Sadness and depression is amongst us

sad woman

Photo courtesy of Google images

Two things have sparked my writing this post:  1)  my post called Prepare ahead for the sad times has had over 4,200 views, and 2) Sept 5’s Maclean’s magazine’s front cover is called The Mental Health Crisis on Campus.

Have sadness and depression increased a lot in recent years? or is it that mental health is now getting more press so people are more aware of it?

The Maclean’s story says this:

  • … a quarter of university-age Canadians will experience a mental health problem, most often stress, anxiety or depression.
  • About 51 per cent reported that, within the past 12 months, they’d “felt things were hopeless.”
  • At Queen’s… A discussion paper, delivered in June, offered a range of reasons students are grappling with mental health problems: everything from the stress of moving away from home, to academic demands, social pressures, parents’ expectations, and a looming recognition of the tough job market awaiting them.

It is concerning to read the Maclean’s article. Young people certainly do have lots of new pressures as they leave highschool and need to figure out who they are and what they will do in life. Many probably do not have the self-awareness of their emotions or have the coping skills to manage – such as practicing meditation or mindfulness.  Mindfulness-based stress reduction has been proven to reduce stress.

2 days ago our dear friends’ 18-year old daughter who just started college told me she wants to learn meditation so she can start developing these skills early in life – what insight for a young woman!

I am a believer that if anyone thinks they may have depression, that they should seek help and not worry about what anyone may think about it.  Everyone has ups and downs in life, and in our busy lives stuff happens. There is a lot for all of us to deal with these days.

My regular readers know that this blog is about sharing ways to cultivate joy in a western lifestyle – the 2 key words here are joy and cultivate.  Joy doesn’t usually just fall into our lap; we need to be aware to notice it and seek it. This takes cultivation and intention. I teach my meditation students that building resiliency with meditation and mindfulness are key life skills – you can then weather the storms that life may throw at you.

If you have read this entire post, thank you.  Please practice self-care and help anyone around you who needs it.


9 thoughts on “Sadness and depression is amongst us

      • Yes, I did that too. It takes a bit of thinking about. I’d also add that there needs to be a certain acceptance of those ideas, or at least a willingness to listen, from those around you. I think we all have a part to play here.
        My posts on loneliness are popular too. Makes you just wanna reach out and hug whoever googled ‘loneliness’ and ‘sadness’. But you know it wouldn’t help, even if you could.

  1. I suffered from depression from age 13 to 32 – 19 years. Over that time, I tried to relieve the depression with antidepressant medications and numbing myself with distractions and nothing worked. At the age of 32, after seriously considering suicide, I decided to try psychotherapy. I didn’t think that lying on a couch and talking about my problems would do anything, but I thought I would give it a try and then if that didn’t work, I’d end my life. After just two weeks of sessions (two mornings per week before work, 45 minutes each), I found myself feeling much better. Those sessions continued for another 2 years, but shortly after starting therapy, I took control of my life, completely turned everything around, went back to school for 10 years and did a BA in cognitive science, then did a M.Ed. in educational technology, and at 44 I have never felt happier and more thankful than I do now. I have good days and bad days like anyone, but I never experience the kind of debilitating depression I did prior to age 32. My therapist was a medical doctor as well as a psychologist and was in his 70’s when I was seeing him, so had decades of experience, and one of the most profound things he ever said to me was “all dysfunctional behaviour is rooted in an inability to deal with things as they are” – the truth and depth of this statement resonates with me to this day. For me, the key was that therapy allowed me to realize why I was depressed (illuminating the dark corners of my mind – the subconscious beliefs that were underlying my depression), deal with emotions that had never been dealt with, heal and move on. Meditation, mindfulness and being in the moment are connected to the idea of completely accepting things as they are. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything or stop working against injustice or trying to make the world better, but my definition of mental health is being able to accept the world as it is – good and bad – without having it derail you. When faced with difficulty, you adapt with resilience rather than being crushed. Same situations, different state of mind. I am a very different person today than I was before the age of 32. I have a fantastic life, I love my job, I have a great relationship, and I am really happy most of the time. I find myself experiencing peace, joy, laughter and a grounded sense of ease that I didn’t even know was possible when I was depressed. My recommendation to anyone experiencing depression is to give psychotherapy a shot. It saved my life.

    • Ken, that’s quite a story you have shared. An important one. I hope people read it and learn from it.
      I agree that psychotherapy can certainly be a life-saver. It’s always worth a try especially if someone feels they are at rock bottom. Meditation and mindfulness has been proven to help with depression as well but perhaps once the person is out to the thicker woods. Meditation and mindfulness can not only keep lifting out of depression but add joy to their lives.
      Thanks Ken,

    • Hi Grasshopper, yes, indeed. I have noticed in the past year that people are starting to open up about it, and that’s a good thing. We all need help at some point in our lives, whatever it may be. We shouldn’t be afraid to receive help. Have a wonderful day,

  2. Having depression my entire life the blog touched me, I am much better now that i meditate and have developed some life skills. I was at Connect Health and I do Heartmath, which is on a small pad and measures and teaches you how to moderate your brain waves. We are an overwhelmed society with no one teaching us coping skills, except people like Wendy, thanks Al Noble

    • Hi Al, that’s so good of you to open up and share this. You are taking control of your life by doing all you do, and way to go! I’m glad to hear you are much better now. You are an inspiration.

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