About

Welcome to Storied Mind. I’m John Folk-Williams, the site’s writer and jack-of-all-trades. My motive in setting up this website is to share with you the ideas, stories and information that have helped me get free of depression and restart my life.

There are many good websites offering the guidance and expertise of professional mental health providers, and several are listed in the Information Websites section. The concern here is different. It’s about the experience of people like you and me who know what depression is like because we’ve lived with it for years. We need to learn what we can do on our own and how we can support each other.

How can we use professional guidance to get better? What do we do if the treatments don’t work? How can we help ourselves to become vital human beings again? What can we learn from each other? What can we hope for?

You and I need answers to those questions – and a hundred others. I believe a lot of healing takes place when people who have lived with depression tell their stories to each other.

Those stories are what this site is all about. I hope you’ll get involved by adding your ideas, by suggesting helpful resources and by sharing your own experience. Since the site is intended to be a helpful resource, I hope you’ll let me know how it can be improved to meet your needs most effectively.

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You can find a short version of my recovery story here. If you want to read more of my posts, you can check out the ones I’ve written for Health Central. More recently, I’ve started contributing to MentalHelp.Net.

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PLEASE NOTE: This site does not offer medical or therapeutic advice or step by step methods claiming to cure. The purpose is not to make suggestions to you about your treatment – that is between you and the professionals you consult.

All the original writing and images are copyright protected and cannot be used without explicit permission, except for fair use of brief excerpts with links back to this site.

18 Responses to “About”

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  1. As a longtime sufferer of Depression who has persevered and has not let the illness define me, I am glad to find a place where the uplifting stories and comments have a place.

  2. Cyndee says:

    Hi John,

    God Bless you for creating this wonderful library and support system for all who are silently struggling within their circle, and really trying hard to navigate the seas of life. I, too struggle and it is such a blessing that you have created this site.

    Thank you ever so much.

    Cyndee

  3. Pat says:

    May God Bless you, John!!

  4. Pat says:

    Hi
    I am new to this site. I have recently decided that I want to taper off antidepressants ( Effexor XR 75mg and Trazodone 50mg) I have been in recovery from alcohol for 22 years and reading on your blogs, I have come to see that this is the place for me! I liken it to my AA recovery, first I just wanted to stop drinking, then the pain to go away, then to find joy in my life. The medical community and numerous others have had me believe that I will always have to take pills to ward off Anxiety, Panic, Depression since the 80s!! I have a lot of health issues at 57 years old, which all tests show no cause of. GI problems, joint pain, back pain etc etc etc. I recently found a chiropractor who is teaching me about nutrition while helping to alleviate my pains. I want to find out if many of these ailments go away once I am off of these meds!! Naturally, I am n fear of all of the darkness again, but many many times they happen to some degree even while I am on these meds. The answer of upping my meds does not always work and eventually I still sink back down anyway… I want to find some peace, serenity and joy within me without these drugs!!!! It has been 30 years of being told that will never happen. I am beginning to finally disagree. I want to read more inspiring success stories and share my journey as well… Thank you all for being here!!!!!
    Pat

  5. Randi says:

    Dear John,

    In recent weeks I have been researching male depression having felt the blow it strikes after ending a relationship with someone whom I thought was ‘the one’ for me. Your website is one of the best I’ve seen in providing useful and insightful information – thank you for all the work you do to help so many people.

    I’m a 52 year old woman and feel as though I have taken my lumps in life and gained a great deal of wisdom and clarity from them. Six months ago I met a 60 year old physician who I really thought was the person I belonged with. However, as the months ticked by his depression (he told me on our first date that he was a ‘glass half empty’ kind of person…red flag) started taking over our relationship and causing the usual problems. He was able to discuss it at times but was still very much stuck in the negative patterns he had been in for over 20 years (27 years of a ‘miserable’ marriage). So, since I had to step away from him, he has still been reaching out to me telling me he misses me and loves me….but on the other hand shooting frequent angry barbs at me and acting like a victim . Thus, while I have made it clear to him that I cant deal with him unless he makes his mental health his primary focus, he still hasnt done anything. He has started medication, but of course claims it doesnt help him. I’m at a loss as to what to do. I want to maintain the hope that he can heal and that we can be together again someday. But at the same time, his anger and depression are having the typical effects on me and, I am also losing hope and faith in his ability to heal. I’m seeing a therapist and doing everything to take care of myself. However I am getting the instinct that I just need to give up on him rather keep myself on the roller-coaster ride with his behavior. How does one know when she needs to give up?

    Many thanks ,

    Randi

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Randi -

      I”m sorry to hear about the frustration you’ve had to live with in this relationship. It sounds like you are doing all you can do. I don’t know what it is that finally convinces some people to get all the help they need, while others refuse in spite of the fact that are not happy with their lives. As to how you know when to give up – maybe if it feels instinctively like the question is “when” rather than “if,” the process is well underway?

      Thank you for writing about your experience here.

      All my best to you –

      John

    • jay wallace says:

      This is not critical and I don’t know you, but everyone is a victim of this society, world etc. At 50 or 60 years old we have been victimized countless times over-some people get over it and some don’t
      Some couples just cant get along. If someone really loves you-it shows and you must decide what is best. Let them know what causes you heartache and that it cant be tolerated, then move on if you must.

  6. Helen says:

    I have been to many sites on the web and have found yours to have many useful insights, thank you so much. I have suffered from depression since my early teens and have recently found out that my mother had problems with my delivery, and that I was a forceps delivery after a prolonged labour. I wondered if you had come across or knew of any studies being done relating mental health problems to birth difficulties. I’m sure nothing is so simple and we are all looking for reasons why when there probably aren’t any beyond random genetics but I do wonder at the proliferation of mental health problems in young people when babies are so big and often go beyond projected delivery dates. Not expecting anything concrete from this enquiry, but you seem like such an interesting and interested person, I thought it might be worth asking. Thanks again for providing such a useful contact point and continue to thrive through what you do, it is truly worthwhile and I hope you get some benefit from the positive vibes you propagate.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      HI, Helen -

      No, I haven’t found anything about birth difficulties – but genetics do play a role. Having certain genes only creates a potential for a condition to develop, and more is being discovered all the time about the convergence of stress, trauma, relationships, the immune system and neurobiology in the development of depression, as well as other illnesses. My lay opinion is that it has more to do with repeated stresses and experiences rather than one-time events, but that’s only because of my history with the illness. We just don’t know and have to keep trying new ways to cope with illness – or, as some suggest, to broaden our comfort zones so that we can live with depression rather than trying so hard to get rid of it.

      Thanks for your kind words – my best to you.

      John

  7. Teresa says:

    John,
    Thank you so much for giving me hope. I was at my breaking point and found peace with your works. It means alot to me to have a voice.My voice is not worthy of being heard in my relationship with my husband. I can’t even begin to explain how much it has helped to know I’m not alone. When I feel like falling apart I have a safe place to let that out. I look forward to hearing the stories of others and watching others hopefully heal as I will hopefully be healing also.
    Teresa

  8. Tom says:

    Hi John,
    Many thanks for all you do to provide resources and stories and inspiration.

    I wonder whether you and the network of caring people affiliated here have seen any research, stories, writing etc. about the value of taking care of others and service as a way to temper depression?

    Hope all is well

    Peace be with you

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Tom -

      There is a lot of material about the value of service to others as a major step in recovery. Viktor Frankl was probably the first to emphasize the importance of finding purpose beyond your own interests as an essential aspect of a meaningful life. David Karp has some insights about this in his book Speaking of Sadness. I believe Martin Seligman devotes a good part of his new book to this – it’s called Flourish. I’ll look around to find especially good stories and articles. This is one of those subjects that gets lip service but rarely a probing discussion.

      Hope all is well.

      John

  9. Dan Lukasik says:

    John – thanks so much for this engaging site which goes far beyond the typical fare on the web in its discussion and dialogue about depression. I am a lifelong depressin sufferer. I was diagnosed with depresison when I turned 40 and am now 50. I created a website and blog four years ago to help fellow law students, lawyers and judges who struggled with depression like me. Studies show that twenty percent, or twice the rate of the general population, of lawyers suffer from depression – about 200,000 out of 1 million. The statistics are even worse for law students. About forty percent will have a issue with depression at some point during their three years in law school or about 60,000 out of this country’s 150,000 law students. While the site started out just for legal professionals, it’s grown to be a place just about for anybody who struggles with depression, stress, anxiety and the search for meaning in one’s life. Your writing is really such an encouragement to me John to keep writing about depression. Sometimes, I feel like giving up either because of my depression or because I don’t know if I am really doing something worthwhile. But it’s really heartening to read your words. Thanks very much, Dan

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Dan -

      I found your site about the time you set it up, and I think you’ve done an incredible service by bringing the issue into the open. It’s amazing how many people suddenly feel they can talk about a problem they’ve kept hidden once someone takes that courageous first step of saying – I’m in your situation, and it’s OK to talk about depression. You’re not alone.

      The damn thing about depression is how it convinces us that whatever we do can’t be worth much – so what’s the point, why keep going, etc, etc. It’s wonderfully encouraging to hear that you’ve found this site helpful, but I hope you’ll be able to see how valuable your work is too.

      Thanks for all you’ve done.

      John

  10. PAT says:

    I am interested in referring to your site in a blog I have listing mental health resources in Chesterfield County, VA. The blog is 99% links. Is that acceptable to you? Your site is a great resource! Thanks

  11. Jane Chin says:

    Hi John! Came to this site through Storied Mind – what a great concept and I’ll spend some time to look around.

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