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Here's a funny and heartwarming talk ... about depression.

Andrew Solomon's experience with depression allowed him to connect with strangers in ways he never anticipated.

Here's a funny and heartwarming talk ... about depression.

When Andrew Solomon was so depressed he couldn't dial a phone, he would never have guessed that this experience would connect him to thousands of people.

Image (text added) by Public Domain Review/Flickr.


Depression and other forms of mental illness carry a stigma many other diseases lack. Even today, people are embarrassed and hide their depression, even from those they are closest to.

Solomon decided instead to go out and talk about it. And it changed his life. "Things are different because now I know that depression is the family secret that everyone has," he says, and it is true.

Every time he spoke publicly about his depression, complete strangers came up to him and told him about theirs.

He met a husband and wife who were secretly taking medication to deal with their symptoms. They kept it a secret, even from each other.

"I went a few years ago to a conference, and on Friday of the three-day conference, one of the participants took me aside, and she said, 'I suffer from depression, and I'm a little embarrassed about it, but I've been taking this medication, and I just wanted to ask you what you think?' And so I did my best to give her such advice as I could and then she said, 'You know, my husband would never understand this. He's really the kind of guy to whom this wouldn't make any sense, so, you know, it's just between us.' ...

On Sunday of the same conference, her husband took me aside, and he said, 'My wife wouldn't think that I was really much of a guy if she knew this, but I've been dealing with this depression, and I'm taking some medication, and I wondered what you think?' They were hiding the same medication in two different places in the same bedroom. ... I was ... struck by the burdensome nature of such mutual secrecy." — Andrew Solomon

Many people seem to regard medicating for depression as a sign of weakness. Solomon asks why.

The treatments we have available for depression are not panaceas, but they are better than nothing. Many people avoid medication, Solomon says, because there is a stigma around medication, that it's unnatural and makes you less yourself.

Image (text added) by Arek Olek/Flickr.

When he first considered taking medication, Solomon wondered, "If I have to take medication, is that medication making me more fully myself, or is it making me someone else?" In Solomon's experience, medication allowed him to experience sadness, an emotion that had been muffled and deadened during his depression. He points out that people tend to conflate grief, sadness, and depression because they look similar from the outside, but the inner experience is incredibly different — and so are the treatments.

People shared with him the many different ways they had found to treat their depression.

Some felt one medication or another had turned their life around. Others had hobbies or friends who could always pull them out of it. What works for one person or culture might not work for another. But whatever works, whether it's meditation or medication, should be valued and encouraged.

"I was in Rwanda ... and I happened to describe my experience to someone, and he said ... 'But we've had a lot of trouble with Western mental health workers, especially the ones who came right after the genocide.' And I said, 'What kind of trouble did you have?' And he said, 'Well, they would do this bizarre thing. They didn't take people out in the sunshine where you begin to feel better. They didn't include drumming or music to get people's blood going. They didn't involve the whole community. They didn't externalize the depression as an invasive spirit. Instead what they did was they took people one at a time into dingy little rooms and had them talk for an hour about bad things that had happened to them.'

He said, 'We had to ask them to leave the country.'" — Andrew Solomon

Now that he has pulled through his depression, Solomon goes around the world talking to people about their experiences. Watch his TED Talk for one of the funniest and most heartfelt examinations of mental illness you'll ever see.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.