Saturday, January 31, 2009

Depression Seminar Introduction

Hi! These are the notes to the 8 week Depression Seminar sponsored by BYU Women's Services and Resources. Incidentally, if you are not depressed that's great, but chances are you will be or have been. The lifelong risk of having situational depression is 99% and situational depression can turn into something more longlasting and serious. I am very optimistic about this weekly class. I came away with the understanding that no matter what stage in life or where you are on the depression rating scale, there are tools to help you to live a happy, joyous life.

All those who came to the first session were given a Depression and Anxiety Survey to fill out and those were passed in to be rated for the next session. The information for this session was largely from the studies and findings of Neil Nedley, MD and his Book and workbook on Depression.

Facts - 1) Listening to Classical Music helps alleviate and prevent depression. 2) Being outdoors in the sunlight helps alleviate and prevent depression. 3)The average age for a major episode of depression is 25 years old. 4) Depression affects more than 20 million Americans. 5) It costs $70 billion per year in treatment costs. 6) The lifelong risk for having depression in a lifetime is 1 in 4 for females and 1 in 8 in males.
Adding to these sad facts is that most people are never actually diagnosed with depression and most people never have the opportunity to have a cure.

9 Basic Symptoms of Depression:

deep sadness, deep apathy, lack of decision, high fatigue, agitation, disturbed sleep habits, sense of worthlessness, unusual weight loss/gain, excessive guilt.

We talked a little about each symptom. We were asked if, in the past 2 weeks we felt or experienced any of these symptoms--deep sadness, a marked diminished sense in normally pleasurable activities, an increase/decrease in appetite (or if 150 lbs or less a weight gain or loss of 7 lbs and a weight increase or loss of 10 lbs. if 200 lbs or above), more than 40 minutes difference in sleep habits, more irritable or agitated than usual, physical movements slower than usual, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness--not useful to family, work, or society, excessive guilt, inability to concentrate or make sound decisions and lastly recurring thoughts of wanting to harm self or others (if the last one being the case, seek help immediately).

If you have 5 or more of these symptoms, you would be in the major depression category or the severe situational depression category. If you have 2 of the described symptoms, you are in the sub-syndromal category, which is still depression.

Depression affects almost every other aspect of health. It increases risk of heart disease, cancer, pneumonia, osteoporosis, a return to or contribution to addictive behaviors, asthma, increases anger and hostility, chronic headaches, increases stress hormones, contributes to increased rate of decline in physical abilities in old age, and many more.

Dr. Nedley states strongly that simply saying that someone has depression and then prescribing an anti-depressant is basically like an MD seeing someone with swollen feet and sending them away with a diuretic, with a diagnosis of Swollen Foot Syndrome, when actually it could be many other reasons as to why the feet are swollen. Drugs change the basic character of depression and make it more difficult to diagnose. Before anything, one must find the underlying cause of the depression.

There are 10 Basic Hits that can help contribute to depression. The first 2 out of the 10 are non-corrective--you get what you get. Fortunately, to qualify as being severely at risk for depression, one must have at least 4 of these hits and all but 2 can be corrected. These 10 hits are: 1) genetics, 2) development, 3) lifestyle, 4) circadian rhythm, 5) addictions, 6) nutrition, 7) toxins, 8)social/complicated stress or grief, 9) medical conditions, and 10) brain frontal lobe.

As we continue to attend the seminar (every Monday from 12:00 am - 2:00 pm) we will learn to identify and modify the hits for which we are most vulnerable and alleviate and cure your depression. One participant asked if the seminar would help cure anxiety as well. The answer is yes. Depression and anxiety often go together. Even if you are experiencing more anxiety than depression the seminar will help you.

If you missed the first class, you can still attend the remaining classes and not feel like you are too far behind. Also there will be notes each week on this blog. Following is the remaining schedule for this seminar:

February 2: Lifestyle Treatments for Depression.

February 9: Nutrition: Better Food, Better Mood.

February 16: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Change the Way You Think, Change the Way you Feel.

February is President’s Day. BYU will be closed. We can either skip a week or meet Tuesday, February 17 from 12 – 2. We will discuss this and take a vote.

February 23: Positive Lifestyle Choices: Overcoming Addictions and other Harmful Habits.

March 2: Coping with Stress Naturally.

March 9: Overcoming Loss and Life Disappointments.

March 16: Enhancing Brain Frontal Lobe Functioning.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My thoughts on purses

I ran across a hilarious narrative about purses. It describes me and how I cannot live without some sort of thing to carry all my stuff, but at the same time, I cannot be tied down to match, accessorize or flaunt my class with said receptacle. Nora Ephron had this to say in her book 'I Feel Bad About My Neck':

"I hate my purse. I absolutely hate it. If you're one of those women who think there's something great about purses, don't even bother reading this because there will be nothing here for you. This is for women who hate their purses, who are bad at purses, who understand that their purses are reflections of negligent housekeeping, hopeless disorganization, a chronic inability to throw anything away, and an ongoing failure to handle the obligations of a demanding and difficult accessory (the obligation, for example, that it should in some way match what you're wearing). This is for women whose purses are a morass of loose Tic Tacs, solitary Advils, lipsticks without tops, Chapsticks of unknown vintage, little bits of tobacco even though there has been no smoking going on for at least ten years, tampons that have come loose from their wrappings, English coins from a trip to London last October, boarding passes from long-forgotten airplane trips, hotel keys from who-knows-what hotel, leaky ballpoint pens, Kleenexes that either have or have not been used but there's no way to be sure one way or another, scratched eyeglasses, an old tea bag, several crumpled personal checks that have come loose from the checkbook and are covered with smudge marks, and an unprotected toothbrush that looks as if it has been used to polish silver.

This is for women who in mid-July realize they still haven't bought a summer purse or who in midwinter are still carrying around a straw bag.

This is for women who find it appalling that a purse might cost five or six hundred dollars--never mind that top-of-the-line thing called a Berkin bag that costs ten thousand dollars, not that it's relevant because you can't even get on the waiting list for one. on the waiting list! For a purse! For a ten-thousand-dollar purse that will end up full of old Tic Tacs!"

Anyway, she goes on and on about this and it's hilarious and I can so identify with her. Now, mind you, I have friends who collect purses (hi Julie Nixon!) and I actually toyed with the idea that I might want to have a designer purse too, and so I went to a cute little store here in town called "What's Hot". Now I don't know if being hot means the higher the price tag, the hotter it is, but if so, these purses were smokin. We're talking $700 easy for one bag. But I actually saw a few that I wouldn't mind having and then I thought wow, I would actually be accesorizing myself with a designer purse. I found myself on the bargain isle and found some really cute hand made quilted bags for about $150. Hmmmmm.........they really are well made and so colorful and look at all those handy little pockets that are so well-sewn. Maybe when I get a good bonus at work, I could spoil myself. Heck, I deserve this. Then I woke up. Then I was laid off. End of purse obsessing. Besides Greg, my sweetie, bought me the cutest purse in September and although it's a little small (I can never get it fastened correctly because of all the junk I put in it), I love it and to me it's Designer. We got it at JC Penney's.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Did You See The Inauguration?

I watched President Barack Obama getting sworn in today. I had a sense of history as I did so. I listened closely to his speech. I tried to immerse myself in the scene and the atmosphere. I am genuinely happy for him and what he has achieved. I am happy for our country in the sense that people looked for the most hopeful symbol of American leadership and they came upon Barack Obama as that symbol, and in the doing crashed through the stigma of color and race. I think my favorite part of the speech was:

"In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction."

I really hope that our nation has come full circle and realizes how much we've really messed up. The corruption and greed has gone so far that our government is now almost compelled to regulate. It reminds me of the airports before and after 9-1-1. Remember the days when you could walk your loved ones to the gate they were leaving from? Remember when you could take bottled water and nail clippers on the plane? Remember when you weren't practically strip-searched at random? And the list goes on and on. Because of the acts of a few, it gets ruined for the whole. I'm sure none of us is going to enjoy the regulation of commerce, trade and the inevitable increase in taxes. But the corruption of a few has ruined it for the many.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Daisy Lured Me Out

I've been out on my walk with my little companion. She gets me out when nothing else would or could. She is all about walks and getting out and is so joyful when it works in her favor. Together we've seen some beautiful scenery and been into some crazy adventures. I could do a blog on just what we go through each time we walk. It's something different every day.

This morning it was about 5 degrees and no one in their right mind was out, it being MLK day as well. The trees were all white and heavy with the frost that had accumulated over several days and the fog was like pea soup. I put on a sweatshirt, a hoodie, my favorite athletic pants (the kind that look like plastic and rustle when I walk) because they are lined and are warm. My accessories of gloves, neck warmer and extra hat went on and I was good to go. I decided to walk on the trail that goes by the lake. One side is privately owned ranch land and the other side is wetlands going into the lake. We walked for about 20 minutes until the end of the trail. It was quite a sight. The lake stretched out forever in front of me but the view was obscured by a blanket of heavy fog. It was eerily silent--no bird sounds, no waves lapping on the shore. It was completely frozen with a 4-inch blanket of snow on top.

That's when Daisy started heading out onto the lake and looking back at me. She never really goes further than a few feet ahead of me except when she gets really exuberant and wants so badly to go ahead and see what is up ahead. And then she will come back and check on me and silently beg me to hurry up. She tries to herd me ahead. But I only go so fast so she has learned patience.

She was so excited to be out on the lake. She leaped around, showing me how sturdy the ice was. She came back towards me knowing that most likely, it was now time to turn back and start the walk back to the car. But today, I was envious. She was out on the lake and it stretched out endlessly like so much unexplored territory. Not a footprint on the whole thing. Then I broke. I made my way out to the edge of the lake. I looked out uncertainly. I tested the edge with my weight. It looked so eerie and unexplored and I felt like Dora the Explorer. I went on a little further. No signs of ice crackage. Daisy goes crazy. She is crouched on her belly ready to herd me. I take another uncertain step. She runs toward me and leaps up in joy and gives me an exultant growl. Then I start yelling and squealing and we start going out further and further. I am enveloped in the thick fog. No one is around for miles. I am alone with only my faithful dog and we're having a total blast. I would have taken a picture but I guess it was too cold and the thing didn't work.

Anyway we turned back after a few minutes because I got spooked. It was too isolated and eerie. But it was quite the fun little adventure this morning before I get back to my routine.

Greg and I will probably go to the gym later today. And that will be it for my exercise today. Now if I can just control my appetite. I love food too much, way too much, probably. But I'm so glad that I do and I can't bring myself to apologize for that. Have a good one!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hello How's It Going?

Hi, this is a test, because I am rather skittish about starting a blog that anyone can read. I've been excited about seeing Laura start her blog. It's been great. I know that a lot of the women in my neighborhood do blogs. I like reading blogs, when I have time. But there is the public me and the private me. It will be interesting what I choose to be public and what I choose to be private.

There have been some exciting and fun things that have happened in my life just recently. I am the proud mom of a prospective missionary. His name is Edward C. Whitmore. He just put in his mission papers last Sunday.

But he's gone for a little trip to Virginia right now. So I've been able to do some fun things with Greg. We went to see Mall Cop today. What a stupid, funny movie. I only fell asleep for a couple of minutes. Then we went to Zupa's. I like that place a lot, especially the Nuts about Berries salad and the Tomato Bisque. Yum yum!

I really like my Freecycle Group and my group.

I like my involvement in Relief Society. The women really rock and I'm excited to just be associated.

Well, there you have it. My quick, at-a-glance stab at being a blogger. What do you think, will my blog be in high demand? Will people be hanging around just waiting to see what my next entry will be and going through withdrawals if I don't make an entry every couple of days? Probably not. So I'm not going to act like they do. But I'll just have fun with the written word and the ability that we have in cyberspace to communicate on yet one more level.