Seniors Outreach - October 19, 2016

The “blues” or “depression” - which is it?

If it’s the blues, well, we all have down days or are engaged by a problem for a time. Maybe we write a song about it using a 12 bar chord progression (being a guitar player - this makes most sense). That’s why blues music is around. It sounds like the situation is too difficult to solve, but usually “this too shall pass!” The song may stay around but the situation and feelings go away.

Depression on the other hand is a “ horse of a different colour!” Usually one is grappling with feelings of severe despair over an extended period of time. Almost every aspect of one’s life can be affected, including their emotions, physical health, relationships, and work. For people with depression, it does not feel like there is a “light at the end of the tunnel” - there is just a long dark tunnel,” - Canadian Mental Health Association - www.cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/depression/

What works

• Get involved in at least some social activities or educational programs. Here one has the opportunity to learn a new skill, activity or craft. Planning to and learning something new one to two times in a year will be attainable. This doesn’t lead to mental overload nor undue expectations of yourself. In this way you do not become mentally stagnant. Challenge yourself!

• Attend a variety of functions throughout the year. One function every one to two weeks may be lots. This way you do not allow yourself to get out of the comfort zone and meet others who are probably in the same boat. Guess what, you are not alone!

• Work at making and building a relationship of some kind with at least one new person each year. This takes some intentional work on your part, but it is healthy and allows you to grow and develop your social situation.

Health

• Build a good relationship with your local health care receptionist, at least one nurse and of course, your doctor. When you begin to be aware of feelings of worthlessness, confusion, temptations to withdraw form social activities of hallucinations/delusions, make your health professionals are of these feelings.

• Build a good relationship with one person who can become your advocate. This person would be able to go with you into the meetings with the doctor and health professionals and keep track of your concerns - mental, emotional and physical.

Hopefully, you only have the short duration “blues” and can write your song, poem or journal thoughts instead of “depression” that becomes too long and is not as creative a basis as the blues. Need some activities to attend or volunteer engagement - call Seniors Outreach at 403-443-2555.