When you cannot laugh, depression lurks; but is it depression or a reaction to pains all face at one time or another.
Although inspired by my tendency at times to be or be seen as a Cranky Old One (COO) or a Weary Old One (WOO), no matter what a person’s age, stress, and pain reduce happiness and well being. Everyone has moments or even days of feeling sad or “depressed.” Not everyone is, however, depressed.
One ten question survey I answered honestly found me diagnosed with Major Depression. I was presented with this questionnaire, in my doctor’s office when trying to discover the cause of increasing pain. I had accurately predicted the result if I answered the questions honestly. Refusing to take it would have seen labeled uncooperative. Lying was probably the best way to have gone, as now I have a mentally ill diagnosis on my medical chart.
I let every new doctor I see know that I disagree with that diagnosis and why. They offer to take it off the chart, but I find it useful to start a dialogue about the difference between dealing with ongoing painful problems and depression.
Major depression involves a growing inability to do what needs doing, including just getting up in the morning; loss of most if not all pleasures, over-use of chemicals or other activities that once offered temporary release; increasing despair accompanied by thoughts of suicide. An even trickier depression symptom is increased irritability often accompanied by angry outbursts and thoughts or acts of violence.
Once upon a time, something called Reactive Depression described relatively normal responses to painful events. Now Reactive Depression is called an Adjustment Disorder. Both are considered a response to stress and expected in time the person is expected to “adjust” and become symptom-free. However, when the stress or pain never really ends, adjusting becomes harder and harder. Ask anyone suffering from chronic illness, a trauma reaction, or what is called Frail Old Age.
WHAT TO DO?
Emotional Intelligence tip one: Be grateful for the good, do not deny the bad.
Emotional Intelligence tip two: Reduce expectations of others. You are the owner of your problems, others rarely get how you really feel or are. If I have a memory lapse and mention it, kind people rush to assure me, they too have memory problems. If at forty or fifty their memory problems are as bad as mine, they should be worrying about themselves.
Emotional Intelligence tip three: Do what you can when you can and the best you can.
Emotional intelligence tip four: Find Cheerleaders, Truth Speakers, and Complaint Partners. Everyone needs several of each. A cheerleader praises and acknowledges efforts; a Truth Speaker tells you stuff you do not necessarily want to hear, but that reins in your delusions and cuts through denial; a Complaint Partner allows you to vent without having to judge or try to cheer you up.
Emotional intelligence tip five: Strengthen your self-soothing skills. Laughter is one. Indulging in a Healthy Pleasure another. Go here for an introduction to four more. Use your visit to subscribe to my blog. You will get email notices of my blog posts, you can ignore them or even block them but doing so will improve my blog ranking and help me continue my efforts to stay strong.
Emotional intelligence tip six: Practice forgiveness. Start with forgiving others, but work just as hard to forgive yourself any flaws or mistakes.
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