I know this time of year is hard for many people where depression is concerned, and I too need to stay alert.
Tonight I watched a fascinating TV show, TSN's Michael Landsberg's short story on depression entitled, Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports and Me. I gleaned several points from the guests that I'd like to share with you now.
The guests were former athletes, which we know is a short-lived career, but each featured guest has suffered with depression.
If a person's value is wrapped up in what they do, they are vulnerable for depression when it's taken away. For many midlife women, it may not be our sport we wish we could go back to, but our old fun self, our school days, our dating years or early marriage, our time with toddlers, our career we once had, our attractive slim body, you name it. It's all part of aging.
But even fame doesn't prevent or cure depression. Forgive me for not remembering all their names, but one former athlete, a Stanley Cup winner, was depressed during the hockey series. He admits he removed himself from being in the winning photos and became severely depressed the week after winning.
So it's not fame and lack of fame that causes depression, depression is a chronic illness that can be debilitating if not managed.
Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes says you never know when that one little thing will trigger you. She fears those triggers, as do I.
But it is more than a trigger that brings on depression, it is a biochemical issue connected to triggers. That is why medication helps many women cope. There is a brain chemistry mix-up that medication can help put into balance. The triggers, on the other hand, are connected to thoughts which can often be helped with therapy.
But we can't just call up our therapist at a moment's notice. So we need someone else from time-to-time. Some of the guests mentioned how important their significant other was in helping them cope. Talking it out helps immensely. Unconditional love does too.
If you don't have a significant other to talk to about your depression, you might want to call a trusted friend, or call a hotline like Telecare or Distress Centre in your area. You may need to visit your doctor and tell him or her you need help. You may benefit from seeing a counsellor. Your work medical plan may cover the cost.
The guests emphasized the need for having their own "system" in place to help them with the threat of an episode. I liked the sound of that and wished they would all have listed their personal systems.
I too have a system in place and I will share that in another post.
When threatened with depression, we need hope. Hearing others' stories sometimes gives us that hope.
If you're prone to depression, tell someone. Fight it. Create a system. Hang on to hope.