Someone I know is currently living with depression.? Anyone else out there?? I know there are a lot of us.
This is sort of new to me (this whole?’thinking and talking about depression’ thing) – and sort of not.? Let me explain.?
23 years ago, I was young, in love, a new bride – and 8 months later – a widow.? My new husband died by suicide.? It completely caught me off guard.? I was definitely still in ‘the honeymoon’ stage and oblivious to any pain he quite clearly must have been experiencing.?
I, needless to say, was changed that day.? I knew that it was my invitation to learn as much as I could about preventing?people from coming even close to making such a decision.? I decided that I wanted to do everything possible in my life to build positive, healthy relationships with?the important people in my life (including myself!).
It was that experience that set the course for the rest of my life – and my life’s work.? I am now a voracious reader, explorer, experimenter, and practitioner of everything positive – infusing positive psychology, emotional intelligence, and neuroscience into each and every presentation and workshop I deliver.? I believe – and practice – everything I ‘preach’ to the individuals, teams and organizations I visit each week.? I know this ‘stuff’ works.?
So, when I got word that someone I know is experiencing depression, I was dumbfounded.? I, was, however, hopeful too!?
I went to visit him, I brought my ‘toolbag’ of tips and strategies (called PAI’s, or Positive Activity Interventions, in Eric Barker’s post in Business Insider).? My goal was to give him – and his family – hope.?
Unfortunately, he was not – and still has not been -?very responsive to these PAI’s.? He is also not talking to anyone – professionally or otherwise.? It has perplexed me…however, I am determined to figure this out.? I care about him, and I don’t give up easily.
In Eric’s?article, he says something alarming:
The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that by 2020 depression will be second only to ischemic heart disease as the leading cause of disability for all ages and both genders.
If that is the case (and even if it’s not) we can all do something – right now – to practice some prevention for ourselves and the people we care about who are not living with depression.? And, we might just be able to help our depressed buddies along the way, too.
Let’s?inoculate ourselves by practicing a little PAI from time to time.?
Below are some examples of PAI’s.? I know…they seem trivial.? You might find yourself saying ‘Come on, really?? Can this actually make a difference?’? Well, the answer is ‘yes’!? Each PAI will increase positive emotion – and that will help you build up your immunity to depression.? That’s prevention.?
Try them out – starting today:
- Be nice to?others you meet in your life
- Help someone out with a task
- Volunteer for a social service organization
- Express how grateful you are to people you care about
- Note ‘what’s good’ today
- Reframe negative events more positively
- Notice – and rework – your explanatory style when faced with a setback
If you are?depressed, more positive emotion?can help you to begin to ‘heal’ from your depression (along with the rest of the great things you are already doing in concert with your doctor).? Perhaps, it can be part of the ‘cure’.
Helping someone out, for example, can have huge benefits – for you!? Sonia Lyubomirsky, says “The major aspect is the positive emotion. The most significant feature of depression is the absence of positive emotion … (it is)?a feeling of emptiness.”? Not only can being positive improve your mood, it can also develop into a healthy upward spiral.? Lyubomirsky says, “You might be more approachable to others, or be more creative and imaginative. It snowballs, and you are more likely to experience even more positive emotion.”???”It doesn’t involve you going to a doctor. It?s not a replacement, but its a great alternative to therapy or medication.”
10 Replies to “An Ounce of Prevention…”
Nice on der. And I am grateful for you!
Ditto on the gratitude sentiment! Thank you so much form commenting here – it keeps the channels of communication open, with an invitation for others to ‘step forward’. It just takes one step…
Warm Regards, Deri
What a great post, Deri. Thank you for sharing your story. This is not always the easiest topic to talk about and I applaud you for bringing it to the forefront of people’s minds to continue to create awareness. I also know people close to me who suffer from depression. It’s true, positive emotion can spiral into so many wonderful things in your life. I try to live by that.
Thanks for always being inspiring.
I appreciate your comment, Shawna! Thank you so much! It is quite remarkable how many people out there are suffering. I know we can make a difference in their lives – by keeping the dialogue going.
Warm Regards, Deri
I would be very worried too about your friend. When you feel emptyness it comes naturally to turtle, to stay away and put yourself in a safe place. But you need to fight that instinct for all your worth because research has proven that we need social support. Surprisingly, helping others when you are depressed really turns your focus to a healing place. It is so rewarding. I am not naive about how far down someone can go with depression. It is hard work to climb out of that pit of despair.Taking care of your mental health is necessary. You can call Klinic 24 hours a day and speak anonymously, you can see your doctor, you can go to the emergency ward and ask for help when times are tough and you are exhausted from fighting the depression. For milder periods of depression, writing a gratitude journal helps, seeing a close friend helps, watching comedies help.
Thank you for adding to the dialogue, Diane! It is so wonderful to hear from so many people who have great tips for people living with this condition. I will pass along your great suggestions, and hope that my friend finds the right first step for him.
I am hopeful!
Warm Regards, Deri
Hi Deri! Inspirational to read about your caring approach for a friend…it can be so easy to look the other way, or say “next time,” but every simple act of caring, whether for ourselves or someone else, is a step in the right direction. Thanks for sending your positive thoughts our way!
Thank you so much for your comment, Lorraine! I agree with you 100%…and I know you are an expert at caring!
Warm Regards, Deri
Sorry Deri, I am late at reading this one. All I can say is thanks for caring, not giving up and all the positive vibs. If your friend doesn’t appreciate them, his family certainly does. They know they are not alone.
Thanks so much for the comment, Debbie! Positive vibes rock!
In the Winnipeg Free Press today was an article on a new study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science in which a Canadian researcher has found that when we believe there are good intentions behind something, it improves our experience of it. My intentions are good…so I do believe my friend will experience them in the loving, supportive way in which they are intended.