Depression and Identity: How Both Move You Forward
By Michele Rosenthal
Into every life after trauma, a little depression often falls. There’s that whole period during which you realize what has been lost since and/or because of the trauma. And then the process of letting it go. Plus, the work of rebuilding you, your life, your perceptions of the world. It can all be a little, um, depressing!
So often it’s easy to get stuck in the sticky molasses of that heavy feeling. As my guest last night, Dr. Deborah Serani said, “The world you live in is the world you know.” When the world you know is depression, is it possible to change how you feel and discover a whole new world? You bet!
On last night’s show Dr. Serani shared her own personal story of depression and then: one simple way to begin moving out of depression and releasing the past that you can do today. (She also made the really critical point that sharing neutralizes fear, and so we discussed different ways to share your experience that feel safe.)
You can read more about Dr. Serani’s personal journey through depression (and the terrific life she’s built despite it), plus a mass of easy-to-read clinical information in her book, Living With Depression: Why Biology and Biography Matter Along the Path to Hope and Healing.
Later in the show, Chip St. Clair, survivor and author of The Butterfly Garden: Surviving Childhood on the Run with One of America’s Most Wanted, spoke candidly about surviving his childhood and how the shocking discoveries he made about his family in adulthood required him to release the past and rebuild his entire identity. His discussion about his moment of truth, the choice he made to reclaim his life, and how the support of one special person helped him do that was incredibly inspiring.
Not only has Chip succeeded in all he set out to do, but now he’s also giving back: He’s founded an organization that helps children heal through the creative arts. Chip is a fabulous example of what can happen when you commit to building your best life after trauma.
You can learn more about both guests here:
Deborah Serani, Psy.D. is a psychologist in practice for over twenty years. She is also an adjunct university professor, publishing on the subjects of depression and trauma. She is the author of “Living with Depression” by the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group and also writes the award-winning, syndicated blog Dr. Deb: Psychological Perspectives. Serani is a go-to expert on the subject of depression and her interviews can be found in ABC News, Newsday, Psychology Today, The Chicago Sun Times, Glamour Magazine, The Associated Press, and affiliate radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. Beyond the academic and literary praise for her work, high profile individuals who’ve openly talked about their own experiences with depression such as actress, Delta Burke, activist, Jessie Close, talk show host, Dick Cavett, and US tennis champion, Cliff Richey, are just a few who count Serani as a bold and gifted author.
Chip St. Clair, motivational speaker and author of The Butterfly Garden: Surviving Childhood on the Run with One of America’s Most Wanted, began sharing his story nationally in 2002, having been featured by major media outlets such as Good Morning America, Dateline, and the Huffington Post, and most recently in a documentary series on OWN as well as The Discovery Channel.
Universities, high schools, and juvenile detention facilities across the country have incorporated his bestselling memoir into their curriculum, and St. Clair’s compelling lectures have become an integral part of the training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and DHS is several states. In 2005, St. Clair was honored with a U.S. Congressional Record for his ardent child advocacy.
He recently finished the manuscript for a historical fantasy series as well as a riveting coming of age novel. St.Clair resides in Michigan with his wife Lisa, where they oversee the St. Clair Butterfly Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children overcome adversity using the power of the creative arts.