Confronting depression

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2019

We hear from Chris Beam at Samaritan Counseling that October is Depression Awareness Month.

No surprise there for me. I have battled mild depression most of my life; but when Fall begins I always feel more depressed.

I have tried to analyze it. Have tried counseling and taken medications. So generally speaking I am much more positive and happier most of the year—Then Fall arrives.

There is such a melancholy feeling that comes over me when I think of fall months that lead to Winter.

Some of this, no doubt, has to do with growing up in the North where Winter is really WINTER. There is less sunshine and darker days, all of which affect me negatively. I do not like it when we end daylight savings time and we go home from work in the dark.

Some people find help from therapy lamps, adding Vitamin D to their diets and other home remedies. Others, who can afford it, become Snowbirds and head to Florida—or South Georgia for the Winter.

And then, there are the Holidays—Thanksgiving and Christmas. Feelings of anxiety can come over me if I let them. Society puts such pressures on us to measure up, especially at Christmas. We wonder how we will get everything ready and will we have loved ones with us to celebrate. And in many families, the question becomes will they get along when all together?

I get anxious just writing about it.

Before you are ready to have me committed, I need to mention that it is estimated that 18 million people, “normal” people just like me, are experiencing signs of depression and anxiety to one extreme or another on a daily basis. Many have experienced great losses that would depress anyone.  With others there are neurological issues. There are many causes for depression, and it exists at different levels of severity.

A Harvard University study recommends free form writing, talking about your feelings. Just getting them down on paper where you can see them can be very helpful. I can attest to the success of that as writing this column has boosted my spirits greatly.

There is help available for those who recognize the problem, or wonder if they have one, and want to be helped.

All during October the Samaritan Counseling Center is offering FREE depression screenings Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Center, which is located at 500 S. West Street. For more information, call 229-243-1633.