If anyone you know is talking in a suicidal manner, or you yourself feel you are considering suicide, it is important for you to stop reading this immediately and call 911 or the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK or (800) 273-8255

Everyone has “the blues” sometimes. Maybe a romance went bad, or your job is causing you stress, or things just aren’t going your way. Depression isn’t just a temporary down. It’s a medical condition that can affect, not just the mind, but your body, your job, your relationships and all facets of your life.

However, no matter how bad Depression gets, or how long it persists, there is help. Whether it’s medical intervention, psychological counseling, or a variety of other treatments you can look into to suit your life and needs, depression is treatable, and most people can learn to manage their depression and live a happy life.

The symptoms of depression vary. Obvious symptoms are unhappiness, sadness, and lethargy. The surprising fact to most people is that depression can cause sleeplessness, or even restlessness, irritability and outbursts, even over minor life struggles. Some people actually experience inexplicable physical symptoms, perhaps having frequent headaches, neck pain, or back pain. Some find they’re lashing out at people more often, as a means of avoiding dealing with things that cause stress or frustration, or just the stress and frustrations life has, which are very common symptoms of depression.

Withdrawing from activities that used to interest you, avoiding people you know care, or may draw your attention to these changes in your mindset, and simply not enjoying things you used to enjoy are other signs that depression may be a problem for you, or your loved one.

Other symptoms you or your loved one may be experiencing are:

  • Excessive sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Indecisiveness or decreased ability to focus
  • Crying, sometimes without reason
  • Feelings of worthlessness, or excessive guilt
  • Changes in appetite or weight, whether you’re eating more, or eating less
  • Becoming agitated easily
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Thoughts of self harm, or thinking about death or dying

What is clear about depression, is that no two people experience it in the same way, that it can begin at any age, and occur in any age group, from children all the way to senior citizens, male and female.

Depression can occur for a variety of reasons. Trauma is a common reason people may go through depression, but some people learn it from their home-life growing up. Sometimes, hormonal changes could be a cause, and other times, people have a medical problem that can create changes in their brains. Some women have “postpartum” depression, which occurs after giving birth, and can be a very serious matter for the safety of their children, and their own mental well being.

Other causes could be a death of someone close to you, or getting older, or even a familial change such as divorce or separation from loved ones. However, sometimes brain chemistry is a cause.

The best way of finding out why or if you or your loved one is experiencing depression, and to what extent, is to see your doctor. If you don’t have the ability to see a doctor, local community mental health facilities have resources for therapy, psychological intervention and medication.

A good idea before you seek help is to make a list of what you, or your loved ones, are seeing in your moods and behaviors that might cause you to believe depression is the problem.

What is key to treating depression is the desire to get healthy and feel better. Nobody wants to be unhappy and hopeless and sad, and the answer is to seek out those that know what you’re going through, and are there to help you get through it all.

Some people try several medications and long term therapy before they find relief, but most people find that talking to someone who is trained to treat depression and it’s symptoms is hope that they sometimes feel they’ve forgotten they have.

Whatever you do, do not give up.


More often, in today’s society, people are electing to seek alternate treatments for depression. Although these are not recommended in place of seeking help from a mental health professional, you can ask your doctor about these types of alternate therapies, perhaps in addition to the treatment they recommend:

Participating in a local depression support group, or perhaps finding one online
Nutritional intervention, such as seeing a dietitian
Spiritual therapy, seeking the counsel of your preferred
Exercise (always a good idea, if only a walk in the fresh air)
Herbal supplements, such as Sam-E, St. John’s Wort, or Omega 3 Fatty Acids or B vitamin complex, etc
Massage therapy or acupressure
Relaxation or meditation therapy
Light therapy

Whatever help you get, please, get help. Depression is isolating and dangerous, and if untreated, can lead to a variety of problems. The sooner you or your loved one gets the help that’s available, the better, so start today.


“I’m a 45 year old man, and went to my doctor recently, and he said I might be depressed. He wants me to see a psychiatrist, but I just don’t think I need to, it’s not that bad!”

Strangely enough, we all think that we can “snap out of” a mindset and change the way things are going. It’s not always the case. Depression can be learned, or medically based, or chemically based, and more and can have a variety of symptoms that aren’t always the traditionally noted types. Your discussion with your doctor alerted them to the fact that your symptoms you spoke of might need the intervention of someone who specializes in mental health. Trust that your doctor is right, you have nothing to lose by seeing a specialist who is better qualified to diagnose.

“Will my work find out I’m seeing a therapist, and if so, what if they fire me?”

Fear is a common misconception people have about what it is to seek help for depression, or any mental ailment. You’re not the first to worry about such things. However, employers realize that an employee who is seeking assistance for any ailment, no matter if it’s of the body or the mind, only helps to make an employee a better asset to the company. You should also rest assured that your medical records are protected under HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). If you have questions about how your health information is reported to your employer by the provider, please contact the provider for more information about your right to privacy under HIPAA. They will be able to allay your fears!

“I’m not one of those losers that sit there whining all the time about how bad my life is, but my friends are constantly saying I need “help.” I’d be ashamed to go in and see a therapist, I was raised to think they were for crazy people and I’m not crazy! I’m just having some moodiness.”

The stigma of mental ailments is a sad fact of the past. But today, our society is more advanced. There’s been many advances since the “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” type of thinking! There’s no nurse Rachet, and seeking mental health treatment is not going to get you “locked up”. If you’re unhappy that you’re out of shape, you go to the gym and change your diet. If you have diabetes, you’d go to a doctor, and take insulin. People take medication to help with heart problems, stomach problems, muscular problems. Seeking help for mental ailments is NO DIFFERENT. You’re doing what you need to do to live a happier, healthier and fuller life. We applaud and support your efforts to improve your overall well being!

Learn More

We would like to thank the Staglin family and their never-ending efforts to find a cure for all brain disorders and their contribution to the articles below. Especially their son Brandon who is the inspiration for his parents, Garen and Shari to find cures within the next decade.  Also thanks to Dr. Eric Nestler for his input on ways that science is making strides in finding cures.

We thank and applaud Brandon and his family for their tireless work to help so many others and to find a cure.

If you are interested in finding out more, or donating your time or money to the Staglin family’s cause, please visit their site

Dr. Eric Nestler

Depression Cures

By Eric Nestler, M.D., Ph.D., Nash Family Professor and Chair, Department of Neuroscience; Director, Brain Institute; Mount Sinai School of Medicine Depression is a serious illness that has an enormous impact on humanity: one in six individuals will experience clinical depression at some point during their lifetime, with depression ranked, by the World Health Organization, [...]

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A New Study Shows That Teens’ Mental Disorders are Often Left Untreated in U.S.

According to an article in HealthDay News, less than half of American teens with mental health disorders receive treatment.  Those that do get help rarely see a mental health specialists. The findings demonstrate a need for better health services for teens, said study author E. Jane Costello who is an associate director at the Duke [...]

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A Break From Technology Is Good For You!

It’s tempting to be on the Internet when total access to information (and fun) is at your disposal. It is also easy to make the excuse that you are taking care of yourself by spending time using technology for personal use. It may be the case that you are using technology for professional use, outside [...]

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Rick Springfield Really IS a “Profile of Hope”

Recently,  for our radio show,  Wendy sat down with Rick Springfield in his recording studio during a break in filming of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s continuing “Profiles of Hope” television series which was created by the County’s Public Information Office a few years ago to help to break stigma and educate [...]

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Bath Salts, Cannibals and Zombies…

Over a year ago we wrote the post below on the increasing number of incidents concerning bath salts (see below).  Now it’s just getting worse.  As of this post there have been about 4 cases of Cannibalism and many more suicides and psychotic episodes occurring all over the country.   Many people who are apprehended [...]

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Dealing with Depression, Alcohol, Jail and other issues on the Free Your Mind Radio Show…. Counselor Sherry Gaba talks about co-occurring disorders, Judge Steven Manley and Dr. Nancy Pena talk about teaming up and making a very positive impact in Santa Clara County with Prop. 63 funding and saving taxpayer’s money!

In our Proposition 63 Mental Health Services Action Segment with Jennifer Whitney, Judge Steven Manley, Santa Clara County Superior Court and Dr. Nancy Pena, Mental Health Director Santa Clara County, have made a real positive impact by working closely together to stop the cycle of incarcerations for the mentally ill.   We also feature the [...]

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