In this episode we talk about a serious and important subject; Understanding Depression. We know. . . kind of heavy. . . but everyone experiences it at one time or another. We were deeply affected by the death of Robin Williams and felt the need to chat about it. News articles have been reporting that the Baby Boomer generation has the highest suicide rate of any other age group.
We wanted to offer insight into the mindset of a severely depressed person, as well as tips on how to survive depression for the person experiencing it, and those who are affected by it.
Although we keep this discussion on the light side, the response to Robin William’s untimely death was similar to when President Kennedy was shot. Robin’s unique flair for the hilarious and his genuineness, made him seem almost like a family member to some of us. It’s not uncommon for a comedian to have a dark side. They use their comedy to hide from what’s going on in their lives. When an audience laughs at their jokes, it affirms their worth, and when they don’t, it’s devastating.
When you aren’t a person who is deeply depressed, it’s often very difficult to understand why someone would commit suicide or become self-destructive.
What are the signs of severe depression?
- In the podcast, Rebecca mentions, “When I watched Robin William’s last show, ‘The Crazy Ones,’ there was something in his eyes. They looked as if they were half closed and appeared sad.”
- When a Baby Boomer is diagnosed with a serious ailment, as Robin Williams was with Parkinson’s, he or she may feel they don’t want to become a burden on their family and choose to end their life. Their surviving family members or friends are traumatized thinking they should have done more to help, and are left with a lifelong sense of guilt.
- A severely depressed person will often live in their depression, not knowing what it will be like if they try to leave it.
- One sign of severe depression and potential suicide is a person who suddenly starts giving their things away.
- Depression in Baby Boomers may have something to do with brain chemistry or hormonal changes due to aging.
How to Help Someone Who is Depressed
The worst thing you can say to a severely depressed person is “Buck up and snap out of it.” A phrase like that will only incite anger or even deeper depression. A better response might be to gently say, “I’m sorry and I’m here for you. What can I do to help?”
If a severely depressed person has a chemical imbalance, they may need medication. A bad diet is often the culprit, but not always. It’s best to have a blood workup to make sure. Every few years, our bodies shift gears and our hormonal balance changes. If levels go up or down significantly, depression or other changes in mental state may begin to take hold.
Crash dieting, and the severe affect it has on a person’s body, may cause depression or mental problems.
It’s possible that Baby Boomers who dropped acid when they were young, may have had their chemical makeup altered and it is now affecting their mental state.
Most people who are depressed don’t want advice. They would rather be listened to. Make an effort to hear their entire story without judgment. Let them spill out their guts. Don’t ask them questions or attempt to solve their problem.
A depressed person may find that going to a therapist doesn’t help They may prefer to speak to someone who cares about them personally..
Sometimes a person who is depressed has no clue where it’s coming from because it’s so deeply rooted. If you simply let them talk, it may allow them to figure out what is actually causing their pain.
Our advice if you are depressed
Find some help. Go to a doctor and make sure to have your hormone levels checked. Make an appointment to see a psychologist or find a good friend. Eat a nutritious and clean diet by avoiding processed foods and sugar, and make sure to include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.
The notes above are only a quick summary of what we discussed on the podcast. Click the player at the top of this post to listen in, or subscribe to our podcast in ITunes. We’d love it if you left us a review.
Understanding depression may help you save someone’s life or your own. How have you pulled yourself out of the depths of depression? Please leave a comment below and let us know.