Reading these troubling statistics that my age group and gender is experiencing a dramatic surge in suicides in the US gave me pause.
Why are many middle-aged women feeling hopeless and powerless? I can wonder all day long about a list of social factors that may contribute (poverty, dashed expectations growing out of a time when women’s roles went through dramatic changes, changed rates of isolation and growing up not asking for help, fallout from destruction of our own life support system ecology on spaceship Earth), but I’m not sure that helps arrive at any clarity. Men’s rates are still much higher than women’s, but this leap in numbers of women is a societal change.
I’ve struggled with depression over much of my life, with distinct times worse than others where suicidal thoughts were common. Through this training ground called LIFE, I have learned what helps and what does not for me personally to keep afloat, keep finding joy, and keep feeling okay being alive. In fact, this blog is one space I play in to remind myself.
My heart goes out to anyone who is there.
If you are on the cliff, the linked article above mentions some great resources for help.
There are many successful, brilliant, and high-functioning people you may never guess have or do struggle with serious depression. So it’s high time we throw our judging stigma about mental health out the window.
Figuring out what works for each of us to stay and play, be able to receive life’s gifts and recognize whatever is of value in ourselves is important work of a lifetime. What helps for me:
- Nutritional support (vitamin B’s, vitamin D3, calcium, magnesium, zinc – a few of the nutrients found to be lower in people with depression), flax seed oil, holy basil tea each evening
- Mindful practice
- Nature connection/immersion/hiking/walking putting me in connection with something larger than my human problems, reminding me I am supported and not alone in the scheme of LIFE
- Create anything
- When frustrated, disappointed, depressed, asking myself how can I be kinder? (to self)
- Stay aware and check in with self. If depression lingers too long and I don’t think I can help myself, I seek help from others. I know my own warning signs. Aside from national hotlines, there are often local programs for those who have little funds, so I’ve learned not to let a lack of resources stop me from getting help.
And now for some flowers on the street, a tip of the hat to the artist who loved purple, and a celebration of Earth’s bounty this Earth Day.