Sometimes it’s the slumps that make us who we are.

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It happens to all of us.

We get knocked off balance. We hit the wall. We have setbacks. We get sick. We run out of gas. Our identities take a hit.

We fear that we’ve lost the best part of ourselves. Where did our strength go? We don’t like ourselves. We feel blah or boring or restless. Will we ever bounce back?

I’m not talking about depression.

I’m talking about the variability of living. The sinkholes of time can suck us in for days, or weeks or even months. Without our personal kryptonite, what do we do?

We tend to…


Simone Biles just gave me a lesson in taking care of myself — regardless of the consequences.

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As I watched the Olympic women's gymnastic finals, I felt a cascade of feelings, as Simone Biles faltered uncharacteristically. My heart sank as she began to look less ferocious. And when she left the arena briefly, I felt anxious and then confused.

I admit to wishing there was some visible evidence that precluded her competition. But she was clear that it was “mental.” I was riveted on her face. It was sad beneath the mask, but also still and then generous and energetic in supporting her teammates.

People wanted to believe that her choice to withdraw from the competition was…


I talk a good game about stigma, but it remains no matter what I preach

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I just got back from an all-day extravaganza at the local Emergency Room.

I have pneumonia.

But that’s beside the point.

There were stretches of hours between tests and procedures that it took to make that diagnosis, and rule out every other possibility except leprosy. I had a lot of time to think. They took away my bag with a phone, notebooks, pens of every color, an article I started in the interminable waiting room. It was definitely a low-budget ER, lacking even the distraction of a TV. So I had to sit with myself. …


Finding it, holding on to it, and sharing it are life-changers.

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Joy gets confused with happiness. The words are often used interchangeably. In fact, other than being positive feelings, they are quite different. Happiness is something we achieve. As columnist Arthur Brooks wrote in the New York Times (May 7, 2019), “Happiness usually involves a victory for the self. Joy tends to involve the transcendence of self.” Happiness focuses on the long term. Joy lives in the moment. Happiness is something we aspire to. Joy doesn’t care about our goals.

In the words of the monk and scholar Brother Steindlhl-Rask from The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World…


When I open a platform in which I am a member, I do not expect exhortations to read articles about accepting “Him.”

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Yesterday, I clicked in to Medium and facing squarely smack in the “Recommended For You” section was an article entitled “Answer His Call.”

There are so many things wrong with this, that I am surprised no one picked it up and pulled back. …


From a psycholgist and depression sufferer: The confusion makes sense, but it interferes with understanding the actual illness

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As a psychologist of many years, and a person who writes online, I field hundreds and hundreds of questions about depression. There is a common theme. People have trouble differentiating the feeling of depression from the clinical condition of depression.

When these experiences are discussed interchangeably, it confuses the issues relating to diagnosing “clinical” depression, which is a common, but destructive illness that is woefully under identified and under-treated.

So, what’s the difference?

  • There are many, many experiences in our lives that make us sad, bereaved…


How I Learned About How Wonderful “Becoming a Woman” Was Going To Be

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Spoiler Alert: For those of you under 40, this belongs in a time capsule, demonstrating again, that we were never, really, the same age as our mothers!

The beginning of the beginning

It all starts to ramp up with the issue of menstruation. Before that are the innocent childhood questions about where babies come from, and the answers usually fairy tale versions, in which the babies are dropped, mailed, or delivered by characters like Santa or the stork, elves or other mythical creatures. …


Dementia devastates our parents, our grandparents and ourselves. Where do we find the joy?

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A journey we don’t really think about until we are on the road…

I have crossed the threshold of this house hundreds of thousands of times. I lean my weight into the black door that has been stuck for years. For years, I’ve announced my arrival, “Mo-omm. Hiiii.” Recognizing me from my voice, she’d yell, “Hi Marth, “I’m in the studio. I’ll be right down.”

Lately there have been no announcements of my arrivals. A caretaker meets me at the door. My mother is in the slow slide of dementia. She remembers next to nothing of the day, or the…


Thankfulness is one of the most direct routes to well being

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As children, most of us were drilled into the habit of automatically saying, “Thank You,” whether we felt appreciative or not. Sometimes we said it like a habit — a “Bless you,” after a sneeze. But often, we didn’t give much reflection to what that gift, or statement, or behavior really meant to us. We learned about being polite, not about being truly grateful.

What is it?

Gratitude is not only a feeling. It is a practice. In the “Book of Joy,” which is a compilation of conversations about the paths to…


What you need to know. What you can do. What you can’t.

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Depression is a common enough condition that you know, or will know, some one who suffers from it. Chances are, one of those people will be a friend. Depression is not just hell for the sufferer. As a friend, you have front row seat to pain. And you’re close enough to be affected by it yourself. It can be demanding, sad, scary, confusing and frustrating role as you watch a friend becomes a “ghost” in your relationship. It can make you feel abandoned, inept and afraid. …

Martha Manning, Ph.D.

Martha Manning, Ph.D is a writer and clinical psychologist, loves the marriage of darkness and humor. Depression sufferer. Mother. Growing older without grace,

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