The D Word

Since November I’ve been dealing with bouts of depression. Yes, that’s the D word people often do not want to speak on because the stigma of it all. I don’t want to speak on it because the ‘ole, what will people think comes into play, as if it screams something is wrong with me. I deal with it in waves, but most recently as a freak of an injury started getting worse, so too was my depression.

I had a boot on my foot by December and it felt like a boot on my life. The more pain I had, and less that I could do, the more I let it affect me. Then add in the holidays and regular life stressors, I was a big ‘ole bag of emotions. When depression hits, it affects what I need to do for myself and what I like to do, such as my blogging. I start procrastinating, I often feel tired and I’m searching for words that won’t come. Then I feel bad because I haven’t posted in a long time, that I’m not doing more in my advocacy and BOOM, I’m the hamster on the wheel.

But one day I needed to remind myself of why I started this blog. It wasn’t for me to be perfect in how I run it, but to inform, to provide resources, and most importantly to share my journey. Warts and all, whether as a caregiver or not, depression has been a thread through it all.

When I was caring for my mom, I started seeing a therapist. I knew I needed to speak to someone other than my friends, and my dog. I needed  coping skills, but most importantly I needed to talk and release. I didn’t think I was depressed. My therapist said I was, I disagreed, she was right. Depression doesn’t always manifest in being sad or down. Even though I wasn’t those things, being mom’s caregiver was all consuming, and in moving forward towards those things that I could move forward to, I didn’t. I was stuck and that feeling of being stuck is a form of depression.

I still deal with the loss of my mom, my Polo, my dad (even though it’s been 22 years), and the loss of the life I had. I allowed myself to fall into the gloom of feeling less than because my life isn’t what I wish it to be, and it’s taken a toll. Most days moving from the fog appears be a bigger challenge that I care to tackle. I’m uncomfortable where I’m at and yet challenged to get unstuck….oh depression. But they say, “your thoughts become things” and for change to happen, I have to work on how I think about things.

Now I won’t dismiss anti-depressants because I’ve been on them too, they work and I’m considering them again. I’m addressing this because there are some people who are of the “no drugs for me” policy, but I say one shouldn’t judge and you have to do what gets you feeling good and functional.

A big difference for me these past years is that I can feel the wave of depression coming on. I can’t always stop it, but I acknowledge it, and ride it through and let the emotional chips fall where they may.

Thankfully, as I write this today, I am in a lighter place. Pains have started easing in one area, and though I’m still dealing with other health issues, I’m working to get out of my feels and into a it’s now or never mode. I also intend on getting another therapist. It’s been years since I’ve gone regularly and it can only help as I move forward. I recommend therapy for anyone whether you’re going through something or not. It helps to have another opinion, another outlet and/or voice of reasoning. It’s important to take any steps you can for optimal mental and physical wellness.

I wish you well on your mental health and wealth journey.

 

 

 

If you have questions about mental health issues including:

  • Symptoms of mental health conditions
  • Treatment options
  • Local support groups and services
  • Education programs
  • Helping family members get treatment
  • Programs to help find jobs
  • Legal issues (the NAMI Legal Resource Service can connect individuals with attorneys in their area but does not have the resources to provide individual representation)

Contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) who  can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET; 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org.

or

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (open 24/7): 1-800-273-8255.

Samaritans 24 Hour Crisis Hotline (open 24/7): 212-673-3000

United Way Helpline (which can help you find a therapist, healthcare, or basic necessities): 800-233-4357

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Bill Gates’ newest mission: Curing Alzheimer’s

Last week Alzheimer’s got a huge boost. Billionaire Bill Gates said he is investing $50 million of his own money into the Dementia Discovery Fund, a private-public research partnership focused on some of the more novel ideas about what drives the brain disease, such as looking at a brain cell’s immune system. It’s the first time Gates has made a commitment to a noncommunicable disease. The work done through his foundation has focused primarily on infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria and polio.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, where a new case is diagnosed every 66 seconds. More than 5 million Americans live with the disease, at a cost of $259 billion a year. Without any treatment, those numbers are projected to explode to 16 million Americans with the disease, at a cost of over $1 trillion a year, by 2050. And for Gates, this mission is personal having people in his family affected by this disease.

With his donation, Gates hopes to spur research into more novel ideas about the disease, like investigating the role of the glial cells that activate the immune system of the brain or how the energy lifespan of a cell may contribute to the disease. He believes that it will be a combination of mainstream and out-of-the-box thinking that will lead to potential treatments in the near future.
For those of us in the Alzheimer’s space, any and all awareness and financial resources are greatly welcomed, but to have a financial and philanthropic powerhouse such as Gates now in the fight, we’re most optimistic.
For the full interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, go here.

Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement’s Challenge 66

On November 1st the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement launched Challenge  66, a month-long campaign to encourage you to leading a brain-healthy lifestyle.

Every 66 seconds a new brain develops Alzheimer’s. This challenge asks you to take 66 seconds to do something that stops the clock on Alzheimer’s. Get moving, get friends to join in, spread the word, share your story on social media with #Challenge66 and have fun. Lets work together to #endalz!

Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement™, founded by Maria Shriver, is a global alliance of individuals, organizations, researchers, foundations, influencers and industry leaders committed to finding out why Alzheimer’s discriminates against women. We believe that by answering the question of why women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s, we will unlock the other mysteries surrounding this mind-blowing disease and that will lead to a cure for all. Learn more about them here.

To download the challenge, click on the link: Challenge 66 

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness & Family Caregiver Month

Another November is here and another November where advocates and families of loved ones with Alzheimer’s or those serving as Caregivers to someone with Alz is in the continues trenches for a cure. We’re always at work, but November, our dedicated month is time to shine brighter, walk further, and  advocate harder.

My day one was spent doing social media outreach, networking and letting people on those outlets to look out, because I will be bombarding them with information. But not bombarding you all mindlessly, but to hopefully to provide information that will be enlightening, empowering, and of course mixed in with some fun.

I also listened to most of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement’s live stream today ( I was at work so I had to listen when I could, LOL). Great panelists, great information, some I was able to jot down quickly and for what I missed, I will go back and get. If you missed it I caught it on Maria Shriver’s Facebook page.

It’s only day one, and I know how I can get, I want to keep going and going as ideas and to-do’s pop into my head. I’m in full-on information overload, which I need to sort out to bring you the best information that I can. And in the meantime, I wish you all a healthful brain day and month.