National Give Kat a Hug Day

22 February, 2014 Announcement 73 comments

Okay, you know how Cuddlebuggery doesn’t often do serious talks here. We don’t believe in serious. Makes us feels all icky inside like the worst ever constipation. Like bugs are crawling all over us. Imagine bugs crawling all over you. Go ahead. Feel disgusting and wrong now? Are you cursing me to hell and back and then to hell again for making you feel the sensation of bugs crawling all over you? Good. Job done. This is the kind of place we are.

But every now and again, seriousness is necessary. So I wanted to explain my recent absence, explain my probable future absence, and discuss mental health for a minute.

I retweeted yesterday an oft held belief that the funniest people you know are usually very depressed people. No, that wasn’t a cry for help, that was me laughing at reality. I’ve spoken a fair bit on my twitter about depression and I know that I’m not alone. A lot of people in our community do. Books are a great escape and distraction when you’re living under the iron blanket of depression. But sometimes it’s a long, lasting, very serious depression. After a long and personal battle, I was diagnosed as someone who suffers Bipolar Hypomania by a psychiatrist and have begun taking medication. To be a functioning human being, I will probably need to be on some sort of mood stabiliser for the rest of my life.

I’m not saying this to get attention. The National Give Kat a Hug Day is just a joke. You are in no way required to hug me. But it would be nice, you know. I’m never going to turn down a free hug. What I want to do is bring awareness to this issue, that I believe exists in our book blogging community. I want to explain that I haven’t abandoned you guys, nor am I being lazy or uncaring since I haven’t been around much. But life has been, to put it bluntly, almost unbearable for a while now. I’m still here with Cuddlebuggery. I’m still working in the background, helping promote authors and occasionally posting. But if you don’t see me around it’s because I’m in the process of putting everything back together.

The medication I’m on now is, luckily, already quite efficient and making a difference in my life. This story has, believe it or not, a happy ending. Not every one does. I was lucky enough to have people in my life to support me, who understood what I was going through, who believed what I suffered from was real and painful, and who encouraged me to get help. If you know someone who suffers from depression, I can’t say enough how important all this is when it comes to saving lives.

One of those people has been Steph, who has been with me unfailingly helping, loving and caring for me since almost the start of our friendship. I love you so much, Steph.

Some quick tips:

-Don’t try to cheer them up. They don’t need to be cheered up.

-Don’t try to “fix them”. Nothing feels worse than having someone troubleshoot your life.

-Don’t push them to do things they’re not comfortable with.

-Don’t tell them they should just get over it/themselves.

Your natural response will be to make them feel better. You’re an empathetic human being who doesn’t want to see people in pain. But stop for a moment and recognise that as YOUR issue. And that by trying to cheer them up, you’re really trying to make yourself feel better about your own discomfort.

Things you can do:

-Be available to talk when they want to.

-Remind them that what they’re going through is not them failing, but depression that is affecting them.

-Sometimes just being with another person in the same room is helpful. You don’t always have to talk or chat.

-Resent the disease, not the person.

-Ask them what THEY need.

-Encourage them to see someone to talk it out. A lot of people are afraid of the stigma. To be honest, it’s not fun. But gentle encouragements from friends and family at least plant the idea. If it’s someone close to you, and you can afford it, maybe even offer to pay for the first session. Or help them find information about government subsidies. If you’re living in Australia, then every citizen is entitled to five free sessions every calendar year. Ten if your doctors gives you a referral. This helps a lot. And seeing a psychiatrist is government subsidised as well.

-Listen to them. What are they telling you they need?

As always, if you’re suffering from depression and having thoughts of self harm, here is a list of international helplines. Find your region and PLEASE talk to someone.

Having an honest, supportive discussion about mental health in our community is important to ensuring our members are safe and getting the help they need.

This wasn’t a funny post, I know, but I feel very close to a lot of you, and I wanted to share with you this small portion of what’s going on in my life and where I’m at. I love you guys and this community so much. I’m hoping that with time, medication and a little break, I can get better soon and be back to terrorising you all with my inappropriateness and crudity.

My point of this post was that I hoped, if I came out and spoke about this, I could not only start a vital dialogue – but I could provide a source of support for those who need someone to reach out to.

If you suffer from depression or mental illness, I am here. You can reach out to me or your blogger friends for a hug and some love and understanding when you need it.

 

And the good news is that I’m still here. Send me a tweet, email me, whatever. And I’m still going to BEA. AND SO IS MEG! So the three of us will be there together to give you the full Cuddlebuggery experience!

Lots of love,

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy
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73 Responses to “National Give Kat a Hug Day”

  1. Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)

    *hugs* Mental health can be hard to talk about, so kudos to you, Kat! I hope, when or if, the time is right you can come back to the blog full force. But the most important thing of course is taking care of yourself!! I’m so glad you had a wonderful coblogger and supportive family to turn to – that can make all the difference. All the best, Kat!
    Rachelia (Bookish Comforts) recently posted…{Cover Reveal} Bethany Griffin’s THE FALL!My Profile

  2. Iona
    Twitter:

    Big hug Kat! I was lucky enough to have a type of depression that talking and changing my way of thinking eventually led to me overcoming so while I am not there any more I can empathise with how awful being trapped in the claws of depression can feel, as I’m sure many of the book blogger community can.

    It’s great that you’re getting help and that you have a great support system to help you through it. It’s also incredibly brave of you to share this online and shed light on the fact that if people have depression then they need to get help.

    I know I’m not speaking for only myself when I say that we as a community appreciate and respect you and if it takes you a while to piece yourself back together and if you have to do it more than once and if you have to be a less involved with this website as a result then we 100% support you with that. I don’t know you and I know sometimes it can sound condescending coming from a stranger, but I’m there for you and there with you in spirit, we all are.
    Iona recently posted…Video Review: Tribute by Ellen RennerMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      Iona, your comment was so thoughtful and touching. I’m so glad cognitive behavioural therapy was effective for you! I’ve been going through that too for other things.

      Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. smiling_ina
    Twitter:

    Mental health is a very important topic, and not talked about often enough, I think. My mom suffers from depression as well and without her medication, she wouldn’t be able to leave the house on some days. It’s a terrible disease and I believe some/most people have a hard time understanding it because they can’t “see” it like they would a physical injury etc.. Does that makes sense?

    I wish you all the best, Kat! You have to take all the time you need, your health is more important than blogging!!! *bighugs*

  4. Kelly
    Twitter:

    *hugs*

    Notice I pluralized that? ;)

    My husband was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, a couple years before we met. He tried the medication thing, but found that with proper exercise and diet, he could manage it without medication. He definitely has his days where he’s low, but those are few and far between. I try to just be there for him on those days, even if that means I’m just reading on the couch next to him while he plays a video game! Haha

    It sounds like you’re already doing much better, but for what it’s worth, here’s another hug *hug*
    Kelly recently posted…Pretty Little Discussion: CommentingMy Profile

  5. Georgia

    Thank you so much for posting this, although I do not struggle with Bipolar, I do have anxiety and at times have felt the effects of depression. I do find it a hard subject to talk about so therefore try to keep things quiet but I have gradually started telling people when they ask what is wrong with me and this has given me much more confidence! I hope you’re doing good and if not, just remember that you don’t have to be all of the time, that’s okay too :-)
    Georgia recently posted…New Books! #4My Profile

  6. Ashley
    Twitter:

    Oh. Kat. My heart. I know that we’re “new” friends, but we know a good amount about each other and the amount I relate to this is HUGE. I want to print this out, paste it to my hand and hold it up when people start to talk to me during this period. But that’s weird. Even for us.

    I love you Kat.
    Ashley recently posted…Wintergirls by Laurie Halse AndersonMy Profile

  7. Amanda @ Book Badger

    You’re right Kat, it’s important to get the message out there. I myself suffer from mild depression and SAD and I know it’s so important that people just need offer their support, not try to solve the problem, because that doesn’t help. It’s completely understandable that you’ve been a little absent, but in the end, you need to concentrate on yourself for a bit and make sure you’re comfortable with everything before you rush back into things. I wish you well Kat, and hope things get better soon. *hugs* :)
    Amanda @ Book Badger recently posted…My Series RelationshipMy Profile

  8. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain
    Twitter:

    *hugs really hard and doesn’t let go* I’m really sorry that you’ve been going through this, depression is really hard, but I’m glad that your new medication is working for you! Don’t worry about us though, we still love you and we’ll always be here for you! *hugs some more* The tips you gave are really helpful and I totally agree. One of my friends suffers from depression and it breaks my heart that people have to go through that but just having someone who’s willing to listen is always really helpful. Thanks for sharing, Kat! <33 *hugs again*
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Life of a Blogger (5): Being An ExtrovertMy Profile

  9. Alexia @ Adventures in Reading
    Twitter:

    First of all, big hugs Kat. I love you & you are an amazing woman. I am so glad that you are doing what you need to do to take care of you. That is so important and so often overlooked. There’s a crappy stigma attached to mental illness and it sucks big time.Don’t worry about us.We’re still here love & supporting you no matter what. If you ever need anyone to talk to, I’m here.
    Alexia @ Adventures in Reading recently posted…Review: Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh MafiMy Profile

  10. Tracy

    Kat

    What a wonderful and brave blog posting. I work in mental health and I see the suffering that people can go through. I joined your blog because I loved your book reviews ( and Stephanie’s!) on good reads. I am really rooting for you. I live in Canada, too far away but I’m sending you a mental hug from around the globe. I am so glad you are getting help and if there is anything I can do let me know.

    Tracy

  11. Arshia
    Twitter:

    *truckloads of bucketloads of hugs*

    It’s great that you’re feeling better and things are looking up for you. I haven’t had any personal experience with depression but we all have bad days where nothing feels right and doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to. You’re extremely lucky to have understanding people in your life and I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I genuinely adore your reviews and your personality. Feel better!
    Arshia recently posted…Therapy.My Profile

  12. Shae/Shelver @ Shae Has Left The Room

    You get a hug aaaanywaaaaay! *hugs*

    I understand the serious-posts-equal-hives feeling, but I’m glad you wrote this. It’s important and worthwhile, and I’m sure everyone feels as honored as I do to get a peek into the head of Kat. :) If you need anything, give a holler, and I’ll come running!
    Shae/Shelver @ Shae Has Left The Room recently posted…Blind Book Date RevealMy Profile

  13. Lauren's Loquacious Literature

    Hi Kat,

    I don’t comment on here often but I just wanted to say that A) I’m sorry this is happening and B) thank you and well done for posting about this.

    Depressions sucks major balls and it is often really hard to get people who haven’t experienced it to understand exactly what it does to you. I’m so glad that you’ve got a good support network and that you’ve got some medication that’s working, because good medication can literally be a life saver and when I’ve had to take it in the past, it’s sometimes made things A LOT worse.

    I wish you all the best sorting things out and look forward to you returning to blogging when you’re ready.

  14. Chantelle
    Twitter:

    Well tough luck you’re geting a hug anyway. *hug* I have a couple of friends who have been diagnosed with various forms of depresion and other mental health issues, so I can admire you for saying to the world, ‘this is me so deal with it’. Glad you have been able to find a treatment that works for you, and that your family and co-bloggers are so supportive. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that the rest of us who are followers of the blgo ro of you on twitter are here for you as well. Take all the time you need to get yourself where you want to be.
    *hugs* again
    Chantelle recently posted…Book Review: The Scorpio RacesMy Profile

  15. Joy @ Thoughts By J

    You’re so brave for sharing this Kat. As a fellow Aussie, and with the recent Charlotte Dawson news, I know it’s so important to recognise that sometimes everyone just needs another person there for support. *sends virtual hugs and cute puppies* I hope you feel better soon, and remember all the people that love you!
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Haul (#5)My Profile

  16. erinf1

    *hug*hug*hug*hug*

    I’m in complete awe and admiration of your courage and candor and I’m so glad that you’ve found support and a system that works for you. Thank you for sharing :)

  17. Caitlin

    I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through, Kat! I struggled with depression myself during high school and there were a few times I looked up ways to kill myself and how long each death takes. I thought I’d never get past that horrible phase in my life, but here I am, a few years later, thankful I didn’t die then. There’s a lot to experience in life, and I’ve come to realize that.

    I wish you all the best in overcoming this temporary boulder. *hug* Your blog is my favourite, and I love reading your posts. Hopefully I’ll see ‘Kat’ involved as well in the near future! <3

  18. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    *hugs*

    This isn’t an easy subject to discuss or make accessible to those who are not affected, so I want to thank you for sharing it. I suffer from Depression as well, and for the most part it’s been almost constant since middle school for me. After a certain point (where self harm and suicide became completely illogical) I just learned to stop thinking and dealt with it silently for years until I couldn’t take it anymore and got myself to a doctor.
    The meds are definitely working, but I still have to go see a psychiatrist and thanks to the added anxiety issues (my genes are incredibly screwed up) I can’t get myself to do it. Talking to people and phones freak me the hell out, lol! But I need to soon so I can figure out which type of Depression I have and how to handle it better.
    I am glad you shared with us because I know sometimes a post like this is all it takes for someone to seek the help they need.
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted…Saturday Issue Review: Mass Effect: Foundation Volume 1My Profile

  19. Kara @ Great Imaginations
    Twitter:

    Love you, Kat. We’ve chatted about this before, and you know I have battled with some of my own issues. They may not be the same ones, but if you ever need someone to talk to or vent to for whatever reason, I am here for you.

    And I can’t wait to meet you AND MEG and see Steph again.
    Kara @ Great Imaginations recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #77My Profile

  20. Jenn @ Lost in a Great Book
    Twitter:

    What a fabulous posting – thanks so much for sharing your experience. Too often people suffering with depression have to go it alone because they cannot find people to support them. I’m so happy that you have such a wonderful group of people around you to keep you motivated and determined to keep going.
    Oh, and I will be at BEA as well – can I buy you a drink and give you the hug in person? :-)
    Jenn @ Lost in a Great Book recently posted…#BrunchBookClub Review: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth OzekiMy Profile

  21. Cait

    I know I’m like waaaay at the end of the comments and everything, but I totally appreciate it when bloggers post stuff like this! THANK YOU. JUST THANK YOU. I wish I could have, like, everybody I know read this post. I have depression, but I’m not “officially” diagnosed. It sucks, in a way, because I know that I have it, but it can sound like I’m just saying it “because” (or whatever). Eh. Anyway! It’s always awesome to read posts were really cool people (like you and the others on this blog!) struggle with bummer things like this too. Okay. Weirdest comment I’ve ever left. *disappears back into the shadows*
    Cait recently posted…The Bear by Claire Cameron (I’m never camping again)My Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      Hi. Cait,

      I want to say that I’m thinking of you. It sounds like life is hard and you don’t have much support. But this is not how life has to be. This is not just “how you are” and I really, truly hope you find the strength to get better soon and that the people around you get a clue.

      For me, the best way to do that was to see professionals and get diagnosed. I don’t know what your best path is going to be, but it’s so worth finding it.

      Keep me updated, okay? And if you need someone to talk to, send me a holler.

  22. Michelle
    Twitter:

    I can really only echo what everyone else is saying, but I still want to join in with the chorus. It takes a lot of guts to be open with people, let alone the large anonymous void of the internet. I think it’s great that you have been and hopefully it will help people. So, thank you!
    Michelle recently posted…The Weekly Word: LoucheMy Profile

  23. Weekly Wrap Up | TiffanyLovesBooks

    […] Cuddlebuggery Recently posted about the correlation between depression and reading. Kat also talks about depression and how to best support those suffering from it. This great post can be found here National Give Kat A Hug Day. […]

  24. Shannon @ Novel Reflection

    I’m so glad everyone is being incredibly supportive in the comments for you! <3 Believe me, you are a brave woman for opening up to us on the blog. Things like this are incredibly frightening to admit, and I am often scared to tell people about my own depression and anxiety. It's been an off and on fight for me since early high school, and I'm actually seeing a new psychologist tomorrow.

    There are so many pent up feelings regarding this illness I have, but I won't go into it here. It's especially nice to know that you're not alone, more than anything else. And your advice is absolutely solid, by the way. _<
    Shannon @ Novel Reflection recently posted…The Way of Kings Read Along: Week SevenMy Profile

  25. Rain Jeys

    You’re very brave for speaking out and obviously an awesome human being for wanting to help others. I suffer from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, and like to joke that no one I love is sane, because they all suffer from some form of mental illness. So I get it. Obviously, with Cuddlebuggery being my favorite blog, I’d rather you were around more, but the blog wouldn’t be as awesome without you, so you need to take time to take care of yourself, so you can come back and share your awesomeness.

    *hugs*
    Rain Jeys recently posted…Grabby Paws: The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkowskiMy Profile

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  27. Kaethe

    I’m so glad you’ve found something that helps. It was an acquaintance telling me about her anti-depression medicine that caused me to be diagnosed and treated and it has changed my life. Wishing you (and all our co-sufferers) the best.

  28. Denai

    If you come down to Adelaide, I can hug you properly.
    I don’t quite understand what you’re going through because I’m not going through it but my husband has depression and its hard trying to help him through it. As you said, I hate seeing him in pain. I’ll follow your advice, and hope it helps.
    If there is anything that we can do, I’m sure we’d all do it.

  29. Bieke @ Istyria book blog

    I may not know you personally, but I am a fan of this blog and of you. Cuddlebuggery is for me an example of how I want my blog to be some day and I do hope you’re feeling better. I have been in a depression before when I was young and very much bullied at school, but I’m better now. =) Friends are a wonderful thing and this community is always there for each other.
    Oh and… *hugs*
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…DNF: Mystic City by Theo LawrenceMy Profile

  30. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Awwww, Kat. First things first: *BIG GIANT MONSTER HUG*

    Okay.

    Just know that if you ever want to talk about anything, you can totally come to me. You know, if Steph is busy. I can be a good listener. Or a good discusser. Either way. Maybe I’m not a good enough friend for that, but I just wanted to put it on the table and/or comment box.

    Very glad to hear that the medicine you’re on is working so well already. I know sometimes it takes a few months of hell and dosages and different drugs until they find the right one.

    *more hugs*
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…57 Lives of Alex Wayfare Blog Tour: Guest Post on M.G. Buehrlen’s Top ShipsMy Profile

  31. Lyn Kaye
    Twitter:

    Now I am all teary because I am imagining bugs and depression and all that stuff. Great post, Kat. I love the pointers. So many people think I need to cheer up when I need someone to TALK to. I’m not sad, I am about to fall apart. I don’t need sunshine, I need a shoulder and a cupcake.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #78My Profile

  32. Megan
    Twitter:

    Kat,

    Thanks so much for posting this. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy thing to do, but I admire your courage. Mental health is talked about so little, but so often stigmatized. The more we talk about it, the more we realize how common it is to suffer personally or know someone who does. Good luck in your journey. I’m wishing you all the best now and in the future!

    Be well,
    Meg

  33. Anya
    Twitter:

    Thank you for this post. I had the lovely experience of developing clinical depression as a side effect of a migraine medication that I was taking so it was fortunately very easy to deal with the chemical imbalance. However, during that time the hardest thing was trying to explain to my boyfriend how I felt and what he could do, since I wasn’t really in the explaining mood. It’s really nice to have this sort of thing written down so that I can just point to it when others I know run into similar situations. Also, wow, go Australia! And *hugs* I’m a fan of real life hugs, but the plane ticket would be a little pricey. However, there will be a hug at BEA, woot!

  34. Morrigan
    Twitter:

    This is allegedly a 2 people hugging emoticon:

    (>”)><(''<)

    I can Kinda see it. Anyways, tons of hugs. My family has a lot of experience with depression and bipolar disorder as I have cousins and aunts on both sides of the family that suffer from this. Thank you for this post and for bringing awareness to this.

    Tons and tons of hugs. I love hugs!

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