November 21, 2011

10 things for which I’m thankful

10 things, in no particular order, for which I am thankful (From the perspective of a man who deals with mental illness).

1) My wife: She has stood by me through good times and bad. Compassionate but candid when I need to be called out for not trying hard enough. Would not be here without her and my kids.

2) Valium: Sometimes it’s the only thing that quiets my anxiety and slows down those racing thoughts.

3) My psychiatrist and my therapist: Good doctors who really understand mental illness are hard to find. If you are depressed and aren’t getting the help you need from an internist, I’d make it a New Year’s Resolution to find a specialist.

4) Chewing gum: Gum is definitely underrated.

5) Drug companies: Tar and feather me for saying this, but if they didn’t invest millions in R&D, we wouldn’t have anti-depressants that improve the lives of millions. I have no problem with them making a profit.

6) Starbucks: They say caffeine can actually help with depression. And their Mocha gives me mojo when I'm feeling down. So drink up.

7) Politics: It’s a good diversion when I don’t want to think about my problems. And it makes me realize there are people who are more confused about life than I am.

8) Blue Bell Ice Cream: I read somewhere that too much sugar can impair the brain’s ability to make enough serotonin. That’s okay. Refer back to #2 and #3.

9) My children: For making me laugh, making me cry, for teaching me about patience and for giving me three really good reasons to get out of bed on the days I don't feel like it.

10)  Football: An even better diversion than politics. Only when my team loses, I have to refer back to #2.

I know it’s been a while since I last blogged, but I haven’t had much to say. Happy Thanksgiving, and feel free to share what you’re thankful for, especially if you deal with mental illness.

November 3, 2011

Boredom is no cure for depression

There is a vacuum in my mind.

It is a space that feels this relentless urge to latch onto something, good or bad, real or imagined.

Lately, I have felt a sense of boredom at work, not finding my work to be stimulating enough. It’s not that I don’t have work to do. I do. And I do it. It just isn’t very exciting at the moment.

My wife counsels me to just try and enjoy it when things are less hectic, but that is easier said than done for me.

That vacuum in my brain, when not filled with something interesting or exciting, can cause depression and anxiety.

If the vacuum in my mind is not occupied with something stimulating, the ruminations start. And nothing can stop them.

The problem with boredom and depression is that even though we know being actively engaged in something—whether it’s our work or play—would make us feel better, we often don’t feel like expending energy….the one thing that probably would make us less anxious and depressed.

I wonder how many others who suffer from depression and anxiety are worrywarts like me, their minds always searching for something to be preoccupied with?

Please share your experiences or your thoughts about boredom and depression. Maybe someone can even enlighten me on being more “mindful” and just accepting the ebb and flow of life as it comes.

Sharing always helps, and reading your thoughts might cure my boredom.