depression is no laughing matter

Depression is No Laughing Matter

If it weren’t for my sense of humor, depression would have killed me decades ago. To simplify things, let’s say that there are two kinds of depression: situational depression (brought on by a recent event), and clinical depression (chock-full of lots of other items). Everyone gets onboarded to situational depression throughout their lifetime; it’s natural, and to be expected, when someone dies, a relationship ends, or you discover that you’ve already finished off that box of chocolates you had hidden deep in your closet.

Clinical depression is a different monster, entirely; the use of the word monster, being intentional. I’ve struggled with bipolar (II) disorder since they were calling it manic-depression. For about forty years, my brain has been at war, with itself. Those who are in the same depression boat, understand that statement; and I hope that you are not one of them. But if you are, let’s shake hands (at a safe, socially distanced range), and get to the meat of things.

Firstly, there is no shame in admitting that you have depression. If you had autism or a missing limb, you wouldn’t go around apologizing for it; we are who we are. Secondly, there is no cure for clinical depression, although you can manage it. (Some people will challenge this notion.) Thirdly, depression can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. It doesn’t care about your race, gender identity, socioeconomic background, weight, education, or upon which continent you were born. It’s a club that welcomes members of all backgrounds.

It wasn’t until a number of roads from my life crossed, that I understood how I could manage my depression. I was finishing my BA degree in psychology, learning about happiness, and beginning to eat healthier, when my objective became clear. Without any of the other tricks I discovered along this path, by far, the biggest thing I learned is that nutrition truly does have a major impact on my mental well-being. When I feel especially depressed, the first thing I do is reach for quality protein, and vegetables. As a sugar addict, it’s been a difficult task not reaching for chocolate, but I’m getting better.

Being that it’s my duty to tell you to seek professional help if you’re feeling depressed, and especially if you are having thoughts of suicide, I will do that. In the more likely event that you’re feeling the way you regularly feel, drink a glass of water, reach for a lean chicken breast (or walnuts, if you’re vegan), throw together a spring mix salad with spinach, and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel, in a relatively short period of time. It’s sometimes hard to remember that we have some choice over our mental health status, but we do. You are now officially, empowered.

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