I still get depressed.
Not every day. Not every week. Not even every month.
In fact, I haven’t visited a therapist in ages. I don’t take anti-depressants.
But I’ve found the secret to beating depression. Cheaper than pills. Lots cheaper than a trip to the therapist.
I jog. About four days a week, starting out about 7 a.m. I head for our nearby part and cover a little more than four miles. When I run out of breath, I walk. And you know what? When I get back home, any worry, any inkling of depression has melted away.
I was reminded of how I handle depression when I saw the recent New York Times article titled, “Getting mental health care when money is tight.”
Given the current economic climate, the piece was particularly addressed to persons who had lost their job or feared losing their job.
But the tips could very well help anybody struggling with occasional depression or anxiety. Even if you’re depression is major, simple things like exercising or finding a support group can help get you moving toward professional help.
Most members of the clergy have been trained to listen to troubled souls. Pastors and rabbis should spot major problems and connect you with the right professional.
You can talk with your family doctor. The caveat here is that many medical doctors aren’t very good at diagnosing a mental illness. Nevertheless, a conversation might well open the door.
If cost truly is an issue, you should know that most people who don’t get help for a mental health problem avoid it because of what they expect to be the cost. Until recently, health insurance hasn’t been very good about covering such problems.
I should also mention that most communities have agencies, such as Mental Health America and a community mental health center, that can direct you to help – often at minimal cost or even no cost.
Another way to make the connection is by calling the national suicide prevention hotline. Most of their calls aren’t from persons threatening suicide. And the persons answering the calls are trained to direct you to somebody who can help.
That number is 1-800-273-TALK.
Through the years, jogging has spared me much heartache. Meantime, on those many outings, I’ve solved problems, planned books and kept myself in excellent health for a person in his 70s.
You might say I’m a believer.