Guest post @ Life of MI

Michael from asked me to do a guest post on the blog, so I wrote a little about my experience with mental illness and my perception of self. I thought some of you might be interested in checking it out.

Here’s a little excerpt to get you started:

Sometimes I have a hard time separating myself from my mental disorders. That’s the thing about chronic ailments (In my case, dysthymia, a form of chronic, lower-level depression) – it is with you so persistently and for such a long time that you get tangled up in it. I forget where the mental illness ends and where I begin. Read the rest here…

More posts soon!


RE: ‘Ces dépressifs qui se cachent derrière un sourire’

Salut and bienvenue!
Mon français est très rouillé (et peut être un peu ‘québécois’), mais, j’essaye…
Je suis honoré d’être mentionné dans l’article dans Madame (Le Figaro).
Je suis content que vous êtes ici ^_^

Hello and welcome!
My French is very rusty (and maybe a little ‘Québécois’), but, I’m trying…
I am honoured to be mentioned in the article in Madame (Le Figaro).
I’m happy that you are here ^_^

Incomparable Lives

I compare myself to other people. I know better, but I still do it. When I see other girls, I’ll compare my looks to theirs. When I go on Facebook, I compare my life to my friends’. I judge myself harshly, and usually find myself lacking. This certainly does nothing to alleviate my depression.

Comparing myself to others has never made me happy. It’s a sort of sick compulsion, and part of a competitive nature I can’t seem to shake. “Stop comparing yourself to others”; I will…just as soon as I’m doing better than them.

I know I’m not alone in this. A lot of us spend time seeing how we measure up – if we’re keeping up with the Joneses.

Obviously I do not know the inner workings of every person’s mind, but it seems like some of the happiest people I know are not burdened by self-comparison. Of course, I compare my own relative discontent to their happiness and end up envious!

However, I had something of a breakthrough when I was considering some upcoming events. Let me take you through the events:

  • In a month and a half, my best friend is getting married.
  • About 2 months after that, i will graduate from my program and complete my 20th consecutive year of school.
  • About 2 months after that, my cousin will give birth to her first child.

My friends, my cousin, and I are all very close in age (all born within a 32-day period). We all grew up in the same county. We all went to the same schools. Yet, despite these similarities, out lives have taken drastically different paths.

How can I compare my life to either of theirs? It’s all apples and oranges.

Am I failing because I’m not getting married or having a child? No. Are they failing because they have not pursued education to the same extent I have? No.

Comparing our lives to the lives of those on different paths will not make us happy, and it’s a silly thing to do anyway. I think, from now on, I will find it a bit easier to remember this.

Review: HOW TO BE HAPPY – Lee Crutchley

cover of HOW TO BE HAPPY  bookYou know how you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover? You shouldn’t judge a book by its genre descriptor either. I’ve read a fair few self-help books; I’m willing to bet you have too. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what self-help books are like. So, I was surprised when I received my copy of Lee Crutchley’s HOW TO BE HAPPY (OR AT LEAST LESS SAD). I was expecting a self-help book like any other, but it is a little different from other self-help books.

First off, it’s a workbook filled with activities (If you’ve done CBT, ACT, or similar therapies, you’ll probably recognize some of the activities.). With this book, you can cut right to the chase and do helpful activities instead of just reading about them. I believe a lot of us spend enough time sitting around thinking when we should be doing!

Second, it’s a fairly modest book. The author doesn’t claim expertise. There are no assumptions that the book will cure you. There is even acknowledgement that not all activities will work for everybody. However, there is a good range of activities, and I think there is something there for everybody.

When flipping through the book, the first thing I noticed was the fun design. It is decidedly more pleasant that the photocopies-of-photocopies-of-worksheets you usually get in therapy sessions. The second thing I noticed, upon closer inspection, was that it is witty. I caught myself truly laughing out loud more than once (and couldn’t we all do with a laugh?)!

If you’re looking for a nice book of activities to lift your mood, I think HOW TO BE HAPPY could be just the thing for you. Will it work for you? Well, I can’t tell you that, but the book comes with my recommendation, nonetheless! I’ve been working on a few of the activities myself (though I still can’t bring myself to write in the book; the idea makes my eye twitch), and I’ll be sure to report in with any excellent results.

If you’re in the US, HOW TO BE HAPPY hits shelves near you today. If you’re in the UK, sit tight till July. Regardless of geography, you can take a peek on Amazon. Also, check out the #HTBHbook tag and/or one of these other reviews to see more information about the book, and even some of the activities. And, if you want to learn more about Lee Crutchley and his work, you can go to his site,

I don’t get paid to do reviews as I’ve not yet started a ‘will work for books’ campaign, so you’re looking at my honest opinions!

Something to Live For II

Well, I survived the tend of my school term and a visit home and now I’m back! I promised a part II to my post Something to Live For, and here it is.

On that post, Michael from made a good point:

I think that’s a common problem and you don’t have to be alone to have it. I have people and things but that same thought persists. I think it is because when you have someone or something, you start to believe that you don’t deserve them/it and they would be better off without you because all you ever do is hurt them or bring them grief!
I think it is the sickness and the change of circumstances wont change it much…”

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve thought about my family/friends/etc. and said to myself “They’ll be better off without me.” (Would they be? Probably not. Would they think themselves better off without me? Almost certainly not.). So, yes, I found it difficult to find something to live for even when there have been plenty of people (and pets) in my life. It’s surprisingly easy to forget about those thoughts when you’re not in that situation.

It’s strange for me. I know that some of my depression is situational depression – many people in the same circumstances would feel depressed. But there is also the dysthymia, which has very little to do with circumstances. When I’m feeling depressed, I can’t tell which is affecting me. Perhaps I could differentiate if I tried (and I will try, just to see).

Overall, this served as a reminder to me of how depression can put the blinders on; there’s a lot I don’t see and don’t think about when I’m depressed. If I’m not seeing the whole picture, maybe I’m also not seeing all the things worth living for. It’s worth a look, right?

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