Thank you, team, for this highly relevant Blogfest!
Here's what they wrote:
Last year, I wrote this article for a local newspaper. I aimed to describe the monstrous force of severe depression. What I learned after publication, though, is that far too many already know this beast.
A few lesser-known facts about depression:
- It's the world's most common disorder.
- It's both a mental health and a medical condition. The brain of a depressed person looks very different than a healthy person's brain. The good thing about this is that treatment most often helps.
- It's generally chronic. Depression doesn't usually do a one-time "hit and run." It likes to stick around, often for months, years, or a lifetime. In my case, it's hibernating below the surface, likely to make a grand entrance unless I keep it tamed - and even then.
- Stigma is so great that Robin Williams kept denying his depression and/or bipolar disorder, while incorporating his substance abuse into his comedy routines. Think about that! He chose to be labeled "a druggie" --with all the wretched stereotypes connected to drug addicts-- but refused to acknowledge his genetic mood disorders.
- Writing. I started writing to provide myself an emotional outlet. I had nobody to confide in as a kid, and I let the curse words fly. It helped tremendously and still does.
- Dancing, jogging, walking, cardio exercise. Gotta get those neurotransmitters flowing. I did so much writing today, that I broke things up by taking a few quick walks in the...
- Sunshine. I'm lucky to live in CA.
- Laughter! I advise a hearty laugh AT LEAST once a day. I'm talking about a laugh from the pit of your being that bursts out of you and continues until you're on the verge of losing control of bodily functions. Two of my favorite sources for this are A Beer for the Shower and Al Penwasser.
- Antidepressant meds. Not everyone who's depressed needs medication, and not everyone facing depression can find the right antidepressant. I went through years of awful med trials. Eventually, I was fortunate to find one that works for me. Now, I hardly think about it; I take it like a daily vitamin.
- Counseling. I've had more therapists who hurt versus helped. But I persisted, and a few good ones guided me through significant change. Simply having a place/person to express oneself to is crucial.
- Connections. Depression messes up our brains, causing us to believe that we're crap, our lives are crap, and there's no reason to go on...The best way to stay grounded in reality and hopeful, is through connections with caring people. I've pushed myself to reach out, even if only by calling a talk-line, when in deep despair.
- Chocolate. How could I not include this? I'm opting for dark chocolate more often these days, though, to keep it a little healthier. I also maintain a fairly healthy diet otherwise. When I overdo it on the sweets, or on food in general, which is often, I tend to feel guilty enough to exercise it off.
Have a nice, laugh-filled new week.
Thanks again to the Survive and Thrive Bloghop Team!