Who? Us?

We are two disabled, oldish women who have been adventuring through life for years. We are talking about how disabilities, both visible and not, change the way we enjoy our retirement.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Donna Speaks: How is your Cognition?

I thank Jan for her blog post on clinical depression. It was very informative and helpful.  I hope anyone who recognizes the symptoms does value themselves enough to get thee to a therapist.

I have some additional information to share that I also think will be informative and helpful to you.

Clinical Depression (CD) takes a toll on us from at least four different fronts.

The first front, Jan described: Clinical depression caused by situations we find ourselves in that are beyond our control.  A relationship break-up, the loss of a job, or retirement from your life long job, losing possessions and/or your home as a result of a natural disaster can cause depression.

Jan also alluded to the second front: physiological. Depression can adversely affect all bodily systems. 

For example, we know that serotonin, that feel-good chemical healthy bodies produce, is well known as a brain neurotransmitter.  However, it is estimated that 90 percent of the body's serotonin is made in the digestive tract. In fact, altered levels of this peripheral serotonin have been linked to diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. CD and osteoporosis linked?  You betcha.

Your immune system is also compromised by depression.  When depressed, you are more likely to catch that bug everyone else has.  Pain receptors become more sensitive: pain is more painful.  And, your heart really does hurt.

On the third, family and friends front, there is also no doubt that depression makes developing and maintaining relationships much more difficult. Depressed people often isolate, become social hermits.  This is not a conscious choice.  You can rightfully blame that on Big Ole Aunt Anhedonia who usually comes to visit.  When you are depressed, there ain't much you do that gives you pleasure.  So you are pretty much likely to curl up on your couch in a fetal position and suck your thumb.

The fourth front, the cognitive front, is often not discussed as much as it needs to be.  It is way-way-way important when doing therapy with CD folks.

Yes, when afflicted with CD, your mood is way, way down.  And you feel Yuckie-Yuckie-Yuckie.  But, your thoughts are, your thought process is, also really fucked up.  What didn't piss you off last week, does now.  The people you loved yesterday - especially your lover, husband, wife, partner, etc. - you cannot stand today.  Your job was OK; now it isn't.  What changed?  You did.  Your thoughts did. 

Your thinking did. When your body declines to produce enough of the feel-good chemicals, your thinking goes in the toilet.

For a great percentage of the time, the things that upset us do so not because they are by their nature upsetting, but because of the way we think about them.  This is why research has demonstrated that the most effective therapy for CD is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Our actions are a result of our feelings.  Feelings are based on the way we think about life, love, people, places, and things. So, in therapy, we examine your Belief System (BS), help you find the flaws in it, the unhealthy beliefs, the stinkin 'thinkin', and assist you in re-thinking your BS, so you do not think BullShit anymore.

The drugs used to treat CD treat mood and cognition.  They will elevate your mood and help correct your toilet-bowl thoughts.  It is essential, in the long run, that you are able to think critically about the way you think, and change your flawed thinking in order to have long term success.

More thoughts about depression in my next blog.

Miss Althea, have a great day.

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