Embrace the glorious mess that you are.Elizabeth Gilbert
As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a messy day and be happy.
Embrace the glorious mess that you are.Elizabeth Gilbert
As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a messy day and be happy.
“Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used.” ―Richard E. Byrd―Richard E. Byrd
As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.
“Whether an illness affects your heart, your arm, or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there shouldn’t be any distinction. We would never tell someone with a broken leg that they should stop wallowing and get it together. We don’t consider taking medication for an ear infection something to be ashamed of. We shouldn’t treat mental health conditions any differently. Instead, we should make it clear that getting help isn’t a sign of weakness—it’s a sign of strength—and we should ensure that people can get the treatment they need.”—Michelle Obama, former first lady
In my last post, Depression – Does Being Active Help – A Debate, I attempted to give insight into the many types of depression and the treatments for each. I believe that we do not understand depression and that we need to be more aware of what the disease is.
What started my interest was an article encouraging the use of exercise as a treatment for depression. After all my research, I concluded that, yes, exercise can certainly be used and should be, but it is not a fix-all for depression. In my opinion, it is more a helpful preventative. Physical activity is an excellent practice to be followed in any treatment for depression and improved health in general.
Today, I am writing about signs to look for in identifying a person who may be depressed.
Depression has a stigma attached to it; no one wants to be labeled a depressed person. They will go to great lengths to hide that there is anything wrong. It may be reasonable for them to hope if they keep maintaining what looks like a normal life, their depression will just go away.
So how can we recognize that someone is depressed? Here are some changes in someone’s behavior we might observe:
Their normal behavior changes. They are a little lost and are trying to ease their feelings of sadness and loneliness. They may lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed.
They may no longer enjoy foods they once did, stop eating, and start losing weight. They may also overcompensate and eat more than they did, hoping it will help them feel better. They may turn to alcohol or drugs to try and alleviate their emotions.
Some times they will exhibit unusual irritability over something they would not have had a problem with before. They may also show anger in the same way, which would be a change of character.
Many people can conceal their depression and wear a ‘happy face’ like they would wear a mask. They pretend they are happy and hide behind their false persona. It is not easy to maintain, and it is very tiring, which can, of course, make them feel worse.
“The only thing more exhausting than being depressed is pretending that you’re not.”—Anonymous
To avoid anyone seeing their mask, they will spend less time with other people and prefer to be alone. They will make excuses to avoid everyday events such as dinner with friends. It can be difficult to see through the false exterior they present.
Their outlook will appear to change, and they may become more thoughtful in their discussions. They may now talk openly about being disappointed that they have not accomplished more. It is a change in behavior, something that they would not have done before. They may talk about being better, being happier, but they do not acknowledge they are sad.
A depressed person tries to keep their feelings hidden so that no one will know. It is difficult and emotional. They don’t want to show their depression but may react more strongly than before. Where before they did not openly cry, they may do so now and also be more openly affectionate. On the other extreme is when they may respond with anger in certain circumstances. That would not be an expected response for them. Both of these emotional responses may be a sign that something is wrong.
There is a psychological term called, depressive realism. I found this difficult to explain, so I am using the definition from the American Psychological Association.
“Psychologists have thought for decades that depressed people tend to distort the facts and view their lives more negatively than do non-depressed people. Yet, psychological studies have consistently revealed a peculiar exception to that pattern: Depressed people, studies indicated, judge their control of events more accurately than do non-depressed people in a phenomenon that came to be known as “depressive realism.”
It may be a sign of depression if someone you know has always responded in a very positive way. They have always indicated everything is excellent, but now they have the opposite reaction and do not anticipate anything going well.
They may cry out for help, but then they reverse course. Being depressed and struggling to hide it from everyone is an intense struggle. They have a resolve to continue to hide their depression, which may become unbearable for a moment in time. They relent and tell someone. They may talk to a close friend or decide to talk to a therapist.
Telling someone is such a momentous event a depressed person may feel like they are confessing a crime. It may be too much for them to handle, and they will not follow through with any appointments they may have made with a therapist. They will tell family or friends that they were having a bad day and now they are fine.
They do not want to admit to themselves that they suffer from depression. It may be easier to continue life as they have been. It may actually feel comfortable to them. It feels too difficult to change.
Depression is real, too real. It comes in many forms, from mild to very deep and dark. It is a disease that is not understood. It is hidden, partly because we do not want to acknowledge it. Someone who is depressed does not want to be. They do not want to admit that they are. People who are not depressed do not understand, and they are frightened by it. They do not know what to do, and it is more comfortable to ignore it.
There is a stigma regarding depression, and that needs to change. Life is hard. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were not the case? I do not have any answers. The best thing I think we can do is educate ourselves so we can better understand what depression is. Always smile at someone and be kind. If you see someone struggling ask if there is anything you can do for them. Hold out a hand. Help them take a step forward.
“My mental health problems are real and they are valid. I will not judge myself for the bad days when I can barely get out of bed. I will not make myself feel worse because someone else appears to be handling their mental illness better than I am handling mine. Recovery is not a competition.”—Matt Joseph Diaz
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a good day.
“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”―Vivian Greene
As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!
“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”– Michael J. Fox
As always, thanks for stopping by. Do not surrender today.
“Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. . . . It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope.― J.K. Rowling
That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.”
I have been thinking about depression lately. Not because I am depressed, but because so many people are. It has stoked a curiosity in me.
There are so many articles written about it, and there appears to be an equal quantity of suggestions, things to do that may help lift you out of depression.
I have two questions. Is there a difference between feeling sad and depression? What activities or treatment work in the treatment of depression?
Reading a recent blog, someone suggested being active as a treatment. My immediate reaction was, “yes, sure, but would that work for all the different levels of depression.” I had my doubts so I decided to do some research. I think there is a general misunderstanding of depression, a lack of knowledge and a misuse of the term.
There are so many types of depression, from mild to extreme, would one action be an effective treatment for all levels? When I was researching to learn more, here are the types of depression I found:
Major Depression: you feel depressed most of the time for most days of the week.
Persistent Depressive Disorder: you have depression that lasts for two years or longer.
Bi-Polar Depression also referred to as Manic Depression; you have mood episodes that range from extremes of high energy with an “up” mood to low “depressive” periods.
Seasonal Affective Disorder: you have a period of major depression that most often happens during the winter months.
Psychotic Depression: you have the symptoms of Major Depression along with “psychotic” symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.
Women may also suffer from two more:
Peripartum Depression – also known as Postpartum Depression. You may have major depression after childbirth, which can last for weeks, up to months.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: you may experience depression at the start of your period.
The symptoms for each type of depression are similar. They include loss of interest, having problems sleeping, being restless or agitated, being tired with no energy, trouble concentrating and making decisions. You may also experience weight loss or gain.
With Persistent Depressive Disorder, you may also have low self-esteem and feel hopeless.
How are each of these types of depression treated?
Major Depression is treated with psychotherapy, also referred to as “talk” therapy. Sometimes antidepressants may be used. Sometimes Electroconvulsive Therapy (ETC) and Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (RTMS) may be used.
Scary sounding stuff, isn’t it? What is scary to me is the treatments for Major Depression are the same used for treating Psychotic Depression *(see below). Are the two types that similar to each other? Now that is scary.
Persistent Depressive Disorder is treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Bipolar Depressive Disorder is treated differently by using medications, such lithium which is a mood-stabilizer. The FDA has approved three drugs, and doctors sometimes will prescribe others as well. Psychotherapy, or Talk Therapy, is also used.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is treated with antidepressants and also light therapy.
*Psychotic Depression is treated with a combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs. Sometimes ECT or Electroconvulsive therapy, which is a brief electrical stimulation of the brain, is used.
Postpartum Depression and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder are treated with antidepressants when necessary.
The interesting part of this research is none of the remedies mentioned any natural treatments. That made absolutely no sense to me. All of the above information came from WebMD, which is a popular, highly used, and trusted source of information.
I furthered my research by asking the question, “Can Depression be treated with natural remedies?” Because I used WebMD for the first information, I used it again for the ‘Natural Remedies”.
Here is what I found recommended for treatment:
Establish a routine – when you are depressed, you may move away from any structure, and time can blur. By establishing a light schedule, it may help you feel more balanced.
Set some goals – when you are depressed, it is easy to feel you cannot do anything which, of course, makes you feel worse. Start to add some goals for what you will do each day.
Exercise – get moving, go for a walk, do some yoga, or do any type of activity that raises your heart rate. That will release the feel-good chemicals called endorphins into your bloodstream.
Eat healthy foods – when you are depressed, the tendency is to either not eat or to overeat. We eat to feel good. There is no “magic” food which will take away your depression, but it is always the best practice to eat the right foods. You will feel better and have more energy if you are fueling your body.
Sleep – depression can disrupt a proper sleep cycle. Try to go to bed, and get up, at the same time. Eliminate anything that may disturb your sleep, like any computer or TV, your telephone and any excess light or noise.
Maintain responsibilities – instead of giving up responsibilities at work and home because you are depressed and do not feel capable, keep doing them. Even if you cannot complete all of them, keep working on finishing them. It will give you a sense of accomplishment.
No negative thinking – when you are depressed, your thoughts will be negative. Work hard at countering those thoughts. Try to concentrate on all the things you have accomplished in the past and realize you can do them. Surround yourself with positive mantras and focus on them.
Follow your doctors instructions in regarding any medications. Do not take any other over the counter medications or supplements without consulting your doctor. Although they could help, they could also interact with the medicines you are using.
Do something different, something new to you. It may help you to relax and feel better. It has been scientifically proven that our brains release a chemical called dopamine when we do something new.
Maintain Fun in your life – Continue to do the things that you enjoy and find relaxing, such as going out to dinner or a movie with friends. Go to the park, exercise, play with your kids, or take the dog for a walk.
Now that I have done some research, I understand, even more than before, that depression is a real problem. I realize that most of us do not understand depression, and we also probably don’t want to. Depression is scary.
Most of us often say, “I’m depressed!” We casually throw it out there in conversation. Are we? No, a big fat no, we are not. It is used too randomly without any real thought or understanding.
I think that is a problem. It prevents us from taking it seriously. When someone says they are depressed and we shrug and think, “yeah, right,” and we move on. End of conversation.
But what if they are? There are many people out there who need help, and just possibly it could be you who offers them a helping hand.
It is more likely that a truly depressed person will try to hide signs of being depressed, and will not say anything to anyone about their depression. There are signs to look for, but I am going to save that for another blog post.
The next time you are a little down, think twice. Don’t put the name depression to it just yet. Try some of the generic helpful suggestions, like exercise and taking positive actions like taking a relaxing walk in the park with your dog or your best friend. You may be sad or lightly depressed, and doing those actions listed above will take care of the problem.
Better yet, volunteer somewhere for an organization that helps people who do suffer from depression. What better way to help someone, help yourself, and understand depression.
“The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.”— Tenzin Gyatso
If you think you are depressed, do not hide it, talk to someone and look for help.
As always, thank your for reading my blog. Be happy today!
“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.”― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
As always, thanks for stopping by. Create something today.
~ Stand Tall and Proud
~ Go Out on a Limb
~ Remember your Roots
~ Drink Plenty of Water
~ Be Content with your Natural Beauty
~ Enjoy the ViewAdvice from a tree
As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a thoughtful day & be content.
“I am bent, but not broken. I am scarred, but not disfigured. I am sad, but not hopeless. I am tired, but not powerless. I am angry, but not bitter. I am depressed, but not giving up.”Author unknown
I have a friend, a special friend…I think of her often. She wanders in and out of my thoughts.
Do you know how that feels? I miss her now that she is no longer here. We used to sit and drink coffee together and talk about random topics. Not important issues really, just the everyday events and experiences of life. We laughed! She had a knack for making you feel good.
I liked spending time with her, but we did not see each other often, not every week, and sometimes it would be a month or longer.
Then there was an inexplicable change. I could feel it, but I could not put my finger on it. There was a flash of feeling, a question. What was it?
We spent a bit more time together, she stopped by more often, and she asked to go with me a few extra times. Nothing dramatic or compelling, only slightly different. There was a whisper…..
Then, nothing. There were no emails, no phone calls, no visits…only silence.
It did not seem unusual at first; the difference was slight. It felt more like a shift back to the old normal. There used to be times when we did not talk or see each other. But it did not feel right.
Then there was an email. I was so excited. She was back. Open the darn thing, I could not open it fast enough. Where have you been?
Shock! It was not where have you been. It was where she was now.
She had turned her world upside down.
It all came rushing together. Now I understood. There had always been hints, little bits of insight about her home life, and there had been more chunks of it right before she disappeared. I knew she was unhappy, but I was stunned when I read her words.
There had been a small window of opportunity, and she jumped through it. She ran. There would not be any more casual conversations over coffee, not anytime soon.
She had been planning this for a very long time. There just needed to be that time, the right time. I had no clue.
I was stunned, and I was in awe of her. She was such a strong, scrappy woman. I sat there, re-read her email and cried. I was sad for her and what she had been hiding. She had told no one.
She was miles away, such a long way. In another state at the other end of the country, but I had no address yet, and no phone number to call. A request not to tell anyone and the information that someone would probably contact me looking for her. The plea, so urgent, please pretend you have not heard from me.
The call came, then again and again. So many questions. Where is she? Had I heard from her? He needed to know. He questioned why I did not know, why I could not answer him.
I lied, of course, I lied to him, over and over again. No, the answer I gave him, was always no. No, I have not heard from her. I am worried too; I hope she contacts you soon. When she does, please tell her I am thinking of her. They were all lies. He was not worthy of anything more than that. I would protect her.
He told me he was going to the police to file a missing person’s report. Shit! Now what? She does not want him to find her.
What should I do? She was going through so much, trying to settle in and make a new life. She was afraid. There was the constant worry that somehow he would find her.
I sent off an email, not sure it would reach her. She was in the process of changing everything. Please call me. I need to talk to you. Waiting for that call was agony.
I knew if he filed a missing person’s report, they would find her. He would know where she was. She called, and we talked for a long time. What should she do? She decided to contact one of his relatives. In the end, he did not file the report.
He never talked to her directly. Eventually, there was contact by email. He demanded she come back. He would change; things would be different. Yeah, when pigs fly!
She hired a lawyer. There were mutual investments and property. She had to deal with that, and eventually, it happened. Finally, it was no longer necessary for any contact. She still had the fear that he would find her.
Gradually life went on for my friend. She created a new life, but it was different. She was different. There was the never-ending relief that the relationship was over, but she was having a difficult time finding a new rhythm. There were so many changes.
It has been almost three years. I miss her. I miss the smiling face, the twinkle in her eyes, the warmth she radiated. She was, and, is my friend. I no longer take her for granted.
We still talk, of course, and email back and forth. It is not the same. The friendship and the way we care for each other has not changed. It is the same, but it is more intensified now. I want to be able to sit next to her and drink coffee. My dream is to surprise her. Buy a plane ticket and knock on her door.
You see now there is something new, a new threat, my friend has cancer.
What happens now? Will I ever see her again?
“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”– e.e. cummings
As always, thank you for stopping by. Fill your day with laughter.