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    The DF is solely dedicated to eliminating the stigma that surrounds depression and mood disorders through information, education and advocacy.
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  1. Happy Birthday cherryapplez2020 ~Lindsay, Forum Admin
  2. Welcome to our new Members! As I posted in this Forum back in 2009 and beyond, I will repeat, please read and make the best of these forums as there are so many. Post your feelings and post to our "seasoned" members who will also give you some sage advice. We also have BLOGS for you to start your own after 5 posts that you can make Depression Forums is a wonderful place to start to open up and relieve yourself of all the pressure you have stored up. I have also described it as somewhat of a stepping stone to move on with your life. Take your time and look around. If you need anything click on our staff (pinned above) and PM them. Hugs and best wishes & #StaySafe You may hng out all you want and you will learn quite a bit. Also, do not mind "the Dust" as we are redoing a lot since we have been here since 2004! Glad that you found us! With all my best wishes to you, ~Lindsay, Forum Administrator, Owner
  3. Taking a look at a contentious topic loaded with societal shame by Peg Streep Tech Support Source: Photograph by Jody Hong Films. Copyright free. Unsplash Recently, I reposted an article I'd written about estrangement—or “No Contact” as it’s informally called on Facebook—and got pushback from mothers who were estranged from their adult children and who did not initiate the cut-off. What they had to say was achingly familiar—it’s what I and other daughters who’ve made this painful but sometimes necessary decision have heard from our mothers, family members, people we know, and strangers alike. It was a consistent narrative composed of declared innocence (“I was a good mother"; “She was loved and cared for”), defensiveness and rationalization (“She didn’t like being held as a baby”; “She resisted any effort to discipline her”; “Everyone agreed she was a problem”), and downright blaming (“She has always been difficult”; “She is extremely abusive and everyone sees it”; “Abusive, ungrateful, and a bad person”). This isn’t to say that a daughter or son cannot be abusive, especially if there is an undiagnosed mental illness or addiction involved. But I have a horse in this race and I know for sure that most adult children don’t self-orphan—and, yes, most of the time the loss is never just the mother—because it’s a spur-of-the-moment angry or thoughtless decision. As I have written before, most daughters mull the decision over for years, if not decades. And, if they go no contact, they are prone to reverse themselves once or twice, because their need for connection and maternal love has not abated, despite their recognition that they probably won’t get either from the mother they have. Research confirms that estrangement can go through a predictable cycle—of going no contact and then reinstating connection— so it’s not just my experience or those reported by women I’ve interviewed. The reality is that these mothers—who claim to be abandoned by ungrateful, impetuous, and difficult adult children, who never informed them of either their complaints or their plans—are more likely to get a fair hearing by our culture, to get sympathy and support when they wage war against the so-called ungrateful adult child, and to be embraced by their communities for their actions. That’s precisely what a study by Christine Rittenour, Stephen Kromka, and others found when they looked at stereotypes and attitudes toward adult child-parent estrangement. The Cultural Onus of the Adult Child’s Estrangement It has the weight of a stone tablet—yes, a Commandment—and it’s “Honor Thy Mother and Father.” I have had a number of different pastors explain the injunction in context and they all agree it does not include accepting being emotionally abused, marginalized, or ignored. But, in the court of public opinion, the Commandment is hard to beat. The mythology of motherhood, I think, has just as much clout and maybe more for the culture. Despite the science that makes it clear that motherhood in the human species is learned behavior, the culture is content to pretend that we are more like elephants for whom mothering is pure instinct. As a group, we cling to the myths that all women are maternal and nurturing, that mothering is instinctual, and that maternal love is always unconditional; not one of those three statements is true. But that doesn’t explain why the adult child-parental estrangement is the elephant in our cultural living room. Mind you, when the parent initiates estrangement—ridding the family of the bad seed, the intransigent one, the odd-one-out—the culture clucks with sympathy because everyone knows that parenting is hard. The mother myths carry weight here, too, testifying to the myth that no one divorces a child without compelling reasons every sane person would agree with. But are we getting the whole picture on why we’re so quick to judge the adult child? Why do we, as the study by Ritenour and others found, revert to stereotypes calling the adult child “childish, immature, and ungrateful” for initiating estrangement? Looking at the Big Picture Here are some pieces of the puzzle revealed by research that are worth considering when we talk about familial estrangement. 1. There may be an evolutionary reason for the taboo. That’s exactly what psychologist Glenn Geher (a blogger on this site) and his colleagues suggested when they examined the evolutionary psychology of social estrangements. Remember that humans began as tribal folk—try surviving as a hunter or gatherer on your own—and social bonds were primary. Thus, estrangement was not exactly a strategy for survival. Seen through this lens—that of evolution—forgiveness is a step forward while saying that someone is “dead” to you is a step back. The research team wanted to test whether the number of estrangements in a person’s life would be predictive of adverse psychological outcomes and whether there were psychological factors that could predict estrangement over the more conciliatory act of forgiveness. (In case you’re interested, the more estrangements a person had in life, the more likely they were to exhibit narcissism and other not-so-wonderful traits. That’s not surprising—but here, we’re looking at a specific kind of estrangement that tends not to be part of a larger pattern). So, perhaps, the problem we have with estrangements, especially of close others, may have to do with our human history. 2. It’s not really rare (and, no, blood isn't always thicker than water). There isn’t a reliable number on how common estrangement is but it’s clear that it’s neither as rare nor as unexpected as cultural taboos and mythologies would have us believe. One 2015 study by Richard Conti which was conducted with a sample of college and graduate students found that 43.5 percent had been estranged at some point and that 26.6 percent reported extended estrangement. His study also confirmed that anecdotal evidence makes clear: that estrangement from a parent always involves estrangement from other family members. He concluded that estrangement “is perhaps as common as divorce in certain segments of society.” That sounds pretty dire—but another study, this one conducted by Lucy Blake in Great Britain, found even higher percentages; out of the 807 people interviewed, 455 were estranged from their mothers. As someone who was estranged from her one surviving parent on and off and then finally, I can tell you from experience that given the cultural onus, few people come forth and speak out. So, the truth is that for every incident of adult child estrangement you hear about, there’s probably one or two that is kept under wraps. That’s not a scientific statement but an educated guess, which happens to be bolstered by the following research study. 3. Estrangement isn’t the only way adult-child relationships destruct. In an effort to clarify the various ways in which communication within families is disrupted, Katrina M. Scharp and Elizabeth Dorrance Hall posited that there were indeed three separate processes at work: Family-member marginalization, Parent-child alienation, and Parent-child estrangement. They define family member marginalization as signifying one person as the outsider or black sheep. Being the black sheep can be a function of being or looking different, having different interests or a different point of view, not conforming, or simply telling truths about the family the group prefers not to hear. According to the authors, even though they are marginalized, most so-called black sheep don’t tend to break ties with the family entirely. Parent-child alienation is their second category, which mostly occurs in the context of divorce and, according to the studies they cite, affects about 13.4 percent of parents. It seems to me that while part of the landscape, parent-child alienation is different in kind because 1) it is the result of active efforts by one parent to create a rift between the child and the other parent and 2) the child is still in a position of dependency, forced to be loyal to one side at the cost of the other. Adult child-parent estrangement is the third process; they note that research indicates that estrangement instigated by a parent is conservatively estimated at 12 percent. They note that all the research underscores that estrangement is highly stigmatized and writes, “Indeed, adult children go to great lengths to keep their estrangement experiences private or even secret.” That is a statement every daughter or son who has gone no contact can corroborate. A personal opinion: While it’s useful to see these different distancing processes, it seems as though parent-child alienation is the odd man out, even though it might ultimately be the basis for a continued adult child-parent estrangement later, since it is a function of an adult’s deliberate and tactical effort to disrupt the other parent’s connection to the child. 4. While estrangement may be cyclical, reconciliation is usually elusive. Both research and the interviews I’ve conducted with women for my books, Daughter Detox: Recovering from an Unloving Mother and Mean Mothers confirm that estrangement is usually not a single or decisive action. Daughters usually attempt to manage the relationship to their mothers or fathers first, either by attempting to set boundaries, limiting communication, or simply having fewer interactions; what’s informally called “low contact” works in some cases, especially when there’s geographic distance between the adult child and her family of origin, but not always. Sometimes, the failure of low contact simply yields to a decision to move into a full-blown estrangement. Other times, a daughter will reinstitute contact either because of hopefulness that things can change or some other reason. But, as a study by Kristen Carr, Amanda Holman, and others showed, the difference between the parent’s perspective and that of the adult child is usually enormous. In a study of 898 of unmatched parents and adult children, the researchers found that there was absolutely no agreement at all about what had caused the estrangement. While parents tended to focus on their children’s objectionable relationships or sense of entitlement, adult children honed in on toxic treatment or feeling unloved and unaccepted. Interestingly, while the adult children were able to be explicit about why they felt unloved or unsupported and connected those feelings to their parents’ behaviors, the parents showed very little self-reflection. It’s worth saying that this research supports every story I have heard from adult children over the years. Old ideas die hard, and new research on family estrangement offers a new opportunity for all of us to discuss and learn. Copyright © 2019 Peg Streep Facebook image: Thanakorn Stocker/Shutterstock References Rittenour, Christine, Stephen Kromka, Sara Pitts, Margaret Thorwart, Janelle Vickers, and Kaitlyn Whyte, “Communication Surrounding Estrangement: Stereotypes, Attitudes, and (Non) Accommodation Strategies, “Behavioral Sciences (2018), vol.8 (10), 96-112. Geher, Glenn, Vania Rolon, Richard Holler, Amanda Baroni, et, al. : You’re dead to me! The evolutionary psychology of social estrangements and social transgressions.” Current Psychology (2019). 10.1007/s12144-019-00381-z. Conti, Richard P. “Family Estrangements: Establishing a Prevalence Rate,” Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Science (2015), vol.3(2), 28-35. Blake, Lucy. Hidden Voices: Family Estrangement in Adulthood. University of Cambridge Centre for Family Research/Stand Alone. http://standalone.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/HiddenVoices.FinalR… Scharp, Kristina M. and Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, “Family Marginalization, alienation, and estrangement: questioning the nonvoluntary status of family relationships,” Annals of the International Communications Association (2017), vol.41 (1), 28-45. Scharp, Kristina M. “You’re Not Welcome Here: A Grounded Theory of Family Distancing,” Communication Research (2017), 1-29. Agilias, Kylie. “Disconnection and Decision-making: Adult Children Explain Their Reasons for Estranging from Parents, Australian Social Work (2015) 69:1, 92-104. JAgllias, Kylie. “Missing Family: The Adult Child’s Experience of Parental Estrangement,” Journal of Social Work Practice (2018) vol. 31(1), 59-72. Carr, Kristen, Amanda Holman, Jenna Abetz, Jody Koenig Kellas, and Elizabeth Vagnoni, "Giving Voice to the Silence of Family Estrangement: Reasons of Estranged Parents and Adult Children in a Non-matched Sample, Journal of Family Communication (2015), vol. 15, issue 2, 130-140. https://www.psychologytoday.com
  4. Forum Admin

    Does it matter?

    Even I am hurting at times, but I am not giving up on myself, Depression Forums, or it's Members!!!! No one should be left behind! DF cares about YOU, it's members. Tell us what you want to see more of!
  5. World Alzheimer's Day
  6. Forum Admin

    Yom Kippur

    Yom Kippur Traditionally, Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Atonement. It’s a Jewish holiday for personal reflection, reverence, and for some, fasting. This approximately 25-hour fast includes no eating and no drinking from sunset to sunset on the day observed as Yom Kippur. You can learn more about Yom Kippur and its celebrations by taking a look at our Yom Kippur Cheat Sheet infographic. When Does Yom Kippur Take Place? Yom Kippur takes place on the final day of the 10 Days of Awe, which begins with Rosh Hashanah. This year, Yom Kippur begins at sunset on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 and ends at sunset on Thursday, September 16, 2021. Before sundown, we gather with family and friends and eat the last meal before the start of Yom Kippur and the fast. Kids under the age of 13 are not required to fast, nor are adults whose health precludes them from fasting, including pregnant or breastfeeding moms. If you’re not fasting but a loved one is, you can still support them during this holiday and partake in quiet time for reflection. Yom Kippur ends with a big break-the-fast celebration. Family and friends join together with food they have prepared in advance. It’s traditional to invite newcomers and anyone who might be alone during the holiday. 18Doors has lots of recipes to choose from. Yom Kippur Traditions Families celebrate with a festive dinner and candle lighting before fasting begins on Yom Kippur. Many individuals use this time to remember and reflect on family members and friends who’ve passed on. The day before Yom Kippur, some Jewish individuals visit cemeteries and pay respects to loved ones who’ve died. Another custom in the days prior to Yom Kippur is doing good deeds. Many individuals volunteer to help the disadvantaged amongst them by donating money or time. Being generous at this time is considered a positive and joyful way to bring in the new year. Once Yom Kippur ends, it is a tradition that someone blows the shofar, which is a ram’s horn trumpet, signaling the new year and a time to rejoice. The end of the Yom Kippur fast is celebrated with a lively “break fast” meal, which often includes bagels and pastries, kugel, latkes, and egg dishes. You can find great “break fast” options in our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur recipes section here. High Holy Days, High Holy Days Rituals, Jewish Holidays, Yom Kippur
  7. Forum Admin

    Veterans Day

    Veterans Day Thank you for your Service History Although originally formed as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919 by a proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson to honor the countries servicemen who served during World War I, the date wouldn’t become a National Holiday until a Congressional Act in 1938 made it so. It would remain a holiday for this select group of soldiers, sailors and marines until President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill that expanded its intention to celebrate the service of servicemen from every American war. It would remain known as Armistice Day for the next 35 years until Congress decided to change its name to Veterans Day on June 1st, 1954. Its name has remained unchanged ever since. The date of its celebration has also remained unchanged, except for a brief period of seven years when it was changed to the fourth Monday of every October in 1971 to make sure that it complied with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This decision would eventually be reversed in 1978 and this holiday has been celebrated on November 11th ever since. Although this holiday falls on November 11th legally, it isn’t always celebrated on that day. For the organizations that take part in celebrations of this holiday, observances can be held on either Friday or Monday – depending on whether it falls on a Saturday or a Sunday. Customs And Observances National Ceremony-Every year, a ceremony is held at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate this holiday. During this time, the President Of The United States placing a wreath!!! on the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier and this is followed by a ceremony inside the Memorial Amphitheater that features speeches from dignitaries and a parade of colors by different organizations. Schools And Veterans Organizations-All around the country, many schools and organizations take part in Veteran Day ceremonies. These often include flying of the American flag, speeches, a singing of the National Anthem and a Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Municipal Parades-Another tradition that is observed by just about American city is a holiday parade that often includes bands, the marching of servicemen, speeches and remembrances. I am adding, please say prayers for our service men and women who our going through such terrible times right now in Afghanistan and to honor them for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. In Conclusion For many Americans, Veterans Day is a great way to remember the sacrifice their service men and women, that are making now, and have made, (I am adding this unfortunately that are making tremendous sacrifices to this day, keeping the United States and the countries that have served besides her free! It is also a great way to thank them for their service to all free countries! Please PRAY for those still left behind in Afghanistan.
  8. Forum Admin

    Labor Day

    Labor Day Monday, September 6 Labor Day 2021 in the United States and Canada Labor Day, in the United States and Canada, holiday (first Monday in September) honouring workers and recognizing their contributions to society. In many other countries May Day serves a similar purpose. Labor Day is celebrated on Monday, September 6, 2021. So between the backyard barbecues and the mid-afternoon naps in the barcalounger, here are some fun facts about today. Labor Day – What it Means: Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Labor Day Legislation: The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During 1887, four more states – Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. In the United States, Peter J. McGuire, a union leader who had founded the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in 1881, is generally given credit for the idea of Labor Day. In 1882 he suggested to the Central Labor Union of New York that there be a celebration honouring American workers. On September 5 some 10,000 workers, under the sponsorship of the Knights of Labor, held a parade in New York City. There was no particular significance to the date, and McGuire said that it was chosen because it fell roughly halfway between the Fourth of July holiday and Thanksgiving. In 1884 the Knights of Labor adopted a resolution that the first Monday in September be considered Labor Day. The idea quickly spread, and by the following year Labor Day celebrations were being held in a number of states. Oregon became the first state, in 1887, to grant legal status to the holiday (although the state initially celebrated it on the first Saturday in June). That same year Colorado, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey established the holiday on the first Monday in September, and other states soon followed. In 1894 the Pullman strike in Illinois, as well as a series of unemployed workers’ riots on May Day in Cleveland, prompted U.S. Pres. Grover Cleveland to propose a bill that would make Labor Day a national public holiday. The bill, which was crafted in part to deflect attention from May Day (an unofficial observance rooted in socialist movements), was signed into law in June of that year. Over the years, particularly as the influence of unions waned, the significance of Labor Day in the United States changed. For many people it became an end-of-summer celebration and a long weekend for family get-togethers. At the same time, it has continued to be celebrated with parades and speeches, as well as political rallies, and the day is sometimes the official kickoff date for national political campaigns. In Canada the first parades of workers were held in 1872 in Ottawa and Toronto, and later in that year the law making labour unions illegal was repealed. McGuire was invited to speak at the celebration in 1882. In 1894 Parliament officially recognized the holiday in Canada. Most other countries honour workers on May Day (May 1). The day was a major holiday in communist countries, and it continues to be important where left-wing political parties and labour movements wield influence. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Labor-Day#:~:text=movements wield influence.-,The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica,most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen%2C Corrections Manager., Depression Forums Incorporated
  9. I am so glad you are feeling better so quickly! I wasn't for OVER a month, after the second shot!! So I hope that bit of info helps you!!! Take very good care of YOU ~Lindsay, Administrator, Depressionforums.org
  10. :hearts:

    1. jkd_sd


      Thank you for the hearts, but ummm ... what did I do??  Did I miss something?  🤔

  11. Valentine’s Day Valentine’s Day occurs every February 14. Across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and where did these traditions come from? Find out about the history of Valentine’s Day, from the ancient Roman ritual of Lupercalia that welcomed spring to the card-giving customs of Victorian England. The Legend of St. Valentine Saint Valentine, who according to some sources is actually two distinct historical characters who were said to have healed a child while imprisoned and executed by decapitation. Fototeca Gilardi/Getty Images The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? READ MORE: Who Was the Real St. Valentine? The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Still others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France. Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. READ MORE: 6 Surprising Facts About St. Valentine To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance K.J. Historical/Corbis/Getty Images Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance. The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record St. Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules,” writing, ““For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois. READ MORE: Momentous Kisses Through History Who Is Cupid? Cupid is often portrayed on Valentine’s Day cards as a naked cherub launching arrows of love at unsuspecting lovers. But the Roman God Cupid has his roots in Greek mythology as the Greek god of love, Eros. Accounts of his birth vary; some say he is the son of Nyx and Erebus; others, of Aphrodite and Ares; still others suggest he is the son of Iris and Zephyrus or even Aphrodite and Zeus (who would have been both his father and grandfather). According to the Greek Archaic poets, Eros was a handsome immortal played with the emotions of Gods and men, using golden arrows to incite love and leaden ones to sow aversion. It wasn’t until the Hellenistic period that he began to be portrayed as the mischievous, chubby child he’d become on Valentine’s Day cards. Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year (more cards are sent at Christmas). Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines. Victorian-Era Valentines Could Be Mean and Hostile Ah, the season of love. Most Valentine's Days, we cram as many romantic activities into the day as possible. Candlelit dinners. Couples' massages. Cocktails at a swanky lounge. But this year, things are different. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are spending Valentine's Day at home. And while that might sound boring, it's actually the perfect excuse to plan a special indoor date or family activity. Whether you're celebrating with your special someone, your Galentines, or your entire fam, we're here to help you plan the ultimate at-home Valentine's Day bash. Our best tip is to make the day as over-the-top and festive as possible. Wear matching outfits. Recreate your first date. Surprise your S.O. with breakfast in bed. The more thought you put into the day, the better. And to cap off your holiday, make sure you exchange gifts. For example, you might want to pick up one of the best Valentine's Day gifts for her or the most romantic gifts for him. 1Make breakfast in bed. MIKE GARTEN There's no better way to start the day than with breakfast in bed. Put a tray together for your partner — and don't forget to include as many heart-shaped food items as possible. It's a simple way to say "I love you" before your partner even takes a sip of their coffee. RELATED: 30 Delicious Valentine's Day Breakfast Ideas for a Romantic Morning 2Wear matching outfits. PATPAT patpat.com $6.99 SHOP NOW The easiest way to make any holiday even more festive is by wearing matching outfits. These heart shirts are oh-so-cute — but really, any pink or red getups will do. 3Decorate! AWW SAM Make your home a romantic oasis by decking it out with sweet heart-shaped items. We love this donut peg wall — treats + decor = double win! — but there are so many incredible DIY Valentines' Day decorations that you can whip up in no time. Get the tutorial at Aww Sam » 4Make a photo book. ARTIFACT UPRISING artifactuprising.com $59.00 SHOP NOW Sure, a photo book makes a great Valentine's Day gift. But putting one together also makes a great Valentine's Day activity. Grab your sweetie and compile all your favorite photos. You'll have so much fun reminiscing on your favorite memories. 5Recreate your first date. NEYYAGETTY IMAGES Here's an opportunity to go all out: recreate your first date — at home. If you went to a coffee shop, whip up some artisanal coffees. If you went to a romantic restaurant, print the menu and try to make one of the dishes in your kitchen. If you went to the zoo, print pictures of the animals you saw and put them in frames around the living room. Get creative and remember to tell your partner everything you loved about them on that very first day. RELATED: 100 Most Romantic Date Ideas Ever 6Take a class. MAREN CARUSOGETTY IMAGES Little ones deserve to have a festive Valentine's Day too. To get them in on the fun, sign them up for a V-Day-themed virtual class. Websites like Outschool and Eventbrite have options from baking and letter writing to dancing and singing. 7Make a charcuterie board. JON LOVETTEGETTY IMAGES There's no better snack to nibble on all day than a charcuterie board. Add whichever treats you like, and don't forget to pair your cheeses and jams with the perfect wines. Not a fan of cheese and crackers? Try a different type of charcuterie board, like one made with candy or desserts. 8Send a Valentine. If you can't be with your sweetie in person this year, then you might as well send them something sweet in the mail. This chic set from Godiva includes three chocolate truffle flavors: milk chocolate, milk chocolate caramel, and dark chocolate strawberry. 9Make cards. ROBMATTINGLEYGETTY IMAGES Card-making is a great way to get crafty and creative. Pull out your art supplies and put together the most festive combinations of pink and red — or anything else! This is a fun activity for kids and adults, and no matter what your relationship status, there's always someone in your life who would appreciate a DIY Valentine's Day card. 10Plan a game night. WESTEND61GETTY IMAGES If you and your S.O. love competition, then plan a fun game night for Valentine's Day. With enough cocktails and snacks, it'll be perfectly romantic. You can also play easier games for a fun family-friendly activity. RELATED: 20 Fun and Easy Valentine's Day Games 11Take a virtual mixology class. MITCHELLPICTURESGETTY IMAGES Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse to get fancy with your drinks. BROWSE MIXOLOGY CLASSES 12Plan a movie marathon. ELKORGETTY IMAGES Take a chill approach to Valentine's Day this year. Instead of planning a ton of activities, plan an all-day movie marathon. The lineup can include the best romantic comedies — and lots and lots of snacks. 13Ask conversations starters. TABLETOPICS TABLETOPICSamazon.com $25.00 SHOP NOW Sure, you and your partner have incredible conversations all the time — but that doesn't mean you can't benefit from a little inspiration on special occasions. This conversation-starter set includes 135 questions, from "what song reminds you of a romantic time that we spent together?" to "if we were a superhero tag-team what would our powers be?" 14Write a love letter. TETRA IMAGESGETTY IMAGES Whether you're seeing your partner in person or celebrating from afar, there's nothing more romantic than sending them a love letter. Make your letter personal: include all the reasons you love them or list all your favorite memories. It'll be a keepsake they save for years to come. RELATED: How to Write a Love Letter, According to Experts 15Or letters of gratitude. JGI/TOM GRILLGETTY IMAGES When you're done writing a letter to your special someone, write a few letters of appreciation to the other important people in your life. A letter of gratitude or friendship can go a long way in making your loved ones feel special. 16Cook a romantic dinner. MIKE GARTEN You might not be able to go out to the hottest restaurant in town this year, but that doesn't mean you can't indulge in a delicious dinner. Prepare something decadent that the two of you love, and dress up as if you're going out. If you're celebrating Valentine's Day on Zoom, prepare the same meal and eat it together. You can compare notes on recipes. RELATED: 55 Perfect Valentine's Day Dinner Ideas for a Romantic Night at Home Depressionforums.org
  12. Welcome Charles, Like @Epictetus said it is nice to have our generation come here and visit Depression Forums for a change. It so happens today is the most depressing day of the year! Blue Monday 2021: what is it, why is it today – and the meaning behind the most depressing day of the year Blue Monday shines an important light on mental health issues – but experts dispute the science behind it Monday 18 January marks ‘Blue Monday’, the most depressing day of the year. It’s the day when the financial pressure of the Christmas just passed hangs over us most, the weather is at its worst, and the extra pounds we’ve acquired over the holiday season are proving harder to shift than we anticipated. But is the idea rooted in science, and where did it first come from? It may feel harder to get out of bed on the morning of Blue Monday, but is it really? (Photo: Shutterstock) Read More '˜Blue Monday' myth moves employers to offer incentives Here’s everything you need to know: When is Blue Monday? Blue Monday usually falls on the third Monday of every New Year, and is considered the most “depressing” day on the calendar. In 2021, that’s 18 January. In 2020, Samaritans handed out cups of tea at Edinburgh’s Waverley station, encouraging commuters to share a cuppa with someone in their office who may be feeling lonely (Photo: Shutterstock) But as you'll see, it’s not always reported as being on that date. Is it real? Despite its widespread acceptance among the British public, there is no scientific evidence to suggest the third Monday of the year is any more or less depressing than any other day. In fact, the birth of the idea is shrouded in controversy, and despite usually falling on the third Monday of the year, some outlets report the date as being on the second or fourth Monday of January. Where did Blue Monday come from? The concept of ‘Blue Monday’ appears to have originated in 2005, in a press release from now defunct holiday company and TV channel Sky Travel, who claimed to have used an equation to calculate the date. That original press release appeared to have been written by Cliff Arnall, a tutor at Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning. But Guardian writer Ben Goldacre – known for his Bad Science column and series of books – revealed that the press release was sent pre-written by a PR company to a number of academics, who were offered money to put their name to it. "I know that because I have received an avalanche of insider stories… including one from an academic in psychology who was offered money by Porter Novelli PR agency to put his name to the very same Sky Travel equation story that Arnall sold his to," he said. How is Blue Monday ‘calculated’? The release claimed Blue Monday was reached by “taking into account various factors” such as average temperature, days since the last pay day, days until the next bank holiday, average hours of daylight, and the number of nights in during the month. The release claimed the formula that gives us Blue Monday is C(P+B) N+D, an equation which “allows us to work out the day with the highest 'depression factor' which you can then use as a focus for making things better, booking your holiday etc...” It doesn't take much effort to see the true purpose of Sky Travel's press release – selling more holidays – and Goldacre said “these equations are scientifically uninformative, and driven by money.” According to Dr Dean Burnett, a tutor at Cardiff University’s division of psychological medicine and clinical neurosciences, “there are so many reasons to believe [the Blue Monday equation is] nonsense. “Firstly, the equation wasn’t the result of some psychological study by a reputable lab, but conducted by a travel company, who then fished around for a psychologist to put his name to it, to make it seem credible. “It combines things that have no quantifiable way of being combined. Debt level, time since Christmas, weather, motivation – the equation combines all these things, but that’s not possible.” Despite lending his name to the concept, Arnall himself now campaigns against the idea of Blue Monday via his Twitter account. Why is Blue Monday still a thing? Over 15 years on, despite its pseudo scientific origins, Blue Monday still trends on social media every year. That's mainly down to the PR industry, who use Blue Monday as a chance to push their products, whether they be wellbeing products, fitness items, or other self-improvement and happiness boosting tools. But a lot of good has come of the date too. In 2020, Samaritans handed out cups of tea at Edinburgh’s Waverley station to help morning commuters get through the day, encouraging them to share a cup of tea with someone in their office who may be feeling lonely. The charity is pushing for it to become known as ‘Brew Monday’, a day when connecting with others over a cuppa can help weather the ups and downs of life. “All you need is a kettle and some mugs, and this could make a huge difference in someone’s life,” they say. So whether it’s all a load of nonsense or not, Blue Monday at least shines a spotlight on loneliness, and gets people talking about depression, even if only fleetingly. At a time when it’s more important than ever to reach out, that can only be a good thing. You have a wonderful day! -Lindsay, Forum Administrator
  13. Happy New Year! 'Great Conjunction' 2020: NASA tips to see Jupiter and Saturn shine as a 'Christmas Star' This year's great conjunction also marks the first time in nearly 800 years since the planets aligned at night and skywatchers were able to witness the event. (The 1623 conjunction wasn't visible to skywatchers on much of the Earth because of its location in the night sky, so the last time the event was visible was in 1226.) The planets will be closest to each other in the sky on Dec. 21, appearing only a tenth of a degree apart. They will remain in close alignment for a few days and will be easily visible to the naked eye when looking toward the southwest just after sunset. While the two planets may be viewed as one point of light, they will remain hundreds of millions of miles apart in space, according to the statement from NASA. Click here for more Space.com videos...Coincidently, this year's great conjunction also falls on the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, some have referred to the planetary alignment as forming a "Christmas star," in reference to the Star of Bethlehem, given the event falls only a few days before Christmas. "Conjunctions like this could happen on any day of the year, depending on where the planets are in their orbits," Throop said in the statement. "The date of the conjunction is determined by the positions of Jupiter, Saturn and the Earth in their paths around the sun, while the date of the solstice is determined by the tilt of Earth's axis. The solstice is the longest night of the year, so this rare coincidence will give people a great chance to go outside and see the solar system." How to see it On Dec. 21, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will appear just one-tenth of a degree apart, in an event known as a "great conjunction." The planets will be visible to the naked eye when looking toward the southwest about an hour after sunset. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) To view the astronomical event, skywatchers should point their gaze toward an unobstructed part of the southwestern sky, about an hour after sunset since the planets will set below the horizon quickly. Leading up to the Dec. 21 conjunction, Saturn will appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter. Then, the planets will reverse positions in the sky, NASA officials said in the statement. Jupiter and Saturn are bright, so they can be seen in areas with clear skies and no cloud cover — and even from most cities. This also means that the event can be seen with the naked eye. However, binoculars or a small telescope may allow viewers to see Jupiter's four large moons, according to the statement. Editor's note: If you capture an amazing view of the Great Conjunction of Dec. 21 and would like to share it with Space.com for a story or gallery, send images and comments in to spacephotos@space.com. Follow Samantha Mathewson @Sam_Ashley13. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com. The December 2020 Great Conjunction By Graham Jones The year 2020 ends with a special astronomical event: the closest great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 397 years. On December 21, the two planets almost touched in the sky. Scroll down to see telescope footage! 1x Video: Jupiter and Saturn converging in the night sky, shown in weekly intervals. This simulation is for New York, USA, but the great conjunction can be seen all over the world. When Harry Met Sally is right: It's about old friends As Meg Ryan's character Sally says in the movie, this is a song about old friends. The lyrics to the later verses, when translated into English, make this perfectly clear. The "pint-stoup" business is essentially saying, "Surely you'll buy a pint and I'll buy a pint and we'll drink to the good old days." In the next verse we hear about how "We two have run about the slopes / and picked the daisies fine." Old friends who haven't seen each other in a while are meeting up again, having a drink, and reminiscing. If this were a song that you normally listened to in a quiet room at full length in English when sober, there would be no confusion. Since that's basically the opposite of a New Year's Eve party, which is when you usually hear the song, there is a lot of confusion. But the song itself is not especially complicated. New Year's is a big deal in Scotland One reason a random Scottish folk song has come to be synonymous with the new year is that New Year's celebrations (known as Hogmanay) loom unusually large in Scottish folk culture — so much so that Scotland's official website has a whole Hogmanay section, which notes that, "Historically, Christmas was not observed as a festival and Hogmanay was the more traditional celebration in Scotland."That's because the Scottish Reformation brought to power followers of a Calvinist branch of Protestant Christianity known as Presbyterians who didn't really care for Christmas. Indeed, in 1640 the Scottish parliament went so far as to abolish Christmas vacation "and all observation thairof," citing its roots in "superstitious observatione." When theologically similar Puritans briefly ruled England as a result of the English Civil War, they also attempted to suppress all Christmas celebration. But Presbyterianism put down deeper roots in Scotland, leading Hogmanay to displace Christmas as the number one midwinter celebration. Everyone likes a good party, and the end of one year and the beginning of the next seems like as good a thing to celebrate as anything else, so Scottish-inflected New Year's celebrations — including the sentimental and appealingly nonspecific "Auld Lang Syne" — came naturally to the English-speaking world. Canadian band leader Guy Lombardo made "Auld Lang Syne" an institution From 1929 until 1976, first on radio and then on television, Americans tuned in to the New Year's Eve broadcast by Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians, a big band act led by Lombardo, a Canadian whose parents immigrated from Italy. By the mid-70s, Lombardo's broadcasts began to face serious competition from Dick Clark's "New Year's Rockin' Eve," which was positioned to attract younger viewers and emphasized the rock element to contrast with the Royal Canadians' big band tunes. But for decades, Lombardo owned December 31 — even earning the nickname "Mr. New Year's Eve" — and every single year he played "Auld Lang Syne" to ring in the new year. Auld Lang Syne Explained Below
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