If you know someone who is depressed and don’t know how to deal with it take time today to find out more about this illness and read up on how you can help.
If you suffer with depression yourself, you must seek help. This is a treatable condition and you will get better. It just takes time. Go and see your GP or contact a relevant organisation for more information.
No anti-depressants, no counselling, no psychotherapy, no sleeping tablets, no set-backs, no devastating “lows” and equally, no manic-high energy phases either. No dibilitating exhaustion, no persistent nagging expectation. In short, no depression.
Instead a calmer, more philospohical approach to day-to-day living, accepting slight swings in mood as perfectly normal and nothing to panic about. Final realisation that I’m not Superwoman and never have been (only in my head) and I can only do my best. If my best isn’t good enough, I’m destined for other things but actually, my best isnt that bad.
The truth about men and depression by those who live with it.
If you can get hold of today’s Times, you will find a great article in The Times 2 Section called Taming the black dog written about men and depression by men who live with it.
I live with depression and I talk about it a lot as you will have noticed. There are two topics which are particularly close to my heart. The first is stigma. I am committed to reducing the stigma surrounding depression by talking openly and honestly about my experiences. More of that another time.
The second concerns men and depression. From experience I believe that it is more difficult for men to admit to feeling depressed and they are less likely to seek help and support when needed. I wrote a post for my Blog before Christmas called “Man Blue” which addresses some of the concerns raised in the Times’ article. I am not going to repeat them in this post as you can link back to the original, but the facts speak for themselves. In the UK alone, 30 men under 45 commit suicide every week. This is shocking and proof, if any is needed, that more support is required to help our men.
My husband has depression and has found it very difficult to cope with. Initially seeing it as a weakness he went through various stages of resentment, guilt, self-hatred and low self-esteem. Fortunately he is married to someone who genuinely understands the symptoms and behaviour patterns associated with depression and together we will get through it.
I am taking the liberty to write on behalf of all women who understand this illness to pledge our care and support to all men suffering with depression. Speak up you guys. If you need help ask and remember “Depression is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you have been trying too hard for too long”.
I have always suffered from being over-active both physically and mentally often doing far too much than is good for me. It is difficult to find something that relaxes me without being too physically demanding but I have always been intrigued from afar by the concept of meditation. It sounds perfect; losing yourself in yourself, blocking out those random destructive thoughts, instead focussing on deep, regular breathing. Whilst being treated for severe depressive bouts however I was advised not to meditate. Apparently it can have adverse effects on your mental state and well-being if not done under supervision or in controlled conditions and can actually heighten feelings of despair. So, if you are thinking of taking up meditation as an escape from your depression you need to be very careful and either do plenty of research or look for experienced help before setting off down this route.
Recently I have found that there are several alternatives to the silent, traditional, mantra-driven and introspective meditation, which probably suit me better. I have therefore chosen short guided meditations set to background music to help me clear my mind of all that mental detritus accumulated daily. These are designed to help you relax body and mind and discover inner peace whilst being guided by an experienced meditator.
It seems to be working so far and in a very short time I have come to look forward to my twenty minutes of “me” time, sitting cross-legged in the middle of my bed, nursing my nugget of rose quartz listening to tropical rain storms, waterfalls, whales and dolphins, imagining that I am stranded on a desert island.The only downside is waking up to reality. Now that can be depressing!
All this is very new to me and I have a lot to learn but the early signs are that meditation will help me to relax and enable me to cope better with my emotions which can be volatile at best. I look forward to regaining some control and objectivity instead of being ruled by my all-too-often gung-ho- heart-rules-head approach. I will keep you updated as to my progress and my experiences which may help you decide whether meditation is for you. In the meantime, here are a few resources which have set me on my way.