Coiner of Thread-Falls, & Inadvert Founder of Swo'
- Sep 24, 2017
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Very few of us can accurately determine when we are 'Depressed' in the correct sense of the word, as that word has been misused for the past few generations. It's not our fault we often misuse it, it's the way that Media has used it, and it certainly has become common parlance for Low Mood.My own experience is the same. When I feel depressed the best solution is "getting out of my head" and helping others (this includes animals). I have also noticed that regular exercise seems to keep my mental state in a healthy place and prolonged inactivity tends to have the opposite effect.
Dealing with things like grief and depression are part of the human condition. Honestly I would be a little wary of anyone who has never felt depression at some point in their life.
When our biochemistry is physically 'depressed', this can make us feel in a low mood, but being in a low mood automatically does not mean we have depressed biochemistry. The two are related, but not necessarily always connected. We don't actually know when our biochemistry in our brain is 'depressed', but we do know when we feel in a low mood. Our biochemistry contributes to that low mood, for some people it may be predominant cause, but for most of us it will only be a minor causative factor.
Persistant low mood is biopsychosocial in origin, so nothing is black and white about it.
The Media has used Depression and Low Mood interchangably since the 1950s, and it now anecdotally means one and the same. Doctors also do not have time to tease out the distinction during a typically 20 min consultation, so often Depression is the easiest diagnosis to use, as it means prescription of medication, and resolution of that 20 min appointment.
However the reason I point all this out is because there is an important distinction if our biochemistry is not depressed as a predominant factor, as this means that pharmalogical intervention will only have minimal benefits. Not that the major pharmaceutical companies want us to emphasise that, as they would prefer we all have their medication prescriptions regardless.
I'm certainly not anti-medication or radical in any way, if anything I'm 'objective with a knowledge background'
I am a clinican working in government community mental health services, so I got a bit of an awareness with all this
Working in government health services here we tend to be very objective, as the private sector is all about sponsorship and what not, so the major pharmaceutical companies are leaning on the private sector all the time.
This isn't a highly contentious issue where I am, although I understand it possibly may be in some parts of the USA, due to the ammount of commercial zeitgeist in the health sector, it's much less so here.
Yeah you are defiantely right in saying it's normal for all of us to feel low at times, especially after traumatic events or experiencing grief. We all have own own cycles when our moods get low, and mainly this makes us a bit frustrated, irritable, or fatigued, then it passes. But at other times it lasts longer, and if there are other things going on in our lives (or not going on), then we do fall into a bit of a rut with the low mood.
So yeah, anyone who never experiences it at times is really just not being honest
You are very correct regarding the positive impact of physical exertion upon low mood
If our body is physically active, it definately does significantly decrease the intensity of low mood cycle patterns as well as the duration.
Lots of recent studies indicate that physical activity is more integral to restoring usual mood momentum than biopharmalogicl intervention in the majority of cases. Combining both physical activity and medication is a reasonable course of action, but if low mood persists then higher doses of antidepressants often will not be the answer - if any of those factors need to be increased, then physical activity/exertion is the one that will often have the most benefit.
(I don't have articles here to fact-check, but it's there to find if anyone goes looking)
The best thing to do with low mood is to intiate or continue engagment in physical, mental, and social activities. Often our frustration tolerance is much less when our mood is low, so this affects concentration and often makes mental activities harder to initiate - so physical activity really is a great kickstarter.
Getting the first step is the biggie - leaving the house and going for a long walk every day, and if someone has regular access to a gym or sport club then that is phenomenally great on decreasing low mood. So doing physically active stuff, then while resting, doing some mentally appealing stuff (like our great hobby).
Also involvement in organised social groups is a great way to tick a few boxes. Doing this we are not focused on our own issues for a while, so it is mental respite in a sense, and the activity of social engagement is extremely positive. Participating in hobby social clubs are really great, and altruistic community organisation involvement is even better. Helping others really does seem to help us - I guess it makes sense as we are all humans after all, but who would of thought it was as fundamental as all that?
So yeah, everything you wrote is pretty much solid gold