Making Your Home More Welcoming for the Winter

I’ve written about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is triggered by different seasons. A small amount of people are affected by the late spring and summer, but many more are laid low by winter. What if, however, you don’t have SAD per se, but are someone with depression whose depression is exacerbated by the fall and winter darkness? Granted, when you have depression you’re frequently unaware of the weather. The most brilliantly sunny day with soft breezes can leave you cold.

But the increase in hours of night that comes with fall and winter is another matter. The lack of light, the absence of color from foliage (if you live in a region where all the vegetation dies or hibernates in the winter) makes your life more emotionally colorless somehow. Since there’s nothing you can do about changing the world outside, you might want to concentrate your energy on making your home more welcoming. Continue reading

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What to Do During the Last Two Weeks You’re Waiting for Your Antidepressant to Kick In

Image: Villa Falconieri by John Singer Sargent

Villa Falconieri by John Singer Sargent

If it can be said that there is anything good about depression, this is when you’ll see it. Assuming that you are feeling much better than you did a month ago (and if you’re not, please read A Note about Antidepressant Treatment), you may feel almost as if you’ve been reborn. After having been deprived of the ability to enjoy everything your life has to offer, you’ll notice that colors are brighter, sounds are sweeter, smells and tastes have more depth. Having had a lack of interest in things you normally enjoyed before being depressed, you may find, as I did, that you are all of a sudden interested in everything, even things you never thought about before. Continue reading

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What to Do During the First Two Weeks You’re Waiting for Your Antidepressants to Kick In

Image: My Room at Beau Rivage by Henri Matisse

My Room at Beau Rivage by Henri Matisse

The key words here are indulge yourself. Listen, you’re having enough trouble getting out of bed every day and going to work or school. You don’t need to push yourself. Think of yourself as an invalid recuperating from a very debilitating illness. You have to pamper yourself, body and spirit. This page is therefore all about “cocooning”, that is, wrapping yourself up in layers of comfort to protect yourself. Continue reading

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Never, Ever Make a Major Life Change if You are Depressed

So let’s say that you’re dissatisfied with something about your life, and you’re thinking of making a big change. Your job isn’t satisfying, your marriage or relationship isn’t working out or maybe you don’t like where you live. You’re pretty sure there’s something better waiting for you if you change your circumstances.

If you’re feeling this way, stop! Don’t do it until you read this.

Is there any chance that you’re clinically depressed? The reason I’m asking is that one of the most useful guidelines about living through depression that I can give is this: Never, ever make a major life decision while you’re depressed. Continue reading

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What’s wrong with calling depression “madness”?

“Our perhaps understandable modern need to dull the sawtooth edges of so many of the afflictions we are heir to has led us to banish the harsh old-fashioned words: madhouse, asylum, insanity, melancholia, lunatic, madness. But never let it be doubted that depression in its extreme form is madness.” – William Styron, Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

Boreas by John William Waterhouse

Boreas by John William Waterhouse

What is wrong with using the word “madness” in relation to depression? I ask because over the years I have received several indignant emails from people insisting that I stop using the word in the title of this website. According to them, I’m adding to the stigma surrounding mental illness and am being politically incorrect to the extreme. Continue reading

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