Depression is a personal health issue for me. I hardly remember a time when my mother was not in and out of hospitals. For her, the problem was bipolar disorder, and I grew up terrified that I'd inherit it. While I didn't inherit bipolar disorder, I do have major depressive disorder. Because of my mother's history, I recognized early that I needed help and sought treatment. Today, my depression is fairly well controlled by practicing meditation and relaxation techniques, taking an antidepressant and talking to a psychiatrist when I feel the need to.
Migraine disease is also a personal health issue. When my Migraines spun out of control in the late 90s, my professional life took a definite turn. Faced with debilitating Migraines and failed medical care, I hit the Internet for answers. I soon found that there was no one site that combined all I was looking for, and that there are sites with excellent information and sites with misinformation. It was at that time that I joined About.com as an opportunity to produce the site I was looking for. I remained there as their Guide to Headaches and Migraines for nearly seven years before joining the HealthCentral Network in 2007 as an expert on MyMigraineConnection.
In researching and doing my work, I discovered that Migraine and depression are often comorbid diseases -- the occur at the same time, but neither causes the other. In fact, studies have shown the prevalence of depression among Migraineurs to be 47%, much higher than in the general population. Both for myself and for my readers, I continue to read and research to keep learning about both disorders and the connection between them.
In 2005, HarperCollins offered me the opportunity to write my first book, "Living Well With Migraine Disease and Headaches." That helped me extend my work from the Internet to those who don't use the Internet for health information.
I have very strong convictions about our health and our role in our health care:
Optimal health care can be achieved only when patients are educated about their health and patients and physicians work together as treatment partners in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
Knowledge leads to empowerment over our health issues. By learning all we can about them, we can work more effectively with our doctors so that we can control our illness rather than it controlling us. We can regain or retain control of our lives.
You're not alone, and there is hope.
Living With It in Depression