Tag: depression

Depression Blog Post Two


After one has suffered through several episodes of depression, they can easily identify the signs and symptoms of a relapse . I am presently working through my most recent attack of depression and I’m finally starting to feel a bit better. If I wasn’t, I would not be capable of writing this blog post.

During a serious bout of clinical depression, I rather quickly lose most of my ability to function mentally, emotionally and physically. Don’t ask me about spiritual effects. I’ll just say that one’s relationship with God or their higher power comes to an abrupt halt. I will write more about the negative spiritual destruction of depression in future installments.

When I am seriously depressed my future life appears very bleak to me. My worst depressions occur during the months of December and January. As I’m now 66 years old, I look at my future with dread during a depressive episode. I hate the Christmas season with a passion. This time of the year is the most debilitating for my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

I have noticed a strange characteristic of depression. Being episodic in nature, the person with this disease will sometimes experience periods of remission. During times of remission, I feel like a different person. My wife also notices a significant improvement in my general demeanour. During these periods of relief from the symptoms of depression, I appear to enjoy life. Unfortunately, even when I’m not suffering from a major depressive episode, under the surface a mild or moderate form of depression continues to exist. This condition is known as double depression.

Around the last week of November I experienced a rather sudden change in my mood. I am presently retired, but still do substitute teaching from two to three times a week when I feel up to it. On the whole, I enjoy my part-time job. Ironically, when my most recent episode of depression first manifested, I was coming off three or four very successful substitute teaching assignments.

Normally I would feel quite encouraged by this. However, near the beginning of December 2018, I contracted an upper respiratory infection. As I’ve been diagnosed with a moderate case of COPD, my colds and flus are severe in nature and can hang on for one to four months. When I get one of these bronchial infections my regular daily activities come to a sudden halt. I become so physically debilitated that I am left to spend most of my day on the couch due to the almost complete depletion of my energy resources. Even a task as simple as brushing my teeth becomes a monumental activity.

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Spirituality and Depression by Ken David Stewart


Episode Five

What is the relevance of spiritual faith to a depressed person?

My short answer would be that it absolutely necessary for recovery, but that it is also a two- edged sword.

The purpose of this chapter I will be primarily talking about Christianity. I will also talk about the role of twelve step groups a little later in the chapter.

I must point out that I am a Christian and have been so for the greater part of my adult life. I was not brought up in a church going Christian family, although I think that my father believed in God. In some sense, I might have been a Christian as a young boy, although I didn’t verbalize the prayer of salvation because I had never heard it and wouldn’t have known what it meant. As kids growing up the nineteen fifties and early sixties, we were blessed that the public school system was favourable towards prayer and the daily reading of Bible stories. As all my elementary school teachers included these two routines following the playing of Oh Canada, the Canadian national anthem, I assumed that it was mandatory for my elementary grade teachers to lead us in the Lord’s prayer and to read to us from a book containing Bible stories.

I now think that because of these two spiritual exercises practised by the public school system I came to believe in God. In reality, I cannot remember a time where I doubted God’s existence. I was probably not a saved, born again Christian, but could definitely be considered to be a believer. This does not mean that I always tried to walk out the Christian lifestyle. There were many times in my life when I didn’t.

I didn’t officially get ‘saved’ as it is termed in Christianity until I was twenty-seven years old. This occurred only because an ardent local minister came to my mobile home to witness to me. Ironically, this was not the first occasion would someone tried to lead me to the Lord.

Around two years earlier, a young Christian couple came to my apartment to share the Good News of the Gospel with me. During this occasion I was not receptive at all to hearing about Jesus. I only recall that the man who tried to witness to be me was called Hugh and for years after I felt sorry for the way I treated these young evangelists.

Hugh, if by some miracle, you have been reading this blog post or listen to my podcast show, I want to sincerely apologize for my behavior that evening. I just want you to know that you planted a seed and that I became a born-again Christian two years after you witnessed to me.

This has entirely nothing to do with today’s topic, but I just looked up at the calendar on my desktop computer to see that I am writing my first draft of this blog on July 14, 2017. On this day or date, I should say, that in 1966, I was at the Winnipeg Arena watching the Rolling Stones in concert. I can recall that my ticket cost fourteen dollars, the Rolling Stones only played for twenty-five minutes, with sound transmission coming through  their woefully inadequate Vox amplifiers and that the girls screaming from the audience almost drowned out The Rolling Stones’s music.

Now back to my original topic, depression and spirituality. My whole thesis is that the depressed person has to one degree or another lost hope. The answer, of course, is to regain the lost hope or possibly experience hope for the first time. That’s where Christianity comes in. The Gospel message offers the guarantee that if we have truly given our life to the Lord, when we get to heaven we will enjoy an eternal and wonderful life.

There are certain theological streams that seem to contend that this is about the only promise that Christians can count upon and that this only occurs after physical death and the end of our earthly life.

Although this hope can be very comforting, I was also looking for hope during my earthly lifetime. I was never quite satisfied with a Christian theology that implies that our life on earth was just to be tolerated as we attempted to live a holy life, but that for the real reward, we would have to wait for heaven.

 

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Episodes 1 to 4 Inclusive of Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart


Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart

I have had to live with major depressive disorder for most of my adult life. I would estimate that this disease has consumed about forty percent of my productive years.

A few of the symptoms of depression are much more disabling than others. One of the most frustrating symptoms in my life is the severe and chronic fatigue that is commonly found in persons with this disorder. The chronic fatigue may be significantly prevalent for weeks and even months. Sometimes, I find that the fatigue and heaviness appears to go into remission for part of the year.

Why this happens, I am not sure. I am just extremely grateful to get these short seasons of relief. I tend to perk up a bit when the summer season comes along. This could indicate that I also have seasonal affective disorder.

The chronic fatigue that often accompanies depression may cause financial distress. Unless you have good group insurance benefits at work, you may find that your household income can be significantly depleted for parts of the year. When this occurs, worry and fear will usually appear.

I should state at this point that all chronic fatigue may not be attributable to the disease of depression. I have often found that a severe lack of energy may ensue after I have a serious viral or bacterial infection. When my cold and flu symptoms dissipate I have often found that my debilitating fatigue will continue for weeks or even months after. It is quite likely that I suffer from another illness known as CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Episode two

Chronic fatigue will almost always negatively impact one’s relationships with other people. Especially if they have a significant other. The depressive’s spouse finds that her husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend chooses not to go out with them or do much of anything, especially if the activity involves other people and socializing. The partner that is unaffected by major depressive disorder may find that they are spending an inordinate amount of their time alone, or are doing many extra curricular or social activities by themselves.

 

It’s not always that a person suffering with depression does not want to attend the occasional social function. Sometimes they wish they could go to an activity with their partner, but simply don’t have the energy to do it. Even if they occasionally feel that they may be able to ‘push themselves’ to go out, they may be worried that they will bring other people down. Who really wants to hang out with a depressed individual anyway?

When I am in my worst phases of depression I feel that I don’t have the energy to carry on a conversation with anyone. When the depressive thinks about going out for social or group or church event, all they can think about is how much of their already depleted energy it might take to shave, shower, brush their teeth, select and put on clean clothes, etc. The contemplated energy consumption may seem overwhelming to the depressed person. If the depressed individual owns a car they may ask their partner to drive as they believe that they may be too fatigued to operate a vehicle safely. Worry and guilt are two emotions that a person with depression will frequently encounter.

Episode three

 

For the past two weeks I have been feeling relatively well. For most people there should be nothing special about this. For a person suffers from major depression disorder one good day is a day to be celebrated.

 

When I experience one or more happy days strung together, I started to get uncomfortable. I struggle the feeling of happiness in my life. It seems to be such a rare phenomenom for me. I’m so used to feeling depressed, without hope and having very little faith that my life will ever get any better. I was on my default setting when I was feeling exhausted and plagued by physical and emotional pain. I’ve have often thought that this was just my lot in life. I believe that this is why I am probably happier than the average person when I ocassionally experience a good day.

 

I went through a very rough winter season that seems to have started in November of 2016. I suffer from what my doctor termed a mild case of COPD. This illness appears in a mild form when I don’t have an upper respiratory infection. When I catch a bad cold or flu, everything changes for me. I’ve become so ill that I barely have the strength to get out of bed.

During my episodes of severe COPD in the past, I’ve been able to continue with my fiction writing, but not my substitute teaching. This time, however, even my writing was a ‘no go’. Not only did my body feel shut down, so did my mind. I couldn’t seem to string together two cohesive thoughts. I have been writing fiction novels and plays, oft and on, for several years now.

Although I am technically retired, I work part-time as a substitute teacher. I enjoy subbing very much and take as many assignments as much as my health and energy and energy levels allow. Presently, I’m on holidays and have been enjoying the last two weeks immensely.

I’ve experienced long periods in my life where I cannot feel joy in anything that I do. This affects every area of my life as why would I want to pursue activities that no longer give me any pleasure? This is what is known in the psychiatric literature as a condition termed adhedonia or the inability to feel pleasure in the ordinary experiences and activities of daily living. This is a very painful place to be.

Feeling somewhat better in December 2016, I returned to my work as a substitute teacher. The Christmas holiday season actually went relatively well for me and that is highly unusual. This was probably due to the fact that I had quality time to spend with my wife and my goddaughter. I will never forget the night all three of us watched Christmas videos. Most of them were very funny and I ended up doing something I haven’t done years. I laughed out loud.

 

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Episodes One and Two of Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart


Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart

I have had to live with major depressive disorder for most of my adult life. I would estimate that this disease has consumed about forty percent of my productive years.

A few of the symptoms of depression are much more disabling than others. One of the most frustrating symptoms in my life is the severe and chronic fatigue that is commonly found in persons with this disorder. The chronic fatigue may be significantly prevalent for weeks and even months. Sometimes, I find that the fatigue and heaviness appears to go into remission for part of the year.

Why this happens, I am not sure. I am just extremely grateful to get these short seasons of relief. I tend to perk up a bit when the summer season comes along. This could indicate that I also have seasonal affective disorder.

The chronic fatigue that often accompanies depression may cause financial distress. Unless you have good group insurance benefits at work, you may find that your household income can be significantly depleted for parts of the year. When this occurs, worry and fear will usually appear.

I should state at this point that all chronic fatigue may not be attributable to the disease of depression. I have often found that a severe lack of energy may ensue after I have a serious viral or bacterial infection. When my cold and flu symptoms dissipate I have often found that my debilitating fatigue will continue for weeks or even months after. It is quite likely that I suffer from another illness known as CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Episode two

Chronic fatigue will almost always negatively impact one’s relationships with other people. Especially if they have a significant other. The depressive’s spouse finds that her husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend chooses not to go out with them or do much of anything, especially if the activity involves other people and socializing. The partner that is unaffected by major depressive disorder may find that they are spending an inordinate amount of their time alone, or are doing many extra curricular or social activities by themselves.

 

It’s not always that a person suffering with depression does not want to attend the occasional social function. Sometimes they wish they could go to an activity with their partner, but simply don’t have the energy to do it. Even if they occasionally feel that they may be able to ‘push themselves’ to go out, they may be worried that they will bring other people down. Who really wants to hang out with a depressed individual anyway?

When I am in my worst phases of depression I feel that I don’t have the energy to carry on a conversation with anyone. When the depressive thinks about going out for social or group or church event, all they can think about is how much of their already depleted energy it might take to shave, shower, brush their teeth, select and put on clean clothes, etc. The contemplated energy consumption may seem overwhelming to the depressed person. If the depressed individual owns a car they may ask their partner to drive as they believe that they may be too fatigued to operate a vehicle safely. Worry and guilt are two emotions that a person with depression will frequently encounter.

 

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Living With Depression by Ken David Stewart Introduction


Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart

I have had to live with major depressive disorder for most of my adult life. I would estimate that this disease has consumed about forty percent of my productive years.

A few of the symptoms of depression are much more disabling than others. One of the most frustrating symptoms in my life is the severe and chronic fatigue that is commonly found in persons with this disorder. The chronic fatigue may be significantly prevalent for weeks and even months. Sometimes, I find that the fatigue and heaviness appears to go into remission for part of the year.

Why this happens, I am not sure. I am just extremely grateful to get these short seasons of relief. I tend to perk up a bit when the summer season comes along. This could indicate that I also have seasonal affective disorder.

The chronic fatigue that often accompanies depression may cause financial distress. Unless you have good group insurance benefits at work, you may find that your household income can be significantly depleted for parts of the year. When this occurs, worry and fear will usually appear.

I should state at this point that all chronic fatigue may not be attributable to the disease of depression. I have often found that a severe lack of energy may ensue after I have a serious viral or bacterial infection. When my cold and flu symptoms dissipate I have often found that my debilitating fatigue will continue for weeks or even months after. It is quite likely that I suffer from another illness known as CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome.2017-06-19 09.04.03

Episode 2 of The Life and Times of Keith Ross


Episode Two

Keith took hold of his Roku remote and found the Creflo Dollar channel on his tv. He had just decided to call a halt to his substitute teaching assignments for the rest of this year. Keith was exhausted and he really hadn’t been feeling well since January of 2017. His doctors could not properly say what ailed him so Keith had to come up with a diagnosis of his own. Left to his own devices, after days and hours of personal research team Keith concluded that he was suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Both of these medical conditions caused Keith to lack any significant and sustained energy to get done what he both needed and wanted to do.

He wanted to continue with his substitute teaching gigs, but lately he had found his assignments to be extremely exhausting to the degree that he was unable to do much but lie on the couch when he got home from work. Keith had managed to struggle through the majority of this year by relying upon sheer willpower, a doctor prescribed stimulant and a concoction of natural supplements. For a while his self designed treatment protocol appeared to be working. For about one month he felt relatively healthy and could occasionally string together two or three days in which he cold actually engage in some of his extracurricular hobbies after working all day.

Unfortunately, he had neither discovered the secret to sustained energy nor the fountain of youth. He woke up one morning to find that this get up and go had got up and gone. He found this realization to be very troubling and depressing.

Keith sure didn’t need any more things to make him feel depressed. He suffered from what is clinically termed double depression for pretty much all of his adult life. Double depression means that one is mildly depressed most of the time, but will occasionally succumb to severe episodes of major depression.2017-06-19 09.04.08

Episode 25 of Winter Dreams by Ken David Stewart


Episode 25:
Lloyd’s dog, Pigpen started barking loudly while scratching the front door with his paws.
“Hang on. I’ll be right there.” Lloyd hoped that his voice was loud enough to be heard outside the door.
When Lloyd answered the door he was greeted by Misty and Rick and a young man that he did not recognize.
Lloyd moved closer to Rick to give him a hug. “Hey, man, I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age. Pardon the pun, Pigpen.”
“Hey, Dad. I’d like to introduce you to our friend, Norm. Rick and I just met him tonight at The Sals on Osborne,” Misty said while brushing some snow off her coat.
“Why don’t you guys park yourselves in the living room while I put on some coffee. I’d offer you guys a drink, but I’ve been on the wagon for awhile now.”
“Yeah, Dad’s been sober for six months now. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous,” Mindy said just before she sat down on the couch.
“At the last AA meeting they gave me my sixth month pin,” Lloyd said proudly as he walked towards the kitchen.
After the coffee had perked Misty brought out a silver tray with the cups, coffee and creamer.
Lloyd sat down in his black recliner.
“I’m sorry I haven’t been around to see you Lloyd. I’ve been keeping a low profile since Sasha and I broke up,” Rick explained.
“That’s what I figured,” Lloyd said. “Well you don’t have to worry about that Rick. “Sasha’s cool with it. She says she still likes you, but she has a new boyfriend now. In fact, they’ll probably be here soon. Lloyd then turned his attention to the new guest.
“So how did you get talking with Rick and Misty?”
“Actually, I first met them on the Osborne Bridge. I was getting ready to jump in the river,” Norm answered.images 17