Monday, May 4, 2009

Depression During The Recession

Yet another suicide related to job loss in the paper today...

This is certainly a time of mass depression as so many of us are dealing with losses related to the recession. A good book to help you comprehend the phenomena of loss is, "On Death and Dying" by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. This timeless textbook classic outlines the five stages of grieving a loss: 1) Shock 2) Anger 3) Bargaining 4) Depression 5) Acceptance. Kubler-Ross proposes that these stages are not necessarily experienced in a linear fashion but more like a spiral effect.

People seem to get stuck in the depression described as stage 4 of 5 in Kubler-Ross' grieving cycle. For most, it is situational-related and is referred to by the mental health field as Dysthymia. This is a "lighter" form of depression and is easily overcome by comparison to Clinical Depression. Treatment intervention for this condition can be done without resorting to anti-depressants. Simply talking to a trusted friend about your problems will decrease Dysthymia. Most important thing to do is to watch for negative thinking or "stinkn' thinking". No matter how tough your life may be right now, trying to stay positive is your best bet for getting you through the low feelings.

I once listen to a preacher describe ways people cope with stress. He talked about a continuum, with problem solving in the middle, suicide at one end and homicide at the other. It seems there are an alarming number of people resorting to the extremes of this coping continuum. Hopefully it just seems that way because the media tends to over report drama. Whatever the case, sustaining a tough time is what people need to do. As painful as the situation may be, it can be an opportunity to look inward and find out what one's about. Viktor Frankl's book "Man's Search For Meaning" talks about his experiences in a concentration camp. He came to the conclusion that humans are searching for meaning and purpose in life; not happiness.

I also read elsewhere that a study done on depression shows there can be some merit to it, at least in small doses. Apparently people suffering from depression tend to be far more introspective and make better decisions then "happy" people. I suppose this makes sense because I know I am far more diligent about researching the stock market these days before I make an investment. On a more serious note, if you or someone you know continues to feel depressed, please get professional help.

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