Springing Away from Depression

CAITLIN MCCAULEY | FEATURES COLUMNIST

On Wednesday, April 8, 2016 McKenna Kaminski ’19 held a depression awareness presentation, Springing Away from Depression. Kaminski felt inspired to host this education project by her own experience with depression and her newfound ambition to help others struggling with it.

“Once I realized that there are other people who struggle with depression I knew that I could help them by talking about my own experience with other people. They key is to not feel so alone.”

The Cassandra Voss Center was packed as people gathered to hear her story and how she has changed and grown as a result of depression. Kaminski spoke of the important bonds she shares with members of her family, and continued to tell her own story and how she has struggled with depression in her life. Professor Sarah Schuetze also spoke about her encounters with depression and what she has found helpful in overcoming and combating it. Following a meditation after her presentation, Kaminski closed by introducing SNC students to a website she created to help those with depression.

The website that Kaminski created is called, The Punctured Soul Project. She came up with the idea to start a website when thinking of how she could help others that had gone through similar struggles as she has:

“I created my website because I wanted people who struggle with depression to have an outlet. I wanted to create a safe place for people to go when they feel like there’s nothing left. I wanted them to know that they’re not the only ones, there is places to get help, and there are coping skills that can be learned.”

The Punctured Soul Project features Kaminski’s own story, as well as the opportunity for those who currently or have previously dealt with depression to share their stories in a safe environment. The website also includes inspirational quotes, a link to the suicide hotline, and pieces written by Kaminski. Some of her pieces are reflections  about her journey, others are personal letters written to friends and family, a coping technique she cites as one of her favorites. Writing letters to people, even if they are never sent, can be incredibly helpful in a person’s journey through depression.

When asked about her experience with depression, Kaminski  says she benefitted from it greatly, and strongly encourages others going through depression to talk to someone,

“My advice to someone struggling with depression would be to get help and see a counselor. I know that it’s not an easy step to take because no one wants to feel like they’re ‘different’ but own up to that and make a difference for yourself. Don’t live a miserable life because you’re scared of how people will think of you. Don’t be ashamed of who you are because you are you and nothing should ever change that.”

Kaminski compliments the counseling services at SNC and highly recommends paying them a visit to anyone who feels they need someone to talk to. Depression is something that can easily be overlooked and hard to identify, a lot of times an outsider would never know if someone was struggling with depression because it can be hidden. Thanks to Kaminski’s bravery and superb speaking skills, the students of SNC are now more aware of depression and its effects as well as several methods for coping with depression, for more information visit The Punctured Soul Project at http://xprs.imcreator.com/free/mckennareide/the-punctured-soul-project

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One thought on “Springing Away from Depression

  1. Frequently misdiagnosed as depression, undiagnosed bipolar disorder is one of the most common scenarios encountered by psychiatrists.

    Patients who have not responded to treatment for a diagnosis of depression and anxiety turn out to be undiagnosed for Bipolar Disorder. They make up a large percentage of these people who are considered “non-responders” by other physicians because they actually did not have a correct diagnosis.

    Undiagnosed bipolar disorder is common because the diagnosis is sometimes very tricky to make and in our field we have no lab tests or objective testing to prove a diagnosis of any kind. Misdiagnoses commonly arise from the fact that a patient has non-classic manic symptoms which cause them to be diagnosed for years with depression, anxiety or panic disorder by mistake.

    Here are some signs to watch for if you have a friend or loved one who may not be responding to treatment for a diagnosis of depression or anxiety.

    To briefly describe bipolar disorder, it involves both episodes of “mania” and “depression.” It used to be labeled “manic-depressive” disorder until the name was changed in the 1970’s to bipolar disorder.
    There are 2 defined severities “bipolar 1” and “bipolar 2”.

    Bipolar 2 has “hypomanic” episodes which are more mild manic episodes mixed with episodes of severe depression.

    Bipolar 1 has severe manic episodes also mixed with severe depressive episodes.

    Here are some common signs of undiagnosed bipolar disorder:

    1. Recurrent episodes of severe depression (especially more than 3 ) *do not count episodes following trauma or associated with grief.

    2. Early childhood onset symptoms of depression that continue throughout adulthood

    3. Having migraine headaches are highly comorbid with bipolar disorder. Up to 30 percent of bipolar patients have migraines. (this does not mean if you have migraines you have bipolar but it is just one factor to consider)

    4. Family history of severe depression or bipolar disorder

    5. Alcohol addiction or family history of severe alcoholism

    6. Depression that does not respond to several anti-depressants (true non-bipolar depression typically will show a signifigant response to anti-depressants, especially after trying 2 or 3 different ones) If you do not respond to medication you may want to consider bipolar disorder

    7. Taking anti-depressants make you irritable, hyper, restless or agitated. We call this “activation” by an anti-depressant and these symptoms can be considered a pseudo-manic feeling. People that respond this way to regular anti-depressants are likely actually bipolar

    8. If your depressive episodes tend to include- excessive sleeping, excessive eating, and feeling overly sensitive to criticism (these are referred to as atypical depression and is the common presentation of depression in someone with bipolar disorder)

    9. Were diagnosed with ADHD as a child or have several children diagnosed with ADHD. Symptoms of bipolar disorder and ADHD are laregely indistinguishable during childhood and kids are often misdiagnosed with adhd when in reality they have either bipolar disorder or a combination of bipolar disorder with ADHD.

    10. Moderate-severe depressive episode or any psychotic episode following pregnancy (post-partum depression or psychosis)-Psychosis involves losing touch with reality, being paranoid or hallucinating. Moderate-severe depressive post-partum episodes are much more common in bipolar patients and should raise a red flag if this occurs and you are not diagnosed with bipolar.

    11. Have episodes of ongoing “panic” or anxiety symptoms lasting 24/7, during the night and without any break for weeks or months at a time. True generalized anxiety or panic disorder cause very discreet, relatively short-lived attacks of anxiety. Sometimes they last hours but more commonly only last 10-20 minutes. If you have periods of days or weeks at a time where you feel excessively anxious, especially if it is keeping you awake at night, this is a big red flag for undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

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