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Monday, January 2, 2012

Challenging My Depression

Having been paralysed from the lower chest down, I can tell you that I have been depressed - from time to time seriously so. Yet I am here, and within the limits of my residual problems, I flourish. I have been reading the Twitter List #Depression, and if you put to one side the advertising to various somewhat ordinary sites with very repetitive and boring information that does not offer real help, there are all sorts of cries for help alongside all sorts of strange information that does not really offer help.
The key question is "What can YOU do to help yourself?' Look, if you are worried about your mental health, then you really should go to your personal doctor and get checked out.
Seeking Help Saves Lives
But even when you have had a medical or psychological checkup, you still need to do lots for yourself. Just sitting down in front of the television having taken your antidepressants WILL NOT WORK. And the intriguing thing is that the more you actually do, the better you feel. So I thought I would share one or two ideas with you related to my own struggle to stay sane when you suddenly cannot walk. I will post as regularly as I can with more ideas.
The first is related to physical movement. There was a time in hospital when I literally could not move a muscle below my lower chest. The Physiotherapists assessed my status, and demanded I keep everything moving passively. That is I had to pull my floppy legs up with my hands, and perhaps reach down and move each of my toes. After some Acupuncture on the third day I felt sensations that had not been there for days - which gave me a burst of hope. The very next morning I could move my left big toe - only about a couple of millimetres each way, but it moved. I wept and laughed at the same time. Every time I thought of it, I exercised that toe. Next day it moved more, and millimetre by millimetre I gained strength. It took a year of struggle for me to get most of my muscles working well enough for me to walk well without aids, and I still need to keep my exercises going or I slide back. But with each small triumph, each new muscle I got to do what it was supposed to do, I gained just that small bit of hope, and gradually my confidence returned.But walking is basic to being a human being, so I am determined to keep walking every day of the rest of my life.
So what is the lesson here? Never lose hope. However depressed you believe you are, DO something - even a little tiny physical something. (If you can, turn the bloody television off and go for a short walk. Next day go at least ten metres further). Every time you do it, it will make you smile, or even laugh and cry together. Who cares? Each small triumph tucked into the mind's bank will put you back on the road to mental wealth.

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