Insurance Company Revokes Depressed Woman’s Benefits Over Facebook Photos

A woman who was receiving extended sick leave benefits due to depression has had those benefits revoked by her insurance company. Why? Because they found photographs on her Facebook page in which she appeared to be enjoying herself:

Nathalie Blanchard, 29, has been on leave from her job at IBM in Bromont, Que., for the last year and a half after she was diagnosed with major depression.

The Eastern Townships woman was receiving monthly sick-leave benefits from Manulife, her insurance company, but the payments dried up this fall.

When Blanchard called Manulife, the company said that “I’m available to work, because of Facebook,” she told CBC News this week.

She said her insurance agent described several pictures Blanchard posted on the popular social networking site, including ones showing her having a good time at a Chippendales bar show, at her birthday party and on a sun holiday — evidence that she is no longer depressed, Manulife said.

Blanchard said she notified Manulife that she was taking a trip, and she’s shocked the company would investigate her in such a manner and interpret her photos that way.

“In the moment I’m happy, but before and after I have the same problems” as before, she said.

Even better, it would seem that the insurance company didn’t only use Facebook photos as a diagnostic tool, they also may have hacked her account to obtain them:

She also doesn’t understand how Manulife accessed her photos because her Facebook profile is locked and only people she approves can look at what she posts.

Nice work, that is.

Now, Blanchard lives in Canada (and was receiving the benefits in question not through Medicare, but through her employer’s insurance). So while indeed another example of insurance companies being evil, I have no real intent on attempting to tie this into the current U.S. health care debate.

What I’m a lot more interested in at the moment is how stereotypes about disability/mental illness are constantly utilized in attempts to expose the “fakers” — and how the fact that they’re used in this way by people in positions of authority only reinforces the idea that the stereotypes must be true.

When it comes to disability, able-bodied people tend to have an idea of what disability “looks like.” This results in proclamations about who is really disabled and who is really faking it (presumably, for all of the awesome government benefits that are inadequate to live on, and the fun social stigma). And for the person being proclaimed a faker, that frequently means not only the hurt of having their identity and lived experience dismissed, but also the denial of accommodations that they need.

Mental illness is no exception to this rule: people think they know what it looks like, that they can spot a person with a mental illness a mile away, and that if a person doesn’t live up to those expectations, they’re either seeking benefits they “don’t deserve,” or seeking attention. And with regards to depression specifically (as it’s the topic of the original article, and my greatest knowledge base), they tend to think that if someone isn’t spending all of their time crying, frowning, or refusing to get out of bed, they can’t possibly have it.

This makes me exceedingly angry. As someone who has lived with depression to varying, waxing and waning degrees for over 10 years now, I know from firsthand experience that there are a whole lot of ways to be depressed. Logically, I can only assume that there are also many other ways that I have not personally experienced. And yes, the unable to stop crying, unable to smile, unable to get out of bed kind of depression is very, very real. But it’s not the only kind. Most of the times I have been depressed, I have been able to smile, under certain circumstances. I have been able to enjoy myself, laugh, and have fun, when my mental state and the situation are right. I’ve also learned that I can be really, really good at putting on a happy face and pretending that I’m not depressed for the benefit of other people, even if I’m particularly unwell — indeed, I’ve learned that doing as much is expected of me.

And the claim that the type of depression where these things are true is not real depression is denying people — who have significant trouble finding happiness to begin with — whatever happiness they can find, in order to be recognized. It’s saying that people with mental illnesses cannot ever have fun or enjoy life under any circumstances. And it’s also telling people that their options for being believed, acknowledged, and accommodated are to “get better” or to start acting more miserable.

In addition to the emotional costs, which I clearly think are very important in their own right, there can be other major costs, as well — whether they be a loss of financial assistance, as above, or a loss of ability to receive treatment, a loss of familial support, and so on. These can all have serious repercussions on a person’s mental health, on their quality of life, and in some cases can result in physical injury or death.

Financial savings, which are obviously going to be the insurance company’s motivation, are not all this is about, here. As we can see with people defending the insurance company in the article’s comments, it’s also about separating oneself from people with mental illnesses — again, with the belief that you can size up a person’s mental health status just by looking at them — and maintaining a prejudiced worldview. And the insurance company’s decision, made from a position of presumed expertise and authority, has only reinforced the ignorant and bigoted misconceptions that people already held.

Just like the people who claim that the woman using the word rape to describe what violence her boyfriend inflicted on her is “making a mockery of real rape,” people also claim that those like Blanchard are “minimizing the realities of people with real mental health issues.” But no, actually. In both cases, the society that supports those kinds of dismissive statements is doing a fine job of that all on its own.

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39 comments for “Insurance Company Revokes Depressed Woman’s Benefits Over Facebook Photos

  1. November 23, 2009 at 1:02 pm


  2. Clare
    November 23, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Very well said. It shows such a shocking lack of understanding of depression – most depressed people (myself included) would just *love* to be able to go to work and feel normal. This is really timely for me as I’ve recently had friends express disbelief when telling them I take antidepressants. I don’t fit their idea of a depressed person (yeah thanks, I’m good at hiding it, OK?) and therefore they feel they can invalidate my choice, which was a pretty hard one to make in the first place.

  3. November 23, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Wow. Just….wow.

    As someone who is being treated for mental illness, this just…wow. I’m so angry, I’m speachless.

  4. November 23, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Really, I mean really? We’re trusting facebook more than doctors now?

    I’ve had people tell me I don’t look bipolar, but what the hell does bipolar look like anyway?

    This disability policing is getting to me. Do they realize that disability benefits don’t exactly enable you to rake in the big cash?

  5. Li
    November 23, 2009 at 2:14 pm


    Not. Able. To. Verbalise. Disgust.

  6. Anna
    November 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Ah, yes. Facebook will comply with things like this – they’ll give a company full access to an account if the company claims they suspect fraud.
    It reminds me of another case in the UK recently where the defense for a rapist was that ‘well, ok, he dunnit; but look, she’s at a party on facebook x number of time after (it was months or years – not that it matters) so it can’t have affected her, this PTSD thing she said she had is a total lie!’
    It’s ridiculous – one picture is not indicative of a mental state.

  7. November 23, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I get told on a regular basis that people fake being disabled all the time, because it’s such an easy thing to do.


  8. November 23, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    That’s funny. Pre-medication, I used to go out, have a good time, and then come back home and cry uncontrollably in my shower until the water ran cold.

    Even crazies get to have “up” days, y’all.

    In conclusion, I would like to deliver a sternly worded letter to the people responsible for this mess. With my fists.

  9. Cathy
    November 23, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I could not have put it better. I am really glad you pointed out that when people point their finger at those who are depressed but find (or force) happy moments, they are immediately called out — reinforcing that if you’re depressed, you’d better stay at home, feeling down, and not smiling at all. It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    I don’t think if someone was recovering from a physical injury, say a broken leg, and they managed to walk a few steps on their own in physical therapy, that someone would steal that person’s crutches/wheelchair/walker using the same logic — that showing positive progress, even if it’s a little bit, means you’re cured.

    • November 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm

      I don’t think if someone was recovering from a physical injury, say a broken leg, and they managed to walk a few steps on their own in physical therapy, that someone would steal that person’s crutches/wheelchair/walker using the same logic — that showing positive progress, even if it’s a little bit, means you’re cured.

      Well people with physical disabilities do indeed tend to get this stuff — e.g. “you’re able to walk a few feet, so why do you need a scooter?” “What do you mean you need to sit, you’re standing right now.” “I don’t believe you’re too tired because I saw you this one time when you didn’t look like you were,” and so on. But I think the comparison of a temporary physical injury like a broken leg is likely fairly apt, specifically because it’s temporary — people tend to be a whole lot more sympathetic about conditions that they think can happen to anyone, including themselves. (And while long-term disability can indeed happen to anyone, most people like to tell themselves that it can’t.)

  10. me and not you
    November 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Yes, what Talulah said.

    I’ve made an effort my entire life not to seem sad. It’s only when other people start to notice that I’m like, crap, gotta get this under control. I’ve only started recently admitting that I even was sad. You can be sad but smiling, trust me.

    Not to mention, treatments for depression alievaite the symptoms, but (depending on your particular flavor) it’s not going to go away.

  11. Sib6
    November 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    This reminds me of all those exposes they used to have on Dateline and such that would secretly tape people who were getting disability checks doing things they weren’t supposed to be able to do, like lifting heavy boxes or something (maybe they still do these exposes – I wouldn’t know because I haven’t watched those shows in years). It makes me wonder what is wrong with our society that we’re always out to prove that some individual who is getting government support is a thief, but our level of interrogation for the way companies daily cheat the public isn’t as stringent. We at this blog are of course horrified that a company like Facebook would provide access to our personal information to another company, but I know a ton of people who would read this story and feel like justice was done because this “depression faker” was cheating the system. How can we be so blind to the fact that a picture of someone smiling doesn’t disprove depression, a video of someone lifting a box doesn’t disprove disability, and that companies shouldn’t give away our information without our permission? How do we miss out on all these things?

  12. Jadey
    November 23, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I love when insurance companies substitute their own definitions of things for, y’know, ACTUAL definitions of things. And this is one of those things where the clinicians should be getting pissed off too. I’m training in research psych not clinical, but in general psychologists as professionals just aren’t politically or socially informed or active. But if the insurance companies are just going to start fabricating diagnostic procedures using the Internet? You’d think the clinicians would have something to say about that! I’m going to be writing my sternly-worded letter to the CPA (Canadian Psychological Association) as well; this is an opportunity for professionals to advocate against discrimination. Which is vital, if there’s ever going to be any utility or justice in their diagnostic tools.

  13. November 23, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Talk about the grinch that stole Christmas.

    She told her insurance company she was going on vacation! It’s not like she was trying to be underhanded.

    The insurance company should be grateful that she’s making an effort to get out and see friends. Any therapist will tell you that strong friendships and a social life can be critical to recovery from depression.

  14. Emma Williams
    November 23, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    How can anyone raise concerns about the government rationing care with a public option when THIS is going on? The insurance companies ration care on a daily basis, and do it without regard for life or death.

  15. Tlönista
    November 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    What Talulah said. This makes me SO ANGRY.

    And adding to everyone saying that even during depressive episodes, one can feel or merely act happy sometimes—for me, there’ve been times when my treatment’s been effective enough that, aside from taking meds, my mood is indistinguishable from a non-depressed person’s. And that does not mean I’ve suddenly been “cured”, or whatever; it means treatment is working. Would you look at someone with diabetes, say “Oh, well, you’re not in a coma, so I guess you’re faking it,” and take away their fucking insulin? That is Manulife’s logic.

    If I were on holiday, I’d be happy too. Doesn’t mean I’m not depressed any more. Depression is actually about more than your mood on any given day. It’s about fog, fatigue, motivation, concentration, and a gazillion other things too.

    Does anyone know who at Manulife we would contact to complain?

  16. anonymous
    November 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    [To moderator or whoever – I’m making this anonymous but I’d be happy to speak one-on-one via email to someone to verify that it’s a real comment. I just don’t know who to contact to make sure my email address is safe. I don’t trust the disability insurance companies.]

    I think an important point is to frame this debate correctly. For the general public there is an issue of them not believing that a person is disabled and may be faking it. This is a real problem but it is a different one from the issue with insurance companies.

    This may sound very cynical but my firm belief after 10 years of dealing with this issue is that when it comes to insurance claims, especially those made for long term disability, the insurance companies only care about reducing claims and increasing profits. There may be cases where the insurance company is actually concerned about cases of fraud but I think those cases are the minority. They simply want to deny as many claims as possible. They really don’t care whether the claims are valid. They are hoping that the patient who made the claim will either die, run out of energy, run out of money for lawyers, or give up.

    I am one of the lucky few who has financial resources to fight for my own long term disability claim. I won social security on my very first try (government does not have a profit motive like the corporations do) but have been fighting off and on with the claim through my employer. I hate having to spend the energy and emotion on this but I feel for all the people out there who cannot even hire a lawyer and who can’t find someone who will take the case on contingency.

    Anyway, I just wanted to point out that the insurance company may know very well that the claim is valid but is trying whatever they can to deny the claim. Just do a search on ERISA and long term disability, for example, and you’ll get an idea of how the laws for LTD claims are stacked against the patient.

  17. November 23, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I am so glad to see this post. I saw the article this morning and was just furious. I don’t suffer from depression, but you don’t have to have it to know that there’s more to it than what a picture can show.

  18. ACG
    November 23, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I should know better than to read comment threads on stories like that. I should just know better. In this case, they generally fell into three categories:

    1. “I’ve been depressed before, and I know what it’s like to have to put on a happy face when you’re not happy/I know how valuable it can be to get out of the house occasionally and be around people/I sometimes have good days, but then I sometimes go home and cry myself to sleep.”

    2. “I’ve been depressed before, and I never went on vacation/never smiled/never left the house/never hung out with friends/spent all my time crying at home in the dark, and she’s not doing that, so she can’t possibly be depressed. SCAM!”

    3. “The symptoms of depression are (bullet points copy-and-pasted from WebMD) trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping/weight gain or loss/fatigue and lack of energy/feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and inappropriate guilt/inactivity and withdrawal from usual activities, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed/feelings of hopelessness and helplessness/thoughts of death or suicide. She looks great in a bikini, which means she’s not gaining weight or not exercising and she doesn’t hate herself, and she’s taking pleasure in an activity, and she doesn’t look hopeless, and she obviously hasn’t committed suicide, so she can’t be depressed! SCAM!”

    Oh, thank you, Dr. Armchair. While you’re here, do you think you could re-diagnose my bipolar disorder? I’d love to be able to stop paying for meds and stop occasionally wigging out on my boyfriend and stop crying for no reason at work. If you can just tell me I’m faking it all for attention, I can go back to acting the way other people keep telling me I should.

  19. November 23, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    This sort of investigation happens all the time, too. Social Security does it regularly. They stop by your house, or Google your name, or do any number of things to see if they can catch you doing something you’re supposedly not supposed to be doing.

    This one had the Facebook hook, which is why it got attention. But it happens, every day, real people having benefits taken away because of frankly ableist stereotypes.

    They probably pay more for the investigators to find these “frauds” than they would lose if they let them go. But the money isn’t actually what’s important — rather, the money is an excuse for policing the boundaries of disability.

  20. Alexandra Lynch
    November 23, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    It’s insane. I ran into this while applying for disability. I’m much better now that I have found The Right Meds but I am still affected. The grocery store gets its own day, and we budget to eat out afterwards because I will not be able to cook. I will be too tired. I split up the housework over the week so I can do it. And some weeks, I still can’t manage because I. Am. Sick.

    But when I do go out, I look just fine.

  21. November 23, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    I spent the first few minutes after reading about this debacle making low growling noises.

    I got a four-year college degree, sang in the choir, dated, got engaged, and had six months worth of psychotherapy (clean bill of health, psychotherapist said “You’re saner than I am”) – while spending regular sessions with a knife alternately talking myself into and out of slitting my wrists.

    To hell with photos. My psychotherapist couldn’t figure out I was suffering from major depression without my active cooperation. It was another ten years, during which I’m pretty sure I had nice vacation photos, before I got treatment.

  22. William
    November 24, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Governments and corporations being evil and conspiring to treat people like shit based on ignorance and outright ableism? I wish I could muster some shock. Fucking disgusting.

    This is what happens when you reduce complex intrapsychic phenomena down to “they must be sad” and some bullet points from a book written by doctors just this side of delusion.

  23. NBarnes
    November 24, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Clearly the insurance company thinks she should stay home and not see any of her friends until the depression becomes bad enough that she kills herself and stops taking ‘their’ money.

    I’m not kidding.

  24. NBarnes
    November 24, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Or maybe it’s that my meds ran out a few days ago and I’m too lethargic to go get them refilled. (my SO is taking me to get them refilled Wednesday, in case anybody was actually concerned)

  25. prairielily
    November 24, 2009 at 1:42 am

    After years of depression, I had a major breakdown last year and in the aftermath, I fell on the steps at the hospital leaving an intense therapy session and sprained my foot. There’s pictures of me soon afterward in a very pretty dress on Facebook… and you can’t see that my foot is bandaged up or that I only went to that party because I knew I wouldn’t have to wear shoes AND that I knew and liked almost everyone there. My mother bought the dress for me because she wanted me to do something fun instead of feeling depressed on the couch with my foot elevated while she tried to get me to eat by making my favourite foods. She was practically crying when she told me about this story. She’s so frustrated that she wasn’t one of the people who called into CNN to tell all the judgmental assholes how wrong they were.

    The thing is… we’re seeing what this woman managed to do. The pictures are of days she tried really really hard to get out of bed and not be scared and do something somewhat normal. We don’t see the parties that she missed. We don’t see the concerts to which she was too anxious to go or the books and articles she was unable to read due to trouble concentrating. We can’t see the days she couldn’t eat anything except a few raspberries, and even those were kind of nauseating. We can’t see the days she functioned so poorly that she couldn’t get out of bed because out of bed was too scary, or the days she didn’t eat or shower because it was too much effort. Fuck, I even had days where I would just hold it for hours instead of going down the hall to pee because I was that depressed.

    But there’s a few pictures of her looking pretty and smiling, right? So all of that is negated. It doesn’t matter that if you naturally have a patriarchally-approved body type and features and clear skin, you’re going to have all that no matter how depressed you are. It doesn’t matter if you rushed off to the bathroom to hide right after the picture was taken, or if you’re trying really hard not to socially isolate yourself.

    It’s sick. I feel like boycotting Facebook, Manulife, and the entire universe over this.

  26. November 24, 2009 at 5:46 am

    This sounds like a really, really effective way to keep people with disabilities locked in their own homes with the curtains shut, terrified yet a phone call to a friend or thirty seconds taking out a rotting rubbish bag be used to tip them into homelessness.

    Message received, society. Thanks for the welcome. Love you too.

  27. one jewish dyke
    November 24, 2009 at 5:48 am

    I also struggle with depression, but at the moment it’s more a symptom of the disability that is keeping me from working and doing other activities I enjoy. It’s an invisible disability some days, and obvious others. There are some days when I can do some things, and others where moving from the bed to the couch is all the energy I have for the day. Depending on when you catch me, I can appear quite impaired, or barely. This week marks one year, actually. It was Thanksgiving week last year that I started to feel bad enough to cut back on activities. Before then I worked at a high-intensity job, played recreational sports, and occasionally had a social life. And I concur – the cards are stacked against getting disability benefits. Unless you have a lot of emotional energy, which is really tough when you are sick, you need someone to advocate for you. The already-privileged are definitely favored; an attorney in the family helps a lot.

    What do you do when your friends add pictures of you years after an event took place, when at the time you genuinely were happy or able-bodied? There are pictures on facebook, added just a few months ago, of a wedding several years ago. If you know me you know they are old because my weight and hair and glasses are all different, but if you’re a claims examiner you don’t know when that wedding was. Do I have to go untag myself from every picture I’m in, even the silly ones where someone has tagged a statue with my name? Will I be turned down for a pre-existing condition of over-calcification?

  28. ACG
    November 24, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I just don’t understand it. I mean, whenever I’m down, I take lots of pictures–me lying on the floor in the kitchen sobbing in the fetal position, me staring at the handle of vodka on the coffee table convincing myself not to drink myself dead, me staring out the window for four straight hours because I can’t bring myself to move (that’s any easy shot to get, because I sit really still), me mindlessly eating an entire casserole dish of macaroni and cheese, me forcing myself to throw up the entire casserole dish of macaroni and cheese. And then I post them all on Facebook. If all she has is happy photos, she must not be all that sick.

  29. Jen R
    November 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    I’ve created a new Facebook group: People with depression smile sometimes

  30. Pencils
    November 24, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Hey, NBarnes, I am concerned, and I’m glad to hear that you’re getting your meds refilled. I’m long-term disabled myself, and we gotta stick together!

    And I do know all about this–I have a severe pain condition due to an ongoing medical issue, for which I take heavy doses of painkillers. Without them, I’m pretty much bedridden. With them, I can lead a normal life. People, including some of my doctors, are constantly telling me how I need to “get off the drugs.” So I can give up my life? Don’t think so. Leave treatment of those with disability to the doctors who know what they’re doing.

  31. Kay
    November 24, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, I can identify with the people who say you have your ups and downs. The thing that puzzles me is: if one well enough to function at a bar, why can’t one function at work? Maybe the bigger problem is finding a better suiting job?

  32. Anonymous
    November 24, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    It seems that Good Morning America (on ABC) is interested in unfair disability insurance termination stories. Here’s a link that I got from the DISINSSUES yahoo group – (I have not read the story myself but thought it was worth passing it on – moderator, it’s completely your call on whether this is useful or not)

  33. November 25, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Kay, maybe she worked up the energy and the frame of mind for just that night. Maybe she just wanted a bit of fun – I know I have felt guilty having fun during my bad disability times because if I can do something to take me out of things for a few hours, well, what’s wrong with me the rest of the time, right? I don’t think it’s fair to say that kind of thing.

  34. sophiefair
    November 25, 2009 at 2:24 am

    i agree with many of the commenters here. (though kay, you don’t seem to get it.) but the other point that i wanted to mention is that disabled people have a right to have a good time sometimes too! i have fibromyalgia, and there are occasions where i do something (cook for two days for my husband’s birthday party, go out for drinks with the girls, stay up late reading…) when i KNOW that i will be paying for it later. but i do it anyway.

    for someone who has been temporarily-abled, it can be so hard to accept the way your life has changed. sometimes, i want to just say “fuck it” and live, for a moment, the way i could before i became ill. and you know what? that’s my prerogative. i am entitled to make decisions about my own health and well-being, even if those decisions mean that i may be more impaired, or less able, the next day or the next week or whatever.

    kate, i’ll assume that you are not trolling and add to the reply to your comment. i can’t work outside the home because of my disability, but i can get a lot done around my home and i volunteer in the community. why? because as a housewife and volunteer, i have a lot more autonomy and flexibility in my schedule. i can clean my floor when i feel able to. i can bake a whack of bread on one of my good days. i can manage my physical and emotional reserves, without answering to someone who doesn’t love me or who doesn’t understand my illness. i have no deadlines, no “must-dos”. there are not many other jobs that offer that. and i know how hugely privileged i am to have the family support to be a disabled housewife.

  35. William
    November 25, 2009 at 10:12 am

    The thing that puzzles me is: if one well enough to function at a bar, why can’t one function at work? Maybe the bigger problem is finding a better suiting job?

    Because there are different degrees of effect and from your post I’m willing to bet that you haven’t experienced the worst of it. As other posters have said, a bar is different from a job and sometimes madness isn’t predictable. We don’t know what it took for this woman to make it out for one night with her friends, we don’t know the amount of sheer willpower she had to muster to be able to have something approaching normalcy for a few hours, we don’t know how many times she just never made it out of the house. All we know is that once, for one little chunk of time, she was able to appear to be having fun. To extrapolate anything from that is to assume that she is malingering because your view of what depression ought to look like is constructed to protect yourself from the life you face.

    This whole discussion reminds me of the first verse of Leonard Cohen’s song “Everybody knows”

    Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
    Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
    Everybody knows that the war is over
    Everybody knows the good guys lost
    Everybody knows the fight was fixed
    The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
    That’s how it goes
    Everybody knows

  36. November 25, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    To say she isn’t depressed because she’s smiling is equivalent to saying “he’s not a man because he’s wearing a dress and heels”. This just makes me sick.

  37. November 25, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I just wanted to comment again, becuase I’m still angry about this.

    I am depressed right now, but I smiled today when my dog did something funny, even though I’m living with self doubt hatred. I even played fetch with him, becuase he needs me.

    If someone wants to take that as evidence that my mental illnesses aren’t real, I really question their understanding of mental illness. Just becuase I can occasionally put on a pretty mask for the public doesn’t mean I suddenly stop being depressed.

  38. November 25, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    When my depression was at its worst (alien suicidal thoughts) due to homesickness, I rode the bus all around my new town. I even signed up for volunteer work.

    What I did not do was go to school, which is what I’d gone out there to do.

    My uncle said, “If you can ride a bus all day, you can go class.”

    When I came back home, my mom made me volunteer – 4 hours a day (usually more), 3 days a week. Very flexible, compared to school. And even school is more flexible than work – I don’t go to class for 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week.

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