Depression is like being weighted down with chains.  Everything takes effort and it is almost impossible to have hope that things will get better.  For some, it is a brief time due to something that happened in their lives; for example, a divorce. This is a situational depression.  For others, it is a long term war.  We may win battles and depression goes into remission but it often returns.

For family and friends of someone with depression may not understand.  “Snap out of it,” ” pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” ” it’s not that bad” or “everyone gets sad sometime.”  Or similar comments.  Others avoid dealing the person.  And since part of depression is not having the energy or interest to participate in activities and avoid others, it’s easy for someone to just not deal with the depressed person.  This isolates even more. And feeds into the depression.  Do not judge.  They are doing the best they can.

Instead, reach out and support them.  They need the human interaction and to know someone cares.  Listen if they want to talk but avoid giving advice unless asked.  Encourage them to seek counseling and medical help.  There are many health issues that cause depression symptoms,such as low vitamin D of B, hypothyroid, and anemia are a few.  Sometimes just dealing with the underlying medical issues resolves the depression.

Depression often accompanies brain injury and other traumatic experiences or injuries.  Life has drastically changed.  In the case of brain injury, the actual physical structure of the brain is different.  Healing still happens but in addition to the injury and the stress of recovery, depression rides their back.

There is hope things will improve. Never give up.


What do I do?

Before the brain injury I ran marathons. A frequent question was “What do you do on a long run to keep from getting bored?”  This was especially important when they found out I didn’t run with headphones. (I still don’t )

Running brought peace.  It was a time to get away from stress and problems. Quite frequently I found solutions to problems on the road.  My mind was freed from chewing over the issue and the sound of my heartbeat and the landing of my feet were calming and brought better focus. 

The scenery was also part of the enjoyment.  I live in a rural area.  Most of my runs were on less traveled roads going through farmlands.  The start of the Blue Mountains was always visible.  Even staying in town, I still saw the mountains.  I also did a lot of trail running.  That requires focus and good balance.  Trails are uneven.  You always have to pay attention to your footing.  One of the funniest things I did on a trail was a fall.  My foot slipped when  I was trying to avoid a huge middle puddle.  I ended up “swimming ” in it instead.  The trails also put me in nature.  I find connection to nature spiritually uplifting.  The scenery is golden.  A river, lots of trees, surrounded by hills.  At least it was like that where I ran often. 

I also thought of story ideas when I ran.  I usually didn’t write them down.  I forgot much of the story before I got home.  

Now, add in the challenge.  There was a lot of mental discipline to work out even when I didn’t want to.  There was a significant time commitment. It was challenging physically.  Running workouts and cross training pushed my body.  Then, racing not only against other people but also against myself and the time. This is more about why I enjoy running rather than how I amused myself, although there was a fair amount of planning for pace.

The “greatness ” is different things.  For some, it is starting to run or trying to become more healthy.  Or running a race no matter how slow or fast.  Greatness is overcoming the difficulties.

Today, my long runs aren’t nearly as far or long. But, even on shorter runs, I still need to be mentally active.  I do most of what I mentioned before but I can’t run trails anymore.  I added in a few different activities that target some of my weak areas in memory and flexibility.  I practice the multiplication tables.  Quite frequently, I have to “count ” to the next number because I don’t know it.  Another game I play is naming as many words as I can in different categories such as animals with the first letter of the name of the animals.  I also do animals in the same family. For example: ferrets, weasels, mink, and sea otters. Or breed of dogs and cats.  

Take time to do something you enjoy.  Don’t be afraid of trying something new or doing something you don’t do well.  The challenge is part of the fun.

I do not sleep

I am part of several ferret groups in Facebook.  Most ferrants (parent+ ferret= ferrant) have more than one ferret.  The average lifespan is 7-9 years.  Ferrets have so much joy and energy; so much play and curiosity, I think they “burn out” earlier than some other animals.

With all the ferrets in the group, some little critters are ill.  Quite often, a ferret goes to Rainbow Bridge to wait for us.  

When a ferrant posts about a little one leaving, they need support.  Other ferrants comment, providing whatever support they can.

I remembered a poem I memorized in high school: Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye.  I made a meme with this poem. 

The ferret in the picture is Taliesin.  He is waiting for me at the Bridge. 

I like the poem.  It reflects what I believe.  No one truly dies.  Energy never goes away. We become part of the universe, part of the physical world.  We don’t sleep in the grave. Death is not the end.  It’s a transition.

I think a lot about death now.  It’s not always physical death.  It’s a transitional point.  Perhaps it’s change you chose to make, such as stopping a bad habit. Sometimes, it’s sad such as when you lost something important to you. “Death” can be the loss of a job, a breakup in a relationship,even graduating from college.  Not all the changes are bad.  It can also be the death of who you were.  Drastic change.  It’s not always voluntary.  

At times, the change can be almost impossible to manage. I think about the accident that caused my TBI.  Well, actually I think about what happened after.  I don’t remember the accident at all.  I lost much of who I was before.  I’m not certain what the transition really is.  A lot of the time, I wish it had killed me outright.  


Bobby enjoys an adventure. The simple life.

Maybe it’s about that.  Enjoying the simple life. Or trying to.

Sometimes it’s Close

I have been a fan of the Seattle Seahawks for years.  I was thrilled when they won the Super Bowl.  The season isn’t going well this year.  The team often comes close to winning a game, only to lose it by a few points.  Usually scored in the fourth quarter. (Hey, Defense! Four quarters, not three!).  In the game against the Cardinals, the quarterback (Russel Wilson) ran into one of his own players, causing a touch back.  The team just isn’t clicking.


Kaliyah is a 12!

The way the Seahwaks are playing this year is much like life.  In so many ways, we often get so close to a goal, just to miss by inches.  The question becomes, how do we adapt the game?  

I back the Seahawks but wish they were playing much better.  Do we back friends and family when they’re  in a losing season?  How do we handle it?

Losing is a theme right now for me.  I look back over the past four years and just see so many lost dreams.. So many things are gone.  It’s damn depressing.  

I’m so freaking pissed off.  

I wonder what I would have done differently in that last marathon had I known it would be my last?  I ran but so focused I missed the scenery.  How much of my life did I miss?


We hear this word said frequently.  The definition is to ” have a deep sympathy and sorrow for another struck by misfortune accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the  suffering.” (  I find empathy to be a critical part of compassion.  Empathy is trying to walk in another’s shoes.  You feel sorrow, not sorry for, the person.  Feeling sorry for someone is pity and does not respect their experience of suffering and looks down upon them.  Sorrow is sadness- being sad someone else is suffering.  Compassion is action as well.  If you feel the emotions, yet do nothing, it is not compassion.

We think of compassion in the sense of something we feel for others.  What would it look like if we had compassion for ourselves?  All humans experience misfortune and suffering.  What does it mean to have compassion for ourselves?

I came upon this meme on Face Book.  What does this mean?  In one sense, is including ourselves a form of empathy? Getting actively involved to help or comfort someone?  Or is it also showing compassion and gentleness for ourselves when we experience suffering?

Perhaps it is all of the above.  Perhaps it is more.

Leave a comment with your thoughts.  It could be an interesting conversation.

Can’t Avoid It

Can not avoid it
Life changes always happen
Accept it or not.
I’ve been thinking about acceptance lately. 

Mindfulness is being aware of your environment, feelings, thoughts, and sensations without judging them “good” or ” bad.”  On the surface, does this mean not enjoying life or noticing the beauty of a sunset? No. It means being non-judgemental.  It places you in a position that you are more likely to enjoy the experience more because you detach from negativity and stay totally in the moment and notice more. This also does not mean accepting an abusive relationship or job or any situation that causes harm. 

 You stay in the present,not in the past or future.  Staying in the present keeps us from fear or anxiety about the future or rehashing the past. We still plan for the future or learn from the past. But, we let go of the negativity or fear.  The present moment is where we live.  It is where we can take action.

What does that mean in the sense of recovery? Or the changes in my life due to TBI?  I spend a lot of time in the past: thinking about what I used to be or what I could do in the past that I can’t do now.  I try.  But I am not the same person.  I also worry constantly about the future.  Will my disability come in? What will I do if it doesn’t?  What will I do if it does?  Will I keep the house? Will I still improve or is this what I have?  

Mindfulness will keep me in the present moment, not worrying about the future or worrying about the past. It’s easier said than done.  We, as humans, are programmed to worry.  It’s also harder when you have anxiety or just not the ability to manage the physical and emotional feelings anymore. After the injury, I have trouble with over responding to external and emotional stimuli. I don’t “come down” from emotions easily. Mindfulness does help with putting me in a more relaxed usual state.

Can I accept the change or will they ruin my life? I hope it’s acceptance.

More about Mindfulness