#613: How do I reach out to my friends who have depression?


I’ve been thinking, on and off, about writing about depression… but there are so many great pieces out there that talk about what it is, what it isn’t, how to help de-stigmatize it and what you can do for those who are struggling with it. I’m not sure (yet) what I would contribute. So for now, I’m going to share this piece I just came across that I found pretty excellent.

Originally posted on Captain Awkward:

Today is a weird, sad day in social medialand and also with various life stuff and brain chemistry stuff and street harassment. To be honest, I have been crying or on the verge of crying off and on for the last 20 hours with occasional breaks for sleep and a much needed breakfast and movie (a movie …that made me cry) with a friend this morning. I almost started crying in the Apple Store a little while ago when I thought I’d have to pay $80 for a new power cable, and then I really cried when it was under warranty and it was free and this big bear of a man was so nice to me and didn’t call attention to the crying and just gently handled my transaction. Crying is good, btw. It’s better than numbness, avoidance. But this question is well-timed.

Dear Captain Awkward,

This has…

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If We Were Having Coffee…

Today let’s meet at one of my favorite coffee shops, I have a few and I don’t make it to any of them as often as I’d like.  I’ll settle back with my fru-fru latte… because it feels like a flavored latte kind of day.

How’s your week been?  Any fun plans for this holiday weekend (if it is a holiday weekend for you)?  I am just going to write, and chat online with some friends… it will be awesome.

It’s been a strange week, ups and downs.  Some of it is not worth going into, passing frustrations and the like.  But it started out fun, and ended with many reminders of the really amazing friends I have — some of whom are going through some tough times.  Prayers, or good thoughts, or whatever your own method of sending positive energy into the world and to people in need, would be most welcome.

So, the week started out with one of those moments that I imagine, someday, I might be able to wrangle into a plot premise.  Seriously, if you look over my life I have all these snippets that could serve as great fodder for chick-lit, or rom-com… well, except that they don’t ever follow through in the way that you would expect from such genre’s.

 I was telling my friends the other night that I had started to write a fictional piece, inspired by where I am currently in my life — they very quickly gave me the impression that no one would be fooled that it was fictional, and they would all start trying to figure out who they were (or rather, would know immediately), so I might as well just write it like it is.  Except, “like it is” is seriously missing an ending because, well, I’m living it now.  Oh well.  I’ll continue to gather bits and pieces and scenes and ideas and figure out what (if anything) I want to do with them.

In that vein, here is what happened on Monday.

Pretty much all of the friends I have where I am living right now are people I have known for over half my life — the ones I get together most regularly being my friends from High School.  We were an unusually connected group, and other than a few rifts here and there, there is still a core crew that can usually be counted on to be around and there for you if you need them.  Sure, it’s a bit more complicated now, many of the group are married/partnered and/or have children.  Lots have moved out of the area, some a few hours drive, others a plane ride (until about a year ago I think I was the farthest flung of the crowd, being a 5+ hour plane ride away).

So, Monday at lunch I get a text message and a phone call from M, asking me if I can help her with a scheme.   See, J is getting married in a few weeks, and he’d sort of planned a girls night out with M that night (J’s always been “one of the girls”).  M wanted to see if we couldn’t get together a little group for a fun bachelor-party/girls-night-out.  Of course I was game!  Sure, I felt sick, and my weeknight schedule is normally get home, make dinner, write a bit and go to bed.  But J only get’s married once (hopefully! S is pretty awesome), so some sort of celebration needed to be done.

Facebook and text-messaging occurred throughout the afternoon, and were were able to establish that A could come along as well — unfortunately on such short notice it was hard to get many others together, and I didn’t even try the ones who would have had to drive hours to make it.  But, J, M, A and myself makes a pretty fun little group.

Did I mention that J was my high-school boyfriend/first love?  Yeah, that’s the piece that reeks of rom-com/chick-lit.  Except, not, because he’s just a good friend now.

It was a fun evening — other than running into that pesky detail that it was a Monday Night, which meant that a lot of places weren’t open. We tried one of the Food Cart Pods that Portland, Oregon is kinda known for, but the one that J really wanted to go to was closed, so we hopped across the street to Lardo (I link because… well, if you are in Portland sometime you should check it out).

Girls-Night-Out quickly turned into “what does J want to do?” though sometimes that took some pushing because he is just as willing to let us make the decisions.  Of course, outside sources had certain expectations  — A and her husband kept texting back and forth, pictures of the yummy food we were eating going to him, updates on how their girls were settling for the night coming to her — along with the regular questions of “where are the strippers?”  It being something of a bachelor party, and strip clubs being another thing Portland is kind of known for, this was a reasonable expectation but… not on our schedule that particular evening.

Killer desserts at the Pied Cow followed our time at Lardo.  I felt like we were playing the game of “how sick can we make Allison feel?” but, how could I pass up at least trying the chocolate-peanut-butter-truffle in a teacup?  Then, Karaoke.  J is a bit of a karaoke fiend.  I’d never been, and we were already approaching my bedtime but… this is where good friends come into play.

Good friends, you see, will let you know that you are free to say no.  That you certainly can go home (and they’ll pop out of the way to drop you off, the bus-riding, non-car-owning girl that you are).  But, J gave me those puppy-dog eyes he’s so good at (really, they’re a dangerous weapon!) and some very compelling arguments (the downfall of having friends that know you well, they also know just the arguments to make) — how could I say no?

What happens in a karaoke bar, stays in the karaoke bar, right?  ‘Cause I made an utter fool of myself trying to sing in public… and kept getting up to do it again!  Group songs are much more my style, I have realized.. when I’m not the only one screeching along (okay, I was the only one screeching along, because J, M, and A all can sing… but.. that’s besides the point, right?)  And, what does it say that the best solo-song I did was “Under The Sea” from the Little Mermaid?  (J had requested “Part of Your World” or “Kiss The Girl” but I thought “Under the Sea” had a better chance of being in my range and me remembering how the song went).

But it was fun, a lot of fun, and by the late hour we dropped J off at home I felt like we were all floating.  Exhaustion, alcohol, and a fun night with friends will do that to a person.  For my part, the “I am sick” reality managed to hold off for much of the evening, but came crashing over my head the next morning, ugh.   Next time I will listen to my body when it screams “You are sick!”  and “Sleep Now!”  but… I’m also glad I didn’t.

So if it were a rom-com or chick-lit there would be more to the story… but my life just doesn’t work that way.  I didn’t even meet random guy who I could end up dating, usually the most mundane of plot-points that would appear.  If I spent some time actually writing out the story I’m sure I could give it more ups and downs, less bare-bones telling and turn it into an interesting piece of a larger tale….  How to write my own life without sounding cynical, I think, would be the challenge.  And I’m not cynical about my life, but every time I start to try and write something that’s the tone that comes through for the character (so… the character of the fictionalized version of my life is cynical?).  This isn’t a story of “everyone in my life is having success in x, y, and z while I….”.  I suppose I just keep gathering and waiting for the non-cynical characters interpretation.

 Anyhow, that was the fun highlight of the week — the pending Chick-Lit Title:  “The time I threw a bachelor-party for my ex.”

Last week I did a painting, this week I had a wild-night-out (for me at least)… I do wonder what next week will hold!  How was your week?  What’s the most “this could almost be a part of a movie/book if…” situation you’ve found yourself in lately?

A stitched panorama of downtown Portland, OR a...
A stitched panorama of downtown Portland, OR at night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bloglovin… Random check-in :)

So, I’ve had the button on this page for people to follow me on Bloglovin’ for a while, but to view their analytics I apparently have to claim the blog.  So… that’s’a what I’m doing.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

In other news — this long weekend is being dedicated to working on Disparate Threads, and (hopefully) getting some work done on Bria Lana (whose story really needs a name… anyhow, it’s the novel I started ages ago that I am hoping to finish drafting during NaNo this year. So I am trying to do some edits/close reads of my earlier work in order to have a good outline to work from come November). I plan to invite you all to join me for Coffee again tomorrow too — it was an interesting week and I want to share some about it — and would love to hear about your week.

Anyhow, bloglovin link up… now.. back to work! If you really want to follow some of my random thoughts while I’m working on this writing, follow me over on Twitter, that seems to be where I do my random brain-dumps from time to time :)

Celebrate Header

Celebrate the Small Things

Friday!  And Friday is a day to Celebrate the Small Stuff.


It’s been a strange little week for me (plan to share more “over coffee” this weekend), but for today….

Three days ago a most excellent and amazing friend of mine challenged me on Facebook to name 3 things I am grateful for, each day for 3 days.   I was a bit grumpy when she challenged me (sorry about that, you know I love you), but it’s been a good little exercise.
Thought those would be good to share for my Small-Things Celebration today (though they are not all terribly small).

Day 1:

1) That I have awesome friends, who drag me out, force me to try new things, and sometimes even convince me to have irresponsible moments. You know who you are, and yes, I am grateful.
2) That I have awesome friends who give me good feedback and support when I do things that are frightening to me. Who encourage me and help me feel okay(ish) when I take risks of various sorts.
3) That I have awesome friends that will call me on it when I am in the wrong in some way (especially in ways that allow me to fix it), because I know that they care enough about me that they can say it like it is — even when I can’t necessarily see it like it is.

Day 2:

1) A job where my strengths are recognized, encouraged and put to use.
2) Living in a city that encourages the arts and tries to provide free opportunities for people to engage with the arts.
3) The well-rounded, and sometimes very diversified, education I have been able to pursue and receive.

Day 3:

1) Healthy days, and that I have learned to listen to my body and know when I have pushed too much and am moving towards having not-so-healthy days so I can take care of myself and prevent a crash.
2) The beauty that surrounds me.  I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by beauty in the places I have lived during my life, natural beauty and man-made beauty.
3) That I am able to provide love and support for my friends.  That I have been able to be someone that they know they can go to when there is trouble in their life, or when they need an ear or shoulder. That, though I may sometimes not hear from someone for a while, may not know the details of everyday life, when something major happens my friends know that I am there for them.  And to know that they are there for me.  To have had the opportunity to create such deep bonds… I am so grateful, every day.


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A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.


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