Social Distancing… and depression


I feel depression looming on the horizon.

I am having trouble concentrating.

I feel overwhelmed by the daily updates about Covid19, the deaths piling up, concern for my friends, family, classes & students, constant changes to our daily routines and lives, trying to get some exercise, staying in touch with friends, watching our town shut down, trying not panic, taking appropriate precautions…

And there is depression looming on the horizon, as all my coping skills are shutdown city wide. The gym is closed. Tumamoc Hill is closed. School is closed. Restaurants are closed. Social isolation. A sense of doom. And my big go-to… a creeping, settling numb feeling. My depression is always feeling numb.

I’m doing what I can (working, calling friends, cooking, hiking, writing emails) and I should probably just go take a walk, but 100% chance of rain today…

The clouds are mirroring my feelings today. I know I’ll be fine, but I can’t get myself to care about In Search of the Great America right now, and time is slipping away, even as I chip at the big to-do pile.

Take care dear friends. This is me reaching out and hoping to find others who need to know they are not alone in these feelings.

Big love and a cyber hug.



The Gym

TDP Episode 95 photoEpisode 95: The Gym, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, Becky Wilkinson, tells the story of her depression and how having anxiety and depression lead her to becoming an art therapist. Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Elite Daily

How To Make Working Out A Habit You Won’t Quit
JUNE 22 2017

Sticking with a new workout routine can be extremely challenging.

This basically means making it a behavior that comes automatically and without thought, because you’ve done it over and over in the past.

The constant repetition leads to automaticity, which leads to lack of thought.

Bottom line: Nike is onto something when tell you to “just do it.”

Listen, sleep-walking to the elliptical because of “lack of thought” sounds lovely and all, but the real question is, how long does that shift in thought process actually take?

According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes an average of 66 days (approximately eight to nine weeks) for someone to effectively form a habit of any kind.

But how can you make sure you stick to your new routine without ditching it within a week’s time?

Personal trainer and nutrition coach Paola Marquez gave Elite Daily some awesome advice on how to hold yourself accountable.

She says,”My advice is that you plan your workouts in advance, because this will be crucial to your success. Schedule your workouts as “meetings” adding them to your daily to-do lists. This will guarantee that you don’t forget about them and will hold you accountable.”
Marquez also suggests getting a workout buddy to join you in your new routine. Accountability is super effective, especially when someone else is counting on you to show up.


TDP Episode 93 photoEpisode 93: Unscheduled, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, J., tells the story of his depression and how taking psilocybin mushrooms relieved his depression symptoms for months afterward. Sunday, October 14, 2018

Everyday Health
Britt’s Story: A Morning Routine to Manage Depression

“The good thing about a morning routine is that you make sure you take care of yourself before the day gets ahead of you,” Reints says.

Anyone can benefit from a morning routine, whether you have depression or not, says Renee Garfinkel, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Washington, D.C. But when you’re living with depression, establishing a morning routine may need to be more of a conscious choice. Depression can make you wonder why you should bother getting out of bed at all. Having a routine that feels automatic can give you less time to dwell in that mindset.

Reints’ routine helps her to get everything in place so she can sit down and work for three hours in the morning, which helps keep her on track.

Garfinkel agrees that taking your morning routine one step at a time makes it easier to move forward. Another good idea is to do what you can the night before, such as setting out your clothes or putting your toothbrush and towel on the sink. “You’ve set an intention at night that this is what you’re going to do in the morning,” she says.

A master calligrapher was writing some characters onto a piece of paper. One of his especially perceptive students was watching him. When the calligrapher was finished, he asked for the student’s opinion – who immediately told him that it wasn’t any good. The master tried again, but the student criticized the work again. Over and over, the calligrapher carefully redrew the same characters, and each time the student rejected it. Finally, when the student had turned his attention away to something else and wasn’t watching, the master seized the opportunity to quickly dash off the characters. “There! How’s that?,” he asked the student. The student turned to look. “THAT…. is a masterpiece!” he exclaimed.


TDP Episode 92 photoEpisode 92: Generosity, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, Debbie Barnett, tells the story of her depression and how going to a psychiatrist turned out to be a terrifying experience . Sunday, September 16, 2018

Psychology Today – Posted May 08, 2018

Generosity Pays Dividends in Happiness: Study show even slightly generous people are happier than self-centered people.

Would you be surprised to learn that people who are generous are happier than those who aren’t? Well according to researchers at the University of Zurich, generosity appears to connect to living a happier life.

Here’s how the research went: 50 volunteers were divided into two groups and were told they would be given a modest amount of money. One group was told to spend the money on themselves and the other group was asked to give a gift of some money to someone they knew.

As each person in both groups were deciding how to spend the money the researchers measured the brain activity of the person in three areas of the brain: one area where prosocial behavior and generosity are processed; another area (in the ventral striatum), which is related to happiness; and (in the orbitofrontal cortex), where cost/benefits are evaluated in the decision-making processes. After the measurements were made the subjects were asked to rate their happiness before and after the experiment.

The results showed that those people who were generous in their gifting reported being happier than before the experiment began. Also, they reported greater happiness than the control group who intended to spend the money on themselves.

As reported in Science News, the lead researcher, Philippe Tobler said, “You don’t need to become a self-sacrificing martyr to feel happier. Just being a little more generous will suffice.”

The ground’s generosity takes in our compost and grows beauty! Try to be more like the ground. -Rumi


TDP Episode 91 photoEpisode 91: Lying, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, Neil, tells the story of his depression, along with anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar diagnosis, and how seeking help in the midst of mental and physical heath issues requires persistence and the ability to navigate the systems of government. Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Lies We Tell When We Are Depressed
September 19, 2013 • Contributed by Cynthia W. Lubow, MS, MFT


Even the most honest people are faced with lying when they are depressed. This is yet another indignity adding to the suffering of depression. The most obvious and pervasive example is the frequent, daily question, “How are you?” It is a social convention to greet friends, strangers, and acquaintances with this question. Frankly, most of us lie in response to this question, or at least shade or limit the truth, because people generally don’t want to hear the true answer when they ask. Convention tells us to answer, “I’m fine, thanks; how are you?” For most people most of the time, this isn’t a big deal. It’s just a formality that facilitates greeting people, and is understood as a friendly hello. It’s not generally a problem because mostly people are fine, and don’t need to tell someone about the rash on their butt or the dog poo they stepped in.

But for a depressed person, the lies required for social convention are constant, and they create more and more isolation and separateness from other people. They reinforce a sense of having a shameful secret that no one wants to know or help them resolve. It reinforces a sense of being a burden or unlovable. All of these thoughts are common in depression, and to have them reinforced all day long by multiple people is crushing. Many people deal with it by isolating themselves from others if they can.

This is one of the most important reasons to find an experienced, qualified depression therapist when depression lasts longer than a few weeks. It’s essential to be able to tell someone the whole truth about how much you’re suffering, without concern that the person will discount you, disbelieve, judge, get distracted by fear about what you are saying, or respond with boredom, irritation, or impatience. As obvious as that may sound, not many people can do this for others.



TDP Episode 90 photoEpisode 90: Art, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, Kenneth Weene, tells the story of depression/not depression from his book, “Jumping Over the Ram”, which he co-authored with Deng, a Sudanese man who had to repress his softer feelings to survive life as a child soldier and escaping to a refugee camp. Sunday, August 12, 2018

For more information on Kenneth Weene, his books and his councilling practice:

Website is
Amazon page is
Phone number is (602) 300-1830
His newest books, not yet released, are “Jumping Over the Ram” and “Red and White”.

Excerpts read on the show:

Artists and Depression: The Link Between Depression and Creativity

Where there is depression, art often seems to follow—sometimes great art. Poe, Pollock, Michelangelo, Hemingway, Keats, Gauguin, Dickens and Blake are just a few famous creative artists who are known to have suffered from terrible bouts of depression.

But how exactly do depression and art interrelate? Do depressive episodes somehow aid in the creative process, or is there something about being an artist in any creative field that predisposes one to develop depression? Psychologists and psychiatrists have studied and pondered this question for decades, and most have concluded that depression does play a role in creative output.

Creative people can become chronically frustrated because their idealism and reflective natures make it impossible for them to accept their own failures or those of society. Others without such a creative inclination may be saddened in the moment. But they’ll be far less likely to tie themselves up in knots imagining and re-imagining alternative histories that could have happened but didn’t, or should happen but never will.

Depression can be a debilitating condition, but often it is a warning sign and a cry for help. In other words, it calls for action, and those with great artistic ability naturally turn to their art to express what they’re feeling. Their depression may not be the cause of their art, but it can be a motivation for it, or a coping mechanism for it. That helps explain why so many creative people burdened with depression have managed to maintain such an impressive output of creative works.

When used to treat depression, art therapy functions as an outlet for expressing feelings that aren’t easy to put into words, or that are so repressed or hidden that they can only be revealed through the free and open channels of the creative process. Artistic practice of all types takes the artist deeper into their own subconscious, where the answers to the mysteries of mental illness are more likely to be found.

“In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.” -Albert Camus


TDP Episode 89 photoEpisode 89: Healthcare, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, John Anglin, tells the story of his depression and how his struggles with addiction lead him to a career in helping other people through peer support. Sunday, July 8, 2018.

People Keep


On average, the combined cost of providing group health insurance is $6,251 per year for single coverage (2015) or $17,545 per year for family cover­age.

To offer more affordable health benefits, one solution is to adopt a defined contribution strategy where employees purchase individual health insurance and are reimbursed by their defined contribution allowance.

In a time of steep annual rate increases for group health insurance, a defined contribution model offers cost predictability and access to quality health insurance coverage.

The Real Reason the U.S. Has Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

New York Times By Aaron E. Carroll, Sept. 5, 2017

This system is expensive. The single largest tax expenditure in the United States is for employer-based health insurance. It’s even more than the mortgage interest deduction. In 2017, this exclusion cost the federal government about $260 billion in lost income and payroll taxes. This is significantly more than the cost of the Affordable Care Act each year.


TDP Episode 88 photoEpisode 88: Freedom, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, Arya, tells the story of her depression and how a breakup has lead to months of crying to the point where it feels like a cleanse and maybe even a new chapter in her life. Sunday, May 13, 2018.

New Projects

TDP Episode 87 photoEpisode 87: New Projects, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, Kevin Charles, tells the story of his depression and struggles with addiction, and how being smart and a little depressed can lead to seeing the glass half empty. Sunday, April 29, 2018.

24 Creative Ways To Channel Depression Or Anxiety (abbreviated) – Alanna Okun


We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to show us what they’ve created during periods of depression, anxiety, and other mental health struggles.
1. Tend to some plants.
2. Take self-portraits.
3. Turn the old into the new.
4. Get out in the world…
5. …and capture what you find there.
6. Or literally turn it into art.
7. Work with makeup or body paint.
8. Blend your own scented candles.
9. Focus on a new buddy. Rescue Dog?
10. Design your dream house.
11. And your dream outfits.
12. Wrap arrowheads.
13. Bake, bake, bake.
14. Teach
15. Draw.
16. Crochet a blanket, for yourself or a beloved pal.
17. Sell what you’ve made.
18. Paint.
19. Play with fire.
20. Make your tears work for you. I would make literal tears out of fabric and embroidery
21. Know the value of even the smallest, most temporary projects.
22. Make little monsters.
23. Take up embroidery.
24. Create your life.