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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Did Not Want to Hear This

Call me sensitive, call me empathetic, call me odd....but I just can't get over it when something awful turns up on the news. Especially when this happens to someone I know.

The world has gone mad. 

Deeply sadden that a man, a former special-ed teacher, and artist I know was arrested for child pornography.  What were you thinking Bill?  This just sickens me.

#ceramics  #artist   

Friday, February 20, 2015

Missing Marbles

Last week- it hit me.  The big ZERO.
(see Depression Poetry)

Ahhh, the gears are rolling again.  I laugh at my feeling of OMG- there I was again. Why is this an endless cycle?

So I am shopping for some yarn this week, (my newest obsession is free-form crochet.)  and I am chuckling to myself.

They use to say- "He/She has lost their marbles."

So.  Does that mean a person who feels depressed, (and crazy, and annoyed with themselves) because they feel depressed, have a double whammie?

Should we hold a sign written in black marker on cardboard, and stand at busy intersections?  Should we skip the "please help"or "need work" part and just write
Missing Marbles-- kinda a code for yeah, I'm depressed and desperate enough to stand on this corner and seem normal- yeah, like everyone does that.

I have been wanting to learn how to crochet for years.
But, I could never get the hang of it beyond a very tight chain stitch.  Well, I AM in love with this free form crochet.  Back to the good old days for me!  I love the color and the texture here. 

Ocean by Cathy Jeffers

                                     Ocean  (Detail)

#hitting zero   #free form crochet   #depression  #missing marbles

Do not reprint my artwork without artist credit. All art work by Cathy Jeffers.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Depression Poetry

 Depression Poetry

Friday The 13th
  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Cry
  • Crisis
  • Eat
  • Think about your day
  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • The hole 
  • Stunned into silence
  • Sleep
  • Deep Sleep

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Stats on Mental Illness

I was cruising the internet and these words caught my eye.  Mental Illness  

I am trying to get through February. It has been my worse month in the past.
Darn winter, I mean really.  Do you have a worse month?

#1stigma  #artist  #mental  #worsemonth  #google+

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Meet Danny

* Meet Danny *

 The art work of an artist with depression.


Name: Danny I

Occupation: Recently unemployed/ college graduate

Q: What makes yu think you have depression?
A: My depression is usually in the form of social detachment, loss of interest in enjoyable things, and self loathing
Q: How long have you known? Were you medically diagnosed?
A: I've never been medically diagnosed, but my former therapist was convinced it was chronic depression. My first major depressive bout started shortly after I graduated from college in 2009, but I know it ran back further then that.
Q: What media do I use? 
A: Most of my art is pen and ink illustrations, but I'll still occasionally sculpt and sew. 
Q: Brief tell your story about having chronic depression.
A: My story? I graduated from Computer Animation program at Full Sail University in 2009, after that I moved back up to Cincinnati; and such is the common story for many college graduates, I have yet to find a career even close to my degree field. I've worked mostly customer service jobs for the past 5 years, all the while trying to find a way to sustain myself off of creating art work. I've attempted this many ways, I have yet to find one, but I couldn't possibly consider all of it failure, because with each dead end, I have learned much, and picked up as much as I could and moved on. I'm still trying to find a way to sustain myself with art, and as long as I progress just a little each day, then everyday I am closer to reaching that goal.
Q: How do you cope?
A: What helps me cope? I have three major ways I use to cope. Art is a huge help, because I'm normally a very reserved person, making art helps me share a story, and through creating it, I learn a lot and (hopefully) the viewer does as well. My dog, and his (long) short cuts through the woods help a lot. I think getting out and moving is a huge help. My roommate is the last big help I have, we have a silent but strong understanding of what each other is going through, and having that at home is a huge help.
Q: Do you know someone else suffering with depression?
A: My roommate, who is also one of my best friends, he also suffers from depression.
Q: How does art making help? 
A: It helps give me a tangible representation of abstract concepts. Art also gives me something to get lost in, and allows me to shift focus away from my depression.
What helps my healing? 

A:I think this depression will be with me for my whole life (being in my mid 20's) I know that means I potentially have a long time to have depression. So as long as I have something to strive for and keep working at, I know I will always be healing, wither or not I can ever be fully healed, and I'm fine with that.

Q: Do people compliment your art? 
A: I have an understanding that people generally like my artwork, but most of my stuff is posted online, so I usually receive a few likes or the occasional comment on my posts.
Support Danny's art on-line at:

Thanks, Danny

Contact me if you want to tell your story.
Printed by permission

#depression  #artistsdepression

Monday, February 2, 2015

Speak UP


 Speak UP & OUT LOUD

Our Failure to Understand Mental Illness Has Debilitated Nearly 60 Million Americans

UCF Forum columnist
Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Hemingway, Robin Williams and Michelangelo are a few examples of brilliantly inspiring individuals who shaped our culture, artistry and society. Looking at this list of names, it is hard to see a connection between these unique individuals. The sad truth is that each one suffered from mental illness, a debilitating disease that disrupts one's thinking, feelings and interactions with others.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 57.7 million Americans endure a mental illness in a given year. This includes depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and panic disorder, and schizophrenia, to name a few. This illness is nondiscriminatory without regard to race, age, social status or gender. About 25 percent of college students have been treated or diagnosed with a mental illness.
In 2013, my father was sadly added to the growing list of individuals diagnosed with mental illness. My family quickly entered into the world of mental illness treatments, including medicines and the poorly perceived method of electro-convulsion therapy. We found that the resources for individuals and families dealing with this medical condition were scarce, with few available outpatient programs.
His recovery exclusively fell on my mother who advocated for well-being. The long-term, home care options were non-existent and the only way we survived the storm was through the support of our family and friends and the few exceptional medical personnel who were drawn to supporting his case.
How can our nation, one that has flown to the moon, developed Western medicine to treat other devastating illnesses, and produced some of the most inspiring artist known, not be able to provide the resources needed to nearly 60 million people suffering daily?
Our failure to create a system that provides necessities to individuals adversely affected by this disease has resulted in terrible shootings, overpopulation in jails, and huge medical care cost for crisis intervention. By 1992, it was estimated that around 7 percent of inmates were seriously mentally ill, and of that, a quarter were being held awaiting a bed in a psychiatric hospital.
The history of mental illness treatment has been just as sad as the illness itself. Dating back centuries, people with this disorder where locked in isolated areas, subjected to painful and horrendous experiments, and cast from society. In the 1840s, Dorothea Dix, an American activist and superintendent of Army nurses during the Civil War, observed this trend and petitioned to establish 32 state hospitals for the mentally ill. By the late 1800s, the hospitals had become overcrowded, creating inhumane living conditions.
In the 1930s, electro-convulsion therapy medically induced comas and lobotomies, or the removal of parts of the brain, were the few strategies used to treat the ill. In the mid-1960s, many sick individuals were released from the hospitals, leaving them homeless and without treatment, and the state hospitals began closing, assuming people who needed help would find local institutions. This is still the strategy used today, which has created a culture of helplessness for families and those experiencing mental illness.
Our country was founded on the principles of liberty and justice for all, but our failure to understand mental illness and provide assistance facilities for families and the ill has ripped away the liberty and justice deserved for nearly 60 million Americans.
We have the opportunity to change this culture by becoming active in organizations, such as NAMI, and vigorously lobbing for better health care, insurance coverage, and understanding of this disease. We need to stand united to provide stabilization and recovery to those in need, and create a culture of community and understanding.
I encourage you to think about someone in your life that is impacted by this illness, and reach out to them, offering support. This one step could start to create a trend in which those who suffer are not judged, but sustained in seeking treatment, and provide hope to the hopeless.

Alaina Bernard is UCF's assistant director of Landscape & Natural Resources. She can be reached at

Have a story about depression or mental illness that you'd like to share? Email, or give us a call at (860) 348-3376, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.