8 April 2015

Peace of Mind

Depression, mental health and the erosion of our human spirit is something I have given thought to.  Helpful suggestions here include some that allowed me to shrug off the weight of  such a transient interval.

Sleepwalking into a state of low spirits may give no forewarning until a seemingly insignificant event tips the scales.  One newspaper report of a young girl on holiday locally (unknown), who tragically lost her life to an ingestion of infected material while playing on the beach. There were other worries also occupying my thoughts, but this final matter was that straw that tipped me into a spiral of low spirit and consultations with my GP and prescriptions for anti-depressants. It was some little time later that I sank lower and chose to actually take the medication. A choice not to be taken lightly. Medication that renders one into a state of fuzzy, detached thinking and sluggish behaviour, with me sitting in a comatosed state for days, weeks and many months, and undergoing phases of talking therapy. Sometimes helpful - sometimes not. Not all doctors or therapists have a grasp of what to do for a particular patient. I quite understand that this is more likely to be due to the vastly wide differences to be found in the circumstances and mind state of a patient and the great variability of therapies and drugs available to the helper. What works for one may be counter productive for another and so on.
Much of my state of mind came about as a result of grappling with, or failing to grapple with, financial issues to do with what we all have to deal with; but in my case it became an all consuming obsession with the minutiae of pennies and planning for a comfortable retirement. A mid-life crisis is a vague description, but hardly gives a clue to the reasons or the cures that eventually lead back on the road to peace of mind.
A remark that helped me greatly was made by one GP who said; whether I chose to do nothing all day, made little difference . Circumstance change around us and the environment we live in alters, whatever else we do.

I could choose to do nothing to change my lot or act upon my thinking. Outside changes will eventually do this for us, albeit slowly and haphazardly.

This thought woke me up to the futility of my state of mind and led to decisions that helped me recover more quickly than if he had said nothing. A seemingly simple, but nonetheless quite important observation on his part.

Another GP advised me not to discuss such issues with friends!  Wrong advice as far as I was concerned.  I found those friends and relations I talked to, supportive and extremely helpful.
Most therapists are very reluctant to offer solutions to life problems in case their suggestions lead to negative or disastrous actions that they might, themselves, be later blamed for.
So what else helps?   Physical exercise, walking, travel, new horizons, escaping one environment and moving to another, engaging with animals, particularly a pet dog, a cat, or a horse, visiting distant relatives, spectacles of nature, and grand landscapes of the wonderful kind that are here to be enjoyed by us all.

Listen for the skylark in the heavens

The world is so incredibly varied and people themselves also incredibly various. Today as always I enjoy just; "people watching".  A crowded street can be as fascinating as a deserted remote shoreline of a Scottish loch.  Both are glorious in ways that need no explanation.


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