Not simply slight sadness…

aaa-depressionThere are many causes and degrees of this deep sorrow called depression. The source of depression can be anything like a medical condition such as multiple sclerosis and its side effects or symptoms. Postpartum depression can rear its ugly head to mothers soon after childbirth. A deep sadness after the loss of a loved one can be genuinely debilitating to one’s life for months after. These issues may seem like they have little in common, but they are far from dissimilar.

There is a stigma about depression that causes misinformation, and this lousy message gets spread like wildfire. Those who have or are currently going through some form of depression are not weak. Most times they feel alone and need friends and family to be there in their time of struggle. They need encouragement and given a reason to laugh, joke and to see that they are neither abnormal nor alone. I hope that this blog can help others do the right things to let these deeply mournful individuals know that they are loved and that depression is real.

aaa-holeThis guy is walking down the street when he falls into a hole. The walls are so that he can’t climb out. A doctor walks by, and the guy says “hey doc can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription throws it down into the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along, and the guy shouts “hey father can you help me? I’m down in this hole and I can’t get out.” The priest writes a prayer throws it into the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, and the guy shouts “Joe can you help me out I’m down in this hole, and I can’t get out.” The friend jumps down into the hole, and the guy says “what are you stupid? Now we are both stuck down here in this hole.” And the Joe says “yeah but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.”

I have learned one simply supreme certitude in my years of multiple sclerosis. Having excellent mental health means you will likely have positive physical health and vice versa. To possess total vigor in your life, you need mind, body, and spirit working together in absolute harmony. Each one is like a cog in a motor so if one stops working eudemonia will cease possibly causing irreparable harm.

For me, my depression was a dark and lonely place causing me to become a recluse. Although I rarely had the opportunity to get out of the house the possibility periodically presented itself. When the opportunity arose, I always refused because I felt shame. I did not want to be seen in public and this caused my refusal.

Just as rare was the opportunity to talk with people. My social skills were limited because I was lonely, grumpy and bitter so I did not want to engage in conversation. I had an abrasive attitude that was relentless. When I look back, my loneliness bred this bitterness making people not want to put up with me. This personality made people avoid me as if they owed me money.

aaa-hulkI would say that to get through the hard shell someone needed to be there to hear my pain. Someone needs to be there more than once a month as this “on-again-off-again” friendship is not enough. This need is because that “once a month relationship” allows too much time to return to the anguish-filled hostile personality. If someone is there more frequently that Incredible Hulk acrimonious attitude will wear down and the calm Bruce Banner will return. aaa-banner

I should have been doing some exercise or any kind of regular body movement to preserve the muscles that I had. The problem was that I merely sat on the couch waiting for the end. I was eager for the conclusion of the closing curtain call but was not willing to deal with the self-completion consequences. At this point, I felt loneliness, shame, and coward-ess.

aaa-fitnessI only have anecdotal evidence to confirm my hypothesis on this matter. However, when I palaver with people that regularly exercise they reveal that they feel better soon after they begin their workout. Some individuals disclose that when they first got off the couch to start a training regimen, it was a challenging chore. During my “dark days,” I did not make my body move, and I deteriorated until my wheelchair bondage set in. All of this proves that a positive mind and body need each other like a rowboat needs a lake. Depression is a challenging topic because of the numerous degrees and forms of this severely somber sadness.

Be there for a friend in need and be a great friend indeed.

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