Sugardyne-The Poor Mans Antibiotic

Friday, December 7, 2012

Some Thought for those Feeling Depressed During the “Silly Season”

Some Thought for those Feeling Depressed During the “Silly Season”

It’s not really odd for an article like this to be on a site about preparedness and survival.  You see, a significant number of people will not survive the Christmas Season because they will self-terminate a.k.a commit suicide.

My formal education is in psychology, and one thing we know is that while not the time of the highest number of suicides, a lot of people do commit suicide during the Christmas season, New Year’s Day being the day with the highest total suicides over the Christmas Season.

This article is for those people contemplating suicide.

There are a lot of good reasons for many of us to feel depressed.  Many of you will spend Christmas Day alone.  Many of you will get no Christmas Cards.  Some of you won’t even get a “Merry Christmas” from a single human being.  Many of you are unemployed or underemployed.  As such, you have a lot of time to think about the fact that you have no family and you are unemployed and in economic hot water.  (The economic hot water thing applies to me personally, so at least in that area, I do know what you’re going through.)

Now, if you are thinking about committing suicide, what I AM NOT going to do is ask you not to do it.  What I am going to do is ask you to put it off.  You see, if you’ve really made up your mind to commit suicide, you will find a way to do it, even if they lock you up in a padded room.  Just put it off.

It’s worth commenting on the phenomenon of depressive realism.  Individuals who are mildly depressed perceive the world more accurately than their non-depressed peers.  The key word is MILDLY in mildly depressed.  If you’ve reached the point where you are thinking about committing suicide, you are way past the point of mild depression.  As such, you DO NOT perceive the world more accurately, you perceive it less accurately.

So what do you do?

Get help is an obvious answer.  However, depending on where you are, even seeing a standard M.D. could take days or weeks.  To see a psychiatrist could take longer.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to see a doctor-do try.  But I want to give you alternatives in case you have to wait, because the wait could kill you. 

There are other people you can talk to.  Your minister, rabbi, priest, or other religious leader is a start.  If you have no religion or you’re an atheist, in larger cities there are organizations that offer counseling to people who are contemplating suicide.

If push comes to shove and you think you are going to do it, go to your local emergency room.  Ask to see the resident psychiatrist and tell them you are contemplating suicide.

With that said, I know some of you will never ask for help.  That means you’re going to have to take matters into your own hands to help yourself.  (And I’m not talking about a .38 revolver.)

What follows should be looked at as ideas, not a list of steps.  Some of the ideas will be good for one person and not another person.  Consider them all.

1.  Spend some time helping people whose lives are way more messed up than yours.  This sounds like b.s, UNTIL YOU DO IT.  Been there, done that.  Helping other people whose lives are way more messed up than yours helps you get a more realistic perspective on your own situation.

When you get depressed, you start focusing more and more on your own situation.  This starts a cycle in which you become more depressed.  You then focus ever more on your own situation.  You have to break this cycle, and helping others who are way more messed up than you helps you do this.

2.  RADICALLY CHANGE THE STRATEGIES YOU ARE USING TO ADDRESS YOUR OWN PROBLEMS.  Again, here we get into a vicious cycle.  When things are not working, what do we as humans tend to do?  WE DO WHAT WE’VE BEEN DOING; ONLY WE DO IT HARDER.  Sad but true.

A one hundred eighty-degree change of strategy and tactics is a good technique.  Totally change how you approach your situation.

3.  Avoid isolation.  Isolation will just give you more opportunity to focus on your own issues.  Get out of your house or apartment and get out in public.  One thing I suggest is going to the movies.  Even if your economic situation is bad, you can probably scrape up enough money for the ticket.  Eat something before going and sneak a water or soda into the theater inside your coat.  Snacks at the movies are so expensive because the theater makes ZERO money off the tickets.  That all goes to the movie makers.

If you are going to spend Christmas Day alone, I highly recommend this one for Christmas Day.  A lot of new films open on Christmas Day.

Movies, for a time, take you into an imaginary world.  That is a good thing when you are depressed.  You need to “get away” for a short time.

In the theme of avoiding isolation, most cities, even small ones, have lots of public events during the Christmas season that are free to the public.  Get a copy of your local newspaper or city magazine and find the dates and times of these and go to as many as you can.  If you’re going to be alone on Christmas Day and your city has an event on Christmas Day, go to it.

If a local Church has a service on Christmas Day, go to it even if you’re not a member.

4.  In survival and preparedness, we know this: You avoid if possible making big decisions when you are hungry, thirsty, fatigued, or sleep deprived.  If you are depressed and you are experiencing any of these, you need to fix it.

Try to eat at least 3 large meals daily or 4 to 5 smaller meals.  If money is an issue, the canned meat section of the grocery store offers a lot of good protein selections at low prices.

If you are fatigued, rest.  If you can’t rest, plan your activities in the most energy efficient manner.

Now, sleep is a biggie with regard to clinical depression.  THE CLASSIC WARNING SIGN OF CLINICAL DEPRESSION IS EARLY MORNING AWAKENING.  If you wake at any time between 2:00 A.M. and 5:00 A.M. and cannot go back to sleep, this is a big warning sign that you have clinical depression.  If you go to bed at nonstandard times, if you normally sleep on or about 8 hours and you wake up at a time on or about 4 hours after going to bed, you have early morning awakening.

If you simply cannot sleep, melatonin is a good option.  It’s available over the counter.  I personally have found the Natrol brand to work consistently.  I think this is because it is a pure synthetic as opposed to melatonin extracted from animal sources.

5.  Take steps to reduce bad stress.  Again, planning your activities in the most energy efficient and time efficient manner will help.  Plan your tomorrow TODAY.  Write down all the places you need to go, what you need to do, and all the addresses and phone numbers of the people and places you will need to go to and see.  It’s good to write it out in a small notebook.  If you do this in your smart phone or electronic devise, Murphy’s ghost will catch up with you-the electronic devise will fail when you need it the most.  (Also smart phones are easily hacked.  That’s a good reason not to keep detailed personal information there.)

If you don’t exercise regularly, start.  If you can afford a gym membership, I suggest you get one.  This will be another way to get you out of the house and interacting with other people. 

If you cannot afford a gym membership, consider local churches, your local YMCA, or Jewish Community Centers.  Many of these have exercise facilities.

If this is not an option, there was a very good book written more than 20 years ago by a U.S. Navy SEAL entitled Get Tough.  It is an exercise/running plan that requires no other equipment than a chin up bar.  Even if you have no chin up bar, if you do the other exercises you will be in great shape.

Double blind placebo controlled studies have shown regular exercise helps lift depression.

With regard to reducing stress there is a book entitled The Relaxation Response that has some very good techniques for lowering stress.

If you cannot afford the books mentioned, your local library can get them via an interlibrary loan if they don’t already have them.

6.  The herb St. Johns Wort is an over the counter product that has been proven to work as good or better than the prescription SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors), what I refer to as the “Zoprac” class of anti-depressants.

Now, here is a big warning.  One of the most dangerous times in depression for those contemplating suicide is the time when the depression is first lifting.  When you are at rock bottom, you may be too depressed to kill yourself.  However, when you’re coming out of it there will be a time when you’re not over it but you will have enough energy to kill yourself.  So be careful.  I only offer this advice because I know some of you will not seek professional help.  Again let me say if you can get professional help, get professional help.

With regards to St. Johns Wort, you want to buy a standardized version.  One I recommend is a brand called Kira.  It is made in Germany.  The Germans were big into herbal medicine (until the dictatorial European Union regulated herbs).  It is of excellent quality.  The company Nature’s Way makes a standardized product called Perika  that is very good.

How does it work?  St. Johns Wort acts as a reversible mono amine oxidase inhibitor (as opposed to the irreversible prescription maoi inhibitors like phenalzine sulfate, tranylcypromine, and isocarboxazide which can cause blood pressure to rise to lethal levels if the person taking them ingest the chemical tyramine in certain foods or if the person taking them takes certain drugs, both over the counter and prescription).

7.  Try speaking to God in prayer.  Try this especially if you don’t believe He exists.  This comes from someone who has been on both sides.  Let me explain.

I started out thinking I was a Christian.  Then I swung over to the other side and essentially became an atheist.  Later, I read a book  by an orthodox Jewish rabbi (not a Christian) that convinced me that the Bible was real, so I became a real Christian, but not a “good” Christian.  I object on principle to anyone being called a “good Christian”.  If we were good, we would not need the overly generous deal offered by Jesus Christ.  Also, any honest Christian will tell you they commit sins on a frighteningly routine basis.  I know I do.

However, it’s not my purpose to make you a convert in this article.  My purpose is to keep you alive.

When you go to God in prayer, be respectful but say what’s on your mind.  If you have questions, ask them.  God is not interested in humans repeating mindless prayers over and over again.  In fact, He considers such prayers offensive.  God is interested in you.  Why you ask?  I can only give you my theory.

A large part of running the multiverse for God has to be boredom.  When your omnipotent, omnipresent, and not bound by linear time, you pretty much know all there is to know and all there ever will be.  In simple terms, God made us because he was bored and wanted (not needed) company.  God views all humans as his children, and like any loving father he does care about his children.  That’s why you should go to Him in prayer with your problems and issues.

I would be negligent here if I did not cover what many people, including depressed people, will ask.  They ask “How can a loving God allow evil and suffering to exist?”  Or sometimes it is stated “If 1. God is totally good and 2. God is omnipotent, omnipresent and all powerful; the existence of evil proves that one of the two has to be false.”

That is what I call a simple Simeon philosophical argument.

God does not mess with free will.  If humans had the choice to:

1.  Behave good.
2.  Behave good.

We would not be humans.  We would be mindless automatons.

You say “What about all the suffering in the world?”

Most of it is caused by us.  When a walkway in a hotel falls and kills a lot of people, we humans have a tendency to blame God when they should blame architects who can’t do math as it applies to statics.

Why doesn’t God remedy all the suffering in the world?  HE SENT US TO REMEDY IT.  This does not mean one has to end world hunger eradicate all injustice.  It may be something as simple as saying a kind word to someone who is lonely or a kind word to that person in the office who is not well liked.

If you’re depressed this Christmas and you get that, once you recover, it’s unlikely you will ever get depressed again.

One last thing before I go.  With regards to life on Earth, the secret to life may be this simple:

Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

May you stay alive this Christmas and live to see many more.   



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