‘We Are Meant to Heal in a Community’ by Douglas Bloch

One of the key messages that I have been putting out over the years that I have worked in the recovery/healing field is  about the importance of community. Here is an excellent article from Douglas Bloch—author, mental health educator and a depression survivor—about the healing power of community which he published in 2013 on the Mad in America website. I first highlighted this blog on Recovery Stories in early 2014.

‘“Anything that promotes a sense of isolation often leads to illness and suffering, while that which promotes a sense of  love and intimacy, connection and community, is healing.” Dean Ornish

In my last blog, I talked about how I was attempting to cope with a “mini-relapse” without using psychiatric drugs. One Sunday morning in the midst of this episode I awoke in a particularly dismal state. I didn’t have a structure planned for the day. And without something to look forward to, both my anxiety and depression increased.

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‘Lost Connections’ by Johann Hari, Part 2

In my last blog, I described Johann Hari’s enthralling and inspirational book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions. This has to be one of the most important books I have read in the mental health field since I first started working in this arena over 40 years ago.

Johann asks himself, given all his new knowledge garnered during his research for the book, what he would say to his teenage self just before he popped his first antidepressant drug—he took the drugs for 13 years—if he could go back in time.

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‘Lost Connections’ by Johann Hari

One of the most interesting books I have read on mental health is Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari. Johann points out that depression is NOT caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, as is argued by drug companies and many biologically-oriented psychiatrists and  doctors.

Moreover, there is little, if any, scientific evidence that ‘antidepressants’ alleviate depression. [Some credible scientists suggest they give a temporary relief to a minority of users.] Johann talks about social factors that cause depression and considers new socially-related ways of alleviating the problem.

Johann describes seven forms of disconnection that cause depression:

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Can a Cambodian Cow Facilitate Healing?

One of the best book I have read on mental health has to be Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari. I can strongly recommend the book, which focuses on a ‘radical’—and very sensible way—of viewing depression and overcoming the problem.

Depression is NOT caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, as is argued by drug companies and many biologically-oriented psychiatrists and large numbers of doctors. Moreover, there is little, if any, ‘genuine’ scientific evidence that ‘antidepressants’ alleviate depression. Johann Hari talks about social factors that cause depression and considers new socially-related ways of alleviating the problem. I will be talking about the book more in a future blog.

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‘Neutralising Suffering: How the Medicalisation of Distress Obliterates Meaning and Creates Profit’ by Joanna Moncrieff

jmoncrieffThere is so much great content on Mad in America. Here’s an excellent article from British psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff, one I wholeheartedly endorse. On the one hand, society discourages people from taking psychoactive drugs, and even prosecutes them for doing so, whilst on the other hand it encourages people to take psychoactive (prescription) drugs. Sometimes, they are the same drugs or very similar-acting.

‘People have used psychoactive substances to dull and deaden pain, misery and suffering since time immemorial, but only recently, in the last few decades, have people been persuaded that what they are doing in this situation is rightly thought of as taking a remedy for an underlying disease.

The spread of the use of prescription drugs has gone hand in hand with the increasing medicalization of everyday life, and a corresponding loss of the previous relationship that people had with psychoactive substances.

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This could be why you’re depressed or anxious | Johann Hari

In a moving talk, journalist Johann Hari shares fresh insights on the causes of depression and anxiety from experts around the world — as well as some exciting emerging solutions. “If you’re depressed or anxious, you’re not weak and you’re not crazy — you’re a human being with unmet needs,” Hari says. TED. [20’31”]

Johann Hari on uncovering the real causes of depression, from his new book

Benjamin Ramm talks to Johann Hari about depression and its unexpected solutions. openDemocracy. [24’34”]

Climbing Out of Addiction and Depression: Margo Talbot at TEDxCanmore

Great talk and pics and one hell of a recovery! I first posted this film in July 2014.

‘Current research suggests that addiction and depression are symptoms of emotional distress, not causes of it, forging the link between childhood trauma and mental illness. Margo Talbot’s journey supports these studies.

Diagnosed Bi Polar at age twenty-two, Margo spent the next fifteen years in suicidal depression before discovering the healing power of presence as the antidote to emotional trauma. Being present to our thoughts and emotions, not running the other way or masking them. Where best to practice the art of presence than the frozen world of ice climbing…

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‘Is Depression Who I Am or What I Have?’ by Douglas Bloch

In this video, author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about separating your feelings about being depressed from your sense of self worth.

‘7 Steps to Creating a Healing Affirmation’ by Douglas Bloch

Depression counselor and survivor Douglas Bloch talks about seven steps you can follow to create your own healing affirmation. Douglas’s Healing channel on Youtube is an excellent resource.

“Transcend Depression Through Serving Others” by Douglas Bloch

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Douglas Bloch’s YouTube channel on healing depression is an excellent self-care resource, as are his website and book Healing Depression.

‘In this video, author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about how giving of your time to help others can draw you out of depression and transcend the “prison of self.”‘

‘The Importance of Hope in Healing From Depression’ by Douglas Bloch

In this video, author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about how hope can be your best ally when recovering from depression. Please check out Douglas’s website and book on healing from depression, which are top-quality resources.

Guest Blog – ‘A Deeper Well: Art Therapy and Depression’ by Karen Adler

05072011133“Someone once asked me, ‘Why do you always insist on taking the hard road?’

I replied, ‘Why do you assume I see two roads?’” Author unknown.

The above quote sounds all very Alice-in-Wonderland’ish but it was taken from a website entitled ‘Depression, Suicide & Self-Injury Quotes’. And it startled me out of an assumption I have long held to be the truth.

The basic assumption is that the person who continues to choose the hard road through life actually sees an alternative – that there are two roads, not just one.

In relation to depression or any maladaptive behaviour which continues to hold sway over a person’s life long past the time when that behaviour had value and relevance, I have come to believe there is choice involved.

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‘Three Things You Should Know about the Suicidal Mind’ by Douglas Bloch

I love this excellent video. Please share.

Author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch shares what factors make people suicidal and how to find a way to hope and recovery. More information.

‘How Depression Can Bring Blessings in Disguise’ by Douglas Bloch

In this video. author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about how depression and anxiety can bring unexpected blessings in their wake.

‘Am I Having a Breakdown or a Breakthrough?’ by Douglas Bloch

A new video is out from Douglas Bloch who I’ve blogged about a number of times on this website. This video is very interesting. I agree with what Douglas says. This is such an important message… and gives people extra hope.

‘In this video, author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about how depressive breakdowns can be seen as rites of passage that lead to a breakthrough and a new birth.’

“The depth of darkness to which you can descend and still live is an exact measure of the height to which you can aspire to reach.” Laurens van der Post

‘My Story: How I Was Healed From Depression’ by Douglas Bloch

It was great to recently hear from Douglas Bloch who asked if I might include his Story as posted on his website. Great idea, Douglas!

‘In his book, Prayer is Good Medicine, physician and researcher Larry Dossey maintains that praying for oneself or others can make a scientifically measurable difference in recovering from illness or trauma. It is one thing to understand such a healing intellectually; it is another to know it from experience.

Such an experience came to me in the fall of 1996 when a painful divorce, a bad case of writer’s block, and an adverse reaction to an antidepressant medication plummeted me into a major depressive episode.

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‘Back in the Dark House Again: The Recurrent Nature of Clinical Depression’ by Douglas Bloch

dblochOne my favourite bloggers is in a dark place at the moment. He’s had the courage to write about it on Mad In America and what he has to say will help other people. My thoughts are with Doug, a truly caring and inspirational person.

“There is not one of us in whom a devil does not dwell.
At some time, at some point, that devil masters each of us.
It is not having been in the dark house,
but having left it, that counts.” Teddy Roosevelt

Eighteen years ago, in the fall of 1996, I plunged into a major depression that almost killed me. On the evening of my admittance to a psychiatric hospital I saw the above quote from a documentary on Teddy Roosevelt. For the next ten months, it informed my experience, as I did everything I could to leave the dark house I was in.

Eventually, I was healed without medication and wrote about my experience in my memoir, When Going Through Hell…Don’t Stop: A Survivor’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety and Clinical Depression.

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‘There’s Nothing Selfish About Suicide’ by Katie Hurley

Robin Williams‘I am a survivor of suicide.

I don’t talk about it a lot these days, as I’ve reached the point where it feels like a lifetime ago. Healing was a long and grief-stricken process. There were times when I felt very alone in my grief and there were times when I felt lost and confused.

The trouble with suicide is that no one knows what to say. No one knows how to react. So they smile and wave and attempt distraction… but they never ever say the word. The survivors, it seems, are often left to survive on their own.

I experienced endless waves of emotion in the days, weeks, months and even years following the loss of my father. The “what ifs” kept me up at night, causing me to float through each day in a state of perpetual exhaustion. What if I had answered the phone that night? Would the sound of my voice have changed his mind? Would he have done it at a later date, anyway? Survivor’s guilt, indeed.

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Caring Genius: Robin Williams

10373822_745460812179402_1533181977224733816_n“Robin Williams, the most astonishingly funny, brilliant, profound and silly miracle of mind and spirit, has left the planet.

He was a giant heart, a fireball friend, a wondrous gift from the gods. Now the selfish bastards have taken him back. Fuck ’em!'”  Terry Gilliam

Unknown-2“His kindness and generosity is what I think of. How kind he was to anyone who wanted to connect with him. And he could not help but be funny all the time. He would do something as long as it would keep you laughing,”   Ben Stiller