Defeating the Depression of Aging

Dec 3rd, 2008 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

One of my favorite witticisms is the one that asks for a definition of Apathy. The reply is: “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

Ever really feel that way? It happened to me today. I was within one sentence of completing an article I had been working on for a week. Its theme was dealing with aging parents with the dynamics attendant to that. It had flowed better than most of my attempts. It was balanced and real and empathetic. At the last line, I accidentally hit a wrong key. It was completely deleted. I was devastated. The work of the morning, the completion of the piece had suddenly disappeared, gone, vanished. My own stupid behavior had omitted the step to save the work.

No back up. No basic recall of what had been written. I was thrown off track. So what did I do? I chose to walk the dogs. There had to be some way to head off a dark depression moving in to consume an otherwise good day.

Depression has a way of slipping in the back door. Prompted by all sorts of subtle events and pressures, it arrives, often, without an prior warning. The article was not only an effort to address this major event in older persons’ lives, but my own way of addressing a conflict that had developed internally around that whole phenomenon.

The very effort to head off depression eventually contributed in my having to face the whole thing all over again. Maybe, the stew in the pot needed to simmer longer. Maybe the direction the article took needed rethinking. Maybe, the confrontation with depression required my working to slay the dragons more thoroughly and completely.

Some think hearty laughter contributes to overcoming a depressed frame of mind. That makes good sense. Others believe a good cry is a balm and a salve. Still others think talking it through is the best course to get out and away from it. Ironically, writing the article was the preferred choice in my case, kind of like talking to yourself.

Whatever course one chooses to take, a course, self motivated, is prudent, wise and medicinal. Shifting gears out of low, means getting on a straightaway enabling a ride to a destination with more favorable attractions and distractions. Depression, as a psychological state, is certainly an undesirable place to be. Choosing to find the way out of it is an indication that you are still in control. So take the wheel, shift to high, and step on the accelerator. There are vistas of happiness and satisfaction out there waiting.

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