Is depression just a mindset or is it just a chemical imbalance?


This titles a tease, because it’s both. But the internet has been arguing about it lately, so I thought I would roll up my sleeves and dive one in.

This argument has been around for a few years now, it’s been talked about enough that I felt the need to put a disclaimer on my “How to Embrace a Happy Life” post that talked about how beating depression isn’t as simple as choosing to be happy, even though there really shouldn’t have been a way to get that from the post.

People who fight depression have gotten sick of hearing those kind of lines, which is completely understandable. What isn’t understandable is the argument that depression is only a chemical imbalance that doesn’t have much to do with mindset.

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I was bullied to attempted suicide. Here’s what I think about the Michelle Carter case:


Now that I’ve decided to add a mental health section to this blog I’ve been trying to keep it from taking over. I have a lot to talk about, but I don’t want it to be the main point of this blog. Still, this is one news story that I couldn’t really back away from. It hits a little close to home and it’s pretty main stream.

In middle school I was bullied very badly, to the point I was pulled out of school (I didn’t technically finish 8th grade before I moved on to high school) and put into a private school for the following year simply to get me away from the classmates I was with. It was not a good time, all three years I was horribly depressed. I got pulled from school because I told my mom I was suicidal (more on that choice here).

One line that haunted me was “I heard you were suicidal, but I guess you couldn’t even kill yourself right.”

I mean YIKES. So needless to say I have thoughts on the Michelle Carter story, a story that is 100xs worse than mine was and ultimately lead to the death of  a teenage boy.

You can read the full news story here if you haven’t already, but it has a lot more to do than simply telling someone they should kill themselves. I’m not going to go into all the details though, because plenty of people already have. Instead I’m going to go into my thoughts on it.

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An Open Letter to those Struggling with Depression and Suicidal Thoughts:


I wanted to start this letter with “you are loved” and “it will get better” but those are messages you read all the time and right now it doesn’t matter how many times you read them you will not believe them, it’s not just hard for you to, it’s almost impossible for you too. That is what illness does to your brain. It makes it impossible to see the good.

I’ve been really depressed twice in my life, both for different reasons. The first time was in middle school, after three years of social torture and a ton of bullying I was so depressed my parents pulled me out of the 8th grade because I was suicidal. Then again, when I was 16, because my medication for my bipolar disorder was bringing some serious health issues along with it. I was removed from the medication and fell into depression because of my disorder. So, one was triggered by events and one was triggered purely by my brain. One kind is not better than the other.

Instead of telling you about your situation I’m going to tell you about mine. I would have missed proms, weddings, graduations. I would have missed reuniting with one of my past best friends. I would have missed saving three different lives from taking themselves. I would have missed two different years that at the time I proudly proclaimed “I’ve never been happier in my life.”

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The Past and the Matter of Perspective:


When I have something bad happen to me my mind changes the way it looks at things, and it changes for the worse. One bad thing leads my mind to all the other bad things that I have had happen in my life. It makes me look back at my pain and think: this is more than normal. Or worse it makes me think: there has been more of this then there has been of the good.

It gets dangerous when that second thought surfaces, because it leads me into the kind of sadness that lasts for days. A kind of self-pity and resignation that just isn’t healthy. It changes my perspective and makes a single negative worth a life time of negatives. It’s a kind of mindset that can alter your life if you hang onto it for too long.

I’ve been in and out of this state for the last few months. Recovering from Lyme and Mono hasn’t been easy, and sometimes it drags me down emotionally.

So how do you shake it? It seems almost impossible when you are sitting under it.

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Internally Happy.


I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness recently, about what it means, how to get it, and how to keep it. I’ve even been reading about it.

Happiness is achievable, we’ve all been happy before. We know it’s real, we know we’ll feel it again. The problem with happiness is it never seems to last as long as we want it too. In fact, it often feels fleeting.

When people say they want happiness in life, they mean for life. And that’s a tall order, in fact, it’s impossible. But still, here we are wanting. So what can we do to hang onto happiness longer, or at least regain it quickly after it leaves?

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8 Productive Self-Care Steps for when You’re Feeling Down

Self CareWe’ve seen a lot about self-care lately, and I love that the internet is supporting it, but I feel like self-care is more than wrapping yourself in blankets and binge watching netflix while drinking tea. Sometimes taking care of yourself is less about relaxing and more about doing.

It’s hard to get going when you feel like you’d rather sleep for five years instead, so here are my steps to get you going and to get you producing- even in times like this.

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Depression, why you should talk about it:

In the eighth grade, I tried to kill myself. I was bullied to the point I believed them when they said I was a waste of life. There’s no nice way to say that. I say it casually now, because it’s made me so much stronger and I’ve a hundred percent accepted it for what it was, a terrible trial, that had to happen in order for me to grow. I’m not afraid to talk about it, and I don’t think we should be. We live in a culture that doesn’t want to talk about depression, we want to give people the answer they are looking for, we want to avoid the long talks.

How are you? Fine.

We always say fine, even if we are crumbling, even if we are falling apart and don’t know how to stop it. We don’t want to bother people, we don’t think we have reasons to be sad. The internet world (tumblr, per-say) are trying to take this by storm. They’re trying to revolutionize the way the world looks at depression. The problem is they’re trying to diagnose people with depression. They’re trying to set a normal and not normal scale to happy and sadness, and it doesn’t work like that. Everyone is different, and everyone who is sad is not depressed.

Having said that, they do have one thing right, and that that we shouldn’t live in fear of “bothering people” with our emotions, we shouldn’t hide them in a corner and never show them. You shouldn’t say “I shouldn’t feel this way” because guess what, whether or not you should you do, and that means something. There are big problems with hiding emotions, and here are the biggest one:

Nobody can help you if they don't know you are struggling.

Had I not told my mother I was depressed I’d be dead at this very moment. I’m the happiest I have ever been in my life, and this empire, this great thing that I have created of myself wouldn’t even exist had I not asked for help. Realize will you, that I hid the fact that I was depressed and being bullied for three whole years. I didn’t want to bother people and I was ashamed.

Which is more important, I ask you: your life or your pride. Your life. Your life. Your life. You can’t have pride if you aren’t alive, and the people who you wished not to bother, they will be more bothered by your death than by your depression. Even if you feel like nobody will notice, you should know that you’re lying to yourself. Everyone has something. You know how when someone dies everyone says “she deserved so much more” or “she will be missed so much” or “she meant so much to this community” or “the family will never be the same”. You hear it every time someone dies, and that includes those who end their own life. After I told people about my attempt their first response was “thank God you didn’t, you’re such a great, talented, beautiful person who deserves the world, and I don’t know what I’d do if I’d lost you.” and my first response when they said that used to be nothing, but now it’s “I know.”

And if your depression doesn’t end in suicide?

You’re left with a big dark secret that is liable to haunt you and return. It’s been proven that most people who have been depressed to the point of being suicidal will be quicker to turn to that option if ever depressed again. So its important that we let people know, so they can help you notice the signs if it ever stops coming back. It’s important to let people know so that they can make you do what helped you last time even if you feel like it won’t this time.