What to Do If You Are Depressed?

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In a previous post about Complicated Grief, you might have read that I had fallen into a depression following the accident. It was probably inevitable given the circumstances of Zackaël’s death, my PTSD, and being in the hospital with my severely injured Adélie.

I eventually plan to write a post about what helped me “survive” the year after the accident: “The 5 things that helped me cope with depression.” This is not to say that I no longer have signs of depression. I am still grieving and suffer from anxiety.

Without disclosing my full top 5 list, I am revealing one today: Something I did that helped me deal with depression was being busy in a positive way. This is even more important during this time of pandemic as we are even more isolated.

Yet, it is also important to give ourselves time and not undertake projects if we are not ready. It took me at least 8 months after the accident to start small projects that I love. In my 23 Myths of Grief post, Myth #3 is “The best way to grieve is to avoid thinking about it too much. The bereaved should get busy by doing other things, such as going back to work.”. It is a myth that the bereaved should get busy right away and do other things. The bereaved first needs the time to be ready to do “other things”. Doing too much after a traumatic event is usually a bad idea. This is why we should first start with simple activities (e.g. taking a walk), before taking on projects.

Small projects shouldn’t be too demanding, and especially not stressful. Ideally, a person who is depressed should work on a project only when they feel like doing so, it should not feel like a chore. Note that returning to work doesn’t fall into this category (of starting a nice project) because it is more of an obligation (for most of us anyway).

Increasingly, numerous studies demonstrate the positive effects of Behavioral Activation.

A more proactive way of breaking the vicious cycle of depression is to increase our level of activity even if we don’t feel like it to begin with. This approach is called Behavioral Activation (BA) and it is a psychological treatment for depression with one of the biggest evidence bases to demonstrate how effective it is. Behavioral activation for depression is about making your life meaningful and pleasurable again.

Source: https://www.psychologytools.com/self-help/behavioral-activation/

As much as possible, we should find projects that bring us pleasure and that motivate us. In a future blog post, I plan to talk about behavioral activation with more concrete examples.

Without going into too much detail, I really think that the projects I undertook over the past year helped me a lot. Some bigger, like this blog, and some smaller. I try as much as possible to choose pastimes that bring positivity to my life. People who have supported my projects (for example, my readers who comment on this blog), have also motivated me to continue them.

This week, I continue with one of the projects that I love. I spoke about it in my last post : The Joey modular couch. With the Joey, not only am I helping the kids to have fun, but it also allows me to use my creativity in many ways! Lastly, I can help other parents (AKA “Roopers”) with their Joey!

The Joey Couch

Many other moms were excited to see this post because I’m revealing most of the colour combinations in one summary table. It all started with discussions in the Joey Facebook Group (CCBR VIP), when I saw that many of us (“Roopers”) weren’t sure which colour to order for a 2nd Joey or the accessories. I was able to help out and I hope this post will be beneficial for many. I also plan in the near future to post our reviews on some of the Joey’s build configurations.

Roopers Q&A

Here is a list of some of the questions I had received on the Facebook group. I share my answers here via a Q&A.

How did you manage to create all those combinations?

I use Photoshop and its “Selection” tool. I first select only certain parts of one couch (for example the pink one), align, and then past them on a couch of another colour. Because of the different angles, I often slightly resize some of the selections in order to perfectly align the two couches into one couch.

Do the combinations below represent the true colours of the Joey?

I work with the photos of Chew Chew Baby Roo (CCBR). I don’t alter the colours, I just “copy and paste” the selected couch sections from a different colour to create the couches with two-colour combinations.

New colours: Mint & Lavender
For the 2 new colours (Mint and Lavender), photos of real couches are not available at this time. For this reason and only for those 2 colours, I used Photoshop’s colour picker to select colours from the CCBR samples. As such, the combinations might not look as realistic as those of other colours. This is because the light effect cannot be incorporated as well. So don’t be discouraged if you are disappointed with the mint or lavender look, because they will likely look better in real life! As soon as I get real pictures of Mint & Lavender Joeys, I will update the combinations below!

I’m afraid the colours in your table below might not the same in my house?

Regardless of the product, it is normal to see various shades and intensity of the same colour. Each of us “Roopers” will have a couch that will appear different in our home vs another Rooper’s home. This isn’t because it’s not the “right colour” or that the colour changed, but rather because the light is not the same from house to house. The reality is that we don’t see the colour that is on the couch, but the COLOUR OF THE LIGHT THAT’S REFLECTED off the couch.

Unquestionably, the biggest factor will be where you place your Joey. Since the CCBR photos are taken with plenty of natural light, they might appear lighter than if the photos were taken in shaded area. As such, if you set your Joey in a basement or bedroom with little light, the Joey will probably look darker in your home. Also, artificial lighting will influences how a colour looks. Lastly, most of us have different cameras (mostly from cell phones) which might not display the colours we see in real life.

Because microsuede is a fabric that reflects a lot the natural light, you will see a lot of depth to the couch and therefore a lot of colour variations. This is why on a sunny day, some sections of the couch will appear much lighter than others.

In the example below, I’m demonstrating how much light conditions can affect colour. Using the Photoshop colour picker, I took 5 different shades directly from the very same couch. See how much box #1 is darker than box #5 even though it’s the same fabric (same colour)! This is the beauty of having a room with lots of natural light; we can see so much depth and colours! If your Joey happens to be in a darker location, you might not see the lighter shades (#4, #5). If there’s too much light, the colour might even appear less saturated or washed out (box #5) on some parts.

Therefore, when considering colours for a new purchase, I suggest looking at the “middle intensity colours”, in this case : boxes (#2, #3 and #4).

Your table displays more colours that what is currently available to order?

I’ve decided to include most of the colours, as many of us have couches with previous colours. Here is a history of when the colours have been available. Note that when colours are withdrawn, it doesn’t mean that they will be gone forever. The Core Colours that will be available of every pre-order are grey, sage and navy.

Pre-order #1: Pink, blue, sage, grey and black.
Pre-order #2: Navy, peach/nude, coral and mustard were added. Pink, blue, sage, grey, black, navy, peach, coral and mustard.
Pre-order #3: Same as #2 but peach/nude was removed. Pink, blue, sage, grey, black, navy, coral and mustard.
Pre-order #4: Same as #3 but teal was added. Pink, blue, sage, grey, black, navy, coral, mustard and teal.
Pre-order #5 (the next one!): Pink, blue, black, coral and mustard are removed. Mint, Lavender and Ivory will be added. Sage, grey, navy, teal, mint, lavender and ivory.

Why are Ivory and Peach excluded from your combinations?

Ivory is a new colour and is a tricky colour to work with. As such, I will wait to have a real picture of a Joey Ivory couch before I work with it.

For Peach/Nude, it was only available on order #2, I haven’t received any request yet. If you bought a peach couch and you would like to see a combination, please let me know.

Could you create combinations with 3 colours?

Absolutely. Because there are 12 colours, and you can mix 3 colours in a set, that allows for 220 possible combinations! As such, I’ve created a poll below on which you can add your choice of 3 colours. Please verify that your 3 colours aren’t already listed if you wish to add them. To keep it simple, please only indicate the colours (and not the type pillows you want in a specific colour). The purpose of colour combinations is to see if the colours go well together.

Do you work for CCBR?

No I don’t. I’m creating this post to help other Roopers with colour combinations. For questions about the products, please contact CCBR.

My Two-colour Combinations Table

I haven’t included all the combos since some of them were never asked. Please let me know if there’s any that are missing that you wish to see because you are considering buying.

POLL : Three-colour Combinations – Which ones would you like to see?

Joey Configurations

Stay tuned for our reviews and diagrams of Joey builds! Our reviews will include tips and videos! Coming later this week or next week!

That’s it for now! Thank you for sharing your thoughts in the comments!

What are you thoughts on the colour combos? Any combinations you like that you didn’t think you would have?
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La thérapie d’Adélie – Adélie’s Therapy

English follows…

La blessure d’Adélie est un sujet qui m’a longtemps été malaisant, plus particulièrement lorsque nous étions encore à l’hôpital et obtenions des nouvelles de l’équipe médicale en neurologie. Ayant déjà perdu mon petit Zackaël et souffrant d’un profond deuil et d’une dépression, j’avais du mal à me tenir debout lorsque nous discussions de résultats (tel ceux d’un IRM) au sujet du cerveau d’Adélie. Dans cette publication, je n’irai pas en détails sur sa blessure. En fait, je ne possède pas les informations particulières de sa blessure. Cette publication se portera plutôt sur un type de thérapie que nous entreprenons avec Adélie.

Notre petite Adélie a subi une blessure grave au cerveau. Elle a été frappée par l’orignal du côté gauche de son cerveau ce qui a malheureusement provoqué une lésion permanente. Dans ma publication précédente Mise à jour d’Adélie, je parle un peu de certains handicaps qu’Adélie, plus précisément du côté droit.

Hémiparésie: un déficit causé par des lésions cérébrales ou de la moelle épinière qui engendre une paralysie partielle ou une faiblesse d’un côté du corps. Elle provoque des problèmes de force musculaire, de contrôle musculaire ainsi qu’une raideur musculaire dans les capacités de mouvements.

Pour Adélie, le dommage du côté gauche de son cerveau a entraîné une hémiparésie de ses membres droits. Adélie n’utilisait ni sa main droite ni son bras droit, et utilisait le côté gauche pour tout. Heureusement, son jeune âge est en sa faveur (2 ans au moment de l’accident). Le tissu cérébral détruit ne peut pas retrouver sa fonctionnalité, mais d’autres parties de son cerveau peuvent prendre en charge certaines des responsabilités de la zone détruite. La rééducation est donc importante afin de faciliter ce processus d’apprentissage.

Au début des années 1990, une étude sur des singes, supervisée par le neuroscientifique Edward Taud, a fait des percées majeures dans le domaine de la neuroplasticité. Il a découvert et développé la thérapie par contrainte induite du mouvement (TCIM). Cette thérapie aide les personnes souffrant d’hémiparésie une rééducation du bras et de la main de leur côté paralysé.

Dans l’étude, les membres « forts » des singes ont été immobilisés, les membres qui n’avaient pas été affectés par une blessure. Pour fonctionner, les singes étaient donc maintenant forcés d’utiliser leurs membres atteints, c’est-à-dire leur côté le plus faible. Beaucoup auraient pensé que ceci aurait laissé les singes impuissants. À la grande surprise de plusieurs, les singes ont tous peu-à-peu commencé à utiliser leur côté faible pour manger, jouer et fonctionner.

Avec la TCIM, les exercices répétitifs induisent le développement de nouvelles voies neuronales dans le cerveau, et les patients réapprennent à utiliser le membre paralysé. Le raisonnement de Taub était qu’un singe n’utilisera pas le bras affaibli s’il peut se servir de son bon bras à la place. Cet apprentissage de «non-utilisation» conduit à une détérioration supplémentaire. Cependant, si les deux bras sont faibles, il sera obligé de les utiliser. Cela peut sembler paradoxal, mais l’hypothèse a été confirmée par les expériences.

“Même si c’est un programme intensif où la thérapie se fait sur le bras, c’est en réalité le cerveau qui est formé, pas le bras”

Lynne Gauthier, PROFESSEUR ASSOCIÉe en physiothérapie ET KINÉSIOLOGIE – l’University of Massachusetts Lowell – link to source

La TCIM s’avérer bénéfique chez les patients qui ont subi l’une des conditions suivantes :

  • Accident vasculaire cérébral (AVC)
  • traumatisme crânien (ex. Adélie)
  • Paralysie cérébrale
  • Sclérose en plaques
  • Lésion de la moelle épinière
  • Autres conditions neurologiques

Les patients atteints d’hémiparésie seront souvent découragés d’utiliser les membres affectés en raison de la difficulté qu’ils rencontrent. Nous avons vécu cela avec Adélie, elle aussi semblait involontairement développer un « apprentissage de non-utilisation ». L’apprentissage de « non-utilisation » peut notamment entraîner une détérioration supplémentaire de ses membres inactifs. C’était facile pour elle d’utiliser sa main gauche, mais extrêmement difficile pour elle de même lever sa main droite. Pendant une longue période, sa main droite était complètement serrée et elle semblait même ignorer que sa main droite existait. Pendant son séjour à l’hôpital, en plus de la physiothérapie, Carl et moi lui faisions des étirements de sa main plusieurs fois par jour. Sa main droite était souvent froide et bleuâtre en raison de l’absence de circulation.

Adélie à l’hôpital (3 janvier 2020). Elle n’utilise pas encore sa main gauche mais commence à réaliser que cette main “existe”.

Nous avons finalement commencé à voir des signes qu’elle était consciente de sa main droite seulement des mois après l’accident.

La TCIM nous a été suggérée pour Adélie. Nous nous sommes dit qu’Adélie serait prête pour la TCIM une fois qu’elle ait réappris à marcher. Par contre, Covid et les annulations de ses thérapies ont fait en sorte qu’il fallait reporter l’essai de la TCIM. C’est donc en octobre 2020 que nous avons pu finalement aller de l’avant avec cette thérapie.

Nous avions l’option entre un plâtre permanent ou amovible. Nous avons opté pour le plâtre permanent puisque nous savons à quel point notre petite Adélie peut être déterminée. Il serait difficile pour nous de l’enlever et de le remettre si elle ne coopère pas. Avec un permanent, nous n’avons pas le choix, nous ne pouvons pas l’enlever, elle l’aura 100% du temps.

Le 6 octobre, le bras gauche d’Adélie (« son côté fort ») a été complètement plâtré jusqu’au bout de ses doigts pour la forcer à utiliser son côté droit, son « côté faible ». Pendant ce temps, elle ne pouvait utiliser que la main droite qui a donc été utilisée de manière intensive, main qui normalement est peu utilisée par Adélie.

La TCIM a été plus difficile les premiers jours, surtout le soir au coucher. Adélie pleurait et me suppliait de l’enlever, « enlève » pleurait-elle. C’était inconfortable pour elle et il faut se rappeler que sa main droite était très limitée dans ce qu’elle pouvait faire. Nous devions ainsi être là pour l’aider davantage et la réconforter en lui disait qu’on ne pouvait pas l’enlever.

Adélie s’est habituée assez vite. Elle est une vraie championne. Malheureusement durant le temps de sa thérapie, elle a attrapé une infection urinaire avec une bactérie très résistante. Ceci a fait en sorte qu’elle ne se sentait pas bien (fièvre, manque d’énergie, etc), donc nous avons décidé d’arrêter la thérapie après 18 jours. C’était seulement quelques jours d’avance, nous voulions environ 3 semaines de TCIM.

Main gauche d’Adélie après le plâtre enlevé

Nous planifions une autre TCIM à la mi-janvier. La thérapie sera répétée probablement quelques fois par année. À ce stade, nous ne savons pas si la main et le bras d’Adélie pourront revenir à la normale. La TCIM est encore une thérapie qui est récente et fait donc l’objet de plusieurs études.

Pour Adélie, la réhabilitation se continuera pendant plusieurs années. Nous sommes confiants que son petit cerveau ira chercher des neurones de quelque part d’autre pour compenser celles détruites de son côté gauche de son cerveau.

“Le cerveau est très stable à moins qu’il doit changer”

Dr. Nico Dosenbach, Pediatric Neurologist and Systems Neuroscientist at Washington University School of Medicine – LINK TO SOURCE

On continuera toujours de travailler fort avec Adélie. En fait, la semaine passée, nous avons reçu de la rétroaction très positive de la part de ses thérapeutes et des éducatrices de la garderie. Nous remarquons tous une grande amélioration de ses membres droits. Elle utilise de plus en plus sa main droite pour les activités qu’elle fait. Bravo Adélie, nous somme fiers de toi!

C’est tout pour l’instant!

S.v.p. partager vos réflexions dans les commentaires au bas de la page.
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Adélie’s Therapy

Adélie’s injury has long been an uneasy subject for me, especially when we were still in the hospital hearing details about her injury and recovery from her neurological team. Having already lost my little Zackaël and suffering a deep depression, I found it difficult to stand up when discussing results (such as an MRI) about Adélie’s brain. The main subject of this post isn’t about the details of her injury, in fact I don’t even have all of those details. Instead, I will discuss a type of therapy we are undertaking with Adélie.

Our little Adélie suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) when the moose impacted on the left side of her head, which unfortunately resulted in permanent damage. In a previous post, Adélie’s Update, I talked a bit about some of Adélie’s disabilities, specifically on the right side.

Hemiparesis: a condition caused by brain damage or spinal cord injury that leads to partial paralysis or weakness on one side of the body. It causes weakness, problems with muscle control, and muscle stiffness.

Adélie in the hospital (January 3, 2020). She does not use her left hand yet but is starting to realize that her right hand “exists”.

For Adélie, the damage to the left side of her brain resulted in hemiparesis of her right limbs. As she began her recovery, Adélie used neither her right hand nor her right arm, instead using the left side for everything. Fortunately, her young age works in her favour (she was 2 at the time of the accident). The damaged brain tissue cannot regain its functionality, but other parts of her brain may take over some of the responsibilities of the damaged area. Rehabilitation is therefore important in order to facilitate this learning process.

In the early 1990s, a study involving monkeys, supervised by a neuroscientist Edward Taud, made major breakthroughs in the area of neuroplasticity. He discovered and developed the constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) which helps people who have developed a “learned non-use” as a result of a neurological injury. CIMT is used to help people suffering from hemiparesis to retrain the arm and hand of the paralyzed side of their body.

In the study, the scientists immobilized (restrained) the monkeys’ stronger limbs, which many would have thought would leave the monkeys helpless. The monkeys were therefore forced to use their affected limbs, their “weaker side”. To the surprise of many, the monkeys gradually all started using their weaker side to eat, play and function.

With CIMT, the repetitive exercises induce the development of new neural pathways in the brain, and the patients learn to use the paralyzed limb again. Taub’s reasoning was that a monkey will not use the weak arm if it can rely on its good arm instead. If both arms are weakened, however, it will be forced to use them. This might seem paradoxical, but the hypothesis was confirmed by the experiments.

“Even though it’s an intensive program where they’re training the arm, you’re really training the brain, not the arm”

Lynne Gauthier, PROFESSEUR ASSOCIÉe en physiothérapie ET KINÉSIOLOGIE – l’University of Massachusetts Lowell – LINK TO SOURCE

CIMT might be beneficial for patients who encountered the following conditions:

  • Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (ex. Adélie)
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Other neurological conditions

Patients with Hemiparesis will often be discouraged from using the affected limbs because of the difficulty they encounter. We experienced this with Adélie, she was involuntarily starting to develop this “learned non-use” which can actually lead to further deterioration of her unused limb. It was so easy for her to use her left hand, but extremely hard for her to even lift her right hand. For a long period of time, her right hand used to be completely clenched and she seemed unaware that her right hand even existed. During her hospital stay, in addition to the physio, Carl and I would stretch her hand several times per day. Her right hand would often be cold and blueish from no circulation. We finally began to see signs of her being aware of her right hand months after the accident.

We had the option of a permanent or removable cast. We opted for the permanent cast since we know how determined our little Adélie can be. It would be difficult for us to take it off and put it back on if she didn’t cooperate. With a permanent one, we have no choice, it cannot be taken off and it will be on her 100% of the time.

On October 6, Adélie’s left arm (“her strong side”) was completely cast all the way down to her fingertips to force her to use her right side, her “weak side”. The right hand was thus used intensively, after having been barely used at all by Adélie for almost a year since the accident.

CIMT was difficult during the first few days, especially at bedtime. Adélie was crying and begging me to take her off the cast, “enlève” she cried. It was uncomfortable for her. She would get frustrated because her right hand was very limited in what it could do. We therefore had to help her more and comfort her while explaining that it couldn’t be removed.

Adélie got used to it pretty quickly. She is a true champion. Unfortunately, during the time of her therapy, she contracted a urinary tract infection from a very resistant bacteria. This made her feel unwell (fever, lack of energy, etc), so we decided to stop the therapy after 18 days, only a few days shy of our planned 3 weeks of CIMT.

We are planning another CIMT in mid-January. The therapy will probably be repeated a few times a year. At this point, we don’t know if Adélie’s hand and arm will ever be able to return to normal. CIMT is still a therapy which is recent and is still the subject of several ongoing studies.

Adélie’s left hand once the cast removed

For Adélie, the rehabilitation will continue for several years. She has made so much amazing progress already, in all aspects of her life, and we’re confident that her little brain will continue to rewire and pick up neurons from elsewhere to make up for those damaged on her left side of her brain

“The brain is very stable unless it has to change”

Dr. Nico Dosenbach, Pediatric Neurologist and Systems Neuroscientist at Washington University School of Medicine – LINK TO SOURCE

We will always continue to work hard with Adélie. In fact, over the past week we have received lots of positive feedback from his therapists and educators at the daycare. We all noticed impressive improvement in her right-side limbs. She is using her right hand more and more for the activities she does. Bravo Adélie, we are proud of you!

That’s it for now!

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Source: A Scientist’s Pink Cast Leads To Discovery About How The Brain Responds To Disability, Jon Hamilton, June 18, 2020, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/06/18/877621475/a-scientists-pink-cast-leads-to-discovery-about-how-the-brain-responds-to-disabi,