More ways to win over depression

Sheila was Walsh an accomplished singer when she became co-host of The 700 Club. She seemed to be at the peak of her career publicly but privately she was careening downward. One evening she left the studio on the verge of suicide and checked into a mental hospital .

In another post I told you about depression from the viewpoint of blogger Darren Rowse of ProBlogger,com. He shared how he has dealt with depression, steps that I endorse and recommend to my patients. In this post I talk about another public person who has depression and uses her insights to help others.

Sheila Walsh-singer, speaker, author

Sheila was an accomplished singer when she became co-host of The 700 Club. She seemed to be at the peak of her career publicly but privately she was careening downward. One evening she left the studio on the verge of suicide and checked into a mental hospital .

Since then she has lived with depression but not under the weight of depressive feelings.

” After entering the hospital, Sheila went through therapy and evaluation. Along the way, she discovered things about herself that were harmful. For example, when she was unable or unwilling to deal with what was true about her life, she buried it.

“You can try for years to deny the things that are tearing at your soul, but they will not go away. They thrive in the shadowlands, and if you don’t deal with them, they will one day deal with you.”

Sheila

Her doctor determined that she was severely clinically depressed. She had all the classic signs:

  • insomnia,
  • loss of memory,
  • loss of appetite,
  • overwhelming feelings of hopelessness,
  • loss of emotional control, and
  • an unbearable sadness.

Sheila’s doctor helped her understand that mental illness is a reality, a treatable reality, and there is no shame there. Through prayer, reading the Bible, therapy, and medication Sheila began to manage her depression. At the end of thirty days, Sheila left the hospital and returned to CBN to say goodbye. ”

from CBN.com

Sheila’s top 4 tips

In a radio interview with Jenny Dean Schmidt of Channel Mom, Sheila lists 4 things that help her deal with depression.

  • walking her dogs
  • listening to worship music
  • sleeping well
  • staying in touch with trusted friends who “know all about me”

“a kind supportive boss”

In this interview with her former boss, Pat Robertson, Sheila explains how his kind and caring support, medication, and her faith helped her overcome depression .

These are all similar to things Darren mentioned in his article- exercise (walking), getting a dog, telling friends and family, medication, and prayer/meditation.

(This post contains affiliate links which, by paying a commission if used for a purchase, help fund this blog. )

How Sheila was “Loved Back to Life”

In this book, Sheila tells her story of her recovery from depression.

Sheila’s “Unexpected Grace”

I enjoyed Sheila’s story about supporting her mother-in-law through a cancer diagnosis.

Unexpected Grace is a tender account of the relationship between a mother and daughter-in-law and how they discovered extravagant grace in the midst of what could have been the most tragic experience of their lives. Their story will encourage you and help you see how God can bring good out of even the bleakest circumstances. “

Sheila Walsh

available on Kindle Unlimited and Audible

I hope you enjoy listening to Sheila sing You Raise Me Up

If you haven’t read it already, please read my post about how Darren Rowse manages to control his depression.

How to relieve depression in 11 simple steps

If you are depressed and thinking about or planning suicide, please stop and call this number now-

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

watercress words-exploring the HEART of freedom from depression

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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How to relieve depression in 11 simple steps

Not everyone needs antidepressant medication, but when they do, it can make a dramatic difference. Medication needs adequate time and dosage to be effective, and once that is reached should be continued long enough for the depression to stay in remission.

When I started this blog I knew nothing about blogging so I looked for resources to help. One of the best I found was the ProBlogger Podcast by Darren Rowse- and it is free.

(This post uses several affiliate links to Darren’s website and other affiliates-these are ways for you to support this blog at no cost to you. )

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. He is active on TwitterFacebookGoogle+ and LinkedIn.

I loved listening to his Australian accent (which I rarely hear living in Oklahoma), appreciated his easy to understand instructions, and connected with his genuinely friendly attitude.

First, mid-life crisis

In 2018 Darren extended his influence through a Facebook group called Find Your Spark, which is for

people who have the common goal of finding their spark in life.

Darren Rowse


That year Darren wrote an article for Medium explaining how he was experiencing a mid-life crisis. The Facebook group started as a place for people who read Darren’s ‘sparks article’ and wanted to take part in the resulting 30-day challenge. Now anyone is invited to join the group.

Then, depression

Early in 2019, Darren shared in the group that he had been dealing with depression several months before. By that time he was doing better, and after receiving much positive feedback in the group he wrote another article for Medium explaining what had helped him manage the depression.

I appreciate the first thing he said was “I am not a doctor so I am not giving advice.” But he thought what helped him might help others, and since I am a doctor and I agree that these things are helpful, I am going to share them with you and add my thoughts on each. Of course, if you want to go straight to Darren’s article, that’s fine too. Here is the link-

11 Things That Have Helped Me With Depression

1. Talking to my Doctor

Not everyone with depression needs to see a psychiatrist; there may not even be one near where you live. Family physicians receive extensive training in depressed mood, as well as the physical problems that can precipitate or result from depression, like sleep problems, weight gain or loss, chronic pain, and fatigue.

2. Medication

Not everyone needs antidepressant medication, but when they do, it can make a dramatic difference. Medication needs adequate time and dosage to be effective, and once that is reached should be continued long enough for the depression to stay in remission.

3. Exercise.

I routinely recommend that depressed persons exercise; actually, I recommend it to everyone. Done properly, it almost never causes a problem, and is known to improve depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.

Here’s a post that offers you some motivation to move more with confidence and purpose.

4. Getting a dog

Probably any type of animal contact helps lift one’s mood. I found this true myself this summer when my husband was recuperating from an ankle fracture. Since he was non-weight bearing in a cast, he was confined to home except trips to the doctor so I stayed home with him other than work. During this time, we took care of a friend’s cat while he was out of town. We had not had an animal in our home in a long time but we quickly bonded with the kitty and found her entertaining and calming. Her presence took our minds off the pain and uncertainty about my husband’s injury.

In this post I explained how animals can help people heal .

People Whisperers

5. Telling friends and family

I agree with this as long as those friends and family are supportive. I would start with those closest, who probably already realize something is wrong. You do not need people who will blame you for your depression, tell you to “just snap out of it”, or advise unsound treatments.

6.Improving my diet

Like exercise, this one is universal. Even people who aren’t depressed can benefit from eating more plant based whole foods, like the ones I discussed in this previous post.

7. Journalling

Whether you call it a diary, journal, or blog, expressing ourselves in writing can be therapeutic. Or for some people it may be another form of writing, like poetry, essays, short stories. Other forms of expression like the visual and performing arts, photography, crafting, sewing, and needlework can be soothing, calming, and satisfying.

Digital Photography School Resources : Photo Nuts and Shots

8. Reading

Obviously, you’re a reader, although you may not be doing it to treat depression. I think this can help 2 ways.

First, by reading books and other media specifically about depression to learn more about its causes and treatment.

Second, by providing an outlet for fun, humor, reflection, learning, thinking, growing- all of which can deflect depressive thoughts and attitudes.

Come Read with me-Tyndale Rewards.com
Reader Rewards Club

9. Creating new projects

Much of this I alluded to in #7, but consider taking on new work projects, community activities, and family events. People with depression often feel overwhelmed, so don’t rush this one, so as not to aggravate those feelings.

Digital Photography School Resources

10. Volunteering

Depressed people often feel isolated and lonely and may avoid other people. Volunteering can make it easier to connect-unlike social events, volunteering usually has a set agenda so you know what you’re going to do and even say. That can take the pressure off trying to make small talk and be sociable when you don’t yet feel so. Sharing with others who need our help makes our own problems seem less intense.

Your community likely offers numerous opportunities to volunteer. Also check out this list for other opportunities to get involved in helping others.

Sharing the HEART of health

11. Prayer/meditation

Sometimes it has become almost a cliche to say to someone who is hurting, “I’ll keep you in my prayers.” But I think if we say that, we should mean it. Sometimes it can be hard to pray for oneself or to ask others for prayer, it may seem selfish or weak.

But prayer is an integral part of most faith traditions that I know of; Christians are encouraged to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Thinking and meditating on scripture and other words of “faith, hope, and love” can counteract the negative thinking that usually drives depression.

You’re not alone.

Darren and I want to assure you there is hope for depression and you do not have to suffer alone. Start with your doctor and check out any other resources in your community and on-line. As Darren said at the end of his article,

if you know someone with depression who needs to read this — please pass it on.

Dealing with suicidal thoughts

Depression sometimes leads to suicidal thoughts, which may progress to plans, attempts, and loss of life. In a future post I’ll share how one well known woman faced and survived suicide. Read more now in this article by psychiatrist Dr. Melissa Welby

Suicidal thoughts and suicide prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

watercress words- exploring the HEART of mental health

In an upcoming post, I’ll share about a woman entertainer and author who also confronted depression and won.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Max Lucado helps you discover a plan for a life filled with joy with the How Happiness Happens Pre-Order Promotion at Cokesbury. Valid 8/1-9/16. Shop Now!

Revisiting Hemingway’s homes

This past summer my husband and I visited Michigan for the first time and stayed in a charming little town, Boyne City.

While visiting friends there, we learned that Ernest Hemingway’s family owned a cottage on near-by Walloon Lake. Unlike his home in Key West Florida, the Michigan property is a private home and in recent years was purchased and renovated into a beautiful modern structure which still preserves the spirit of the original home, where Ernest’s mother Grace lived. Here is a link to an article about the new house with photos that show how beautifully the new owner has honored the Hemingway family.

New Home on Walloon Lake

Working with local builders, the new owners “set out to modernize the cottage while making every attempt to take it back visually to the early 20th century, when Grace Hemingway summered here—and her son Ernest would row over from Windemere, the family cottage across Walloon Lake to work on the farm.

For recreation, he’d hike down Sumner Road to the tiny hamlet of Horton Bay where he became friends with the Dilworth family. Hemingway readers will remember the Dilworths from the Nick Adams stories that Hemingway penned in Paris where he and his new wife, Hadley, moved after their wedding in Horton Bay. And after they’d spent their first night as newlyweds in Grace Cottage. ” (from the article by Lissa Edwards)

a marina on Walloon Lake

The discovery was interesting none the less, and we understand why his family enjoyed living in the area. The towns are old and historic, the architecture quaint , the landscaping beautifully tended, and the lakes and boats beckon even land lubbers like us. Here are a few photos from this recent trip, followed by a past post where I explain what I learned from visiting Hemingway’s Key West home.

Hemingway’s study- chaos and creativity

Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his popular novels, including To Have and Have Not, in the study of his Key West Florida home.

The house, on the National Register of Historic Places, has been preserved as it was when he and his wife Pauline lived there and is open to visitors, like myself, when I visited there a couple of years ago.

the study of Ernest Hemingway, with a cat sleeping on the floor

Chaos

This entire house, and especially the narrative of his life (as related to us by our verbose tour guide) is itself a study of a man whose life and career was largely shaped by mental illness.

Ernest Hemingway displayed mood swings and abused drugs and alcohol. Despite numerous psychiatric hospital stays where he was treated with ECT, electroconvulsive therapy, he struggled with chronic depression.

He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head in 1961.

CATWALK

Creativity

While dealing with mental illness and traumatic brain injuries, he continued to write prolifically and successfully, winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954 for The Old Man and the Sea.

photos of Ernest Hemingway displayed at his Key West home

He wrote acclaimed novels, several of which became major movies. His personal life was not so successful; three of his four marriages ended in divorce.

Ernest Hemingway’s novels and movies 

(an affiliate link, if you use it, at no additional cost, this blog will earn funding.)

The challenge of mental illness

Mental illness often runs in families. Ernest’s father, Dr. Clarence Hemingway, a gynecologist, suffered from manic-depression and died by suicide.  Ernest and his siblings likely inherited it from their father.

2016-06-16 10.05.16

Sadly, it did not end with him. His granddaughter, Margaux Hemingway, a fashion model and actress, dealt with depression, alcoholism, and bulimia.

She died from an apparent intentional drug overdose at age 42.

Her sister Mariel reflected on her family’s troubled history in

Finding My Balance 

Finding My Balance

“A lonely life”

SOLITARYWRITER

Ernest Hemingway could not attend the ceremony to receive his Nobel Prize. He wrote a short speech which was read by John C. Cabot, the Ambassador to Sweden. In that speech he wrote, 

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.”

HEMINGWAY'S STUDY-CHAOS AND CREATIVITY

Hemingway’s cats

At least 40 to 50 cats live on the grounds of the Hemingway House;  many of them are descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s cats. They live peaceful, serene lives, far different from the people who lived there long ago.

What you should know about suicide from the NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

  • Suicide is the tenth most common cause of death in the United States.
  • People may consider suicide when they are hopeless and can’t see any other solution to their problems.
  • Suicide may occur with  serious depression, alcohol or substance abuse, or a major stressful event.
  • People who have the highest risk of suicide are white men.
  • Women  and teens report more suicide attempts.
  • Therapy and medicines can help most people who have suicidal thoughts. Treating mental illnesses and substance abuse can reduce the risk of suicide.
  • If someone talks about suicide, you should take it seriously.
  • Urge them to get help from their doctor or the emergency room, or call the

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at

1-800-273-TALK (8255).

It is available 24/7.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Melissa Welby says this about managing bipolar disorder(a form of chronic depression).

“A key to managing bipolar disorder is to recognize early relapse warning signs. Medication will minimize, but not eliminate, mood swings for many people coping with bipolar disorder. “

On her blog she offers offers these Keys to Coping with Bipolar Disorder

Understanding mental illness

I hope you will use the following links to resources to help you, your family, or anyone you know who does or may suffer from mental illness. There is help and most importantly, there is hope.

Warning signs of mental illness

“Major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder rarely appear “out of the blue.” Most often family, friends, teachers or individuals themselves begin to recognize small changes or a feeling that “something is not quite right” about their thinking, feelings or behavior before one of these illnesses appears in its full-blown form.”

Technology and the future of mental health treatment

“Excitement about the huge range of opportunities has led to a burst of app development. There are thousands of mental health apps available in iTunes and Android app stores, and the number is growing every year. However, this new technology frontier includes a lot of uncertainty. There is very little industry regulation and very little information on app effectiveness, which can lead consumers to wonder which apps they should trust.” (affiliate link used)

Suicide prevention

“The most important thing to remember about suicidal thoughts is that they are symptoms of a treatable illness associated with fluctuations in the body’s and brain’s chemistry. They are not character flaws or signs of personal weakness, nor are they conditions that will just go away on their own. “

sharing the HEART of health

Thanks for joining me to tour the unique home of Ernest Hemingway, using photos I took myself.

Please consider helping support this blog by using my affiliates. You’ll find links in the side bars, on the home page, and on the resource page.

Thank you for following  and sharing Watercress Words.

always exploring the HEART of health ,  Dr. Aletha 

man and woman with Key West visitor sign
My husband and I upon arriving in Key West, Florida the farthest south city in the U.S.A.

Hemingway’s study- chaos and creativity

This entire house, and especially the narrative of his life (as related to us by our verbose tour guide) is itself a study of a man whose life and career was largely shaped by mental illness.

Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his popular novels, including To Have and Have Not, in the study of his Key West Florida home.

The house, on the National Register of Historic Places, has been preserved as it was when he and his wife Pauline lived there and is open to visitors, like myself, when I visited there a couple of years ago.

the study of Ernest Hemingway, with a cat sleeping on the floor

Chaos

This entire house, and especially the narrative of his life (as related to us by our verbose tour guide) is itself a study of a man whose life and career was largely shaped by mental illness.

Ernest Hemingway displayed mood swings and abused drugs and alcohol. Despite numerous psychiatric hospital stays where he was treated with ECT, electroconvulsive therapy, he struggled with chronic depression.

He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head in 1961.

CATWALK

Creativity

While dealing with mental illness and traumatic brain injuries, he continued to write prolifically and successfully, winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954 for The Old Man and the Sea.

photos of Ernest Hemingway displayed at his Key West home

He wrote acclaimed novels, several of which became major movies. His personal life was not so successful; three of his four marriages ended in divorce.

Ernest Hemingway’s novels and movies 

(an affiliate link, if you use it, at no additional cost, this blog will earn funding.)

The challenge of mental illness

Mental illness often runs in families. Ernest’s father, Dr. Clarence Hemingway, a gynecologist, suffered from manic-depression and died by suicide.  Ernest and his siblings likely inherited it from their father.

2016-06-16 10.05.16

Sadly, it did not end with him. His granddaughter, Margaux Hemingway, a fashion model and actress, dealt with depression, alcoholism, and bulimia.

She died from an apparent intentional drug overdose at age 42.

Her sister Mariel reflected on her family’s troubled history in

Finding My Balance 

Finding My Balance

 

 

 

“A lonely life”

Ernest Hemingway could not attend the ceremony to receive his Nobel Prize. He wrote a short speech which was read by John C. Cabot, the Ambassador to Sweden. In that speech he wrote, SOLITARYWRITER

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.”

HEMINGWAY'S STUDY-CHAOS AND CREATIVITY

Hemingway’s cats

At least 40 to 50 cats live on the grounds of the Hemingway House;  many of them are descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s cats. They live peaceful, serene lives, far different from the people who lived there long ago.

What you should know about suicide from the NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

  • Suicide is the tenth most common cause of death in the United States.
  • People may consider suicide when they are hopeless and can’t see any other solution to their problems.
  • Suicide may occur with  serious depression, alcohol or substance abuse, or a major stressful event.
  • People who have the highest risk of suicide are white men.
  • Women  and teens report more suicide attempts.
  • Therapy and medicines can help most people who have suicidal thoughts. Treating mental illnesses and substance abuse can reduce the risk of suicide.
  • If someone talks about suicide, you should take it seriously.
  • Urge them to get help from their doctor or the emergency room, or call the

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at

1-800-273-TALK (8255).

It is available 24/7.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Melissa Welby says this about managing bipolar disorder(a form of chronic depression).

“A key to managing bipolar disorder is to recognize early relapse warning signs. Medication will minimize, but not eliminate, mood swings for many people coping with bipolar disorder. “

On her blog she offers offers these Keys to Coping with Bipolar Disorder

Understanding mental illness

I hope you will use the following links to resources to help you, your family, or anyone you know who does or may suffer from mental illness. There is help and most importantly, there is hope.

Warning signs of mental illness

“Major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder rarely appear “out of the blue.” Most often family, friends, teachers or individuals themselves begin to recognize small changes or a feeling that “something is not quite right” about their thinking, feelings or behavior before one of these illnesses appears in its full-blown form.”

Technology and the future of mental health treatment

“Excitement about the huge range of opportunities has led to a burst of app development. There are thousands of mental health apps available in iTunes and Android app stores, and the number is growing every year. However, this new technology frontier includes a lot of uncertainty. There is very little industry regulation and very little information on app effectiveness, which can lead consumers to wonder which apps they should trust.” (affiliate link used)

Suicide prevention

“The most important thing to remember about suicidal thoughts is that they are symptoms of a treatable illness associated with fluctuations in the body’s and brain’s chemistry. They are not character flaws or signs of personal weakness, nor are they conditions that will just go away on their own. “

Thanks for joining me to tour the unique home of Ernest Hemingway, using photos I took myself.

Please consider helping support this blog by using my affiliates. You’ll find links in the side bars, on the home page, and on the resource page.

Thank you for following  and sharing Watercress Words.

always exploring the HEART of health ,  Dr. Aletha 

man and woman with Key West visitor sign
My husband and I upon arriving in Key West, Florida the farthest south city in the U.S.A.

Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief

Coping with grief during the holidays

 

 

Although this season brings  fun and festivities, many of our friendsgroup of lanterns

find it hard to feel joyful when their hearts are heavy with grief.

 

 

 

 

Whether from a  recent loss, or  one many years ago, grieving for the loved ones who won’t be here to celebrate with us can dampen our holiday spirit and  lead to depression. 

  • I think of my friend  who has lost both a sister and a son this year.
  • I remember my friends who tragically lost their teen aged daughter in a car wreck just a few days before Christmas many years ago.
  • I consider my medical colleague who is battling cancer.
  • My heart aches for my friends who lost a young aunt to an undiagnosed medical condition which suddenly proved fatal .
  • And my husband and I  still grieve the loss of our parents and siblings at Christmas even after many years.

 

As one friend wrote-

“This is my second Christmas without my husband.  It has been tough, but also a reminder that God is the god of all comfort. That works for me. And… it is a reminder to pray comfort to anyone who has faced a loss of a loved one including precious pets. Loss from any source needs a comforting friend.”

If you know someone who needs a “comforting friend”,  please take the time to reach out to them so they know someone cares and they are not alone.

Here is advice from Nancy Guthrie on

What to say to grieving people. 

“Honestly, the most painful thing is when you’ve had a loss and someone around you—because of the awkwardness — never acknowledges it. That’s what hurts the most.”

xmas house

On the Harvard Health Blog, Dr. Anthony Komaroff  advises on 

Coping with grief and loss during the holidays

 “Grief is not a tidy, orderly process, and there is no right way to grieve. Every person—and every family—does it differently. This can cause emotions to collide and overlap, especially during the holiday season when the emphasis is on rebirth and renewal.”

My family and I wish all of you health and wholeness in

body, mind and spirit.

man and woman in front of the Alamo at Christmas
My husband and I at the Alamo in San Antonio Texas at Christmas

 

More holiday tips from Watercress Words at these links-

How to anticipate and relieve holiday stress

Healthy holiday eating made easy

 

And please consider my affiliates and advertisers for your holiday gifts, your support helps  fund this blog and increase its value to you. Thank you!

6 Best Medical Books of the Past 75 Years

What are the best medical books written in the past 75 years? Here’s one opinion.

I need to tell you this post contains multiple affiliate links, both for your convenience and to help support this blog by the commission paid if you choose to use. Thank you.

 

I read the Parade magazine in my Sunday newspaper regularly (see previous post). To celebrate  75 years of publication,  the editors commissioned  author Ann Patchett to create a list of “The 75 Best Books of the Past 75 Years” .

 

As Ms. Patchett explained, she enlisted the help of the staff at Parnassus Books, a bookstore she owns in Nashville Tennessee. They limited their consideration  to books written in English. She calls the list a “mash-up that exemplifies the passionate convictions of 17 booksellers.”

 

Many of the books of the list are unfamiliar to me, but I recognized some well known classics like

Charlotte’s Web

The Old Man and the Sea

Fahrenheit 451

A Wrinkle in Time (a personal favorite of mine) 

Where the Wild Things Are

To Kill a Mockingbird, and

the Harry Potter series.

 

Although many books deal with birth and/or death to some extent, I searched the list for ones with a definite medical connection or theme that ran through most if not all of the book.  I’m sharing those with you here.(There might be others, these seemed most  obvious to me) . They are listed in chronological order by publication dates.  

 

Caution: Most of these discuss adult themes and issues which may not be appropriate for children or adolescents without adult guidance.

 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This is a novel about a woman with depression but is considered semi-autobiographical. The author , Sylvia Plath, a poet,  suffered from depression and died by suicide not long after publishing this book, her only novel. It was also made into a film.

 

 

 

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.

This may be more familiar to you as the same titled movie which won five major Academy Awards, including Best Actor  Jack Nicholson and Best Actress Louise Fletcher.

 The novel’s events take place in a psychiatric hospital and examines the treatment and mistreatment of patients in such facilities.

 

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA by James D. Watson, PhD.

 

the double helix molecule of DNA
used courtesy of skeeze on Pixabay

 

 

 

As the name implies, Dr. Watson wrote about his and Francis Crick’s discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. The book mostly ignored the contributions of Rosalind Franklin, who also worked on DNA, earning it criticism for this.

 

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Described as a young adult novel, it relates the story of  a female high school student who sinks into depression after being raped, which she is afraid to report to anyone.   

 

 

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

In this novel ,  Lucy, a young woman hospitalized with a mysterious illness for 9 weeks, receives a 5 day visit from her mother.   

 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, M.D.

A memoir by a neurosurgical resident who learns he is terminally ill. I have reviewed this book here. I would vote this as the best medical book. 

 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

 

Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief

 

xmas house

 

 

Although this season brings  fun and festivities, many of our friends  find it hard to feel joyful when their hearts are heavy with grief.

Whether from a  recent loss, or  one many years ago, grieving for the loved ones who won’t be here to celebrate with us can dampen our holiday spirit and  lead to depression. 

  • I think of my friend  and her adult children who recently lost their  husband and father.
  • I remember my friends who tragically lost their teen aged daughter in a car wreck just a few days before Christmas many years ago.
  • I consider my newly married friend who is battling cancer.
  • Another friend is struggling financially due to the downturn in his oil producing business.
  • And my husband and I  feel the loss of our parents and siblings at Christmas even after many years

As one friend wrote-

“This is my second Christmas without my husband.  It has been tough, but also a reminder that God is the god of all comfort. That works for me. And… it is a reminder to pray comfort to anyone who has faced a loss of a loved one including precious pets. Loss from any source needs a comforting friend.”

If you know someone who needs a “comforting friend”,  please take the time to reach out to them so they know someone cares and they are not alone.

Whatever your situation,  you may find some helpful suggestions in this article from the WebMD archives

Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief

My family and I wish all of you health and wholeness in

body, mind and spirit.

Merry Christmas from Dr. Aletha and Raymond
love from Dr. Aletha and Raymond