Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Darkness in Depression

Recently a young girl took her life. Her birthday was only a few short days away. She was a talented, beautiful writer and attended several of my workshops. I do not know the details of her suicide, but I do recall a good friend (another Chris) counseling her while she cried. This article is dedicated to a life that was cut tragically short.

Lennon's Rain Giveaway 

Depression strikes everyone. During the teen years when a child grows at an incredible rate, hormones spike, causing a rush of emotions. This is a crucial time to help children realize how much their bodies control their feelings and to let them know they are not alone. Everyone suffers down days. It is a part of one’s physiology. I remember them as a child and even now have days that are inexplicably sad. What is not normal is when depression hangs on for days that turns into weeks and then months.

There are different coping mechanisms. Serotonin levels affect your emotions.  Exercise helps to balance those levels and yet is rarely prescribed. A good diet also feeds the body to help it maintain chemical balance. Another way to cope is to learn through others. When I was in college, this family came in almost daily to the camera store where I worked. For a month they didn’t show. When the mom finally came in, I asked where they’d been. A drunk driver hit the father, and he was now a quadriplegic. Another good friend in college lost his teen sister to suicide and an older sister to melanoma. These people rolled out of bed every morning and dealt with that, not always with a smile but with perseverance and fortitude. It’s not that I haven’t suffered tragedies, but while evaluating one’s own depression take a look at the world outside your own. Will this work for everyone? No, but it gives perspective, and it is a coping mechanism.

My uncle used to run a large hospital in Pennsylvania and was a leading psychiatrist. I often spoke to him because I wanted to be one. The difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist is that the latter is a medical doctor and can prescribe drugs. He told me he would never prescribe drugs unless he found a chemical imbalance after a complete physical. There is an alarming amount of children that are being medicated in this country and a significant increase in mental health problems. The drug side effects are often scarier than the disease. We need to take a look at the treatments and cause of this upsurge.

Someone close to me suffered from panic attacks caused by over committing herself in AP classes, voice, dance, and theater. A doctor and a social worker wanted to use drugs to treat her condition. According to the research, drugs aggravate the attacks. Do your homework and find a therapist that employs treatments with high success rates.

Ensure the people you love are getting the proper treatment and support they need to get through the speed bumps in life. Don’t let a day go by without telling your family and friends that they matter and you care.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.

RIP Amy.