Depression. The Sad Truth! Blog Series on Mental Health Part 4

Roles of Technology


Cortisone (/ˈkɔrtɨsoʊn/ or /ˈkɔrtɨzoʊn/; 17-hydroxy-11-dehydrocorticosterone) is a 21-carbon steroid hormone. It is one of the main hormones released by the adrenal gland in response to stress.  It elevates blood pressure and prepares the body for a fight or flight response.

Has technology rendered you incapable of maintaining your own mental regularity?  Has it played a factor in how our bodies deal with depression, stress and upsets?

The only time the stress chemical cortisone released itself in early days of civilization, and upwards to the nineteenth hundreds, was when you were being attacked or encountered dangerous wildlife.  One could say that depression and stress were not huge factors in mental health for early settlers as life was simplistic and straightforward.  There were illnesses, as there are now and there were also mental disorders, but not anywhere near the scale we see in the 21st century.

With the invention of the movie theatre, the television, the internet, the cell phone and then the almighty smart phone, we have become plagued by over-stimulation.  We have also saw an increase in options throughout the decades with the foods we could purchase, the types of clothing, fashion, soap, detergent, electronics, décor and vehicles.  You would think this would make our lives better; we could exist with little to no stress because of it.  You would be wrong!  Over Stimulation!  Our bodies were not designed to experience this kind of multifaceted environment where every choice is a taxing element on our mental well-being.  Some people can function just fine while others suffer damaging effects on their bodies and mind.

Today, Cortisone is released in to our bodies daily!  We get up in the morning and we go about our lives experiencing over stimulation at every turn we take.  On the way to work in the morning, we feel a rise in our stress because the traffic is too thick.  We get to work and realize there is a new pile on your desk that we hadn’t accounted for.  Companies pushing for higher production, increased accuracy, efficiency and systems that seem to always malfunction.  We place so much emphasis on the technology in our lives that when they stop working properly; we get frustrated and irate.  Electronics that are meant to make our lives easier have caused a decline in our mental capabilities.

Years ago, before cars were mainstream, a person would have to ride a horse, horse and carriage or just simply walk to work or wherever they were going.  As a person, they knew how their body worked and how long it would take them to get to their destination; besides a familiar face along the way they could continue to go at their desired speed.  There were no street signs, traffic lights, cross walks or sidewalks; just a dirt road and your own two legs.  There were no disappointments, as the person depended solely on himself to do what had to be done.  Today, we leave for work at a time that we believe will allow enough time to get there.  If there is an accident on the highway, immaculate congestion or road work that slows the flow of traffic to a near stop, we begin to get upset.  Stressed because you are going to be late for work, frustrated because we should have left earlier and accounted for such a thing.  All the while, the person who walked to work, just walked right past you, whistling a tune, getting regular exercise and experiencing no rise in blood pressure and stress.

Back in the early days when work was finished they walked back home, giving them more than enough time to unwind from their busy day.  The farmer had time to let his muscles relax, the store clerk had enough time to quickly go over what was needed to be done the next day and the accountant had enough time to clear all the numbers out of his head.  Maybe they had horses and carriages, and rode them as opposed to walk, but imagine yourself on either and tell me that the stress levels would have been anywhere near the rush hour traffic you have to deal with today.  They arrived at home to children who listened, a wife who had prepared a hot meal and delightful conversation about their day.  They probably sat around the fire, chatted and enjoyed the family life.  Then off to bed, nice and early, to sleep a restful sleep and get up the next morning to do it all over again.

Today, after our stressful day at work, we rush out the door because we have to go grab the kids at soccer practice while fighting our way through traffic.  We have the after school program calling your cell because you are late to pick up your children, while your spouse is beeping in on the other line to give you a list of things she needs, at 4 different stores, for the kids school trip tomorrow.  You remembered there was an email you had to send out before you left work so you are trying to write that out on your blackberry, while you are stuck at a red light that is taking forever to change.  Your daughter is text messaging you to ask if she can go buy new soccer shoes after practice tonight while your car’s gas light just came on.  Sound familiar?

Just a normal day in the lives of society!  We do all this to finally arrive at home where there is no dinner waiting and you have to microwave a pizza just to feed the kids.  You grab a beer or cooler from the fridge; you try and begin your unwinding from the day.  Your spouse gets home, there is a moment of hello, how was your day?  Potentially a kiss and then it’s her turn to run around and get everything ready for the next day.  The clothes taken out, the lunches packed and the permission slips signed for the school outing she called you about earlier.  By this time, you are in the living room watching a copper program on the tube, having another beer and still trying to unwind.  You head to bed where you are either experiencing delayed street syndrome or you pass out simply from exhaustion.  Either way, unless your body has crashed you are going to have a restless night sleep, a series of dreams and a wake up that is less than desirable.  You wake up groggy, irritable and finding yourself having to force yourself out of bed to get your day started.  All the while the man who walked or took a horse home and spent a few hours with his family had a normal restful sleep to arise fully awake and ready to start the day.

It is a vicious cycle that we have been living constantly for years and it is only getting worse.  I mentioned above about how all of the options a person has to choose from in our modern day; do you think they had these 25, 50, 75 or 100 years ago?   No!  If a person was going to the store then and they needed flour, rice, milk and eggs there was not 4 or 5 options of each item they could purchase.  There was no decision to be made except they needed flour, rice, milk and eggs.  They would walk in, choose those items and then check out.  Groceries then not only cost less money but also cost less time.

Think about crackers for a moment and think about a time you felt a craving or required crackers because you had guests that were coming over.  Now think about how long it took you to figure out which would be the best crackers to purchase.  I, myself have been in a position where I needed crackers and couldn’t decide which ones would be best.  I mean there are at least 30 different types of crackers a normal grocery store has to offer.  I would stand there mulling over the options;  salted tops, 30% less sodium, crunchy, soft, round, square, top-able or dip-able.  You would call your significant other and weigh in their opinion and then because you know you are in a hurry would grab a box that looked good and head to the cash.  Some of us have walked to the cash and held the box in our hand and stared at it, imagining those crackers in use at our gathering and have then decided that it wasn’t the best choice.  We then head back to the cracker aisle and try and make another quick choice.  Some of us have purchased multiple kinds because we couldn’t make the choice.  Do you think 100 years ago they did that?  Or even 50?  No!  They needed crackers so they went and bought the only crackers they could find.

How much time and mental energy was wasted on that small task?  Too much!  The same goes for any other grocery option.  It is rare to find a product that has only one option these days unless you are a celiac or allergic to wheat.

How many of us suffer from over stimulation and we don’t even know it?  How many of us have had restless night’s sleep for so long it has become the norm and we don’t know why?  I will tell you why!  Over stimulation!  We have allowed technology to completely over-run our lives and our precious time has been stripped from us.  We listen to music before bed, we watch the television or we are on our computers surfing the net and it is all stimulating your brain at a time your brain would naturally begin to wind down.

I challenge you to try something for one week.  Two hours before you go to bed each night turn off your televisions, radios and your computers.  Keep the lights in your house dimmed or use soft lamp light to illuminate the rooms.  Putter around the house, maybe folding some laundry, cleaning dishes or preparing dinner for the next day.  Sit with your children, spouses or roommates and talk about life.  Make small talk!  Make sure you are not worrying or stressed about anything because more than likely there is nothing you can do about it at that moment anyway.  Pretend you are lifting it from your head and put it in a drawer, close the drawer and walk away, telling yourself you will pick that up in the morning.  Take your thumb and message your palms, breaking down the stress that exists there.  Putter some more until it is bedtime and then crawl in to bed, making sure not to turn on any bright lights during the process.  Once in bed think about all the things you are grateful for, smile and take a deep breath and then exhale.  Close your eyes and allow yourself to slip off to a restful place.  Do this for seven days straight and you will see a considerable difference in your moods, interactions and overall mental health.

You would be surprised how well this works and how your sleeping habits will improve.  I’m not saying that you should get rid of all technology because to be honest it is the world we live in.  So much of our lives depend on technology and it is the direction in which we are continuously heading.  What I am saying is that we need to make note of how it is affecting us on a daily basis and maybe wheel back our complete dependency a little.  Only allow it for an hour a night or keep the phone turned off while at home.  Spend time with your family reading books, talking, telling stories and having fun outside.  Keep it turned off close to bedtime to allow your mind to wind itself down.


Depression. The Sad Truth! Blog Series on Mental Health Part 2

We all experience depression in our lives, a natural human reaction when something has been taxing our minds for an abnormal amount of time.  A job going nowhere, finances and relationship woes.  As an adult, depression can render us incapable of taking a hold of our lives.  During my childhood, depression existed throughout my teen years, as it does for many.  Bullied at school, the playground and misunderstood at home; I had very little self-confidence and less self esteem.  I thought I was worthless and would never amount to anything.  My parents were ministers, my dad, was what I would call fanatical in his beliefs and it did not bode well for a child like myself.

I believed it was inescapable, without an outlet for my constant sorrow.  No one listened, no one cared.  I realize now it was untrue and later in life understood why I felt that way.  My parents loved me; there is no doubt about that.  They did the best they could with what they knew and who am I, to judge them.  Would I make the same mistakes as they did?  However, differently?  Would I handle the issues any better for my child?  I realized, that although loved as a child, I needed to be loved a different way.  Whose lap, could that blame possibly fall on?  Depression was the only way I knew how to deal.  Throughout life, I blamed everyone other than myself for my shortcomings.  I rarely took internal inventory, no knew how, to understand my only shortcoming in life, was myself.

Through study, soul-searching and deep analysis of my inner self, I un-raveled the mysteries surrounding my own inability to rise above the steep slope of sadness.  A tiny ray of light shone through the unsettling ash within my core that eradicated, the ideals of helplessness.  A moment of transparency flooded the well of darkness and revealed a notion that palpitated my very foundation of belief.  “There was no cure for depression.”

Disconcerting as it may sound, I unveiled a truth. To cure depression one must cure sadness.  Happiness cannot exist without sadness; therefore, indifference would dominate humanity.  Many of us live in a state of numbness, unmoved by the rippling river of life.  Numbness is a form of suppression, a cousin to depression.  We flip the switch to life, its ups and its downs, in hopes to preserve our sanity.  We simply choose not to feel.  Feeling, would be accepting that life can be difficult and often without happiness.  Whomever said life was easy, never felt “our” sadness.

Depression is within us.  It co-exists with our ability to feel and to emote.  Depression is a classical lie we tell ourselves, an explanation of inability to own our own emotions.  Life is experiences enveloped in emotion.  A car accident, a negative experience because of fear, shock, sadness, worry and disbelief.  An accomplishment, a positive experience because of happiness, contentment, satisfaction and fulfillment.  Life, an assemblage of emotions encased within our consciousness, can dethrone a king from the castle of his mind.  Yet if there were no emotion, how would humanity differentiate from what is good and what is bad?  How would we know enjoyment or discomfort?

There is an emotion tag appended to everything that happens throughout our lives.  We have trained our brains to label every moment with an emotion whether good or bad.  Sadness, labelled bad, because we have told ourselves so.  We seek happiness because we believe we have to strive for it.  How about just being?  Experiencing life as it happens, embracing emotions as they come along.  If we did not feel emotion then would we not feel alive?  Emotions tend to pass and cycle through our consciousness.  Something that can make you happy today, may make you sad tomorrow.  Why is a happy day the only day considered a good day?  Why is a sad day not deemed a good day also?  It is a day in which we feel, we are alive and experiencing life.  Why is it that if we experience sadness for a week or two, we label it depression?  Why consider depression any worse than sadness?  Why is it sadness can go unnoticed when occurring sporadically; and then, become an issue when it is perpetual?

There are two types of definitive depression; Situational and Clinical.  Clinical depression can be convoluted at times.  I have suffered from it for years and can testify that it can make the premise of this blog harder to swallow.  I will speak more on clinical depression in another post.  “Clinical depression, a capacity of unprocessed functionality hindering the creation and release of the necessary chemicals required for optimal mental welfare.”

All of humanity should participate on an even playing field but for some of us; drug use, improper dieting and/or genealogical factors have depleted our pre-determined supply of serotonin and other vital chemicals that sustain mental regulation.  My clinical depression stems primarily through previous drug use and genealogy.  Medication, once one is found to be effective, helps re-establish our chemical deficiencies and re-instates our even playing field.  A chemical imbalance impedes a clear mindset that is required to own ones emotions and retrain our brain to operate at optimal performance.  I have been, effectively medicated, for seven years and have restored my chemical imbalance and corrected the normal operations of my brain functionality.  However, with medication, depression and sadness have remained a part of normal living.  The medications is not at fault, nor is it the fault of essential brain chemicals but rather the way I think, my thought patterns and how I deduce what is happening in my life.

How long have you suffered?  How long will you continue to suffer?  This is entirely up to you.  How long I allowed myself to suffer and fall victim to myself, was entirely up to me.  To be honest, it took a long time for me, and I had become accustomed to the feeling of defeat.  I accepted that depression was who I was and that I would suffer for the rest of my life.  Then I realized, at least one part of that was truth.  Depression was me; I am letting it happen, I allowed it to happen all along and only I could change it.

The first bit of information that I hope you find useful; Depression is you, you are letting it happen, you have allowed it to happen this long and only you can change it.

Don’t put the click the “X” because you disagree!  Continue reading because my truth may be your truth and I will tell you why.

Therapists, counselors, psychologist and psychiatrists listen to our thoughts, analyze them and make suggestions as to why we feel the way we feel.  I have tried them all and where I found answers was with a counselor.  My community has a federally funded mental outreach center available to anyone who requires guidance. They are not available as a once a week crutch, they exist to help as long as “NEEDED”.  They believe a short-term model is more effective as long-term models cripple humanities mental abilities; which you see quite often with the PhD’s.  PhD’s earn their living on our inability to own our emotions.  Long term counselling enables the patient and conveys that they require the PhD’s to function within society.

The counsellor gave me tools to fix myself.  Easy, broken down truths on how to become a mental warrior and take back the life I let slip away..  What I learned, is that you need to “OWN” your life and not allow your life to “OWN” you!

What does that mean you ask?  Simple!  If you are obese, then “OWN” it.  If you are poor then “OWN” it.  If you are a single mother with three kids and work two fulltime jobs to make ends meet, “OWN” it.  It is not ideal, but you need to accept who you are in this moment and “OWN” it, because it is yours!  Your battles are your own, they belong to no one else and when it counts, no one else will stand and fight them for you.  No one can!

It is lonely inside ourselves, for within we stand alone; no one can fight our emotional battles for us.  Counsellors can help strategize but it is up to us to put them in to play, take on the forces and aim for victory.  “I’m not strong enough,” you say.  Well I am telling you, you are!  Stop lying to yourself; own your life, own your mind and stand up to “yourself”.  Each day isn’t how we feel but how we choose to feed our moods with our thoughts.  Become a thought warrior and fight for your life.  It is up to you to reprogram yourself, overcome and dominate your depression.


Depression. The Sad Truth! Blog Series on Mental Health Part 1

Depression: P-Psychiatry. a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than warranted by any objective reason.

What are you feeling right now as you are reading this sentence? What is your mood?  Ask yourself; why you started reading this blog post?

I imagine the reason is because you have been suffering from depression and you want answers, you long for reason where reason does not exist.  You experience sadness, dejection and despair and you are hoping this blog might help lift the clouds in which you live.  Maybe there is a void within you; that you want to fill.  A darkness present where you dream light would exist!

I myself have been there, many a time and for many years. I would quite often spend my days going through the motions, simply trying to get by, until bedtime.  You are not alone!  Millions of others experience the same feelings you are having right now.  You, like myself, have searched high a low to understand what is wrong with you and how you can fix yourself.  I have picked up many a book, read articles, sought counseling and guidance to try to figure out what renders me so sad.

This blog is about my personal journey through life, through sadness, through darkness and most importantly, through me.  I have written the truths I found along my way and the psychological facts I accepted because of them.  For so long I suffered, fell victim to my inner most feelings, core beliefs and emotions.  My inner genius is a heart for others, to teach and to guide people to healthier mental versions of themselves.

The content of this book isn’t magic and although while reading, you may experience a few “ah ha” moments, it takes a lot work, discipline and change to help yourself be a mental warrior. Nothing happens overnight, change takes time and patience.  It took me years to come to the point where I surrendered to change, but only a few months to begin implementing them and living it.

I write this blog in hopes as many people who will read it can emancipate themselves as I have.  Join me in my story and tell your friends to follow as well as I lay it out as I have come to know it, myself.