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Restoration From Depression

11 months 1 week ago - 11 months 1 week ago #247227 by theabundantlife
I appreciated the subject of depression being brought up by Swishy in the Scallywagz thread, even if it went in a direction he wasn't planning! And I appreciate Inter- Action's comment too, it is a serious problem, and one which I have also struggled with for a few decades.

I wanted to start this thread to look at solutions. Restoring old machinery is very rewarding on so many levels, but restoration of physical and mental health is even better, and means you may be able to take on yet another project that wouldn't have been possible before :)

My journey through the darkness of depression providentially led me to a program put together by a medical doctor that focuses on identifying the causes, and removing or reversing those causes where possible, rather than pharmaceutically* masking the problem. When the oil light comes on or the temperature gauge starts climbing into the red, we don't disconnect them to avoid the stress of seeing something wrong, we recognize the warning signs and try to find the cause. As time consuming and difficult as that may be, in the long run it is going to save a lot more headaches!

Having the right workshop manual can make the job of troubleshooting much less hit-and-miss. This thread will explore some of what has helped myself and thousands of others to start firing on all cylinders again. Ok, that's enough of the clichés.

But first, we need to define terms. Lang brought up a good point when he said

... nearly every word has several meanings and context is everything. You can still be depressed without sufferng from medical depression.
The depression mentioned in Swishy's meme would be along the lines of what's known as "Situational Depression", it is based on external circumstances, like someone beating you to the purchase of the perfect project truck, that model you had been looking for for years. That's not to downplay situational depression, grief over the death of a loved one, loss of a job, big things like this can take a serious toll on us. But this is something outside of us, circumstances causing mental stress.

The depression Inter-Action describes is known as "Major Depression", or "Endogenous (coming from within) Depression", and is there irrespective of external circumstances. Something inside is out of whack, and you can't just shake it off and change your attitude. You can have all the toys you want, a loving family, and a good job, yet the darkness is still there.

In the next post I will look at the symptoms that are identified to officially diagnose major depression. Hoping as we go on there will be some useful tidbits for those of you following along.

Chris, Manjimup WA

*Disclaimer- I am not suggesting getting off your medication for depression if you are on it. It may be necessary for a time. I am advocating going deeper into what the reason for the depression is, so that under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner, those medications can possibly be reduced or eliminated entirely, and you can get results far beyond what the medication was doing..
Last edit: 11 months 1 week ago by theabundantlife.
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11 months 1 week ago #247242 by Inter-Action
Thanks for those wise words , well put together. I have battled for 20 plus years and dosn't take much to bring on a session
of debilitating misery , for who knows how long. The post which was put up and lead me to comment , caught me at a very
vulnerable moment . "It" pops up out of the blue , sometimes for no obvious reason , but when down, a comment like that post
only ads to the "Hard times". I don't expect or deserve any more attention than any of the millions living with this insidious
illness. We all have our own ways of dealing with it when it pops it's ugly head up. I lost a friend (neighbor) (43), 12 mths
ago. "It" caught up with him at a time when his family were out and took his life in the garage. I miss him daily. I am helping another neighbor who is on very limited time, being consumed by cancer. (57)I visit and on a daily basis , health permitting.
I was lucky to have Brian Egan (Aussie Helpers founder) visit me some years ago to help and support me do a Christmas present
run around the peninsular when farmers were having a rough trot. He suffered depression to the point where he was catatonic.
He had lost his farm to the banks and had to start all over again. Always remember him quoting what one of his medical staff had told him. "When you are battling depression , and feeling real crap. Go and find someone who needs help". So i live by that and find there is a lot of self help in doing just that. That is of course if you are not bed ridden , curled up in the fetal position, as can happen when the depression gets so bad, you have to give in. I do enjoy looking through the stories and photos
of many, that have had a lot more trucking related experience than me, and are always happing to advise others where possible.
So . That's where i am at. Good days , bad days . "None of us are getting out of this place alive". So make every day count!
Thanks to all who read this and perhaps are a little more understanding of why i reacted to that original post.
Back to the shed. I have a motor to re-build. Gold 240. Safe travels. Dave / Milly, the 10 month old Kelpie.
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11 months 6 days ago #247287 by theabundantlife
Good morning all!

Thanks for your reply Dave. And thanks for having the courage to share your own personal situation and struggles. One of the big problems with depression in men especially is an unwillingness to admit a problem; it can be humbling, but it is vital. I think Swishy's post at a vulnerable time for you was providential, it's brought the subject out in the open on this forum. Maybe it has been before, I am a relative newbie here.

Sorry to hear about your neighbour. Suicide is such a tragic way to die, especially for those left behind, all the "what ifs" that go through your mind. When I was younger, it was the thought of what it would do to my Mum that prevented me from taking my life, after I had kids it was the thought of what it would do to them. On the 80km drive between home in Gingin and work in Bayswater I used to watch the trucks coming toward me and think how effective a head on would be at ending it all, and it could look like an accident. Sorry to all you truck drivers on here, but it got pretty dark at times. My friend of 8 years who became my wife for a short time suicided in early 2019. A combination of health issues, Centrelink's Robodebt debacle, lack of sleep, an argument, and one scotch whisky, pushed her over the edge. She was only 40.

You hit the nail on the head regarding one of the ultimate keys to this battle Dave with the advice Brian Egan gave you-

"When you are battling depression , and feeling real crap. Go and find someone who needs help". So i live by that and find there is a lot of self help in doing just that.

Turning the focus outward and helping others does change brain chemistry, and provides perspective. Working to make other people's lives better, like your friend battling cancer, is not just a distraction, but a powerful healer, and gives purpose in life, a reason to keep fighting the battle.

I was on a rollercoaster for years where I would self-medicate with piss, pot, and porn (my "3 P's"), hit rock bottom after a month or 2 and get off it all, go good for a few weeks until the darkness came back, then repeat the cycle all over again. I didn't realize that I was dealing with major depression until 2010. I had come across some online talks by Dr Neil Nedley, and as I listened it became clear that it was actually clinical depression that I was dealing with. I thought that was just for people who were "mentally ill", and that surely wasn't me!

Anyway, Dr Nedley was talking about his own journey into treating depression and anxiety, from his initial discovery in the early 90's of how prevalent it was, to researching the medical and scientific literature for causes and then treatments, and then putting a program together that put all this information into an easily digestible and practical form that was having results far beyond what he expected to see.

I was working for myself doing renovation work, and the depression and addictions were destroying me financially, and I desperately needed help. I was hoping for a nervous breakdown or something so I could just go on disability support and rest. I was listening to Nedley's talks over and over as I worked that week, thinking how good it would be if someone in Australia was running these programs (Nedley is from America). That week at church I was handed the bulletin at the door, and noticed the word "depression" on it. I sat down and opened it up to discover that one of the older women in the church who had been a child health nurse and was now into helping others with their health was about to start running the Nedley Depression and Anxiety Recovery Program in a hall in Kalamunda!. What are the odds?!

I wish I could say I went to the program and was miraculously healed, but I am a slow learner, and it took a long time to implement the relatively simple strategies and lifestyle changes that research in the last 30 years has discovered makes a positive impact on depression. And I still have my days, but the darkness is now very temporary, and a knowledge of the mechanics of depression means I have the confidence I can get past it quickly.

I had planned on beginning here with the clinical symptoms used to diagnose depression, but this post is long enough as it is. Next time.

All the best. And thanks again Dave for being man enough to be vulnerable.

Chris, Manjimup WA.
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10 months 4 weeks ago - 10 months 4 weeks ago #247446 by theabundantlife
Good morning (afternoon or evening) all!

As promised, this post will have a look at the official diagnostic criteria for major depression. I don't necessarily agree with strictly boxing things in with a checklist that requires certain boxes to be ticked before a diagnosis is officially recorded, but those more educated than I seem to need these checklists to come to a firm conclusion. Health is a whole lot more complex than trouble shooting engine noises (thanks for that post Lang, absolute gold!), and sometimes a rigid checklist can miss or exclude things that are just as relevant to the potential problem. I could be wrong.

Having said that, these diagnostic criteria for major depression do give some insight into what we are dealing with. They are from the DSM5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition) that psychiatrists use to put a label on almost any kind of human thought or behaviour they deem abnormal. There are 2 checklists for a positive diagnosis.

The first checklist has a list of 9 symptoms. The individual must have had at least 5 of the 9 symptoms for at least 2 weeks, which must include the first 2 symptoms.

1- Depressed mood (tearful, feeling sad, hopeless, empty) most of the day nearly every day.
2- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all activities (trucks, sex, sports etc) most of the day almost every day.
3- Significant weight loss (without dieting) or gain, or loss or gain of appetite.
4- Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping way more than usual) nearly every day.
5- Psychomotor agitation (restlessness) or retardation (slowing of movement) nearly every day.
6- Fatigue/ loss of energy nearly every day
7- Feeling worthless, excessive or inappropriate guilt.
8- Indecisiveness/ reduced ability to think or concentrate nearly every day.
9- Morbid thoughts, thoughts of death, thoughts of suicide with or without a plan to do so.

If there are at least 5 of the 9 symptoms present from the first list, the second checklist is checked off to determine if it is in fact major depression, or if there is another issue at play. These 4 criteria on the second checklist can be thought of as exclusion criteria in a way, if all the boxes are not ticked, it is not officially major (or endogenous) depression. It may still be serious and debilitating depression, but there could be another identifiable medical issue or outside source of the problem.

1- Symptoms cause significant clinical distress or difficulty in everyday functioning or social engagement.
2- The depressive episode is not caused by psychological effects of a substance (alcohol, illicit or pharmaceutical drugs etc) or another medical condition.
3- The depressive episode is not better explained by schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, or other specified and unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.
4- No history of manic or hypomanic episode (unless drug induced or caused by another medical condition).

So there is the psychiatrists troubleshooting guide, which unlike Lang's engine noise guide really doesn't help identify what needs repair, it just applies a label to the conglomeration of symptoms.

What I love about this forum is the huge knowledge base that allows the cause of the symptoms to be identified, and an appropriate repair to then be worked out. I ran across this forum searching for answers to a weird clutch issue on the F7 (which I will post about another day).

Unlike psychiatrists who just throw a bottle of Wynn's or STP or Nulon at the problem hoping the symptoms will go away, historic machinery fans are generally seeking a reliable long term repair rather than a short term fix. Don't get me wrong, Bars Leaks and Chemiweld have gotten me out of trouble on quite a few occasions, and antidepressants have their place, but they are a band-aid solution that are best suited to keeping the show on the road while we sort out a more permanent repair. Which will be the subject of future posts.

All the best!

Chris, Manjimup WA
Last edit: 10 months 4 weeks ago by theabundantlife.
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10 months 3 weeks ago #247531 by theabundantlife
G'day all!

Before getting into the nuts and bolts of major depression, I thought I would post the warning signs of imminent suicide. I had heard of these previously, but I came across these again after my wife Sharon's suicide, and realized just how many easily recognizable signs were there, had I been mindful of them. Those of us who have friends battling depression, or struggling ourselves, would be much better prepared to know when to take decisive action if we are aware of these signs.

This was the signs from a 2019 CDC web page-
Signals that a young person may be contemplating suicide imminently include:
Thinking or talking about or threatening suicide;
seeking a way to kill oneself;
increased substance abuse;
feelings of purposelessness, anxiety, being trapped, or hopeless;
withdrawing from people and activities;
and expressing unusual anger, recklessness, or mood changes.

Sharon had 5 of these 6 signs that I knew of, and after the fact it became apparent all 6 were there.

In the past it was theorized that asking someone about their possible thoughts or plans to suicide could be a trigger and increase the chances of them taking their life, but recent studies have shown that the opposite is the case.

“Are you thinking about suicide?”, “Are you hurting?”, “How can I help?” are appropriate questions to ask someone without judgment and clear purpose. Asking how someone is doing in this way can allow them to open up to their emotional pain and open the door for help with their situation. Important elements of this step are listening to the reasons for their pain as well as their potential reasons to live. You can see many reasons why they should live; but it’s important for them to acknowledge reasons to keep living. Asking questions does not increase suicide or suicidal thoughts, but rather the acknowledgment and transparency about suicide can decrease suicidal ideation.

Often just bringing the dark thoughts into the light with someone who is understanding and encouraging can help diffuse a potentially lethal situation.

If any of the following signs are present, things are getting serious, and you need to stay with the person needing help, and if necessary get them to a hospital or call appropriate emergency services.

• in the act of hurting or killing himself, has a weapon or other lethal means
• threatening to hurt or kill himself
• looking for ways to hurt or kill himself, talking about a plan to do so
• talking about death or suicide and is acting anxious or agitated
• talking about death or suicide and is intoxicated or "high" on drugs

With 3144 suicides in 2021, and almost a quarter of deaths in the 15 to 44 year age group being suicide, the whole subject of depression and suicide is one well worth understanding. A written off machine can be rebuilt to its former glory, but when a human life ends, all we have is memories and "what if"s.

Next post will be looking at some more positive information, stay tuned, and stay vigilant.

All the best.

Chris, Manjimup, WA.
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