Monday, June 26, 2017

Patrick Kennedy Interview

What’s your biggest mood challenge?
Managing stress. Stress triggers initially the mania of wanting to do everything and not being happy unless I get all these tasks completed. That then triggers the depression, which makes me feel as if I should just give up doing anything.

What’s your best coping strategy?
Working my 12-step program. Peer support, mindfulness, spirituality, and the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. Exercise is also a key component to my maintaining balance. I alternate between running and swimming. I’m an addict, so I like to go the full distance—I’ll run 5 miles a day every other day, or I’ll swim a mile, mile and a half.

What’s up with One Mind, your initiative to promote research into brain-based disorders?

We’re working to develop standard protocols and processes so we can maximize the science being done across a multitude of academic and health centers. We’re also developing a process whereby research accrues to the benefit of many brain illnesses. For example, what we are learning about post-traumatic stress disorder will be beneficial to people with anxiety disorders, with other mood disorders, because the mechanisms that guide PTSD symptoms are common to a whole host of diagnoses. We all share the same brain.

When are you happiest?
When I’m with my family—reading to my toddler son, Owen, or holding baby Nora, or playing with my daughter Harper. It’s a joy to watch all the little idiosyncrasies of our children and to laugh about it with my amazing wife, Amy. I love mental health advocacy for similar reasons. I lose myself in it, I’m moved by it, and I feel like I have something to give back.

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