Status Quo

What is the best way to cope with a really bad depression? After the last few weeks, I confess I must have forgotten. Sitting it out until it magically dissolves again? Bravely confronting it with your last crumbs of energy and determination? Taking an extra dose of pills? Trying to talk about the un the untalkable with someone in his right mind? Attempting to rationally analyze your desperation, fear and disgust? Clinging to simple small daily routines such as taking a walk or feeding the cat? Concentrating on something physical using that mindfulness thing? Or just sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, sleeping for most of the day?

The last weeks I tried nearly all of these things, and I’m still not yet sure. I think I’ll opt for my bed again now.

    Probably I’ll be back here within a few days as if nothing happened. With another Interesting Inspiring Informative Post. But right now I’m afraid I am, well certainly not out of weird ideas, but sadly out of words. Out of motivation, too. Temporarily sold out, sorry ma’am. We’re waiting for the next batch. For the meantime, as a light and healthy alternative, can I recommend you this wide array of Cat Photos at Flickr?

    If you came here expecting one of my Interesting Inspiring Informative Posts, then please do take a look all over this site. For actually over the last couple of years I wrote plenty of them. At times when I could find some words. They’re not bad at all.

    Right now, I can do no better here than saddling you with a bleak picture and a bleak song. Neither will cheer you up. Still, please be kind enough to consider that at least for my part, this still counts as a sign of life.

The Picture


The Song

Click the green “Play” button – if it’s missing, install Flash.      
For a full StayOnTop playlist, go to the Music page.

• reference: The song is How to Disappear Completely by Radiohead, from their absolutely brilliant but also somewhat intimidating 2000 album Kid A. Here is a link to their official Radiohead website.

4 Responses to “Status Quo”

  1. 1 melindasleight Jun 25, 2013 at 18:15

    Henk, I know I’m going out on a limb here, but while reading your last few posts as well as some I have skipped around to, the thought occurred to me that there perhaps might be still be things that could be of help for depression that have yet to be tried by many. For instance, the efficacy of certain types of magnesium therapy:

    You have so much to offer this world by virtue both of all you have been through and the insights and compassion that you have accrued and by the depth, intelligence and humor that define you. No doubt the pain you go through is at heavy personal cost, but you are making it a better place for others. Your willingness to share the journey, lowlights and all–what purpose! When you shed a little light of understanding in the dark corners, does not that glimmer begin to replace the gloom?

    I hope you stick around for the long haul for your own sake. But it won’t hurt the rest of us at all.

    • 2 Henk Jul 1, 2013 at 19:22

      Well Melinda, thanks a lot for your kind words. Let’s hope we all will manage to stick around for some time.
      As for the site you mentioned, I did take a look. To be honest it didn’t convince me right away. Of course I won’t rule out the possibility of him being right. But you know, there are so many people each claiming to have discovered their own magic bullet, the thing that will ultimately defeat depression, that maybe I’ve grown a little too cynical in this respect. Besides, people are so different, with so many different kinds of depression. I have trouble believing in one simple solution because there may be not just one simple cause. It’s a bit like why there’s still no magic bullet against cancer yet, either… If your magnesium guy actually is right with his magic bullet, then no doubt his solution will be widely acclaimed by the medical world once they find out about it!
      I don’t mean we shouldn’t try new ideas. Yes we should, why not? But the main problem with magic bullets is (in my opinion) that they can seduce people to rely entirely (and sometimes dangerously) on some not-yet-proven alternative solution, while ignoring other solutions that may be no magic bullets, but at least have been proven to help a little.
      My own idea so far is more like safely spreading my cards rather than taking the risk of putting all my cards on one solution. So this implies using modern antidepressants (in situations when obviously needed) plus a somewhat healthy lifestyle (a little physical exercise, no junk food etc.) plus a few alternative therapeutic elements (like concentration techniques borrowed from mindfulness) plus a few social and productive activities (like editing a book for a friend) plus using a few food supplements (vitamins, minerals) that may be healthy in a more general sense anyway. There’s just one card from my deck (electroshocks, a kind of last-resort joker card) that I won’t play again anytime soon.
      Anyway, among the general daily food supplements that I already happen to take is one that in fact contains magnesium + zinc – I just didn’t make a connection between magnesium and depression yet!

  2. 3 melindasleight Jul 18, 2013 at 16:46

    I like your shotgun approach because it is a pragmatic one. And couldn’t agree more that the magic bullet is a risky illusion. Certainly we are all individual with different pieces of the puzzle missing or in the wrong place. That being said, there are so many things that I have overlooked in my search for things that are helpful in my own quest for health and happiness, and even more so for others I know who have far greater needs than myself. So I’m scouting around-again. Or still….

    I too have taken supplements over the years, even mag & zinc, but only discovered this year that the form I was taking (mag oxide) has a 4% absorption rate-becomes impossible to assimilate enough because of the strong laxative effect (oh well, makes it impossible to overdose!) While it seemed to ameliorate somewhat the leg cramps I occasionally had to deal with, I don’t think it did a lot to handle the deficiency that 80% plus of us (USA) have due to the depletion in our soils and foods over the last many years. In fact, it’s truly difficult to get satisfactory levels back into our bodies and so combining transdermal and pico iconic applications seem to be the most enlightened path, along with a little oral of the more efficacious forms (Taurinate, Glycinate, Citrate etc.) and judiciously avoiding taking any form of Asparatate and Glutamate at the same time! I just find it fascinating because it’s one of the four basic building blocks of our bodies and so important in every reaction therein…so I have been studying it lately. And I have been impressed by what I have seen and heard it do for many, but not everyone, so I am encouraging my family and friends to experiment a bit. That’s all.

    Compared to the experimenting I have seen with drugs this seems pretty innocuous. And by far a more sane/humane approach than electroshock therapy, although I know there are some who swear by that as well. As a nursing student-lo a hundred years ago it seems, I worked summers in between my college studies at a huge State Hospital for the supposedly “insane” and I remember one sunny day escorting a beautiful young woman about my age to the building where she was to endure electroshock. I had never even heard of it before and was nearly paralyzed with fear for her, and thought of ways to have us both escape, but she was actually looking forward to this experience, assuring me that she always felt better following these treatments. Evidently it revived her memory. So I left her there and hoped for the best, but was not convinced, and walked away with guilt and not a little foreboding.

    Still I guess the bottomline is whatever works for the individual. And that’s a matter of experimenting, fine tuning, and a lot of luck. I hope everyone is able and open to finding their own way. Cheers!

    • 4 Henk Jul 24, 2013 at 02:00

      Yes, we agree that what works for one may not work for someone else – for example if you view supplements as compensation for deficiencies in your body, in your lifestyle, and in your environment, then some individual living on a Japanese island may need something very different in comparison with someone living in the Bronx.
      For the same reason I always advise people, when their psychiatrist prescribes some antidepressant, to also discuss a few alternative types of medication: some psychiatrists are so rooted in their professional habits that they keep prescribing medication A automatically, without considering medication B in individual cases.
      The major exception here, where people really shouldn’t “experiment”, is ECT. Because some consequences of ECT (think memory loss) can be very nasty and irreversible, I think ECT should be used only as a last-resort solution and only after very thorough consideration. Never just to see if it might work for you personally. ECT should be seen not as an alternative to medication, but only as a (possible) alternative to suicide.
      I hope, by the way, that you never had to witness an actual ECT procedure – I know from nurses that even though patients nowadays are fully anesthetized, it can be almost traumatizing to see their convulsions, it looks so much like you’re hurting them instead of curing them…
      As for myself, maybe ECT helped save my life. Maybe not: it’s hard to say what would have happened without ECT. Anyway I surely hope I’ll never get in a situation again where this would be my only option left.

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