Archive for the ‘Depression, PTSD’ Category

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www.comingoutofdark.com launched

May 2, 2010

Hello everyone,

I thought I better post this in case many are still visiting this blog for updates.  Coming Out Of The Dark has moved to its own domain.

http://comingoutofdark.com/

Check it out!

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MentalHealthCamp

March 22, 2010

— an unconference about Mental Health

May 28, 2010, at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library

An Unconference?

Those of us with a mental illness think differently than “normal” anyways so what ever an unconference is sounds fun.  Let’s face it a traditional conference about mental health does not sound like fun at all.  Who’s up for breaking rules and tradition?

Wikipedia states that an unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference entered on a theme or purpose. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference. In this case there will be no advance schedule and the outline of the day will be made up in the morning based on attendees interests on mental health.

Who is the MentalHealthCamp for?

* Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.

* 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.

* Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.

* Facts: Canadian Mental Health Association

MentalHealthCamp is for mental health professionals, people living with or past mental health problems, a family member or friend of a person with mental health problems, or has a passion or an interest in the topic. MHCTO also welcomes technophiles, change architects and all sorts of social media types.

These days many of us seem to be on all the latest social media sites and online communities and we search the internet often for information and news. Mental Health Camp’s goal is to ignite conversations around how can we use these technologies to promote better mental health and help improve the lives of people with mental health problems.

MentalHealthCamp topics may include:

• How blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks can impact people’s mental health
• Privacy in the e-health era
• How we can start early with youth to reduce stigma using tools they are comfortable with

Attendees will have the chance to jot down these or any other conversation topic on an agenda and lead or co-lead a session! Or find a topic that interests you and engage in the discussion. All your questions are valid. Please come prepared to dialogue about the future of mental health 2.0.

The age of digitization and technology enabled living is here and has catalyzed a new paradigm of participation. Please bring your ideas, questions and open minds as we work on solutions that are possible today and that we are dreaming about for tomorrow.

Ready To Sign Up?

Registration is $25 http://guestlistapp.com/events/16869

MentalHealthCamp Toronto (MHCTO) builds on the experience of the international HealthCamp movement and the first MentalHealthCamp held in Vancouver in 2009.  (MHCTO) website: mentalhealthcampto.org Twitter: @MHCTO (the organizers @CreativeFusion, @MadPsych, @nocx)

Friday, May 28 at 8:00 am ET – Toronto Reference Library – Bram & Bluma Appel Salon 789 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario  M4W 2G8 Canada

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ANDREW KOENIG 1968 – 2010 R.I.P.

February 28, 2010

Andrew was a man who cared deeply about others, and who acted
on his conscience… working on a grass-roots level to help those in
need. To honor him and his life, the family are suggesting people

DONATE IN ANDREW’S MEMORY
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline or The US Campaign for Burma

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Andrew Koenig Found Dead – CNN report

February 27, 2010

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“My son took his own life” Andrew Koenig’s Father Confirms

February 25, 2010

Hours ago the news broke that Andrew Koenig’s body was found in Vancouver’s Stanley Park and that a press conference will be held in the area he was found at 5pm PT.  This is the news that no one wanted to hear still hoping Koenig decided to go on a solitary retreat and would be heard from soon.  Sadly, that was not the case and all our fears were confirmed today.

Koenig was last seen at a bakery near Stanley Park on February 14th.   Search and Rescue teams along with the Vancouver police searched the park on Wednesday after friends and family said that Andrew considered the 1,000 acre park a second home.  They didn’t find any clues.  Andrew’s parents flew to Vancouver on Tuesday to join the search and held a news conference the same day pleading with the public that with the craziness of the Olympics going on if everyone could just take a moment to look at the faces around them.

Understandably frustrated, 10 of Andrew’s close friends organized their own search of Stanley Park today inviting Walter and Judy Koenig along.  Split up in teams, it didn’t take long as 2 hours into the search one team found Andrew’s body and called the parents who went to the site immediately.  Koenig was found in a densely wooded area, 30 to 40 metres off a bridal path that is one of the many trails in Stanley Park.  At 5pm PT the Koenig’s and police gathered about 1 kilometer away to announce the news in a press conference.

At an obviously upsetting time, Walter Koenig  stated that his “son was obviously in a lot of pain and that he’d received 100’s of  emails from people who said they were  depressed or who had considered the same course of action, or from family’s saying they had someone who had shown signs of this behavior or who have lost members of their family because of this.”  Koenig continued holding back tears took a moment to think about what he wanted to say then said ” if you are one of those people who feel like you can’t handle it anymore “If you can learn anything from this, it’s that there are people out there who really care, and you may  not think so and ultimately it may not be enough, but  there are people who really really care and before you make that final decision, check it out again, talk to somebody.”

Koenig then pleaded “for those familys who have members who they fear may be susceptible to this situation, don’t ignore it, don’t rationalize it, extend a hand.” Andrew’s mother Judy added “Don’t rationalize away anything — connect with each other if there’s something that’s bothering you, because there’s love out there.”

Before the conference I also tried to find the good to come out of this tragedy: the fact that Andrew Koenig went missing February 14th and was not found until February 25th turned what can often be a one day story people forget about quickly into almost 2 weeks of raised awareness of suicide or major depression warning signs.  Many news outlets ran stories with real facts about mental illness and posted the long list of signs to look out for.  I hope more people than normal took the time to educate themselves and then check in with friends and family to see how they are.

I urge you to read many of the stories and resources you can find on Coming Out Of The Dark and its links to other organizations that people can turn to for help.  1 in 5 will experience depression or mental illness this year alone, we need to start those conversations that were left in the closet for so long.  Break the stigma of mental illness so those suffering feel more comfortable reaching out for help.

It’s a sad day.  I will write more later, for now let’s wish that Andrew found the peace he was looking for and that his family and friends can find comfort in the outpouring of concern we all have shown. – Diane Foy, Coming Out Of The Dark 😦

Here is a touching scene from Growing Pains about true friends saying goodbye


R.I.P.  Andrew Koenig  (1968 – 2010)

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MISSING NOW FOUND: ANDREW KOENIG (Vancouver, BC)

February 24, 2010

UPDATE:  DEVASTATING NEWS

Body found in Stanley Park believed to be Koenig

VANCOUVER — Vancouver police say a body has been discovered and that it could be that of missing actor Andrew Koenig.

Police were to release more details at a news conference 5PM pt, and say Koenig’s family will be present.

Police have asked reporters to gather in Stanley Park, where the body was found at about noon.

Koenig disappeared on Feb. 14 and is best known for his Richard “Boner” Stabone role in the 1980s sitcom “Growing Pains.”

On Thursday, his father, Walter Koenig, told a news conference at the Vancouver Police Department that his son suffers from depression.

Koenig, himself an actor who played the part of a Russian crew member on the original “Star Trek” TV series, implored the public to look out for his son.

All Info copied from Walter Koenig’s official website

Andrew Koenig, the son of Star Trek actor Walter Koenig, is missing. The last time Andrew Koenig was seen was on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Andrew Koenig never boarded his flight back to the US, and he hasn’t heard from since then.

His cell phone was used on 2/16, as was his bank account, but the phone is now turned off and there has been no new activity since.

He was last seen at a bakery in the Stanley Park area of Vancouver.

Andrew is white, 5 feet 5 inches tall, 135 pounds and has shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes.

Andrew Koenig, 41, was working as the video producer on the show “Never Not Funny” as well as doing improv in Los Angeles. Best known as “Boner” from “Growing Pains”, Andrew also had a role in “Deep Space Nine”, and is a talented actor director, editor and photographer as well as a passionate activist.  In 2008, he  was arrested at the Rose Bowl while protesting China’s part in the genocide in the country of Burma.

This is a serious matter that has Koenig’s friends and family gravely concerned. If you have seen him, emailed him or had any contact after the 14th or spent time with him during his stay in Vancouver please call Detective Raymond Payette of the Vancouver PD at 604-717-2534.

Walter Koenig Speaks to ABC about Andrew’s disappearance on
2/22/10

Danielle on Larry King Live 2/23/10

Andrew, best know as “Boner” from “Growing Pains”, is a funny, caring, gifted and passionate
multi-talented young man.

Andrew performs at The Improv and is the video producer for Never Not Funny, and has had roles in the movies NonSeNse, InAlienable, The Theory of Everything, Batman: Dead End, and on television in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”,. “G.I. Joe”, “My Two Dads”, “21 Jump Street”, “My Sister Sam”, and “Adam-12”. He’s edited over a dozen films and directed, produced, and written many others.

Andrew has been an activist his entire life and most recently has been working on behalf of the people of
Burma, and was arrested during the 2008 Rose Bowl parade for protesting American involvement in
China’s Olympics due to China’s support of the Burma military regime.

Andrew was suffering from clinical depression at the time of his disappearance. The last time the Koenig’s heard from Andrew by phone was on February 9. His cell phone is turned off and the last time his phone received a text was on February 16 in Vancouver. There was bank activity in Vancouver on the same day.

On Feb. 16, Walter received a letter from his son Andrew, which caused his father to grow concerned about his whereabouts because of  its despondent tone. It was also discovered that Andrew sold or gave away a number of his possessions before flying to Canada; and he refused a job two weeks earlier, saying he “wasn’t going to work anymore.”

Andrew had recently finished shooting a trailer for a feature film that he wanted to direct, and was in
Canada visiting friends: first in Toronto and then in Vancouver. Andrew was very comfortable in
Vancouver, having lived there for several years after he fell in love with the area while filming an episode
of “21 Jump Street”. Friends have reported that Andrew told them he felt Vancouver “was his true home”.

It is not believed that any specific incident prompted Andrew’s disappearance. “I think it’s something that
has been a part of his makeup for a long time. There’s no single trauma. There’s no episode. There’s
nothing of that nature,” says Walter, who added that drugs were not an issue. ” “He’s trying to get ahead
in this business and he’s been working at it a long time.” “I only want to say he’s a really good person, a
great humanitarian,” Walter said. “Everyone who knew him was very fond of him.”

Walter and his wife Judy Levitt Koenig are in Vancouver at this time.

Andrew in March 2008, with his hair back.
He may have cut his hair or be wearing it this way.

Contrary to some reports, police have no evidence that Andrew is alive and in hiding. The statement Vancouver Constable Tim Fanning gave CNN was: “There’s nothing right now to believe that anything has happened to him. We’re certainly very concerned, as (are) his family and friends. But there’s no evidence to believe that there’s foul play involved at this point.”

In addition, Fanning stated: “People don’t
just fall off the face of the map without, obviously, having some sort of problems, and we’re hoping that
maybe he’s just trying to lie low and, you know, spend some time by himself.”

Further, a police department press release stated: “There’s no new information to report in the
disappearance of Andrew Koenig. Investigators continue to follow-up on the many tips they have received. Cell phone and banking records up until the time he disappeared lead police to believe he is still in the Vancouver area. There has been no cell phone or bank activity since February 16th when he was last seen in south Vancouver. Police are still hopeful that Andrew will be found alive and safe.”

The website team urges people to rely on major news outlets (such as CNN) for accurate information: or to visit the VPD media site for the newest press release: http://vancouver.ca/media_wa/

The police stated they have received a “substantial number of tips and information” and are working
tirelessly, but have been unable to confirm any new sightings of Andrew.

Walter said of the Vancouver police and their efforts to find his son, “They have been kind, sensitive,
generous and just extraordinary. Two of their investigators are working tirelessly today on their day off. They have been wonderful and I ask people to call the number from the Vancouver Police department … if you have any information.

IMPORTANT NOTE FROM THE WALTER KOENIG WEBSITE TEAM!!!
Andrew’s disappearance has sparked an enormous and deeply heartwarming outpouring of
support by people around the world. It has touched many who also suffer or know someone
who suffers depression and may have thought of suicide, and helped give them inspiration
during their difficult times.

In response to those who are reaching out, the website team is posting here helpful
information regarding suicide. If you are considering suicide, please, if you take anything from
this event, remember that there are people who care about you who will be saddened by your
loss. Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem and should never be an option.

If you are feeling desperate, alone, or hopeless… or know someone suffering, please don’t
delay…call for help.

US National Suicide Hotline – Toll-Free / 24 hours a day / 7 days a week 1-800-273-TALK –  1-800-273-8255
1-800-799-4TTY (4889) Deaf Hotline

WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE:

* Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
* Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
* Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
* Feeling hopeless
* Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
* Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking
* Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
* Increasing alcohol or drug use
* Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
* Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
* Experiencing dramatic mood changes
* Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life

RED FLAG WARNING SIGNS-
* A previously depressed person who is suddenly happy. This often means they’ve come to a decision to end their life.
* Actions that signal they are planning for death:
* Giving away their possessions, particularly favorite things or things with sentimental value.
* Making out wills.
* Arranging for the care of pets.
* Extravagant spending or paying off debts.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK A PERSON IS HAVING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS

* Ask the person directly if he or she (1) is having suicidal thoughts/ideas, (2) has a plan to do so, and (3) has access to lethal
means:  This won’t increase the person’s suicidal thoughts. It will give you information that indicates how strongly the person has
thought about killing him- or herself.

* Take seriously all suicide threats and all suicide attempts. A past history of suicide attempts is one of the strongest risk factors for
death by suicide.

* There is no evidence that “nosuicide contracts” prevent suicide. In fact, they may give counselors a false sense of reassurance.

* Listen and look for red flags for suicidal behavior, indicated by the mnemonic:

IS PATH WARM?
Ideation—Threatened or communicated
Substance abuse—Excessive or increased

Purposeless—No reasons for living
Anxiety—Agitation/Insomnia
Trapped—Feeling there is no way out
Hopelessness

Withdrawing—From friends, family, society
Anger (uncontrolled)—Rage, seeking revenge
Recklessness—Risky acts, unthinking
Mood changes (dramatic)

HOW TO BE HELPFUL FOR SOMEONE WHO IS TALKING ABOUT OR THREATENING SUICIDE

* If you think a person might harm him or herself, don’t leave them alone.
* Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
* Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
* Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value
of life.
* Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
* Don’t dare him or her to do it.
* Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
* Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
* Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
* Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
* Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
* Tell them you’re going to get them some help. Give him or her a helpful resource – Send 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Tell him/her t
hey
are available 24/7 for anyone in suicidal crisis in the United States
* Take his/her words seriously and respond with compassion
* Encourage him/her to reach out for help to a friend, family member, counselor, clergy and other community members
* If the person online is saying he/she is going to kill him or herself at that moment or is in the process of attempting suicide, please try

to find his/her location and call the local police or 911.

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The 99 worst things to say to someone who is depressed

January 9, 2010

Some people trivialize depression (often unintentionally) by dropping a platitude on a depressed person as if that is the one thing they needed to hear. While some of these thoughts have been helpful to some people (for example, some find that praying is very helpful), the context in which they are often said mitigates any intended benefit to the hearer. Platitudes don’t cure depression.

Here is the list from contributors to asd:
0. “What’s your problem?”
1. “Will you stop that constant whining? What makes you think that anyone cares?”
2. “Have you gotten tired yet of all this me-me-me stuff?”
3. “You just need to give yourself a kick in the rear.”
4. “But it’s all in your mind.”
5. “I thought you were stronger than that.”
6. “No one ever said life was fair.”
7. “As you get stronger you won’t have to wallow in it as much.”
8. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”
9. “Do you feel better now?” (Usually said following a five minute conversation in which the speaker has asked me “what’s wrong?” and “would you like to talk about it?” with the best of intentions, but absolutely no understanding of depression as anything but an irrational sadness.)
10. “Why don’t you just grow up?”
11. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
12. “There are a lot of people worse off than you.”
13. “You have it so good, why aren’t you happy?”
14. “It’s a beautiful day!”
15. “You have so many things to be thankful for, why are you depressed?”
16. “What do you have to be depressed about.”
17. “Happiness is a choice.”
18. “You think you’ve got problems…”
19. “Well at least it’s not that bad.”
20. “Maybe you should take vitamins for your stress.”
21. “There is always somebody worse off than you are.”
22. “Lighten up!”
23. “You should get off all those pills.”
24. “You are what you think.”
25. “Cheer up!”
26. “You’re always feeling sorry for yourself.”
27. “Why can’t you just be normal?”
28. “Things aren’t *that* bad, are they?”
29. “Have you been praying/reading the Bible?”
30. “You need to get out more.”
31. “We have to get together some time.” [Yeah, right!]
32. “Get a grip!”
33. “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
34. “Take a hot bath. That’s what I always do when I’m upset.”
35. “Well, everyone gets depressed sometimes!
36. “Get a job!”
37. “Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone.”
38. “You don’t look depressed!”
39. “You’re so selfish!”
40. “You never think of anyone but yourself.”
41. “You’re just looking for attention.”
42. “Have you got PMS?”
43. “You’ll be a better person because of it!
44. “Everybody has a bad day now and then.”
45. “You should buy nicer clothes to wear.”
46. “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
47. “Why don’t you smile more?”
48. “A person your age should be having the time of your life.”
49. “The only one you’re hurting is yourself.”
50. “You can do anything you want if you just set your mind to it.”
51. “This is a place of business, not a hospital.” (after confiding to supervisor about my depression)
52. “Depression is a symptom of your sin against God.”
53. “You brought it on yourself”
54. “You can make the choice for depression and its effects, or against depression, it’s all in your hands.”
55. “Get off your rear and do something.” -or- “Just do it!”
56. “Why should I care?”
57. “Snap out of it, will you?”
58. “You want to feel this way.”
59. “You have no reason to feel this way.”
60. “Its your own fault.”
61. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
62. “You’re always worried about *your* problems.”
63. “Your problems aren’t that big.”
64. “What are you worried about? You should be fine.”
65. “Just don’t think about it.”
66. “Go Away.”
67. “You don’t have the ability to do it.”
68. “Just wait a few weeks, it’ll be over soon.”
69. “Go out and have some fun!”
70. “You’re making me depressed as well…
71. “I just want to help you.”
72. “The world out there is not that bad…”
73. “Just try a little harder!”
74. “Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days.”
75. “You need a boy/girl-friend.”
76. “You need a hobby.”
77. “Just pull yourself together”
78. “You’d feel better if you went to church”
79. “I think your depression is a way of punishing us.” &emdash;My mother
80. “Sh_t or get off the pot.”
81. “So, you’re depressed. Aren’t you always?”
82. “What you need is some real tragedy in your life to give you perspective.”
83. “You’re a writer, aren’t you? Just think of all the good material you’re getting out of this.”
84. This one is best executed with an evangelical-style handshake, i.e., one of my hands is imprisoned by two belonging to a beefy person who thinks he has a lot more charisma than I do: “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” This has actually happened to me. Bitten-back response: “Who are ‘our’? And don’t do me any favors, schmuck.”
85. “Have you tried chamomile tea?”
86. “So, you’re depressed. Aren’t you always?”
87. “You will be ok, just hang in there, it will pass.” “This too shall pass.” –Ann Landers
88. “Oh, perk up!”
89. “Try not being so depressed.”
90. “Quit whining. Go out and help people and you won’t have time to brood…”
91. “Go out and get some fresh air… that always makes me feel better.”
92. “You have to take up your bed and carry on.”
93. “Why don’t you give up going to these quacks (i.e., doctors) and throw out those pills, then you’ll feel better.”
94. “Well, we all have our cross to bear.”
95. “You should join band or chorus or something. That way you won’t be thinking about yourself so much.”
96. “You change your mind.”
97. “You’re useless.”
98. “Nobody is responsible for your depression.”
99. “You don’t like feeling that way? So, change it.”