I’ve had a few adventures with depression.
My campaign running for U.S. Congress in 2004 ended in defeat. After a 12-month full time eﬀort, I was physically exhausted. Even though I believed that second place in an election very well might have been better than first place in our dysfunctional political world.
Over the years, I have embraced a holistic approach to medicine, and from time to time, I engaged the services of marriage and family counselors. I welcomed the services of a medical doctor whereby I was directed to a staﬀ Nurse Practitioner to help me with a variety of issues: exhaustion, energy, leg and knee problems, supplements.
On the second or third visit, I noticed that she hesitated for a minute before entering the room. As she entered, she seemed to have put on a ‘happy clown’ act in an eﬀort to relieve the depression she perceived in in me. It probably made things worse, so I reverted to a variety of my spiritual teachings and associations to regain my footing in life.
Coping With Depression
One of my favorite ‘go to’ attitudes is to revisit what Ben Franklin addressed each morning during his time of reflection, “what good can I do today.” This thought pattern has continued to add a great deal to my life. When I was financially broke for most of a ten year period, I regularly asked this question, and found opportunities to ‘do more good than harm’.
As I regained my self worth and esteem, I recall being with a sophisticated charity group, and I mentioned something I had learned:
Anger is ‘I didn’t get my own way today’, Resentment is ‘I didn’t get my own way yesterday‘… and fear is ‘I may not get my own way tomorrow‘.
The facilitator stopped the presentation, wrote these statements on the chalk board as the group reviewed and embellished the flavor of the moment. Then, in the spirit of adding something to the dance of ideas, someone said,
“And depression is, ‘I can’t understand why I’m not getting my own way after all my hard eﬀort.‘”
So, oft the truth is said in jest.
Depression is or can be a serious medical issue of which I recommend to my self, and all of us to seek counseling. But, like any medical treatment, it usually requires our cooperation and active support of the solution.
For me, it’s depressing to have a loved-one die; and after a period of mourning, the forces of life return. Likewise, if I am sick with the ‘crud’, I’m not even close to being a happy camper. But, I fondly recall a friend saying, “a tincture of time” is a great medical treatment.
Mental Health Today
Thanks to Millennials, mental health issues like depression and anxiety are becoming destigmatized. For many years, people hid mental health issues from others, afraid of being cast out or frowned upon, as if it were a sign of weakness or a contagious disease. But mental health is a serious part of caring for the whole person. And in the current state of our society where play, music, and art is stripped from schools and replaced with structured curriculum that teaches kids how to take a test rather than how to function in life, mental health issues are surfacing much earlier.
Technology allows people to stay connected on multiple platforms 24 hours a day. While this is good in some aspects, it has opened the door to an increase in bullying and shaming. Before mobile devices, being picked on at recess or on the school bus was common, but now, kids are bullied on the bus, in class, at lunch, on twitter, on Facebook Live, and it’s open to an audience of millions to see – kids, especially those being singled out – never get a break.
The workplace also has transformed. The places we used to gather from 9-5 everyday have become round-the-clock productions. People are expected to come in early, work through lunch, stay late, answer texts and emails after hours, and play the role of multiple employees – but they’re only paid one salary for one job. And all too often, people can’t afford living expenses on that one job, so they pick up a side gig to work – after work.
Suicide rates are up. Anxiety is commonplace. Depression is something millions of people cope with every day.
In response to the mentally exhausting landscape, Millennials and GenZ have pushed through the stigma becoming the therapy generation, bringing to the forefront the necessity to reach out, talk to someone, and participate in some form of self care. Once again, our young generations are leading the charge to make the world a better place. I only hope I can play some small part in helping them achieve their goals.
Author & Blogger