Let's talk about Depression : broyer du noir
Accidental Cassoulet -- an update

A Ray of Sunshine in French: A message from Jean-Marc

For those who've never seen us before, I thought to include this photo of Jean-Marc and me, pictured under this pink chinese umbrella. We've lost a bit of hair which is understandable in these cloudy times! At first I thought this quote (to our left) was an unfinished sentence. But on rereading it, I now see it in a new light:

"No relationship is only sunbeams--but two people sharing an umbrella and surviving the storms together."

And here is the original quote in English, following the French.
Aucune relation n'est qu'un rayon de soleil, mais 2 personnes qui partagent un parapluie et survivent aux tempêtes ensemble. No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share one umbrella and survive the storm together.


TODAY'S WORD: le rayon de soleil

    : sunbeam, ray of sunshine

MESSAGE FROM JEAN-MARC in the following sound file. 
Download MP3 or Wav file

Tous vos messages sont des rayons de soleil dans cette période très difficile que je traverse. Je vous en remercie du fond du coeur.
All your messages are rays of sunshine in this difficult period that I'm going through. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


by Kristi Espinasse

In case you were wondering, from the opening quote, whether our marriage is in peril--wonder no more! We are truly huddled together under this umbrella of one man's depression, waiting for the rain and winds of change to blow over so that we may settle onto solid ground again. We have cancelled our family reunion and reduced our life to the essential: love and trust, food, water and sleep. (And medical attention, for those of you who were concerned I might try to pray his depression away.)

Jean-Marc and I want to thank you for your compassion and understanding. I have read aloud your comments to him, clicked on your links, listened to your songs, read your scriptures and quotes and watched your recommended videos. I've starred your notes, researched your suggestions, and if I missed anything Mama Jules pointed it out ("Remove Carol's email address which was accidentally published along with her comment!") Thanks, Mom! Thanks for making me scan 300 comments!

And thank you for each and every word, which merited a reread or, as Mom say, is worth collecting in a hard-bound edition! Yes, that would be a treasure. For the moment, we'll save some trees and hope that others will find, as our family has, comfort and de l'espoir in so many thoughtful words and personal stories of depression. Thank you for your generous outreach and for your courage in sharing.

At this time Jean-Marc feels the strong need to rest, so I am posting a photo of his hammock (which he has only used once!) to remind him to go there. And to go gently through this difficult time.

And to scoot over, so that that large umbrella and I can fit in, snugly. 

*    *    *

Hammock and poppy
Poppies and Olive trees in the back yard

Flower steps

Many rivers to cross. May they be rivers of flowers.  (a favorite photo of Jean-Marc and Mr Sacks)

photo from 2008. Thank you for keeping Jean-Marc in your thoughts and prayers. Sending all this bright sunny compassion back your way.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. Zelle®, an easy way to donate and there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Please feel better soon and get the rest! A check in with your doc wouldn't hurt either...just saying. It's an awful feeling to be under that kind of cloud...but you have each other and the clouds do pass. Love you guys. Thinking of you.


re Depression:
In case no one else has suggested this: As someone who also suffers periods of depression - the 'Black Dog' to quote Churchill's phrase - I can recommend a daily dose of St.John's Wort....not a 'cure' but I find that when I am feeling 'down'it sort of stops me from falling further, sort of 'bottoms out' that sinking feeling till something more positive comes along to lift my spirits. Psychosomatic? Perhaps..but it WORKS for me!

Teresa Ewart

K, i missed all this story in the madness of our preparations for the summer season here in provence. i've been following your blog for years, and you were so helpful and kind to me before we moved to france over 5 years ago.
today is a beautiful perfect day of blue sky and sunshine and i hope you will walk past JM in his hammock and give him a tiny push... a little swing, a little move to the future
x teresa

John H Abeles MD

Kristin, as a medical man with a strong neuroscience and nutritional background, here are some useful diet suggestions. Since there is a prominent element of inflammatory activity at the base of depressive disease;

add antiinflammatory and neuroprotective vitamins/supplements -- C, carotene, mixed E (tocopherols)
- good mega B complex
- vitamin D3 5000 iu per day or adequate exposure to sun during middle of the day
- magnesium (best is taurate or taurinate) thrice daily
-lithium orotate (OTC in 120mg tabs in the USA) twice daily
- krill (preferred) or else fish oil 1000 mg at each meal
-astaxanthin 4mg twice daily
-alpha-lipoic acid 300mg twice..
- green tea extract

For anxiety -- extra magnesium as needed, camomile tea..

All of this is compatible with medications -- if he isn't on any medication, then consider 100-200mg of 5-hydroxy-trptophan 45 mins before bed...




Je vous envoie mes meilleures pensées positives de Maine. Hope I said that correctly - wishing you good thoughts from Maine. Merci pour tous les mots que vous nous envoyez en vos emails.


Sometimes, in our selflessness, we burn so brightly for others that our light goes out. Now it's time to recharge. Take that time Jean Marc and you will surely burn bigger and brighter than before. Kristi, you're amazing, and the two of you are so inspiring. Big hugs from New York, where it is also quite cloudy at the moment. Xoxo

Trudy Ramirez

This post has light and hopefulness to it. And, strength and love and togetherness. I love that you are simplifying and clearing your schedule and making time to rest. Coming to terms with the shadows takes a lot of energy. I love the umbrella image, and it's so true. I also live in France, in Uzes. Lay in that hammock together and enjoy the beautiful spring sunshine! Bonne journee!


You both have been so busy. This provides a time to be still and at ease, together and alone. You are surrounded by love. I am sending that same love from chilly, windy and rainy Cape Cod. The weather changes and the sun will come out! Blessings for healing !


Dear ones, right now I'm listening to a recording of Hildegarde von Bingen, beautiful chant, and recalling a place where I found great solace in Aix-en-Provence. It is the Eglise du Saint Esprit.
The morning after I'd arrived (a few years ago) I heard the pounding of a great bell -- it echoed down the cobblestone street and woke me. I followed it into this church and found some local people gathered and singing psalms in exquisite harmony. It touched me deeply. I met the pastor, a Dominican priest, I believe Fr Bourgeoise. He had translated and arranged the psalms and another Dominican arranged the chant.
I never forgot this experience. There is a richness about the place that spoke to my soul. Again, I found solace there. How important that is, yes? And even now it gives me peace to think of it. And a bit of yearning, I must admit!
So, if you are ever in the area, drop in. I'll be jealous, but happy for you.
My warmest thoughts, Kate


Jean-Marc, Have you considered trying to do something new in your life? I would recommend learning to play a musical instrument! It's fun, and it's takes you back to a new childhood. All the best, Paul


Hello from India! your words and daily happenings have transported me all over the place with you! So many silver linings in the hustle and bustle of daily life, so many smiles and shared happiness's.

Jean-Marc; Do not fear. This too shall pass. Focus on the small things. Smell the earth in your lovely garden, earth has happy-making chemicals in it!


carole fitzgerald

Dearest Kristin and Jean - Marc ,you both have been in my thoughts . rest up and take on board all the help and good advice you need . Sending you the warmest of good wishes from Down Under lots of love Carole xxx

Tom B, Atlanta GA

The best thing we can do when down is try to find ways to nurture ourselves. If rest and the hammock do it, wonderful! Consider as well a massage.

May the sun soon emerge.

With love.



My thoughts and prayers go to you and Jean-Marc during this difficult time. With all you are doing and the help you're getting, the sun will shine again.

Years ago I was feeling terrible, but so ashamed that there might be something wrong with me that I pretended all was well and told no one. It was only when my doctor asked me an innocuous question and I burst into tears that I found out there was something that could be done.

I had been spending most of the day while my children were at school reading in bed with the shades down, even on sunny days! Dreading the phone ring. Feeling guilty about the smallest things. And no clue that I was depressed.

I'm glad Jean-Marc has you under his umbrella.

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

Kristi & JM,

Also, if you don't care for fish oil (or for any vegans out there), flax oil is a good option. (Very tasty on baked potatoes :)

I had not wanted to offer supplement advice, but since mentioned by an MD, I will add that my physician has once prescribed the 5-HTP, though splitting the dose up twice a day vs all at once. Additionally, I had to further half the evening dose as it induced too vivid dreams for my comfort, though proved excellent to combat insomnia.

However, as John noted, VERY IMPORTANT anyone on medication check with their dr, and anyone taking anti-depressants must NOT take this supplement as the combination could cause serotonin overload.

Will continue to hold you both up in prayer.

Kayla Feldman

Wishing you peace. You already have the courage and strength to face this ordeal. It certainly is not easy. Love the photo of the flowers on the steps through a town. Cyclamens? And the M. Sacks you mention, does he have a vineyard in Cassis? In October,1989 we visited a M. Sacks in his home in Cassis with friends who rented a villa in La Cadiere d'Azur. We rudely interrupted the family lunch just as they were about to leave for Italy, but he was so gracious to show us his cave. Of course we bought some of his delicious wine. A nice memory for us, but I wish I could buy that wine here in New York State.
Bon courage!

Tammy in AZ

Nicely wriiten , love and prayers and rest and flowers and sunshine to you all


Hi Jean-Marc and Kristi Espinasse, I am a surgeon in Minnesota and once wrote you about topical chemotherapy for sun damaged skin. And was star struck when you actually wrote me back. Now on a much more painful and personal challenge I have had profound depression off and on about every two or three years sometimes seasonal but very disabling. About six years ago I quit work sat in the house and twice loaded a .38 revolver and sat in the back yard considering suicide. It is that painful and you feel you are a burden to others and of no worth and lose energy and initiative. Depression is not sadness or weakness and probably has a significant genetic component. I am a devote Christian BUT nothing supplanted antidepressant medication and a good psychiatrist and a loving wife. Oh, BTW I am in practice very successfully and glad to be alive again. Please know despite the pain the sun will shine again and you will be glad you did not leave this earth. Love, Winn


Thank you, Kristi and J-M, for sharing this very personal rough patch that you are traversing. Your sharing allows those who have grown to love you to send virtual love, hugs and encouragement. However, your sharing has also inspired us to revisit how we each handle the rough patches in our own lives and inspire us to go forward with the grace and humility that you have shown each and every time. Thank you for your example and bless you both.


Wishing J-M a speedy recovery and you strength to get through this difficult time.

catharine ewart-touzot

Dear Friends...I am 70 and I have been through some very difficult times, but I can now say that I would not ask that a single problem/season be removed. Each event has taught me much and has proven to me that I can survive and recover.Each of us has strengths and weaknesses. We are often blessed to have partners or friends who will support us when we are having a difficult time. Hopefully we will be able to do the same for others. This is a period that will pass. You have many supporters throughout the world we are all supporting you.

Audrey Wilson

You need & want to rest Jean-Marc .Listen to your body & use that lovely hammock in Kristin's photo
Be thankful for the wonderful support you have from Kristin & think on those vines busily preparing a great harvest for you. The sun will shine again for you I know .

Julie Mautner

Kristi thanks for being so open with your readers...it reminds me we're all in this together. Good luck to Jean-Marc and your whole family...the sun will shine again!


Wishing JM a sunny day and recovery soon. Ditto Jeanne comments. She says what I was feeling but did not know how to write. Thank you Jeanne. If I could send a care box of compassion, hugs, empathy and chicken soup I would immediately. But this message will have to do. Hugs and thank you for sharing, Nancy


And to add my two cents worth, Jenny Lawson's books - especially "Furiously Happy" and her statement that "Depression Lies."

Furiously funny books about mental illness.

We can laugh or we can cry, so we might as well laugh.


Remember - depression LIES. Double hugs, Nancy


Je vous envoie les meilleurs voeux pour la vue illuminee. Merci a vous deux pour les belles vues de la vie francaise..

lou bogue

I have met you both and helped a little bit with the harvest, never met two more BEAUTIFUL people, living the DREAM, a man with so much PASSION for his grapes, a woman with so much PASSION for her man, the goal of all, living the DREAM, sometimes we get caught up in not believing that we are living the DREAM, that turns our mind into believing we could do more, yet we are doing all we can do, understanding that, we can only do what we can do and be HAPPY with what we HAVE, we can over come any negative thoughts and go on living the DREAM, I believe you will JEAN MARC, and I will return In SEPT. 2017 to help a little, celebrating my 90th and you being the strong man I know you are, will be back living the DREAM. My thoughts and prayers are with you both, pour a glass, sit down on the patio, toast each other and realize that your living the DREAM. LOVE LOU

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

So inspiring to hear how the two of you offer soulful shelter to each other.

At one period in my life I found comfort in some words of Thomas Moore. In his book Care of the Soul, he writes about depression (that is not "outside ordinary limits" and turned to illness) and asks us to consider removing the negative connotations associated with the word, not viewing the period as something good or bad, and sitting with our sadness as a way of being - "something the soul does in its own good time and for its own good reasons."

By resting, being mindful of our thoughts and body sensations, noticing patterns of reaction, perhaps we can learn from the wisdom of our sadness. And when the negative thoughts come, to paraphrase the words of St. Francis - it is not harmful to watch them fly by, but we must not let them build a nest in our hair.

Holding you both up in prayer. xoxo

Julie Farrar

Peace and love to your family and Chief Grape.

Fred A Caswell

After volunteering to sing seul "As Time Goes By" as part of two performances by senior citizens for contemporaries. This simple but pertinent song has been a challenge. However, it seems to celebrate the passionate love of the younger with raging hormones! However, the words always brings to this mind the long and faithful lovers like you and John-Marc, Nancy and Fred, and the countless couples who are ALWAYS there with support for the other, or each other, through every "storm", no matter what -- the greatest love between partners. Your blog--so beautiful to me. Much love!


You are in my prayers.

Heather in Arles

Thank you so much for this, Dr. Abeles - not only for Jean-Marc but for all of us with chronic depression!

I have had the disease all of my adult life but it is only very recently that I have started to read about the link with inflammation. Since then, I have changed my diet quite a bit to reduce inflammation and noticed a shift in my well-being almost immediately. It is my new artillery in the arsenal (along with talk therapy, medication and excercise). This information on supplements and dosages in invaluable.

Mille fois merci...


My prayers are with you and your family. Of all the trials on this earth that we face, the worst is the one we face at the moment. I always cling to my favorite scripture, Ecclesiastes 3:1. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
Stay strong, surround you and your family with love, find joy in the small things. Most of all (have faith) this too shall pass.
Sending LOVE to your family.


Thinking of you both and sending healing vibes your way. Rest, good nutrition, and plenty of sunshine sound like a perfect remedy at this time, for you both. It's a great opportunity to focus on the only thing that's real in this world: LOVE.


Thank you so much, Jean-Marc for your message to us all. Your health and well-being are so important in every way. God bless you dearly and receive His helps every day. Love to you and your darling Kristi, C-Marie

Heather in Arles

Jean-Marc, vous êtes dans mes pensées et j'espère avec tout coeur que vous pouvez retrouvez votre force pour combattre contre la dépression. Ça prend du courage, je le sais...mais heureusement, vous êtes loin d'être tout seul dans la bataille. Il y a votre famille et les centaines (si c'est n'est pas les milliers!) des autres qui sont à votre côté. Et, en plus, on vie dans une période de l'histoire ou il y a les soins qui sont très efficace. Si vous avez des questions ou si je peux faire les moins des choses pour vous aider, n'hesitez pas de me contacter, Kristi as mon mail...


What a sweet heart you are to read 300 replies from your well-wishers!! I wish you and Jean-Marc all the best. Rest easy and take good care of yourselves. We all love you, as you can tell. Thank you for all the lovely postings: I love reading your stories and seeing the photos of your garden, your home and your family. Much love to you and your family. XO

David Navarre

May God's blessings be on you both....

Kristin Wohlust

I wish I had a magic solution. I appreciate your transparency. I know you from afar, but wonder, truly, how can I be there for you? My sister, my favorite person in the world goes through this. So I get the feeling of helplessness, but in some way, please let me know how I can be there to help. If just prayers, well, I am on it. In the meantime, sending you sunshine and hope that is greater than you could ever wish for!


You are both in my thoughts and prayers! I know you will come out of this onto "solid ground", stronger than ever.



What a bunch of horse manure! You think the pioneers were "depressed" and non-functional? That would be NO because they didn't wallow in vacuous self-absorbed nonsense. Anyone with any purpose and depth shakes off the doldrums and gets on with life; that's just the way it is, a truism your parents should've taught you. You've got the world by the tail and you're whining and complaining and making excuses; suck it up and move on.

Jenine Clifford

Kristin, Thank you for the update. I continue to lift you and Jean-Marc in prayer and I am grateful that he has you as his warrior wife who has his back!
Not sure if you are familiar with the group Casting Crowns, but thought I would share the words to their song "Just Be Held".
"Just Be Held"

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you're tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There's freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You'll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You'll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you'll understand
I'm painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you'll find Me
And where you are, I'll hold your heart
I'll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go



If there is one thing I feel certain about today is that Jean-Marc will be better, and sooner than you think.

Sheryl in Denver

Wow, Gondorph. "Horse manure" and "self-absorbed nonsense" indeed! I'm not sure what your "purpose and depth" is (certainly not compassion), but how about YOU "suck it up and move on." I hope that those people around you never go through a rough time, because I can see what your advice to them would be. I feel for them. In the meantime, go troll somewhere else. Your parents should have taught you, if you don't have anything nice to say, zip it!

Cynthia Lewis

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc,

Thank you both for your messages today. I have been worrying about you and was so happy to see FWAD in my email this morning. And I am doubly glad that you are seeking professional help along with a period of rest and quiet to "regroup", so to speak. Over the years you have crept into my heart and are now securely there alongside my own family and dear friends. Please take all of the time you need and hold tightly to each other under that bright umbrella! With love and best wishes, Cynthia

Anne Umphrey

All that could be said has been so eloquently expressed by others. I could not add to those, but please know that I am holding you and your family in my heart. Such a debilitating disease, I hope the pain goes away soon and the sun will shine for you again.

Diane Young

Outside of the weird message from Gondorph, you can tell that your devoted readers are with you always. Today is Ascension Day, and what a blessing for all of us. God is always watching over us. So, "let go and let God". Our prayers are with you both - always.

David Wassum

Dear Kristin and Jean-Marc,
Thank you for sharing your life on-line with all of us. You've given us such a beautiful view of your life in France over the years. Even though I've never had the pleasure of meeting you and can't anticipate that I ever will, I feel that I know you. As someone who has suffered from depression all my life as have each member of my family...it is inherited unfortunately... I understand what you're going through. I wish there was a simple solution, but too frequently there is not. Nevertheless, I consider my depression as part of my tableau, a reflection of the inner-life that has enriched me and made me the person that I am. I hope that you both have Peace and the knowledge that strangers all across the globe do care about each of you. You're in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you! David in Alexandria, Virginia

Maureen Winterhager

Hellinger systemic family therapy is so effective.....I cannot stress how successful it is........

John B

2 quotes come to mind that
I recall when I'm down.

An old Persian (?) saying
"This too shall pass"

and from John Lennon
"In the end everything
will be okay,
if it's not okay,
then it's not the end"

joie in Carmel

...two under an umbrella, two in a hammock. Make room for Kristi in it Jean-Marc.

Don & Gypsy

We send our kindest thoughts and prayers to both of you in this time of enduring and healing. Giving yourselves permission to 'come apart and rest awhile before you come apart" sounds like the very best thing for you and your family.
"The Art of Abundance" by Candy Paull is filled with small 'abundances'("Abundance is...honey on wheat toast", "Abundance is...a dog laying in the grass waiting for you to scratch his stomach", "Abundance is...someone to kiss goodnight")etc.
The book is calming, kind, easy on the heart and mind.
I Peter 5:7, "Cast all your care on Him, for He cares for you."
We are two more of your readers who care deeply for your good health and joy returning to your lives. Your children and family members are included in our prayers.

Diana Barron

We are thinking of you and send lots of love and positive thoughts. Xxx


For the two of you. When you said you were listening to songs, here is the one that came to mind. It has given me comfort and I hope it does you, too.




I wish you a speedy and wholesome return to peace and calm and to just be without analysing everything (i always feel so selfish, alone and critical, self critical when I am in THAT place) when I am whole I am but a cog in the wonderful machine of life going happily along as part of the master plan. You are very fortunate to have people around you who - although they don't necessarily know and feel what you are going through- are very supportive and loving. I wish my wonderful husband could be the same. I sometimes feel I coud just drop of the scale and it wouldn't make one iota of difference (its all about me of course!!) I envy people who give so much of their time, life, energy to others - I wish I were one of these wonderful deserving people. My thoughts are with you Jean Marc - I so wish you wellbeing. Gros bisous

Kitty Wilson-Pote

As before, dear Kristi and Jean Marc, I 'ditto' what others say here, and continue to send waves of warm love and support. May the garden-hammock - real and metaphoric -- embrace you both as recovery gradually releases JM from the realm of shadows. Soon you will FEEL the rays of sunshine again and marvel at the richness of day-to-day Being with fresh joy. It will come. We who share this illness promise you that.

Donna Carpentier

Bonjour Kristin! Wow--we are dealing with the same issue right now, but in my home it concerns my 19-year-old high school senior. It's a very long story, but the short version is that he recently let me know (through the no-eyes-upon-me safety of a text) that he was feeling very, VERY down again after two really good years, and that he was actively seeking to not let us know until now (and he did a great job of it--college acceptance and celebration, prom, a triumphant return to pole vault after a devastating ACL tear, etc). I immediately contacted his doc; she's been working miracles with him since he was in 5th grade, and I believe she is a goddess. She is meeting with him, and then us, today. In the meantime, she sent me this link, and when I read your post I knew i had to share it with you. I hope that you and Jean-Marc will find comfort, as I do, in information, especially in dealing with depression as a family, since we know there are no real "actions" we can take to "fix" anything.


Aller, biz et bonne lecture! Je suis de tout mon coeur avec vous tous!


... cher JM and chère Kristin....In times of 'trouble and darkenss' in our lives, one thing I have learned in 75 years! that is , absolutely nothing stays the same... forever. As many of your fans have written, there is no 'easy fix' that one size fits all. Sometimes meds can help over exremely dark periods... and sometimes not. At one point in my life I was separated from my husband with a 9 year old boy , and then no job...and the depression and panic attacks came on like a tsunami. It was after six months and many sessions with a Pastor, whom I had not known previously and open sessions with oher women who were in similar situations
that I was able to gain control of my life. I survived and we reconciled ( not easy as he was in Calif. and we were in Alaska!) and have been together ever since then, 1986. I am living proof that if you do not give up and give in and try hard to see and count your blessings, sometimes life will work out for you. You have an incredible won am for a wife and good friend and a family that loves you... all the ammo you will ever need to see the sunshine in your life again... My best wishes to both of you.. Judi... Tallahassee, Fl.

Dawn Johnson

From reading the comments, I'm sure I can't say anything that hasn't already been said but I want you to know I am praying for you both. Being blessed to finally get to meet you both in person, I was really taken in by what a kind intelligent hard working man Jean-Marc is. I remember and appreciate so much that he took care of my parking ticket for me that I got in Lorgues.
During my visit last October, on one of my last days, I made a visit to Moustiers St. Marie. As I was ready to leave I noticed the trail that leads to a small church up on the hill. I had to go up there which was a pretty good hike. It was so serene and peaceful up there and I was inspired to spend time in prayer. At the time, the Pastor of my church was suffering from several critical brain abscesses. It wasn't known if he would survive or become coherent and functional after surgery. So being so far away he was at the top of my list to pray for at the time. I am happy to say that he has been healed, He survived the surgery and has been back to preaching for several months now. I do believe that was a special place. Maybe you can make the trip up there and feel the peace that I experienced. Avec tout amour Dawn

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc,

We are so heartened by your message in today's post
and have faith that you will persevere. As you move forward step by step, day by day, remember the encouraging words of the Desiderata that you have often mentioned. And don't lose sight of the mornings when you will be able to leap out of bed with a cry of joy and embrace the day!

Affectionately, Chris and George

John Alexander

bisous a vous deux d'Auvillar -
John & Cheryl

Pattie Martin

Kristin, in this post you thank everyone for their words of encouragement and hope. But really, we are the ones who should thank you and Jean-Marc. Thank you for sharing your story honestly and transparently, respectfully and kindly, leaving intact the dignity of all involved, including those of your readers who can so easily identify with the issue. What a lovely picture today of being under the umbrella together! There is no telling how many people have been encouraged by your writing about this. I’m praying for you!


Our dear Kristi,
Marriage is for better or worse,life is for better or worse,and the love and devotion you two share is beyond just sharing an umbrella but forEVER.
Praying for each other is one of the best and most powerful gifts we can give to those we care about.When things seem bleakest and most discouraging,faith is the strongest hand we can hold.
We are keeping you always in our prayers and next to our hearts.
Courage and strength on this journey.
Natalia XO

Audrey Wilson

What a lovely positive post from such a wonderful sounding person !Take this advice Jean-Marc

Susan Stafford

Rest, relax, absorb the healing sun of Provence. My thoughts are with you both.


I was in Paris for the first time (ever!!) and we lit candles in all the usual places and when we were in Notre Dame I prayed for you. I hope that you are doing better. A writer (cant remember who) called depression "the black service". It might be hard to heal with the world looking on..but it cant hurt to have so many people wishing you well. I had heart surgery last year and everyone in many religions prayed for me-right when they put me out to restart my heart (I was awake for the ablation) I felt like a blanket of warmth covering me. So I send you my blanket and hope it keeps you warm.

Eileen Burns

I have experienced depression myself and wonder why it is labeled "depression"....I felt as though I'd lost myself...I can remember an overwhelming feeling of "where did I go?"....The good news is, no matter how we label it, this mysterious illness does GO AWAY...I am relieved to read that Jean Marc is receiving medical treatment as well as our prayers....Jean-Marc, roll with the healing process, remember that it doesn't travel in a straight line, but most of all, remember that you WILL heal. My very best love to you both, Eileen XOXO

Julia Frey

Just another friendly voice out of the wilderness to repeat strangely useful platitudes: You will be able to deal with whatever comes. The only important thing is the people you love.

Cate S

For me, during times like these, rest and quiet are essential for healing. In my life, I recently lost my mom. She passed away almost two weeks ago. And although it wouldn't call it depression, it feels like it at times. I know the feeling of deep loss will lighten as time goes by. At least I think so. But all I seem to be able to do is rest, even when my mind badgers me to get up and get something done. So I'm gifting myself with time to just be in the moment and take it easy and not beat up on myself. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers. Going by the posts, there is wonderful love, support, and energy going your way.

Barbara K

Dear Kristin,

Several years ago, our son, at age 26, was severely depressed. There was really nothing we could do to help, so on top of seeing him suffer, we felt helpless and sad. I'm sharing this with you because I'm sure you are also in pain because you cannot make him better - only he can do that. I hope you will take comfort in the knowledge that many of us have been where you are now and understand and share your feelings.



Robert Wildau

Dear Jean-Marc,
From personal and family experience I know, more than I ever hoped, about depression. The best I can propose is bon courage in waiting it out, because it is bound do get better with time, though never quickly enough. The next best is some music of Bach, like the concerts this weekend in Venelles and in Aix, http://academie.bach.aix.free.fr/index.html, in which I happen to be singing. Although I am not a Christian these words really get to me

7. Chorale
Must I be troubled?
If Jesus loves me,
all pain to me is
sweeter than honey;
a thousand kisses of sugar
He gives to my heart.
When pain is present,
His love turns to joy
even bitter suffering.

and the music is otherworldly. It would be great to see you at one of these events.

Herm in Phoenix,AZ


I think Gondorph deserves your "Arizona cowgirl" comment!


Beth Hartmann

How amazing! Here's today's "Word of the Day" Feeling depressed is lousy; I know. Beth
with Anu Garg

noun: Extreme anguish or mental distress.

If you’ve ever been so angry, or so anguished, that you felt choked you’ve personally experienced the origin of this term. It comes from Latin angor (strangling, suffocation, mental distress), from angere (to squeeze). Ultimately from the Indo-European root angh- (tight, suffocating, painful), which also gave us anger, anguish, anxious, angst, angina, and hangnail. Earliest documented use: 1440.

“But each word helps to create the tone of the story, set the mood, build the atmosphere, and illustrate the characters’ sense of angor.”
Anu Garg; Confessions of a Word Addict; Writer Magazine (Waukesha, Wisconsin); Dec 2003.



This article might be useful.

Warm Wishes


Best wishes to you both and thanks for sharing.

sherren macleod

I love this!...so many people have suffered like this....either mentally or physically....just be there for each other with lots of love and tlc....it WILL pass.

Kate Dickerson

This is interesting, John. May I copy and send this info to my adult son who suffers from depression?

Thank you, Kate Dickerson

Kate Dickerson

Kristi and Jean-Marc -

I'm hoping that your cloud will lift soon, as the days get longer and your world is filled with more sunshine...beaucoup de rayons de soleil pur vous deux!

Kate Dickerson

I meant "pour vous deux"!!!

Koula Louras

As I write this entry, I struggle to deal with my own ongoing journey of my husband's episodes of depression - still refusing to seek help. Kristen, you sharing your own journey with your beautiful husband gives me strength to continue to be there, to hope and to be patient and to not give up.
May an abundance of rays of sunshine beam down on you both.


So very glad to hear you are sticking close to one another and listening to your body telling you to rest. You've been through a lot of upheaval and changes these past few years. Reflection and down time can be a blessing from God. Soak Him up. Let Him refresh as only He can. It's beyond us, the way He works. Continue to be gentle, be loving, be patient with yourself and with each other. Enjoy this time of pulling back. I've experienced depression too. So have family members. Seek the medical help for as long as you need it. Sending prayers and much love from here in Arizona!!!


I bet Smokey would be a great therapy dog. He might be really helpful to Jean Marc. I can just imagine both of them in the hammock. Keep up your spirits and this too shall pass. Our prayers are with Jean Marc and you.



Jean-Marc and Kristi,
Years ago I had serious postpartum depression. Hypnosis with a wonderful therapist saved my life. My therapist also taught me to do self-hypnosis which I used many times just to relax or if I felt myself sliding again into a depressed state. It was so tranquilizing that I often just wanted to prolong the state. I was on an anti-depressant when I first had postpartum depression, but ultimately hypnosis did the trick for me much better than any drug. I highly recommend giving it a try. Also, for some reason, depression hits large numbers of people in the spring, so you are not alone. As T.S. Eliot said, "April is the cruellest month . . ." Thinking of you and sending many good wishes and my prayers that you will soon be dancing; June is almost here!
Amicalement, Margie

Jan from Edmonton, Canada

Gondorph, you are dreaming if you think the pioneers were never depressed. They just didn't talk about it because it had such a negative stigma.


Bonjour Kristi, (Just read your book and LOVED it!) I am listening to a program on France Inter at this moment (on my podcasts) and it's called L'intestin: Notre deuxieme cerveau? It made me think of my struggles with depression, and how it was always related to the health of my digestive system. Just a suggestion for you and Jean Marc. When I was put on an antibiotic last year, my depression a remonte! Just now (9 months later) my cheerful and happy disposition has been restored. The latest is discussed in this podcast and in French too so you can share with Jean-Marc. Add probiotics to your diets, eat yogurt (without sugar if possible)and if needed drink Kombucha (found in health stores even in France) as often as possible. It sounds far-fetched, and I would not believe it worked if I did not experience it myself. I wish you both happiness! Your book brought me so much enjoyment. I hope my suggestion isn't too invasive. Wishing you both all the best and many blessings. Sarah

nadine goodban

Si vous pensez qu'un changement de lieu, outre-Atlantique, pourrait vous être bénéfique, je vous invite à venir séjourner chez moi en Californie du nord, près de la vallée de Napa. Avec grand plaisir !
Vraiment, j'espère que vous accepterez. n

Patty Cargill

Dearest Kristi and Jean-Marc~

Thank you for being brave enough to open your lives, with its pain and suffering, to us. The effects of depression are overwhelming for all members of a family. As I (& many others) hold you and J-M dear to my heart, I send loving thoughts with hopes that this will lift soon. I have lived with depression all my life. I found help through counseling and with antidepressants. In recent years, my yoga practice, with its emphasis on the breath, has helped dramatically.

About 10 years ago I took yoga teacher training and was introduced to various types of breathwork. One of the most important & helpful ways was diaphragmatic breathing (sometimes called "belly breathing") which allows for relaxing the abdominal muscles so that the diaphragm can function fully. Inhaling, it presses into the abdominal area, which results in a lifting or expansion of belly muscles. Breathing out, the muscles sink back inward.

In diaphragmatic breathing, one learns to breath slowly and more deeply. Practice in a very comfortable reclined position, arms resting by the side. Perhaps a pillow under the knees to ease the lower back and one under the head. It is important that the spine can rest easily, naturally.

During this practice, there is very little lifting/expansion in the chest. The focus is on the ab region.

- After settling the body, begin by simply noticing the natural breath, follow its natural rhythm, without trying to make anything happen. Continue to allow the body to release, relax and sink down. Then,

-relax the jaw by opening the mouth wide like we do when yawning, then s l o w l y let it close; let the teeth slightly part; let the muscles circling the mouth soften. Relax the muscles circling the eyes.

-now slowly begin to lengthen the inhale/exhales to a count of 3-5. Gradually this number will increase, but as you are learning, start slowly. All attention is on the belly, keeping the muscles soft, allowing them to lift and expand. You want to feel the effects of breathing here rather than in the chest.

-as you lengthen the breath, avoid tensing the chest or belly muscles. This is an experience in "letting go" of effort. (It has helped me to focus on feeling the air moving through the back of my throat.)

-the length of the exhale should match the inhale.

After a few deeper breaths, let go and allow the breath to be natural, not attempting to change it, again observing it as it is. Move between deeper breathing and the natural breath several times. 5-10 minutes.

Like anything new, it takes practice to get into the rhythm of diaphragmatic breathing. Go slowly. We are becoming the observer of the breath, focusing, and getting out of our minds with its incessant "thinking" during this practice. (Ah, that!)

There is a wealth of information online. One source is Ray Long, MD, at Bandha Yoga. Ray teaches yoga anatomy and I was fortunate enough to attend one of his week long workshops. He has a beautiful illustration of the diaphragm at his link below--it is very helpful to know what this marvelous muscle looks like and where it is. (I do not use the pillow under the torso as he shows though.)


Diaphragmatic breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which, among other things, lowers hearts rate, blood pressure, and serves to help in overcoming stress, depression, etc. There are many articles on this, too.

The above is a brief outline of how I practice/lead diaphragmatic breathing. If you have any questions, please email me.

Holding you all in my heart--blessings and love,


Faye in Gleneden Beach, Oregon

Such a great post & lovely photos. I am so glad you guys are on the path to wellness! Remember, it's a journey, a step by step life. It is never done. Prayers & thoughts ----and thank you so much for keeping us updated. It's like one big family!

NYC Trish

Clearly, "Gondorph" knows ZILCH about clinical depression, which is a serious mental health illness long recognized by the National Institutes of Health, not a fleeting feeling of disappointment or "doldrums" that can be "shaken off".

Anyone who uses such dismissive, disparaging and childishly-cliched vocabulary in commenting on an illness reveals him/herself to be not only a talentless writer, but also an acutely uninformed, judgmental, self-proclaimed know-it-all.

And perhaps the curmudgeonly commenter would do well to review the comments posted by both a surgeon and a medical doctor on this page.

(N.B. It's jarring to read feedback of this tone and nature in this blog where a like-minded Francophile community comes to be entertained and educated.

Kristi, is there no tool on your blog platform to screen out comments such as the one above? And if not, can you just delete this vitriol?)


Jean-Marc & Kristi - You are both in my thoughts today. I am glad you have each other and your love to weather this storm together.


I'm sorry I haven't written before, but unfortunately, I have been in Jean-Marc same boat! I'm seeing a few rayons de soleil - I hope Jean-Marc is also feeling the warmth of the sun. I am now able re-read the wonderful comments your readers have made. There are a lot of good ideas there. I'm not sure I'm ready to act on any of them, but I know they are there and that they are important. I am keeping your posts for when I can take some action! Please take care, Kristin and Jean-Marc. I'm glad you have each other!!


O, who are you Trish to be such an "expert" on mental illness?! Get a clue and get over anything w/the word "clinical" in it to legitimize it. You are about as happy as you make up your mind to be = said by Abraham Lincoln. Life is difficult at times and one must just try and make the best of it instead of wallowing in self-pity, OH DUH!

Debbie Rhoades

Jean Marc, I am praying for you. I have depression, too, and even though I take an anti-depressant medication, it isn't a cure-all for it, and I still have days that I don't want to even talk to my family. I know how awful it can be, but if you hang on to all of us out here, your friends in the great big wild world, we can get through this together. Hang on, because the black cloud will move on after a bit, and we shall all cheer and celebrate with you, when it does. God bless you.

Alice Shupe

God works in many ways to heal us, to call us closer to Himself, to make us stronger. May He use the rest, the safety of your relationship, the medication and more to bring Jean-Marc to a brighter day. He is loved with a never ending love and he is safe in the arms of his Heavenly Father. Blessings on you both.


Continuez vos efforts en bon courage.

Joan L.

My thoughts are with you both. Depression is real, and luckily mostly treatable. I'd just like to add a word of caution about St. Johns Wort, which can be dangerous when used with some anti-depressants. Bon courage! I'd also like to add my sympathy to the person who wrote about losing her mother two weeks ago.


I always tell myself everyone is doing the best they can in any given moment. And nothing stays the same for very long. My thoughts are with you both.

Patricia Sands

Dear Kristi, this post offers hope and optimism. Stay strong in the peaceful solitude you have chosen for now, knowing a world of love and kindness surrounds you. Jules is correct: these posts + comments would make a valuable resource. You are helping countless others as you strive to help yourselves. Je vous souhaite un jour lumineux ...

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)