I met my cycling group this weekend which included a member returning from an injury. She complimented us all on our robust good health. What happened next astonished me!
I read an article which I wanted to share with you. It focused on depression, it’s the most common mental illness. Carers must take care to battle any blues, read more to help yourself….
Depression is twice as common in women as men according to the World Health Organisation. Most everyday carers are female so it’s obvious that attention needs to be taken to enlighten carers, ensuring carers keep healthy; mentally and physically.
I succinctly edited the article’s information, advice and recommendations:
- Exercise is recommended as an antidepressant. 2-3 hours a week is suggested by University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in the USA. There must be time in the week for a good walk?
- Eating a diet rich in veggie, fruits, nuts, whole grains, fish , and healthy fats like olive oil may improve blood flow, fight inflammation and repair any cell damage so says a study published in General Psychiatry. Always good to eat healthy foods, eat fresh and remember portion size.
- In a Harvard School of Public Health Study it was shown that women who drank four cups of coffee a day were less likely to fall into a funk! So coffee is good although four cups a day is quite a lot even for me! A recent US National Institutes of Health Study stating people who drank four cups of soft drink were more likely to develop depression than those that didn’t, so restrict soft drinks.
- The average time people take to seek help with their depression is 5 years according to a Singapore Mental Health Study. It’s time to visit the doctor if you suffer from persistent feelings of sadness, loss of appetite, insomnia, lethargy or feelings of worthlessness.
- Your health is at risk if you are depressed as depression triggers inflammation leading to heart disease according to a study from Loyola University Medical Centre,USA. Carers have responsibilities to others so carers health is imperative, prioritize and maintain your health.
- A new study in the Molecular Psychiatry Journal showed depression added 4-6 years to your actual age. I don’t need to wear that on my face!
- In a 2013 survey by www.everydayhealth.com it was revealed 53% of seriously depressed people improved their outlook by kind deeds. A strong argument for contributing to our communities, organisations, local clubs and improving your well-being.
As a carer I maybe at increased risk of clinical depression but with a good diet, a minimum of 2-3 hours exercise a week, some coffee (enjoyed with friends) and actively contributing to my community I am less likely to become seriously affected with depression. If I do feel shaky mentally or physically then a visit to my GP can remedy my psyche in a timely manner.
Carers need to be fit to care and above all else I don’t want to walk around with 6 additional years of worry, distress and wrinkles on my coping face. I actually want to enjoy life and wear a smile. Just be aware and take care of yourself.
Statistics taken from Depression by the Numbers www.shape.com.sg
“I dislike deep dark holes” sounds random but let me explain. There have been instances when issues drop into my lap, problems which I don’t have any answers to. Being a good listener maybe all that is required, yet I can be subtlety drawn towards the dark, swirling maelstrom, that spirals out of control to a deep hole that traps us at the bottom where we can get stuck trying to figure out how to address the issue. I prefer not to participate in any mental surfing that ruminates on problems in a brooding fashion. I prefer to stay firmly above ground in the sunlight and have a ladder or rope ready for any hole dwelling, mulling, contemplative individuals. I can put the kettle on and call with words of encouragement, I can listen for as long as it takes but I resist the temptation to fall into the whirlpool of circling thoughts and issues. This theory works both ways as when I feel rotten and can’t see the wood for the trees I talk to my family and friends and there is always someone with a verbal, not literal, ladder to help me out of my hole.
Sometimes issues can be resolved by simply remembering: the past cannot be changed, and doesn’t change the more anyone talks about it, so best to accept it as it is. The future is unknown so no point mulling endlessly about what could happen in a million different imagined scenarios. The key is to be in the present, address just what is in front of you today. I have for some time now been practising living here and now, being responsive rather than reactive. I endeavour to drop any bias that entrenches or prejudices my interpretation. My aim is to see life just as it is. If I observe life with this attitude life is usually simple and accommodating.
Emily’s spinal cord injury has lead to some deep thoughts revolving around the unanswerable “WHY?”. It is best not to get drawn into that debate because it just simply is. There is no answer to “WHY?” “IF ONLY” “WHAT IF” . If I do try to process these questions I’ll just end up with an ulcer. However many times I revisit the past the outcome never alters. I can not anticipate the future as too many variables and unknowns so the best place to be is here, right now, enjoying the day in front of me. It would be a shame to miss today as missing today means I’m missing the point.
If I find myself in a deep musing hole I pop my head over the rim and look around as answers are rarely to be found in rumination pits. Answers may never come to me but living in reflective depression asking tough soul searching questions of life is no way to spend my time so I chose to stare each day in the face and make the most of it. The best approach for me is to accept I’ll make mistakes but if I care and hold on to my core values with integrity, if I always treat others as I would have them treat me, then maybe clarity will come to all my questions and enlightenment will show me a clear path forward, no dark melancholy holes involved.