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Here’s something you probably know by now: Depression hits the invisible illness community hard. While less than 10% of the general population has one or more major depressive episodes per year, one-third of people who live with chronic illnesses deal with depression, and half of those with autoimmune diseases experience depression-like symptoms. Yeah, those statistics pretty much say it all, don’t they? In short: if you have this mood disorder, you. are. not. alone. Emphasis necessary! How do you know if what you’re feeling is depression, and it’s not just a case of the blues? Depression is often diagnosed based on criteria listed in the DSM-5, a diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association. Check it out to learn more! Common symptoms of depression include sadness, a flat mood, and a loss of interest in things that used to excite you. If you’re also not eating right, not sleeping well, feeling fatigue, having a hard time concentrating, or having feelings of worthlessness or guilt, you could be sliding into depression. Depression sometimes also bring intrusive thoughts of death or suicide, symptoms that qualify as an emergency—and it’s very important to get help ASAP. If it’s hard to reach out for help on your own, ask a family member or friend you trust to support you in getting that help. It can be incredibly hard to keep your spirits up when you’re dealing with a chronic illness, for all kinds of reasons. In addition to the illness itself and the side effects of treatment, being sick can affect your mobility and independence, and can change the way you live, your self-perception, and the way others see you. To pile on, your condition can make you feel physically depressed. Immune system fluctuations, for example, can affect the brain and lead to behavior abnormalities, including fatigue and depression-like symptoms. And, let’s face it, being ill can be a lonely journey—if we let it be! Too many of us focus on our primary diagnosis while letting depression go untreated…until we’re feeling much worse. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Depression is treatable. The first step—and it can be a hard one—is asking for help. There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for this condition. If your symptoms are severe enough, hospitalization or inpatient treatment may be recommended. More common treatments include antidepressants (check out our entry in the WanaLibrary), talk therapy, or a combination of both. There are also natural remedies and self-care options to explore, including exercise, relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, guided imagery, and music therapy. St. John’s wort, an herbal supplement popular for depression, might be effective for some people. There’s also research to support kava, 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), and SAM-e supplements. If you’re feeling shame about having depression, or you’ve been reluctant to get help for any reason, know this: Both of those are common sentiments, but help is out there, and by talking about your experience and seeking treatment, you’re helping to break down the stigma that has needlessly hurt others in your shoes. It’s hard, but through it all, we promise that your WanaFam has got your back.

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Books about Depression


You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety and Depression Hardcover

Fans of Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, Introvert Doodles by Maureen Marzi Wilson, and the works of Liz Climo will love You Can Do All Things. Daily meditations to help with depression and anxiety: Mental health is a topic that affects everyone, though so few are eager to discuss it. You Can Do All Things is a compendium of knowing-yet-supportive illustrations from The Latest Kate, whose thoughtful quotations encourage the reader to be mindful of their own mentality and to take care of themselves, regardless of image or lifestyle. Calming and supportive, the illustrations are also candid about the internal problems many people face in this hectic modern world. Inspirational, gentle drawings of animals: The Latest Kate's inventive pairing of whimsical colors and friendly, smiling animals is the spoonful of sugar that makes the heavy subject matter approachable and non-threatening. You Can Do All Things is a welcome addition to any bookshelf or art wall, and its messages are equally applicable to adults and children. In this book you’ll find: Beautiful, whimsical, and colorful art Expressions of encouragement for any hardship you face A how-to guide for dealing with anxiety and depression Understanding and validation for your struggles Cute animals that believe in you! Tips for every time you feel inadequate, overwhelmed, or down on yourself Anxiety sucks, but you don’t. This book will show you how to get through the worst of it. Art for mental health, relaxation and stress reduction.

Podcasts about Depression


Broken Brain with Dhru Purohit: Psychedelics: Treating Addiction, Depression and Anxiety with Dr. Roland Griffiths

Psychedelics were the subject of serious medical research in the 1940s to the 1960s, when many scientists believed some of the mind-bending compounds held tremendous therapeutic promise for treating a number of conditions including severe mental health problems and alcohol addiction. By the mid-60s, research into psychedelics was shut down for decades. After the blackout ended, the doctor we have on the podcast today was among the first to initiate a new series of studies on psilocybin—the psychoactive compound in “magic” mushrooms. On today’s Broken Brain Podcast, our host, Dhru, talks to Dr. Roland Griffiths, a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has conducted extensive research with sedative-hypnotics, caffeine, and novel mood-altering drugs. In 1999, he initiated a research program at Johns Hopkins investigating the effects of the classic hallucinogen psilocybin that includes studies of psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experiences in healthy volunteers, psilocybin-facilitated treatment of psychological distress in cancer patients, psilocybin-facilitated treatment of cigarette smoking cessation, psilocybin effects in beginning and long-term meditators, and psilocybin effects in religious leaders. In this episode, Dhru and Dr. Griffiths talk about his extensive research with psilocybin in the treatment of psychological distress in cancer patients and cigarette smoking cessation. They discuss the connection between psilocybin, spirituality, and consciousness. They also talk about psychedelics and their potential for treating conditions ranging from drug and alcohol dependence to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. In this episode, we dive into: -The connection between psychedelics, spirituality, and consciousness (7:48) -The history of psychedelic research (8:28) -The reintroduction of psychedelic research by Dr. Roland Griffiths and others (12:27) -Why research participants rated their psychedelic experience as one of their most meaningful (16:36) -What is happening in the brain when using psychedelics (23:39) -How psychedelics can help us understand altered states of consciousness (29:09) -The therapeutic benefits of psilocybin for the treatment of addiction (40:16) -How a single dose of psilocybin substantially diminished depression and anxiety in cancer patients (44:52) -The future of psychedelics (48:07) -The downside and risks of psychedelics (56:14) -Learn more about Dr. Roland Griffiths and his work (1:00:24)


Broken Brain: Depression and Trauma: Looking Beyond Medications

Trauma comes in several forms and may be felt and held deeply in many different parts of the body. Whether it’s trauma experienced in childhood or a shock to the system from a car accident or act of violence, integrative psychiatrist Dr. Omid Naim, tells us “We can completely recover from trauma.” Did you hear that? We have hope. Today, host of the Broken Brain Podcast, Dhru, sits down with Dr. Naim from Hope Integrative Psychiatry and La Maida Institute in Los Angeles, CA to discuss many topics that penetrate us to our cores. They discuss the nature of community and why it’s important, including how Dr. Naim has ditched his car and has become comfortable asking for rides from time to time. They also dig into the controversial topic of treating depression by using a variety of modalities - and digging into the root cause of the depression - rather than using medications alone or as the only option. In this episode, we dive into:-The importance of community and social connection (4:31)-Sharing rides in a city that drives (7:54)-What is integrative psychiatry? (13:27)-A woman’s story of depression (17:45)-The challenge of starting with meds first (25:42)-Digging in to find the root of the problem (29:28)-Dr. Omid’s approach with his patients (32:16)-Integrative medicine is not the standard of care (36:15)-The types of trauma (39:48)-Tools to help release trauma (49:21)-Daily routines that create new patterns (50:43)-How can we connect with others in community (56:40)-Where can I find Dr. Naim online? (1:01:57)

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