Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Helping a Loved One with Depression

In my journey with depression I have been all too aware of how it has affected my relationships. I realize it not only makes me sad, but can hurt those around me, which in turn makes me feel even worse.

I don’t have any magic words on how to deal with loved ones suffering from depression, but I can give you suggestions based on what I have experienced.

                My first suggestion, if you haven’t already, is to do your research on depression. Find out what it is, read stories of people who have it, and ask your loved one how it feels. Ask your loved one if there is anything that makes it worse, what thoughts go through their head, when it started, is there something that can help them feel better, etc. Try to be mindful of when the right time is to have this conversation. I know for me personally, I have a bad tendency to “shut down” and not want to talk when depression is hitting me hard. While sometimes talking through it does help me, sometimes it’s just better if I have some space to work through it in my own head. Please, do not feel hurt if your loved one is not ready to talk. Just let them know that you’re ready to listen whenever they are ready. I would also be careful of asking “what’s wrong?”, as sometimes there really isn’t anything wrong. Sometimes a person with depression just feels bad, and they feel guilty when they don’t have a specific reason of why they’re upset.  

                My second suggestion is to check your own thoughts and make sure you think of depression as a challenge that some strong people have to overcome in order to find their true happiness and purpose in life. Learn to believe that part of the reason your loved one has been placed in your life is so that you may become a better human being as well.  It will be very hard to do this at first, but learn to be thankful that you have been entrusted with the courageous job of helping someone deal with depression.  I feel very strongly about this belief as it is the way people will stop feeling “ashamed” that they have depression and it will allow people to feel safe to talk about it. The ability to feel safe about talking about depression is a big step towards learning how to feel better.

                My third suggestion is to take care of yourself when your loved one is having a “bad day.” I feel absolutely terrible when my depression starts affecting those I love and I know it does. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, take care of yourself. Letting yourself feel bad is not going to help anyone.  Understand that your loved one’s depression is not your fault. Do what you need to stay positive. Only then can you be truly helpful. (If you are spiritual, imagine a white or golden light around yourself, and say a small prayer for you and your loved one for guidance. I really believe this can help you and your loved one.)

                My last suggestion is never give up on your loved one and always believe that depression can be healed. It is only in this belief that depression can be healed, no matter how long or hard the struggle is. Always keep depression an open subject and when the moments are right, help your loved one find help, as the solution does not lie in you. Do not put that pressure on yourself. You can only do what you can to help. To help your loved one find help is tricky, but trust yourself. Just by reading this you are helping. Maybe even showing your loved one my past blogs is helping. You were entrusted to help this person for a reason. Trust that what needs to come your way to help will come when you and/or your loved one is ready.

Thank you so much for your courage, love, and strength as you support your loved one on their journey with depression. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, you are appreciated and loved.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?

Below is a quote I have heard the beginning of many times. However I have never heard what came after or knew who wrote it. Today I discovered it was said by someone I admire, Marianne Williamson, who everyday puts love and peace in the world. She is even heroically trying to bring this into politics by being a founder of The Peace Alliance:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. (feel free to replace God with Love if it makes you more comfortable)Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 
― Marianne WilliamsonReturn to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

              After reading this quote in full, I knew I was meant to hear it and share it. My "urge" to stop playing it small, has allowed me to share my journey while I'm trying to battle depression to better serve the world. Consequently, I have already seen that by shining my light, others are doing the same.

While I'm at it trying to "shine my light" I thought I'd share some pictures. :)

Twin Moose

Paintings for the Continental Divide Trail Race in Steamboat Springs

Maroon Bells

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Number 40 and How it Can Help with Depression

(What I have written below may not be for everyone and that is completely cool. With respect, I ask you not to judge, but realize that like you, I have feelings, my own purpose, and my own challenges. Even if you don’t particularly like what I say, please see I speak from love with the hopes of helping others. Thank you.)


I never really thought much about that number except for that most people don’t like turning 40. That and the story of Noah’s ark in which it rained for 40 days and 40 nights to kill the “evil” human race- a story I've never been fond of since it scared me as a kid. Thus, 40 never seemed like a good number.

It is a great number though!

Here are some positive thoughts/ facts on the number 40:

1)     Turning 40 is a gift not everyone gets. Plus, you’re a lot wiser than you were at 20. (I don’t know about you but there’s no way I’d take the wisdom I’ve gained for a younger age)

2)    Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights in the desert. Then it was 40 days between the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. (I know religion can rub people the wrong way but I just put this in to show the number throughout history)

3)    Your conscious mind can process 40 environmental stimuli per second.

4)    Forty is the only number, when spelled out, has its letters in alphabetical order.

5)    The planet Venus forms a pentagram in the night sky every eight years with it returning to its original point every 40 years with a 40 day regression. Some scholars believe that this ancient information was the basis for the number 40 becoming sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

6)    Buddha is said to have reached enlightenment after mediating and fasting for 40 days.

And my current favorite…..

7)    Research shows that you can have long lasting change in the neural pathways of your brain after repeating a new pattern for 40 days.  
(Heres one video on it: )

How can that help improve depression or make anyone’s life better with or without depression?

            If you can commit to do something positive for 40 days you can actually change your brain! All you need is yourself.

            In my personal journey I’m trying out a few things for 40 days, although just doing one thing would be a great start.

-First, I’m meditating for forty days. I’ll do a whole other blog about this but to help you out I want to make sure you know you don’t have to just sit cross legged trying not to think, though that may be perfect for some people.  I’m currently using guided meditations I found online but you can even meditate to a positive song you like. For example, if you’re a woman needing a little confidence you can get your meditation on to Girl on Fire by Alicia keys. If you want to feel thankful you can meditate to Kind & Generous to Natalie Merchant.)

-At the end of my meditation I often find it helpful to take a moment to picture how I want to feel. Even if you don’t want to full on meditate, I would highly suggest doing this and you can do it anywhere.

- I’m also trying to do yoga for 40 days, even if I just have time for one pose. My reason for doing yoga is that it reminds me to breathe, focus, and balance for my mind and my body.
Mind and body workout! 

-The simplest thing I’m doing, which I am finding to be very effective, is having a mantra to deal with my negative thoughts. This can change daily, but a mantra I always come back to is “I forgive myself for my negative thought. I now choose to see love instead of fear.”

-Lastly, I’m reading May Cause Miracles: A 40 day guidebook of subtle shifts for radical change and unlimited happiness by Gabrielle Bernstein. The book is awesome and a perfect addition to my search on healing depression naturally. However, I’m finding that different authors relate to different people, so if you check it out and don’t like it, that’s cool, but maybe try another book aimed at positive thinking.

            So that’s my 40 day plan. Please don’t think you have to do all of that! You can even come up with something else. Just pick one thing and you’ll be off to a great start. Also, according to spiritual teachers, it’s okay to miss a day. Forgive yourself and then start at day 1. I realize that starting over at day 1 might seem a little grueling, but you want to start something that you can continue and build on for the rest of your life anyway. Even after the 40 days is up you shouldn’t stop, but maybe try something a little different.

WARNING: If you do decide to try this and you start feeling a little better after a week or so, do not stop! I can almost guarantee that once you start feeling better, a silly little voice is going to tell you that it's okay to stop and you'll still feel okay (which won't be the case). This comes from your ego, the same place where negative thoughts come from, and you must not listen to it. I've started on a better path so many time only to stop doing what was working because I listened to this silly voice. Listen to the loving voice that wants what is best for you.

            If anyone has any other suggestion on a positive pattern that can be done for 40 days please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear ideas. Also, if you found this helpful, please share it. I really wish I would have known some of this earlier as I feel strongly that this information will help me heal my own mind.

Thank you for reading!

Run Wild, Run Happy,


"To heal is to make happy" -A Course in Miracles

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Love doesn’t come in perfect packages, that means I qualify (Third Eye Blind)

(I actually first wrote this over a month ago but never intended to post it. It was just something that I wish I could say. However, I believe it contains a message that can resonate with others)

We look at people, maybe even hear a few things, and automatically start judging- good and/or bad.
The deepest thoughts of the mind are often hidden until the owner of those thoughts works up the courage to say something.

I’ve hidden my secret, even denied it to myself, because I felt like society was telling me that something was wrong with me. Something wrong that wasn’t okay to tell, even to my family. Something wrong that would make others uncomfortable. At some points in my life, I really did feel unlovable.

I still felt like something was unspeakably wrong with me until recently. Then I started watching videos of people with similar problems to mine. (I highly suggest you go to youtube and type in "tedxtalks mental illness") They were speaking up and saying this thing that was “wrong” was actually okay. It wasn’t something to be ashamed of, just something to go through and conquer as much as possible. In fact, by speaking up, they were feeling even better about it and some were even saving lives. These speakers made me feel that maybe what is wrong with me isn’t something I have to hide. When people get the flu, have heart disease, or have an injury they don’t feel like they have to hide it from the world. Why do I have to hide my problem?

Why suddenly, does it become wrong to talk about something that is a little “off” in the brain?

Why does admitting that I have mild chronic depression (though this has gotten better with a healthy lifestyle it is still present in my life) and social anxiety (I know I can hide it well sometimes) seem so wrong and hard?

Does this make you think of me differently? Will it make you feel uncomfortable the next time you see me? Do you now feel like this is something people should hide? Is it not okay to talk about or tell others I have it?

I hope not. I have come to realize that the little things that are off in my brain have made me a more caring and empathetic person. What’s not okay is that my problems once led me to a period that I had lost all hope, I was doing harmful things to my body, and I was taking pills I shouldn’t have been taking. This never would have happened if I had felt it was okay to talk about it. It is not okay that thousands of people have had to feel way worse than they should have because they were afraid to ask for help. Chances are you know quite a few people that have a mental disorder and don’t even know it.

I took advantage of a health issues art project in high school
to share how I felt with others without actually having to admit to anyone
I felt like this.
(My theme was the pain "release" from self-harm)
I don’t want to feel ashamed or afraid of my problems anymore when they have actually made me a better person. I don’t want other people to feel bad about their problems either. While my social anxiety still prevents me (at the moment) from starting an actual face to face conversation, I still want to speak up.

Actually, I want to do more than speak up….

I want to speak up AND make others feel better.

I think, over the past few weeks, the universe/God/ inner guide/ whatever you want to call it, has presented some tools my life for just this reason.

Run Wild, Run Free,


Naturally and Spiritually Healing Depression (My first steps)

Before reading my story please be respectful of my “truth”. With respect, I ask you not to judge, but realize that like you, I have feelings, my own purpose, and my own challenges. Even if you don’t particularly like what I say, please see I speak from love with the hopes of helping others. Thank you.

“I don’t want to keep going through this. There has got to be a way out of this”

This thought came into mind for the millionth time the day before I ran Speedgoat 50k as I felt my mind crumbling under another “bad day”.

The thought then came again the days after the race alongside the thought “I don’t want to keep fighting my own mind.”

If you don’t know what it’s like having depression, imagine having a bad day. Then imagine feeling like you have no control over your negative thoughts or ending that bad day. It’s kind of like that song Bad Day by Fuel.  I have hated myself for not being able to control my thoughts, making things get only darker. 

So on the day before Speedgoat, I felt my depression rising. While adrenaline used to get me ready to race, a series of not feeling so great races replaced that adrenaline with a fear of feeling bad. I tried to fight back but could only pull off attempts of seeming “normal” to those around me. I could feel my mind wearing itself out along with my body as my cortisol levels rose.  This stretch of depression lasted for 4-5 days, leaving me exhausted. (This was a bit of a long stretch for recent years)

In that time, I contemplated my 25 years of life. I felt that while I had some amazing and beautiful adventures, I had missed out on too much joy. Moreover, I realized that I have people in my life right now that I love too much to screw up the relationships. Though I have had my fair share of rejection and failure, I really enjoy living in Colorado, I have been blessed with some great adventures this summer, and I have people who I love deeply and completely and love me the same. It’s time I truly enjoy it.

But how?

I had already been to see my doctor, and tears rolled down my face as for the first time in my life I had the courage to admit I faced the challenge of depression and my healthy lifestyle wasn’t enough to fix it. I really appreciate and like my doctor and trusted her opinion when she prescribed my Prozac.  

I thought this could be the answer until I told my sister. She accepted it, but then lovingly said she wished I would have tried harder to help my depression in a natural way. At first this really upset me, and I believed she just didn’t understand, but then the thought popped into my head that maybe there was a higher purpose to her statement. I also researched Prozac and learned that it is most likely to have a negative effect on running and that immediately put an end to that since there is no way that was going to make me happy.

I began my research once again and found things I hadn’t found before. I found natural supplements like St. Johns Wart and 5-htp that can do the same things as Prozac without the negative effects. (I AM NOT SAYING PEOPLE SHOULDN’T BE ON PRESCRIPTION MEDS FOR DEPRESSION. THIS IS JUST OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER.) Then I found books dedicated to helping people improve their thinking based on the research that 40 days of practicing meditation or saying positive words (even if u don’t feel like it)will  start to change your brain. I kept on finding more and more ways to naturally and spiritually heal depression that I believed in. And you know what… it has helped me. While everything hasn’t been perfect, I am starting to feel better. On the “bad days” I don’t feel quite as bad and I can now look at myself on those bad days from an outside perspective and be aware of my thoughts and actions. If you’ve struggled with a mental illness, you know that’s a miracle.

I am extremely proud to announce that my mind is already improving my body as I FINALLY did the side ways crow pose (it may not be pretty but I can do it) and on tired legs I had a 2 minute PR going up Green Mountain! (What I pretend to look like do side ways crow pose:

With this information I have started new journey.  As you can see, one of my first steps has been to accept and appreciate my journey to this point and share it with others. I know I am not the only one who has gone through this and my hope is to help others as I help myself, as helping others is a really important tool to feel better. Thus, you can expect tons of new blog posts on possible ways to help improve depression (or your life even if don’t have depression) naturally and spiritually from now on.

I promise I will write whole blog posts on specific things to help improve depression/ your life, but for today I will leave you with a simple mantra:

“I choose to see love instead of fear” (from GabrielleBernstein)

Run wild, run towards happiness, not away from pain,


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Adventures with Rachel and Steve

Love... Mountains...Adventure...

                                                      A Little Bit of Southern Colorado with Rachel and Steve

My first video that I completely filmed and edited. Sorry if it's a bit shaky!
I had such a great time hanging out with Rachel and Steve that I wanted a little way to try to thank them and have a good reminder of the memories we made together.

This is a blog post Rachel did about leaving the mountains. I was brought to tears reading it as it gives some insight to the bond we share together.

A few other pictures...

Rafting in Durango
Me filming away on the Colorado Trail
Rach took the picture of this quote we like
One of my favorite views: Molas Pass
Photo: Look who visited the store today!  Mr. Sage Canaday and Sandi Nypaver!  Vertical Runner Breckenridge is wishing Sage good luck for Ultra Race of Champions!!!
A little piece of home now in Colorado.
The original Vertical Runner is in Hudson, OH, which Steve (Rachel's bf)
is part owner of.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

New art and what it's teaching me...

        I've been very lucky and honored to produce some artwork for some wonderful people this summer. Admittedly, I'm always worried that my artwork won't be good enough for the people I'm making it for. As an artist, especially since I started selling my art, sometimes I feel like I just cant get it right. Sometimes, this can feeling can help make a piece better,  but other times that negative feeling does nothing good. These are the times I have to recognize that I always do my best and then I try to focus on what I think I did a good job on. Then I can again start working to hopefully bring a smile the people who receive the art.

For the St. Jude Sweet Corn Races

Michelle Yates- what a rock-star!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Longs Peak: Video

         After a week of complete mind and body rest from running or any exercise (though a lot of heavy boxes and furniture were moved), Sage and I decided to hike up Longs Peak. I still needed the mental break of running uphill at high altitude, so we decided to power hike up and run down. The first 6.5 miles were easy and I almost regretted the decision not to run up as it was a very gradual incline. The rest of the way to the summit is very technical, with a lot of class 3 climbing. There is no way I'd want to be doing that in a storm as the rocks were already slippery from so many people hiking. We also went on a Saturday, which wasn't a great idea since Saturday draws quite a large crown on Longs Peak. However, we had fun and I was happy to mark another thing off of my running/mountain adventure list!

Thank you Sage for getting me some great shots to edit!
(SORRY for all the shots of my behind!)

Some other pictures:


Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Unicorn and a Googly Eyed Moose (Thanks for the memories Nederland!)

While it was definitely time for Sage and I to move from Nederland, there are some quirks about Nederland that I will really miss. One quirk that always made me smile was its street signs. Then of course was The Carousal of Happiness where you could ride a variety of animals like a gorilla or giraffe. I'll even miss just running past the restaurant in the train. Most of all, I'll miss the mountain views. Though I'll miss these things, I much rather be where I am now. :)

(My personal favorite)

(This is almost my favorite.. it's hard to choose between a moose and a unicorn
but the moose has googly eyes!) 
Buffalo Bills

The Carousal of Happiness

View one night from the cabin.

On the drive to Boulder is this cool rock!

Hope some of the signs got you to smile! Thanks for reading.