Thursday, October 11, 2012

National Depression Education and Awareness Month

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By Nurse Diane

Talkin' to myself and feeling old.
Sometimes I'd like to quit;
Nothing ever seems to fit;
Hangin' around, nothing to do but frown;
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

What I've got they used to call the blues:
Nothin' is really wrong;
Feelin' like I don't belong;
Walkin' around, some kind of lonely clown;
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

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This is a song by the Carpenters, Rainy days and Monday's always get me down.  Well it’s raining today, and a Monday, so I feel like I have a double whammy.  As I was doing some research on Depression, I decided to call a few people who are down and out.  The first call I made was to a woman who just lost her husband.  She is in her late 70's, and her husband has been bedridden for a while.   He spent the last few weeks in a rehab hospital, when he passed away.  I used to visit them frequently and call and send cards, having been in the same situation myself, so I knew about the problems they had been facing.  I called her this morning, and she informed me that she was doing ok, just felt lost.  Didn’t know what to do first.  I had asked about her going to spend some time with her daughter, since she had been unable to travel for some time.  She said she preferred to stay at home and get back to a routine.  She had been away from home for a few weeks while he was hospitalized and just wanted to get back to normal.

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The second call I made was to a man at my church.  He had been involved in an accident, and was injured to where he couldn't return to work for a while.  His sister informed me that he was home, and lonely and worried. I called a few times, but was not able to reach him, so I continued on to the next call.

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The third was to a lady who is the mother of my son's best friend.  She is also the secretary at my church, and her husband has cancer.  He is no longer able to work, and the financial burden is very hard for them.  She remains very upbeat, and is anticipating the future wedding of her son.  They take each day as it comes, and enjoy spending time together and with their grandchildren when possible.

My final call was to another friend whose wife has been diagnosed with cancer.  She travels to Texas for her treatments, and had just returned from a scan where the reports were great. He works on his own, and has to support his wife and brother-in-law who is also disabled.  He works from sun up to sundown doing odd jobs, and still makes time to help me with jobs I can't do and he helps others in need.  Instead of worrying and complaining, all he could do was thank God that he is fortunate to have the things he does, and doesn’t worry about the things he doesn't have.
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My goal was to cheer up and encourage the people I called, instead, they ended up cheering me instead. Depression can hit anyone at any time. Symptoms and signs of depression include:
  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood;
  • Restlessness and irritability;
  • Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism;
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and helplessness;
  • Loss of interest or pleasure gained from former hobbies and interests;
  • Fatigue and decreased energy;
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering and making decisions;
  • Insomnia and oversleeping;
  • Weight loss or overeating;
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain; and
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.

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The first thing to do if you have these symptoms, or know someone who does is to see help from a physician or psychiatrist.  After a medical checkup, if it is diagnosed that you are suffering from depression, an anti-depressant may be prescribed for you.

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October has been designated as Depression Education and Awareness Month.  We have already talked about other forms of Mental Illness in other articles this month, as a reminder that it is very important to become aware of these conditions affecting ourselves and others around us, and to take measures to treat them so that other forms of disasters can be prevented.

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