Depression is not always seen

man suffering depression

Depression is most dangerous when ‘hidden.’
Why hide it?
Pride?
Perhaps so, especially if it is a man who is depressed.
Feeling worthless?
Possibly, if the person is in a ‘toxic’ situation, at work, at home, or both.

Sometimes depression is the result of something that happened in a person’s childhood.  Whatever the cause depression is dangerous. Suicides among Australian males have been escalating in the last few years.

Depression does not always lead to suicide

But many times it does. 

An article on news.com.au headlines “TODAY in Australia, six men will take their own lives.” It says later, “But the one thing they have in common is that almost all will leave behind grief-struck family, friends and colleagues who had no idea they were struggling.”

.

Did you see the last phrase in the previous sentence?  “Who had no idea they were struggling.”

Why?

The article answers that too… “That’s because men who die by suicide are significantly less likely to have sought help.”

Find the rest of the article click here to read it

depression, man hiding behind help sign

Why this subject?

Because I was pondering the intense trials and problems so many of my friends are going through.

There are people with cancer, others with extreme pain, and many mourning the loss of a spouse, a baby, or other family member. Or one of the many who care for someone who has forgotten them. Mourning the Living
In addition there are the ‘emotional’ stresses… being ‘dumped’ by a boy or girlfriend, being bullied, serious health problems, not to mention a whole host of other reasons.

Then, when having a quick look at the family Facebook page, I noticed this ‘meme,’ and it brought to mind the fact that perhaps the reason that men do not admit to suffering from depression is the ‘man up’ phrase.

Men get depression, meme

Depression is a thief

Even if it does not result in suicide, it robs people of…

  • Self-confidence
  • Motivation
  • Self-esteem
  • Interest in daily activities.

It can cause

  • Appetite or weight changes. …
  • Sleep changes.
  • Anger or irritability.
  • Self-loathing.
  • Reckless behavior.

In exchange, it gives feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, often made worse by anything on the foregoing lists.

Talking to someone with depression

Do you want to? I mean really want to.

A greeting here in Australia often used, is ‘how ‘r’ u mate?’ Most times it is not a question, just a greeting, and the response is supposed to be ‘good, thanks.’

If you do not have the time, or are not sure you could handle what the person says… don’t ask. You could make the person feel even worse.

  • Be ready – do you have the time?
  • Be prepared – are you ready for a difficult conversation when you might not have the answers?
  • Pick your moment – have you chosen somewhere comfortable to talk, and an appropriate time? (There is no use asking when you, or the other person is rushing to leave for work, or trying to complete a task.)

A current TV set of ads shows a depressed man,  and then someone who is concerned and asks, ‘Are you okay?’ The reply is a weak, “Yeah, mate.” In one of the set of ads the other person assures the depressed man that he is ‘here for you if you ever want to talk.’ There is nothing ‘pushy’ just an offer.

Identifying a problem

An interesting website is https://www.ruok.org.au/ There is a short video with little ‘scenarios’ showing changes of behavior.

As it said earlier, do you have the time? Another question could be, ‘are you interested in the answer?’

Don’t present the person you are concerned about with a long list of reasons why you are concerned. Ask a simple question… Do you want (need) to talk?

“I am here. I will listen.”

If you do listen, and have no idea how to help, it is okay to say so. You could always offer to help the person find a solution. Or it may be that all the person needs is a ‘listening ear,’ someone who WILL listen.

If you have the time, and interest you could offer to be…”here for you again if you want to talk.”

listen too hear

The gift of your time and your concern is no small thing,

Susan

One Plate in the Dishrack

parched ground, loneliness

One plate in the dishrack, one fork, one knife, no spoon. “I never have been a dessert-eater.

On special occasions I will have a chocolate ice-cream on a stick. There is little point making dessert for one.”

This is reality for many widows or widowers who only have themselves to cater for.

Some single people choose to live alone

Chocolate ice cream on a stick
one plate in the dishrack

The key – a matter of choice.

If a person chooses to live alone, either they are totally content with their own company, or have support networks outside the home environment.

For widows, widowers, or people who have been abandoned by their spouse/partner it is not necessarily a matter of choice. For them…

One plate in a dishrack is a reminder of their loneliness.

one plate blog, forgotten

I did a great deal of reading on this subject before starting this post… that, and personal experience as well as the experience of other folks in my position.

One person said, “I feel that I am the loneliest person in the world.”

Someone else might compete for that title.

There are many groups on Facebook, I belong to some writer groups where I can ‘meet’ with peers because there few authors where I live, and even fewer in my genre, so it is fun to be part of a group, even if it is online. But there are other groups, and occasionally something will appear from one of those other groups. The image beside this was from a group called Gramma’s Giggles and Fun.]

Feeling forgotten is the ‘killer’ of enthusiasm in so many people.

One plate on a table is a person alone.

It might only be for one meal. It might not be. If the one plate is all a person has day in day out, week after week, month after month, year after year, that the person would be correct in questioning if they have been forgotten.

A person living alone through no choice of their own is missing one incredibly important thing – encouragement. It’s true we all need it – the busy mother who feels taken for granted, the many workers or carers who rarely hear a word of thanks, or appreciation. A person living alone has no one to give encouragement. Perhaps there used to be a spouse who appreciated the other. Now, there is no one.

Statistics I read say that people who are lonely, particularly seniors, are more vulnerable to chronic illnesses, depression and conditions leading to early death. (It didn’t mention suicide, but I suppose that could be a possibility.)

Something else it did not mention but which I think is a danger… being ‘conned.’

Something else it did not mention but which I think is a danger… being ‘conned.’

Statistics graph

Frequently on the evening news or on current affairs programmes are reports of how many people have fallen for some ‘con’ (scam) and have lost thousands of dollars. One could wonder how the person was so easily fooled. Perhaps they were a ‘one plate in a dishrack’ person. As well as needing encouragement a person without emotional support, without visitors needs to feel useful. The ‘one plate person’ might have raised a family, might have had an important job – or at least a busy one, perhaps they now feel redundant and are thus more vulnerable to being scammed.

hook imageNearly all the scams I have seen reported as having victims  where I live involve someone saying they need help – for themselves or a family member. A huge carrot to someone who needs to feel needed, feel useful,  to help someone.. And they are hooked!

The suggestion is often given to join a club (a bit of a threat to an introvert), or to volunteer. Many older people do. But what if the ‘one plate person’ already has a chronic illness, no transport, or difficulty walking? Perhaps they are on the low government pension and have no money to go out to activities.

Worst case scenario – no longer a one plate person, but a recluse.

It does happen.

A few hints to help the one plate person

  • If visiting is not possible – send a card.
  • If they are on the Internet, and many seniors are these days – a short email saying you are thinking of them/ hope they are well.
  • Suggest they write down a memory to share with a grandchild, or to share with a class of young children. Who knows, it could end up being a memory a week or a day and help youngsters understand the past.

The popularity of TV shows like Downton Abbey, and Call the Midwife demonstrate there is an interest.

A phone call to someone living alone comes with a risk – if you are the only person he or she has had contact with that week be prepared to donate some time.

Wherever you meet a one plate person, listen. So many of us listen to give a reply but do not really listen to what is said. Listening is becoming a lost art… but that is another subject.

For now, please don’t judge the person who is alone, negatively. Consider, every positive thing you say to someone else becomes part of you, and might mean the world to them.

Please,

Tread softly – you might be the difference between despair and delight to someone who is lonely.

Susan