Thursday, May 17, 2012

Episode 42: "Elementally You" — Depression & Mormon Women Part III

Right click here to download the mp3.



Art by Jarosław Kubick
In the final segment of our discussion, we talk about ways we hid our depression or magnified our depression (what made things worse) and ways we helped our depression (what made things better).

The panelists will be watching the comments to respond to questions.

Here is a summary of the resources and other things that helped us.

Process:
  • Name the problem
  • Identify root causes (often things from the past) and work through them
  • Figure out what triggers depressive episodes
  • Remove triggers (get out of situations that make things worse)
  • Build relationship spaces where you can find happiness and peace and emotional strength ("family" by choice)
  • Choose your spirituality and interaction with the church
  • Get out of overly-stressful or abusive situations and take care of yourself
  • Become an advocate, speak up
Techniques:
  • Journal writing and blogging
  • Writing in supportive communities (online forums)
  • Creating: Art, music (eg. playing piano), dance (eg. choreography), crochet, etc.
  • Therapy, working through the past
  • Movement
  • Breathing
  • Focusing on sensory input from the five senses to come to the present moment
  • Yoga
  • Energy healing: BodyTalk
  • Getting out to the things that are "elementally you" (eg. hike the petroglyphs)
  • Spend time outdoors, get outside when the spiral down starts
  • Using prayer as contemplative reflection
  • Identifying the good and the beautiful
  • Massage and chiropractic
  • Hot showers
  • Light therapy and vitamin D
  • Reading books on topics that pertain to your hurt

Food Related
  • GAPS diet
  • Candida Cleanse
  • Eating potatoes before bed (with no protein) to help to raise serotonin levels

Books, Audio, and Online Resources

36 comments:

  1. this was good. this was really, really good. i felt like you were speaking right to me. i loved hearing the different perspectives, because not only did it make me feel that i was not alone, but that this is a varied and amazing part of the human experience. and i really enjoyed the honesty and the humor, as in, you weren't all doom and gloom in talking about it, but you weren't try to airbrush it either.

    amelia and lisa, i was especially interested in how you both said mormon boys weren't for you, especially with depression being a part of your lives. in struggling with my own darkness along with a lot of distrust of men in general, i found that i really agreed with you about the mindset of mormon males. it's something i don't want to attach myself to. it seems like it would only make things worse.

    have either of you had successful relationships with non-members? if so, how did they view your depression? were they supportive or accepting? (rather than telling you just to read your scriptures more and pray more ... ) anything you want to share about this will be eagerly received.

    i want to know more about the potato thing, too. what kind of difference does it make? can you tell me more about it and how you do it? (i think it was lisa? telling this part.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad that our experiences resonated with you. Knowing you aren't alone can make such a difference! In my experience I have felt a greater acceptance for all of what I am in my non-member relationships. Maybe because there isn't such a heavy and specific expectation of what I "should" be.

      And the potato makes such a huge difference! at least it did for me. I'm sure the results depend on individual brain chemistry too. A friend of mine recently started doing the potato before bed thing and she is having success too. So definitely try it! Here is the website I found it on. It really got me through a tricky time
      http://www.radiantrecovery.com/4r.htm

      let me know if you have more questions!

      Delete
    2. thanks, lisa. if this is too personal, i understand, but i'm wondering, if you have relationships with non-members, how do you handle the whole sex-before-marriage thing? can you have a boyfriend who accepts not sleeping together?

      Delete
    3. Sorry to be a bit tardy replying--life's a little busy right now!

      I have had successful relationships with non-Mormon men, but their response to my depression has been mixed. One of them ultimately ended our relationship because he found that my depression triggered his own struggles with depression. That said, I was at a place then when I wasn't being proactive enough in getting the support I needed in the form of good therapy and finding an anti-depressant that really worked for me, so I'm sure that contributed to the problem, too.

      Now I'm in the best relationship I've ever had. My partner is not Mormon. And he's very supportive. He has openly articulated that part of being in a relationship is providing support for each other when we struggle. He's helped me deal with some of the side effects of my depression. I'm in a better place, having found an excellent therapist and an anti-depressant that works for me, but I still struggle with some of the side effects of my depression. P has been incredibly good about helping me through the low times and helping me know that there's no expectation that I'll always be upbeat or that I won't struggle with these things. And I've done the same for him in return. It's been really wonderful.

      Delete
    4. this is really good. thanks, amelia. i love the idea of mutually supporting each other. and how he doesn't give an expectation that you'll always be happy. this sounds good to me.

      Delete
  2. Sorry to be anonymous for this one, but I think it's understandable.

    I wanted to (gently I hope) respond to one comment made during this podcast. I realize it was made in love, I realize that it was one woman's vision and desire and I don't want to tarnish that, but I thought it was important to express how that vision appeared to another woman, to me.

    I never fit in the church. It was, for me, with its message of perfection and its absolutes for action-and-reward (a reward I never received since I never felt the spirit or had an answer to prayer), deeply, deeply painful. When I finally stopped trying and went inactive, the relief I felt was immediate and enormous and since then, with a great deal of thought and work, I have come to the realization that I was not broken - that I was not the problem in that painful experience. For me the church absolutely was not right.

    So, when I heard someone (and I really apologize for not knowing who - I wasn't able to differentiate all of your voices) state that in her vision the afterlife would 'fix' those of us who were unhappy in church so that we found joy in the Mormon heaven, I found that deeply disturbing. It triggered, for me, those feelings of being flawed, of being at fault, of being lesser or broken. The message (and again, I am SURE this was not intended) came to me that, sure there was something wrong with me NOW, but later that would be all cleared up and I would be like the 'normal' people, the correct people who find joy and fulfillment in the church and look forward to the LDS concept of the afterlife.

    Of course I can reject that idea of flaw and fault, in a large part because all of you are so eloquent in expressing your love for women and your appreciation for differing experiences. But when I thought about it more, I realized that beyond being (for a moment) hurt and upset at the image that vision seemed to portray, even more importantly to me was the fact that I don't WANT that - I don't want to find joy and peace in the afterlife shaped by this doctrine and church that has been so wrong for me here. I LIKE myself now and I like the wholeness I have found and, to me, I would have to give up something of myself, change myself in order to fit into that vision. That idea brings me no joy or peace.

    I hesitated before I typed this because visions are so personal and precious and I want to make it clear that I recognize the sisterhood and the inclusion that is behind it, and I don't want to try to damage it for the person (people) who find inspiration and comfort in it. I hope I've managed to express all of that.

    Thank you all for your honesty and openness in what must have been a very difficult podcast. I greatly appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Anonymous, if you can find where you heard this piece (which section and the minute count in), I would be glad to know. I have no recollection of this sentiment being conveyed in our discussion. The only possibility that I can think of is that one of us may have said this is a message that WE received (same as you), and one that is damaging.

      I'm fully with you. If the afterlife means being "fixed" somehow to be a "happy Mormon," I'll go somewhere else. So, you are right that this was NOT intended. And please, if you can find the bit you're talking about, I'd like to re-listen to it and see what we were saying.

      I'm sorry that those feelings of being wrong or broken were brought up again. I know how those waves of "not being right" can crash with such violence. I've had that same experience before. Like you, gaining distance from the church released me from so much of the guilt and struggle I had been fighting for so long. It was like the darkness lifted.

      Please write back so I know that you know you were heard.

      Delete
    2. I believe I did mention my hope of being free from mental illness in the afterlife. That is coming from the perspective of thinking of mental illness an as affliction that is temporary to this life. My father was bipolar in such a way that every aspect of his life was affected by it and its my hope that he will not have to deal with it where he is now. I really hope that it can be fixed and that he and everyone else who suffers at the hand of a physical malady will be free from that malady in the afterlife.

      Perhaps it was around that time in the podcast that you heard the sentiment you expressed above? I certainly did not intend it to sound like "not being happy in church" is a malady that must be fixed. I was speaking of mental illness that is beyond our control as humans. I regard mental illness as a biochemical disorder that our spirits have little control over and our bodies are subject to.

      I would really like to understand your comment further, so if you are able to determine who and what point you heard that, I will appreciate the opportunity to further clarify and restate if need be.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous, I believe I know what part you are referring to. Jenne mentioned her view of the afterlife and how she hopes that those of us who have left the church because of depression will come back at some point in the future. It was right at the end of Part 2, I believe.

      While I find Jenne's belief beautiful, I understand why you were hurt by this as it really bothered me as well. For me, the belief that in the afterlife we will be restored to "perfect" bodies free of illness or maladies also bothers me. Depression and anxiety have made me who I am, to take that away in the afterlife would be to make me someone I am not. I would not be who I really am. Perhaps my vision would be one of people becoming perfectly happy with their bodies and who they are mentally, physically, emotionally.

      Delete
    4. Hi - I'm so sorry, I did NOT intend to comment-and-leave! Between a move and some travel I have been without internet for a while and didn't realize I'd been asked to re-comment.

      Amber is correct and I think it was Jenne talking about women leaving through depression (or, I think was implied, other emotional difficulties with the church) finding that in the afterlife those difficulties would be - I think she meant 'resolved' rather than 'fixed'.

      I think that I expressed myself badly, party because I was trying so hard to NOT imply that Jenne's vision was wrong or that she shouldn't feel it was inspirational, which it obviously is for her.

      What I was trying to say was that although the rest of this excellent podcast did a superb job of combating the exclusivity claims that are so damaging (there is One Way and it is the Right Way and all other ways are Wrong and Broken), the rhetoric of the church is so powerful that it only took a single, very loving image of people like me somehow being changed in the afterlife to fit into the Mormon heaven to remind me of how very disturbing and damaging ALL of that was for me.

      I wasn't hurt by it and I'm terribly sorry if I gave that impression, it's more that I was amazed at the power of that childhood rhetoric to disturb me, even now, when I am very happy and comfortable with myself outside of the church. It was an interesting experience, and very useful because it made me re-evaluate my feelings about church doctrine, fringe vs mainline teachings, and my own position in regards to belief.

      I think the thing is that the church's version of heaven, of an afterlife, cannot hold me as I am. I would have to be changed, changed not only in my opinions and my feelings about myself, about women, about humanity, but also in my innate self in order to belong and be happy. I do NOT want to imply that Jenne was saying anything like that, that she was mirroring the black-and-white nature of church doctrine, but because her comments were made in the context of mormonism and that her hope for the afterlife was of a Mormon afterlife, the reaction was triggered. I think I was simply trying to point out how different we all are although we all speak a common cultural language!

      Does that all make sense?

      In other words, I'm happy for Jenne and others to look forward to an afterlife that is somehow grounded in Mormon doctrine. I recognize that their individual visions of what that afterlife will be as diverse as they are, and that those visions are powerful and reasonable and wonderful to them. However, their visions are not mine, and when I think of a Mormon afterlife it is informed by my experience with the doctrine, both as a child and teen and as an apostate adult and I not only cannot share that vision, I find my own version of it deeply abhorrent.

      I THINK that what Jenne was saying was that, as someone who believes in a life after death, she hopes that all women will find fulfillment, enrichment, joy and peace as they are, and that what is gone from them are the superficial disturbances that come from confusion or conflict about who they really are, not the things that fundamentally individual and specific to them.

      By the way, as an atheist, I should point out that I don't actually have a dog in this hunt. I don't think I will be called on to be changed in order to accept ANY afterlife be it Mormon or Hindu or Baptist or Muslim. And for me that is deeply inspiring and comforting and wonderful!

      Delete
    5. Thanks for checking back in, Anonymous. You do make sense. Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective. Being able to have this dialogue, even though we are, as you say "different ... although we all speak a common cultural language" makes it more and more likely that we will create a new space in the world.

      Delete
  3. I am loving this episode so far and really glad that all of you created it. I am not sure if this will be touched on later in the podcast, but I wanted to mention the importance of sharing mental health issues with family members, esp. those who are biologically related to you. My parents are very close-lipped about personal family information in order to protect privacy etc, but as I got older I realized that many of my siblings face the same challenges that I do. Just this weekend, I shared my experiences with depression and anxiety with a younger sibling. We found that we have had a lot of similar thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I think this is important not only for the emotional support, but also to share info. about medications and cognitive-behavioral techniques that have worked or not worked for us. I am pretty open with my siblings about my experiences because I feel that it can help them as they face their own challenges and I feel that talking about these experiences will help diminish the stigma that is placed on mental-health issues in general.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beatrice, this is such an excellent point. I don't think we talk specifically about this, so I'm very glad you brought it up here. I also come from a family where we generally pretend we're fine, and recently, as more of us have been willing to share, it's amazing how much we have similar struggles. It helps so much to have everyone aware of the patterns, etc., so we can share both empathy and what helps.

      Would you mind sharing more about how to talk with your family (especially when there is reluctance from parents, etc.)? I wish we had thought to discuss this in the podcast.

      Delete
    2. Sure, I generally am just very open with siblings when we get a chance to talk alone. So I would say something like, "I am not sure if you know this, but I have experienced depression and anxiety in my life. I think this is important for you to know because there is a pattern of mental health issues in our family and this information may be helpful for you." Also, if I notice that a particular family member seems to be struggling I will ask them about their feelings and what is going on. I try to really listen and if appropriate I will say something like, "I have experienced similar feelings, one way I dealt with it was by going to a counselor. This is what my experience was like....This might be a helpful option for you." I always try to end by stating that I am open and willing to talk about any of those issues with them in the future.

      It is surprising, but once I made a goal to be very open about these things, I would just notice opportunities to talk about them. Most of my siblings have been very receptive when I bring it up, and are more than happy to have someone to talk to given that there is a history of "not talking about these things" in my family. Many really open up and almost breath a sigh of relief that they have a safe space to discuss things they have kept to themselves.

      Delete
    3. What a beautiful and heartfelt approach, Beatrice. Thank you for sharing this. Your family is lucky to have you.

      Delete
    4. I totally agree with you on this. I find a lot of strength in the truth-telling of speaking with my siblings (especially my sisters) about how I feel anxious, depressed, or have symptoms of PTSD.

      Delete
  4. What perfect timing for this podcast. I've been experiencing plenty of issues with Depression for a long time now. I'm finally deciding it's time to get some help, and I've scheduled an appointment to see a counselor on Tuesday. I like the idea of "shopping around," as I don't think just anyone will be able to help. Certainly not the kind of professional who says they don't know why I need help. That baffles me that some of you have experienced that.

    I appreciate the tips. I actually also happen to have the book Women that Run with the Wolves on the way from Amazon! I completely identify with relating to our dark sides in some positive and balanced way. I'm interested in this idea of a dark goddess. I'm a fan of Queen's second album. It has a "white side" and "black side" with songs about the White Queen and Black Queen. I also loved that black and white picture on Part II of the podcast. Might have to see if I can acquire a print.

    Often, I haven't wanted to take medication, because sometimes (even if my brain chemistry is "wrong") I feel like it's me. I'm deeply emotional, thoughtful, skeptical, and a little morbid. But I don't feel like myself when I can't control my tears, when my emotions are disproportionately strong and negative, and when my confidence is shallow. I think sometimes the idea of "getting better" makes me feel like I will sacrifice part of myself to be more normal, more like other people. I'm sure there can be a balance if I decide to try medication where I will feel like myself, and feel in control.

    Love that you mentioned that part of Labyrinth Sybil. After I read The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, I wrote a blog entry about how much I identified with the labyrinth metaphor for my feminist/life journey. I also included a picture from Labyrinth, with Sarah's feminist awakening, "You have no power over me." Honestly, developing a feminist identity is what is helping me with my depression most so far, but I think I'm ready to incorporate more things into my life to help lately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather, I love how you say, "developing a feminist identity is what is helping me with my depression most so far." That was a big piece of the beginning of my own journey. And nice to meet another person who resonates with the labyrinth. It's such a perfect image for journeying inward.

      Delete
    2. Heather, I completely understand your concern about how medication might alter *you* in some essential way and not wanting to do that. I have friends who, while taking certain anti-depressants, felt just kind of numb to life. It was better insofar as it removed the debilitating lows, but it didn't feel real or like them. I'd just reiterate that that is not the goal of medication. The goal of medication should be making the lows less extreme, less debilitating. I still have lows, in spite of being on an anti-depressant, but they're not as paralyzing as they were before. Finding the right anti-depressant can take a while, but once you find a therapist you work well with it might be worth trying. I've found that it was very much worth the time it took to find the right one for me.

      I'd suggest listening to the podcast listed from "On Being," "The Soul in Depression." In that episode one participant (I believe it was Andrew Solomon) talks about this idea a little bit. I think he likely addresses it in his book _Noonday Demon_, too.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, it is a fear that's not really that substantiated. There are so many options for treatment these days! I just went to my therapist the other day (the first one I'm trying out). So, I'm not sure what I think of her. She seemed pretty open to just listening to most of what I had to say. But, it bothered me a bit when she inserted her own opinions or experiences when I said I worried about being unhappy having a kid any time soon and being a stay-at-home mom. She also brought up church, when I never mentioned it, and dismissed my feeling that church felt different and less desirable to go to after marriage in a family ward than when single in a college ward. Not sure how I feel about that. She seemed okay otherwise.

      Thanks for letting me know about that podcast. I'll check it out!

      Delete
    4. Heather, for what it's worth, I've called therapists on these kinds of dismissive assumptions before, and the result was that they became more aware of what they were saying and began seeing me more distinctly. It even radically changed the way one of them worked with all his clients. So, if she seems good but a little assumptive, you might try pointing it out. Good luck!

      Delete
  5. I have listened to the whole discussion, which I think is amazing. There are a couple of points I wanted to add.

    1-I almost feel like there could be a whole episode on the marriage relationship and depression. It can be very difficult both for the partner with depression and the other partner. My husband is a Mormon man, and he has been very supportive of my struggles with depression. However, it has been a process. While I was learning to deal with my depression, he was learning how to support me. I am now much better at identifying the warning signs of getting into depression again and am better at communicating to him about that. For example, when I start to feel that way again, I talk to him about it and am able to communicate how he can support me at that time. In the episode you mentioned emotional support and I wanted to point out that often the spouse without depression needs support just as much as the spouse with depression. He/she needs people to talk to and ways to emotionally recharge etc.

    2-I thought you did a great job of talking about how to recognize and address triggers of depression. I wanted to point out that specific points in time can also be triggers. For example, I teach college courses and usually have about 2 weeks off between semesters. I started to notice that I would get very depressed and lonely during that time. Teaching is really important for my emotional stability. I now know how to cope with this break by planning activities with others and asking my husband to come home from work for lunch. Little things like that have helped a lot. Others deal with depression during other points in time such as holidays (Christmas can be a big one for people), certain seasons of the year (winter can impact many people negatively, but some people also tend to get depressed when it starts to get warmer) and anniversaries of certain events (such as the anniversary of the death of a loved one). I think it is really important to notice patterns of depression and take measures to both prevent and cope with the depression if it comes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent points, Beatrice. I think a podcast on the marriage relationship and depression would be very valuable. Looking at the needs of both partners would be both eye-opening and beyond helpful.

      I nodded my head repeatedly as I read point 2. Personally, I have a specific way of doing January each year because coming down from the stress of the holidays can be very hard for me. But when I approach January differently (I have a specific plan), I find that I am energized and excited about the new year and the middle of winter instead of depleted and depressed. Awareness can make such a difference in how we are able to alter the situation.

      Delete
  6. kendahl, i'm not sure how to phrase this question, but i'm wondering, how did you separate your depression from all the your family stuff?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry I didn't get to you until today Anonymous, but I am here now :)

      I think it was really hard at the time to differentiate anything from all the family stuff. I remember looking up depression in books, and the only relief from the anxiety and sadness and pain that I felt was by reading the facts, the lists of symptoms, and hanging onto those as "real". Because everything else was such a blur, and my coping mechanism for dealing with abuse was such that I would detach from everyone and everything. So I wasn't sure sometimes what was solidly fact.

      Therefore, for me, it was helpful to read the symptoms and realize I wasn't alone. After all, they had a name for depression and anxiety and sexual abuse. That was where I started, so I could construct a framework to make sense of the family life I had.

      Delete
    2. thank you. i relate to this feeling of everything being a blur and not knowing what was real or whatever. this helps. thanks.

      Delete
  7. I enjoyed this series so much. Thank you for being willing to be as open and honest about each of your situation, especially since it is still so unfortunately taboo among LDS women. I can relate to so much of what all of you have said, particularly the parts about church aiding the depression rather then helping. I would love to offer a treatment option that was briefly touched on that has done amazing things for me, nutrition for healing. I have battled with chronic depression, anxiety and paranoia for over 10 years and tried every medication possible. My counselor of two years recommended I try a different doctor and recommended a woman who I can say quite literally saved my life. This doctor had practiced both homeopathic and modern medicine practices. She rediagnosed my depression as "soft" bipolar disorder and recommended two treatments: an anti psychotic or a supplement series. I tried the antipsychotic first as it was covered by my insurance and the later was not. But I was catatonic and having memory problems because of it. After a year of that I came off the med and about 4 months later bit the bullet and tried her natural recommendation. This product is called EMPower Plus from a company out of Canada called Truehope. The products are expensive, and I take a ton of supplements right now. But the support that has come with this product is amazing. The support team is always available and calls me weekly to check my progress. Along with the supplement, I went through a candida cleanse as well and still avoid as much "white" and processed foods as possible. (Interestingly enough, after reading the biography of the founders daughter, "A Promise of Hope" I discovered the men that developed the supplement formula are LDS...). At the beginning of January this year I was at my heaviest weight ever (216lbs) miserable and moody. My kids were often afraid of me as they didn't know what could trigger the "angry" mommy, my apartment was an embarrassing mess, my husband had no idea how to help me. I couldn't understand how anyone could be successful at any career or hobby, and the suicidal thoughts were taking me over. I began taking EMPower plus around January 15. Exactly two weeks later I found myself sitting on the couch in silence. For the first time, ever, I experienced a quiet and calm mind, free of loud racing thoughts. Things have only gotten better since. It has not been easy, and there are still moments of mood swings, but not nearly as severe. I have dropped below 200 lbs, my home is comfortably clean (I have 3 kids under 6 so it's always some degree of messy) and I was recently reaccepted into nursing school (I dropped out after my first child was born and never went back due to the depression). The supplements I take are expensive and I take a ton of different pills throughout the day. But I feel like myself again. I can laugh, I can cry, I can actually feel my feelings and cope with them in a healthy manner. I never knew this was possible. Thanks to Truehope, I have my life back. I highly recommend to anyone who doesn't want to or cannot tolerate traditional meds, but needs additional support to look into this product. Www.truehope.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heatherc, thank you for sharing this resource and your experience. It always feels like a genuine miracle when something finally helps!

      Delete
  8. I am so glad for this series as it has helped me in many ways. I hope I can share my thoughts succinctly and on topic.

    1) There was a discussion on recognizing depression and connecting with that part of yourself (I believe it was Lisa?). This was such an inspiring part as I realized that was something I am currently doing. I have always tried to run away from my mental illness (mine is a combination of several anxiety disorders and major depression) until I recognized that my mental illness, though not defining, is part of who I am. By running away, I was essentially hiding from an important part of my self that, though difficult, is beautiful. Yes mental illness is hard but it has made me who I am today and I am starting to really love that person. Your series inspired me to write about my own experience of self-discovery through mental illness and really owning my mental illness. It's hard! It's emotional! But it's been rewarding.

    2) One part of mental illness that I really struggled with is hating myself. I am finally coming out of a very dark and prolonged episode in which I literally could not look in the mirror because of the disgust I felt for the person looking back. I would like to thank this series for helping me out of that hole and on to solid ground.

    3) On relationships, my husband and I both have severe mental illness (again, a combination of anxiety and depression). While this might seem a difficult match, it has worked well for us. For one thing, we understand exactly what is going on when one of us has an episode or long string of episodes. For example, I have had moments of hatred for my husband - built out of the mental illness and the disgust for myself - that he not only understood but loved me through. Luckily, I got the help I needed during those times before something terrible happened. As for my husband, I have helped him through a few suicide attempts. It is not easy but we are very close because of our shared experiences and understanding.

    4) One final note, someone (Jenne?) mentioned the need for a discussion board/forum on depression. Any ideas how to start this? I would be willing to start one if any of you could give me ideas.

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences here, it helped me understand myself better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amber, thank you for sharing these thoughts. I really appreciate your words about self loathing/hatred. This is something that I think we've all dealt with in long, dark times.

      Suicide is another topic that would be good to discuss. I'm glad you brought it up. I remember reading a quote that said, "Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain."

      Delete
    2. Hi Amber. Are you thinking of creating an online community for LDS women experiencing depression? What an amazing resource that would be. LDS WAVE would be happy to assist and support you in getting that started.
      The Crunchy Mormon Forum has a subforum for depression and mental health issues which is an existing smallish community of natural minded women (and a few men). The URL is: http://yourmon.org/tcfm/index.php

      I did a search and found that there are existing non-LDS online communities for depression, including an online community for postpartum mood disorders. Check out:
      www.depression-understood.org/
      www.depressiontribe.com/

      Like I said if you are looking for something more specific, please feel free to contact me at service@ldswave.org to get an LDS online community for depression.

      Delete
    3. Amber, I'm so glad my experience helped you in your journey. Opening to the darkness and learning to see the beauty was really vital to me too. And the self disgust you talked about is something I still struggle with as well. The path to balance is so difficult sometimes, I'm glad we're finding ways to be there for each other.

      Delete
  9. First of all I just want to tell you how much I LOVE the artwork associated with these podcasts! And I want to thank you for this much needed discussion! The most profound part for me was the part about how sometimes we just need someone to mourn with us...to give us a hug and BE there. I crave that - just someone to love and sit quietly with me and be there. I resolved to be that for others after hearing this podcast!

    When I was younger a YW leader called depression a "get-my-way" behavior. Basically she was saying depression is not real and that people use it to manipulate others and get them to pay attention. That affected me so badly because I had depression and still do and those words still make me feel like an awful manipulative person.

    Thank you for all the words of advice and encouragement in this podcast! Very helpful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for loving the artwork! I spent a while trying to find just the right images.

      I think our hearts all crave (such a perfect word you chose) someone to mourn with us. Usually people want to fix us instead. But just that quiet empathy and tenderness ... it can change things so much.

      As I read what you said about your YW leader, I remembered how one of my grandmothers had a way of making me feel like any of my "dark emotions" were just me trying to manipulate others. I got this message from several other people as well. It took me a long time to break through those layers and be able to really feel again.

      We are NOT awful and manipulative. Not all all. In fact, I think we're honest instead. Thank you for this comment, Michelliebean.

      Delete
    2. I'm sorry you had that experience, Michelliebean. It can be so hurtful when people who are supposed to help and inspire us instead dismiss our very real concerns. And I completely understand the craving for simple acceptance and empathy. It is what I value the very most about my relationship. My partner doesn't try to fix me or fix the things I struggle with, though he does provide advice and suggestions when I ask and when it's appropriate. He's very good at simply loving me and mourning with me when I need that. I hope you find that in your friendships and relationships. One of the things I love the most about the "On Being" podcast ("The Soul in Depression"; linked above) is a story one of the interviewees tells about a time of deep depression when one of his congregation members would come and sit with him quietly and wash his feet and simply feel what he felt. There is incredible power in such sharing of pain. It is what Jesus did, after all. He felt our pain and anger and struggles and sadness and simply accepted them as his own burden, too. It's one of the things I love the most about the Jesus story.

      Delete