About Patricia Henschen

“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.” — by Parker J. Palmer

Hello! from the Author and Instigator, Patricia

I confess: I’m a tad bit on the shy side. I’ve been putting off writing this “About Me” page for months.

Yeah, yeah, I know: Maybe I shouldn’t be blogging if I don’t want to talk about myself. Well, I don’t mind talking about myself when it comes to my experiences with depression. After all, maybe there’s something in what I’ve learned over the years that can help you. That makes it all worthwhile.

But talk about me, who I am, where I’m from, what matters to me, and why I have depression in the first place? Well, that’s a little personal. But just as I’d want to get to know you if you were doing a cool blog on the Internet (and maybe you are; if so, leave a comment with the website address), I assume my readers would like to know a little bit about me.

First of all, if you want to know more about why I started this blog, please see the first three posts in the blog. “Hitting the Trail–Part 2,” in particular, summarizes clearly why I keep trudging off to Barnes & Noble to take advantage of their wi-fi and writing posts that can help you get a handle on your depression and have a better quality of life.

Even more than wanting to prevent or ameliorate suffering, however, as I described in those early posts, I find myself grappling with an intriguing question: Is it possible to both have depression and be happy? Does a diagnosis of depression necessarily mean I am doomed to be miserable the rest of my life? What if I could manage this illness in such a way that I could actually have what other people have: Satisfying relationships, prosperity, rewarding work, vitality, laughter, even simple joy? And an even more intriguing question: Is it possible to heal this illness altogether and never be bothered by it again? I am far from knowing the answers to these questions, but perhaps together we can explore them via this blog.

One of the more enjoyable times I've had recently, attending a quilt show with my sister.

Just a little bit about me: I live in Texas and consider myself a Texan because it’s the place I’ve lived the longest, even though I was born in the northern part of the U.S. and spent many years in the Midwest, New England, and Arizona. I have a master’s degree in literature, women’s studies, and writing; my master’s thesis broke new ground in looking at the correlation between creativity and healing using the lens of Adrienne Rich’s poetry. I speak pretty decent Spanish thanks to my junior year in college spent in Spain, and I spent another year in an Indonesian village doing development work when I was only 18 years old. Due to such a diverse array of experiences, I feel I’ve got a pretty good handle on human nature and what it takes for us to be happy and healthy.

I most likely have depression because of a very tumultuous upbringing. My parents, who meant well but were misguided, joined a religious-based organization that forced them and all the other parents to give up their children. I won’t go into a lot of detail about this; suffice it to say that there was a lot of instability, neglect, abandonment, and some outright abuse, not to mention a ton of brainwashing (for more on the link between trauma and depression, see “The Truth About Depression“). I lived in this situation from the time I was four until I was 18 years old.

I’ve worked hard to overcome and heal from the first 18 years of my life; those who know me know I’ve come a long way and made great progress. Although I received my official diagnosis of “double depression” (recurrent major depressive disorder and dysthymia) less than 10 years ago, my doctor and I figured out that I probably had my first depressive episode when I was 17 years old, and possibly even as early as 13 years old. I’ve gone through all the stages of grief regarding my childhood and having depression (see the “Depression and Loss” series); now I’m at the point where I’m trying my best to make the most of my life or, as the saying goes, “Do the best you can with what you’ve got and where you’re at.”

Doing this blog is a big part of my effort to bring more satisfaction and enjoyment into my life. I am also a dedicated scrapbooker, and I participate in yoga, water aerobics, and walking in an attempt to keep my brain chemistry in balance. I am lucky to have good friends, and playtime with my two cats is sacred at my house. I feel blessed in so many ways, particularly the support I’ve received from fellow travelers on this journey called life and from my mother, who has done much to make up for my early years.

I’d be interested in why you think you have depression and what you’ve done to help yourself heal. Leave comments on any blog posting!

Blessings, and be well.

Patricia Henschen

My mother and I on a visit to St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery in Florence, Arizona (we had to cover up from head to toe!).

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