Category Archives: depression

Are the Kids Alright?

The short answer is, “Probably not completely.”  I mean, let’s face it.  Is anyone really alright at the moment?  We’re trying to make the best of things, look at our blessings, and looking forward to watching Hamilton on Disney Plus in July.  But in our minds, we are oscillating between helplessness and outrage as the world burns down.

At the beginning of the lockdown, I asked students to collaborate on a COVID-19 Diary. It has been awhile since anyone has added to it, but you can see that, for the most part, student were trying to be light-hearted, but definitely missing the social aspects of being at school with friends.

You can see the same themes running through NPR’s “Postcards from the Shutdown” and the incredibly creative memes submitted by the students of Noa Daniels here.  Even though the children are finding unique, and sometimes humorous, ways to display their feelings, we’ve got to remember the toll that this must be taking on them – and us.  In this incredible video that she made for a school project, Liv McNeil gives what I believe to be a very accurate representation of what many people are experiencing today. (Here is a link to an interview with McNeil about her film.)

Just like most parents, I try to give my teenager some space while still letting her know that I care.  I feel like this is the time we all need to be particularly vigilant, though.  Masks worn to disguise depression are definitely not healthy – for anyone.

I am not a doctor and do not have any training in counseling or psychology.  I am including resources that I have curated over time to help those with depression and/or their friends, parents, and educators.  Please consult a licensed professional to help you if you or someone you care about is in a crisis.  

Introducing, “Great Minds Don’t Think Alike!”

Many people reached out to me when I published, “The Elephant in Our Schools.”  Almost all of them had stories to share of experiences with the stigma that accompanies anything related to mental illness.  It saddened me to hear from so many people who feel alone and unsupported as they try to navigate this unfamiliar landscape.

I used to write an anonymous personal blog that shared some of my stories, but it has been dormant for a couple of years.  The other day, someone commented on one of my old posts, and I realized that there is no reason that these stories should be anonymous – that it only contributes to the idea that we should be ashamed of this illness.

Yet, I know that the people who subscribe to this blog, Engage Their Minds, didn’t sign up to read stories about depression.  So, I’ve decided to give this blog a sister, “Great Minds Don’t Think Alike.”  This new blog will share stories of depression, some new and some old, offer resources for those who seek them, and encourage everyone to be more understanding and less judgmental of themselves and others.  You might eventually read a few stories about Wonderbutt, my depressed bulldog sidekick, and his nemesis, Wigglebutt, who refuses to accept any emotion less intense than perpetual ecstatic happiness.

One effect of my depression is that I often feel burdened by all of the horribleness in the world and feel worse that I do nothing about it.  I saw a tweet the other day suggesting we choose just one cause to champion in the new year.  This is my cause. Please join me in making mental health a priority and eradicating the stigma of mental illness.

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