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December 2014



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Archive for December 28th, 2014


Associate Editor


Many people have stopped setting New Year’s resolutions. That’s because traditional resolutions can feel tedious, punitive, uninspiring and overwhelming. Instead, many individuals have started selecting one word to encapsulate the upcoming year.


“The power in claiming a word for the year is that it allows you to claim who you wish to be in the world rather than grounding your worth and well-being in what you do,” said Rosie Molinary, author of the book Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.


Picking a word helps you chart the path to living a life you’ve imagined for yourself, she said.


Think of your word as a flashlight that guides and illuminates your next steps. It is a word that inspires and invigorates you. It is a word that sums up how you’d like to spend your days.


In the past years Molinary’s words have included: thrive; flow; wholehearted; expansiveness; well-being and peace. She’s still deciding her word for 2015 but these words have been resonating with her: spark; shine; abundance; radiate; glow; manifest; and embody.


She also shared these other examples of words of the year: connect; commit; leap; grow; patience; simplify; explore; and now.


Read in Full:





Depression During the Holidays


I haven’t written much in the last couple of weeks. This season with its “holiday cheer” and dark, fog-filled weather, has had me in one of the worst depressions I’ve experienced in over a year. And although my house has been the family hub for celebrations from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, I’ve been struggling to keep my nose above the water.


Oh, I’ve played the “I’m fine” card, but my kids know the real me – angry, sad, short-tempered and highly anxious. It’s been a hard thing to get through, even with my online support group – Group Beyond Blue on Facebook.


But now that the cooking and baking is done, the wrappings cleaned up, and the house quiet for a few days at least, I am left to pick up the pieces of myself that I’ve left strewn all over the place.


Starting Over


I feel like I’m starting over once yet again. Picking up the pieces of relationships I’ve broken and damaged and learning to forgive myself again and again for something that is out of my control: my unstable mood.


Taking Steps


Here are the steps I’m going to take to come out of this state of winter depression, even though winter is still in full force here in my hometown.

  1. 1. Forgive myself. I need to acknowledge that I’m so very conflicted about my feelings and behavior for the last two or so months. I’ve behaved in ways that I’m ashamed of, but beating myself up never helps and only makes things worse in the long run. Acknowledging again and again that I have a mood dysregulation disorder in bipolar disorder, though hard to do, isn’t an excuse, but the reason for my erratic behavior at home.
  1. 2. Reintegrate into my community. Whether it be heading back to church, taking my daughters out for lunch, meeting a friend for coffee, I need to add balance to my life and day but not isolating and dwelling on what’s past and what I can’t change or control.
  1. 3. Get organized. Time to open mail from the last month, make some to do lists (which are not for everyone) and get back on budget. When depressed, I tend to eat and buy everything in sight. I must get myself back under control by organizing my activities and prioritizing tasks.
  1. 4. Get fresh air and sunlight. I tend to be a hermit when feeling overwhelmed and depressed, as many of us do. I need to force myself to put the leash on the dog and get out for even a 20-minute walk. One of my goals for the New Year is to learn to run and I want to start by just walking the dog three times a week. If I can write a dissertation, surely I can walk the dog?
  1. 5. Pray, meditate, and trust. My faith has always been a huge part of me getting through depressive episodes and this time of year reminds me that, no matter what happens, I can get through it.


Read in Full:




Leo Tolstoy.


War and Peace and Anna Karenina are still considered masterpieces of Russian Literature. Tolstoy wrote a book exploring his own tendency toward depression called A Confession.


As he reached middle age, his depression seemed to worsen. He became overly concerned with his success, and started giving his personal possessions away. Later, he was critical of himself for not having the courage to commit suicide.


Ernest Hemmingway.


Hemmingway is known as a brilliant Nobel Prize winning author, (The Old Man and the Sea). He’s said to have suffered from depression, bipolar disorder, had borderline and narcissistic personality traits, and later suffered with psychosis.  Instead of approaching doctors for help, Hemmingway infamously self-medicated with alcohol.


His manic side was evidenced by some of his high-risk behaviors, such as in deep-sea fishing,  shooting animals in the wild, and dodging bullets as a war correspondent.  His family tree was populated with relatives suffering from depression, many of whom committed suicide.  He killed himself with a shotgun in 1961.


Philip K. Dick.


Dick is perhaps the most visionary sc-fi writer of the last century.  His works are the most adapted sci-fi classics in recent film history.  Movies like Blade Runner, The Minority Report and Total Recall are just three of dozens of ingenious stories adapted from novels and short stories he wrote.


As a teenager, Dick was plagued by vertigo.  As he grew, there were signs of schizophrenia, including eventually, visual and auditory hallucinations.  He was hospitalized, but somehow managed to keep writing. At one point he felt there was a beam of “pink light” being transmitted directly into his consciousness.


Franz Kafka


Kafka wrote in a completely original style exploring existential ideas about life.  The Trial and Metamorphosis are two of his better known stories.  Kafka was a loner, a genius, who suffered from social anxiety and depression.  He worked in obscurity at an insurance company in Prague, where he noticed that life was bound by pointless bureaucracy.


It’s thought his depression came from having only a handful of his works published during his lifetime.  He also suffered from migraines, boils and insomnia brought on by the stress of working so hard at writing with so little to show for it.


Sylvia Plath. 


Death was a recurrent theme in Plath’s poems.  Sometimes death meant “death and rebirth” to her, sometimes she wrote about “death as an end.”  Her poems have titles like Stillborn, and Two Views of a Cadaver Room.


Plath was known among her colleagues for significant mood swings, along with impulse control issues.  While still in college, she attempted suicide several times.  In 1963 she committed suicide by placing her head inside an oven.


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