Written by 4:34 am senior living

How Senior Citizens Can Overcome Depression

Senior Citizens Can Overcome Depression

What do elderly people search the Internet for?

I was wondering about this last week until, unable to hold my curiosity any longer, I did a quick search. What I found almost choked me do death. On Google’s first page, from top to bottom, was nothing but about Depression.

I exited the page fast like I would if I happen to go into a room to find a couple having sex. It’s outright embarrassing and I don’t want to dwell so much on a subject I fought so hard to take out of my system.

Depression can suck you in into its womb, very much like the fly into a spider’s web, or Eve and the Forbidden Fruit.

Depression is simply bad news. Not only is it the third most common ailment afflicting elderly people (next to dementia and Alzheimer’s), it can lead to more serious mental and physical issues.

Ironically, if nipped in the bud, it is easier to cure than the common flu.

But unlike the flu where you run a temperature, depression creeps in on you unnoticed and in many faces it disguises itself.

It starts with feelings of sadness, of feeling helpless, hopeless and worthless. These manifest themselves as fatigue or lack of interest in doing your normal routine.

You take them as one of those things all people feel every now and then. And you are right. Nobody is exempted from it. We all feel depressed more times than we realize. But whereas healthy and younger people bounce back after a few hours or after a good night’s sleep, elderly people may not be as resilient and flexible.

Nobody knows, precisely, what causes depression. Seeking medical help will not provide a long-lasting solution other than one more pill that can hook you for life.

You know yourself better than anyone else, so if, for no obvious reason, you start feeling lethargic and have the blues for long periods of time, start doing something.

That’s the premise I used when I stopped taking my anti-depressants after a couple of days. I looked at the cost of the pills, which I have to take twice daily, then at my bank account. When I realized that my depression may last a lot longer than my savings, I said to myself, “What the heck. This is a mind game. I will change my mind.” I did. And that’s probably the best thing I ever did in my life.

You can do it, too, by keeping in mind that depression is essentially a mind game. Change the game and you get rid of it. Here are simple ways to do it:

1. Get Active

By getting “active” I don’t mean taking more trips to the ref then back to your sofa and tinker with your TV remote control the whole day.

There are ways of getting active as there are letters in the alphabet – from Aikido to doing the zip line, and hundreds in between. Bungee jumping has no age limit, so is having torrid one-night stands.

Do something that will challenge you physically and mentally. There is no point in doing something that will bore you to death. That is the shortest and surest way back to your depression.

Engage in an activity that will make you look forward, with a smile on your face, the coming of another day. Anything that will stop you from saying the usual, “Oh God, here comes another dreary day.”

Nothing beats depression better (better than any anti-depressant), than the feeling of having accomplished something meaningful and worthwhile each day.

I got rid of mine by immersing myself in writing.

2.  Get Online

We are fortunate to live in a world awashed with information. Unless you suffer from technophobia (fear of computers), get online.

In the comfort of your home, and in your pajamas, you can explore the farthest reaches of the universe, chat with anybody anywhere, learn something new, put up a blog, start a business, or get laid.

You can learn how to cook a gourmet dish, make your lawn the envy of your neighbors, or a build a bomb that can obliterate them. LOL!

I am online more than 10 hours, average, each day. Most to that is to search for materials to write about, read emails from various writing sites, and get in touch with my female friends in my social networking site.

Often I surf for beach resorts that catch my fancy. Once a month I go off to an island and spend an evening in a beach resort. It’s my way of getting away from city life for a change. It’s a great way to commune with my inner self and recharge my aging batteries.

Last week, I spent an evening in one such resort with my son and his wife. The beauty of the place, the stillness of the environment and the warm bonding we had is worth a hundred lifetimes.

3. Get Involved

Get involved with someone from the opposite sex or with something bigger than yourself.

Anything that will get you connected with others. It could be sports, social, community, a hobbyist club, or anything that can take you away from the four walls of your house counting nail marks on your ceiling.

Not only will you get so much fun out of your involvement, but they can also provide you with good support in case things are not running so well with you.

Studies upon studies support the notion that nothing is more satisfying than to give part of yourself, your time, skills and resources, to others less fortunate as you.

So lose yourself by getting involved in others. If you have missed the golden opportunity of being something to someone, now is your chance to cover your lost ground. You may never have another chance.

Charlotte Ericsson put it succinctly when she said, “I just want to be someone, to mean something to anyone.”

My wife has been dead for 7 years now. Right after she died, I checked into the ER no less than three times for anxiety and hardness of breathing. In all occasions, my pulse rate, BP an EKG were all ok.

Not contented, I consulted an Internist who prescribed me those expensive anti-depressant drugs. That drove the last nail into the coffin. I resolved to change my thoughts.

I still have bouts of anxiety but I guess I am fortunate to have a couple of wonderful children I can talk to each time I feel them.

Your move.

Last modified: July 12, 2020