Helpful Links

Blue and Droopy and Still BeautifulI recently found a treasure trove of useful links about depression on Reddit.

I was thrilled to see a lecture on depression by Robert Sapolsky, the author of one of the books in the “Books To Chill To” post. The lecture is almost an hour long, but he does a fantastic job of laying out the case for depression as a serious biological condition, and describes the biology and psychology of depression in a compelling and approachable way. I found this video very validating. I think it’ll be helpful not only for friends and family who are trying to understand what their loved one is going through, but also for people in the midst of the shitstorm who doubt the credibility of their own experience and symptoms.

Wing of Madness Depression Guide is an almost twenty year old blog on depression. It’s not overly technical, but it is well researched and the tone is somewhat formal. I love that it has a Start Here post that walks the reader through a context for depression, understanding a diagnosis, and tips on seeking treatment. There are also TONS of links to articles, curated for sufferers as opposed to mental health professionals.

I really like this article from the New York Times. It argues that trying to find an up-side to depression is to minimize the seriousness of the disease. I completely agree.

Healthy Place: America’s Mental Health Channel is more formal than Wing of Madness. If you’re looking for good information about types of depression, symptoms, etc., this is a great, centralized collection of information. They have a mood journal app that I haven’t checked out yet but that looks good. Anything that makes tracking your mood less maddening gets an A+ in my book.

More to come.


Photo by Dominic Alves on Flickr


Hey Guys,

On Saturday we surpassed 1,000 views of this blog. Can you believe it? We’ve had ten times the number of visitors in April (495) than we had in March (44), and it’s only the 22nd!

Most of the learning shared in this blog comes from conversations with family and friends about depression and joy and struggle. Conversations I rarely had before I was diagnosed.  Conversations that would have been so helpful years ago.

Mmmm. Conversation.

Mmmm. Conversation.

I’d like to celebrate this milestone by sparking a conversation. Or two.

Have a friend who needs a break? Recommend one of the books from “Books to Chill To.”

Know someone who’s suffering more than they let on? Send them the “Asking for Help” series and offer to set up a calendar. Or send them the “Reactions To Depression” post and tell them that you won’t always get it right, but that you want to listen.

Share your favorite post on facebook or twitter. Announce yourself as an ally to those who struggle with mental illness, or re-read the posts on treatment and make that call.

Whether you’re someone who’s feeling low or someone who loves one – basically if you’re a person – I thank you so much for your interest. Please email me at with comments, feedback, and suggestions. Tell me about a conversation sparked and make my month.

Defender of the Sentence Fragment, Believer in the Oxford Comma, and Friend to the Feeling-Low,



Photo by Ulisted Sightings on Flickr

A Learning Menu

I found researching depression frustrating enough to just stop. But if I’m not learning about something that affects my life this much, then I’m feeling powerless to do much about it. Besides, thousands of people have spent their lives trying to ease this type of pain – I’d hate to skip their findings just because they’re hard to wade through.

I do most of my reading in a miniskirt in a meadow.

I do most of my reading in a miniskirt in a meadow while working out my core.

So I was really encouraged when a friend sent a reading list of interesting articles. Some had me nodding my head, others made me skeptical. They all made me think critically about depression – not monolithic, not all powerful, not murky with mystery. Rather, depression as a cause of suffering like so many others – a cause that dedicated people are trying to understand, a suffering that thoughtful people are trying to ease.

“How the Power of Positive Thinking Won Scientific Credibility” An article on the consequences of “dispositional optimism.” I was especially pleased to read the interviewee’s concern that patients can feel guilty for not feeling optimistic, and relieved to read his stance that disposition is most often not a decision.

“In Therapy Forever? Enough Already” This New York Times article questions the common belief that therapy can and should should take years to work.

The Sidewalk Psychiatrist A blog by a practicing psychiatrist with a casual tone. I’m still digging in, but I think it’s a source of practical perspective from an expert on depression and an expert on the ecosystem of treatment (what are the controversies in the field right now? etc.). He recommends a short book called The Do-It-Yourself Guide To Fighting The Big Motherfuckin’ Sad by Adam Gnade, which I ordered immediately.

Have You Seen a Therapist Yourself?” A thoughtful article on how we think of mental illness and the therapist-patient relationship.

How Mindfulness Reduces Vulnerability to Depression” This article introduces a very helpful term I’d never heard before: Cognitive Reactivity – the degree to which mild negative moods can result in patterns of thinking which lead to depression. Very cool.

Have recommendations? Click through to leave a comment or email me at depressionwhoneedsit at gmail dot com.

Movies and TV To Chill To

When I’m feeling my worst, gruesome murder mysteries seem to multiply in my Netflix suggestions. Friends seem to be just discovering shows like Dexter and movies like Beaches. Seemingly innocuous little indie films take a left turn three quarters of the way through and are suddenly about the molestation of children.

I can’t handle it. Or, rather – I shouldn’t. Real life is hard enough right now. And you know what? I’m done feeling lame about that. While those shows and movies might be fantastically good, they’re not for me. Not right now.

We don’t have to suffer through media that makes us feel tense. There’s plenty of stuff out there that’ll help you relax, stuff that’ll make you laugh. Here are some suggestions. – Not only do you get tons of free, entertaining, and educational material, you get a chance to support independent content makers.

I Am – An uplifting search for meaning by the director of Ace Ventura and other hit comedies. Available on Netflix.

HitRecord – The first episode focuses on the number one, with themes of interconnectedness and companionship. I’m a sucker for the song at the end. Available on YouTube.

Amelie – The ONLY bad thing about this movie is that it’s hard to fall asleep to because it’s in French and you won’t want to close your eyes. And the soundtrack is what we should all be waking up to every day. Fantastic. Available on Netflix.

Roman Holiday – One of those rare romantic comedies that doesn’t make you feel like shit for being a woman.

Defending Your Life – A strange little comedy from 1991 in which Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks must prove that they lived their lives courageously in order to stay in heaven.

Alaska: The Last Frontier – This is just a little reality show about a family that’s lived on an Alaskan homestead for four generations. Not a lot of drama, just people fixing machines, herding cows, and hunting and fishing. Available on Netflix

Angel’s Share – Though the whole thing’s in English, you might need subtitles for this one. A Scottish ne’er-do-well tries to escape the slums with his girlfriend and his new son. Scotch enthusiasts will enjoy the distillery tours. Available on Netflix

(SPOILER ALERT: This movie did make me pretty tense because it’s not at all clear that the likable main character is going to make it through. Spoiler, he does.)

Other ideas: The Muppet Movie, 30 Rock (Netflix), The Cosby Show, Reading Rainbow, The Joy of Painting (clips and some full episodes on YouTube), Everybody Hates Chris, Myth Busters (Netflix), Antiques Roadshow (YouTube and Netflix), Between Two Ferns.

Suggestions? Know where I can watch or rent any of the above? Leave a comment below or email me at