Saturday, April 25, 2009

Of Depression

I know this is off topic for my cycling blog. But, had to comment.

Some of my friends know that I have suffered depression. After my stroke and heart valve replacement surgery, the hospital gave me some information about depression and ways to recognize it, I qualified by several factors. Ended up seeing a Psychologist.

He verified my depression, brought on by PTSD and health problems. He prescribed me an anti-depressant. I was on that for a year or more. Now, that medication helped keeping from getting so depressed. The problem was that I wasn't really happy, either. I was just “there”.

I have become an avid cyclist. After my Cardiac Rehab, I knew that I needed to get active. Cycling has done that. The side benefit is that my depression seemed to be lightening. Rides by myself, specially in the woods, have had a relaxing effect on me.

Another big thing I have done is to be more positive. That's easier said than done.

My speech rehabilitation requires regular conversation. I have learned that if I don't use it, I lose it. To practice my conversational skills, I meet about 3-4 mornings a week with friends over coffee or breakfast. This works well, until folks start complaining.

You know what the best thing is to know what you can't change (don't worry about it), know what you can change (and work to change things). Too few people don't know the difference. After enough of negative comments, complaining, I have to get out. Get way from the conversation, go do something else.

The thing is, get involved. Just complaining doesn't help. If its a political issue, write letters, volunteer with a campaign. If there is a deficiency in your area, find a group (or start a group) that advocates solving the deficiency.

Now, I have no idea how many folks read my blog, look at my web site, or really care about what I write. But it helps ME.

What have I done?

1: Found a passion – riding my bicycles. Riding in the woods – a sweet singletrack.
2: Get regular exercise. (Even that I don't really think of riding my bike as “exercise" - it is!)
3: Eat more healthy. I need to do that anyway (needed for my blood pressure, cholesterol, medications, etc., anyway).
4: Replace negatives with positives. Associate with positive people. Get out of negative conversations.
5: Got involved. I volunteered in the last election. Keep busy with several organizations.
6: Manage my stress. I have been leaning to recognize my stress limits. Stay way from stressful situations, back off when things get stressful.

The benefits?

I am off of the anti-depressant. My health is much better. I am enjoying life more. Life is good again!

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