Andrew Solomon on Depression

As many of you know, a while back I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, a nasty mess I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  It’s a very scary and unbelievably alienating disease that affects nearly 10% of the adult American population.  Yet, even with such prevalence, it’s hard to talk about.  Really hard.

People have so many questions and honestly I’ve really struggled to answer.  It’s worse when they try to explain why you shouldn’t be depressed to you.  I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either.

Tonight I watch a TED Talk by Andrew Solomon, and I want very much to share it with you.  If you know someone suffering and want to learn more, or if you are suffering and feel alone, I think watching this is helpful.  While sharing his personal anecdote, he explores the prevalence in different demographics throughout the world, the stories of those he’s met along the way, and the sad truth about the lack of affective treatment.  He miraculously conveys such a sad message with a sprinkle of humor and sincerity that has potential to reach people from any side of the spectrum.

“I found myself losing interest in almost everything. I didn’t want to do any of the things I had previously wanted to do, and I didn’t know why. The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment. Everything there was to do seemed like too much work. I would come home and I would see the red light flashing on my answering machine, and instead of being thrilled to hear from my friends, I would think, “What a lot of people that is to have to call back.” Or I would decide I should have lunch, and then I would think, but I’d have to get the food out and put it on a plate and cut it up and chew it and swallow it, and it felt to me like the Stations of the Cross.”

“And one of the things that often gets lost in discussions of depression is that you know it’s ridiculous. You know it’s ridiculous while you’re experiencing it.”

“You don’t think in depression that you’ve put on a gray veil and are seeing the world through the haze of a bad mood. You think that the veil has been taken away, the veil of happiness, and that now you’re seeing truly.”

My Life Long Bucket List

The trouble is, you think you have time.

Buddha

My life long bucket list, a work in progress…

  • Visit every state in the US
  • Go skydiving
  • Go bungee jumping
  • Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Visit 100 countries
  • See the most famous landmarks across the world
  • Visit all 7 continents
  • Write a book
  • Have lunch with Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson, maybe at the same time
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Be in a movie!
  • Climb a mountain, although preferably not a huge one…
  • Visit the 7 natural world wonders
  • Go white water rafting
  • Go on an African safari
  • Ride in a helicopter
  • Ride a segway
  • Be on Ellen
  • Participate in a game show (Price is Right, Family Feud)
  • Learn to snow ski
  • Become semi-proficient at yoga
  • Open a shelter for older dogs.  I’m really excited about this one.  I want to open a rescue shelter for older dogs that have been up for adoption for awhile.  I want to provide them a more spacey yard area and teach them basic commands and find them good families!
  • Learn to play guitar
  • Attend a masquerade ball
  • Have my photography published
  • Learn to surf
  • Pet a koala
  • Participate in a protest
  • Foster a child
  • Experience no gravity
  • Leave a server a $100 tip
  • Stand on the equator
  • Go off-roading
  • Go on a trapeze
  • Do Tough Mudder maybe
  • Go to one of those indoor trampoline places
  • Visit the Amazon Rainforest
  • Take my mom to the Rose Parade
  • Learn to bartend
  • Learn to ride a bike…again
  • See the northern lights
  • Go to a Superbowl, preferably when the Cowboys win
  • Be on the Kiss Cam when I have someone to kiss
  • Make someone’s life better
  • Make the world better

I think that chasing dreams is so important, but I think that acknowledging the ones you’ve reached is equally as wonderful. The list below are things that would be on the list above, but I have already done, although I would love to do them again!

  • Fly a plane (I was 6, but I did it by myself, really)
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Stay in a castle
  • See the Eiffel Tower
  • Meet someone famous (Willie Nelson, Alice Cooper)
  • Fall in love
  • Ride in a gondola in Venice
  • Put a lock on the Pont des Arts
  • Parasail
  • Ride a jetski
  • Get a tattoo
  • Learn to play piano
  • Make a wish in the Trevi Fountain (sorta, there wasn’t any water in it…)
  • Donate blood (passed out cold)
  • Ride on a motorcycle
  • Go zip-lining
  • Go to the Sistine Chapel
  • See the Pope
  • Go topless at a topless beach (sorry parents)
  • Cage dive with sharks
  • Pet penguins
  • Get bitten by a squirrel (not an original contender, but hey, cool nonetheless)
  • See a whale in the wild
  • Go cliff jumping
  • Start my own blog

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.

Michael Altshuler

Charlie: The Lesson Behind My Obsession

In January of 2014 I was formally diagnosed with both severe depression and severe anxiety.  Informally, I’d been suffering for years.  After weeks of stress and tears, I decided that taking a semester off was the best option for me.

Fast forward.  It’s April 29th.  For the most part, I’m doing a lot better.  I still have bad days but they are far less dramatic.  My parents leave for Jamaica early the next morning.  My dog isn’t feeling too well, and not wanting to make me deal with it, my mom runs her to the vet to get her some medicine.  The tests are bad though, she has cancer.  At 12 years old there isn’t much they can do for her.  The unexpected news knocked the wind out of me. Continue reading

Obsessed With Fall

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Current Events in Education

I believe that every school should add a current events class to their curriculum, beginning in Kindergarten and lasting through Senior year.  We prioritize that our children study historical literature and ancient societies, but we rarely encourage them to learn about the present.  We need to show them how history too often repeats itself, not just keep repeating that sentence.  We need to expand their minds to the good and the bad happening across the world.  We need to teach them the importance of being involved.  We need to start them out young so that being aware of current events is a habit.  Too many young people are growing up in a sheltered bubble, not realizing what is happening in politics, the environment, and social societies across the world.  We need to teach them to look at these events, create opinions and ideas, and make a difference.  We need to change this.

Pick Your Men Like You Pick Your Outfit

One of my very favorite bloggers (seriously go check her out, she’s great) tweeted this quote earlier.

In a closet full of clothes, you say you have nothing to wear. Be that selective in a room full of men.

I’m not sure where she got it, but no matter.  It’s brilliant.  It’s perfect.  There are so many amazing girls out there, and I just want to explain this to you. Continue reading

Dear Senator Inhofe

Dear Senator Inhofe,

I am writing you this letter to explain to you my furious discontent with your views on the environment, and the unacceptable position we are likely to give you.  It is my opinion that you in no way belong as the Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which you will most likely obtain. Continue reading

No Learning on Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday

It’s a phrase often thrown around ironically by students who spend their Sundays cramming in as much homework and studying as possible. Large coffees, a line at the library when the doors unlock, stacks of homework and textbooks and notes.  A day dedicated to education. Continue reading

Just Another Porn Opinion

After seeing a comment analyzing Jennifer Lawrence’s statement regarding the nude picture fiasco, in which she said “either your boyfriend is going to look at porn, or he’s going to look at you,” I began considering the fairness of her statement.

Man or woman, for or against, you probably already have a strong opinion on porn.  I’m not likely going to change that, and I’m honestly not trying to.  Here’s an outside opinion for those of you who may be curious. Continue reading

United States Population Control

Okay, maybe that’s a harsh title.  So I want you to keep an open mind while reading this, no matter what your stance is on the position.

This all started in my mind about eight months ago.  I was working as a server in a local restaurant, surrounded by students working their way through school, and parents struggling to make ends meet.  I’ve never met so many dedicated and hard-working people.  But a new girl started.  She was 20 and had just had a new baby.  Continue reading