Appreciation Doesn’t Coexist With Depression

Standard

Appreciation Doesn’t Coexist With Depression
By Bernadette A. Moyer

appreciation8

Our adult son is battling “severe depression” after his place of employment closed their doors, and he lost his job. One thing that stands out is how much his thinking has changed. Not that long ago he was happy and so appreciative. He appreciated everything. If you gave him a gift, even clothing he was thrilled with it. If you treated him to the movies or out to eat, he was happy and he was appreciative.

He respected and he appreciated his job too. It made him happy to have a place to go, to have connections to other people and of course to be earning his own money. He often worked 10-12 hour days in retail, he worked full time and he greeted customers and waited on them. He was very social there. When you watched him in motion you would see his joy. He was also doing this while being on the autism spectrum and no medications. He was active, always walking and going out to the gym to workout.

What stands out today is his lack of appreciation. And not just lacking it but his deep sense of entitlement. He is now like a walking encyclopedia on all the free programs that the government provides for people with disabilities even though he has been told by his doctor that he is “not disabled.” With the help of social workers he knows more about food stamps, rent vouchers, social security benefits, SSI, SSDI, form 500 and much more.

He says he wants to live “independently” when in reality he wants to live dependent on the government. Well intentioned social workers have put all kinds of ideas into his head. They did not know him when he was happy and productive and truly independent. They did not know him when he was appreciative and grateful.

The more he is handed the less he seems to appreciate and the more “depressed” he has become. The more he thinks he can get, the less he is interested in doing for himself. Today and with the team of his doctors and social service workers he is taking 9-different medications and 27 pills in a single day. He has gained more than 50 pounds in less than two months and while being hospitalized.

On so many levels it is so hard to witness such decline in someone who is so young. This entire experience that we have witnessed has made us see the connection between appreciation and gratitude and how they do not coexist with depression. Someone that is depressed is unable to appreciate what they have, they spend their time thinking about all the things they lost and all the things they don’t have. It also drives home for us the importance of how we think, how we all think.

If we can find things to appreciate and to be grateful for we can fight off depression. We can fight depression naturally with a gratitude journal or diary. We can fight depression with a gratitude jar. We can focus on all the things we already have rather than on what we don’t have.

There is no pill that will cure depression! There are many people that find relief in medication but pills won’t make a depressed person happy and they don’t take depression away. We can all be depressed if we want and yes I am aware that we are all wired differently. Some people are pre-disposed to depression. Sometimes it runs in the family genetic make-up. Sometimes changing how we think actually changes our brain chemistry. Like a car that isn’t wired properly and won’t start and run, a person who isn’t properly wired won’t start and run either.

We always knew our son was on the autism spectrum, and we take great pride in knowing that we parented an autistic child that made national honor roll and achieved Eagle Scout. He worked hard and so did we in our support of him. He made it into the United States Navy and he held down a full time job for over three and a half years all the while that we supported him and encouraged him and rooted for his success. He was so grateful. He was so creative and he was interested in other people and less self-absorbed.

When we love someone, anyone it is hard to witness them being on the decline, destructive and making poor choices. It is hard to watch someone, anyone with so much life ahead of them spiral so far downward when all you want to do is pick them up and help them and yet you know there is really nothing that you can do. You have done all that you can do. This is his journey and not ours.

The biggest takeaway for us is that with appreciation and with gratitude, depression is far less likely to take root and stick around. A happy person is a productive person and a thankful person.

Today and every day we pray for people with mental illness and that they may find the strength, and the desire to pull themselves up and find gratitude for all that they do have rather than focusing on what they may have lost …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Our Health Our Responsibility

Standard

Our Health Our Responsibility
By Bernadette A. Moyer

health

You can be as ill as you want to be or in many circumstances, as healthy as you will yourself to be! My mother was a Masters educated nurse who always encouraged us to be healthy. Often she made statements like, “sick people are in the hospital and you are not one of them.” She worked for more than 30 years in hospitals from pediatrics to critical care units and later assisted living. The bulk of her career was in a Catholic hospital where all life was valued. She never wanted her children to be ill or require any truly unnecessary hospitalization.

I used to joke that “I wasn’t allowed to be sick!” Not in her eyes and in many ways it served me well. If you ever find me admitted to the hospital, I am ill, very, very ill. People die in hospitals and I don’t want to die and certainly not there.

And yes there are procedures and hospital stays that have turned people lives and health from bad to good, but it NEVER happens without the patient being part of the wellness practices. And YES there are hospital stays that have turned patient’s health from bad to worse. Just ask any medical malpractice attorney. A patient has to want to get healthy; they have to be willing to be a part of the process. If the patient is a child the parent has the responsibility. But there is no hospital or no doctor or no pill that will make us healthy if we don’t want to become healthy.

Since July of this year I witnessed our adult son admitted to the hospital for at least 6 different hospital stays. Most often he was escorted there by a “crisis team” after shocking public displays of odd and assorted behaviors. He is an adult and he alone is responsible for his care. I have come to believe that he likes being admitted and enjoys all the attention he receives at the hospital. It has been communicated to us that since July he has spent the better part of two months in a psych unit of a hospital.

Most people in the hospital can’t wait to get out, he loves going in. I am so sad and conflicted because I believe he does not fully appreciate what he is doing and the long and short term ramifications of his behaviors. I also believe he has all the power and that he will not become healthy until or unless he alone decides to become healthy. There is no magic pill, there is no magic doctor and there is no magic hospital that will bring us to good health if we don’t do the work necessary to be part of the process it takes to heal ourselves.

What I have witnessed is well-intentioned social workers, doctors and nurses that think they are helping him. What I have also witnessed is a slow and steady decline since they have all come together to help him. In many ways his attitude and his behaviors are far worse than they have ever been. The magic doctor, the magic pills and the magic hospital are not helping him at all. He needs to help himself and he is not doing that.

As a small child if he fell and skinned his knee and you babied him and coddled him his screams would become longer and louder and more dramatic. But if you addressed the wound and comforted him and eventually said okay now knock it off he would gently respond with “okay” it was almost like he took all his cues from how you addressed him. I learned early on how to manage him. Not a single one of his “crisis unit” like episodes ever happened inside our home.

The last day that he was admitted, he walked himself into the hospital and as he was waiting to be admitted he posted a video of himself on social media about where he was and what he was doing in the hospital. He clearly was NOT in any distress. And he also seemed to enjoy the camera being on him. If I had any lingering feelings about what to do seeing that post drove home for me that if and when he wants to get well he will and if he doesn’t want to he won’t. It is pretty clear.

Everyone is different some people are born with disabilities and illnesses that do require treatments and hospital stays. What I am referring to here is someone who has displayed an ability to be fully functioning and manage a full life. I am talking about mental health and seeing in the past what someone is capable of and knowing that if they alone decide, they will once again be capable of a fully functioning life. They may also decide not to be fully functioning. So much of the quality of our life is all about the decisions that we alone make for our lives.

Once we become an adult, our health is; our responsibility … and good health can only come about if we want it.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

One Different Decision

Standard

One Different Decision
By Bernadette A. Moyer

Decision-Making

When I think about all the decisions we make in a day in a year and in a lifetime my head just wants to spin right off my shoulders! So many decisions and so many choices and some will be good ones and others maybe not so much.

There are studies out there that say an average person has remotely conscious decisions in a day that equals about 35,000 whereas a young person makes about 3,000, clearly we are making many decisions each and every single day.

My husband likes to sleep in late and I am an early riser, I could get so much accomplished by 10:00 and by 3:00 in the afternoon I have generally accomplished what it takes most people a few days to do.

Last week we were supposed to spend a day together at our favorite beach location and do some Christmas shopping when I was up and running and hubs was snug in bed with our two furry friends. I said, “That’s okay why don’t you just get your rest I will just go alone” and he agreed. Later he confessed he really wanted to go, the problem was I didn’t feel like waiting, rousing him and then putting up with his well … early morning personality!

It was a lovely and peace-filled day where I was able to move about at my leisure. I went to the beach and I shopped and I had lunch and I was all alone but it felt great. I arrived home refreshed and ready to go again. It turned out to be a good decision.

During this trip and my alone time I also thought about life and how one different decision could have easily put us in a different place. We make decisions about education and about career choices and our decisions about marriage and divorce and to have children or not and where to live are all huge decisions.

A different town and different friends affords us a different life, the decision to have one child or many children all create another lifestyle and reality for us. Some decisions are huge and others are as simple as what to eat for dinner or to have that second cup of coffee.

Each one of us is faced with numerous decisions in a day, a week, a month and a lifetime. Some decisions will bring us joy and others may bring us grief but having free will allows us to have the capacity to choose how we live our lives by the decisions that we make.

“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” Paul Coelho, The Alchemist

Regardless of what decisions we have made in our past and if we want to live our lives in a better way and in a healthier way and in a peace-filled way we are just one different decision away from achieving those goals … so here is to better and happier decision making and making our most loving best decisions ever …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble