Thursday, July 21, 2011


In an article written by Dr. Sue Hubbard, a nationally known pediatrician, it is suggested that earlier bedtimes for children and teens can reduce depression.  Columbia University researchers studied 12,000 adolescents and teens and found that subjects with strict bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier were less likely to have depressive and suicidal thoughts.    A different study of 12,000 children indicated that only about 8% got the required sleep of nine hours a night.  In another study of 15,000 children in grades 7-12, kids who were allowed to stay up until midnight or later had a 24% more chance of being depressed, and a 20 % more chance of suicidal thoughts. 
It was also revealed in the above studies that having a firm bedtime set by a parent  is almost as important as attaining a required amount of sleep hours.  Encourage earlier bedtimes.  Things such as “lights out”, turning off all electronics ½ hour before bedtime, warm showers, and firm rules starting at an early age can help children start a lifetime of good sleeping habits that can help control depression.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


None of these false assumptions are true – yet many people’s lives are affected by believing them.
1.         To be happy I have to be successful at everything I undertake.
2.       To be happy I must be accepted by all people at all times.
3.       If I make a mistake it means I’m a failure.
4.       I can’t live without my spouse or without being loved.
5.       If someone disagrees with me, it means he doesn’t like me.
6.       My value as a person depends on what others think of me.
7.       If I am spiritual, bad things won’t happen to me.
8.       I should be able to make anyone love me.
9.       Good parents always love their children and never become angry at them
10.   Good people are never angry and never have bad feelings.
11.   Unhappiness is caused by circumstances and I have no control over this.
12.   The way people act is part of their personality;  you can’t change personality.
13.   There is always a right or perfect solution to every problem, and it must b e found or the results are catastrophic.
14.   Past experiences determine present behavior; there is no way to erase the mistakes and influences of the past.
15.   On Pain:
Good people don’t feel pain.
Pain is punishment.  I must be a bad person to merit this punishment so I should put up with it.
Pain equals repentance and cleanses me.
If I’m feeling pain, I must have done something wrong.
If I feel enough pain, I will have paid my dues and this will go away.

A tool to use in overcoming depression is to recognize your false assumptions, then refuse to accept them.  See Thinking Pattern Tool

Monday, July 11, 2011


Symptom                                                                                                            Depression         Clinical Depression
Is the cause of the depression known & situational?                                    Yes                         No
Is the cause of the depression vague & hard to pin down?                          No                          Yes
Does it involve sadness or “blues”?                                                         Always                 Not Always
Has the depression lasted longer than 2 weeks?                                              No                          Yes
Are there problems with distorted thinking or false
      assumptions, sleep changes, general aches & pains,
      Diarrhea, that are not readily explained by a
      Current illness?                                                                                          No                          Yes
Has a major life change occurred recently?                                         Possibly                          Possibly
Is fatigue a serious factor even though there seems to
      be no medical reason and there is adequate rest?                            No                          Yes
Have sleep patterns changed over time?                                                    No                          Yes
Are major appetite changes involved over time?                                      No                          Yes
Is it harder to make decisions?                                                                  No                          Yes
Is it harder to remember things?  Is confusion involved?                          No                          Yes
Is it harder to find pleasure or interest in life                                     Possibly                               Yes

Monday, June 27, 2011


+ + + FIRST AID KIT + + +

For Depression/Depressive Illness/Primary Affective Disorder/Grief

Factors affecting the above:

Memories-job-past history-losses-weather-environment-neighborhood-stress level- family-culture-country-heritage-traumas-value system-beliefs-biology

1. Is one or more of these factors a prime contributor and can I change it?

2. Is there anything I can do to relieve the pressure.

3. In individual environment, there are 4 aspects of self. All are interconnected. Mental. Emotional. Physical. Behavioral

4. Offering First Aid to one or more of these self-aspects can help reverse the down spiral of depression.

5. Usually, “Thoughts” are where we can intervene first with the most effectiveness. However, intervention in any of the 4 areas has direct effect on other areas. Intervention in all 4 areas at once produces the best success in treating depression.

*   Always helps anyone

PHYSICAL                                                              FEELINGS & MOOD

(Biological)                                                               (Spirituality)

{Shut Down happens}                                              {Hopelessness happens}

*Exercise                                                                   Cry

*Nutrition                                                                   Laugh-get humor library

*Medication                                                               Lighting – bright

*Movement/Play-Work                                              Appreciate Beauty

Pamper & Self-enhancement                              Touch

                                                                                  Feel the Spirit

MENTAL                                                                  BEHAVIORAL

(Thoughts)                                                                 (Activities)

{Depression happens}                                             {Non-functioning happens}

Self-affirmation                                                         Read (Carefully chosen)

Pep Talks                                                                   TV & Movies (Appropriate)

*Gratitude                                                                  *Prayer

Positive Thinking                                                      *Scriptures

“It will work out” attitude                                          Time Management

“The worst is passed” attitude                                   Organize

“Worst Possible” scenario                                         Learn Something new

Eliminate “Stinking thinking”                                     Family History

Remember Good                                             New or re-new Hobbies, Projects

*Reject or change distorted thinking               Animal and Nature Involvement

Determine & plan to improve                             Goal Setting

Realize improvement can be made                           Church Attendance

                                                                          Read Self-help Materials




                                                                                      Gratitude Lists or journals

                                                                                      Mission Statements

Monday, June 20, 2011


There are two points of attack in treating depressive illness- both being necessary for success.
1.      Treat the Body                                   2. Treat the mind (brain)
There are four main areas from which to attack depression.
Support System
            Friends, Church or Community Leaders – Family Members – Health Care Professionals
·         Obtained through appropriate medical services including primary care physician
·         Many, many kinds.  If one doesn’t work, or quits working, work with health care giver for find something that does work.  This can take a long time, but eventually worth it.
·         Medications can cause spiritual numbness or leveling out of peaks and valleys which can preclude some spiritual feelings.  If this is taken into consideration, one learns to have a successful spiritual lifestyle in spite of this.  More on this in another post.
·         Everyone reacts differently to different medications.  Just as it takes some experimenting to get the correct dose and type of blood pressure medication, you need to experiment (under medical care) for the correct type and dose of depression medication.
·         Some Rules of Medicating;
1.      Take Antidepressant medications as in prescription directions, religiously.
2.      Give the medication 4-6 weeks to work before you will see a noticeable effect, unless you are having very bothersome side effects.
3.      Normal side effects, (dry mouth, nausea, sleepiness, or insomnia) usually go away after a few days or weeks of taking medication.
4.      Continue taking medication EVEN IF YOU FEEL BETTER, until the doctor instructs you differently
5.      Do not stop taking your medication without checking with your physician.
6.      Antidepressants are NOT addictive
7.      Continuous treatment for at least 6 months greatly reduces the risk of relapse.
8.      If you have questions about your medication, call your health care provider.
9.      Don’t skip taking medications – even when you feel better.
10.  Show up for all health care appointments.
·         Current treatment often includes cognitive therapy which helps depressed individuals focus on their distorted thought patterns and learn how to break those patterns.
·         Church and Family Services.
·         Spiritually qualified and authorized leaders.
·         Counseling can help you understand your problems and develop ways to work through them.
·         Counseling can give you tools to lessen the effects of diathesis based depression.
·         Make sure you find a counselor or therapist you feel comfortable with.
·         Counseling takes time to work.
·         Short-term counseling or classes can be very effective.
·         Counseling via self-help books can also be very effective.
First Aid Kit  (This is a chart that will follow in another Posting)
Self-Help Books
Spiritual Help
Appropriate Classes
The ultimate responsibility for depression is with the person suffering from depression.  Family members, friends, and professional care givers can support, give advice, empathize, encourage, talk, provide medication, provide information, etc., but each individual is ultimately responsible for getting better.  It is very easy and convenient to blame depression on situations and people, and sometime they are the triggers, but getting better is up to the depressed individual.  No one else can FIX YOU!

Monday, June 13, 2011


The more resilient you are, the better you are able to deal with depression. Generally, resilient people have several of the same seven qualities which tend to cluster in personality types.  One can develop resiliency.
Definition:  The capacity to rebound from hardship.
The stuff from which survivors are made.
Mastering – not suffering- painful memories
Emphasizing the positive – remembering the good – looking for victories instead of victimization
Capacity to withstand hardship – to bounce back
The capacity to rise above adversity by developing skills that expand and ripen into lasting strengths or aspects that help you heal
Seven Skills and Strengths Associated with Resiliency
Insight:  Ability to ask tough questions and give honest answers to yourself
                Understanding, knowing, sensing
Independence:  Drawing boundaries in relationships – keeping emotional and physical distance while satisfying demands of your conscience – non co-dependency
                Separating, disengaging, straying
Relationships:  Intimate and fulfilling ties to people that balance maturely the give and take in a relationship with a minimum of co-dependency
                Attaching, recruiting, connections
Initiative:  Taking charge of and mastering problems, exerting appropriate control, stretching and testing in a demanding task
                Exploring, working, generating
Creativity:  Imposing order, beautify and purpose on the chaos of troubling experiences and painful feelings
                Composing, shaping, playing
Humor:  Find the comic in the tragic, changing perspectives as changing mountains into molehills
                laughing, shaping, playing
Morality:  An informed conscience, a belief in good and evil and how it relates to man
                Serving, valuing, judging

Friday, June 10, 2011


I felt incredibly lucky the day I was able to capture this tree in front of the cloud on the hill in East Canyon.

I assume very cheerful birds live in these darling cheerful birdhouses.

I try to get unique shots.  I liked this one.  My camera brings me lots of joy.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Since I last wrote in this journal,  I feel much better.  By this time in my life, I have realized that when I’m up – down will follow eventually – but joyfully, when I’m down, UP WILL FOLLOW eventually.  So life is a matter of living in the UPS or waiting for and looking forward to the UPS.  
 So what helped me this week?
·          Exercise.  I did a little more of this. 
·         Blogging – what a surprise.  I have five blogs and they are therapeutic – especially my family history blogs, which would be my other four blogs. 
·         GRATITUDE!  
·         Pain decrease (arthritis). 
·         Not feeling guilty about inactivity.    
·         ?  Weather change?
·         Situational changes
To continue to spiral up – I will add to the above, some cleaning, more meaningful reading, and again this week, I will try harder to change my diet.   I love sugar.  However, Sugar > Increase in Diabetic Symptoms > Increase in Depression.  As I sit here, it seems simple to remedy this situation.  Why is it so hard when I’m out and about. 

The shape of the leaves on this plant always gladdens my heart.  They are small and delicate.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


So I did some serious GRATITUDE THINKING…………..
I’m down 50 pounds from 10 years ago
My depression comes and GOES - so I don't have it all the time.
I can see up a canyon and see beautiful mountains from my street
My relatives, Bob, Stan, Bill, Kirk, Rick and my father have all served our country
My depression isn’t out of control-and each time things seemed insurmountable, something comes along to relieve the results of the current depression – miracles
Occasional new perspectives
New tan skirt – haven’t worn that color much before
Wonderful and Varied neighbors
My granddaughter reminds me so much of my innocent little first child
My husband’s companionship
Tulips in all their varieties
My arthritis isn’t debilitating
Potatoes!  My number one comfort food
The idea of self-confidence instead of self-esteem
My red couch being upstairs
My puss willow lights
Mom’s china and silver
I can do things to influence my own brain chemicals
The advantages of email
Color – color – and more color
I can type

Monday, May 30, 2011


30 May 2011
Be it ever so slowly, I am spiraling down.  Having this happen at least once or twice a year (if not most months), I know that I better get in gear and do something about it before I can’t.  I always have the thoughts of my depression “before medication” to keep me wanting to try to get on top of my depression before it gets on top of me.  I know what I need to do – but right now it seems somewhat hopeless, and also, I have no desire to do those things.  Thank goodness my medication keeps me from extreme lows, and hitting bottom.  Therefore I have the knowledge that I CAN get on top of this if I will but try, even though  I don’t feel that way.  (I have learned that I have to rely on knowledge rather than feelings when dealing with depression.)
I am doing some things right.  I am forcing myself to do some walking, and some exercises.  I am doing it more because of my diabetes, but I know it helps with the depression.  Each time I move my legs, and it hurts, I remember to look up and see something pretty.  I still hate walking, but it has to be done.
I wish I could say I’m trying to eat right, but since I crave sugar CONSTANTLY, I find that I am eating more sweets than I should.  And certainly, when I’m depressed, cutting out sweets seems impossible.  Oh, that’s right.  I remember my coping strategy (which is hard to do when you are depressed – good thing I write these things down when I feel ok so I can remember what my coping strategies are).  Tomorrow morning I will start keeping a record of everything I eat, and allow myself to eat anything I want, as much as I want, unless it has sugar.  For some reason, this strategy helps deal with this problem.  (When I say that I crave sugar, I mean that eating something with sugar in it is in the back of my mind at all times.)
Reading is a “mixed bag” coping strategy.  Escapism through reading is my emotional outlet.  A psychiatrist, a long time ago, couldn’t understand why I didn’t have suicidal thoughts.  I explained my beliefs to him about the afterlife and the trouble I would be in there, and also explained that instead, I did “get away” fantasizing, but mostly I read to escape.  Reading isn’t bad – and it helps.  But it can get excessive.  I try to find “uplifting” literature – but oftentimes that doesn’t help.  When it does, it helps a lot because I’ve usually found new thoughts – and new thoughts always helps fight depression.  For just plain escapism, give me a non-exciting, mindless humorous mystery.  Since I just checked three of those out of the library - you can tell where I am, not to mention I laid in bed reading one of them until 11:00 this morning.   To counteract this, I will do two things.  One, I am making myself read the conference talks.  Hope it helps.  Two, I graduate from mindless mysteries to thoughtful histories.  That can also help.  And in the bargain, I have a new subject to think about.  That helps a lot.  When I was younger, I would register for a new class, and that would help a lot.  I even went so far, in my course of depression, to return to school.  That helped a lot.  I majored in psychology.  You know, it’s those that need it that major in it.  HAH!!   ??
Another thing I can do is adopt a new hobby.  Huh?  At this stage in life.  I think I’ve tried most things I can stand to do – or afford to do.  I recently went on a clothes shopping spree.  That helped for a day or two, but the novelty wore off quickly. I have tried the “shopping” cure in my life.  It didn’t take long to realize that with me, the shopping had to escalate to combat depression. 
 I am working on my family history and my blogs, and that helps.  I’m trying to take more interest in yard work, but am having a hard time in all this rain.  Rain?  Maybe this weather isn’t helping.  And neither is my health.
Perhaps resurrecting an old hobby would help.  I’m trying to get Von to take me on a trip to southern Utah.  One look at an old Anasazi ruin usually lifts me a few notches.
 In the handwork hobby region, I just finished a plastic canvas needlepoint doll house that I started when my girls were little.  That was absorbing, and also useless, but it was therapeutic .  Pulling the yarn through all those holes according to the color required is very relaxing and absorbing.  Actually, putting anything in order helps my depression.  Do I detect a “bit” of obsessive compulsive behavior here?  I remember when I had more energy, that an intense cleaning of my whole house in one day usually gave me a lift.  Now, I don’t have the energy for such coping strategies.
I do have about 200 diaper pads to serge that will go to third world countries.  At least that will make me feel useful.  Service always helps me.  It reminds me how good I have it.  Of course, that can backfire.  If I have it so good, why do I feel so down.  But service usually takes your mind off yourself, and if ever there was a selfish disease – it is depression.
Changing my schedule is another coping strategy for me.  Hamm.  Since I don’t have a schedule, that will be a little difficult.   Maybe I can change it by not going to church today.  Of course, church is the last place I want to go when I am feeling depressed, but one of the best places to go.  Even as I write this, I know that going will, at minimum, convince me that I’m not over the brink.  And, probably, it will, as usual, provide some spiritual uplift.  Spiritual uplift is hard to feel when depression takes hold, but I find that miracles happen, and quite often, when I need them. So instead of not going to church, I am going to go, AND wear my blouse inconspicuously backwards.  At least it gives me something different to think about.
I find myself going to my own blog to see what is suggested for combating depression.  It’s funny how depression interferes with memory.  I can ‘t even remember WHAT I’m supposed to do to reduce the depression.  Oh, lower my expectations.  Not this time.  My expectations are in a black hole as it is.  But perhaps writing this will help.  Journaling can be a coping strategy.  I think it is helping.
Tomorrow I am going to a party for a grandchild.  That should help.  Animals and small children usually help my perspective.  Maybe I need to go over and hug my grand dog – or play with that sneaky cat that keeps coming in our yard from the neighbor’s place.
I think at church today I will try to make a list of things I am truly grateful for, simple small things, not the standard of church, family, etc.  I am grateful for the house I live in, and all the bookshelves I have downstairs, and the blue wall in my dining room.  Oh, and I love that new (old) book I discovered.  That was a tender mercy.  Also, I have some beautiful new painted eggs.  I will look at them again.  That will help.  With my mother’s legacy, I framed an old tapestry that means a lot to me.  I need to go in and look at that again.   I will go out to Brietta’s grave and with Kanda's permission, polish the stone.  That gives me some perspective.  It makes me grateful for all my other grands.  I like the color of the new bedspread in my master bedroom.  It’s cheerful.  I could go on and on, and should, but I will save it for church.  Maybe you will get a page from my gratitude journal next.  Gratitude, if I can somehow muster it, means my depression is not too far gone, and that I have a chance of preventing intense spiraling.  Gratitude is usually my main coping strategy.  IT IS HARD to be grateful when you feel depressed, but if I concentrate, it might just be the first step out of all of this, or was the first step writing this?   Probably.  CJC

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Most mental illnesses including depression, have some roots in our chemistry.  Reestablishing harmony in your brain chemistry will help in any state of mental. 
One of many current theories about chemical imbalance has to do with Neurotransmitters.   These are the chemicals that carry messages between the synapses in your brain, as far as I understand.  There are two that are often referred to – Serotonin and Dopamine (dopamine being a building block of norepinephrine).   The following is a somewhat simplified chart concerning these two neurotransmitters.
Associated with:              Fight (face) or Flight (flee or escape)
High Serotonin:          peace of mind, concentration, well-being, Personal security, relaxation,self-confidence, positive thoughts, spiraling up,  energy and enthusiasm, clear thinking
Low Serotonin:           mood decline or spiraling down, low energy and fatigue, confusion, feelings of guilt and unworthiness, aggression, violence, thoughts of suicide, dulled or slowed thinking,  feelings of isolation,
Serotonin Boosters:   positive thoughts,  gratitude, meditation, prayer, medication, healthy carbohydrate-rich foods,  relaxed exercise such as walking,  peaceful music, service to others,  decrease of sugar, caffeine,  movement,  whole grains,  veggies,  enjoying nature passively,  writing in a journal, gratitude journals,  high disclosure,  relaxed personal entertainment, confrontation avoidance,

Dopamine and( Part o)f Norepinephrine              
High Dopamine:          heightened ability to solve problems,  energy,  arousal, assertiveness, awareness and alertness,  body activity, speeding up of thoughts,  quick reactions,  willpower,  ncreased sex drive
Low Dopamine:          lethargy,  weakness, fear, sluggish thinking, weight gain, decreased sex drive,  memory loss,
Too Much Dopamines:  anxiety, paranoia, delusion, excessive nervous tension, fear, aggression,   sleep disturbance, social isolation, excessive energy,  inability to sit still,   isomnia,  elevated heart rate, disorientation, weight loss,
Dopamine Boosters:   Vigorous exercise,  protein foods,  competitive exercise,  exciting activities,  fish and sea food, caffeine,  planning projects,  activities,    lively music,  active  and group entertainment such as sports, taking risks,  medication

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Fact:  Exercise decreases depression.
Fact:  I hate exercise.
Fact:  I find anyway I can to relieve the boredom of exercise.

Following are pictures I took while walking.  The pictures made me happy.


I think about my diabetes a lot. 
I think about the difference it has made in my life.  I think about the changes I have and should make because of it.  I think about what I want to eat, then about what I SHOULD eat.  I think about living not quite as long as I could have because I have this disease.  I think about the days I don’t feel well, and the glorious days when I do.  I think about the medicine I take to help keep it under control.  I think about the side effects – and the side effects of not taking the meds.  I worry about my feet getting a little numb – about my vision changing.  I think about my weight every morning, knowing that each pound that leaves will make me better – and each pound that comes, counteracts what leaves.  I think of preparing to see my doctor every three months, sometimes being grateful I just saw him so I don’t worry about test results as much; sometimes worrying about test results because I will be seeing him soon.  I think about my fingers, a lot, when they get sore from poking.  But the soreness compares little to the numbers, when they aren’t good.  And  when the numbers are good – Halleluiah!   I think about what the future might hold – especially when I see what it holds for others.  I become frightened ----- then finally turn it over to God after all that I can do.  My diabetes is just a part of me I have to accept and manage.
I think about what trying to manage diabetes has taught me.  It has taught me self-control and discipline.  It has helped me appreciate a body I once liked very little.  It has given me understanding for the pain others have to bare.  It has given me a sense of mortality, and because of that, a reality check on immortality.  It has helped me have faith – in myself – in God.  It has made me aware of life – the little and big things.  I treasure each new experience more than ever before the diabetes.  I have come to know myself better – and LIKE myself better.  I have come to know God better – and feel His love more. 
All this because of diabetes.
I think about my depression a lot – even more than I do diabetes.