This blog is mostly a place of FITness and health with a positive vibe. I express and spin my views on FITness based on 20 plus years of dedicated “sweaty” experience. I bring a light-hearted humor with an encouraging bent toward integrating FITness into our pesky busy lives. BUT today, I dare take a walk on a slightly darker side of wellness. Don’t get your hopes up honey this isn’t a sexually charged post, this a warning. A “be on the look out” kind of message.
There is a silent thief among us stealing our joy, mental/physical health and much more. It’s sneaky and debilitating but it’s in fact a real thing. It tip toes, creeping around like a stealth burglar and it’s hard to pin point. Most people are completely unaware they have been internally ransacked. This common crook lurks around day after day like a pickpocketing perpetrator. The only sign of the dastardly swindler is the stalled out human left blindsided and feeling weighted down like a ton of bricks. Masked in a disguise of stress and anxiety, DEPRESSION is the heist.
Don’t check out on me just yet. Keep reading and you just might learn something. This may be closer to home than you care to admit. The NIMH estimates that over 16 million people in the US have experienced at least one major depressive episode. Below are some photos of my big circus of a family. One or more have or will have an experience with depression.
Depression is very common and in some cases a temporary spot. It’s totally mistaken and sometimes hard to recognize. Half of the people who are dealing with it have a ton of friends, a family, and are in general, a happy-go-lucky person. How in the world could they be depressed?
- Are you/ they much more irritable, aggressive, and short-tempered than usual?
- Are you /they consuming more alcohol or using tv, sex or social media, or games to self medicate?
- Do you/ they feel restless or agitated?
- Has your/ their appetite or sleep habits changed?
- Has your/ their productivity at work declined?
- Do you/ they have trouble concentrating on work?
- Do you /they find it hard to control negative thoughts?
- Do you/they feel helpless or afraid to communicate their/your need for help?
Has the loss of a job or failed business or relationship got you or someone you know backed into a corner? Has the loss of a family member, physical injury or blow to the ego taken place? Are you seeing the wheels come loose from what is usually a normal stable person? Are you watching your child or loved one lose interest and common sense? Are you seeing yourself or this person retreating from sound advice with loose cannon anger? Are they using erratic speech and foul language? Do you find it difficult to communicate with this person about even small subject matters? Do their action plans lack action?
Depression changes how people think, feel and function. It often interferes with daily productivity at work/school or in the home. It has tremendous impact on close relationships such as a spouse, child or parents. The mixed erratic signals from the temporary depressed party is difficult to navigate often leaving the spouse, kids or parent feeling like they are living in a land mind. Temper flares from the depressed party like a ticking time bomb and those in the explosive zone get hit the after shock. Kids easily sense something is wrong and might begin to voice concern.
What’s wrong with mommy or daddy? Parents might mistake their kids behavior as the typical teenager years. All the while the person battling depression has kicked into a reverse gear with no back up camera.
- Physical pain. Sometimes depression rears its ugly head in a physical sense such as frequent head aches, sleep problems, digestive disorders or back aches.
- Anger. Anger can range from irritability, sensitivity to criticism or loss of sense of humor. Short temper, rage and in some cases violence. Usually controlling verbal abuse is the biggest signal.
- Reckless behavior. Some forms of risky behavior changes include compulsive gambling or binge drinking. Making poor choices with money or finances is a tell tale sign along with erratic spending.
Depression in some cases is temporary and can be managed without medication. Often a trusted encouraging friend, pastor, spouse or family member can start a dialogue to address the issue and get to the heart of the matter. →Depression is typically a result of suppressed anger and bitterness. If the depressed party is willing to openly communicate why or when the anger began chances are he or she will pull out of the funk.←
Statistically speaking, depression often improves with routine physical exercise. A weekly exercise program, nightly game of hoops or stroll around the neighborhood will help stimulate blood flow which increases serotonin, adrenaline and dopamine levels. If the party is unwilling to talk or too stubborn to admit there is something wrong, other actions may be required such as medication, boundaries, consequences and or in some cases separation.
WHAT DEPRESSION ISN’T
The darkest side of depression is the bad reputation. The stigma that if you are depressed you are weak or lazy. The label that something is “wrong” if you can’t seem to get it together. In the picture below I was battling a version of depression – the post partum kind. My baby girl was less than three weeks old. On the outside I was holding it together but on the inside, I was doom and gloom. I felt trapped.
Thankfully without medication I found light at the end of the tunnel and crawled out of the depression using prayer and EXERCISE. FITness saved me! Below, just a few years later, I was over the hump. I’m smiling but not spiraling with depressive negative thoughts. Never would you have guessed, right?
Depression isn’t biased. It effects middle and high school teenagers up through middle-aged adults of every race and income level. It’s a slow progression not a night and day change which also makes it hard to notice. This day and age has everyone young and old blowing and going. We are often buried in work, social media and or school work. We barley communicate face to face even inside the home.
If you have experienced a guttural instinct that something isn’t quite right…depression may be the culprit.
Depression can also be genetically linked to family history. It’s important to know who in your family has or has had it and communicate.
As I said at the beginning, this is a darker topic that I felt led to bring into the light. There is no shame or guilt in this area. To some degree, depression has had its way with all of us. Some are stronger swimmers than others and made their way to the shallow end of the pool faster. Don’t let the deep in swallow you up. Ask for help or offer help to someone you know. Toss them a life jacket and invite them to a workout! I just had to throw that in…no pun intended!
Happy Friday folks!
Love, share and take care!