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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 mental
- giving priority to mental health will increase the chance of getting better physically

Having had cancer, major life changes, and ongoing physical conditions, I can say with conviction that managing my mental health has been the most important factor to get well.

Here are my methods that helped while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation:
- dress up for treatment (heals, wig, makeup)
- mentoring other patients with daily routine (teaching is learning)
- kept working (reduced hours) to feel productive
- read research (knowledge gives you the power to be a partner in your treatment)
- early morning walks to start the day right, clear the head, zone out, get some exercise
- kept social and told friends to not feel sorry for me
- lemon/lemonade (I started my Ph.D.)

Depression is an up and down road which can be navigated by medication, therapy, but most of all developing a lifelong skill of POSITIVE ATTITUDE.

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