Battling The Dementors? WTF, Dude!

Posted: 20 July, 2015 in Depression, Introduction, Mental Illness
Tags: , ,


The thing about the popularity of the Harry Potter books and films is that pretty much everybody who has seen or read them understands memes based on them. J.K. Rowling’s quote on depression is spot-on to anyone who has ever had to deal with this debilitating, crippling, and sometimes fatal disease.

And that’s why I’ve decided that the tagline for this blog is “Battling Dementors Since Birth.” My depression is genetic: I inherited it from my mother, who inherited it from her father, and so on back as far as the family can trace its heritage. My two brothers each suffer from it in varying degrees, and so do my daughters.

This is a blog about mental illness, the stigmas attached to it, and society’s slowly-changing attitudes to those of us who deal with it on a day-to-day basis.

Who Am I, And What Qualifies Me to Speak on Mental Illness?

A fair question. I am a 65-year-old grandmother of three who has been cursed from the womb with messed-up brain chemistry. As much as I hate it, the fact is that depression is a central pivot in my life, around which all other aspects of my life revolve. And while I generally manage to keep leashed what Winston Churchill (another noted sufferer of depression) referred to as “the black dog,” sometimes the bitch slips her leash and takes over.

My qualifications to speak on this illness is based on my degree from the College of Been There, Done That, Got The Scars to Prove It. In other words, unless something you read here is clearly identified as a quote from another source, and the source is cited, everything else is based on my own experiences and education. In other words, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). What works for me might not work for you. We’re all different, right? So all I’m saying is, “Hey! This worked for me. It might be something that will help you, or it might not.”

I am also a mental health advocate. I am a member of the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Psychiatry Advisory Council of Consumers (DPACC), which has as its mission statement the following:

The Department of Psychiatry Advisory Council of Consumers is comprised of departmental leaders, peer leaders and families and friends of Strong Behavioral Health consumers. DPACC discusses ideas related to quality initiatives across its services and provides a forum for the department to hear feedback from a consumer perspective. By partnering with consumers, the recipients of services, we will ensure respectful and dignified treatment using the medical and recovery models.

Which is a fancy way of saying that as consumers of mental health care in this particular setting, we offer advice and suggestions for improving patient and family care in the Psychiatry Department. But more than that, our ideas and suggestions are listened to, and quite often implemented as hospital policy.

In fact, just this morning, a few of us from DPACC spoke to the incoming class of new psychiatric nurses and technicians as part of their orientation to the department. And Wednesday, we’ll be speaking to a new class of nurses in general. I always enjoy these sessions, especially the question-and-answer sessions that come afterwards.

I’ll Shut Up Now

I know your time is valuable, so I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information. (I’ll do that later, after I’ve hooked you and gotten you addicted to reading what I have to say! [Cue evil chuckle])

So thanks for stopping by. I do appreciate the time you chose to waste spend with me. I’m going to try to set up an RSS feed for the blog, so you don’t have to keep checking back to see if there have been any updates.

Anyway, until next time!

Robyn Jane

  1. Jeyna Grace says:

    I hope your blog is a great help to many. Keep sharing!


    • Robyn Jane Sheppard says:

      Thank you for your kind words. While I do hope I can have some positive benefit for others, my blog is pretty much my main method of therapy right now.