DBSA of Memphis


The Pendulum

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Posted by dbsamemphis on January 30, 2019 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (698)

It seems like forever ago when I met two people that have been diagnosed with

depression and bipolar illness, when it is actually approximately ten years. Over those years I have grown so close to them that they are like family and I would trust them with my life. I would venture to guess that it was around five years ago that they asked me to be on the board of the local DBSA chapter. I told them that I had no idea what that was, they explained to me that it was Depression Bipolar Support Alliance. I told them that I knew nothing about it and they told me that was why they wanted me to be a part of the board as a “civilian”. Before I said yes I went to a meeting or two and talked with them so I could at least learn a little bit about the illness.

Here we are five years after that I am still part of the board and I have learned a lot. These days I can see when one or both of them are not on their meds. Something I have learned is that if someone is having problems with their illness and doesn’t want help, nothing can be done about it. I can’t force anyone to take their meds or go to DBSA meetings or call the numbers on the back of the brochure all I can do is let them know about DBSA and leave it at that and that is hard for someone like me that likes to push and can have a huge ego.

Five years ago I would say things like: “It will be okay” or “You can get through this” or “Suck it up” okay, I never said that last one. Today, I know that what I have to do is say “Is there anything I can do”. I know today that for this outsider all I have to do is be there for them as a friend and be supportive. If someone needs my help I can offer whatever advice I can. If someone needs an ear, I tell them that I have two and they are welcome to them both.

I had to learn that I am not a psychiatrist or therapist or any kind of a doctor for that matter nor did I ever play one on TV. All kidding aside, all I can do is be there for my friends and family that are dealing with this illness; after all I am an outsider and can only understand so much without being diagnosed. I can never fully understand everything that happens with or to people with depression or bipolar illness. I am me and I can be there when they need me and support them at all times.


David Tabachnick


A Conversation

Posted by dbsamemphis on January 19, 2019 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (103)

A Conversation on Driving – Nov. 2017


David -- I have a question. Have you ever wanted to just get in your car and drive until you decided to turn around come back? I'm not talking about doing anything drastic, just to get away from everything for a while. If so, let us know what it was and what you did when you cam back and what brought you back.

Mary -- I have done that. When I lived in Oklahoma... except I took my kids with me and kept going... didn't go back... I needed a fresh start somewhere else... I found out though that I took the problem with me when I left... me.... It didn't help my depression any at all.....

Laurie -- I used to do this all the time. Drove from Memphis to Atlanta and then Orlando and back more than once. Driving doesn't help; you're right, the problems just come along. And when I'm in the car, I tend to stop at fast-food places and eat like mad, which certainly isn't healthy. It's a fight-or-flight response to feeling trapped, but when the problems are mental there's no one to run from or fight but yourself. It's important to slow down, journal, meditate, and start to work out a real solution. All the driving does is wear out the vehicle and cost gas, not to mention being dangerous because of your state of mind.

David -- For me it's like running away from issues. I've done it before but when I turned around my issues were still there, you know why, because I drag them with me. It doesn't matter where I go because there I am with all my issues. I can't escape them I have to work on them whatever that entails.

Camille -- I used to feel like a worthless piece of crap and I sought my self-esteem from other people's reactions to me or treatment of me. I felt like I didn't understand why I was born, what the point of me being in this world was. Eventually I tried to jump off the bridge, but I realized I would suffer and not die immediately, and the thought of the suffering of drowning myself stopped me, and I got back in the car and drove on into Arkansas, eventually coming back. Eventually (over several years) reading some spiritual books, seeing a therapist, and attending some recovery programs. A lot of long walks and meditation and prayer helped me learn to look at my life & self (& other people) differently, so that I no longer feel like an irretrievably broken fragment cut off from humanity, and somehow I think I finally stopped hating myself and lost the inclination to kill myself. I wish I could communicate to other people the inner peace (which I work on every day).

Laurie – About the second part of your question: I came back because there was nowhere rational to alight. Really, without the support of home, how can I work on myself? And it takes work, but when I finally got serious about fighting this illness, I decided Lewis Carroll was right when he said sometimes it takes all the running you can do just to stay in the same place. So here I am, and things are so much better now than when I was just blindly running around, reacting instead of acting.

Camille – I forgot I also started exercising regularly and this has made all the difference for me, too.


Liminal Space

Posted by dbsamemphis on January 19, 2019 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (5)

Liminal Space


Nobody ever talks about this part …

You know, the part where you’re not longer a caterpillar

and not yet a butterfly.

You don’t know who you are and

you don’t know where you’re going.

All you know is that every fiber of your being is calling

for transformation.

for disruption.

for a revolution of the spirit.

So surrender.

Break down.

This is not the death of you.

This is the dying of who you once were.

This is your rebirth, darling.

And these are called growing pains.


Stress Who Needs It?

Posted by dbsamemphis on November 30, 2018 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (93)

Stress, who needs it? There are arguments for its being useful, but those of us with mood disorders need to avoid it as much as possible. 

Signs of stress can creep up on you. You can be too hungry or avoid food; everyone annoys you; you're tired, no real energy, but you have trouble sleeping. You begin to feel overwhelmed, lonely, isolated. Then it starts to show outside: you break out in acne, cold sores, canker sores, or your hair starts to fall out. But the real damage starts inside. Your heart races, your head hurts, your muscles tense so much that you have back and jaw pain, maybe your chets hurts, you get frequent colds and infections, and you lose sexual desire and/or ability.

Left alone, strees can leave you lonely, unproductive, suicidal, prone to alcohol and drug abuse, over-eating or under-eating, and with numerous illnesses such as heart disease.

You can take control your stress  instead of it controling you. That rquires active effort; the short-term relief you get from watching television or hopping on social media can only make things worse over time. So, what really works?

Remember your basics of self-care:

-Sleep at least eight hours a night

-Avoid caffine, alcohol, and nicotine

-Journal often

-Attend DBSA meetings

-Exercise regularly

-Eat healthy every day

-See your professionals

-Get plenty of sunshine

There's more. You can manage your time to include relaxation, hobbies, reading, and music. Try meditation, deep breathing, Tai Chi, or tap yourself if you have had EMDR training.  Talk to someone; socialize with family and friends. If you're short on people, join a club, call someone from DBSA, volunteer, or find an online support group that includes a chat room. 

Remember, get active. Many aspects of reducing stress are the same as managing your mood disorder, so you're handling two problems with the same actions with no more work than usual. You simply have to be committed to caring for yourself and follow through on these tips. And, as always, ask for help.


Laurie Dever Hook