Most regular readers of Chrome on the Range know that I have lived with major depression, chronic depression, since I was in my teens. Probably about 50 years.
Depression is not fun. It runs from uncomfortable to disabling. I've lived through that whole spectrum.
In the U.S., about 16.5 per cent of adults will experience significant depression during their lifetime. In any given year, about 6.7 per cent of adults suffer depression; almost a third in are severe depression. (National Institute of Mental Health)
In Canada, approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives. (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Depression and Bloggers
I didn't know if it is just me, or if it's science, but it seems that a lot of bloggers are dealing with depression, or some other similar challenges. (I know several bloggers who live with Bipolar Disorder.)
I did some checking and found that writers, in fact, are in the top ten occupations likely to suffer from depression.
So, naturally I asked, "Why?" There are variety of reasons which apply to writers, but not specifically bloggers. Though I suspect some sort of correlation. Lorelle talks about it, as do other bloggers.
It is not fun, and it probably runs over into other aspects of your life.
Moving Beyond Depression
There are some things you can do to tame what Winston Churchill called his "Black Dog."
1.See a doctor.
A knowledgeable doctor in a general or family practice can help a lot. It did in my case.
Besides, a doctor can check to see if there is something else that is causing the depression. Like a physical illness. I think of it as ruling out other possibilities.
2. Get a referral to a mental health professional.
As with any situation, getting to see a specialist is the desirable course of action. It took a while before I was in a position to get this. But that has made a significant change in my life.
3. Take your medications.
Medications are usually the first step for dealing with the problem. But only the first step. And the first medication you try may not be the best.
I have been on several medications over the years. The one's I'm taking now are the most helpful. But they are newer and more focused.
4. Eat well
I have found that, when I am depressed, I tend to eat protein and carbs. meat and bread. Bread as in donuts, particularly.
While eating some meat and carbs are OK, fruits and vegetables are really important. They helped to break the meat and carbs cycle, and they provide important nutrients. I probably don't eat as many as I would find helpful, but I keep working on it. Like an unpublished book, I'm a work in progress.
5. Get active
If the only walk I take is from your computer to the kitchen, I need to be walking a touch father.
In my first post in the A - Z Challenge, I talked about the importance of curiosity. An easy way of satisfying my curiosity is to walk around the block and see what is happening. And let my mind play with what I see. (Once one had mastered the art of walking one block, or to the end of the lane and back, one might go a little further.)
I did not notice any significant change in my life until I started doing this, regularly.
6. Build a Support Group
When I'm having major problems, I get into contact with other, understanding people. That is not always possible. Some of your friends may think depression is contagious. Someone noted that she got really depressed, she went from having a lot of friends to very few. That's terrible, but it happens, sometimes.
And then . . . ?
I'm not a mental health professional. I'm not saying this approach will work for you. But it has a worked for me. And it is consistent with what I have heard from many people, professionals and depression sufferers, about getting better.
This, of course, is only the beginning. Remember, see your doctor. The depression may be coming from another problem — your doctor can sort that out.
There is a more-than-average connection between writing and depression. I'm not convinced that depression helps writing. In fact, when I'm deeply depressed, I find it almost impossible to write.
So, do yourself a favour. Get some help. Even if you need to have a friend take you to the doctor or hospital emergency department, and hold your hand while you're there.