This Article is About
true depression
mild depression
lack of concentration
manic depression
low self esteem
sleep disorders
memory loss
sexual drive
little chance
helplessness
restlessness
The Deep Pools Of Depression – Sink Or Swim, Be A Life Guard
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The Deep Pools Of Depression – Sink Or Swim, Be A Life Guard

I have a friend who's lost his job, he's 61, has no pension and little chance of re-employment. Not being a psychiatrist, I suspect he's experiencing depression, and without the normal understanding of his family, he's sinking lower and lower.

I know we say with ease “I'm feeling depressed” when actually we're only feeling sad and miserable, a happy visit or occurrence clears the head, and we're back to a normal level. But a true depression is more than that, restlessness, agitation, sleep disorders, memory loss or lack of concentration, helplessness, low self-esteem, pessimism anxiety and even a lack of sexual drive.

What are the causes of this debilitating feeling? Actually they are unknown, but past experiences, ones upbringing, distress over a death, divorce or even a physical attack, can cause one to suffer the feelings. The level of depression differs in people from mild depression to bipolar disorder or manic depression. It is however a dangerous feeling, as the mild depressive can become more depressed think about being depressed. That in the end the being depressed, about being depressed, surpasses the original reason. This can cause a spiralling effect creating a deep depression, more difficult to return from, as the original problem now deeply buried.

An under-active or over-active Thyroid easily a physical reason, or so the experts expound, and one's encouraged to have it checked. Certain foods can also trigger a depression, so an analysis of what’s been consumed can aid with this.

What can one do to help yourself; positivity, a good outlook, try to think happier thoughts than the negative ones. Partake in a physical activity, go for a walk, one for pleasure, or with a stride to exercise the body. Look at the beauty that always surrounds, the good in those around you. Try your best at being positive, and if that does not help, seek the aid of a Doctor, or Practitioner of alternate medicines.

Doctors are likely to first prescribe a mild antidepressant medication, and then later a stronger one if at first unsuccessful. Alternate Practitioners will take longer and rather prescribe herbal alternates like St John Wort and other herbal mixtures. These take a little longer to work but might, in the long run be more beneficial. One might be advised to join discussion groups, joint activities and even to undergo counselling; but then this does not always suit all comers, unwilling to share their feelings.

So what can one do as a friend? First recognise that the friend is likely to feel hopelessness, worthless, and helpless, and chiding or telling them harshly “to snap out of it” will likely drive them from you. Talk to them, be a true friend and listen, don't analysis what they're saying, but encourage rather dialogue, the more they talk about their troubles the better chance they have of recognising their own way out. Encourage them to seek help and accept their wish not to, as a good sign, they're not yet at their lowest.

Be praising and condescending, this may just build their own self-esteem and aid them out of the depression. Don't then just stay away, keep returning to support them, encourage and reassure them of their future improvement. Be sympathetic and affectionate, let them feel some love from another, be there for them day and night and encourage them to contact you at any time they feel a down-ward trend. Support, the most important thing, don't make the bed rather encourage them to do it, help them if you must, but don't take responsibility away from them. Making the bed is an example as seen in everything, personal appearance, cleanliness, eating right, drinking and smoking less, understand it's in all their undertakings.

Be a true friend, don't stand back and say you're incapable of helping “I don't understand” is not an excuse, make the effort, it might be the difference between life and death; and if the effort is not successful, go with them to seek help. You might be the only friend there for them, but you will, in the end, be rewarded.


Street Talk

Very important article Rob, and one I know a bit about, as you do too. I can say from experience the deeper the depression, the more dangerous it becomes. Sometime a good friend is all it takes to turn it around.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I agree Shawn, I don't think one needs any clever Psychology, just good friendship.

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  about 1 decade ago

Another gem of an article Rob. After reading all the excellent comments below, there isn't much I can add. Good work though!

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  about 1 decade ago

Thats what I thought, with all these comments I can now do a dissertation on the subject.

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  about 1 decade ago
Joan S  

Ah, depression has many styles and faces. You were right when you said a number of people don't even know they are depressed. I think Ronnie said that. Because of the economy, people are being dropped on their faces right and left, and faced with either reinventing themselves or just succumbing to being left out of the work force entirely. The latter is no option in my book. Why allow anything or anyone to have that kind of power over you?After one finishes mourning their loss, then they must brush themselves off and get busy at something. I'm not being obtuse or arrogant here. I've had to face this first hand myself. My industry was destroyed in this economy. After building a successful business servicing these companies, it hurt terribly to see them drop the ball. I sustained a monstrous loss in income and royalties. I've been reinventing myself for a while now, and putting the pieces back together bit by bit. Not to worry about me friends, I'm a fighter. If I can do anything to help someone else, I hope it will be to inspire them to use adversity as fuel for success. It's important to remember that an emotional crisis can lead to serious physical problems, if sustained long enough. I've experienced that first hand too. So your friend cannot afford to wallow in any form of self pity or depression. You are a great friend to understand, to care and be there for your friend Rob. Your love will help him to get through. One of the difficulties experienced by people in a depression is an inability to sleep. I have found that melatonin helps a lot, and it's good for you too. It also helps to see the blessing in things. Even though one faces hardship under these circumstances, it also frees one to pursue something else. When you are comfy in a job or profession, you might be stuck there for life. We humans are capable of singing more than one song. I guess this is what is meant by necessity is the mother of invention in the sense that when the need presents itself, one rises to the occasion. We are that resilient. I'll pray for your friend.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Joan, I'm like you been down and out a few time, made money bought a farm, lost money and the farm, opened differing businesses on shoe string budgets, stood up again... Fight the good fight the answer to all infliction's. I'm sure it won't be long and he will think up something as well as I don't think the depression is a debilitating one, a temporary spout of panic, a what now questioning. I know how it feels to all of a sudden loose it all, but that is when one must turn to ones faith in ones self and seek the next opportunity.. Yes I will support him, be there for him, and encourage him, but until the fight builds up again I worry a little for him. Thanks for the article of comment, a true input for others to read, like Ronnie down below somewhere this article might just turn out a aid for someone else...

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  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Rob your article helped me understand a few things in relation to family members who are going through similar things. its so easy to say "buck yourself up", without understanding the problem.

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  about 1 decade ago

My normal fault, the same thoughts, "Get a life" "chin up" etc, but that is not what they want to hear according to my research..

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Dear Rob, The biggest problem in addressing depression, is that most family members takes a long time to understand the problem, who most of the times, address the problem in the wrong way. Great article.

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  about 1 decade ago

How right you are Alfred.. It is a bit of an unknown factor and how to handle it is not easy for the sufferer and the friend...

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

There are so many people out there in your friend's situation. Unfortunately depression is not allowing them to see clearly and look for another solution to the problem, which I must admit is not at all easy to find. Especially at that age... This one is lucky to have at least a true friend, because at situations like these people are most probably to be left alone

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  about 1 decade ago

I agree Maria, all I can do is support and that I will, life after 60 is not for sissies and jobs are almost unobtainable. but I know he will come through it, we all do,.... built tough and rugged in the old ways...

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Rob, thank you for this article. From here, I can speak of experience ! Being a rape survivor, (13 yrs) then going through all three of the challenges, all within a six month period, that you mentioned in your article. From October 2008 to March 2009, I went through a divorce, my Dad passing away and five weeks later, being attacked and put into a wheel chair, which I am no longer in and physically, in brilliant condition. PLEASE !! Before I continue, one is NOT to look at this as a self pity reply, in fact, quite the opposite ! To have been challenged like this and survived it with grace, is for me an extremely important part of who I am today. MY best advise to anyone suffering depression , go with it. Accept it. It will take a while to get through. I speak of months maybe years. My advise to friends and family , trying to help someone with depression. Empathize, which basically means. They are in the hole, do not jump in with them, rather throw them the rope and give guidance and how they can get get themselves out of the hole. Rob, your article will be of interest to many people. Unfortunately, depression STILL comes with a stigma attached, which is sad, as many people will not own up to it, which slows down research and recovery. Also, fifty percent of the population suffer from depression and are not even aware of it.

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  about 1 decade ago

Wow Ronnie I had no idea and stand in awe of your recovery, one that can talk from experience is always welcome to comment on my article and to correct if I'm wrong. To share with us your happenings and to have stood up again, is not to pity you, but rather to admire your tenacity. You having been through this can obviously talk with knowledge, and I wonder in my heart if you agree with all I've said.. The stigma is what I think may keep many from talking about their problem, and I'm half convinced communication and discussions of how you're feeling must aid in a recovery.. again I ask if I'm right, as I want to do my best for my Buddy.. I've helped a few people (Alcoholics) get over their addictions, having been there made it easy as I could talk from some experience.. Is my article on the right lines am I going about it correctly? I cannot wait for your reply, a fellow friend needs me...

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

You are doing just fine Rob, Remember, is everyone is different - so, you will have to feel your way with this. The things to watch are - sleep is vital ! Even if he needs a sleeping tablet ( GP/Specialist) or Melatonin- sleep hormone, (Health Shop) , you need sleep, it is the time when the body is healing. You have a thing called SLEEP DEBT. In you lose 7 hours sleep, you actually need to make up 7 hours. Not to sleep all day though. A nice warm bath before bed, slow the evening down, dim lights. Dark curtains if possible. Eating - monitor his eating, as he will forget when he last ate, and more then often, he will lose his appetite. (or may eat too much but of the wrong things) Continual intake of fluids - NO alcohol - it is a depressant in itself. Exercise, daily walk, preferably with nature. In a park or something similar. Therapeutic work as in woodwork, art, gardening (HUGE plus) VOLUNTEER WORK - this will make him feel worth while. No pressure though. Hospice, SPCA,- emptying boxes, carrying, no calculating, good physical work. Omega 3, Vitamin B injections. I hope this all helps Rob, he will in time, realise that he has one very special friend in you and be extremely grateful.

  
  about 1 decade ago

Ronnie, thank you for brave sharing. I have prayed often for wisdom and grace.... and unfortunately it seems to grow only from experience and and the depth of the plough. You have a beautiful outlook.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Words of wisdom from Heather,... Damn you're good.

  
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Ronnie for the pointers, between the article and all the comments we might just have an article here between us all that will help others in the same position. Your points are taken with great appreciation, I'm sure like all things panic and the unknown future does not make things any easier, but he will come out the other side a winner, of that I'm sure, Born fighters us Southern Africans, as you well know, and he is one of them.. I thank You again Ronney and look forward to one day sitting down with you and catching up... You remain a good friend...

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Golfspice  

A friend of mine is suffering from depression following by-pass surgery over a year ago, which apparently is fairly common and he now struggles with self-motivation. Yet, get him out and about and stimulated and he appears absolutely fine. He was fanatical about playing golf, but now refuses to play, even though his wife and many friends play. Physically he is fully recovered. As you say, depression affects everyone differently. Providing understanding support is vitally important for their self-esteem.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I have a friend that went through bypass surgery and is back playing golf.. his game is so much better now that I nearly volunteered to go for the same op. He swings a little slower and tries not to hit the bejeezes out of the ball, result slower, slightly less distance, but down the middle and his handicap has dropped by 7 strokes. But now we're off the subject.. The support and encouragement most important, that redeveloping self motivation...

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I would imagine from my tiny experience of feeling down in the dumps that the hardest part of depression would be that motivation for ANYTHING is sapped right out of you. What colossal will power to even attempt one of your good suggestions like taking a walk. It must feel like a "stuck with no options" situation. Just horrible.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I cannot think it easy to drag oneself back from a deep depression, and I'm of the opinion that to try it alone even more difficult. I saw your comment below on food, and found that one very interesting.. what your fed as a youngster, be it a sweet or whatever, can be associated with a bad experience that is replicated in later years when the same is eaten.. The now mature age can experience a depression by association. Your more expert than me in mind matters but this I found fascinating... I would enjoy hearing your take on that and was so disappointed when you vacated the soapbox... so climb back on and give us your take on this... don't be shy, we all know you now.. Grab a cuppa and give us your more expert meaning...

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

My dear Rob, even with a cuppa in hand the step onto the soap box seems mighty high these last days. I must admit when I mentioned food I was thinking of physical effects e.g. allergies that are inflamed, dis-ease that is ignited by the body being out of balance because of crummy fuel it is feeding on, hormones upset, illness resulting that causes emotional angst. I liked where you were going though with the emotional attachment that we have to some foods. I have a friend who can diet and have great success until she is emotionally upset (usually by a slight on her weight) and then she runs home to eat chocolate. Some weak people (hehehe) have all sorts of substance crutches they gain comfort from, eh? I, for one, have avoided this in life although I must admit that it's very soothing for me to hold a big mug in my hands and I'll do anything to make sure it's warm. Enough of your distractions!!! I'm catering for 25 people tomorrow and have packed most of my kitchen into boxes. I have to face the world here or I'll be out of bed way past midnight slicing tomatoes and icing cakes!

  
  about 1 decade ago
Lemuel  

Nice ending paragraphs, Rob. I think you have genuine qualities of a true friend - not many people have these. So, he's 61 years old without a job, why not try online affiliate marketing? It's cheap to build websites these days but big opportunity. Although, when one is depressed it will greatly affect his performance. And his family not knowing what to do, or perhaps not prepared for this, will add up to his situation.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

When one reaches that age, and being there myself I know how difficult it would be for him lacking first a computer and the knowledge to operate it... I am using what connections I still have in the Golfing Industry to see what I can find for him... With luck... I at least have my program but I think it can be soul destroying at this age to have no future after 40 plus years of working, you now have nothing to do and your mates are all still busy...

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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