Free Beach Therapy from a Stranger Leads to Lifelong Friendship, and a Book! – by Kelly McCardy-Fuller

Free Beach Therapy from a Stranger Leads to Lifelong Friendship, and a Book! – by Kelly McCardy-Fuller

The typical reasons for someone to write a book about depression are a personal struggle, a family tragedy, or perhaps a tale of success in dealing with the ugly beast. My reason for writing the book Dealing With Depression On Your Own Couch; A Neuropsychologist’s Practical Guide is not quite as dramatic. In fact, it all started out on a gorgeous, sunny beach overlooking the Pacific.

When I met Ahmad, I was a crazy, twenty-something from Michigan living the California dream. I was renting a roach-infested apartment that was close enough for me to walk to the beach. All of my free time was spent on a strip of sand that, unbeknownst to me at the time, was basically Ahmad’s back yard. He was a stable, thirty-something from Persia, living in a beautiful beach house just yards from the water. He never told me where he lived or what he did when we first became friends. I would just see him from time to time and we would talk. I found him very easy to talk to. In retrospect, our conversations were mostly me talking and him listening. It wasn’t until I moved away that he revealed his profession to me, joking that he should have been charging me $80 per hour for all of his advice.

Dr. Ahmad Vahedian, PhD, is a Board-Certified Neuropsychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in his field. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Psychotherapists and Psychodiagnosticians, and an Alumnus of the University of Arizona, with an advanced fellowship in Neuropsychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. I’m still not sure how we became friends but we did. We came from completely different cultural, social, economic, and religious backgrounds yet, somehow, we just meshed. Our relationship was more like brother/sister than doctor/patient, even though I know he helped me through a lot of life-decisions. To be fair, I also helped him through a lot of bad relationships!

When I left California, we kept in touch via snail-mail (Oops. I just aged myself). Since I had a degree in journalism, and English was not Ahmad’s first language, over the years he would ask me to help him edit a few things for publication. As every writer knows, it’s an occupational hazard that all of your friends ask you to “look over” things they have written. By this time, I was married and starting a family, so the opportunity to help write articles for the Los Angeles Times and various Medical Journals kept my Mommy-mind sharp. Ahmad’s practice was booming and he needed help with billing, as well as editing. I was someone he could trust so a symbiotic working relationship developed that lasted sixteen years.

One of the things I edited on a regular basis were confidential patient progress reports. Through the written word, I witnessed the transformation of Dr. Vahedian’s nameless patients from the deep chasm of depression to the bright light of a healthy, joyful life. I saw first-hand how powerful and vitally important mental healthcare is. I also saw the stigma that existed surrounding this type of care, as well as the roadblocks to receiving it. Many of the reports I worked on were to insurance companies denying care, or worker’s compensation lawyers awarding or taking away benefits. That is when my light bulb went on.

I felt compelled to share the proven methods of self-help and clinical wisdom of a highly educated, experienced neuropsychiatrist with the general public. After all, not everyone gets free therapy on the beach. I really wanted to help make mental health care more accessible. Therefore, I asked Ahmad if I could put his notes into a book. His first priority was and is his patients so he agreed to let me take the lead and, with his blessing, the book was born.

I believe Dealing With Depression On Your Own Couch; A Neuropsychologist’s Practical Guide is a gift, though not a substitution, for those people unable or unwilling to obtain professional help. It’s not a best seller but, if it helps just one person out there, that alone is worth it. In a nutshell, the following quotes sum up my book’s backstory perfectly.

“Don’t withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27)

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

Kelly McCardy-Fuller is a freelance writer with a degree in Journalism, Summa Cum Laude from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She has written countless reports, journals, articles and peer publications in the Neuropsychology field with Dr. Vahedian, as well as penned their first book, Dealing With Depression On Your Own Couch; A Neuropsychologist’s Practical Guide. Kelly has previous experience in hospitality management, technical editing and fitness instruction. She is currently working as a freelance/ghost writer, and is penning her first novel. She has two children and a wonderful husband, and enjoys travel, sports and volunteer work in her community.



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