Friday, February 15, 2013

It's Not Like That for Everybody

I do some work on psych-related stuff. Consequently, I read a bunch of "experts" on depression, among other mental health disorders. "Expert" means either they have multiple degrees and special expertise in the area, they have the disorder themselves, or both.

Folks? I ain't no dummy, despite having (usually) one degree fewer than y'all -- but I ain't you.

I get SO frustrated with the "just do this and it'll really help" stuff. Diet? If you mean a case of Coke and a lot of chocolate, OK. I can do that. I don't WANT to eat healthy when I'm depressed. You know why? I don't give enough of a shit about myself to care. But someone suggested omega-3s (those are OK, I can share the salmon with the cat) and dark, leafy greens.

Here is where I am not like you: I can't have them. Spinach, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts -- if it's darker than romaine, I can't have it, because I have a clotting disorder and leafy greens screw with my blood thinner.

Exercise? The only exercise I'm going to get is walking back and forth either to the john or the fridge. I am not going to go for a walk. I live where it's hideously, bone-searingly cold for much of the year, and perilously icy -- also bad for someone on a blood thinner -- and gas is almost $4 a gallon, making me less than eager to drive to the gym.

Sleep? No thank you. I manage with sleeping pills when the insomnia becomes intolerable, but otherwise, I just trust my body to decide when it's ready to crash for a few hours. Most of the time, as soon as I turn off the light my mind starts racing, and in an hour or so I'll be up with a book for company.

Call a friend? If I'm desperate. Most of the time I don't want to bother them. No matter how much they protest they're happy to help, who really wants a 3 a.m. phone call from someone who's blindingly depressed?

Light candles for a soothing aura? There's a clause in my lease that says I can't burn them in the apartment.

My point, and I do have one, is that these "tips" tend often to be unrealistic. From the person with the odd physical disorder that limits her diet to the person who lives in the Frozen Tundra, you can't expect one size fits all. How about a few other options, so that we all can take away something useful?

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