Enjoying when nothing at all is wrong or going wrong.. Somedays are harder then others, but if I take a deep breath, relax and say the Serenity Prayer,(sometimes 10 times) I get back into the moment.. I also know it is my recovery and I need to work on me, before I can help others.. I really am powerless over others and their problems..
    It was so nice to read positive imput on this, Thanx

  • dee

    WOW……Therese I could have written your post…I am currently at a stage in my life that is very lonely as I have always has deversions to distract me from the real me. I used to laugh at others when they said “you need to discover the real you” I have always been a girlfriend,wife and mother.I am still a mom & grand mother but I am now realizing those titles are second. Being one who is depressed alot and a former drink {2 yrs sober now} I am learning alot about myself, some good-some really tough to face. Without boring everyone I am working on me and trying accept each day as it comes and the many changes life has thrown my way. Its not easy and for the most part at this stage in my life I feel like a misfit-not really feeling I belong anywhere…..but I have faith that I will get there.
    thank-you for listening and I wish everyone the best.

  • Tricia

    I’ve been getting these e-mails and this is the first time I took the time to read this. All I’m going to say is WOW! and THANK YOU!
    At least I know I’m not alone…..

  • rahn

    i just read secrets by rhonda Byrne. I think everyone on the planet that doesn’t already know “THE SECRET” NEEDS TO READ IT OR SEE THE DOCUMENTARY! This is real, and life-changing information.This info has been a closley guarded secret (hence the title)for centuries,now that its out there is Hope for the human race.

  • Lynne

    YES! I too ride that emotional roller coaster ad nauseum, as well as the anxiety express! Sometimes, if I’m cognitive, I realize I would never be so hard on anyone else as on myself. When I feel my irritation rising I give myself a mental “whoa!” Then I attempt to see the humour in my situation and “chill-out”! My brother mentioned to me that it seems like it’s everybody else is a xxxxxx! But it’s just the way he’s feeling at that moment. In other words if you’re patient, it will pass. Then you might even think it’s funny. It beats the heck out of homicide!

  • Barbara

    What about the menopausal bipolar with severe anxiety disorder?

  • Anita

    I related to every word you wrote, and I too have found having a doll, keeping all uplifting cards and notes in a “treasure box”, and “this too shall pass” can work for when the “thunderstorms of the mind” start-up again. Just wanted to add another tidbit from my own experience: Closing my eyes and visualizing a nice cushy waiting place. whenever I used to hear people say, “God closes a door and opens a window” kind of stuff, I always panicked with thoughts about not having the ladder or step-stool to reach the window….or my thoughts would turn to a very impatient standing-in-line-at-the-supermarket kind of thought. But, now I have 2 visualizations that I am replacing those thoughts with: 1) I picture myself sitting in a nice plush/comfy chair in a heavenly coffee-shop, with never-ending supply of chai latte, sitting across from my best friend (my higher power)and talking about my day while listening to some up-lifting/inspirational music in the background. 2) the whole “Footprints” thing about being carried along the beach while my legs rest from the weary travels of the day…and my higher power being a really cute, loving, honorably-intentioned gentleman that I can rest my head against. I know that these are just “thoughts”, but they seem to be working for me at this stage in my own recovery.

  • sharon erwin

    I am new to this but feel it would really help me. I am going thru a months depression. Finally gave in and allowed my Doctor to put me on meds. I know they will take time to work. When I look at my life it seems like such a failure because of these mood swings. I see others around me in great relationships, I can’t even consider one. When I do feel well enough I work, and then these mood swings come on about 3 mos later and I have to quit, it is very frustrating. I’m 49 now but feel like 80. And when I look in the mirror and see someone I don’t recognize that is also very discouraging, so any advice I would welcome it. Thank you. I know this will pass but I need to finally deal with it, this has gone on too long. Bye and again thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I suffered with depression for 20 years and now at 50 yrs old I finnally feel in control of my life. I gained control by letting go of control to God. I realized that as a natural nuturer, I couldnt fix everything, I couldn’t make it better for everyone. I couldn’t even make it better for myself. I took on so many of my alcoholic ex-husbands problems and responsibilites that I started to want a drink myself and I don’t even drink. Alcohol was not my drug of choice. I have been clean and sober for a long time now and it is awesome. I understand my own self worth now and I now take better care of me, so that I can take care of others,

  • Helene

    Good Morning..I am just another fellow traveller through the thunderstorms. Sometimes I just don’t want to put on the face of hope; but I do..When Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s best friend died long ago, his other friends were concerned about his terrible grief. After awhile he is quoted (in Victorian words)..”I must lose myself in action, lest I whither in despair”. Stop the storm by getting busy just as suggested above. Walk, read, call a friend and reach out..or just paint, dance, be with yourself as well. “Morning has broken..”….Helene

  • Renee’

    Wow , this is nice to see hhere today, I can relate , even my situation
    is unique as everyone in life but I was born a lefty and have a brother [ the oldest of four] who is profoundly mentaly retarded. when i was five going on six , he was 14 and just moved into the state developmental hospital in california, so I grew up with a happy 11 month old brain as a brother and today he is still the happy baby 11 months old but hes 48 years old today and i will be forty in a few days. I was gifted at birth as twice exceptional theat is now named in a medical refference to treat . in the seventies there was no name due to the complexity of the learning disability and hyperaction clinicaly in the brain.
    here the beef: today , ive been diagnosed from the national mental health association and there guidelines of the way to be properly diagnosed, im full blown adhd- ld, due to never having my parents address the schools letters of concern, i was placed in special ed every year for a time on a regular public school setting with most of the day in the regular classroom. I knew what was the path of hard to find god ,.. through my brothers eyes was mine and i was special ,.. but i had to find out who god was . I was a noble soul as a five six and seven etc year old until i started using meth for stimuly just to get by with the responsibilties held on me . i had represssd a episode of attempted molestation from the old man who used to peek in the window in my bedroom to catch a peek of my nana changing into her work cloths. i dropped out of high school my senior yeat cause i was afraid i wasnt going to make it to graduation, and my parents were divorced hooked on cigs and experimenting with drugs.
    addiction is a terrible thing and mental health is a terribe way to become a life on the planret if there isnt any real healing right away. we all know suicide is a prognosis or substance abuse ,. and im avoiding both the hardest i can,.. my family my mom that is whom i still live with, ive never married, not by choice either, no children either, and retirement has been tapped out now considering my ssi disability and eligbiblty to collect due to a life tme of labor jobs, verbaly abused by my dad who would call me stupid and to use my brain with his finger poking my forehead is no help.
    my little advice from a conceptual thinker i know are goodies for me and will probably work for you. ive yet beat the addiction completly and my clinical depression anxiety , mood disorder, dslexia in math, and my adhd are never going to go away, but these are the ones i find keep me positive and i hope they work for you. keep in mind we will someday be able to find or discover a voice for us , i certainaly am , its paart of being emotionaly intelligent and gifted,.. its the reason i know im meant to do the work for others unforntuate through the arts and im on my way so watch for me on oprah or in the theater , im not kidding , i feel that there is a exceptional amount of qualities these people cannot make known, and feel they were born to do and because of no one taking me seriously about the condition and i mean no one ,. they are alone and might have felt hopeless, hogwash, its a time to wait even if it is a long timew. its every breath you take you know is going to keep you sane for a moment and will that time to do the work you need to move ahead.
    1. stop the negative thought
    2. know that is is thought
    3after that feel it if you have too and let it go
    3.its ok to feel it means you care its not ok to not be in conrtol of the feelings that emotions are heavy and harder to get out of
    so practice knowing the hthree differences from the similar word in meaning and in written.
    4. there is a higher power working for the good
    there is another power trying to prevent it.
    5. know the differrence when the emotions of a person is a unhealthy way to express sadness or when it is stressful or depressing the thought process.
    6. but allow your self a cut off point when you need to feel . because feelings are important and when it becomes an emotion distress its a problem easily to overlook as something depressed people need to control. its ok and if you need to grieve or cry allow it know you will only permiss it for a time then stop . this is difficult but important
    7. the power of negetive influences reach those people who have weak abilities to cope and anger, emotion, love, self worth and positive thoughts are clouded instead the brain isnt wakening to what is or could happen, thus more negetive experience or guit. its a addiction in itself. the power of a nervous breakdown is a killer or can be if you dont excercise the knowledge of ” YOU ARE THE STOP , FEEL, AND EMOTION IS I CHOOSE TO LET GO NOW OF THE FEEL. MOVDE ON KEEP BUSY.
    8. Keep yourself away from toxic people that cause stress
    9. think before you spend
    10. every day is a different experience so we are not in control of everything
    11. start keeping your mental insurance plan [ you] in daily or check when your aware of the thought. Any one of us can go at anytime. we cannot predict the death of anyone so remeber that when your down, becuse if you dont ever consider this on a regualr basis , it could leave your state of depression more difficult from the would of should of could of and that is one tool the bad power tries to use.
    12. the good power is the one who tells us we are to ot dwell on a flesh emotional turmoil or wrong doi ng so apologize if you ever to, tell someone you love them, volenteer with a cause that you feel strongly about , giivng back helps us not to focus on our self so much and we can feel better allowing another to be helped in the process , its a do gooder for the all around body and mind, soul and spirit and we step out of ours a little.
    13. dream again think of yourself in the future , like it is real it is yours and remeber to give yourself some credit
    14.if your docter doesnt keep on the formula of the right combination of brain meds and you dont feel any effect , here is a good indictation of a technique that im finding some good shrinks are saying, mine did
    …” how do you feel ? ask youself how are these meds making you fee,l do they work for you , make you feel 60% 70% or less, more?
    WHY ? well youll know by asking yourself do you feel this mediczation to work for you 100% do you feel 100% ? CALCULATE HOW YOU FEEL YOULL COME UP WITH HONEST % say you reply if its ok but not 100,.. WELL MAYBE 75 OR 80 . the docter should either updose your meds or have you try something else it is called formulating .
    15. if the docter doesnt do this he is either not using a common easy methd to get to the problem for your benefit , or he is applying a different way . you can always tell him or her what you feel and use the method i just pointed out. its a good save time of suffering uneccsar;y plus a good docter would be using a simple means to indicate the effectivmess.
    16. go to the park and watch the chilren interact. go swing on the swing set as you do take a break and enjoy some of the parts of the community we can all appriciate but forget they are there for our enjoyment deserve the best tream,ent and if it isnt from family support its the docter we are all human and i see the species falling down hill and you must not tumble down and take any bodys word as a concrete truth discuss concerns be the docter ask questions we are all part of the prognosis. it is what they are supposed to doo is involve the paitent, today things are in defense mode its risky to trust anyone and if we are in a low self loathing place ,.. it will get worse before it gets better, you are the one who needs to break the rules of traditional steroytypes of docter lawer police goverments being all one entiy theryre is human in every single person but the quality and the laws for moral codes and the whole justice jury and executer you do not want so save youself by knowing your one of the good guys tell yourself nother less.

  • JA

    Oh my goodness, this topic has spoken to me! I have days where I don’t want to shower, leave my apt., answer the door or the phone, I just want to hide away from the world.
    In addition to depression, the anxiety that rears its ugly head puts me into a tailspin. When going in to Wal-Mart or a huge supermarket, if it’s really busy, after a while I get red in the face, dizzy, short-tempered, sweaty. If I am with friends, they can see the difference in me and know it’s time to go, time to watch my cart while I go outside for a time-out. I’m not sure if this is ‘just anxiety’ or something else.
    Some things that I do, to help me cope when I am feeling out of sorts, are:
    * do a sudoku puzzle (I can’t think of anything else when doing one of these)
    * write a gratitude list
    * talk to my cat
    * call a friend
    * sit on the balcony, look at the plants and stare at the tree for a while
    * listen to music or a sermon
    * clean something! LOL
    I take on small tasks to achieve a feeling of accomplishment – even simple stuff like cleaning out the pantry. Every time I open the pantry door now, I smile instead of cringe.
    Wishing you all well, God Bless,
    Julie Andrea

  • Lisa

    Reading this article brought me incredible peace in a very hectic day. While I don’t have the same challenges, anxiety has been a major “dark angel” in my life. And I use the word “angel” on purpose. It has perhaps been one of my greatest challenges and one of my greatest teachers and I have finally learned to dance with it in recent years instead of deny it, or run away. My thoughts are with all those on this same path, today. Thank you for sharing this journey, and God bless all your “dark angels.”

  • S.Prescott

    …Many Blessings to you, as well as peace and harmony! We are all battling “The Thunderstorms” in our own way and it’s nice to form a support network of friends to shelter you from the treacherous down pours at times, so hang in there and stay focused!! All of these combined experiences of trepidations make us stronger, so be thankful you are hear to witness the positive transformations in yourself! Best Wishes!

  • joy

    I’ve printed this off to read and put in my Self Esteem File! I also am going to write the steps on poster board and keep in my home office. Nothing like constant visual reminders that “thunderstroms” do indeed “shall pass.”

  • Pamela

    Thanks for your article! I was looking for something to do with a grief recovery group at church and you have supplied what I needed. God answers prayers in mysterious ways sometimes and I guess this was one of those times. In the Bible it says for everything there is a time and a place, I like your term “waiting place” it seems so appropriate for people going through grief. God bless you and keep you always.

  • Sandra

    I had a full blown anxiety attack on Tuesday night. I hadn’t had one in over a year, but my husband is an alcoholic and we had an argument on the phone and it just hit me. I literally thought I was dying, my vision blurred, my lips got numb, my heart was racing, and I was sweating as if someone was pouring water over my head. When I went to
    the doctor on Wednesday she gave me a test of some sort and said that she thinks I am bi-polar. Do any of you know anything about this? I know I am clinically depressed due to my fibromyalgia, diabetes, neuropathy, and my home situation. Please keep me in your prayers.

  • Marcie

    Dear Therese and Amy,
    I felt a kindred spirit with you and the demons that you can’t seem to successfully shake completely out of your life. Though my story is a bit different, I had a domineering, no hugs and kisses, German mother who expected me to get only A+’s so if I had one A the attention was all on that and not on my successes. I also at some point retained the belief that God wanted us to do it all ourselves, so I spent years believing that it was my job to take care of everyone. Everyone ended up being a narcissistic husband, child, Head Nurse to 2 state prison clinics totalling almost 1,000 inmates (all of whom HAD to like me), etc. The end result was a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 93 when my daughter was only 8 years old and a complete and total breakdown with “full-blown” CFIDS in July 1999 when I walked out of my clinic at about 1:30pm and never went back to even clean out my office of my personal things. Hubbies response: get rid of me since I couldn’t give and give and give anymore. Pushed out of our “mansion” that he insisted we build. At any rate, I have spent the last 8 years very alone and ill and am just now beginning to gain some headway through a spiritual route. I wonder if you are also very intelligent because I’ve found that this can be a curse as well as a blessing in that we “see” too much. Marcie

  • olivia

    I love reading your posts! while my situation is somewhat different from yours, a lot of the “stuff” is the same. It’s great to read someone who can talk about all of this realistically, and best yet, have a sense of humor about it. Thank you for helping me keep my head above water!

  • Lynn

    Just read through these comments and not only did I not see what works so well for me, I realized I was taking advantage of “it” as I sat and read. “It” is the comfort and reassurance I receive from my white dog, Snowy. She is a little like me in that she is nervous by nature, but she always settles down when I hold her face and tell her that everything is going to be OK. That she has someone who loves her how she is, nerves and all. It is the unconditional love and attention I receive from her that warms me many of the times I feel like reverting back to the bad habits of drinking. I try to be like her, actually, and give the people I care about that same unconditional emotional availability. she builds my self esteem like no other can many times. If you think you have that connection with your animal child, look deep into their eyes when you are troubled and gradually both fears and worries melt away. Thanks for this web site. Funny, I don’t recall how I got it to appear in my inbox, but sure am glad to read of the successes.

  • Paul

    Thank You so much for what I just read. Its great!! I have scizo-affective disorder depressive type. I just found out about the depressive type part of it today. A lot of people just dont seem to understand why I can get so frazzled and tired and worn out. I have some phsical problems which are really really making me slow down and taking one day at a time. Even some people w/ similar or same problems dont seem to know why i cant multi task so to speak like they do. Well I’m going to not worry about why they dont see . I’m going to try to keep your advice in my inbox and close by so i dont get stressed out. I have been out of any psych hospitals for 16 yrs now and dont plan any visits any time in the near future. So thank you again for writing . You really inspire me. I write poems occasionally but my amygdala has to be in a certain mood or mode for it to happen ha ha. I’m so glad I didnt delete your writing. Take Care always.

  • Carolyn

    How HELPFUL to read these 12 Ways by Theresa! I don’t recall ever reading anything by you before.
    Our vacation two months ago was mostly good, but I’ve not gotten back into the swing of daily doing dishes. I’d not thought of that as “waiting for recovery,” but that’s an apt label.
    Because of a walking boot to help a cracked bone heal in my foot, I have an obvious reason for old, bad housekeeping and yard work habits to dominate.
    But I know there’s more to it.

  • Lauri

    Dear Therese,
    I’ve been out actually living my life, so I’ve gotten behind on my inbox. I really like 12 Ways. I’m also saddened that Amy is acting up. I’m proud of you and your self-awareness. You know what you need to do to take care of Therese. I guess I’m pretty lucky that right now, at this precise point in time, I’m doing okay. I also feel kind of funny about saying that, knowing there are people just like me who are having a rough time. Hugs and prayers to all of you. I may not know you personally, at least not yet. Regardless, I send my love and hope that the sun will shine for you soon.

  • Karen

    What a sense of humor? Humor in the face of crises certainly suggets inner balane. The gland “Amy” on girl viagra! What a creative thought! Well done. You are in my prayers.

  • Katie

    How appropriate that St. Theresa of Liseaux is my patron saint! Love this article-simple and straightforward, easy to digest. It is easy for me to fall into the trap of becoming frustrated and hateful with myself when my “brain fog” rears it’s ugly head. Even on a good day, I can’t seem to get or stay organized and I am easily overwhelmed. I often can’t hold a thought long enough to say or write what I am thinking. It seems to take me twice as long as everyone else to accomplish things (often thanks to my mild ADHD and fibromyalgia). And, I am a recovering perfectionist to boot!!! No WONDER I need to start a Self-Esteem file! I realize that these things may just be part of my illness and may not improve as I recover from my recent relapse of anxiety and depression. But, I am now ready to try out the suggestions in this posting and work on practical ways to take on life’s challenges bit by bit. One of the most formidable challenges for me right now is accepting myself and being patient with myself, “brain fog” and all! Recovery does take time…

  • Carolyn

    I am suffering right now. For some reason my medications do not seemed to be working anymore?? I go back to my Dr. on Wed.
    I am concerned, I hate when I have this relaspe periods. I just hope and prayer I do not fall back into a severe, unmobile depression. I have moments of super productive moments, but my Dr still insists I am depressed, not manic?
    I get so mad at myself because before I was 30, I never worried about severe depression until I hit my first one. I was always a very anixous child, and then in 2003 I hit a wall emotionally.
    Please pray for me. I am scared. I thought my higher dose was to high because I was like in an anger almost rage like so he lowered it, now I alternate between being severely depressed or really anxious.
    I asked my husband today, do you prefer me to be bad/angry or anixous and depressed, he said happy, but I feel like that is not a choice for me. I am scared to have my medicines changed, but I can not keep feeling this way. The anger lasted like 3 weeks, and now the last 2-3 weeks I have severe depression and anxious.
    Please pray for me.

  • Brenda Smith Walters

    God Bless y’all! Everyone suffers from depression at some time in their lives. Even though, a very large church and The Salvation Army paid my rent-WE were evicted from our home on Memorial Day weekend.
    My boyfriend’s oxygen was unplugged by a deputy and my autistic son was packing for a church retreat. A Methodist church in Raleigh set us up in a motel for a week and we stayed there for a few weeks after that. My family was split up and my cat was left in the house for six days without food and water. I was a caregiver for an old friend of mine’s mother at the time making five dollars an hour! He told my son not to visit me until everything wasresolved. I stayed with a lady named Sarah for a month-and starting looking a new job! After that I spent one night at a shelter and two in a shelter/rehab place. Then I spent a week at a mental hospital. Now I am in Fayetteville staying with cousin-hope to get a job at motel and save money to move back to Raleigh! Need prayers-down and out but trying to pick myself back UP!

  • Linda

    Sounds like a real plan to me!! I guess that’s what we all need. But what do you do when you’re one meds, have suffered severe depression, never seem to feel really good about anything, and feel like you’re just biding your time ’til God calls you home or sends you to hell…that’s where I am right now…just biding my time…no real pleasure in anything except computer games and reading but those two things just occupy time. I don’t work — flipped out on last job due to overstressed conditions — doing the work of three while the others played around. Don’t believe I can get a job ’cause I’m almost 59 and “too qualified” for lots of jobs that are “just jobs” with no management duties. Been on the couch but left earlier this year ’cause I felt like I was just using the visits to the counselor as a “make believe” friend…don’t have any of those…childhood really yucky and father didn’t believe you didn’t need any friends — all they were good for were to get close enough to you to stab you in the back!! Never learned how to keep a friend when I did manage to make one. Whew!! Where’s my chocolate????
    Thanks for letting me “vent” my feelings today. I’ll be checking your Beyond Blue blog, etc. quite frequently because you seem to have a really honest, down-to-earth way of dealing with your problems. Too bad the rest of the world can’t accept mental problems like they do other diseases.
    Keep smiling!! :0)

  • Karla

    Thank you, thank you for the idea of talking to a doll. I have anxiety, depression, and PTSD from childhood abuse as well as marital abuse from my ex-husband. I have tried finding that “inner child” and when I do find her–it feels like she is very angry! That may sound nuts, but I have never been nutured and although I have done an OK job of nuturing my children (at least I hope I have!) that nurturing hasn’t healed my broken spirit. Having said all of that, I’m going to get a doll and I will nourish her.
    And thanks to for explaining about how our brains may be hard-wired by childhood experiences.
    Please keep up the blogs–they really help my perspective!

  • DeLaine

    Hi Therese,
    I have been suffering from anxiety and depression off and on now for several years. It seems one catastrophy after another keeps happening and I wonder what I did to deserve this punishment. I have been put on different medications for anxiety and depression several time. I take it until I feel better, and I am fine until the next problem pops up. In the last 5 years, I have had surgery on my knee, my shoulder, my dad died, my mother in law died, my father in law has be diagnosed with an incurable disease, and now I am off work again for the last 8 months with a back injury. I just get so angry and frustrated. It is just one more thing. I have no religion that I practice, but I do try relaxation tecniques that sometimes help, but it seems that it is one thing after another. The antidepresent that I am taking now is supposed to help with pain as well as anxiety and depression. It does help with the depression, but I do find myself in tears at times when it isn’t appropriate and then I get embarressed from it which increases my anxiety. Oh yeah did I forget to mention that my husband has depression and anxiety as well. He suffers from Fibromyalgia and other disease processes, and that doesn’t help either one of us. Sometimes I wonder if I did something in a different life that is catching up with me. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do.

  • Tracey

    The places “where Boom Bands are playing!” are miraculous, aren’t they? Oh, the PLACES YOU’LL GO!! are so extraordinary and colorful. I’m glad you think of it now, because that’s one of my anchor thoughts as well, when I’m going through a depression.
    We’re blessed with this invaluable information. Remember how it felt the first time you experienced depression, and you didn’t know what it was? You didn’t know about Boom Bands yet, and you didn’t question that this would always be life as you knew it.
    As you know, the Waiting Place can feel like eternity on any given day. It’s frustrating that you can’t just elbow your way to the head of the line and see what’s ahead. In the meantime, know lots of people love you. We all way to be that cushion that will ease your pain. God Bless!

  • Leslieann

    Finding this site and reading all the comments from everyone helps a bit to know I am not alone in my misery. I have struggled all of my life with one thing or another…nothing ever seems to go right….no matter how hard I try. I have been on antidepressants, I have been to therapy….my coping skills just don’t seem to work any more. I cannot control my melt downs. They just happen. It is embarrassing. You are at work and just start crying. The pain I feel inside is always with me and I cannot hide it any more. How many times can a person pick themselves up and move forward only to get knocked down again? I am tired. I don’t know why I am here…I have asked the Lord to take me…it is time. The only reason I believe he hasn’t is because my daughter is pregnant with my first grandchild. And I know she needs me. Other then that I believe I am dying a slow death and it is only a matter of time before I leave this world. I thank you all for reading this posting and hope I haven’t depressed anyone any more then they already are.

  • Judy

    Just finally had to admit I am a mess. My life has been incredibly insane. Three bad marraiges, but I am now married again. What’s the point though, cause it still isn’t what I thought it would be. He’s very sweet at times, but he has a drinking problem. I just can’t seem to get it right. I had an emotionally abusive mother, but my dad was a sweetheart. Don’t know how he put up with her though. I can’t stop thinking, is this all there is? I have 18 beautiful grandkids who can make me smile, but it’s only temporary. I have never been on medication for my depression if that’s what it is. Sometimes it feels like anxiety attacks. Maybe I’m just bipolar. I go to my doctor the first of November, maybe she can help me piece this whole thing together. Sometimes I just want to go home to heaven. I feel like I’m about to explode. I need to feel normal again, but I’m not sure what that is. God bless all of you. May you find the answers you are looking for and the relief you desire for a better life.

  • Amanda D.

    I never really thought of the things you described above as ways to better ones self. Thank you for the insight of someone elses life on the edge…I was beginning to think I was all alone and that I was forever doom to medications. I took myself of the 3 meds my doctor and pharapist recommended me stay on for life about a month ago now. I feel anger at times and sad at other times,but for the most part I occupy my time with outdoor activities on the farm. I do find myself pondering on the past and wishing things were different or had happened differently. I would never ask to be dealt a different set of cards because the cards I have have made me into the person I am today. I figure that all the reckless luck I have been dealt is on been given to me to better another person or persons that have or will go through the same things I have endured. I just recently met this man that is helping me build my self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence up again.Not that I would have admitted I need the help in the past, but now I am wanting the help. I have never been the kind of person that could take advice easily from another person that has not been in my shoes before. I figured that they have never felt what I feel or have gone through the hell life has put on me. People tell me all the time I don’t know what you have done to have this horrible luck, but maybe one day you will find out. The guy I am seeing is always telling me we will get through this “together” and that alone is the hardest thing for me to accept. What can we do “together” that is going to make everything all better or put a quite damper on my emotions and thoughts? I am so used to doing this alone and being alone that when he entered my life I was not prepared for the helping hand he is so wonderfully offering me. I didn’t ask for his help, but everyday he gives me encouraging comments and words of praise. It is so nice to feel like someone is out there that doesn’t care about your past and only wants to help you with no attachments or desires to get anything in return. I told him I am not stong enough to take care of him properly like a girlfriend should. He response with that is what I am here to do for you and he doesn’t make me feel like I am being judged for the first time in my life. It is so nice to be taken care of emotionally, mentally and physically by someone that is my friend and more. At times I just want to ask him how he can put himself in my shoes and how he thinks that he is so different that I will listen to him. The oddest thing is I do take every word of his advice into consideration and I do listen to him and take it all to heart. I don’t get the proper support from my parents that I believe I need in order to get better on a day to day basis. I am always bashed down with words of hate and words of you will never be perfect. Why do I have to be perfect in order to be accepted as “normal”? I have been told by many doctors that I am post-pardum manic depressed and that it will never go away. I gave a baby up 5 years and 3 months ago because my ex-husband at the time was very physically, emotionally, verbally and mentally abusive. I could not have lived with myself if he would have hurt my daughter. I was 19 and all alone in the world and I felt even more alone after I walked out of the hospital empty handed. I felt like the end of the world had come and that I would have to walk on the face of the planet alone forever. I see women with children everyday that look so unhappy and so frustrated with their little ones that I just turn my eyes another direction. I think to myself how can you get so mad at your baby when all they want is a whole bunch of lovin and sweet words to be whispered into their ears. I would give almost anything to have my Angalaca sitting in a basket with me pushing groceries down the isle. I have been told by many people that it takes a strong will, mind, heart and soul to be able to let a baby go and that they admire me so much for being able to do this deed. I think to myself you don’t know the anguish that I go through everyday and the hole that is in my heart that I don’t think will ever be filled. To me I blessed another family and they are now complete because of me. I miss her all the time, I think of her all the time, I wonder what she is doing all the time and I ponder my choice in actions ALL the time. I would never change a single action of my past or ask for life to have treated me any different than it has already treated me. I don’t know what to do anymore because everytime I get down low on myself I only seem to punish myself even harder. What kind of life is this I ask myself and I don’t ever get a response. I am wondering if you could give me some advice or a 12 step recovery plan to help me. I have no support group that I can just talk to and be like this is how I am feeling….help me. I am not the kind of person to ask for help on anything, but I know that in order to get healthy again and get all the rainy clouds out of my head I have to find someone that can help me let this whirlwind die down. My mind is the greatest enemy I have in my life and I am tired of battling it all alone. If anyone has websites I can go to and talk to someone, advice or even words of wisdom I am so willing to open the box and release the built up energy I have held on to for so long.

  • min greg hall

    wonderful and ed. send me something on the role of spirituality in recovery

  • Marcy

    My post is in response to LESLIEANN’S post. I felt like I was reading my own thoughts and feelings while reading your post. That is exactly how I feel, to a “T”, except I don’t have grandchildren yet, I live for my 3 children. I don’t think I’d be here if it weren’t for them.
    I HATE feeling like this and I wish it would all just go away!!

  • Beth Webster

    I can relate to the comments posted here. My life has been anything but dull. I was physically, mentally, verbally, emotionally & sexually abused by my Dad my whole life. My Mom caught him sexually abusing me when I was 12. It had been going on for 5 yrs. She screamed at me, & shook me so hard that I thought my teeth were going to fall out. I felt like I lost both my parents that day. He slapped me across the face shortly after that, for sassing him, and broke my nose, but my Mom was afraid to take me to the Dr., so many yrs. later, after my nose got broken again, (by my dog, would you believe?), I finally had to have surgery on it. DON’T EVER DO IT! Most painful thing I have ever had. They don’t put you to sleep, they just stick needles in the tip of your nose, on both sides of your nose, and one in the bridge of your nose. Just try sticking a pin in thses places if you want to get an idea of the pain. My Dad was always putting me down. My Mom realized what he was doing, & built me up, with comments like this,”You can be anything you want to be, if you want it bad enough & are willing to sacrifice for it.” You know what? She was right. My story is too long to tell here, but suffice it to say, I have been homeless 3 times in my life, divorced from a child molester, after 18 yrs. of marriage. But God brought a wonderful man into my life at one of my lowest times, & we have now been married 23 yrs. Had two nervous breakdowns, in 1977 & 78. Psychiatrist asked me to write a list of everything that I thought had caused me to just sit in a chair all day, with T.V. on, & never know what I was watching. I did laundry, cooked, cleaned when my ex told me that I needed to do it. I was incapable of concious motivation to do anything. After she had read the first 1/2 of the page & a half I had written, she just stared at me & said, “My God, Girl, I don’t know why you are not in our catatonic ward. Most people who had been through 1/2 of what you have been through would be. You must be a very strong person.” I guess I am, but only with God’s help. I couldn’t have made it to 68 yrs. old without him. But by talking to my self, & saying “Come on, kid, pull yourself up by your bootstraps & get on with it”, I’m still kicking. I’m in so much pain inside right now, that I cry a little every day, because I have not had the time to just sit down & have a good cry & get all the pain out. Some days, I just want to crawl in a corner, put a blanket over me, where the world can’t find me, to hurt me anymore. After my Dad died in 1992, Mom & I got closer. I was no longer “the other woman”, and she really began to love me. Of course, I think part of it was my present husband, whom she loved like a son, & he loved her like his own Mom – in some ways more than his own Mom, because she was kind, loving, gentle & soft-spoken. He helped me care for the last 10 yrs. of her life, and she lived 20 miles away. After she fell & broke her hip & jaw, and then had a bad stroke, she was bed-bound. I had to hire caregivers, & let me tell you, that was no picnic. They stole from her, one hit her, sever times one wouldn’t show up for work, & guess who had to go? This on top of trying to run a business, working 12-14 hrs. a day, doing all their scheduling, payroll, meeting with Drs., Nurses, Phy. Therapists, etc. Every time she was in hospital, I had to be there as Power of Attny. After her last stroke, she was never able to speak again for the last yr. & 8 mos. that she lived. She was starting to get better, moving her legs & one arm, when hospital filled her so full of I.V. fluids, then sent her home, with me screaming for diuretics, that 4 days later she died of – guess what? – Congestive Heart Failure! Ya’think? I had to get a mortgage on her house, which I am still paying, then squirrels chewed a hole in our roof, so had to re-finance Van to put on new roof, then Aug. 10, engine blew inVan, with 160,000 miles on it. New engine – $3,400. Took Van back after 2 weeks, cause I heard a soft knock. It’s still sitting at repair shop. Had to take out another loan for engine. I am more in debt than I have ever been in my life – almost $200,000., with only enough of the mortgage money left to pay for about 7 more mos. of house payments, insurance, taxes, utilities, repairs, etc. Then on top of that, G.M. has cut my husband’s net (after-tax, take-home)pension $5,000. in the last 3 yrs., and they are cutting it another $2,700. next yr. Six weeks after Mom died, while our doggy was getting cancer surgery at Mich. State Univ., husband had his 3rd stroke. He can walk & move, but can’t see to drive, as he lost peripheral vision. So I have to do all the driving. In May, our precious doggy & our kitty cat, died within 2-& 1/2 weeks of each other. So, I’ve lost my precious Mom, my precious puppy doggie & my sweet kitty cat. I just hurt so bad inside. I take a mild anti-anxiety medication. In addition, the landlord, here at our small business, which we are trying to re-build (in a bad economy here in Michigan) is a jerk, & keeps us on edge all the time, with his tirades, yelling at us, swearing at us, threatening to kick us out of our business, where we have been for 15 yrs. I feel like I take one step forward & the devil kicks me two steps back. But, I have so much to do, that I just force myself to get out of bed, shower, & come in & work my 12-14 hrs., so we can move from here. WE are in a big mess, with 10 yrs. of stuff to go through here and at home, & 40 yrs. worth of stuff to go through in Mom’s house. In addition, I found out that I have no deed to my house, which is paid for, because I bought it on a Land Contract, & they guy sold it to someone else, who had now died. So now I have to go to court to get my Deed. More expense. We barely eat, can’t afford it. Pension & Soc. Sec. aren’t enough to pay all these bills with anything left over, but I know our blessing is coming. So I keep plugging along. I read my Bible, when I can, pray a lot, go to church, & just try to hand on. It took me a yr. to get the Mortgage on Mom’s house. Now I have to pay it off. There are so many foreclosures here, that even if I had everything cleaned out of her house, I doubt it would sell right now for enough to pay off the mortgage. Would some rich millionaire out there like to adopt me – I’m an orphan. I have one brother, who is bi-polar, & goes off on tangents,where he get in my face & screams & swears at me, so I try to not have too much to do with him. He’s not interested in helping me with anything at Mom’s, even signed off on her accounts & the house, which suits me just fine. I’m trying to be very frugal with the money that is left, but I’m concerned. Pray for me – for strength, a clear mind, a continued healthy body, and for some “Miracle Money”. Pray for my husband, who had been diagnosed with a bengine tumor on his right optic nerve, a pituatary gland that is secreting almost double of one hormone, a left endocrine gland out of whack, so that they can’t get his potassium stabilized, two bad discs in his back, that pinch the nerve, so that it takes him 3 hrs. in the morn. to get feeling in his legs & feet, and high blood pressure, plus a borderline diabetic. Like I said, what happened to the “Golden Years?” Send me a millionaire. Every time he has to have another MRI, MRA, CT Scan, our share of the bill is about $300.00. I’m working on Mom’s 2004 taxes now. Each yr. takes me about 40 hrs. to do. Her medical bills in 2001 were over $61,000., in 2002, over $110,000., in 2003, over 100,000., and I’m already up to over $30,000. through the end of May for 2004. I type them all out & itemize them, then send the list to I.R.S. with her return. That way they know why her medical costs are so high. We went through over $500,000 taking care of her or having her taken care of, before she died. Her life insurance wasn’t enough to pay for her funeral either, so there was another $3,000. that is NOT deductible. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. Would you believe that this is only the tip of the iceberg? Like I said, my story is too long to put a
    ll in here. God bless all of you. Keep the faith.

  • Keith Downie

    Therese- Reading your blog is often the high point of my day. It especialy was today as this topic is very relavent to me, because when I have too much time on my hands, I tend to get self-destructive. I’m on the couch, and my therapist and I came up with “tools” (behaviours that I can use) when those times come up. This Blog is going to definitely be discussed at our next session. Keep doing what you’re doing you are a lighthouse to alot of us who are sailing through rough seas. Thank You.

  • Lori

    I read these today as a hope. Not sure if I have the energy to use them. So, I guess Im a drag today. and Im not caring.

  • Anna

    The Buddhists teach – “EVERYTHING IS EXACTLY AS IT MUST BE” –
    Really think about what this means – and let go.

  • Nancy

    Therese – This may be one of my favorite posts yet!! Although as one of your biggest fans, I am partial to many of them.
    Your concrete suggestions are wonderful and extremely helpful. So many times, people will say, “Well, you have to slow down or you need to re-evaluate what’s going on in your life”, with no direction on what step to take next.
    I am sure that many more readers of BB will enjoy this tremendously. As always, I love your humor “Amy” – very clever, my girl, and of course the other one “Viagra”. You are a character!! and a loveable one at that!
    Nancy L.

  • marilyn

    great post therese i so can relate.liveing by myself i can relate to not being good to myself for fear of never haveing enough but you right we do have to take a leap of faith sometime if nothing else but for are such an insperation to us all you show us that we can stay out of the black hole if we just fight. thanks for all you do marilyn

  • Larry Parker

    The 12 steps for people with depression — I like it! (Especially with such wonderful, touching only-from-Therese twists …)

  • Debbie Moore

    I just discovered your sight. It’s great. As you, I am manic-depressive and have been hospitalized numerous times. I am 47 and also suffer from lupus, copd (nonsmoker), kidney cancer, degenerative arthritis, and mltple other problems. I am depressed right now and have been sleeping around the clock. I’ve lost 13 pounds this week which scares me even tho I really need to lose weight (I’m on steroids for the lupus), thus weight gain which is also depressing. I don’t want to complain so I just want to commend you on your blogs and articles. You make me think beyond myself. Thanks, Debbie M.

  • Hondo

    Therese Your 12 ways to wait for recovery is outstanding filled with great ideas and hope because right now that is the place i am in i have allwased tried to use some sort of humor to try to get me through some tough weeks when the thunder and lighting are banging away inside my head and it’s sunny outside but we all must remember and keep praying for each other that usually after a great big storm theirs a beautiful rainbow and may we all one day find that pot of gold that we all our searhing for your a great inspiration personaly to me i will be praying for us all so maybe one day instead of lighting and thunder we all might find a calm and gentle rain that refreshes us all GOD BLESS and everyone keep on fighting with everything you got THANK-YOU,HONDO

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Absolutely WONDERFUL!practical ideas for a disease that is anything but! QAnd, like Larry, I was once again amazed at your ability to make each suggestion humorous– that’s one of your greatest talents,imho And any woman who jogs pushing three children should get a life!(And allow her offspring to do the same…LOL)

  • Lynne

    Thankyou once again Therese for an excellent post! I should copy this post haste and plaster it on my refigerator door. Now that’s the ultimate compliment from me. I only put the most important and inspirational info up there. ie; “The key to success is to turn the stumbling block into the stepping stone.” That has a double meaning as Jesus refers himself to those who would oppose him as a stumbling block and to the faithful as the Rock upon which we should stand. I too must remember to take time out for myself. To realistically examine my situation and tell the “voice of unreason” to shut the #$%& up! Most importantly to be kind to me and then the rest of the world will eventually catch up.

  • Peg

    I, too, have been feeling the backwards slide, especially in my faith zone, so upon awaking yesterday I decided to get my bible out and start reading the New Testament, Introduction and all, starting on Matthew. I only got through a few chapters of Matthew, but felt better and then when I went to daily Mass, the priest talked about the need for us to read the bible more, so I felt the Holy Spirit was confirming my own intention through Father’s words. Also talked to a lovely, faith filled woman afterwards, who shared her present struggles with me, and that helped as well.
    Thanks, Therese, for helping us. By the way, I see Spring around the corner as our annual geese visitors are back by the pond nearby and the weather is warming up a bit.

  • teensmom

    Thank so much for all of your blogs. I am a new poster (with depression), and I’ve been reading the posts for a few months now, I look forward to it. My 14 year old son is battling depression, hormones, school, and is in councelling after a visit to the black hole and the psych unit about 3 weeks ago. Today he is home with the flu. He misses a fair amount of 8th grade due to his depression, so when he is physically sick, it is rough to know the difference, and not feel like he is just staying in bed because of his feelings. It is difficult as a mom w/depression to see your kids suffer thru it as well. Are there other mom’s out there with kids who have depression? I’d like to know you, as it is such a taboo subject to discuss your kid’s mental health with anyone other than their Drs. Thank you again Terese for being so brave and helpful thru your trials. Take a much needed mom-break as often as possible, it is a life saver. You and all the beyond blue folks are in my daily prayers.

  • zana

    Therese, It never ceases to amaze me that your writing is exactly what I need when I start taking the wrong path. After what seemed like an eternal year in #$%#, the darkness finally seemed stationed backstage. My Rx and supplement cocktail and self care seemed to be the right mix. But, as I’ve started getting ready to go back to work and have returned to to my role as keeper of the castle, the stress level is rising and I can hear the black hole crunchy down the last bits of its Power Bar. Not working and appliance mutiny has $$ things stretched pretty tight. I realized the first thing I let go is self care. No wonder insomnia is rearing it’s ugly head. Your list reminding me to keep on swimming and stop pretending I am like everybody else who functions without this disease is right on the nose. I am so grateful for the trail you blaze that clears the path for those of us following your steps. It reminds me of when my big brothers and I were little, hiking in the hills surrounding our house and they would tell me “Just put your foot in my foot steps. You’ll be ok.” (They actually were nice and helpful at times!)

  • e23nature

    Thank you for sharing your talent. Your writing is incredible and always seems to be just the right thing I need to hear.

  • appy20

    I do have qualms about your “ditching the jogger.” You know, you can feel good about yourself without tearing down the jogger. In this world, there are always going be people “better” and “worse” than you are. Try to stop competing. You can appreciate the jogger’s skills without tearing down yourself. Another person’s success or talent or gift is not an affront to your worth. True self-esteem knows that.
    Please, do not be angry at this next question and I have put off asking it for quite a long time because it will seem rude. It isn’t meant to be. It isn’t meant as a criticism. I have had depression since I was 13. Severe unipolar depression. In my youth, it was so severe that it was very close to psychosis. It was so terrible that I vowed never to have children. There is a genetic component to my depression and there is definitely a component to bipolar depression. I wouldn’t wish my depression on my worst enemy. I certainly would not wish it on my child. If your depression and mental issues are so bad, how are you able to pass it on to another generation without qualms? Once, please, understand, I am not being critical. It is just something that I could never do. I just wonder how others manage that. Should your child or your descendent develop depression, will you be able to accept responsibility for their pain? That guilt would cripple me.

  • Anonimous

    Thanks for your blog. I felt less lonly. I think going to therapy is much better than talkig to friends. Therapis are trainned for that, and friends are not.
    They see things thought their own fears, complexes, worries, past experiences and missconceptions about you and sometimes they judge you.
    (people love to judge others) and insted of feeling better you feel worst. I have learned the hard way not to tell my problems to friendss and just to therapiest. Just my sense of it.

  • Karen

    Today is the first time I have ever seen this blogging page and I hope someone, can help me. I am at my wits end in the pass 4 days I have lost two best friends. The first one happened on Thursday, I was just talking to her like do everyday, then I told her I was walking home at night around 11:30 -12:00, she called mt f****** stupid and that my husband is not the man she thought he was. Please, he’s in bed after a long hot day of work, I am not going to make or even ask him to come walk me home, that is just selfish of me to even ask. My now former friend and I have always have had a rocky friendship of 30 years, but “this is the straw that broke his back.”
    Next my husband and I had a huge fight over my money spending, to the point of he no longer trusts me. I am almost positive he won’t leave me, but I just don’t know.
    I have written my letters to my family members, and I really want to end my life, I feel so low that I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    Back in April I lost my job as a teacher for 9th and 11th graders, in English. This has almost killed me, I was defined by my teaching, this was my life. I was looking to retire at the school where I started, now my life was turned upside down totally. I feel lost totally lost.
    I feel if I leave them in anyway I will make them hate me, I will never see my daughters married and have a family, my parents this will kill them.
    I have been on Pristiq for two weeks, Lyrica for one year, and seroquel for two months and this is the lowest I have been in years.
    I don’t want to hurt my family but the pain inside is tearing my apart. How do I stop the voices in my head, I have had the voices since I was 14 sometimes they are real bad then there are other times that I can ignore them but this time it is not this way.
    Does anyone have any advice?

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure the suggestions are all good, but on the dark blue background they are all impossible to read!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I really could relate to your writing. I can feel so sorry for you because I have been there so many times. Sometimes I feel I am there again and it does pass if I can share it with someone who is feeling like me but dealing in a better way than I could.
    I have become aware that so many times in my life I have been so depressed and continue to struggle every day.
    Thanks for your honesty. I can say that I have been able to contain myself in all of this anger/sadness from my childhood. It was not pleasant. Drug and alcohol played a long and unhappy childhood for me and my recovery from that unhappiness has been so long.
    Thanks for your input. It helped me today.

  • Anonymous

    hello guys!
    call me lyn.
    this is the first time that i am going to write something in what you call blog.
    i grew up as a “shy” girl.
    and because of that i don’t have friends.
    but i always have playmates.
    because i grew up together with my cousins.
    i guess they are my friends.
    but i can never relate to people who are not my relatives.
    that is why i am never a social person.
    but you know what?
    i was never a victim of depression!
    because i grew up believing that there is a GOD.
    and he is my father.
    everytime i feel lonely….
    i just call out to him and everything is going to be alright.
    MY BELIEF… MY FAITH…. makes my life hear on earth BEARABLE.

  • Jan

    I think this “blog” can be a helpful tool to some individuals that “suffer” from depression. But “overly simplified” “answers” such as some have been offered in this blog are sometimes dangerous to some individuals. I believe this blog contains some very honest deep struggles on the part of the woman who describes her “recovery” steps! Yah!!!! Faith is AN answer and is the key answer, but some people who have significant TRUST issues just don’t TRUST that easily. Being honest with yourself and others is the best place to start and realizing that depression is as it is defined “anger turned inward” and as a result needs to be addressed from the inside out…. Looking honestly into your own heart sometimes needs guidance from a trusted outside source… and while medications are not “the answer” they can assist with leveling the brain’s chemical functioning “while” therapy is received to address (with honesty) the issues which are causing the anger to turn inward (whatever those issues may be). It is important to understand that what works for the author of this blog may not work as well or as readily for the next person who holds to different beliefs. Thanks for sharing what works so that others can have something to try until they find what works for them. Faith in God is developed during these times of difficulty if an individual chooses to let it help.

  • Jeri

    To Karen who hinted at suicide on July 14th: Take your medicine for “the voices”—tell your doctor if it’s not working and get one that does work. But were I you, I would seek out counseling ASAP! There’s no substitute for it. You obviously need some help sorting out your thoughts and evaluating your experiences. Find a caring person who has some good training and experience that you feel comfortable talking to. Many places have sliding scale rates. Barring that possibility, seek out a clergy man or woman. In fact 2 other extremely important areas of your life not to neglect if you want to gain balance and contentment are the spiritual (of your choice) and dietary/exercise. Nothing seems quite as bad after a good (healthy) meal and a good walk in the sun. Lack of protein, nutrients (b vit., d, etc.) can contribute to depressive states just as eating junk food can and not getting enough sun which helps our bodies manufacture vit. D which in turn make things which help elevate our moods. Besides if you’re in better shape, you feel better all over. Your problems have solutions (make a budget based on your new finances, for example). You just need a little faith and guidance to find them. Checking out early is not an option—think of those who love you, if you aren’t yet able to love yourself. May the blessings be for you in your life.

  • joan

    Beliefnet exists for a very simple reason: faith works. No matter what your diagnosis or your psychiatric meds, you are going to get out your condition when you have the courage to face the underlying causes. We all have glitches in the psychiatric continuum ( also called growth); there is nothing “abnormal” about those glitches; DSM manual was established to give a Dx and number for the disorder for the insurance companies and psychiatrists to submit their claims and place the patient in a neat little box.
    I have been a clinical social worker for 25 years (yes, a psychotherapist) and I want everyone to know that going thru old pains is far easier than avoiding them. You need a trusted therapist to be with you when you travel thru those glitches. If one is not available or affordable, God will be there. Trust me. He does not need an 800 number.

  • Tina

    Hello everyone I never knew about this site till I got in in my mail box. Anyway I have anxiety disorder that turns into full blown Panic attacks at times. It started in 2001 when I lost my older brother he was 37 years old and it didn’t even hit me till the day of his funneral. I was a mess my family thought I was having a break down and who knows maybe I was. A year later my husband left me for another woman just as I was getting better so then that set me back again, I saw therapist and was taking medicine for awhile I felt myself getting more and more comfortable with the medication and I kept increasing it on my own.So I knew I had to do something about it I started fighting the urge to take the medicine praying, talking to people, or maybe just taking a walk it was hard but I did it. Here latley I have been under alot of stress again with family and other things and have been having more anxeity latley, back to taking the pills again but trying to be careful this time. My Uncle is my sole support that I lean on. I truly hate feeling like this I don’t feel Like I want to die but sometime’s I feel like I am dying and if frightens me. I know we all have to go sometime in our life I just feel I am not ready yet. It feels really good just to be able to write this down and know that there are others that are out there as well that know what I am going through and how I feel. Thanks for listening.

  • Mary

    I’ve been “broken” since 1993, so I’ve got more experience than probably most of you who are only now facing things. I won’t go into what’s caused any of it, it wouldn’t help any of you other than to feed any morbid sense of curiosity of you’ve got. I will tell you that, like with cancer, some depression, anxiety, panic and PTSD cannot be cured, no matter what you do. The best way to handle that fact is to accept that fact. Accept that you can get “better” but you may never get “well”. Accept that the person you are today is the person you are today. I’m on my medications, which are a life and death situation for me, so I take them whether I “want” to or not. I’ve done extensive psychotherapy, and, according to me and my therapist, I’ve gone “as far as he can take me”, the rest is up to me, God and the tools I’ve developed to help myself. There are just some “ills” that can never be cured here on earth, and that’s alright, so long as you keep doing everything you know to do to keep going forward. Suicide is not the answer, it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. If playing with dolls, or keeping a journal that you go back and read over and over, or sitting on a prayer rug, or whatever, helps you keep putting one foot in front of the other, by all means, use the tools that work for you. Having a relapse is not the end of the world, unless you make the choice to end your world, a choice you can never take back. Take one day at a time because that’s all you get, one day at a time. Yesterday is past, it cannot be changed, tomorrow is just a dream, you may never get to have a tomorrow. So live today, the only day you ever get, and live it to the best of your ability, allow yourself to be blessed in the knowledge you woke up alive today. If you need to crawl under the blankets to survive, do it. Self medication is not a viable answer, it could be the last choice you make. If world affairs knowledge is a stresser, stay blissfully ignorant, you yourself cannot change the world as a whole, you can only change YOUR world in this very minute. When you think you’ve gotten to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on, this too shall pass. Psychotherapy works because the person, if you get lucky and get a compassionate, trained one that is, will give you ways of looking at things from a different perspective, where a friend or family member, by nature, can only tell you what they think you “want” or “need” to hear. That person can’t do the work for you, that person can’t change a thing for you, as out of control as you may feel, you’re the only one who can choose to make changes, if change is what’s necessary. Sometimes it’s not a matter of a change needing to be made, just a different perspective on things. I wish you all well, and offer my sincere prayers for each and every one of us who have to deal with this on a minute by minute basis. Remember, “if God leads you to it, God will see you through it.” Just don’t make that one fatal choice that can never be taken back. Peace to us all, and God bless us all.

  • joe

    just take it one day at a time or if needed one minute at a time


    HI ALL

  • susan gates

    i suffer with bipolar manic depressive. until a few yrs ago i handeled it [or so i thought] without medicine i’m on effexor, neurontin, seroquel, and also synthroid for my thyroid. my dr insists i see a phyc because i still have major ups and downs. any way just thought i’d share a little bit about myself oh i’m 50 yrs young! maybe this is the wrong place to do it? E-mails welcome Blessings from susan

  • Morgan Avery

    God bless you all. Its tough to admit when you are sick….but just remember depression and related illnesses are just that….no different than someone who has another type illness in their body. Its just difficult because its something you cant xray, or find on an MRI so its hard for healthy people to relate to us. You have to do what you can to feel better, take the medications, go see the psych’s, whatever it takes. But the most important is to stay in prayer. If it has a name (depression, etc.) it has to bow down to our Almighty Father in heaven. Keep praying and contact prayer partners to help you out. An excellent group of people are there to help out in prayer 24 hours a day. Contact by email, They also have a prayer hotline (954-972-6006 x301) or for emergency prayer (954-9720660 x200); I know that after prayer, especially with another believer, I have renewed strength to get up and do the things I need to do and the more you are able to do, the better you will get. Dont beat yourself up when you get down….and as some others advised, leave the local and national news programs ALONE! It is all in God’s control anyway….why give yourself an extra burden to worry about. Focus on healing…..getting better. My prayers are with you all….I know, I’ve been there. Just remember that God is a GOOD God, He loves you (He is your father and like the best of parents, wants the best for you) and He wants only blessings for you.
    Blessings and Peace be with you,
    Morgan Avery

  • judi

    Thank you for this. It’s excellent advice.

  • Robin

    Thanks for the article. I have been diagnosed with a bi-polar disorder a few years ago. Because of all the negative comments about the name I have never told anyone but my husband. He doesn’t get it and trys to ignore I ever said it. He does the support the idea that I still go for therapy and take the meds. The bad part is that I really think that as long as it doesn’t change what he is up to it is ok.
    It is true about going to the psychologist. I don’t want to bother my friends all the time when I don’t feel well. Being like everyone else is important. At least for appearances sake. The nice part is the opportunity to act however I want behind that closed door. Once I leave it is easier to deal with the rest of it. My oldest child calls the doctor my “rent a friend.”
    Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.

  • Wendi

    I find that when I am in the vortex of depression, I can be at my best in the humor department. A few years ago, I was at the doctor’s office and when he walked in and asked how I was doing, I said, “Well, I feel as if I am stuck in the middle of a really bad soap opera. I need help getting out of my contract.”
    As for the days when suicide pops into my head, I remember that I take care of my mother, I have a cat and I am from Viking stock. I can’t leave my mom and my cat, and being a Viking means I have to go out with a bang, not a whimper. Suicide is a whimper.

  • Kim

    I have had so many days that are the same. Sad, Mad and those are the times when I drink. I go months at a time without drinking then a month of heavy drinking. I have found that letting God back into my life had turned those long weeks of the same ole feelings can change by starting my day with a prayer. I now go to chruch and a Bible study every week. I found so many people there that were dealing with the same kind of life. Sharing our stories bond us with each other and with God.

  • diana

    Woohoo! I was amazed before I was half-way through! I have never read your blog before. It was just what i needed. I was at diss ease because I have a disease and my ‘amy’ rose her ugly head this morning and decided to show her gland to all and made my eyes leak. Gee i really hate that. But just in time Dr. Suess Saved the Day through YOU!! AWESOME, what a GOD Shot! I really needeed it. Thank-you sooooooo much. I’ll be back..

  • Ann

    Just read 12 ways… I related most to the comment about therapy and I go, not as often as I should. I recently started a new job. I am a RN and work with all women. Let’s just say it started out great, but the “female dynamics” have started to affect me. Anyway, I made the choice to use the drive time -35-40 minutes to listen to “Who Moved My Cheese” and “Tough Times Don’t Last But Tough People Do”. There are alot of lessons to be applied to every day life. Just don’t be so hard on yourself and remember Joshiua 1:9.

  • christine

    your suggestions were helpful. thank you I have suffered from bipolar for 12 years. Sometimes in low places and sometimes high. It is an extremely difficult thing to live with. I feel for all the mentally ill. I do have a therapist, and i thing it helps. my husband understands, and mental illness also runs in his family. Haven’t been feeling good at all lately, waiting to come out of this fog. my most motivation is my beautiful 3 boys. and i am a new grandma. god bless you christine

  • Ana Carmen

    Among Susan Jeffer’s heroes I would like to add Thich Nhat Hahn, the great master from Vietnam, living now in France. He does make the difference!

  • Sharon

    Thank for this article/blog. I especially appreciated the comment about retirement. After 1 mini-stroke and 2 full blown stokes, being out of work is difficult. And I have realized that while it is nice to have a nest egg for retirement, my anxiety trigger-not being able to pay bills-needed to put to rest so that it would not send me back into the depths of depression from the strokes.

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