The Week Has Been….

Let’s talk on something that you may be facing but failed to recognize it…

(When is the last time you had depression? Or you are having one right now but failed to recognise one? Have you asked for help from someone or have you decided to face it all alone and end up more depressed? Image: http://www.bipolardisordertestonline.com)

Whilst I finally managed to resolve the Ubuntu upgrade problem and upgraded to 12.04 LTS, this week has rather a stressful one. A couple days ago, I had to bring my Dad to the hospital for check-up (he has not been well since the last weekend) and after a long 4 hours wait for the doctors to complete their observations and diagnostics (discount 1 hour in between on waiting for the doctors), they informed that my Dad is undergoing bouts of depression (it seemed serious though).

Depression, damn I have heard of it and I am pretty sure I have experience it myself when I was far away from home, family and Malaysian food.

Wikipedia defines depression as:-

“….a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and physical well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, or restless.

They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable; experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions; and may contemplate or attempt suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may be present.

Depressed mood is not necessarily a psychiatric disorder. It is a normal reaction to certain life events, a symptom of some medical conditions, and a side effect of some medical treatments. Depressed mood is also a primary or associated feature of certain psychiatric syndromes such as clinical depression…”

My dad is reaching 65 years old starting line and based on the national average of 71.8 years and that is considered old but depression not necessarily affect old people. I guess everyone reaches this point at one point of their live except a few mortals like my Grandma who in her late 80s can still see far without glasses, can speak clearly (including fluent Bahasa), can walk unaided, travels a lot and have a great expectation of life. I hope to follow on her footsteps as well.

The doctors have prescribed some medications for my Dad and it seems to be working – he finally had a good long deep sleep last night compared to the last few days. He had opted to stay at home to rest instead of going to work although he admitted that he can’t wait to go back to work once he has recovered. Of course, there would be follow up therapies to ensure a complete recovery from depression but this may take some time. It is not possible to keep my Dad locked up at home and closely monitor him – he is not the type.

PubMed Health recommends the followings to keep depression at bay:-

  • Get more exercise
  • Maintain good sleep habits
  • Seek out activities that bring you pleasure
  • Volunteer or get involved in group activities
  • Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling
  • Try to be around people who are caring and positive
  • Avoid alcohol or illegal substances at all cost

Kids Health further suggests:-

Exercise – People who are depressed may not feel much like being active. But make yourself do it anyway (ask a friend to exercise with you if you need to be motivated). Once you get in the exercise habit, it won’t take long to notice a difference in your mood. Two other aspects of yoga — breathing exercises and meditation — can also help people with depression feel better.

Nurture yourself with good nutrition – Depression can affect appetite. Proper nutrition can influence a person’s mood and energy. So eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and get regular meals (even if you don’t feel hungry, try to eat something light, like a piece of fruit, to keep you going).

Identify troubles, but don’t dwell on them – Try to identify any situations that have contributed to your depression. When you know what’s got you feeling blue and why, talk about it with a caring friend. Talking is a way to release the feelings and to receive some understanding. If there’s no one to tell, pouring your heart out to a journal works (hmm, like how I usual do by blogging?)

Express yourself – With depression, a person’s creativity and sense of fun may seem blocked. Exercise your imagination (painting, drawing, doodling, sewing, writing, dancing, composing music, etc.) and you not only get those creative juices flowing, you also loosen up some positive emotions.

Look on the bright side – If depression has you noticing only the negative, make an effort to notice the good things in life. Try to notice one thing, then try to think of one more. Consider your strengths, gifts, or blessings.

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish from normal stress, anger, mild depression and serious depression but I guess if one thinks positive and trust others to help out when the going gets tough, things will turn out just fine. And that is what we planned for my Dad on his road to recovery. After all, he has come this far in his life – putting his kids through good education and who now working in stable, good jobs. He have lived well enough to see 2 grand kids (including the Big Boss who is very, very close to his Grandpa) and is likely to see another 2 in the coming months.

For now, for the family (me and my siblings and my Mom), we probably entering a whole new phase and making sure he continues with his medication and therapies – I am very positive of this.

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