How depression feels


My husband and I are in the recovery stages of bronchitis (which is why I was absent for a few days). Sometime during this bout of a widely recognized illness, I thought about how it could be related to Depression. I had to type the following notes on my phone, but I decided to share them with you:

“Many people compare depression to having the flu. You do not feel like getting out of bed. You feel lethargic. You definitely do not want to go to work. 

“But, there is no shot for depression. There are no antibiotics to help. There are no sick days for depression and you definitely cannot call in sick for four hundred days in a row.”

Now, let me go a few steps further. Imagine that almost no one knew the symptoms of the flu (or take away the obvious ones such as coughing and fever). Pretend very few people knew how to treat the flu. Suppose most people did not recognize you were ailing at all, but continually told you to “cheer up” and/or “keep your chin up” or some other nonsense that didn’t help you a bit. You have unexplained pains and fatigue. You probably have GI problems and most of all, you can’t think straight more than half the time. But, no one understands you or your problems which frustrates you to no end.

Throw in the fact you don’t “get over” depression in a week or two but usually carry it with you for several years and you have an idea, just an inkling of what depression is like.

Depression is not “just the blues.” It is not “short-term.” But, there is help out there. The depressed person just has to look a lot harder than someone with the flu.

 

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W is for Writing


 

A tub full of writing.

This is my collection of notebooks, journals and steno pads – all with my writing in them. There’s also about four of my favorite books on the far right.

I am a writer. I don’t write every day and I don’t have a scheduled day or time, but I still consider myself a writer.

But, what does writing have to do with Mental Health? It does a lot more than you might think. Besides keeping a journal or diary, writing can help you heal in a lot other ways. Sometimes, just putting yourself in the process of writing helps you feel better about yourself. In other cases, such as Stephen King, writing is so much a part of you that you can’t heal until you take it back up. Look up ON WRITING by Stephen King and read what he says after his leg was broken in about eight different places.

But, my experience with the healing quality of writing came while dealing with grief. When my mother passed away in March of 2012, I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. I wrote in my journal several times with some form of “Goodbye Mom,” but it never seemed to be enough. I couldn’t figure out why.

Then in February of 2013, I was writing a scene where my character saw someone’s ghost go to meet Jesus. In it, this ghost told me nobody could hurt her in heaven, there was no pain there and she would always be happy.

Suffice it to say, I had not sat down with the intention of writing anything other than the ghost disappearing. I was in tears before I finished it. I’d finally realized what my mother would tell me if she could. Instead of saying “Goodbye,” I had the ghost say “See you later.” That’s what Mom would have said if she’d had the chance. When my character answers, I honestly felt like I was saying, “Yeah, see you later” to Mom.

My grief didn’t go away, but I healed quite a bit on that day. I’d finally told my Mother that I’d see her again some day and thanks to something I wrote, I knew I would.

Ghost

Ghost (Photo credit: Pétur Gauti)

On Writing

On Writing (Photo credit: Jody Art)

A = ADHD; B = Bipolar Disorder


A is for ADHD, otherwise  known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and A.D.D. But, it isn’t always a bad thing. Many people thrive with ADHD. Do a search online for this and you’ll find a ton of advice about dealing with it.

B = Bipolar Disorder — “Bipolar mania, hypomania, and depression are symptoms of bipolar disorder. The dramatic mood episodes of bipolar disorder do not follow a set pattern — depression does not always follow mania. A person may experience the same mood state several times — for weeks, months, even years at a time — before suddenly having the opposite mood. Also, the severity of mood phases can differ from person to person.” (WebMD)

Ginkgo is a natural supplement used by some wi...

Ginkgo is a natural supplement used by some with ADHD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

C is for Couseling


First, let me Apologize (A) for starting the A-to-Z Challenge late. I signed up for it with good intentions and I actually had high hopes I’d write something for each day of the challenge. Granted, this is Boring (B) but I can only say that I let myself procrastinate and fouled up.

C is for CounselingCounseling is also known as analysis, psychotherapy, and talk therapy. I can tell you that it will help anyone who has a mental health issue or two. The best type of therapy is called “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.” It helps people understand their thoughts and feelings. Awareness of the thoughts in your mind can profoundly influence your behavior.

From now on, I plan to write about Mental Health. For each letter, I will attempt to find a word, a term or a phrase dealing with a mental condition. But, don’t take this the wrong way. Having a mental health issue is not always the same as having a mental illness despite anything you may have read before. I had intended to write “A is for ADHD” on April 1st, but the condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not always a bad thing. Many people thrive with ADHD or ADD, as it’s sometimes called.

Counseling

Counseling (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)