…check its records let’s begin. Party on party people let me hear some noise! DC’s in the house jump jump rejoice!!! There’s a party over here, a party over there…
I am excited to tell you about an event coming up in Seattle that Shauna is administrating as Alumni Outreach Coordinator at The Seattle School and where I will be speaking. It’s called Symposium: An Intersection of Conversation and Innovation.
Symposium were forums in ancient Greece for conversations between philosophers, poets, musicians, and leaders that would fuel innovation and imagination.
At the inaugural Symposia last year, Shauna spoke about “How Coding Trauma Into Language Impacts the Healing Process.” You can watch the video of her message here. And this year, I will be addressing “Metaphor in Psychotherapy: A Bridge Between Thinking & Feeling.”
To learn more about this event, including a list of the presenters and their topics, and how you can buy tickets to attend, please visit: http://theseattleschool.edu/event/symposia2016/?instance_id=29185
This event will also be webcast. So, stay tuned to our Facebook page for how you can participate from afar.
I am excited to be a part of this event hosted by my beloved graduate school, as well as tickled that Shauna and I get to participate in an event together. It’s been a long time since our shared youth group endeavors. Tag Team, it’s so good to be back again!
Friendlies! We are finally ready to release our first ever 3 Therapists Chat it Up Video Blog! It’s a little lengthy (a whole 28 minutes)…but we invite you to join us for an evening discussion about our blog name, the books we’re currently enjoying and our thoughts on community. Please excuse our technical glitches and our silliness (clearly we amuse ourselves and one another). Let us know what you think and what you’d like us to discuss in our next video chat.
*All quotes are from the book Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You by Richard O’Connor, Ph.D.
Suicide, the ‘worst case’ outcome of depression, is officially the tenth most common cause of death in America. There are 33,000 documented suicides annually, but the true incidence is probably double that (because police and medical examiners prefer not to label ambiguous, solitary deaths as suicide). One out of every two hundred people will eventually take their own lives. And although I personally think that suicide can sometimes be a rational choice for people who are in intractable pain or facing great disability, the vagueness of the boundary lines means that we have no reliable data on how many suicides are people who are really depressed, versus how many are ‘rational.’ My experience is that far, far more suicides are truly depressed. Among adolescents, the suicide rate has quadrupled in the past twenty-five years.
The internet is all abuzz with conversations revolving around the tragic passing of the beloved Robin Williams. I have read a whole wide range of posts today – some that spewed varying levels of indignation and ignorance regarding depression and suicide, but many more that exuded courage as individuals vulnerably detailed their own encounters with mental illness. So tonight I am compelled to add my voice to the many others, not as a therapist per se (though clearly my profession impacts my perspective), but as another person who has known depression intimately. From my own family history of depression and suicide attempts, a personal encounter with a single major depressive episode, to the recent loss of a dear friend – I am painfully aware of the impact of this particularly haunting mental illness.
As the above quote indicates, depression and suicide are a serious epidemic in our world today. It is a deeply complex and fascinating illness, that cannot be summed up in any single blog post, but that acknowledgment should not serve as an excuse to avoid the conversation altogether. And y’all, I think we all need to start really dialoguing about these issues. Dialoguing requires the capacity, first and foremost, to really listen – to learn from those who know the subject matter intimately. May we all let those who have been gripped most severely by the suffocating hand of depression and those who have walked along side the many who have suffered become our greatest teachers. We may discover that we all have a part in perpetuating a culture and climate that primes the soil for such an illness to thrive.
Stressful jobs lead to a marked increase in major depression and anxiety disorders in previously healthy young people. Instead of a cooperative world where your life’s value is defined by how well you contribute to your community, we have a competitive society that tries to measure your value by your income and possessions. Instead of a world of social ties and ritual that provides security in virtually every aspect of your life, we have a world of me-first. Instead of the sense of belonging to a community, we have the anxiety of unemployment and homelessness. So for the past twenty-five years in both the United States and Europe, rates of anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders have been accelerating every year; in 2006, Americans spent an estimated $76 billion a year on antidepressants. Now health authorities predict that soon depression will be the world’s second largest public health concern.
…Mental health is dependent on society; the culture must give parents the opportunity to love their children; must honor justice and fair play; must provide hope through opportunities available to all. Thus the world of work, the family , and the larger community all affect not only the current state of mind of the individual but the ability of the individual ever to achieve a state of emotional health.
As many of us are lamenting over that fact that mental illness still carries such a deeply rooted stigma (which often leads to a shame that can completely obstruct one’s journey towards healing) and many more are crying out for an increase and improvent in mental health services and resources, I am left wondering how the world might look different if we embraced a “village mentality.” Perhaps we are not as powerless as we might feel in the face of the darkness that is depression. The often burried idealist in me longs to believe that as a society, or a community, or a church, or a neighborhood, or a family, we can become a safe place for those suffering in an internal isolation. Because the truth is, we’re ALL in need of a much safer world.
Margot’s story has had a significant impact on others. This was evident through the comments on the blog, social media, and the personal conversations that have taken place since she shared. Through her vulnerability, we have witnessed almost a communal act. The way this new community supported and engaged Margot’s story was beautiful. Even though most of our stories differ from hers, we all seem to have formed a connection through her sharing. A huge thank you to Margot for gifting us with her story.
A Message for Margot;
Your willingness to share has inspired so many. Some you know, but many you don’t. We would love to honor you and highlight just a few of the comments that were made as a result of you sharing. Thank you for inviting us into a portion of your story. Thank you for touching our lives.
- This is amazing! Thank you Margot! I now better understand the friend I want to be to my friends who share your battle! Thank you! -Stefanie
- I love how connected I feel to Margot, even though I have not gone through anything similar. Her story has touched my life. Thank you for sharing it. -Courtney
- Beautiful, she sounds amazing!!!! -Kacey
- It amazes me how close I can feel to someone I don’t know. Thank you Margot for sharing your story, because I felt like you shared mine. I hope I can bless someone like you have blessed me. -Jennifer
- My niece was recently diagnosed with MS and I wish I would have read this long before, and I would have listened more. Thank you for teaching me so much about love. God Bless you. -Beth
- I’m sorry for your diagnosis Margot. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with CIDP. It is a disease similar to MS, but it affects only the peripheral nerves. I currently use a cane. These diseases are very scary, and I will pray that you will be restored to full health. -Abigail
- In tears reading the story of my best friend Margot! She has endured so many hardships in this life, yet has allowed it to make her stronger! She is such a light in my life and such a constant support and encourager! She continues to love others well admits her personal struggles and her wittiness creates infectious laughter whenever you’re in her presence! Love you Margot! Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing your story! -Olivia
- Inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story! -Heather
- Margot. You are an inspiration to so many people! Thank you for sharing your story. I am so proud if you. -Patty