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Depression

Blog posts with a category of Depression.

Facing the reality of feeling SAD

Eli head shotBy Eli Zaret, New Oakland Community Liaison

I felt the first wave of sadness when I woke up on the first Sunday of daylight savings time. I thought, “What good is another hour of daylight this morning ifSAD2

I’m just going to get robbed of it when it gets dark at 5:30 this afternoon? We’re not ‘saving’ anything. We’re just trading morning darkness for afternoon darkness.” My cynicism continued, “And the days will only get  darker and colder — and — can I make it through another winter?”

My sadness is exactly that — “SAD” — Seasonal Affective Disorder — which, unfortunately, is as natural as the sun, moon, air and water. People suffer from it worldwide, though some worse than others and some not at all. As the name implies, SAD can take place at the change of any season, but it’s most common at daylight savings time when you put the lawnmower away, break out the winter coat and envision the imposing cold grayness of winter.

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Two brave teens shine a light on depression

 

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By David Harris, MD and New Oakland Medical Director

Don’t be disillusioned: It’s tough out there. And that goes for everybody, even those who seem to have it all. I go back to the opening page of M. Scott Peck’s self-help classic, The Road Less Traveled:

Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”  M. Scott Peck

Unfortunately, for those with untreated depression, the road becomes much bumpier and dangerous.

I bring this up to applaud two brave teenagers from Community High School in Ann Arbor, Madeline Halpert and Eva Rosenfeld. Both young ladies are aspiring Tdep3
journalists and suffer from depression, and after one saw a bottle of Prozac in the other one’s purse at journalism conference, they openly discussed their feelings and use of antidepressants. But when they interviewed fellow students and wanted to bring their discovery into the open, they ran into a roadblock. The two then wrote about it in a op ed article in the New York Times.

As editors at our high school newspaper we decided to fight against the stigma and proposed devoting a whole edition to personal stories from our peers who were suffering from mental illness. We wanted honesty with no anonymity.

We knew that discussing mental health in this way would be edgy, even for our progressive community in Michigan. We interviewed teenagers from around our school district who shared stories of depression, eating disorders, homelessness, prescription abuse, insomnia and anxiety. All agreed to attach their full name — no anonymity or pseudonyms.

But we were shocked when the school administration would not allow us to publish the articles.” Continue reading

Fighting depression – and winning spectacularly

FCBK 1By Eli Zaret, New Oakland Community Liaison

Steven Bowditch, a 22 year old Australian golfer, could take no more. On an April morning in 2006, following a harrowing 12 straight nights without sleep, he put on his heaviest clothes, jumped in his pool and tried to drown himself. His girlfriend at the time pulled him out and resuscitated him to save his life.

Bowditch’s battle with clinical depression had become too much to bear. His symptoms were physical at first: Disabling headaches, sudden nosebleeds, severe insomnia. Doctors feared he had a brain tumor before diagnosing depression.

But the diagnosis didn’t solve anything. He drank to self-medicate and felt overwhelmingly helpless. He even disliked being a golfer. In a 2009 Golf Digest story by Jim Moriarty, he told of walking down a fairway and envying the guy on his patio barbequing a steak. It’s supposed to be the other way around. The guy on his patio should be bow 3dreaming of a life hitting golf balls for a living.

Now, at 30, 13 years after turning pro and ranked just 339th in the world rankings, he earned $1.2 million in winning last weekend’s Texas Open on the PGA golf tour.

Therapy and medication saved Steven’s life. He is now a spokesman for “beyondblue,” an Australian anti-depression initiative that raises awareness of anxiety and depression. After his victory on March 30th, beyondblue Chairman Jeff Kennett said, “Steven is yet another example to anyone who experiences depressive or anxiety conditions, that by seeking professional help and staying focused you cannot only overcome your own struggles, but can rightly be called a champion.”

After winning, Bowditch was asked about beating depression to make it to the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour. His answer explained it perfectly: “I didn’t overcome it,” he said. “You deal with it on a day-to-day basis.”

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