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Grief and Depression? It’s not that Bad?!

  • By lemaster
  • 27 Oct, 2016

An Exploration of the Complexity of Depression

I remember when I was young watching a documentary about chimpanzees by Dr Jane Goodall where a young chimp died from grief. It was depressing and it made me wonder if there was a link between depression and grief, when one member of a couple passes the other soon follows. For a long time mental illness was hard to describe, diagnose, let alone cure. How does one treat something that is so intangible and unpredictable?
Today PET scans of the brain are proving to be a good indicator of depression, a decrease in brain activity. Which begs the question, could depression ultimately lead one to their own demise? Exacerbating any sort of complication that might have been hiding behind the curtain? The loss of a loved one is traumatic without a doubt, I don’t think we need science to prove that for us. How to we go about approaching the topic of the mind, something we don’t fully understand?

Isn’t grief a form of depression? I think too often when we are presented with problems we want easy answers, a silver bullet. Through modern research, scientists are finding, in regard to our minds, that nothing is as easy as it seems. Sometimes our language simply isn’t adequate enough to describe the complexity of our lives.

We have come a long way in opening up the discussion on mental illness and giving it some recognition and validity. Even today the mainstream consciousness stigmatizes people with such conditions. The notion that someone could have a seemingly intangible condition that could make them do something irrational is in a word, scary. In fact the implications of how we look at the issue is currently being considered in the Supreme Court; In how the police engage with individuals with mental illness and the use of force. According to a 2013 report half of all incidents involving police shootings that resulted in death were people with some history of mental illness.

The ways with which modern life is structured, expressions of society and culture with all of our advances (good or bad), is not ‘one size fits all’. The human being was designed and shaped over the course of 250,000 years  to act and perform in a certain way. Modern mainstream lifestyles and luxuries for some offer a very happy existence but for others cause deep mutations of the psyche and stagnant variations of the body. Sometimes reconciling the two types of lifestyle is not always easy and may require great sacrifice to accomplish or resignation to the reality of your circumstance.    

Barring true and extreme conditions of mental illness which the patient has no perceivable culpability or recourse. Sometimes I wonder, if for most individuals, healing wouldn’t come from a disciplined, even dramatic, change in lifestyle and/or environment. Therein lies the problem, the black hole of depression sucks the life out of you and for some puts them in a perpetual state of feeling victimized, exacerbating the vicious cycle of the problem.

Here is the deal, the problem is complex, the symptoms can vary, the degree with which you experience the spectrum of mental illness is a moving target. So how do you even begin to tackle such a complex problem as this? Well there are four ways to go approach it: you can do nothing, you can go about it by a DIY style ‘trial and error’, you can hit it ‘head on’ with mainstream methods: pharmaceuticals/treatments/counseling, or you can do some combination of the three above.    

For those using the ‘head on’ method, the power of diagnosis can provide you with the security of certainty and the clarity of focused healing. This method helps millions of people with a support network of professionals. They can counsel you and customize your treatment depending on your needs. It is a hand to hold, a hand up out of the black hole of despair but may not necessarily end in a permanent cure.

As someone who has dealt with a mental illness in the past and has 3 family members who still struggle with it, I can tell you it is a difficult topic to approach let alone gain any traction for treatment. It is more or less the choice of the afflicted to get themself out of the haze of difficulty and to muster the discipline to keep themseves “normal”.

As for my experience it was imperative for me to find a way out and keep my head above water permanently for my quality of life and for the love of family and friends. I did not want to be defined solely by a weaknesses or vulnerabilities, in short I did not want to be a victim either perceived or actual. I never sought a diagnosis or treatment but set out on a journey of healing, a journey that was nonlinear, arduous, and has shaped the very bedrock of my character today.

What worked for me may not work for you but quickly this is what I did. I set out to really know myself, established a foundation of values and live by them, channeled my emotions (good and bad) into positive outlets, developed a relationship with God, cleaned up my diet, engaged with others/contributed to the community, pursued my passion, and made my work and play as active as I could. At it’s foundation was to get as close to a diverse and dynamic expression of all the faculties of the mind, body and spirit (and the subsequent threes of each). Needless to say it takes WORK living with the full force of my being but I couldn’t have been a happier person.

Please heed these words of advice: it is ok to admit to something you are struggling with. It is ok to be vulnerable to those you trust (if no one else a professional). It is ok to be diagnosed with a mental illness and most importantly YOU ARE WORTHY of healing. Being honest about it doesn’t mean you are any less of a person, in fact, it means you are a brave person of more emotional intelligence than most. You owe it to yourself, your loved ones, to us all because the more we all are aware and tell our stories the sooner we can help one another and make advances in thought and treatment.

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

There is no place like home when settled and in a routine, everything in it’s right place and well established in the community. After years in one town, you have done everything that can be done in and around your house and in the community and yet you still have a yearning. Perhaps your group of friends, for whatever reason, aren’t around anymore. It is never too late to embark on one last journey after all the rest of the family is off doing their thing….why not you?

Don’t let a loss keep you from keepin’ on, carry their best traits on to another friend, read,   Befriend Anew: Being Social after a Friend has Fallen ”————->>>>>

It seems like things changed overnight in your neighborhood when you moved into your house you lived in the country, now suddenly the area developed and you practically live in the city. Maybe you live in the city and it just isn’t the laid back place you moved into originally. All of the events you use to go to are no more and all of the new events are geared toward a younger age group. You don’t even feel safe taking that morning walk anymore.

Take a good look at your community and read,  

How Does your Neighborhood Rank for Mobility Safety? ”———>>>

This scenario is more and more common and you are not alone, change is the constant in a developing world. Well there are many options available to offer you that which you have been longing for: private duty, age restricted (adult) communities, assisted living communities, continuing care retirement communities, and of course nursing homes. Depending on your health care needs there is just about any accommodation that you might desire. Some 1.6 million Americans live in Nursing homes or Assisted Living facilities.

Naturally there are pros and cons to any situation and you may not have a choice if you are dealing with a diagnosis that severely restricts your mobility. That exception aside, let us assume a variety of options within a scale of Independence.

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016
I remember when I was young watching a documentary about chimpanzees by Dr Jane Goodall where a young chimp died from grief. It was depressing and it made me wonder if there was a link between depression and grief, when one member of a couple passes the other soon follows. For a long time mental illness was hard to describe, diagnose, let alone cure. How does one treat something that is so intangible and unpredictable?
By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016
When you are coming of age and your grandfather passes away its almost expected. As you get older and you become the elder something they don’t tell you is that your friends unexpectedly start to pass. The pain and grieving may take a toll on you and the idea of picking up again and putting yourself out there seem just unbearable.
By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

here are many factors involved in maximizing your mobility and ensuring your environment is accessible. Sometimes all that is needed is to clean up some clutter around the house or adding more lighting to a hallway. There are hundreds of solutions and funding options available to you to make your environment safe and easy to use.

Not sure where to start? Check out NAHB ’s site to get some ideas or reach out to a healthcare or building professional; If they can’t help you they will be able to direct you to someone who can. Be sure to vet contractors and interview them with someone you trust to be there as your advocate.

  Here are 7 simple tips on keeping your environment safe:

  • Check Walkways. Paths, stairs, doorways, ramps, entryways, and steps. The integrity of the surfaces may be compromised by cracks, water rot, holes, standing water, or even motor or cooking oil spills. Check daily and keep them clear and clean of spills, ropes, hoses, tacks, toys, broken glass, nails, plant overgrowth, or other obstacles that could trip you up.
  • Slippery & Uneven .Add anti-slip tape to steps, inclines, and ramps to give added traction and safety. There are even textured paint products  to apply to walking surfaces to make them non-skid if you appreciate a more finished look. Check with a local, licensed, and insured contractor for help with building and keeping ramps and stairs well maintained.
By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

It may not seem necessary to practice balance building exercises when you are younger and have no reason to worry. Don’t let that lack of foresight end up with hindsight reflections years later in the hospital. Let prevention be your new mantra. The danger of a potentially fatal fall is real and action should be taken into consideration. Why? Injuries from a fall is one of the leading causes of fatality for older Americans. Still not convinced? How about saying goodbye to your life savings?! Medical costs related to falls is in the hundreds of millions and by one estimate 1.2 billion dollars .

Aside from the average person being inactive there are a number of balance disorders that could be causing a loss of ability. Such conditions as positional vertigo, Labyrinthitis, Ménière’s disease, Vestibular neuronitis, Perilymph fistula, and Mal de Debarquement syndrome. Treatments can range from a simple exercise to very complex therapies administered by a professional.

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

Technology has become such an integral part of our lives, making tasks easier and for some, making what most of us take for granted like walking, a reality. In an ideal world we wouldn’t need help and when we did family, friends, and doctors would be there to help. Sometimes that support network isn’t always available to be there for us in the ways with which we need.

There are any number of complications that could arise to limit your mobility and diminish your quality of life. A simple accident such as a fall can be devastating for the older populations; with long recovery times and the potential atrophy of muscles, incontinence, and the like.

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

Your ability to navigate the city has as much to do with its infrastructure as does your skill at traversing it. That in combination with the level of public accessibility can have a major impact on your quality of life. There is a lot involved in planning a city properly for people of all backgrounds and circumstances to be able to access it easily.

What is the primary way with which you get around? Car? Bus? By foot? The ease and safety of how you get from point A to point B and back has a psychological effect on your being; as you age those options become more limited depending on your circumstance. Maintaining the Activities of Daily Living may include a certain level of mobility for you to feel engaged and enriched. Whether it means being social at your weekly gatherings at the country club or just getting good fresh ingredients for the evening’s dinner.

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

Generally I do not begin a blog with a disclaimer but we want you to take this advice with serious consideration and great caution. You can be injured, fatally so, if you do not follow the advice of a professional who knows the specific state and ability of your body. The following is provided for information purposes only, following these techniques does not imply proper form or ability. You have unique physical and mental needs that should be addressed by your doctor and personal trainer before starting any exercise regimen.

So you have made a resolution to start following a solid exercise plan this year (or the doctor has mandated it) and you’re determined to stay on track. The doctor has been telling you for years to exercise and there is ample research to back up the benefits of exercise for seniors . Sometimes the hardest part is having the discipline to stick with it or even knowing what exercise to do in the first place. There is a lot of information out there and everyone has some advice to give (or a plan/membership to sell) not to mention the rules are different for older adults . The CDC recommends at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise per week, that is a little over 20 minutes a day. So let’s get going!

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

There are a lot of options available to you if the Activities of Daily Living become a little more challenging than they use to be. It may be more difficult to get your Dad to admit that he isn’t as capable as he use to be than it would be to install a couple of grab bars. Understandably we all want to maintain our independence, after all, we spend the first eighteen years of our life trying to be an adult (at least most of us TRY to).

If you have looked into moving into a long term care facility (nursing home) and it is not an option for you, then it may be time to make some modifications to your house so that it is more accessible for your changing needs. If you have a second floor or the bathroom is a bit too small or maybe the cabinets are too high for you to reach anymore, look into some remodeling. You or your loved one may be on the verge of being considered disabled if not currently diagnosed with a condition that warrants a change. It is important thing to consider because accidents and falls are one of the leading causes of decline and death in the elderly.

The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) maintains a long list of suggested renovation projects that might make life a little easier. Whatever your changing needs may be there is a solution that any good Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) contractor can help with. Lets take a look at your options from DIY to hiring a professional and the costs associated with some of the most common accessibility renovations.

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