snow shadows

How Setting Boundaries Helped Me Heal

My getting depressed after the cancer operation almost did us in. It was the blow that forced my wife to remind me of the boundaries I couldn’t afford to ignore. I had been in high spirits for the operation and right through the recovery period. My wife and I had been especially close during that time. I had healed, emotionally and physically, with her support and love. We had been [...] Read the rest»

Water Girl by a Stream

The Limits of Care-Giving for Depression

A family member’s care-giving for depression can shift from hope to frustration if the initial expectations are unrealistically high. The film Phoebe in Wonderland is about a young girl with a compulsive disorder and also about the mother who tries to cure her with love. The mother, brilliantly played by Felicity Huffman, blames herself as the child’s behavior gets worse and worse. She rejects an OCD diagnosis, convinced that her [...] Read the rest»

Hedy Schleifer TedTalk 350

Couples Therapy and Relationships: Hedy Schleifer

In the world of couples therapy, there seem to be a few people who are known world-wide as masters of the trade. Hedy Schleifer is one of them. You may not have heard of her before, since she hasn’t written any books about her approach. I was introduced to her work through a video interview in which she explains her approach at length. She believes that we seek out “incompatible” [...] Read the rest»

Holding hands in negative image

When Holding Hands Is Hard to Do

The first time our two oldest sons, at ages 3 and 4.5, went for a walk without their parents, I learned something about love and trust. My wife and I had decided to let them walk a short distance up the hill from our house to a play area. They had insisted this was no big deal. Here was another thing they could do on their own without their mom [...] Read the rest»

Ebook cover image

The Surviving Depression Together Ebook Is Now Available

I’m pleased to announce that the first Storied Mind ebook is now available. Surviving Depression Together contains new versions of more than 20 posts on relationships published here over the past five years as well as completely new content and material previously published only in the newsletter. It has all been edited and organized into a smoothly flowing reading experience. Here is an excerpt from the introduction: “I’ve been married [...] Read the rest»

green abstract

Revisiting: Removing Barriers to Closeness

This is a new version of an early post about how my wife and I were able to keep our relationship together despite the impact of depression. It discusses a therapeutic approach to emotional awareness that draws on the ideas about acceptance I’m now exploring. More than 20 years ago I stopped believing my own fantasies of finding happiness by leaving my marriage. I could see that those dreams were [...] Read the rest»

Importance of trust in relationships

John Gottman on Trust in Relationships

John Gottman’s recent work on trust (presented in The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples) is a helpful resource for couples trying to deal with depression. These two brief videos are excerpts from a talk Gottman gave at the Greater Good Science Center. They provide an insightful introduction to some of the major themes of his work. After decades of close observation of married couples, Gottman and his colleagues [...] Read the rest»

Relationship trap

11 Relationship Traps of Depression

Depression sets relationship traps for both partners. Everything can change quickly between two people, and it’s crucial to be able to spot these changes as soon as possible. Here are 11 signs of the illness that seem perfectly designed to undo the bonds of closeness. Humor, talking and doing things together, sharing special moments – they’re all gone. In their place are avoidance, anger, blame and isolation. Two Sides of [...] Read the rest»