Child looking out window at rain

How Does Depression Affect Your Children?

A reader asked me recently about how his depression might affect his children. He knew he had put his wife through hell and didn’t want to have the same thing happen to their kids. He was even wondering if there were parents who had thought about not getting married and not having children because of the harm they might cause. When I find other parents talking about this online, they’re [...] Read the rest»

open horizon at sea

A Never-Ending Family Story Has to End

My never-ending family story has always been a hard scene in which I am very young and small and terrified. I’m staring at my parents and brother locked in combat. There may be no action, it usually flashes at me in tableau form, but there is plenty of rage, fear and hurt. There is a pause between shouts, threats, perhaps punches, hands at a throat, something grabbed and about to [...] Read the rest»

Boy hiding from light

The Love Hidden in Family Depression

I’ve written about emotional abuse in my boyhood and a family history of depression as big contributors to my own illness, but recently I’ve spent more time reconnecting with the things that went right all those years ago rather than dwelling only on what went wrong. The positive side is simply the love that has always been there. Feeling it is a powerful force for recovering life. There is so [...] Read the rest»

man walking routine with suitcase

Getting to Work When Depressed

Simply getting to work when you’re depressed can feel like an impossible task. Dealing with people in the workplace and doing the most basic parts of the job seem to take more energy than you have. The routine becomes hard labor, and the stress and depression feed off each other. Over the past year, several readers have added their stories of frustration, even desperation about trying to survive in their [...] Read the rest»

Smoke from Wild Fire

Compassion for a Burned Man

I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary that evening, but I wound up in the hospital with a burned hand and, at least in retrospect, a little insight about compassion. It started after work one day when I had just sat down at the kitchen table with a glass of water to stare at the mail. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my 5 year-old son [...] 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»

Boy standing by a frozen river

The Costly Mercy of Lost Feelings

I’ve been working on a new ebook about recovery and came across this early post on lost feelings. It resonated with me so I thought I would post it again in this revised version. A breakthrough to healing can come at the most unexpected time. The other night I was trying to divert myself by watching a mystery episode from an old British series. Instead of taking my mind off [...] Read the rest»

Worried girl crouching in corner

Finding Safe Haven from Childhood Fear

A psychiatrist friend once summarized a basic tendency he saw in children from their earliest years. He said that a child could grow up either trusting the people and world he lived in or feeling insecure and uncertain about them. A child would either feel safe or unsafe, and a lot depended on this basic emotional orientation. He told me about one of his neighbors, a boy about two and [...] Read the rest»