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Blair Casey

Health & Nutrition/ Mental Health & Wellness

VIDEO | Kristen Bell Talks Anxiety & Depression

Kristen Bell opens up about her history with anxiety and depression as well as the double standards those with the condition face.

“If you do decide to go on a prescription to help yourself, understand that the world wants to shame you for that, but in the medical community, you would never deny a diabetic his insulin. But for some reason when someone needs a serotonin inhibitor, they’re immediately crazy or something. I don’t know it’s a very interesting double standard…”


Published by: The Off Camera Show

Curated by The Tough Cookies Blog & Re-Blogged May, 2016

Health & Nutrition/ Mental Health & Wellness

Living With Depression Pt. 6: Give Back

Depression is an energy-sucking, miserable disease.


Absolutely awful.

And the stigma makes it even harder to deal with.

Like being trapped in a well, if you fall into a depression, you (probably) can’t get out alone. With the stigmas surrounding mental health, it can be hard to take that step, to call out for help. The world seems to push back with a harshly hissed,

“Shhhh! It’s not polite to yell! You got yourself stuck in that well. Leave me alone.”

By the way, if you’re stuck in that well, go ahead and scream your head off. Don’t give up. Your life line is out there. Keep clawing. Keep climbing. Keep moving toward the light.

I’ve talked a lot about the importance of reaching out and seeking hope, but I want to talk about something else today, about what happens once you’ve been hoisted out of the well, when it’s time to rejoin humanity.

How long does it take to readjust to freedom, sunlight and joy?

How long does it take to regain health and proper nutrition?

How long does it take to form relationships?

I honestly don’t know.

After being depressed for so long, I can tell you that happiness sometimes seems too glittering, too bright. I have difficulty trusting my joy. “It can’t last,” my mind whispers. “Happiness cannot be trusted.”

Fear follows me everywhere I go.

Fear of fumbling, offending, failing and hurting.

But like the great Nelson Mandela said,

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

The people in my life, my friends, co-workers and family members, they are the ones who help me triumph over fear. My relationships have given me the perspective and strength I need to face the world with courage, and as my perspective broadens, the greater my gratitude grows.

My pursuit of happiness has been a mixed bag. I’ve tried medication, read books, talked to therapists, watched documentaries — but the single-most life-changing epiphany?

Learning to cultivate gratitude.

Gratitude has set off a chain reaction in my life. Focusing on gratitude on a daily basis inspires me to reciprocate good feelings.  Dwelling on the great people in my life has inspired me to find new ways to show appreciation and love.

Dwelling on fortune, rather than misfortune, has created a stabilizing shift in my perspective and mental health. Finding joy in life inspires me to help others, to positively influence as many people as possible. I’ve found that something as simple as gratitude can be transformational. Shifting focus to appreciate and support others actively counters my mental illness, which tells me I’m worthless and inept.


A Couple of Notes

  1. Living in the shadow of depression can make it difficult to identify the goodness in life. You may not be there yet. That’s OK! Recovering from depression is far more complicated than saying, “Focus on the good in life.” Medication, therapy and support from family and friends have helped me find joy again. I have faith that you can find happiness too.
  2. Push yourself, but don’t overdo it. There’s no need to heap large amounts of pressure on yourself to stop global warming or save the whales. Offer small, immediate donations of your time and talent when it makes sense for you.

For example, I love bringing people together. Parties, dinners, outdoor adventures, group trips, this blog…any opportunity to get people feeling closer and more empowered is my how I hope to make the world a better place.

Why? You never know when someone might need a friend, and the closer we are to one another, the more openly we can share our lives. Sharing our lives makes us a stronger community, and it opens us up to the larger problems of the world.

Join the Conversation

What’s your favorite way to show gratitude?

What do you feel most grateful for in your daily life?



Human Rights

Tough Topic: Yazidi Women Enslaved by ISIS

Last week I stumbled upon a photo/story series called “Escaped” by Seivan Salim. Here is the introduction to the series:

On August 3rd 2014, ISIS insurgents attacked the northern Iraqi city of Sinjar, an area largely populated by the Yazidi, whom the militants view as “devil worshippers.” The militants shot and killed tens of thousands of people and kidnapped over 5,000 women who were sold into sexual slavery.

Photographer Seivan Salim interviewed a handful of Yazidi women who were able to escape. She photographed them wearing traditional white Yazidi wedding dresses, their cultural symbol for purity.

AZHIN, 22. From Kojo, Sinjar. Date of capture August 15, 2014. Held for 11 months

AZHIN, 22. From Kojo, Sinjar. Date of capture August 15, 2014. Held for 11 months

At first we were in prison in Raqqa for fifteen days. They behaved like animals. They traded us like you would with a car. A man from Saudi Arabia bought me and I was taken to a house where two other men lived as well. I begged him to let me be with my sister. He hit me on the head with his pistol until I bled. They didn’t take me to the hospital. Instead they took me back to the prison while I was still unconscious. 

My sister was sold three days later and I was heartbroken. But, we were reunited when I was sold later – along with seven other girls – to the same people. We were kept in a house during the day. Different men would come and pick us up for the night. We stayed like that for five months. There was not enough food and we couldn’t wash. I was sold again. 

This time for two months to a man from Tajikistan. He was later killed fighting, so I was sold again, and then again, but this time I was given as a present. I was forced to have sex up to six times per night. They always fastened my legs and arms when they raped me. 

One time I tried to run away but they caught me again. They didn’t feed me for six days and three times a day they would give me twelve lashes with a cable.I don’t know anything about my mum, dad and brothers. All I know is that my sisters were captured too.

Read more here.

This is only ONE story.

Thousands of Yazidi women remain enslaved by Isis, and as if the militants’ brutal, dehumanizing behavior isn’t bad enough, the perpetrators justify their behavior as God’s will. Here’s what an anonymous writer penned in the Isamic State’s magazine “Dabiq”:

Yazidi women and children [are to be] divided according to the Shariah amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations [in northern Iraq] … Enslaving the families of the kuffar[infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Koran and the narrations of the Prophet … and thereby apostatizing from Islam.


NOTE: This is not a representation of mainstream Islam, but is instead reflection of those who support Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliphate who has control over areas of Syria and Iraq.

So instead of wagging your finger at Islam, put your brain to good use and do some research on human trafficking. You’ll find that there are more slaves today than any other time in human history and that this is NOT an issue bound solely to war or the Middle East. There are millions, that’s right MILLIONS, of people (mostly women and children) being sold into slavery, thousands of whom are from the United States.

“Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, second only to drug trafficking. And while drugs can be sold once, a person can be sold several times a day. It’s a business that brings in an estimated $150 billion every year.”

Targeted for their religious beliefs, the thousands of Yazidi women in captivity not only face the loss of their freedom, but their culture. Visit the websites below to help support the medical and psychological recovery of the Yazidi children and women who have escaped slavery.

The Jiyan Foundation


It’s Christmas Time!!

‘Tis the season to be jolly!

I realize that not everyone celebrates or likes Christmas, and I totally get it. (I’ve worked many a retail holiday. It’s true what they say…what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. )

Yet, I’m still one of those people who LOVES Christmas.

Tonight I’m giving myself a little time off Christmas duty to clear my head and get re-centered. With so much to do, I have trouble giving myself permission to relax. My husband and I have been out of town every weekend to spend time with family and friends. There are so many people who are important to us, and we do our best to let them know how much we love and appreciate them.

I believe in the peace, joy and good will toward man (365 days out of the year), and Christmas is how my religion celebrates that. I really love the peacefulness that surrounds the nativity story — a clear star in the dark sky, a brave pair of parents who are far from home. It is a time of abundant faith and joy, with the most meager and human of backdrops–a manger surrounded by barnyard animals.

I hate the heart-pounding panic of navigating holiday foot traffic in big box stores. (Amazon Prime is my BFF.) I also tend to get REALLY ambitious when it comes to projects, which pushes me to the brink of exhaustion sometimes. And to top it off, I’m a bit mule-headed so when I get my mind behind something, I just keep pushing.

I like to think of Christmas as a type of strength-building season, a time to open my heart a little wider and learn to love a little deeper. I pay special attention to the people who make me better, who challenge me, who bring me to a greater appreciation and gratefulness for life. For our family, it’s about spending time together, drinking wine and laughing until midnight. The joy of life is learning to love one another, and it’s a continuum of experiences. To me Christmas isn’t about the presents. It’s about the presence of love.

We didn’t have much growing up, but I remember our modest Christmases fondly (bonus of divorced parents? 2 Christmases!). I always had warm clothes and a few treats. I was a pretty easy-going kid. For years my greatest hobbies were visiting the libraries for books and writing in my journal. (Ooooh and sneaking on the phone late at night to talk to boys…heehee!) It’s strange how at 30, life already seems so much simpler “back then” — before the Internet, before I was exposed to the great big world.

And the world is ever-more demanding. Email, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat — I have about 67 running tabs with the people and topics I love. I rely on social media to connect me with a greater point of view than I would have on my own. BUT IT CAN BE UBER DISTRACTING, which is why I have to make a conscious effort to say ‘thank you’ to the people I care about. (It takes practice!)

My circle keeps getting bigger and bigger, which means more craftiness is required to give gifts on a budget. Sometimes I feel the Scrooge Syndrome creeping in, but it usually stops when if I take a step back and consider how fortunate I am and how much I could do without.  On a daily basis, living with depression has been largely about finding affirmation of my self-worth.

I grappled with it for a long time.

In the end, I have realized that the one thing I truly want in life is to leave the world a better place, if only in my very small corner of existence. I have found that no matter how tough the times, I could still give back to others. Kind words, patience, tempered judgment, forgiveness — these are the gifts we can give 365 days a year.

Merry Christmas & God Bless!!


Health & Nutrition/ Mental Health & Wellness

Living with Depression, Pt 5: Learn to Ride the Wave

Over time, I’ve learned to endure the onslaught of self-loathing and emptiness that comes with a depressive episode. I’ve learned to brace myself against the waves of fear and sadness as they batter my spirit over and over again. 

I’m glad to be in calmer waters now.

And I’m learning to ride the waves, to keep my head (mostly) above water. You see, I’m not fully healed. I’m still hurting, but I’m healthier and more optimistic than I once was. I’ve found the light at the end of the tunnel, and I want to let you know that YOU HAVE IT INSIDE OF YOU TO BEAT THIS.

Happiness is worth fighting for.

Hope for a better quality of life is worth fighting for.


Dealing with depression and anxiety is no joke, but I want you to know you’re a warrior.

Posted by Chris Crocker on Thursday, January 14, 2016


But to get better, you’re going to need your strength. Recovering and healing from depression is an ongoing process. Depression tests the endurance of the human spirit. You learn to accept the good days and the bad. When I look back to where I was two years ago, I can see how far I’ve come.

What does a “good day” look like?

For me, a good day is being able to sit back, write and listen to music. A GREAT day is one free of worry, with no pressing deadlines or overdue library books looming over my head. Coming out of a major depression, I’m learning to enjoy life’s simple pleasures again.

It might seem like a small victory, but being able to identify a good day vs. a bad day can be a big step toward healing. Once we begin recognizing the symptoms of our mental health, we can start developing strategies to balance our emotions and thoughts.

From there, we can develop healthier habits…which eventually leads to this wonderful conclusion:

“Yay! This crappy feeling isn’t going to last forever!”

But getting to that magical moment takes a LOT of work.

For me, communication is key to managing my mental health. If I’m not talking openly with friends and family, there’s less of a chance I’ll get the help or support I need. The more I talk, the less likely I am to suppress negative emotions or obsess over things I can’t control. My friends and family keep me anchored to the most important things in life. They keep me focused on being my best self, each and every day.

Buuuuut sometimes my best self is a hot mess (and that’s okay).

In addition to panic attacks (which seriously suck), I experience depressive episodes of varying degrees. For most of my life, I didn’t understand what was “wrong” with me. I brushed my malaise aside as a shortcoming I needed to curtail. I thought it was a weakness of character, some sort of dark, self-obsessed neuroticism. I was raised to be a strong woman, so even during the darkest days I would straighten my spine and face the world head on.

“Pull yourself up by the bootstraps, wipe your tears and move the f*ck on,” I kept telling myself. Back then I thought my problems were mine to bear, no one else’s.

But that’s just not true!

What I’ve learned on this journey of healing is that pain and suffering is inherited from generation to generation. We aren’t the only ones who need to heal. Most of our family members could use a little extra love and kindness. When you boil it down to psychology and statistics, we’re all a little bit broken.

The “tough it out” method got me through the short term, but I was never generous enough with myself to find balance. I treated my wounds with scathing self-criticism and blindly pushed myself to move onward and upward, no matter what the cost to my health. When my father died, everything changed. I finally began exploring all of the pain I had been feeling for the past 20 years…but that’s a story for another time.

(Don’t listen to Snarky Wonka. He’s an asshole.)

Seriously, tho…therapy helps.

Talking to a stranger about your deepest emotional issues can be, well…uncomfortable, but therapy has helped me reach a greater level of self-awareness in respect to my illness. I’ve even learned a few “Jedi mind tricks” that have helped me overcome cognitive distortions.


NOTE: Please keep in mind that it may take time to find a therapist who makes you feel comfortable. If you have the luxury to shop around for a mental health provider, take the time to research your options, possibly meeting with more than one therapist until you find the right fit.

In addition to therapy, medication has helped me achieve a more balanced life.

Do meds make you feel like a zombie?

To be honest, I was extremely reluctant about taking medicine for my depression. I witnessed classmates abuse pharmaceuticals like Xanax during college, and I was concerned about feeling drugged or dulled down, especially at work or in the bedroom. It took a while to find the right solution, but no, I don’t feel like a zombie. 

When I finally breached the topic of depression during a visit with my primary care provider (PCP) last year, our conversation went something like this.


ME: I’m feeling tired all of the time, and my body aches.

PCP: There’s really no reason a healthy young woman should feel that way, so we’ll take a blood sample to make sure everything is okay. Otherwise, how healthy would you say your lifestyle is?

ME: I don’t have energy to do very much, so my exercise and eating habits aren’t that great. I’ve actually been feeling stressed and depressed lately.

(After brief discussion)

PCP: Have you considered medication?

ME: (With tears in my eyes) I don’t want to rely on a pill to be happy.

PCP: Millions of people take depression medicine every day.

ME: (Tearful silence)

PCP: Here’s what I would suggest, we’ll start you on (depression meds) and schedule a follow-up in six weeks so you can tell me how the medicine is working. You can also reach out to me between now and then with any questions or needs you may have. I can also recommend a therapist. Would that work for you?

ME: Yes, that sounds good.


It took an enormous amount of strength to discuss my depression with a doctor, but I found just enough support among my family and friends to take that crucial first step toward treatment. Since then I’ve spoken with doctors and therapists who have given me fresh perspective on my health. (Good news! Overall, I’m pretty well-adjusted.)


But I wouldn’t have had the courage to get treatment if I hadn’t spoken up about my condition. (That’s why reaching out is so important.)

Being well-adjusted doesn’t always diminish the effects of PTSD, social anxiety or depression. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to make it through the dark days. For me, staying strong for my family is the greatest reason to keep fighting, but I also realize my condition is medical. Removing guilt from the situation enables me to take the time I need to heal. As an introvert, this means a lot of quiet time. For any extroverts out there, it may mean spending more time with people.

Guidelines for Coping Strategies

  1. Don’t talk down to yourself. Avoid self-pity.
  2. Maintain friendships.
  3. Focus on what you can control.
  4. Go outside.
  5. Seek counseling.
  6. Do what you can, when you can.
  7. Keep doing the things you love.
  8. Work to understand your illness so you can speak confidently about it.
  9. Don’t overdo it. (Don’t spend too many spoons!)
  10. Get the rest you need.
  11. Find a support group.
  12. Allow yourself time to grieve, reflect and feel.
  13. Set priorities.
  14. Learn to adapt.


Happy healing, everyone!


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Words of Wisdom

"George Charles Beresford - Virginia Woolf in 1902" by George Charles Beresford - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

“I will not be ‘famous,’ ‘great.’ I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one’s self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.”

  • Virginia Woolf, A Writer’s Diary
General/ Human Rights/ Inspiration/ Love & Relationships

To All My Soul Sisters

It’s hard to keep up with the boys.

That’s something my sister and I definitely understand. We learned how to shoot guns and hold back our tears. To this very day we’re known to be a bit “wild,” but we’ve  never given much thought to a little eyebrow-raisin’. Some people will just never get who we are. Sometimes we don’t even understand who we are.

The backdrop of our childhood was naturally wild. Acres upon acres of forests, woodlands and fields. And sky. Wide. open. sky. There was a freedom in its openness. We forged our identities in the wooded groves of the Arkansas prairie wetlands. We climbed magnolia and apple trees. We fell out of them. We ran in our backyards, uproarious and joyful, shameless and utterly content.

We were fierce in our happiness, part of a small rural town in Arkansas. Clean-cut around the edges, with adventurous hearts. We had safe neighborhoods to ride bikes in; and we had schools with teachers who cared about us. The fields by the roads flew by in parallel rows, but we grew wild, without the pruning of hollow flattery and polite reserve. Raised by tough men and hard-working women, we were unabashed and independent, innocent and wild.

For all the blessings in my life, the greatest one to date has been sisterhood. My mothers, aunts, sisters, grandmothers and girl friends have given me the chance to express myself free from a bias that infiltrates almost every aspect of our world. Sisterhood promotes honesty and laughter, courage and kindness. But, perhaps most importantly, it encourages self-respect and confidence in a patriarchal society.

Today I’m writing to all my sisters out there. Music lovers, artists, thinkers, mothers, waitresses, dreamers, dancers, writers, teachers — I believe women are powerful influencers in this world, and in a world full of hatred, fear, pain and suffering–a woman’s touch can go a long way.

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is that the structure of our society is bound together by sexism. We are paid less than men. We hold fewer positions of power. Our sensitivities are often dismissed or overrun by a societal aversion to vulnerability and emotion. Just because we don’t feel the sting of everyday sexism, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Preconceived notions of gender norms, like all biases, tend to hide in our collective mental blind spot, keeping us out of touch with what we are not in a position to see.

Within prescribed gender norms, women are dedicated to the happiness and well-being of others. We carry children in our wombs, nurse them, teach them and care for them, but I think what we actually inherit from womanhood is far more powerful than what society can dictate. Not only because of our biological identities, but because our hearts are wild and ungovernable, except by our deepest convictions. We are undeniably human, but also undeniably different than men.

In a world that is largely a boys’ club, sisterhood is an oasis of freedom. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that feminist issues are “just between us girls.” Husbands, dads, grandpas and brothers can be our best friends and biggest supporters. Our friends and family members are the ones who inspire us to move forward, to get better, to heal and find happiness. Their confidence gives us the freedom to express and explore who we are, and the more we show of our true selves, the stronger our hearts and our voices, and the more good we bring, together.


“If not me, who? If not now, when?”

Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador

Health & Nutrition/ Mental Health & Wellness

Living with Depression, Pt. 4: Embrace Your Individuality

Thanks to everyone for reading so far!

1. Reach Out. Seek Hope.

2. Stop Blaming Yourself

3. (a) Exercise Your Sense of Humor

Coping with Depression, Part 3 (b) Embrace Your Individuality

Did you ever make paper snowflakes in elementary school? It’s very easy. You fold a piece of paper into fourths and cut out patterns along the edges. Open it up and voila! It’s a snowflake. I loved this activity as a kid because it sparked my sense of wonder. (I still get a bit giddy when I consider the innumerable possibilities of the natural world.) Here’s a fun science tidbit for you. 

It is unlikely that any two snowflakes are alike due to the estimated 1019 (10 quintillion) water molecules which make up a typical snowflake, which grow at different rates and in different patterns depending on the changing temperature and humidity within the atmosphere that the snowflake falls through on its way to the ground.  Wikipedia.Org

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 3.45.58 PM

I was fortunate enough to live in a household that empowered individuality as a triumph, (which is why I turned out a bit rebellious, I suppose) but I was also required to hide painful truths about my home life. I thought freedom would bring an end to the pain, but the memory and trauma of a lifetime of abuse became an emotional stumbling block in my early 20’s. During my sophomore year of college, I grew bitter and disenchanted with life.

“You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

We live in a world that mocks and scolds our generation for being too “entitled.” (*yawn* I’m so over this accusation.) There’s even an urban dictionary page dedicated to “special little snowflake syndrome.” But embracing who you are, discovering your true authentic self, is the first step to changing the world (for the better) in the ways only you can. So shake off those haters and follow your heart with SWAGGER.


From our DNA to our fingerprints, we are each one-of-a-kind. Human identity is an ongoing experience. You are not definitive in this moment, in this now. You can choose what happens next. We are the creators of our mentality.  with our thoughts and with our actions–and, I think, even with our prayers–we determine which way the world turns.

In this moment, plants are growing, the world is turning; and we are breathing. It feels good, doesn’t it? To just sit and breath. It’s so rare. The opportunity to take a conscious breath, to relax the shoulders and focus on something you love, letting go of worries and letting your insecurities melt away.

We have the opportunity to use our time and resources to better ourselves. Each of us has the opportunity to develop skills, to pursue knowledge, to cultivate communities, to enjoy hobbies–to fall in love and start families. Expressions of individuality vary for each person.

As the great Neil Gaiman says,

“The one thing you have that nobody else has is you.

Your voice, your mind, your story…your vision.

…So live as only you can.

The moment you feel that–just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of yourself of your heart and your mind, of what exists on the inside, of showing too much of yourself, that’s the moment you may be starting to getting it right.”


One of the major symptoms of depression is losing interest in hobbies, relationships and activities. Stress and feelings of worthlessness can impact energy levels and focus; and you may feel too distracted or sad to pursue the activities you love.

So this post isn’t just about embracing who you are, it’s about fighting your illness to continue doing the things you love. If you’re into the accordion, and it makes you feel like a rockstar, play your heart out. Whether you love video games, or music, or travel, or art, or mechanics, or astronomy, or books(!), or fashion — keep exploring what makes you unmistakably you.

Do what you can when you can.

Live only as you can.

Health & Nutrition/ Mental Health & Wellness

Living with Depression, Pt. 3: Exercise Your Humor

They say time heals all wounds, but I believe that saying is only half the truth. For me, finding a source of joy, against all odds, has meant being able to communicate my thoughts and feelings to those closest to me. Over a decade of depression, One of my greatest challenges has been asking for help, while also being there for others. At the very least, I try to keep the conversation flowing and the jokes rolling. That’s because laughter, in my opinion, is part of the healing process. On the dark days, you will have to look for the joy or the humor in life, but do your best to chase down a good laugh at least once a day.

It was comedians like Larry David and Woody Allen who first helped me view my neurotic personality as hilarity in the making. As I grew to love the anxious humor of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Annie Hall,” I began to see how a nerve-wrecked girl from nowhere could be lovable and honest at the same time.

“Arrgggh! The dastardly stop-and-chat!”



But once I entered the real world (AKA Life After College) my easy going sense of humor shriveled into a malnourished snark. In fact, once in 2011, I thought I lost my sense of humor entirely, but it turned out that I had only misplaced it for a while.

The problem was easily solvable.

( I started watching more cat videos on YouTube.)

On a Serious Note

spoon_TheoryHaving someone who can make you smile is a miracle. Treasure the people who make you feel confident, happy and empowered. What I’ve found, after many years, is that communicating through depression is a little like talking through a sandstorm: a lot gets lost in the fray. Luckily, I’m married to a man with a great sense of humor and a good bit of patience.

Together, we found a way to talk about my depression that didn’t make me feel weak or alienated.

It all started with “The Spoon Theory” by Christine Miserandino. Going back to the somatic symptoms of depression, chronic depression can also mean chronic pain. Some days, opening your eyes can be a struggle. Activities like sweeping, cooking, and (unfortunately) even lovemaking quickly become totally out of the question.


According to the Spoon Theory, people with chronic illnesses have limited amounts of energy to expend on everyday activities. Some days you go overboard, using too many spoons (which can cause further illness). Other days are easier and allow for more energy to spend on chores, socializing and relaxing.

How We Use the Spoon Theory

During the worst days of my depression, a bad day could knock me out for an hour, an evening or a couple of days. I was feeling incredibly guilty at that point (perpetually exhausted and stressed, I felt like a terrible wife), and communicating my symptoms and triggers had become  an overwhelming, guilt-ridden task. One day, I sent Mr. C a link to “The Spoon Theory” to describe how I had been feeling for the past few months.

It was such an amazing breakthrough for us. It wasn’t laugh-out-loud humor, but it was just what we needed to lighten up.  On bad days, I would text him and let him know that I was “running out of spoons.” He began to understand that even though I didn’t look sick, my health was in decline. It wasn’t always easy–I was constantly fatigued, withdrawn and anxiety-ridden, but that’s why we both use the Spoon Theory.If my husband has a bad day and doesn’t feel well, all he has to do is let me know his spoons are running low, and I do my best to pick up the slack with housework, and (at the very least) make him laugh.

Laugh Through the Tears

Battling depression is an emotional journey, and there are bound to be tears, but the gut-wrenching process will go by so much easier if you make laughter a priority. I can’t help you find your sense of humor, but I can let you in on some insider knowledge. In drama, when something unexpected occurs, audience members do one of two things: 1) they gasp or 2) they laugh. These two emotional reactions have born the fruits of tragic and comic storytelling across the ages. Like the great Joan Didion says…

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

Without a balanced perspective, it can be difficult to understand life’s story. The good news is that you don’t have to understand it right now. Just take it one day at a time and laugh as freely as possible.


The most wasted of days is one without LAUGHTER.

Make someone’s day by depositing a hilarious video in the comment box below:



Health & Nutrition/ Mental Health & Wellness

Living with Depression Pt. 2: Stop Blaming Yourself.

In my day-to-day life, experiencing such a deep level of sadness with “no apparent reason to be sad” often creates a bizarre and frustrating monologue. When I’m feeling tired, upset or stressed, I begin blaming myself for my symptoms. “If only I were stronger, or more in shape, or less busy – maybe then I would have a better handle on things.” And then the whole cycle of self-loathing begins.

If you know what I’m talking about, repeat after me:

“Depression is an illness, not a shortcoming.”

When I first visited a therapist in college, and she told me I was experiencing depression, I remember feeling genuinely shocked at the “D” word.

Just another depressed lady, staring out a window on a rainy day.

No, no, no. That isn’t me. I’m the happy girl, the one with a sunny disposition. This weepy, emotional tortured soul, she isn’t me!

I rejected the notion of having a mental illness, opting instead to reinvent myself as someone stronger, bolder and wiser — someone who could wrestle happiness to the ground with an iron will. (It didn’t really work out that way…)

1 in 5 adults will experience mental illness in a given year. That's right 1/5 of these smiling faces is crying on the inside.


I graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2008 at the height of the recession. I returned to the U.S. from studying abroad with no prospects for employment, saddled with debt and resentment for “the system.” I embraced the persona of a starving artist and lived on croissants, lattes and books. One of those books was “Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates” by Tom Robbins. I’ll never forget the Aha! moment I had while reading this passage:


“…depression can become a habit, which, in turn, can produce a neurological imprint. Are you with me? Gradually, our brain chemistry becomes conditioned to react to negative stimuli in a particular, predictable way. One thing’ll go wrong and it’ll automatically switch on its blender and mix us that black cocktail, the ol’ doomsday daiquiri, and before we know it, we’re soused to the gills from the inside out. Once depression has become electrochemically integrated, it can be extremely difficult to philosophically or psychologically override it; by then it’s playing by physical rules, a whole different ball game. “

Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, 2000 by Tom Robbins

Emotional, physical and psychological health are not only intertwined–they’re inseparable; yet most people (including those suffering from depression) don’t take into account the physical symptoms caused by the condition. It wasn’t until I accepted my depression as an illness that I was able to give myself permission to rest and heal. The best advice I’ve gotten for coping with physical symptoms of depression is “do as much as you can when you can.” Don’t beat yourself up for needing to rest or cry.

Here’s a quick video on the science of depression, proving that we are much more than sad weirdos who need attitude adjustments.

Physical Symptoms of Depression:

  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Back and muscle aches
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Appetite and weight changes

Psychological Symptoms of Depression

  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports

(Mayo Clinic)

Let’s keep the conversation going.

You might be thinking “Yeesh, depressed people are falling apart at the seams!”

And those of us who have been depressed are thinking, “Yep, it’s pretty rough.”

But let’s not leave it at that.

Because mental health is such an intimate topic, it can difficult to talk about. We often let emotional conversations fall through the cracks–with our families and our friends, even with ourselves. Sometimes, unraveling a problem is hard. It can take many years, experiences and relationships to heal; but having the courage to take that adventure is what counts.

If you are interested in spreading comfort and understanding this holiday season, share this message with your friends and followers.

Thanks (1)


Read Part 1 of this series here.