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»

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»

Anna Paquin

10 Top Movies about Depression and Bipolar

Posts reviewing movies about depression are consistently among the top pages visited on this site. That fact surprised me, though I suppose it shouldn’t have. For all the insight I gain through reading, I connect instantly with a good dramatic portrayal of someone struggling with emotional pain and dysfunction. It’s encouraging to discover more and more films that present characters with depression and bipolar disorder sensitively but also with powerful [...] 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»

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»

stories of mindfulness, loneliness and medicine

The Healing Stories of Rachel Naomi Remen

I keep coming back to the stories of Rachel Naomi Remen, and this video of one of her lectures reminds me what I value in her work. While advocates of the new medicine have been revolutionizing the paradigm of medical practice, Remen is one of those physicians who has changed many lives by applying these ideas in her unique way. She tells stories. She is a physician, teacher, story-teller and [...] Read the rest»

power of vulnerability video

Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability

Brene Brown’s video on vulnerability hit me where I breathe. That simple. She touches on most of the themes – other than depression itself – that I’ve struggled with and written about for years. The big ones for me are shame, fear, the courage to step into life without knowing what to expect – the courage to be vulnerable. She weaves them into her warm and funny style of presenting [...] Read the rest»

Stone Statue of Man's Face

I Can’t Let You In

Depression isn’t a one-time disaster in a life relationship. You think you’re through the great crisis. You’re both relieved to have the burden lifted, but little by little you feel the weight pressing down again. It’s back. It will disappear again and then come back again. It kept coming back to me and my wife for decades, and each time it did I became the absent, distant, irritable – or [...] Read the rest»