The world can be a difficult place to live in. Everyone encounters adversity at some point of another. What you choose to do about it can define who you are. I have a special place for those who choose to not only rise above the hand they are dealt but do something about it. This next author is one of those who has made it her life’s work to help those suffering from depression.
Meet Deborah Serani:
1. Where’s home?
I live on Long Island in New York State. Home of the infamous Long Island Iced Tea , the mansions of The Gold Coast and singer, Billy Joel.
2. What is something few people know about you?
If there was a category for cat-napping, I’d snag the Olympic gold medal. I’m also a recurring character on the NBC television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – The Honorable Judge D. Serani. I used to be a technical advisor for the show, helping with psychological dialogue and clinical story lines. I always get a kick when I see the nameplate on the court bench whenever it shows up in an episode.
3. What’s the name of your most recent book? If you had to sum it up in 30 words or less, what would you say?
My newest book is titled “Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers.” It’s essentially a book on how to recognize depression in babies, children and teens, how to teach a child to manage and live with the illness, and how to balance life as a family and as a couple in the midst of it all.
4. What has inspired you to write this book? Why depression?
I love that you asked this question. I wrote this book because I was a child who had depression. The thing is, I didn’t know it at the time. As a child I was often tired and sad, but didn’t think anything of it. Nor did my parents, teachers or friends. But as teenager, I descended into a suicidal episode as a teenager. Long story short, I received intervention, learned how to manage my own depression, then continued on to graduate school to become a psychologist. And now 20 years later, I’m a media go-to expert on the subject of depression and an award winning author on the subject. I turned my own wounds into wisdom, and used writing as a way to teach and reach others.
5. What do you do personally [everyday] to fight depression?
I really practice what I preach. I eat healthily, exercise and follow my treatment plan for depression (which includes medication and talk therapy strategies). I’m a big believer in holistic methods, so you’ll find essential oils like peppermint or lavender in my home and office, soothing music and soft textures to soothe and comfort me. I fiercely protect my personal life by shutting out toxic people, and knowing what my triggers are (sad movies, overdoing too much in a day, saying “yes” to things I really want to say “no” to, or letting negative thoughts circle too long in my mind). My depression is in remission, but I still get tired a lot, so I catnap every day – and make sure that I remind myself that my I’m SO much more than my illness. I know this sounds like a lot to do in a day, but it really isn’t. Once you learn the art of self-care, it becomes second nature. And there’s so much of that in both my books on depression – self-care.
6. What’s the greatest myth about depression and/or therapy?
Another great question! The biggest myth about depression is “if you’re strong enough, you can snap yourself out of it.” Um…yeah, no – it’s a real illness…. a neurobiological illness. Just like you can’t snap yourself out of cancer or diabetes, you can’t just will yourself to shake depression.
7. What was the latest and greatest book you read related to psychology?
Wow, I’m an avid reader, so there are many I could choose. Personally speaking, I loved reading “Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ” By Daniel Goleman. It’s a terrific take on the human experience and how you can enhance your life. Clinically speaking, I find “Freud and Beyond” by Stephen Mitchell and Margaret Black a great read on the history of psychotherapy.
8. What was the most surprising or challenging thing you have come across so far? Either in writing or therapy?
In writing, the challenge is always that first page. It’s so starkly white and it’s so spaciously blank. And then there’s that little cursor blinking and blinking. Once I can get that first page written though, I’m pretty good to go from there. In therapy, the most surprising thing I’d like to share with readers is that therapists get nervous when they meet a client for the first time too! We want clients to feel comfortable, to know that we are professional and skilled, to believe in the process of therapy and for them to like us too.
9. Is there something you’d like to tell your readers?
I’d want to tell readers that there’s no shame in living with a mental illness. Help is out there – and you don’t have to suffer quietly or alone – or feel you can’t have a meaningful life. There are many high profile people like US President Abraham Lincoln, Rocker Bruce Springsteen, Comedian Ellen DeGeneres, Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, writer J.K. Rowlings and Olympian Picabo Street who struggle and live successfully with depression. A list of over 400 names are in my other book “Living with Depression.” And I love showing children who are struggling with a depressive disorder all these famous names from all over the world who have made great contribution BECAUSE of their experiences with depression.
10. What’s next for you? Any current/future writing project?
I just finished writing the prose for a children’s picture book on depression titled “Sometimes When I’m Sad.” I’ll spend the rest of the summer doing the illustrations – of course, taking catnaps whenever I can.
MORE ABOUT DEBORAH SERANI:
Dr. Deborah Serani is a go-to media expert on a variety of psychological issues. Her interviews can be found in ABC News, Newsday, Womens Health & Fitness, The Chicago Tribune, The Associated Press, and affiliate radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. She is a ShareCare Expert for Dr. Oz, writes for Psychology Today, helms the “Ask the Therapist” column for Esperanza Magazine and has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A licensed psychologist in practice over twenty years, Serani is also an adjunct professor at Adelphi University teaching courses in clinical disorders and treatment and is the author of the award-winning book “Living with Depression.”
Visit her website at www.deborahserani.com.
Her Latest Book: Depression and Your Child: A Guide For Parents And Caregivers
Trailer for her book Living With Depression: