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Showing posts from May, 2019

Acknowledge v Accept Depression

I will outline attitudinal difference between acknowledging and accepting depression.

Acknowledging means that you are fully aware of your negative mental state and have the choice of finding ways to deal with it.  This also means that you are not in denial.  Those who have not acknowledged their state of mind and emotions caused by depression do not have a choice but suffer.

Acknowledging also means that you now reached the point where you can embark on the depression road to make life better.  You can seek more information about your particular version of depression, find the right medication, and engage with a therapist.

Acknowledging also means that you can start self-observation, self-examination, and self-awareness practices.  There are a lot of resources out there.  My advice would to be read some and identify a few sources that really resonates with you (like it is your style) so that you can put reading into practice.

The most important thing is to get on the road and do some…

Adolescents with Depression need more help

We are truly failing our young people with depression!

Take a look at the comparison. It is astounding to me to see that 60.1% of adolescents received NO treatment for their depression while it is about half of that for adults. The picture is even more bleak when it comes to proper treatment of medication and therapy.

The most scary thing is that these numbers only represent the population with diagnosed cases.  Depending on the source, the estimates of undiagnosed cases could be as high as two-third in the US and even more globally.

I can think of many reasons for this.

1. Young people are less capable/willing to communicate their need for help.
Ideas: school programs, volunteer therapists, online forums, mentoring, buddy system, develop a behavioral assessment list that is unique to children

2. Parents are not aware of their child's mind
Ideas: recommend psychological assessment as prevention, educate about signs of depression, provide platforms/events/forums to raise awareness…

Depression doesn't walk alone

Truthfully, I have never seen a person with depression who doesn't have some other mental and/or physical condition.

There are many studies, one of which was published in JAMA Psychiatry, that we have a 1 in 5 chance to experience depression in our lifetime.  The findings indicate comorbidity (existing together) with other psychiatric disorders as follows:
substance use disorder - 57.9%
previous anxiety disorder - 37.3%
personality disorder - 31.9%



This study also points out that we have an increased rate of self-medication with other substances like cannabis.  Personally, I use nicotine (my addiction) and Nutella.

Depression is also very common with people who have physical illness. Here is a fairly simple read from the Medical Journal of Australia that discusses the complexity of having depression and physical problems.

The gist of physical illness and depression is that there is a pretty good chance of:
- having both
- medicine often treats the physical first but misses the menta…

Intelligence Depression Pie

If you have above average intelligence, then chances are you have encountered some level of mental health issue like anxiety, depression, ADHD, ASD, and the likes.  This is no coincidence.

Research shows that high IQ people are significantly higher at risk of developing mental problems because of the hyper brain and body sensitivity.

My personal experience jives with this.  For the record, my IQ is 134.

I have many friends who have even higher IQ then mine and all of them suffer from some form of mental issue, often multiple problems.

So here is the PIE equation.  PIE = IQ + EQ (mental health).  As you can deduct, the higher the IQ the lower the mental health.

Many high IQ people know their mental problems and, being smart, develop coping mechanisms to live with the 'down' days, lack of motivation, anxiety, and so forth.  The problem is that many will try to 'outsmart' their condition(s) by telling themselves that they are smart enough to deal with it on their own.  I s…

Music Helps Depression

It's been well known that music helps people with depression.

You can read research and a lot more about how music can help at the American Music Therapy Association's website.

I won't bore you with the musical theory behind my choices (being a violinist I know a bit about it), just let it suffice that the most constructive pieces for depression (in my opinion) are written in a variation of major keys.

Here are a few of my suggestions:

Uplifting
Classical: Liszt - Les Preludes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDEem_aEttE
Pop: Bette Middler - Wind beneath my wings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iAzMRKFX3c

Motivating
Classical: Dvorak's 8th Symphony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfP29uN33L8
Pop: Whitney Houston - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27Lf9gEioxI

Productive
Classical: J.S. Bach - Brandenburg concertos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCPM8DEsvmc
Pop: Queen - Don't stop me now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgzGwKwLmgM

Calming
Classical: Debussy - Clair d…

Exercise is Natural Medicine for Depression

I know what some will say... I just can't get myself moving.  If you need motivation, here is a reason why.  Exercise increases neurotransmitters, the stuff in the brain responsible for regulating physical and mental well being. Here is some research you can read.

For my money, you don't have to be an athlete or exhaust yourself to get some benefit from exercise.  Start slow and small, then increase intensity as you get better.  The most important thing is to do something every day so you body develops a 'need' for moving.  I'd say you'll feel that 'need' in about 3 weeks at which point it becomes easier to get going.  Developing this healthy habit will help with your depression.

Many will also say that exercise takes time which they don't have.  As my mother said, "you have time for what you make time for".  You can do something just about anywhere!

If you think that exercising requires money, I'll show you how you can get in shape fo…

Break the Negative Cycle

Part of why depression is so debilitating is the vicious circle of negative thinking.  It goes something like this:
I feel down > I'm lazy > I don't deserve ______ > I feel guilty/anxious/stressed/pain/paranoid/whatever > I should _____ > I'm tired > I don't care > leave me alone > REPEAT

Here are some techniques I used to break this cycle:

Listen to comedy - not the sarcastic type but pure funny stuff

Search for quotes on life wisdom - ponder its truth and how (if at all) you can apply it

Clean something - it is amazing how focusing on a simple task can give your mind a break

Write a note of appreciation - like smiling, using positive language raises your spirit/mood

Breath - if you don't know how, look up yoga/meditation/mindfulness

The possibilities are endless.  The main idea I am highlighting is to FOCUS on something for a little while (15 minutes) to give your mind a break from negative thinking.  This will allow you to stop the downwa…

Early Signs of Depression

I often wondered if I was born with the tendency of depression.  I asked my Mom last night what she could remember about my behavior that would be an indicator of depression.  Here is what I learned:

Age 3
Mom's spontaneous hug and kiss attempt often resulted in my response:
"Mom don't kiss me"
I earned the label "moody" which stuck with me 'till puberty.
My parents dismissed this sign and attributed it to me being independent, smart, opinionated and the likes.

Age 5
I was often found as a center of attention 'lecturing' others.  I used my wit and reasoning ability to keep people at arms length.

Age 7
First grade offered another platform to perfect my craft distancing myself from others.  I used every opportunity to show that I was different than the rest both in mental abilities and behavior.  While I loved the 'admiration' of my peers, I was also bored with them.  I was seeking adult acceptance.

Age 8
In an attempt to write a short sto…

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is the mental health awareness month since 1949.

While there are a lot of organizations and initiatives that exist for providing help, support, education and various aids, the number of people affected by depression, anxiety, stress and many other forms of debilitating mental conditions is on the rise.

Make a point to do something every day to raise your spirit, motivation, clarity, or simply give yourself a chance to feel better.  It only takes a few minutes!  Once you get into the habit of daily 'feel better' activities, you can add more to the list.  Practice is the key to healthy habits.

Here are a few ideas to reduce the risk of getting into or going deeper into depression:

Increase physical activity - even 15 minutes will give you a refreshing break (walk/run/bike, clean, do yard work, play with a pet)

Take a break - do something different for a few minutes to clear your mind (get water or a healthy snack, water the plants, load the dishwasher, take a bathroom break,…