The actor, Ryan Phillippe, the former husband of Reese Witherspoon said this about depression, ‘To be open to talking about it, or acknowledging it, makes it a lot less taboo.”. To many, looking at the attractive man, father of three, you would wonder why on earth would someone like him suffer from depression. What is there to be depressed about, as my late mother-in-law would say.
But the fact is, it hits the most unlikely people, be it from a lifelong chemical imbalance or circumstantial. I have been asked several times to write about this topic from an “uplifting, hope-giving” perspective, and I don’t think I have done a good job so far from my own experience. This is largely because my bout was short and sharp, brought on by circumstances, and did not last more than two weeks, though OMG, those two weeks were really really difficult (thanks to my partner, family and friends, I got over it).
Thus, I would like to share what my dear friend Azlan Adnan had written. Azlan had been posting his incremental progress on Facebook (he posts a lot) and it gives me a glimpse into his fight to get better. This is what he wrote a few days ago:
To a “normal” person, doing mundane everyday things may seem “random” and “inessential;” but to a recovering depressed person who previously only stayed in his/her room for days on end, it is progress! Going out is an achievement. Spending the day negotiating, driving (!) to three different places, organising stuff, and figuring things out is a really, really big deal and worth writing about.
I know of a depressed person who has tremors, loss of concentration, lack of motivation. For years, the simplest of daily chores have been and still are a challenge.
I know of another who has no purpose or meaning in life and wishes for death to come end the daily grind of mere existence.
Depression is one of the most debilitating non-physical illnesses anyone can suffer.
I highly recommend Lindwall Releasing by HeikoSelina Niedermeyer who are, in my books, the world’s leading living practitioners of the Lindwall technique.
I also get patients/parents/caregivers to buy a copy or two of Feeling Good – The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns if people ask for my help. This book is worth its weight in gold. I find depressed patients tend to not be able to read as they may lack concentration, focus, motivation or even the ability to accommodate eye muscles (literally can’t focus), esp if they are on meds. So its useful to get family members or the spouse to read Feeling Good to understand what’s going on, to realise its the illness not the patient talking, that they will say the most hurtful and ungrateful things and they will hurt the ones closest and dearest to them. Its the nature of the illness that this happens.
William J. Walsh’s leading edge work in Advanced Nutrient Therapy is another paradigm shift in the treatment of depression and bipolar disorders.
I think the first step to getting rid of the ignorance, stigma and shame associated with mental illness is to promote mental hygiene and being open and transparent about mental illness and not sweeping it under the carpet. That’s why I’ve always been vocal and perhaps at times in-your-face when writing about mental hygiene. The aetiology is multi-factorial; there are genetic factors that can prime people, environmental insults that can trigger epigenetic switches, experience of real-life trauma that can cause anxiety, fear, insomnia, paranoia and serotonin depletion. Sometimes, paradoxically, its not even useful or empowering to find out the root cause. At others, it absolutely vital in order to change a disempowering brule.
I’ll repost my usual playlists in the following comments and make no apologies for it.
Photo: Azlan Adnan, caption: Pleasantly tired but happy after a full day of doing “random,” mundane and “inessential” stuff.