Dem Blues…

depression_graphicDepression…What an ugly word. As a man it’s not even something we can readily share or admit. It’s almost taboo. I have to laugh because I had a few occasions where some of my close male friends and I have at one time or another, with tongue cheek confided that something was on us that we were having a hard time shaking something off. But, we never say the “D” word…. “LAUGHTER!”. We just could not say, hey, I’m feeling depressed. And sin of all sins, we are almost never allowed to say to our girlfriends or wives, I am feeling dot dot (can’t say the D-word).

As much as I’d like to say, “I was always able to Man-up!” so to speak, I just have to admit that I’ve had my days of struggling with “Da Blues”. Guess I have to turn in my man card now? Anyway, I write in part to say things that some want to say, but can’t or won’t. Depression is real. It’s even mentioned in the Bible.

I used to refuse to cry…period. I remember once in middle school, I broke my ankle playing football. As I lay there on the ground in agony, I started playing it off by laughing in an effort to keep my teammates from seeing me cry. I mean tears were squeezing out , but I just tried to make jokes and laugh while waiting for the ambulance. Later in life, I read that Jesus wept, boy was that a freeing moment!

Anyway, here’s some things about depression that I have researched and put together to at least let you know what’s going down, so you can get to getting back up if you ever need to! hope it helps.

While sadness touches all of our lives at different times, the illness of treating-manic-depressiondepression can have enormous depth and staying power. Even the ancient Greeks noted how disabling it could be, and that it was more than a passing bout of sadness or dejection, or feeling down in the dumps. If you have ever suffered from depression or been close to someone who has, you know that this illness cannot be lifted at will or wished or joked away. A man in the grip of depression can’t solve his problems by showing a little more backbone. Nor can a woman who is depressed simply shake off the blues.

Being depressed has nothing to do with personal weakness. Scientist developing knowledge of brain chemistry and findings from brain imaging studies reveal that changes in nerve pathways and brain chemicals called neurotransmitters can affect your moods and thoughts. These neurological changes may bubble up as symptoms of depression — including derailed sleep, suppressed appetite, agitation, exhaustion, or apathy. In addition, genetic studies show that although no single gene prompts depression, a combination of genetic variations may heighten vulnerability to this disease.

dbs-depression-front72-copyNerve pathways, chemistry, and genetics aren’t the whole story, though. Depression could be described as a lake fed by many streams. Its tributaries include traumatic or stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one, and psychological traits, such as a pessimistic outlook or a tendency toward isolation. An episode of depression may result from one particularly powerful experience or from a confluence of several factors. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, during a given year approximately 1 in 10 adults will suffer from some form of depression. Each episode usually affects a chain of people. It can fray bonds between you and your family and friends by spoiling intimacy, sapping emotional resources, and stealing the joy of shared pleasures.

Thankfully, years of research and breakthroughs have made this serious illness easier to treat. Early recognition of the signs of depression is more common than in the past. Newer treatments, such as drugs targeted at specific changes in brain chemistry, can cut short otherwise crippling episodes. A variety of drugs and therapies can also be combined to boost the likelihood of a full remission.

Just like a rash or heart disease, depression can take many forms.
Definitions of depression and the therapies designed to ease this disease’s grip continue to evolve. These shifts will continue to percolate through the field as more research flows in.

Hey fellow LifeTrain passengers, If you have ever suffered from depression (or think you have), know that you are not alone and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Seek help, and again know that you are not alone.

I mentioned earlier that depression was addressed in the Bible;

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Next station stop, Back In The Saddle Again!

Mental Health Week on the LifeTrain

MERRY MONDAY!  This is mental health awareness week on the Train…

Depression, not the best of topics eh? Never the less, …I have heard, I have listened and …I have felt the need to discuss this from some of my fellow passengers. First, let’s talk about understanding and recognizing signs of those around you who might be dealing with this issue.

If someone close to us is suffering from depression, we may feel isolated. In fact, from what I have researched, depression is a remarkably prevalent disease. As many people suffer from major depression as from other leading chronic conditions.

The only shame is not getting help…

Why then is it so difficult to watch a family member suffer from depression? I very definitely feel that the main part of the difficulty comes from the stigma of mental illnesses, particularly an illness that is often related to the blues. The cultural assumption is often that if people didn’t want to be depressed they should only get out of bed and do something – And as for us men folk….“Just MAN-UP!”.

But as I suspect we all know now, true depression is much more complex than that. The US’s National Institute of Mental Health states on its website: “Depression is a serious medical condition. In contrast to the normal emotional experiences of sadness, loss, or passing mood states, clinical depression is persistent and can interfere significantly with an individual’s ability to function.  And being the partner of someone who is depressed and potentially starting to experience difficulty functioning through the daily stresses of every day life can be very difficult.

Dealing with someone who is depressed can be frustrating and well, quite frankly, depressing in and of itself. It’s extremely frustrating to continually reach out to someone who doesn’t seem able to respond or to respond appropriately or consistently. Well, at least one thing as been verified for me and that is, it’s perfectly normal to feel annoyed and angry, and even despairing.

Passengers of the LifeTrain, NOW HEAR THIS! If you have been feeling this way and it is beginning to impact on your own quality of life, support

“NOW HEAR THIS!”

for yourself should be your first priority. Finding a counselor or support group can make all the difference as you navigate the waters of supporting a family member as he or she grapples with the disease and its results.

The important thing to keep in mind is that depression truly is a disease. Although it’s difficult to change your thinking, if you can come to understand that your loved one truly has limited control over his or her state of mind, and to treat it as an illness and not a lack of desire or willpower, we will be on our way to finding a clearer understanding of the reality of your situation.

Most of all…know that “we” are not alone…heck…as much as I hate to admit it….one time, back in 1934, or was that 1935, I was a bit down myself!

To be continued….

The only shame is not reaching out for help…

All Aboard, The LifeTrain!

n conjunction with today’s post, give this a listen  (CLICK):
http://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=513733284:513733286

FEAR…The Ultimate “F” Bomb

Dear Passengers…I’m dropping an F bomb on you today…Fear.

It’s so easy to get stuck in it. To let it hold you back.

I have been there many times in my life.

One of the reasons for that is that I made a common mistake.

And it’s this:

What lies ahead…

You misinterpret the often little information you have.

It is easy to take very few experiences – or maybe just one – and start seeing
them as evidence of something permanent and frightening in your life.

So what can you do instead to reduce your fears?

Here’s what worked for me…

Question your fears and what they are based upon.

Sit down with a pen and a piece of paper. Think back to what evidence you have
in your memories for a fear and a belief of yours.

Try to see the situation(s) that created your fear with fresh eyes today. Instead of
the way you may usually see them.

Doing this helped me to for example reduce my fear of social rejection.

I looked back at a few situations from my past that formed and fueled that fear.

And I realized these two things:

  • Honestly, I may have just misinterpreted being rejected in some of those
    situations.
  • I often wasn’t rejected because it was something wrong with what I did
    but simply because we weren’t realistically a good match for each other.
    Or because the other person had a bad day or because he or she simply
    wanted to push me down to feel better about himself or herself in that
    moment.

This was an eye-opening experience and also helped me to understand that

You can…

everything is not about me and what I do. And that our memories can often
be pretty inaccurate and unhelpful if not reexamined later on.

Our minds love to create patterns and conclusions based on very little evidence
or few experiences.

So passengers, question your memories and fears from time to time to see them for what they
actually are.

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!

All Aboard…

Dear Passengers,

I didn’t write this one but, I did adopt it.  It captures the heart and spirit of the LifeTrain.  Thanks for riding.  Come back often.

LIFE IS LIKE A TRAIN RIDE….
We get on, We ride, We get off.

There are accidents and there are delays. At certain stops there are surprises. Some of these will translate into great moments of joy; some will result in profound sorrow.
When we are born and we first board the train, we meet people whom we think will be with us for the entire journey. Those people are our parents!
but Sadly, this is far from the truth…Our parents are with us for as long as we absolutely need them. They too have journeys they must complete. We live on with the memories of their love, affection, friendship, guidance and their ever presence.
There are others who board the train and who eventually become very important to us, in turn.

All Aboard…

These people are our brothers, sisters, friends and acquaintances, whom we will learn to love, and cherish.
Some people consider their journey like a jaunty tour. They will just go merrily along.
Others will encounter many upsets, tears, losses on their journey.
Others still, will linger on to offer a helping hand to anyone in need.
Some people on the train will leave an everlasting impression when they get off….
Some will get on and get off the train so quickly, they will scarcely leave a sign that they ever traveled along with you or ever crossed your path…
We will sometimes be upset that some passengers, who we love, will choose to sit in another compartment and leave us to travel on our own. Then again, there’s nothing that says we can’t seek them out anyway.
Nevertheless, once sought out and found, we may not even be able to sit next to them because that seat will already be taken.
That’s okay …everyone’s journey will be filled with hopes, dreams, challenges, setbacks and goodbyes.
We must strive to make the best of it… no matter what…
We must constantly strive to understand our travel companions and look for the best in everyone.
Remember that at any moment during our journey, any one of our travel companions can have a weak moment and be in need of our help.
We may vacillate or hesitate, even trip… hopefully we can count on someone being there to be supportive and understanding…
The bigger mystery of our journey is that we don’t know when our last stop will come. Neither do we know when our travel companions will make their last stop. Not even those sitting in the seat next to us.
Personally, I know I’ll be sad to make my final stop…. I’m sure of it! My separation from all those friends and acquaintances I made during the train ride will be painful. Leaving all those I’m close to will be a sad thing. But then again, I’m certain that one day I’ll get to the main station only to meet up with everyone else. They’ll all be carrying their baggage… most of which they didn’t have when they first got on this train.
I’ll be glad to see them again. I’ll also be glad to have contributed to their baggage… and to have enriched their lives, just as much as they will have contributed to my baggage and enriched my life.
We’re all on this train ride together. Above all, we should all try to strive to make the ride as pleasant and memorable as we can, right up until we each make the final stop and leave the train for the last time.
All aboard! Safe journey!!
Life gives you the opportunity for a new adventure, a new challenge. Set your goals and go for it. Be persistent. Trust in God; trust in Life, Trust in yourself.

And the answer is: Pa·tience

Welcome aboard passengers!  I have a question:  What gives us the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset?

PATIENCE!

Problems in life can be solved if we take our time to figure out the best solutions. Patience allows the two differing parties to think about the issue at hand and to develop a workable compromise.

Wisdom…

Force escalates the situation and causes people to react out of anger, frustration, and fear. Force takes the focus off of the positive dialog that can be used to have each side express its wants to solve the problem. So, instead of using the fist to make your point, use your brain to figure out the best way to fix the situation. Both sides will be grateful in the end.

Give patience a chance…

All Aboard!~  The LifeTrain!

 

Make this an autumn of self-kindness.

All Aboard!  As I help you up onto the train today I give you a business card (white with black raised lettering)  It reads:

 

Take care of yourself.

 

I’d like to simply share two of the most powerful and useful tips that have helped me to take care of myself in the past few years.  I hope they will help you to make this an autumn of self-kindness.


Stay away from the grey zone.

When you get stuck in thinking and worrying about your job when you are at home or your private life then you are stuck in the grey zone.

Mental rest required…

And as you may have noticed in your own life, it can be a very destructive mental habit. It robs you of so much energy and creates huge amounts of stress and worries. It can leave you so unfocused that you cannot do your work well or spend quality time – time when you are mentally 100% there – with the people closest to you.

I have had quite a bit of trouble with this in the past and what works best for me to stay out of this mental zone is to set up very firm limits.  To take a 15-minute break for every 45 minutes that I work. To not work after 7 o’clock in the evenings. To keep my weekends workfree and disconnected.  It is not easy in the beginning and if you’re like me you’ll slip during those first weeks.  But, after a while, it becomes easier and easier to keep these areas and your thoughts about them separate and to keep your attention and energy focused in the right place.

 

Be your own best friend when you stumble.

Take time for you…

When you make a mistake, fail or stumble in life then it is so easy to start beating yourself up.  When that happens this fall, promise yourself to not fall back into this old and destructive habit.  Instead, take care of yourself by asking yourself: How would my best friend/parent support me and help me in this situation?

Then do things and talk to yourself like he or she would.  This simple habit can keep you from falling into a pit of despair and it helps you to be more constructive after the first initial pain of a mistake or failure starts to dissipate.

Hey passengers have a self-kind week!

All ABoard!   The LifeTrain!

SIMPLIFY!

Welcome back aboard Passengers. as I’m helping you up onto the train I’m also giving you a white business card with raised black lettering.  It reads:

“When I die, I don’t want to be remembered as a know it all but, rather a share it all.

 

Today I’m sharing about a spot where I have been stuck in.  And that is in planning and in trying to create the perfect and super-polished plan to reach my goal quickly as I could and not risk any failure or setbacks.  In this case my online shopping mall.  I want to be a little AMAZON.  I thought it sounded like a smart approach.  But here’s the thing: it works a lot better in theory than in real life.  So I’ve moved away from that approach that I was so fond of during much of my professional life.

Now, it might feel like a perfect plan is the right way to go about things.  But, in my experience at least, it’s better to just focus on coming up with a simple and good plan and then to start executing it one small step at a time.

Why?

Keep it simply…

Well, because the perfect plan that is polished and polished and revised tends to just lead to weeks or months – or in my own experience sometimes years – of continued planning and of not going anywhere when it comes to actually taking action.  Also, as your plan is confronted with reality you’ll realize that things will never be or go just as you had seen them in your head before you got started. Such is life and that’s OK because you can adjust and adapt your plan along the way anyway.

So if you’re working on the perfect plan for making a change in your life – or have a tendency towards that – then simplify.

Think things through and don’t take unnecessary risks. But at the same time keep things simple and aim for just a good plan.  Break that plan down

That’s the plan…

into small or very small action-steps. And then get started with the first one as soon as you can.  This change in thinking has made a big difference in my own life.

Without making it and focusing on good plans – or sometimes honestly just OK plans – that I actually took action on rather than perfect ones that stayed daydreams I would likely not have JUST launched the sell of my TEEs and things.

Take care and have a simpler week ahead!

By the way, send me your email address in IM here and I will send you a list of my current offerings with prices.  Also, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a FREE LifeTrain Tee shirt.

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!!!

Women are made to be Loved…

Welcome Passengers!  Thanks for hoping aboard today!

I’ve made a discovery!  Took me long enough.  Women are different than men in many ways, and that is a good thing. Each gender has been provided with traits that are important for necessary tasks to be completed. Together, men and

Believe in Love…

women are equally gifted and can work in tandem to create marvelous things. Men do not always understand women, and women do not always understand men. A man’s mind and body do work differently than those of a woman. It is important for each one to respect what talents are offered and to encourage one another to develop his/her own positive traits. Understanding and appreciation are important elements to apply in any given situation where men and women are working together. So, value one another and embrace “la difference!”

Thank God for the WOMAN!

All Aboard, The LifeTrain!

Fall Down Seven Times, Stand up Eight!

Hey Passengers, Welcome back!

let’s have some real talk about something we’ve all experienced and will again, SETBACKS!

When you have a setback it’s easy to start doubting yourself and what you do. To believe that this current setback is something that will simply become your new normal.  It’s easy to make it very personal and to start seeing yourself as the failure because of what happened.

Dark CLoud of Self-Pity…

This is a destructive way of looking at things that can drag you down and get you stuck under a dark cloud of self-pity.

So I’ve learned to look at it this way instead:

A setback is something that sometimes happens. It can be helpful and it’s just temporary.  Now, here’s how I usually break that down into three steps.

1. A sobering reminder.

Take a few deep breaths to calm down and then remind yourself: You’re not a failure just because you failed.  Setbacks happen to everyone that take chances. It’s simply a part of living life fully.  Sometimes things go well and sometimes they don’t. So don’t make a failure into this huge thing or into your identity.

2. Get something helpful out of it.

Ask yourself: what is one thing I can learn from this setback?  Use the mistake, stumble or setback to your advantage as you go forward.

3. Get going in some small way to make it temporary to yourself.

GET GOING!

I know it’s tempting to sit still and feel sorry for yourself, to beat yourself up or to just do nothing.  I’ve done it more times than I can count.  But I’ve also found that the best way to convince myself that this setback is just temporary is to start moving again.

So I take one small step forward. Or I take what I can learn from what happened and make a small action-plan that I can use to avoid making the same mistake again.

Just taking one or a few small steps might not sound like much.  But it can work wonders for your optimism and confidence.

That’s at least been my experience.

All Aboard, The LifeTrain!!!

 

“The Best Things In Life Are Free” True?

ALL ABOARD!!!

Welcome Passengers, welcome aboard the LifeTrain.  As I help you up into the train off the Platform I hand you your free boarding pass and a greeting card.  It simply says:

“The best things in life are free!”

This post serves to confirm Isabella Scorupco’s quote that the simplest things bring the most happiness. What brings happiness to your heart? The acquisition of

Truly…

material things will never bring you true happiness. The more you get,  the more you want, and the more responsibility you will have to maintain that materialistic life style. You will ultimately be totally disillusioned. What does bring happiness you ask in bewilderment? The answer is simple – a smile from a co-worker, a hug from a friend, a call from a family member, and/or an evening shared with a loved one. Human dignity, respect, and compassion are all reflected in these most genuine, simple acts of kindness. What is your state of mind right now? You can be happy if you choose to be. Look around you more closely to find the ordinary, everyday happy moments!

So I’m designating this day as Choose-day, not Tuesday.  Choose to be happy for the best things in life are free.

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!

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