Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Beating the Doggie Called Depression

I went for a walk the other day through the leafy lanes of The Shire, with a friend of mine who has suffered from severe depression from about this time last year.

It was such a beautiful fall day. He was so happy, at having made so much progress on the road to recovery.

And I was just so grateful that he's still here, and that I'm still standing.

For I can honestly say that travelling with him through the maze of the mental health system, has been one of the most exhausting and nightmarish experiences of my life.

And since this is Mental Health Awareness Day I feel I have a duty to my friend, and all the others who aren't as lucky as him, to sum up what I've seen with my eyes wide open: The problem is huge. 

The system is overwhelmed. We need more treatment, more compassion, more support for family and care givers. And above all we need less denial, less stigma, less ignorance.

At the same time as more workplaces are responding to depression at a “remarkable” pace, some stigma still remains toward the mood disorder, with some Canadians saying they believe that people choose to be depressed, according to a new survey.

For who would choose to be struck by a sadness that comes out of nowhere? And can turn something so beautiful...

Into something that feels so hopeless...

Anybody who thinks that must be cruel as well as ignorant.

I'll always be grateful to my friend for opening my eyes to the extent of the problem, and the suffering of so many Canadians, especially poor ones. Even if the experience almost killed me eh?   

Because change begins with awareness. We need change badly. And now I can also help spread the hopeful message: help is available, the sadness that comes from nowhere and hurts everyone, can be treated.

You can beat the doggy depression...

My friend's journey is not yet over. For it can be a long one.

But me and his other friends are with him all the way. Now more than ever.

And on this sunny day in the gentle Shire...

(click pic to enlarge)

We laughed a lot. Wished we too could live in a house with a purple roof.

And kept marching together down that winding road.

Out of the darkness and into the light...

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  1. Anonymous4:06 AM

    As much as I enjoy taking swings at you and those like you, I agree with you about the state of the mental health system. It is a mess and is underfunded, but sadly there is no easy fix.

    1. Now THAT is interesting ...

      "I enjoy taking swings at you and those like you"

      If you are the person who takes ghoulish delight in giggling about Jack Layton's death and indulging in blood-soaked fantasies about murdering leftists, ... well, I already knew that you were mentally ill. But it seems from your comment that you are intimately familiar with the mental health system due to your own need to interact with it.

      I feel compelled to tell you (in case you don't know already) that the mountain of stupid, malicious drivel that you've typed both at my blog and at Simon's is a symptom of sickness.

      Next time you get the urge to type some violent psychopathic cruel taunt, just remember that your behaviour isn't healthy. You should get help because (at the very least) your efforts mark you as a social reject with zero social skills.

    2. Anonymous2:13 AM

      Actually Thwap, I am same guy. Basically I know plenty of decent lefties, most are wrong, some more than others. As for you, you talk shit about everyone who you disagree with, left or right. I know about your potty mouth back to rabble abs later enmasse and B&R. Oh yes, I know about your ways how you feel you don't need to be moderated by anyone. Oh yes I know about that.

      Simon falls pretty much into the same boat. You insult, you bad mouth, you slander......yet you are shocked by those who hold different convictions as deeply as you. Two can play at the school yard game, dear Thwap.

      And no, I haven't dealt with mental health myself, but know others who have. Both on the right and on the left if that makes a difference.

    3. hi anonymous 4:06 ...I'm glad that we agree on this one, because there are some issues that are above politics. It would never even cross my mind to treat a suffering Conservative any less compassionately and kindly, as I would a suffering person of any other political persuasion. And in fact, I have to give the Harper government credit for doing at least one thing right. They have created a blue ribbon panel to recommend ways of improving the situation, and they have coughed up some serious money. So although there is no easy fix, we are at least taking some steps in the right direction. Golly. Who knew it eh? An issue we can ALL support... ;)

    4. Anonymous2:59 AM

      Simon, well there you go. Yes I agree with what you have said there. The problem is money, of which there is and really can never be enough of. Also a lack of trained professionals as well. Mental health isn't for the weak of heart. It is one of the most exhausting areas of health care. The burnout rate is very, very high and frankly many simply dont want to get into it, and frankly I can't blame them.

      Like you said, no quick fix.

    5. Anonymous,

      I see. You think I'm rude, so you typed (on a daily basis) about how funny it is that Jack Layton died of cancer and how all leftists should be shot dead in the street and (pathetically) how you hoped to drive me to suicide?

      Is that about it?

      And then, when I relegated you to the "spam" file, you've decided to do the same thing to a sweet guy like Simon because he despises haters and bullies (who he's had to fight all his life)?

      You're sick. I'd tell you to get help, but as we all apparently know, the system is a mess. Thanks primarily to cut-backs inspired by the blithering nonsense that half-intelligent buffoons like you espouse.

    6. Anonymous6:37 PM

      Yeah, just to run you Thwap, just to run you down. Thanks for bring me here, by the way. I really didn't think you would tag along, but you did. I see the screed you write and if this is only way to get back to you,so be it.

      Like I said you have your schoolyard and frankly so I do. But buffoons and fools such as you just can't take it. I wonder how long before you get the boot from here too......

      P.S Simon writes better than you so at least he is worth reading.

  2. The mental health system started to collapse in Ontario
    around 40 years ago with the then-new thinking of giving a patient a prescription and setting up a welfare worker to help with the financial end of things. The thinking of the time was that it was less expensive to move the person into the community than house them in a hospital or facility for the necessary number of weeks or months to plumb the degree of need.

    Patients are now commodified and not treated as Persons with pressing situations.

    A sad situation all round.

    1. hi Torontonian...yes, the road to hell was paved with good intentions. The idea of getting mentally ill people back into the community was a good one, but there was never a proper support network, so the sick were left alone and vulnerable. I'm very much in favour of providing mobile teams that can take help to where its needed. But right now I would settle for more psychiatrists, and more groups offering therapy to those who need it.
      I need to do some more research, but this is definitely a cause I intend to speak out about, and pressure my political representatives to do more to solve...

  3. Fightfordemocracy9:10 AM

    North America is a depression factory. It doesn't come from nowhere. A mildly depressed employee lacks self-confidence and is easier to exploit.

    People who are intelligent and aware tend to be depressed in Canada. They know when they are being lied to.

    1. Anonymous2:14 AM

      Is really though? Are people depressed because they actually are depressed or because the mental health system tells them so?

    2. hi fightfordemocracy...while I agree that North America is an incubator of depression, it really is a worldwide problem. And I can't help thinking that the way we have organized our society is to blame for so much depression. Instead of cooperating we compete, we make everything seem as if you're either a winner or a loser, and in that kind of jungle why should we be surprised that so many feel so worthless and so sad.
      Since I have a Scottish background, I'm pretty sure I have depression in my genes. And living in Harperland doesn't help. But fortunately I do have a sense of humour, and it really helps...

  4. Anonymous11:53 AM

    That's exactly why we need to unendingly cut taxes for the rich, privatize all forms of healthcare to make sure only the worthy can afford it, spend well-placed money on helo rides for our overpaid, underworked ministers of all ilks and then you will see the true glory of how people who desperately need help will either not be able to afford it or not have any access at all to help. (see how well this has worked for the 'murkans) All praise to the glorious and beneficent deity "harper" for showing all of us unwashed rubes the light! Amen!

    1. Anonymous2:15 AM

      Health care is a provincial matter, you can't blame Harper for everything.

    2. hi anonymous... Hallelujah !!! The Deity is leading us like a moth to the flame. But yes, we do need to recognize that the system is broken, we have to get our priorities right, a rich country like this one should can do more to help the sick, if we can't help ourselves who the hell will?

    3. Anonymous3:04 AM

      Which system?

      Parliament? I am generally quite happy with the things are going. But that just me. That being said, I don't think a change of government will affect the mental health of many people. I don't think depressed people care who is power when it comes to their illness.

      The Heath System? More could and should be done. But it comes down to staffing and funding more than anything.

  5. Anonymous3:16 PM

    The most sad, is when children are depressed. Children that live in poverty and go to school hungry.

    Harper's groper Boessenkool said. The smartest thing Harper ever did was to, cancel the National Child Care program. Harper's other drunk henchman Gordon Campbell, had the highest number of children living in poverty in BC, than all the other provinces in Canada. Harper's misfit criminal Bruce Carson, was arrested for influence peddling. Dictators always need the criminal element, to do their dirty work for them.

    Harper is no different than, the other dictators of yesteryear. Those bizarre typo characters don't get depressed, because, they have no feelings for others, what-so-ever. They are sociopaths, who can't care about anyone else, other than themselves. None of them have any ethics nor morals.

    The state of depression among Canadians is so high...Pharmacies have a problem, keeping anti-depressant medications in stock.

    Your friend isn't alone Simon. Millions of Canadians, have nothing to look forward to. Millions of Canadians battle with depression every day. Canada is no longer a, good and decent country. Canadians have no support from Harper, for anything. Harper's mantra is, lies, deceit, corruption, thefts, dirty tactics, dirty politics and he cheats to win. Canadian citizen's well being, is no-where on Harper's radar.

    1. Anonymous2:17 AM

      So Harper makes people depressed? Um huh, and then if he replaced by Muclair or Trudeau all those people will stop being depressed the day after the election.....I think things are a bit more complex than that.....

    2. hi I said in my post, I had read that mental illness was a huge problem, but until I saw the system up close I didn't realize how huge it was, and how many people were suffering. But sadly a lot of Canadians would rather live in denial, the stigma of mental illness is still a real problem, and as a society we are failing our own...

    3. Anonymous3:06 AM

      I agree. But Tory, Liberal, NDP isn't going to change that one bit.