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Showing posts from August, 2013

"There are Always Cupcakes"

Advice. According to the Oxford dictionary, the word advice is defined as: noun; guidance or recommendations concerning prudent future action, typically given by someone regarded as knowledgeable or authoritative.

Have you noticed that the world is full of people who love to give unsolicited advice? And I would wager that 99.9% of the time, the 'advice' provided is neither prudent nor given by someone regarded as knowledgeable. Sorry, Oxford dictionary.

When it comes to mental illness there is an endless supply of this so-called advice. It's almost always well meaning. Most of the time it comes from wanting to say something reassuring but there is almost always a lack of understanding that mental illnesses are just that - illnesses. Real illnesses.

In the two decades since my first diagnosis of depression, sometimes living with full blown major depressive episodes and sometimes in remission, I have pretty much heard it all and read it all. I accept and understand that my il…

"No Casseroles"

A friend posted a really interesting article from the LA Times on facebook today. It was about what not to say to people with a serious illness such as cancer. The author, who had fought breast cancer, had heard everything from "This illness isn't just about you. It's about me, too." to "I am not sure I can handle this diagnosis." Remember, these are things that friends and colleagues said to her, not the other way around. I was struck by how personal the reactions were. I couldn't help but compare this to my own experiences with severe depression. There is a stark contrast between how people with a physical disease are perceived and treated and those who are diagnosed with a brain illness. Society still gives more weight to physical illness. Make no mistake, depression is a disease. It's a deadly disease. But it's one that people find it difficult to wrap their head around (no pun intended). Instead of feeling it personally and deeply when a …

"Bakery Air"

A good book. For me, there is nothing quite like it. Back in the early seasons of the television show Survivor, contestants were allowed to bring one luxury item with them. My luxury item would have been a book. Pretty sure I would have been voted off the island early on but at least I would have been happy. An engrossing book has been so many things to me throughout my life. It's been escape, adventure, travelogue, comfort, education, humour. On my journey through mental illness it has certainly been all these things and more. Soldiers don't go into war unarmed and I decided early on that I wouldn't go into my battle against depression without an arsenal of weapons of my own. Educating myself as to what I was (am) up against was never a question for me. There are really three types of books in the category of mental illness and wellness that have been useful to me over the years: 1) self-help (workbooks, medical/scientific); 2) memoir; and 3) a category that I will call …