Science conjectures many wonderous things. The bottom line with mental illness is that anyone that thinks they are experiencing it should seek help with a medical professional, just as if they felt they had a persistent flu or cough and went to their regular doctor.
On topic with this article, and speaking as a man who has suffered depression and is an artist also, part of the passion of life I personally experience is difficult, as it is for all of us, and part of that treatment, both taught by professionals and known professionally as coping mechanisms, or just simply known to thyself and expressed as art, is our ability to take what has been internalized with deep pain and then funneling that energy in an expression for others to observe, hear, see, feel, ad infinitum.
Articles like this may be eye opening, stimulating, analytical, etc., however, they do no real good today to address the needs of the mentally ill.
Often times, steadfast friendship and communication helps one crawl back out of their shell. A nice full healthy dinner always helps... so cook some food for a depressed friend and drop it off, and encourage exercise you can share together like a hike or a run, and perhaps do not address what both know as self evident in the sufferer unless it comes to the surface from within , which is the mental illness.
Sometimes that shell I crawl into is my safety cocoon where I re-evaluate, study deeply, introspectively think, re-group, seek help through friends and family, pray, write, laugh again, and then re-emerge a new me with deeper insight and better humanity, and sometimes that road is very tough, and yes, bad thoughts creep into ones mind often, but it never means you have to act out negatively to yourself or others, those thoughts are really just further coping mechanisms trying to tell the stubborn to get proper help, or speak to the doctors about medications and what they are doing to yourself, or to continue to express yourself through artistic channels, or a plethora of things, but they are always seated in the fact of the person consumed in the middle of mental illness.
Do not be confused, mental illness does not discriminate; it matters not healthy otherwise or ill, poor or rich, etc., etc., etc. As a matter of fact, one that lives long enough without being on an island will know this type of destruction all to well.
The greatest QB's in modern football (NFL), are said to be able to forget their mistakes quickly but do learn from them quickly too. An example would be throwing an interception in the super bowl, and then on the very next offensive play the coach sends you in to throw another pass. The great QB exercises the fundamentals and executes those fundamentals with bionic robotic like precision, while a lesser caliber at the moment QB may think he will throw another one, the finer or more refined QB knows to just go about his job as he has been trained to do.
Perhaps that is a poor comparison, but the point is, in pressure life situations, at times the impression upon the brain is truly indelible and permanent, and often becomes the issue.
Did you ever read about the baseball pitcher that could just one day no longer pitch although his physical health was still the same ?
I see things (like a car's engine running mechanically), I envision things (like songs, verse, projects), I have a memory like a true trap in certain moments (often the worst of life's offerings), and I express these things as best I can to overcome the negative that can drag me down if I so let it.
I am blessed with this ability, and I appreciate it, and I also deeply realize perhaps without it I would not have lived this long left to my own devices, I would not be the passionate man that I have grown into, and I would have a much less satisfying appreciation for my life and those of the many wonderful people I know.
Ultimately, who helps me through my times of deep depression are my tried, true, and tested friends that stick by me no matter what, and at other times, just strangers whom become those friends.
I seek answers and i always have. I seek truth and meaning, I seek peace and hope to always spread understanding and compassion.
A pill one day to fix mental health? Well it has not worked as of yet definitively, nor do i think it ever truly will because the mind is just that sophisticated and ever changing, just like our experiences.
In science is the theory of equilibrium, and it applies to all things with ebb and flow. Balance is what is needed, and balance comes through good nutrition and valuable life giving exercise, as well as healthy social outlets vs. time alone at work (whatever that may be for you in that moment), learning and education and experience.
There is no better experience then that of helping others less fortunate.
There is no better gift then receiving that love when you yourself are down for the count.
If you are down, know you are never alone and do not listen to the disease that kills too many too young and too fast.
A simple honest talk with your doctor starts the ball rolling towards healing, and hard work on those coping mechanisms so developed thus far will thrust you towards further healing.
Starting a new hobby or finishing some old projects never hurts either, just do not spread yourself to thin and make some concrete progress that is rewarding to the inner self, be it painting a room or a picture, hiking a trail, volunteering at the soup kitchen, etc. just seek that joy and never quit.
Labels and stigmas kill more often then disease in my experience, and if you do not understand that statement, well then I am happy for you.
Tragedy plays out daily on our collective stage, and the largest tragedy the future holds regarding mental illness would be less awareness, less positive treatment options, less caring and compassion, etc. ... seek help.
I am always here for a message, a call, etc., and if I do not reply, perhaps I was just not that person at that right time to be there as I would like so much. For those that have cared to check in on me lately, well life is tough, what else is there to say.
Loss and depression have cost me time in productivity, health, friendship, etc., but it has always lent to me a special perspective I will never overlook, and that is the perspective of one who has suffered mental illness. It has also offered itself to my art and expression and certainly has had its silver linings, but most negative things do no matter how large or small, if we seek to focus on them and find them within.
The stigma often attached to all of that is mine to redefine as I wish, and for others I hope only to imagine, but not wield like a sword against those that have been ill.
Finances often play a huge part in depression getting deeper and sinking its hooks in to that inescapable grasp for the sufferer, and if that is the case, swallow your pride and speak to a well established financial professional and right that ship.
Depression hates positive action, so if you can stand for yourself today, take at least one positive step with a professional and a friend as well, and start healing until those smiles abound again.
These are just some thoughts I wanted to share with you my friends, as well as say that I appreciate you each and thank you all for being here through thick and thin.
Support of those in need in the most valuable gift to share and it comes in many forms. Please do not be so selfish today to forget those around you that need and desire help.
I hope nothing here is offensive to anyone, these are simply my personal observations and experiences as well as education being voiced on this difficult topic.
Depression for me today is that this is perhaps the most I have written in 8 or 9 months, the most I have expressed myself honestly in a long while, and how much I desire to shake those things that currently haunt me.
I cannot play guitar or think musically like is so often simple, I cannot or do not care to write much poetry, I am painting, but it is usually a session of getting ready...getting stuck and packing up...I have been social as i can be and that has been a true and valuable blessing and my friends along the way have been wonderful, both new and old.
Motivation and the lust for life are those greatest gifts that the thief depression steals so easily.
For now, I am awash in new friendships and old, seeking new musical expression I was not previously aware of, reading and in deep thought, and healing through the many coping mechanisms I have strived to learn more and more about my entire life.
Stephen Hawking is such an inspiration as he adapts and overcomes and nourishes his mind as well as his ability to maintain the strongest of wills to live in a body, a vessel, collapsing for decades all around him.
Today I choose to take part in my life and ask you each to help nudge me along if so needed, or give me a swift kick too !!!
I have cried more then I ever imagined I could, I have hurt deeper then I knew imaginable, I have worked hard upon that which is me always evolving, I have not given up no matter how far down, and I have overcome and been victorious through you each...so far.
In my coming genesis, I hope to be more focused then ever, a better friend and listener, more caring and compassionate, more productive in every way, and always even more appreciative of the gifts life has bestowed upon us each.
I have not been tortured, I have just walked the road we all share together, and everyone knows that genius is alive and well in us each.
If you read this far, breathe deep and smile...today has just started.
Much love friends