Monday, December 21, 2015


What makes Christmas so special? 

For as long as I can remember Christmas has been my favorite time of year, but I rarely think about why it’s so important to me. So I thought I’d take a moment out of my day to really think about it.

In my childhood I remember Christmas music, baking, playing games with my brothers and sister, mom and dad dancing, fires in the fireplace, and happiness. It was the one time of year in my dysfunctional home that dad wasn’t angry all the time. It was a protected moment in my year for joy, peace, and extra love and attention.

As the years have gone by, I feel that special warmness fading away. It’s not because we don’t celebrate anymore. Rather, it is because even when celebrating we are so disconnected there is rarely the magic of love in our holiday season.

At Christmastime, we buy and buy, we decorate and decorate, and we prepare decadent food to overflowing, but it is all for not. We do not reflect on the giving of gifts, on the beauty of d├ęcor, and once the food is in our bellies, we fall into a coma of over-indulgence.

What the hell happened?
It makes me ill to envision another year of over-indulgence without substance.

I really thought about this and I think it comes down to 3 things.
1. We are consumed by our social media at the expense of our families.
2. We are no longer connected to our extended families (and social media excuses face to face time).
3. We are hell bent on not just keeping up with the Joneses, but grinding them beneath our Jimmy Choo’s, with this year’s latest technology.

So, is it reparable?
Sadly, I don’t think so. I’m showing my pessimist. But…

Do you want to try?

Have a technology free Christmas. I will add the caveat, use your phones to call all your loved ones and talk. Real talk. About your struggles. Your Joys. Triumphs and Failures. Be real and connected for a day. It might prove to be too much or it might just bring back some of the warmness and magic all holidays are supposed to have.

Be Present For Christmas

~Laura Whitley

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Depression and Medication

I have Major & Persistent Depressive Disorders. Not that I think the label is important, but in case you can identify with that type of diagnosis. Sometimes people do not understand why I am performing so poorly in life. I have been depressed for 10+ years, with the last year or so being the worst. Enough so that I planned to kill myself on August 22nd. I want to take a minute and try to explain my depression because in the last few weeks I’ve seen a sliver of light.

There are plenty of things in my past that have caused me trauma and those things may or may not be the precipitating factors in starting my depression. And trauma is something I have in common with many people. But some of us are able to set it aside and move on to other things.
I got stuck. I have had several people who care about me, tell me to just let go of the past and be happy with what I have. Those are all good sentiments, good advice.

But here’s the problem, and the reason I’m writing this, for myself and any other person you might know who is seriously depressed; the sentiments don’t cut through. My thoughts were like a space dust being pulled into a black hole.
Until 2 weeks ago I thought it was normal that I didn’t want to do stuff, I mean – shower, make my bed, do my laundry. I thought I was just lazy or tired even though I shouldn’t be. I started taking a new medication and very quickly felt like a completely different person. I was shocked.

A simple example of my thought pattern was this: “Hmm, my laundry needs to be done – I just can’t, it’s too much, I feel exhausted just thinking about trying to do that.”

With my new med this: “Hmm, my laundry needs to be done – it’ll be nice to have clean clothes, I should make my bed too.” AND I DO IT.

I cannot stress enough just how amazing this is to me. I realized that the little voice in my head that tosses around all my thoughts had just done a 180. I finally understood what people were talking about when they said to let go of the past and be happy with what I have.

Now I am not doctor or therapist but finding out that there really is a different way to feel was very liberating. And it’s because of a medication. I do not like having to rely on medications and I feel like there is a huge stigma on mental health medications. But they have great purpose to break the bad cycle of thoughts while you are working on the traumas that put you in that wrong head space.

The down side? I never know how long it will work. The medication that changed my thought patterns is causing worse side effects in the form of severe tremors and diminished ability to hold an intelligent conversation. I will keep trying until I find what works.

Please take from this that depression is real, it so badly fucks with your internal thoughts, and physiological energy. Medication can help, I think some of the older tried and true medications are safer, but some of the new stuff is pretty dank too.

If you know someone who is struggling, try not to give advice, because most advice isn’t taken well. Just be there for them. Hold them – it’s scientifically proven that a 20 second hug releases endorphins!! Encourage them to stay in touch with their docs/therapists. Remind them to take their meds if they are inconsistent. (Just taking my anti-depressant 1 hour later than normal I’ll have a very bad day). Offer to get them out of the house. 

But most importantly: DO. NOT. GIVE. UP. ON. THEM. It is a long journey to pull out of depression and there will be good days and bad days and that could be months after doing well. Get knowledgeable about their diagnosis and ASK them what you can do to support them. 

Friday, May 10, 2013


I realized something today, and I'm not very excited about it.

I had a small panic attack this evening as a result of a question someone asked me. It's the same type of reaction that I have when I get angry.

My heart races, my stomach gets upset, and it's hard to describe... the back of my neck/ears get hot and tingly.

It is the worst feeling ever.

The situation that brought this on was benign and shouldn't have caused such a reaction... but it is how I often react.

As I was driving home, trying to calm myself down, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
What I felt was fear and my "angry" reaction is my attempt to defend my position because I am afraid that if I am wrong or messed up there will be detrimental consequences.

Of course, all this emotion is totally irrational to the situations I apply it to.

The reason I'm not very excited about it is because the connection I made was tied to my childhood. (I know, I know, blaming it on my childhood... what a cop out!) But I'm not blaming... just observing.

In the future, I am hoping (and brainstorming strategies) that with this knowledge I will be able to stop those crazy emotions before they get out of hand.

For tonight though I am despondent that I've hidden my fear behind anger and that most of my life I've allowed that fear to consume me. Furthermore, I am disappointed in myself for playing the tough girl and not even seeing what was really going on.

Thought for the day:
For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of self-control. 2Tim1:7

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Being Considerate

I am not a docile person. I grew up in an angry household, and cultivated my rage well, throughout my teens. 

I have tried to commend myself by describing my attitude as "being blunt" or my favorite "just being honest" - but the truth is, people do not react favorably to my natural attitude. 

I have always been an introspective and observant person, but I never realized that my "attitudinal compass" was so askew that my introspection didn't lead to much change or growth. Which sucks.

So I'm trying to re-calibrate. 

Today was an exercise to that endeavor, as I will briefly discuss below.

I've been trying to reach a lady with an important account issue for about 3 weeks. I sent emails and voice mails with with only one response... for me to call her back. Today had to write a letter, and I wanted to just tear into her. But I knew if I reacted with my natural attitude it could affect several other accounts.

So I changed my point of view. I did not make assumptions about why she hasn't contacted me. Instead I was considerate. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and offered options to resolve the issue. 

I will say, I still felt my rage and had an internal dialog that's not fit to print, but I used my head instead of my emotions. I guess that's what my counselor meant when he said my emotions should be the caboose of the train, not the engine. 

I'll let you know how it turns out...

Thought for the day:
Having my emotions in the "caboose" keeps me steady on the track.