The Many Faces of Depression
I would venture to say that every person who receives a cancer diagnosis experiences depression. And that depression can linger on and on with dibilitating effects on the survivor and caregivers.
Jeopardy host Alex Trebek described his depression battle with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts. He noted that “I’ve had kidney stones, I’ve had ruptured discs, so I’m used to dealing with pain, but what I’m not used to dealing with is the surges that come on suddenly of deep, deep sadness — and it brings tears to my eyes.”
Alex is dealing with his depression by continuing to host Jeopardy. In my case, I continued to work as well, but I pulled my bicycle out of the garage and began riding again. The physical activity and being outside helped me control my feelings. Fifteen years after my treatment my bicycling still plays a central role in my physical and mental heath. If you cycle or run, you can connect with me on Strava.com here – https://www.strava.com/athletes/58546
You can read the rest of the Cure article about Alex at the following link: read more.
10 Way to Beat Depression
There’s no guaranteed path to beating depression, but here are 10 steps research shows will help:
- Get in a routine. Depression can strip the structure from your life. An easy daily routine will help you restablish a norm.
- Set goals. You may feel like you can accomplish anything. Begin with one or two easy tasks each day.
- Exercise. It boosts your feel-good endorphins and helps the brain re-wire itself. [It worked wonders for me.]
- Eat healthy. There’s evidence that foods with omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and tuna) and folic acid (such as spinach and avocado) could help ease depression.
- Get enough sleep. Missing sleep is tough on everyone, but especially if you are depressed. Begin by making some simple changes to your lifestyle. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom — no computer and no TV. In time, you may find your sleep improves.
- Take on responsibilities. Depression makes you want to pull back from life and give up your responsibilities at home and at work. Don’t. Staying involved and having daily responsbilities can help you maintain a lifestyle that can help counter depression. They ground you and give you a sense of accomplishment.
- Challenge negative thoughts. A big element in beating depression mental — changing how you think. When you’re depressed, you leap to the worst possible conclusions. The next time you’re feeling terrible about yourself try using logic as a natural depression treatment. You might feel like no one likes you, but is there real evidence for that? You might feel like the most worthless person on the planet, but is that really likely? It takes practice, but in time you can beat back those negative thoughts before they get out of control.
- Check with your doctor before using supplements. Research shows that some supplements like fish oil, folic acid, and SAMe may help, but more research is needed. Your doctor is your best source of information and guidance here.
- Do something new. Depression can put you in a rut. Do something different. Visit a museum or just outside to a park and let nature help you.
- Try to have fun. Depression will try and steal all the joy from your life. Make a list of the things that you used to like to do. Then just go and do it.
My personal favorite activity when I’m down is bicycling. It’s free; it’s good exercise; and it gets me outside.