#ThrowBackThursday: How to get stuff done when you are depressed ~ Jessica Gimeno on #bipolar

December 2019:

I posted tjis first in October 2017:

This post is in honour of today’s World Mental Health Day 2017.

We are stronger than depression and inspiring people can show us how. Here is Jessica Gimeno at the TEDxPilsenWomen talk:

Related Blogpost:

TruLeeMe: Manic Monday

image of forest with white writing saying: "Man - a being in search of meaning" Plato

#ThrowBachThursday: 5 Things to Know about St. Johnswort ~ mentalhealthmatters

I posted this first in October 2017:

Saint John's wort flowers

fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Today I want to write a little more about St. Johnswort a medicinal herb I use to relieve my symptoms of depression and anxiety due to living with PTSD. I have been mentioning it before both in posts and tweets but never gave more information about it and I think there are 5 Things to Know about St. Johnswort.

In Germany where I come from St. Johnswort is a herb that is readily prescribed for mild and moderate depression. Before I came to the UK I had been using it for years and was aware of some of the side effects like becoming more sensitive to sunlight and getting a sunburn more easily for example.

You can imagine how I was surprised when my doctors here told me that it is not usually used and not enough is known about its effectiveness for depression. Now, that was ten years ago and I am glad that this misconception has changed a little. However, it is still not prescribed by GP’s as at least in the Uk it is an unlicensed herbal remedy.

On the other hand, though the mental health charity Mind dedicated a whole page to St. Johnswort and how it works. And there are many other pages out there that give you information on it.

What is St. Johnswort and how does it work?

This is what Mind the mental health Charity says:

What is St John’s wort?
St John’s wort is a herbal remedy that has been used for hundreds of years to treat mental health problems. Today it is mainly used as an over the counter remedy to treat mild and moderate depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), mild anxiety and sleep problems.

The botanical name for St Johnโ€™s wort is Hypericum perforatum, and it is sometimes marketed and sold as โ€˜Hypericumโ€™. It contains the ingredients hypericin and hyperforin, that have been used for their antidepressant properties.

How does St John’s wort work?
It is thought that St John’s wort works in a similar way to standard antidepressant medication. Research suggests that it increases the activity of brain chemicals such as serotonin and noradrenaline that are thought to play an important part in regulating our mood.

As well as hypercin and hyperforin, the plant contains many other substances that may boost its antidepressant activity in ways that are not yet fully understood. (Mind ~ St John’s wort – Hypericum perforatum)

What are the 5 Things to know about St. Johnswort?

  1. St. Johnswort is as effective as antidepressants for mild and moderate depression
  2. St. Johnswort is researched and proven
  3. There are side effects but less
  4. Be careful taking it with other medicines
  5. Be careful from where you get it

1. St. Johnswort is as effective as antidepressants for mild and moderate depression.

There have been many trials using St. Johnswort both for major and minor/moderate depression over the years which had not much impact. However, a couple of years before I came to the Uk the British Journal of Psychiatry did a meta-analysis of randomised control trials with St. Johnswort which concluded:

“…Larger placebo-controlled trials restricted to patients with major depression showed only minor effects over placebo, while older and smaller trials not restricted to patients with major depression showed marked effects. Compared with standard antidepressants Hypericum extracts had similar effects…” (British Journal of Psychiatry ~ Review Article St. Johnswort for Depression).

In 2008 NHS Choices picked up on two headlines one in The Daily Mail and one in the Daily Telegraph that suggested that St. Johnswort helps against depression. The article in The Daily Telegraph refers to the meta-analysis by the British Journal of Psychiatry and the NHS Knowledge Service concluded:

“…In summary, by adding the large studies that have recently been conducted to the existing body of research, the evidence suggests that St. Johnโ€™s wort is a viable treatment for mild to moderate major depression. Importantly, there is considerable variation in the preparations of St. Johnโ€™s wort available over the counter. The researchers say that their findings apply only to the extracts that were used in the studies in this review, or possibly to very similar preparations. People who want to take St. Johnโ€™s wort should speak to their doctors about the best preparation for them, and the risks and benefits compared to standard antidepressants….” (NHS Choices ~ St. Johnswort for Depression)

In comparison to that, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the US Department of Health and Human Services mentions a 2009 systematic review of 29 studies that suggests St. Johnswort may be better than a placebo and as effective as standard antidepressants.

However, they conclude the effectiveness of St. Johnswort for depression is inconclusive as their own studies had no positive results. (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health ~ St. Johnswort and Depression. In Depth)

2. St. Johnswort is researched and proven

Dr. Natalie Bozinovski talks about Canadian trials and gives you more information to St. Johnswort in her video here:

3 & 4 There are side-effects to St. Johnswort but less than those using standard anti-depressants

According to Wikipedia there are several possible side-effects like

  • nausea
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • photosensitivity
  • decreases levels of estrogen which such as estradiol, by speeding up its metabolism, and should not be taken by women on contraceptive pills as it upregulates the CYP3A4 cytochrome of the P450 system in the liver
  • decreases the effectiveness of several drugs like antiretrovirals, Benzodiazepines, birth control and beta blockers

Well, looking at that it sounds quite a few possible side-effects to me. I, however, have never experienced any of these and as I do not take any other drugs or the pill interactions never were an issue.

I assume these are possible but happen a lot less than using standard anti-depressants but I have to do some more research there.

5 Be Careful Where You Get it from

St. Johnswort is in most countries an unlicensed herbal remedy and therefore not as well regulated as licenced remedies. Make sure if you want to use it to see a health professional or homoeopath to find a trusted source to buy St. Johnswort.

A personal review of St. Johnswort by Emily Faith

What do you think?

In my opinion, it is a highly personal choice which way you go to deal with depression. There are many reasons for using standard antidepressants but also many reasons for going the complementary way. For me, it has always worked better without standard drugs but with herbs, therapy and creativity. However, I know many who have chosen a different path. I am curious: Which path have you chosen and why? Please let me know in the comments!


NHS Choices

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

British Journal of Psychiatry

YouTube Channels: Health and the City, Dr. Natalie Bozinovski ND. MSc., Dr. Sam Robbins, Emily Faith

MIND – The Mental Health Charity


Blast from the Past: The Bee Talks With… Sarah E. Olson

Book Cover Becoming One by Sarah E. Olson

This was first posted in April 2015:

Today I feel honored to host Sarah E. Olson who kindly agreed to answer my questions. Sarah has written a book called “Becoming One” where she describes her healing journey from abuse victim who has dissociated to becoming one and supporting others via her blog “Third Of A Lifetime”.

I will post a review of “Becoming One” tomorrow and I can only say that it is a powerful book. But enough said: here is what Sarah has to say for herself:

“How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Bee! I’m the author of Becoming One: A Story of Triumph Over Dissociative Identity Disorder, and have been active in online child abuse survivor support groups and talking with survivors for 20+ years. I curate links dealing with PTSD on my blog, Twitter, and Pinterest. My husband Dan and I live south of Boston with three inside cats who rule everything. I enjoy living in New England with its vivid changing seasons, although this winter has tested me! I began writing as a child, and never stopped. I’m intellectually curious, and relentless in tracking down details, which both helps and hinders productivity. In nonfiction, I read a lot about psychological trauma treatment, while in fiction, I primarily read police procedurals, dystopian novels, and dark psychological thrillers. There is often an overlap between my nonfiction and fiction interests. As one example, I loved The Hunger Games trilogy, not just for its story of revolution, but for how Katniss’s multiple traumas were subtly developed into very recognizable PTSD symptoms over the length of the series. It felt authentic to me. Fiction or nonfiction, I always want to read things that make me think.

A fun fact about you?

A strange artifact of my childhood abuse is that I hear music in my left ear, which is otherwise nearly deaf. It’s not music from an external source — it emanates from within my head. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t change it, override it, or turn it off, and sometimes the selection is incredibly annoying. Like, why the muzak version of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” on endless repeat when I love her original?! Sometimes I can sing harmony with myself, which makes me laugh! It seems to pick up volume when I’m stressed. It’s not crazy or schizophrenic; it’s a dissociative thing that I accept as part of me. I’ll be exploring this and similar phenomena in more depth in my follow-up book titled Becoming One Every Day: Living Purposefully with Dissociative Identity Disorder, due in late 2015.

What made you write in the first place?

As a child, I began writing fairy tale stories which featured bright, beautiful, most-loved, and safe little girls. I wasn’t getting much of that in real life. In high school, I wrote poetry and short stories which I showed no one. As an adult, I trained to be a paralegal — a ghostwriter for attorneys. I’d learned my entire life that attention was not a good thing, so instead of going to law school I chose a support profession which guaranteed I would never receive credit for my writing. My quest for the last 20 years has been to challenge myself to risk putting my writing out there in a public way.

Which Author has influenced you and why? Combined with “What is your favourite book?”

I first read The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Stroub, about 30 years ago, and have reread it several times. It describes an alternate — but adjacent — universe to our own, kept separate by a force field which occasionally rips open and creates chaos in both worlds. It introduces the idea of ‘twinners,’ whereby if you are a happy person here, you have a twinner in the other realm with darker aspects. Or if you are evil here, your twinner is most likely fighting for forces of good on the other side. A lonely little boy accidentally steps into the other reality, and learns that he must find the Talisman which will either unite both realms or destroy them.

I read The Talisman long before I was formally diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. The intriguing notion that there were ‘twinners’ in a nearby alternate reality hit me as very close to home, and fascinated me. I’d often felt that I must have crossed some huge surreal force field where all the rules and people were different, but somehow still very weirdly familiar. And I could never explain it, to myself or anyone else — but here was a book that offered an alternate reality that actually made some sense of my bizarre life. I believe that reading The Talisman made me much more open to exploring alternate realities within me, in therapy, than I’d ever have entertained otherwise.

Your writing ritual (if you have one)?

I don’t really have a ritual. I’m grateful any time I feel inspired, and take notes in those moments so I won’t lose the thread of what was important about it. At any one time I have numerous projects, fiction and nonfiction, floating around in my brain, but I’ve learned that I must really focus on one at a time or nothing gets finished.

Your secret “sin” when you write?

I drink far too much coffee! ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you suffer from writer’s block and if, what do you do against it?

I do get writer’s block. For me, it’s about procrastination paired with perfectionism. Somewhere as a child I learned that if I can’t do it perfectly, I shouldn’t do it at all, which then makes me delay even trying. I fight that self-judgment daily, because it just stops me cold sometimes. I want the writings I put out into the world to be as good as they can be, but if I wait for “perfect” they’ll never be released. My commitment to myself this last year has been to finish things, which is why the ebook version of Becoming One exists today.

Your advice for apprentice writers?

No matter what you want to write, fiction or nonfiction, you need to keep writing. You need practice to learn your style and hone your voice. Like any skill, you get better the more you work it. At the same time, don’t stop reading! You can learn so much about writing craft by examining how other writers do it.

Beyond that, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a writer! You can control your own writing destiny, either by self-publishing or seeking a traditional publisher. Becoming One was first published by a very small press in 1997, and I was grateful for that opportunity. But today, with self-publishing, there are no gatekeepers, and you have choices that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Research those choices carefully, to be fully informed about whatever path you choose.

A great place to start that research is at http://www.thecreativepenn.com/ to which I’ve subscribed for five+ years. Joanna Penn has steadfastly and honestly blogged her journey from being a blogger who writes about writing, to taking the leap into writing thrillers. Her website is a wealth of information for anyone looking to get started with writing and publishing. (I have no affiliation with her other than knowing that she is a genuinely helpful and generous person.)”

Thank you again, Bee, for your hospitality!

You are very welcome!


Please find her book on Amazon (link. below). A countdown deal of $.99 runs from 31. March to 6. April 2015 both on Amazon UK and US and it is also available on Kindle Unlimited.


Please find out more about Sarah here:

Sarah onTwitter
Sarah onPinterest


#Quote of the day: Howard Asher ~ a blast from the past

This was first posted in April 2015. “Writer’s Quote Wednesday” does no exist anymore:

There is no Writer’s Quote Wednesday over at Coleens Silverthreading as she is on holiday but I want to do it anyway. This book I am reading is occupying me a lot and I believe it holds a lot of wisdom.

The quote I am using is not exactly a “writer’s” quote but one of Sarah E. Olson’s therapist Howard Asher. But I believe it is motivating just the same:

” …This may sound pushy, but I have high standards for you. You have a right to, soon enough, feel like this is a very good life. You have not been cursed to just get by with minimal or “grin and bear it” pain. That’s a lousy standard. It’s a reasonable goal for you to like being you….”

Book Cover Becoming One by Sarah E. Olson

Taken from “Becoming One” by Sarah E. Olson, e-book version, Location 545. If this quote made you curious to find more wisdom from Mr Asher please head over to find out more about the book:

Sarah E. Olson social media links:

Blog:    Third of a Lifetime
Twitter: @SarahEOlson2009
Pinterest: SarahEOlson2009/

This post is part of Coleen’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday. Please head over and find wisdom, motivation and food for thought in her posts as well as the posts of other bloggers in the comments.

Developing our Voices or how to Manage our Worries

Two years ago I signed up for Rachel Kellys Newsletter (sign-up is at the bottom of the page). Rachel is an embassador for mental health and has experienced crippling depression about which she talked in the FutureLearn Course “Literature and Mental Health” by University of Warwick. If you live with a mental health condition then I can only advice you to take this course. It is for free (you can upgrade later for a small fee) and it gives you many many literary tools to ease the pain of bad mental health.

Last year Rachel was looking for beta readers for her latest book “Singing in the Rain” and I signed up to give feedback which was an incredible experience. Since several months the book is now available for example on Wordery and I had started to share its brilliant “exercises” on my “Mindful Music Monday Mug” series which currently has a break. I still want to share Rachel’s workbook though and hope I can entise you to buy it and get some more helpful advice on how to manage your wellbeing and mental health. It is great fun and offers great advice.ย  That is why I want to share a little more about her book here and there and today is one of those days ๐Ÿ™‚ .

But first some words by Rachel about “Singing in the Rain”:

copyright: Rachel Kelly via YouTube

I am now at a new chapter in the book which is called “Developing your Voice” and the first part in this chapter is “Managing Worry”. Here Rachel explains her way of dealing with her worries frist thing in the morning. The chapter made me smile because she describes how according to family history her first words were something like “I worry about…” ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Rachel gives her worries a so-called “Worry Window” first thing in the morning when she writes down all her worries of that day. She then figures out which worries have priority: Her mothers chemotherapy is more important than what to wear for the day. Now she focuses on the worries which have priority and figures out if she can do something about them or not. For those she can do something about she creates an action plan. If her worries come back later on she can focus on doing something as she writes all of it down rather than using up her energy for worrying.

What I really liked about her suggestions is how she deals with those priority worries that she can’t do anything about: She acknowledges that these worries are part of her mental landscape and acts upon them with compassion. Her preferred way is doing a meditation in which she concentrates on her breath and on the following words:

May I be safe from harm
May I be happy just as I am
May I be peaceful with whatever is happening.

I usually try to suppress these sort of worries and with that they become bigger and bigger. I suspect giving them a place in my mental landscape and being compassionate with myself will make them lose importance. Working with Mindfulness exercises have a similar effect.

Her book is a work book and so Rachel suggested how to write your worries down in the worry window:

photo of bookpage in "Singing in the Rain" by Rachel Kelly explaining how to write down worries and how to deal with them.

Copyright: Rachel Kelly

So if you are a worrier rather than a warrior then try out Rachels suggestions or better buy the book and gain lots of material to manage your wellbeing and mental health.

Happy Sunday to you all


Love & Rage!



I am not a health professional. My posts describe my thoughts, my experiences and my conclusions about life, mental health and self-improvement. My described actions always go alongside therapy and do not substitute professional advice by a health professional be it a doctor, therapist or counsellor.

I invite you to try out self-care tools, however, if any of these make you feel uncomfortable please stop and do not go further ahead. Also, if any of the tools suggested bring up issues that need dealing with do not hesitate to reach out for professional help. To recognise when you need to stop and when to reach out for professional or any other help is one important part to learn when it comes to self-care.

Please look here if you need further guidance:


Government of Canada


Book Review: “Becoming One ~ A Story of Triumph over Dissociative Identity Disorder” by Sarah E. Olson

I posted this first in April 2015

Book Cover Becoming One by Sarah E. Olson

Publisher: Swan Pond Press
Publishing Date: 14 November 2014
Edition: updated 2014 e-book edition of 1997 paperback
Genre: non-fiction
Formats: e-book, paperback
Source: review copy by author in return for an honest review

Bees: 6 out of 6

About the story:

This is Sarah E. Olson’s account of her healing journey from dissociated survivor of abuse by a family friend to becoming one. Sarah sought help for eating problems but was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Her therapist Howard Asher who wrote the foreword to this edition embarked very dedicated to the healing journey with her.

You are confronted with memories of the abuse, with the feelings connected and the development of healing in different ways: Sarah shows letters to her sisters and her therapist and transcriptions of her therapy sessions all connected with her account of what happened while doing therapy. She explains what happened to her while healing and describes the memory process.

About the author:

On Amazon it says about Sarah E. Olson:

“Sarah E. Olson is the author of “Becoming One: A Story Of Triumph Over Multiple Personality Disorder” (trade paperback published 1997) and has maintained an online presence since 1993. She just released her updated ebook edition “Becoming One: A Story Of Triumph Over Dissociative Identity Disorder.” The updated paperback edition will be published shortly.

Her blog ‘Third of a Lifetime’ contains a wealth of links pertaining to dissociation and PTSD. She also maintains on her blog the Dissociation Blog Showcase, an index of ~185 blogs which discuss dissociation primarily from a personal experience perspective.”


I have to admit I am doing something I usually don’t: I am writing this review before having read the whole book. I know some reviewers do this, but it does not feel right to me.

In this case, I decided differently because I can only read this book in small instalments. Being a survivor myself means reading about Sarah E. Olson’s healing journey activates my memories, new thoughts about my identity and a feeling of panic, fear, and chaos which for me is always connected with my past as well as new developments in my healing journey.

This book though deserves to be highlighted as it shows a very strong woman, who gives hope and encourages not to give in to one’s negative beliefs and that it is possible to overcome the hurdles of a survivor’s life and to become a thriver.

Honey Bees in the book:

“Becoming One” is a captivating book. It challenges one’s perception of “self” and “identity” as it is hard to understand that there can be more than one personality “living” in one body. The reality for many survivors of abuse though is that there are more than one living inside.

I love the way, how Sarah E. Olson changes between transcriptions of her therapy sessions with Howard Asher, her explanations of what happened in her life at that particular time, letters to her sisters and to her therapist as well as her own writings in those days.

She holds it all together in chapters that focus on different aspects of her healing like her resistance to the therapy process or hallucinations she experienced in one part of her healing.

This is a very positive book that emphasises the ability of survivors to overcome their survival strategies which have become troublesome. It certainly has started another process of healing in me. But it also describes what is necessary for this healing process. In the cases of survivors who have dissociated it means to have a dedicated therapist like Howard.

This is also a very courageous book: Sarah E. Olson shares very private experiences and writes about a syndrome that many do not believe exists: multiple personalities.

Stinging Bees in the book:

“Becoming One” is a tough book to read. The abuse she has gone through is so horrendous that I often have to skip reading about her memories. The unfairness of not being believed as a young child is hard to stomach. And it does trigger memories of own abuse if the reader is an abuse survivor.

And the mead of it all?

“Becoming One ~ A Story of Triumph over Dissociative Identity Disorder” is an important book to read especially today where the perceptions of abuse and how police, the justice system, and the public react on disclosures of abuse. Even though, it is a tough topic; this book is worth reading as it shows how you can change your life around no matter from what horrible past you suffer. And it explains many processes happening when you survive abuse to those who did not have to endure it. “Becoming One” is a book I will read on and off for the rest of my life.


Where to purchase “Becoming One ~ A Story of Triumph over Dissociative Identity Disorder”:

Amazon US
Amazon UK

For all Men who need to speak out and get help ~ #mentalhealth

I published this post first in October 2017

“Stephen Fry, Cedric Anselin, Prince Harry and many more did it! Get help for your #menalhealth”


video credit: Huffington Post via YouTube


Find help here:

International ~ Helplines on Mental Health Support

UK ~ Helplines on NHS page

US ~ Helplines on Getselfhelp

Australia ~ Helplines on Healthdirect





I wanted to be a manager/Ich wollte Abteilungsleiterin sein

May 2019

It looks like I can leave these feelings and experiences behind at last. Haven’t regretted it one moment that I left last year…

August 2017

I still struggle with this experience

March 2011

I wanted to be a manager! I thought I would be good at it which in fact I was. Unfortunately for me I have been born with a gentle heart. I still believe in the good in people! And I care. I care about people. No matter what.

But being a manager you are doing business. You have to think about the business, not the people. That is the nature of the whole thing. I thought to combine the best of both would work out fine. It did not! Now it seems to me like two cultures clashed and they clashed inside of me. My gentle heart broke and I had to learn a lesson Walden taught years agoย โ€ฆ trade curses everything it handles; and though you trade in messages from heaven, the whole curse of trade attaches to the business.

Henry David Thoreau,ย Waldenย p.324
I can see the pieces of my gentle heart laying around on the ground. What on earth shall I do with them?
Mai 2019
Sieht so aus, als ob ich nach langem diese Gefuehle und Erfahrungen hinter mir lassen kann.
Ich habe es nie bereut, letztes Jahr gegangen zu sein…
August 2017
Ich kaempfe immernoch mit dieser Erfahrung
Maerz 2011
Ich wollte Abteilungsleiterin sein! Ich dachte ich waere gut darin, was ich auch war. Ungluecklicherweise wurde ich mit einem sanften Herzen geboren. Ich glaube immer noch an das Gute im Menschen. Ich fuehle mit. Ich fuehle mit den Menschen. Egal wie!
Aber als Abteilungsleiterin handelst Du. Du musst an das Geschaeft und nicht an die Menschen denken. Das ist die Natur der ganzen Sache. Ich dachte, wenn ich das beste aus beiden Welten vereine, wuerde es gut gehen. Tat es aber nicht! Nun scheint es mir als ob zwei Kulturen aufeinanderschlugen und sie schlugen sich in mir. Mein sanftes Herz zerbrach und ich musste eine Lektion lernen, die Walden vor Jahren gelehrt hat: Geschaeft verflucht alles, womit es zu tun hat. Und sogar wenn Du mit himmlischen Botschaften handelst wird sich der ganze Fluch an dieses Geschaeft anhaengen. ย  Henry David Thoreau, Walden S. 324
Ich kann die Teile meines sanften Herzen ueberall auf dem Boden herumliegen sehen. Was um Himmels Willen kannย ich damit tun?

Blast from the Past: Good Morning Writers! ~ I don’t wanna be in that dark place!

May 2019

I never realised in what a bad place I was in the last couple of years until recently. Hopefully, I managed to get out of there now…

January 2015

How is your writing going? Are you inspired or in a rather dark place?

After a spell of activity and writing like mad, I am going back into the dark places. Winter is always a hard time for me as it seems to be more difficult to keep my thoughts and feelings on a positive path.

St. John’s Worth has always helped me and so does it now, but I do not want to take it longer than six months which is probably too long anyway. I start taking it in October one pill every day but now I try to wean myself off it. Meaning I take one every two days.

It has an effect on my mood, of course. I am back on the coffee and a little alcohol which does not help. My usual downing thoughts are arriving: “I do not want to be in that dark place.”

It’s no point though to pity myself. I know I suffer from depression and it just needs managing which I can after 20 odd years of living with it. No matter the healing I have gone through. It’s just part of my life.

I also think it’s part of my creativity. There are so many who have and still suffer from it. Some are highly successful no matter what. Some aren’t, and some have not survived it.

That’s a matter of fact if I like it or not. I just go through my cycles and keep on writing. Because there is one thing I have learned in those 20 odd years: If you give up doing what you love you have already lost. No matter how hard.

How about you? Do you have cycles of writing and not-writing?