#DepressionTip102

Exercise, sounds like a dirty word doesn’t it? Especially if you are suffering from depression.  I know what you’re thinking – how can I think about exercise when all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep?  Believe me I understand I have been there and still am at times. I fight daily to not let depression into the window of my soul.  

I have always been athletic – not an athlete but I love the feeling I get after a good workout.  Whether that’s a quick walk with my dogs, a swim or a vigorous ride on the recumbent bike.  I love it.  Don’t get me wrong many days I have to force myself out of the house. Some days I will go to a mall and walk.  On those days I get to window shop and be around other people.  I am getting my endorphins going and helping with my feelings of loneliness at the same time.  Win win! 

A study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1999, divided 156 men and women with depression into three groups. One group took part in an aerobic exercise program, another took the SSRI  (Zoloft), and a third did both. At the 16-week mark, depression had eased in all three groups. 

How does exercise relieve depression? For many years, experts have known that exercise enhances the action of endorphins, chemicals that circulate throughout the body. Endorphins improve natural immunity and reduce the perception of pain. They may also serve to improve mood.  Exercise also has these added benefits:

  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects

Regular exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits, too. It can help you:

  • Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
  • Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
  • Get more social interaction. Exercise and physical activity may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood and help lessen feelings of loneliness.
  • Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.

Starting and sticking with an exercise routine or regular physical activity can be a challenge. The following steps can help you find and stick with an exercise program:

  • Identify what you enjoy doing. Figure out what type of physical activities you’re most likely to do, and think about when and how you’d be most likely to follow through. Doing what you enjoy helps you stick with it.
  • Get your mental health provider’s support. Talk to your doctor or other mental health provider for guidance and support.  It is always important to discuss any new exercise program with your doctor before you start.
  • Set reasonable goals. Think realistically about what you may be able to do and begin gradually.  Never set unrealistic goals that you’re unlikely to meet.
  • Don’t think of exercise or physical activity as a chore. It is better to look at your exercise or physical activity schedule the same way you look at your therapy sessions or medication — as one of the tools to help you get better.
  • Prepare for setbacks and obstacles. Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction. If you skip exercise one day, that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain an exercise routine and might as well quit. Stick with it!

If you are exercising regularly but anxiety or depression symptoms still interfere with your daily living, see your doctor or therapist. Exercise and physical activity are great ways to ease symptoms of anxiety or depression, but they aren’t a substitute for psychotherapy or medications.

With depression there is not one “fix” that fits all.  Since I have added regular exercise to my medication and therapy sessions I have definitely had more good days than bad.  I can only hope that it will do the same for you.

Cheers

Marlene



#DepressedAnonymous

Depression is a lonely feeling.  It is hard to explain the deep despair that is the crux of depression.  I have trouble getting out of bed much less do I feel like feel like socializing when all I really want to do is crawl back under the comforter.  As hard as it is I force myself to exercise, walk my dogs, putz around the house; anything to keep busy.  I feel if I stop moving the depression will set in.  It does.  Writing helps – the community of bloggers is wonderful – but could there be a comfortable way to meet people to feel less lonely?

I have many friends and family members who have suffered with addictions of various types; alcoholism, drugs, gambling, food.  The one constant in those who made it to the other side was Alcoholics Anonymous. 

 I wondered if there was a “Depressed Anonymous” a place to meet others who are experiencing the same feelings of lonliness and despair.  I was very excited to see that there was.  After visiting their website at http://depressedanon.com I thought this was definitely a program worth exploring.

Based on the very successful protocol set forth by Alcoholics Anonymous what follows is from the website of Depressed Anonymous.

THE AIMS OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS:

1) To let the depressed person know that she or he is not alone in his or her struggle with depression. We also help others learn to do pleasant activities again.

 2) To provide a group where members can help one another and learn new skills in taking mastery over their lives and begin to live again with hope and joy. 

3) To help each member feel better about themselves — today. One day at a time! 

4) To educate the depressed person and his or her family about the nature and causes of depression and remove the SHAME of their feeling depressed. It’s OK to admit that we are feeling overwhelmed

We seek to prevent depression through education and by creating a supportive and caring community through support groups that successfully keep individuals from relapsing into depression. 

12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous

1. We admitted we were powerless over depression —that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. We’re entirely ready to have God remove our shortcomings.

7. Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.

I hope that anyone reading this who is suffering will be motivated to search for a meeting in their area.  Please visit their website if you can’t find one –  they are there for you.  It is up to you to take the first step hard as that sounds.  Once you have taken that step I have a feeling you will be glad you did.

#AweDepressionandOtherCauses

Depression is an odd animal. My husband and I spent the last few days in Zion National Park, Utah.  I was awestruck by the beauty of nature yet felt sad at the same time. Is that sadness depression? I’m pretty sure that was how I felt. 

I have this need to name my depressive feelings hense “Awe Depression”.  This got me thinking, is there a clinical name for this and other types of depression?  

Google to the rescue! Following are a few of the most common causes of depression, some more surprising than others.

Genetics

Maybe your mother had it. Or your uncle or your sister. Watching a family member suffer from depression can be difficult. But does that mean you also will suffer from the condition?

Clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is the most common form of depression. The Stanford School of Medicine(SSM) estimates that 10 percent of Americans will experience this type of depression at some point in their lives. This type is also more likely to be shared by siblings and children. A person with a relative who suffers from depression is almost five times more likely to develop depression as well.

A British research team recently isolated  a gene that appears to be prevalent in multiple family members. Scientists believe as much as 40 percent of those with depression can trace it to a genetic link. Environmental and other factors make up the other 60 percent. 

One study found that women had a 42 percent chance of hereditary depression, while men had only a 29 percent chance.

Facebook Overload

In a 2010 study, researchers found that about 1.2% of people ages 16 to 51 spent an inordinate amount of time online, and that they had a higher rate of moderate to severe depression. However, the researchers noted that it is not clear if Internet overuse leads to depression or if depressed people are more likely to use the Internet. These individuals may struggle with human interaction and lack of companionship.  Some experts even call it “Facebook depression.”  How apropo.

Poor Sleep Habits

It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, but it can also increase the risk of depression.

Summer Weather

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is most commonly associated with winter blues, and it afflicts about 5% of Americans.  But for less than 1% of those affected by SAD, this form of depression strikes in the summer.  “Warm weather depression is caused by the body experiencing a delay adjusting to new seasons,” says Alfred Lewy MD, professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland. Instead of waking and enjoying dawn, the body has a hard time adjusting, this could be due to imbalances in brain chemistry and the hormone melatonin.  next

Rx Medications

Depression is a possible side effect for anxiety and insomnia drugs.  Certain drugs prescribed to treat high blood pressure and lower cholesterol can also be a culprit.  Then there are those drugs used to treat menopausal symptoms. These among many others can cause depression, read the potential side effects when you take a new medication, and always check with your doctor to see if you might be at risk. 

End of Events

When something important comes to an end, like a TV show, movie, wedding, relocation or vacation , it can trigger depression in some people. All the excitement leading up to the event has had your adrenaline in overload. When the event ends the adrenaline levels drop and so does your mood.

Where You Live

You can endlessly debate whether city or country life is better. But research has found that people living in urban settings do have a 39% higher risk of mood disorders than those in rural regions. A 2011 study in the journal Nature offers an explanation: City dwellers have more activity in the part of the brain that regulates stress. And higher levels of stress could lead to psychotic disorders. 

Too Many Choices

The sheer number of options available whether it’s a beauty product, what to eat for breakfast at  a restaurant or simply buying a bathing suit can be overwhelming,  Not a problem for shoppers who pick the first thing that meets their needs.  However, some people respond to choice overload by exhaustively reviewing their options in the search for the best item.  Research  suggests that this coping style is linked to perfectionism and depression.

Lack of Fish in the Diet

Low intake of omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and vegetable oils, may be associated with a greater risk of depression. A 2004 Finnish study found an association between eating less fish and depression in women, but not in men. These fatty acids regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin, which could explain the link. Fish oil supplements may work too; at least one study found they helped depression in people with bipolar disorder.

Poor Sibling Relationships

Although unhappy relationships with anyone can cause depression, a 2007 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that men who didn’t get along with their siblings before age 20 were more likely to be depressed later in life than those who did.  It’s not clear what’s so significant about sibling relationships (the same was not true for relationships with parents) researchers suggest too much squabbling is associated with a greater risk of developing depression before age 50.

Chronic Pain 

Pain and depression are closely related. Depression can cause pain — and pain can cause depression. Sometimes pain and depression create a vicious cycle in which pain worsens symptoms of depression, and then the resulting depression worsens feelings of pain.  Such fun!  A rollercoaster of symtoms – which is causing which?  

Pain and the problems it causes can wear you down over time, and may begin to affect your mood. Chronic pain causes a number of problems that can lead to depression, such as trouble sleeping and stress. Disabling pain can cause low self-esteem. Depression doesn’t just occur with pain resulting from an injury. It’s also common in people who have pain linked to health conditions.

In retrospect my Awe depression is not all that odd.   If I analyze myself (this happens frequently), it seems to fall under end of event  depression; I tend to worry about the trip being over while it is still happening therefore everything is that much more intense and important.  

It seems self-analyzing can be enlightening.  I am by no means suggesting you fire your therapist!  A little self discovery never hurt anyone.  Does your depression fit any of the categories I have listed?  Did I miss one that you feel may cause depression in you? If so please share as we are all in this depression game together.  I feel the more we learn from each other; the better equipped we become to aid ourselves in our lifelong healing process.


#DepressionSurvivalTip101

I have found a few things I can do that absolutely keep depression at bay once my medication is correct – A good belly laugh being number one.  

My sense of humor runs amuck I never know what will cue my funny button but once that happens it’s off to the races for at least 5 minutes.  That’s 5 minutes I am not depressed, success.  

So for my friends in depression please try to find something to make you laugh today.  I don’t care if it’s a movie, a book or reading my previous post about farting (I laughed as I typed that one, I know sick sense of humor) just laugh – out loud.  You will be amazed, you can actually feel the endorphins being released.

I am the depression queen.  A proud survivor of many things, depression being just one.  At my lowest I was never suicidal, to vain for that.  I would not give this disease the satisfaction of taking my life. I like looking at the sky, listening to the wind blow, beautiful flowers – I love life.   

Lucky me the one thing I have no control over is my biggest fear, death.  So I laugh.  As often, as loud and as long as I can. 

Join me in laughter please.  Tell me what makes you chuckle or roar with laughter.  I am always looking for something new to laugh at other than myself!

Chuckles

Marlene

#ShartleEtiquette

Sorry men but I must go here.  I am sure many women; mothers, girlfriends and wives alike wonder what it is that causes men to shartle.  

Shartle
When one sharts due to sudden unseen excitement or state of shock.

Without going into graphic detail most know what a shartle is.  For those who are confused – Ladies it is when you pick your mans jockeys up by the corners and hold them arms distance as you run them to the laundry room.  

What is up men? I know your mothers taught you how to wipe properly, or did they?  Is it a man thing that when you feel the need to pass gas you “push” extra hard to make sure you get the most relief? 

I am at a loss. All I know is my panties have never experienced the shame of a shartle. I would worry I smelled of ass if I walked around all day knowing I had basically left a partial load in my drawers.

So from all of the women in your life who have the illuminating task of doing your laundry – try wiping better, don’t worry how manly your farts smell or sound and most importantly if you know you have shartle drawers do your own damn laundry!