Tag Archives: depression

Believing in a cure for ADD, ADHD, and depression

This isn’t a post to deny that depression, ADD, and ADHD exist. They do and many people have a terrible time dealing with them, but that doesn’t mean they are permanently debilitating. It is possible to live with them, indeed thrive with them, and not need drugs or any special treatments.

Now, before, I pontificate any further let me say I am not a doctor, nor an expert. I’m just a person with a decent amount of experience with both.

I want to talk about this because I’ve noticed a trend over the last decade to marginalize any cure for either problem. The majority of help is focused on how to cope in the moment. To fix the issue for a day or get through the week. Everything has become about those moments of panic.

Which is very strange. The moments of panic do offer the most acute pain and suffering, but they don’t offer any solution. It is the moments after and before where the learning occurs. Those off-days when you can focus on the cure, overcoming any problems the conditions create for you.

There is no specific solution for this, rather it is a building process. It starts with being aware when the condition manifests itself. Am I starting to feel down? Has this problem troubled me in the past? Am I feeling distracted or unable to stay seated?

I used to be a public school teacher with tons of restless students. Without knowing if they were ADD or ADHD, I would ask them to try to stay focused for an extra minute each time it happened.  Also, to let me know when they were done. This was extremely effective because it taught them to become aware of when it was happening.

It also created an idea in their minds that this can be controlled. When I noticed they were starting to understand that I would approach them with the next step. I called it strengths and weaknesses. This involves pairing the problem with something the person likes, usually a hobby. The hobby serves as the strength and place of safety to rely upon during the moments of panic. It also frames the problem as a weakness to improve upon, instead of a permanent problem to accept.

For an attention example, one student loved reading skateboarding magazines. While every other teacher banned them in the classroom, I told the  student to keep one handy at all times. Whenever the symptoms came on (weakness) he was to pull out the magazine and read (strength). At first, he struggled a bit with it, often getting this dazed look in his eye. He continued to make progress and eventually was able to master his focus. He even became adept at reading the magazine while paying attention. I wasn’t sure this was possible until he answered questions correctly, completed homework, and all that. I think it even turned his weakness into a strength.

For a depression example, I knew someone who would feel slightly down before major episodes. He was aware that these slightly down moments were happening (weakness) and so I asked him to write down (strength) whatever was on his mind. He liked the idea of a diary, though, at first, was a little ashamed to write down his depressed thoughts. Then the depression would hit, he would recover, and be left with those writings. He soon became aware that a lot of what was troubling him in those writings were real issues. He then had a pre-written set of issues to work through on the good days. Nothing happened overnight, but gradually his depression has been lessening and maybe, one day, he will turn it into normal sad/down days.

The one thing you will notice in each of these examples is something I call a “trusted friend”. This is the last step, finding someone to help you through these issues. The strange thing is that most people with ADD, ADHD, and depression aren’t aware they have these problems. This is just the way they are and when it happens there is no alarm sounded. The role of the trusted friend is to identify for the person when it is happening. Sometimes they can give advice, like in the examples above, but most of the time all they have to do is alert the person.

One thing to be aware of with depression, there is something about the down attitude that hates being told it is down. There is also a high level of shame attached to it. This doesn’t mean the person should not be aware of what’s happening, it just means to be much more cautious and patient when dealing with it. Give them some time to get used to it.

There you have my theory (non-expert, non-medical) on how to help people work toward a cure for ADD, ADHD, and depression. I understand that many, more qualified than I, consider these to be lifelong problems and offering a cure is just false hope. It may be true, but these experiences I pass along have worked in every situation. Perhaps, becoming self-aware, building on one’s strengths and weaknesses, and having a trusted friend are just great ways to build character. If so, I am still happy to pass them along as one quiet voice for a cure in a sea of  “survive the panic” writings.

 

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In 1938, why were so many Austrians Nazi-friendly?

Why Were So Many Austrians Hitler-Friendly?

By Rick Steves

Today I stood on Vienna’s Heroes Square where, in 1938, more than 200,000 tearfully happy Austrians gathered before Adolf Hitler. The Nazi dictator stood on the palace balcony and stated, “In front of German history, I declare my former homeland now a part of the Third Reich. One of the pearls of the Third Reich will be Vienna.” From that day on, Austrians were forbidden to say the word “Austria.”

Americans often wonder how Austria could so eagerly embrace Hitler. Let me hazard an explanation: Imagine post-WWI Austria. One of the mightiest empires on earth started — and lost — a great war. In a few bloody years, it went from being a grand empire of 55 million people to a relatively insignificant landlocked state of six million that was required to be nonaligned.

The capital, Vienna, was left with little to rule, and now its population comprised a third of the country’s. With the economic crisis we know as the Great Depression, Austria also got a fascist government complete with a dictator named Engelbert Dollfuss. He was as right-wing and anti-Semitic as Hitler, but he was pro-Roman Catholic Church, pro-Habsburg, and anti-Nazi. When an Austrian Nazi assassinated Dollfuss in 1934, it was easy for the German Nazis to take over four years later. By that point, the Austrian fascists had already put down the leftists. The German Nazis just took over their Austrian counterparts’ file cabinets. And, Hitler promised greatness again…and jobs…

 

Read the rest, and check out Rick’s travels through modern-day Vienna

 

 

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As the Junior Seau tragedy shows – life after football needs help

A man took his own life, and we might never know exactly why.

But regardless of what comes of any investigations or revelations, we’ve got enough circumstantial evidence already to have an idea that the NFL, its players and those who claim to love both have got to do something.

Fact is, too many men are stumbling unprepared into a scary world when the game stops and real life starts.

Whether Junior Seau’s ultimate decision to commit suicide can be traced in any way to his having suffered concussions during his playing career is important to find out.

But that just might be too neat a bow to tie on this tragedy, too straight a line to draw from head trauma to depression to death.

“The NFL is doing all these things to make football better and safer,” said former San Diegan John Lynch, who retired in 2008 after 15 years in the NFL. “But in a lot of ways it seems like they’re ignoring a real issue … The automatic response right now is it’s got to be concussion-related. I’d be cautionary of that. The league should do everything they can to find out more (about the long-term effects of head injuries), because I believe it’s real. But there are a lot of other dynamics that go with retiring and leaving that world.

- Seau’s death sheds light on strain of life after football

 

// Photo – NFL.com

Depression: keep in mind that they can’t “snap out of it”

Keep in mind that they can’t “snap out of it.” Remember that the other person has a real illness. Like someone with cancer, they can’t simply “get over it.” Try not to express your frustration or anger in ways you’ll regret, but don’t suppress your own feelings either. You can say for example, “I know that you can’t help feeling down, but I feel frustrated.”

If the person is an unrelenting pessimist, as so many people with depression are, try to point out the positive things that are happening. The negative childhood programming–the “inner saboteur”–will probably prevent them from seeing these for himself. The depressive illness has a vested interest in the lie that nothing will go right.

via Dr. Bob

The depressed mind…is curable, needs boundaries, and is often involved in a relationship
 
 
// photo by D Sharon Pruitt

Depression: keep in mind that they can't "snap out of it"

Keep in mind that they can’t “snap out of it.” Remember that the other person has a real illness. Like someone with cancer, they can’t simply “get over it.” Try not to express your frustration or anger in ways you’ll regret, but don’t suppress your own feelings either. You can say for example, “I know that you can’t help feeling down, but I feel frustrated.”

If the person is an unrelenting pessimist, as so many people with depression are, try to point out the positive things that are happening. The negative childhood programming–the “inner saboteur”–will probably prevent them from seeing these for himself. The depressive illness has a vested interest in the lie that nothing will go right.

via Dr. Bob

The depressed mind…is curable, needs boundaries, and is often involved in a relationship
 
 
// photo by D Sharon Pruitt

Surviving depression in a relationship

“The trick to surviving in a relationship with a depressive–or an alcoholic for that matter–is to firmly maintain your boundaries, or, as we would put it, be aware of and insist on getting your needs met. Any relationship is a mutual satisfaction of needs, regardless of either party’s state of health.”

“Establishing clear and consistent boundaries can be very hard because often our natural inclination is to try to make the sufferer feel better, to rescue. I have known people who have gone broke trying to appease the demands of the inner demons that torment their partner, trying to make it right for them, trying to make them happy.”

Dr. Bob