Depression Is All In Your Head – A Reflection On The Suicide Of Robin Williams


Robin Williams was born just two years after my father. My father grew up in a generation when the words “mental health” held an incredible amount of stigma, even more so than today. Mental illness was largely feared and misunderstood.

Crazy. Demented. Unstable. Nervous. Dangerous.

In my father’s generation, these, among other descriptions were often used in tandem in conversations regarding the mentally ill.

For as long as I can remember, my own aunt, my father’s sister had suffered from varying degrees of mental illness. She suffered extreme anxiety that was compounded after the tragic death of two of her children. My family often referred to her as “frail” and “sickly”.

Over the years I was growing up, I remembered seeing her at family holidays and functions. She was often seemingly intoxicated and impaired, under the influence of various medications.

She suffered. For years and years. And even though my family never really talked about it, we all noticed. We all knew. She was unstable. Unwell. Abnormal. She passed away several years ago from medical complications.

Many years after she passed away, my mother shared stories of my aunt’s extensive battle with anxiety and depression. Doctors exhausted extreme measures to treat my aunt’s mental illness. She was institutionalized and heavily sedated after she was released. At one point,  she was administered electroconvulsive treatment, otherwise known as electroshock therapy in which electrical current is passed through her brain to intentionally cause a seizure. This procedure was used because all other methods of treating her depression had been unsuccessful. I try to picture this in my mind, my aunt strapped down on a bed, rubber paddle in her mouth to prevent her from biting her own tongue off. The procedure is reportedly safer and less cruel today than it was in the 1940's and 1950's. However, the very thought of it invoke images from One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.

For the past six years, I myself, have struggled with bouts of depression off and on. I have always been prone to anxiety, however I had never struggled with depression until my mid-thirties. The onset of my depression seemed to begin sometime after my husband accepted a job in another state and we uprooted and relocated our family hours and hours from home. Shortly after, I gave birth to my second child and struggled with postpartum depression even more so than after the birth of my first child. Following later, I miscarried our third child. This time, the symptoms of depression lingered on.

I look back at that span of time now, after treatment and medication. It felt as if a heavy shroud of gray was weighing on me. I was not my usual optimistic, cheerful self. I struggled every day to get out of bed and go through the motions for the day. The very thought of daily life was overwhelming. Life just took too much energy and I simply wanted relief from the feelings of suffocation and darkness.

I began seeing a therapist. After several trials of medication, we found one that helped me. You should know that I am not in any way, suggesting that all treatments will work for all people. I can only tell you what helped me.

My father grew up in a generation when you didn’t talk about many things. You held it in. “Toughed it out.” You pulled yourself up by the bootstraps and kicked your problems in the ass. “Pills only mask the problem,” they would say.

Through the course of my therapy sessions, I worked through many of the unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that were contributing to my poor mental health. I began to recognize patterns of untreated mental illness in family members on both sides of my family. No one ever talked about it. And they rarely, if ever sought treatment.

Slowly, I began to confide in my parents about my suffering. I wanted to share my journey to help them understand and support me. There is no shame in suffering from depression and I had absolutely no reason to hide it and I wanted to combat the stigma of it head on. I was completely open about my medication and therapy.

My father is a survivor of a devastating accident that left him handicapped. He rarely talks about his pain or mental state. His mantra for as long as I can remember is that “mind over matter” will triumph. “It could almost always be worse,” he would say. Only I simply did not have that control over my own sadness.  

One day, we were having a related discussion. And he said this to me.
“You know, depression is all in your head,” as if to say I could simply flip a switch and feel well again. I was speechless.

And now today, we mourn the loss of one of the world’s finest artists, comics, and gentle human being. Whether or not Robin Williams succumbed to the smothering feelings depression can bring about and therefore chose suicide as a means of relief, we can never know. 

One thing I do know is this. Depression is an illness of the brain. So when my father said to me, “Depression is all in your head,” he was absolutely, one hundred percent correct. 

Yes. Yes, it is.



Real Activists Wear Pleather

Conversation between my sister and me:

My sister: Guess what? I have a writing gig for the “XYZ” political organization this week.

Me: Whoa. That’s crazy! I can’t wait to hear about it!

Her: Well, I can’t tell you anymore because it’s classified.

Me: What do you mean, it's classified???

Her: I had to take an oath. 

Me: Really??? So tell me more!

Her: And just for the record, it is not a protest.

Me: Ooooh! Are you going to chain yourself to something? Because if you’re going to chain yourself to something, I totally want pictures for my blog before they arrest you.

Her: No… I am NOT chaining myself to anything. It’s not anything like that.

Me: So then, you’re going to climb up a tree and live there for a month? Do you know some people stay up in trees for months!?! They even have people send up food with a make-shift Dumb Waiter. Do you know how they go to the bathroom??? I bet you wouldn’t sleep very well though. Because you’d be worried you might fall out if you got too comfortable. I suppose you could always tie yourself to the tree at night. Only that would be kind of tricky getting out the next day. You should probably take a buddy up with you. You know, so you could each take shifts tying each other up to sleep.  I would totally offer to do it, only I have a dentist appointment tomorrow.

Her: I am NOT climbing up a tree either.

Me: By the way, they don’t even call them protesters any more. They call them “activists.” Only not unless you chain yourself to something or climb a tree or wear pleather. So anyway, can I get pictures?



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I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it if you did!

Sponsored Post - Save On Personalized Music C.D.s For Kids

I get a lot of requests from people asking me to help advertise and spread the word for their products. I try to keep them to a minimum so my readers don't get annoyed. Last week, Jessica asked me to help share her business with you. The idea of songs with my children's names in it is cute and I'm always looking for something new and different for gift ideas. Please help share this post and slap the like button on Jessica's page. As a mom and entrepreneur who's trying to balance life, family, and budgets myself, I can appreciate her efforts. I hope you do too!  
xoxoxo Lucy

Sponsored Post: 


Hello everyone, my name is Jessica. I’m a mom of two beautiful little girls (3 months and almost 3 years old) who make me smile every day. I have a wonderful husband and spirited little dachshund too. I have a full time job in the Creative field and love to be busy. The last few years I have created my own products to sell in the hopes that I could make some extra money on the side with the ultimate dream of creating a hit product for “Shark Tank”. 

Since that hasn’t happened yet (and might never happen) I moved on to selling a product that I purchased for my oldest daughter: personalized kid’s music CDs. She loves hearing hear name sung over and over again in her Disney Princess Tea Party CD: http://tinytikescorner.com/princess-tea-party-personalized-cd/

About a month ago I opened my online store: http://tinytikescorner.com/ and ventured into social media for the first time too: www.facebook.com/TinyTikesCorner (I didn’t even have a personal page before). So I’m reaching out to you in hopes you can visit my store and Like and Share me on Facebook.

There are many popular characters to choose from that appeals to almost every child: Mickey, the Disney Princesses, VeggieTales, The Wiggles, Elmo and more. 

On each product page you can search for your child’s name and hear a real sample with his/her name in one of the actual songs. It really will make your child smile! 

To celebrate the opening of my store I’d like to give you a Welcome Discount of 15% off (one or even more CDs) until August 18th; use the code Welcome_LucilleFans15

Thank you in advance for reading this post and hopefully at least taking a peek at my site.

Jessica



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Community - The Whole Is Not Merely Equal To The Sum Of Its Parts

I began my blog at least fourteen or more times, because. Self-doubt. It began as a hobby and a source of therapeutic consciousness for me. I'm over on BlogHer today where I wrote about the unwavering support and kindness the blogging community and its readers provide through some of the most painful events. Head over and say hi.

A.D.D. By Proximity - It's A Real Thing

There was SO much to take in over the weekend that it's sort of overwhelming to even attempt a recap of #BlogHer14. Where to start?

First of all, I finally met my sister-wife in the flesh. Molley, A Mother Life and I have been blogger friends for two and a half years. Although, if you ask her she would say eighteen months and you should probably listen to her because I get a little sketchy with details like anniversaries and things like that.

Thursday 3:45 AM

Molley got up VERY early to fly out of New York and meet me in Chicago on Thursday morning. She's smart that way. If I hadn't had her as a chaperon, I might never have made it to San Jose at all.

Thursday 8:36 AM

Molley patiently waited at the airport for me to arrive on my hotel shuttle.



8:45 AM

We enjoyed a quick breakfast at a Wolfgang Puck airport restaurant. It was packed and the service was so-so. I threatened to demand to speak with Mr. Puck, since I was sure he was in the back cooking up eggs and hash. Molley insisted he probably wasn't there. I still don't believe her. I think she just wanted to avoid the entire awkward scene where Mr. Puck was apologizing profusely in front of the entire restaurant for the mistreatment of two, such obvious upper crust patrons.

10:15 AM

We settled in at Gate 17, because our Gate 15 was completely filled with people waiting for the flight just before ours. We chillaxed with our lattes two gates away, chatting and giggling as if we had known each other our entire lives. Suddenly, I thought I heard my name over the speaker. We shrugged it off as one of those silly voices in my head. I wandered around the various haberdasheries looking for water and antacids. I neglected to warm my travel companion about the severity of my travel anxiety.

10:35 AM

A loud and menacing last call comes over the speaker for Molley Mills and Lucy Ball to board the plane immediately! What? We had plenty of time before our flight when we first sat down there. We scurried to the gate, where the American Airlines associate looked less than pleased. Molley asked in her sweetest Aussie accent, "Is the plane about to leave already???" To which the airline associate replied, "We close the doors ten minutes before take-off. It's 10:35. Your flight leaves at 10:45, ma'am."

We scrambled down the ramp to the airplane, completely full and waiting. For Mills and Ball, the last two passengers. Molley and I walked the aisle of shame all the way to the back of the plane to our seats. I'm not sure, but I think most of the passengers were giving us the stink-eye as we passed. We sat down, buckled up, and the doors were closed. The plane promptly taxied and took off. Just like that.

I probably should have warned Molley early on, that people who hang around with me usually contract A.D.D. by proximity.








What Happens At #BlogHer14 Gets Plastered All Over The Internet

To attempt to sum up #BlogHer14 or any BlogHer conference, is sort of like trying to capture the essence of attending Woodstock on the back of a napkin. It's sort of not even possible.

The keynote speakers, Voice Of The Year Speakers, and conference attendees would make the Woodstock lineup pale and probably pass out. Even before they ate the red rope licorice. It was just. That. Profound.



I was thinking it would be awesome if we all linked up our posts summing up the weekend, favorite keynote speakers' posts and sites,VOTY Speakers and honorees, and especially links to your blogs to share.

It would be pretty amazing to see the line-up in the comments. Don't you think?

So, would you drop a link to yours or a favorite #BlogHer14 related post in the comments???

  • #BlogHer14 Recaps
  • Links to VOTY posts and/or blogs
  • Links to Keynote Speakers' posts and/or blogs 
  • YOUR blogs, because WE are what makes BlogHer so amazing! 

P.S. I would have totally made this into a Linky Link Up Thingie, only A.D.D. I'd probably get distracted midway through setting it up and forget to do it for six months. So humor me and we'll do it the old fashioned way.  ;-)

And, don't forget to share this with your friends so they'll come drop a link too!




LOVE, LUCY

XOXOXOX

Wisdom For New Bloggers - Take Care

This is going to be short. To the point. I sort of prefer things that way. Because...A.D.D. Whatever.

If you're relatively new to blogging and wondering who to trust, the answer is sadly...no one. Well, that's not entirely true.

I met SO many amazing writers this weekend at #BlogHer14. And it made me sort of sad. Because, well...I worry for them.

I've been there. I've published that very first post, first word. And it. Was. Terrifying.

Only I grew. I networked. I met the most amazing people ever, on social media. Not all of them were even bloggers!

So I say to you, as you begin your journey as bloggers and freelance writers: Take care. I mean that.

YOU are amazing. You have a voice that needs to be shared! Just take care. Remember, not EVERYONE in the community is out there to encourage and lift you up. MOST of us are, but not all.

Never. Let anyone you meet convince you that what you have to say isn't worthy. Never let them convince you that you should hang it up (blogging). True story.

Never let anyone tell you that what you have to say is anything less than abso-freaking-mazing.

Promise me that. WE all start out the same. Your voice needs to be heard.

Take care. You are AMAZING!

And YOU have a voice. Share that shit!

All. Day. Long.




Come Talk To Me At #Blogher14

I've been out of town for three entire weeks. And off the grid for the most part too, which has given me a great amount of time to reflect. On life, my blog, my writing, my career. And I have SO much to tell you all about. In the mean time, I'm preparing to go to #Blogher14 in CA next week.

I must take extra special care to prepare since I'm going to see +Jenny Lawson there and ask her to sign my boob. It's a tradition. Not with The Bloggess. Yet. But at #blogher.

If you're going next week too, please leave a comment! And your hotel room name and number.
 In case Molley kicks me out and I need another roomie.

I want to meet you ALL in person! 

Come see me and my sister wife, Molley +A Mother Life. K???


I'm Going to BlogHer '14!

As always, feel free to share a link in the comments so my friends and followers can check you out. See you soon!

XOXOXO
Lucy



Dry Needling - Not To Be Confused With Other Dry-Doing Things...

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I won't go into my list of: What to expect when an ass-face driver cuts you off on the highway and you roll your freaking vehicle upside down and nearly kill your children - list. Yet.

I'm saving that one for the book.

What I can tell you is, you can expect many things.

Such as:

You will be violated in every radioactive way known to science in the Western World. And then some.

You will be interrogated as if you were a heartless, witless, dickless, hopeless criminal. Only worse.

You will spend the majority of your day on the phone, much like a secretary. Minus the slutty outfit. Oh, and minus the paycheck too.

You will be subjected to numerous sessions of questioning where you will be asked to rate many things on a scale of 1 to 10...1 being you are only a minor liar - to - 10 meaning you are the biggest mother fucking liar on the face of the earth.

You should note, this has nothing to do with the fact that ALL of the radioactive films you've had taken of your inner-most crevices show that in fact, your neck IS fricking broken.

AND, it turns out once your Oreo Cookie of a cervical disk is "torn," it can't actually grow back together. Ever.

That, plus a "torn" disk tends to put "pressure" on the multitude of nerves in your fucking spinal cord. AND, it fucking hurts.

For those of you who wonder, "How much could a little bone in your neck possibly hurt???" I could ask you, "Have you ever cracked a tooth?"

Right...

So ANY-WHO...

I ended up where I was today. In a spinal and sports rehabilitation center. Because I didn't actually want to have anyone slice through the front of my throat to fuse the disks even though the spinal surgeon promised he could probably hide the incision in the folds of my neck. I wasn't actually sure if I should laugh at that, or be offended. But whatever.




So I ended up at this medical office. And the therapist wasn't even Asian. Although he did offer to use the "cups" if necessary.

Speaking of cups, I had an
awkward moment when he put his pelvis behind mine, bent my arms backward, funky-chicken style while he pulled them backward...

At one point near the end of my "appointment," I wanted to ask him for a cigarette, but I thought that might be moving a little too fast.

He also offered to dry needle my buttocks. Next time. WTF?

All I can tell you for now is, don't Google "dry needling." Whatever you do. Except that now that I said that, I'm sure you most certainly will. It's your choice.

I'll meet you back here soon to give you the details of the next procedure. I'm pretty sure my insurance company doesn't cover it. Just saying.
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