boat on lake balaton

Come Away With Me to Hungary & Beating Depression

Good morning dear citizens of the blogosphere! How’s it rolling? I hope you and yours are well, and if not know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

I am not as bad as my post on Friday might suggest. Had a bad day and a feeling of sadness was creeping up my spine from my stomach. That’s a sure sign for me that depressions tries to claw its way in.

One of my coping strategies is to recognise the feeling, acknowledge it and then either do something that I enjoy or do housework. Yes, peeps housework can be therapeutic. It works for me because I do not need to think or organise much, which I find problematic in these situations. I can just do an every day, often simple task and have a result immediately. That makes me feel better.

And a cleaner house, in general, makes me feel better. I am not a domestic goddess. We do not live in a minimalistic, museum-like home. Ours is loved, lived-in and messy to some observers. But that is who we are. There are certain standards though we keep up, and that often works when it comes to my mental health.

I say “often” because I do not have a “one-fits-all-strategy” when it comes to keeping the black dog in check. There are many, and I need to let my intuition guide me which one fits the moment. That’s a good strategy but also a difficult one because we tend to suppress complicated feelings automatically.

However, if I want to give my intuition some reign, I need to look the darkness in the eye and feel what’s the best for me at that moment. Two mantras help me in this case “This too shall pass”, and the mindfulness thought “feelings come and go like tides”.

I am practising my version of mindfulness for about two years. My experience is: these mantras are correct. Pain is never the same, we have good and bad days, but our minds consider the current situation as everlasting. That impression makes it challenging to change our outlook.

But once we allow ourselves to sit, breathe and observe our life, body and feelings without judgement, we realise this constant change. It’s strangely reassuring. It is also strange how just sitting, breathing and being can create such a profound shift in attitude.

It happens gradually and is a life-long process. Sometimes I manage, sometimes I don’t. And that is reassuring too. I do not need to “achieve” something. I can keep working on those parts that are difficult and enjoy that come easier.

If you are interested in mindfulness check this page and their books out: franticWorld.com

video credit: Action for Happiness via YouTube

Maybe checking out Hungary made me depressed too. Another country that seeks its salvation in rampant nationalism and a supposed “strong” leader. You know, what I think of those and patriotism, so we don’t need to go down that route.

However, Hungary is another country I was lucky enough to experience in my teens before the iron curtain fell. My dad and one of his girl-friends took us to lake Balaton one summer just after my mother had passed away.

Hungary somehow had managed to create “communism light” which allowed western holidaymakers in. Hungary famously opened its borders to Austria in 1989 to let Eastern Germans leave for the West. But it was also a place where German families who were parted by the wall could meet before 1989.

I can’t remember, though if we met with our Eastern part of the family. What I remember is a hot summer, a vast lawn going down towards the lake where I spent my days reading and daydreaming and langos.

Oh, my mouth starts watering just thinking of those deep-fried breads that you could have only with salt or vinegar. Yum. We didn’t make our way to Budapest. It was too hot I guess, but we ventured into Siofok which must be the biggest city around the lake. We stayed in Keszthely s far as I remember.

Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures but fear not. YouTube and it’s creative people give a plethora of videos explaining everything about Hungary, and I curated a couple for your entertainment and information:

I appologise for the in-video advertising. But hey, these people put a lot of effort into their videos and deserve to earn a living from it.

The music scene is rather interesting. It looks like the Hungarians do not only like Romani music; in fact, they probably hate it as much as the tourists do. From what I gather, they have a lively music scene with everything from folk to hip hop and lots of music festivals.

That is why I found it difficult to showcase just one musician. I created another playlist that allows you to listen to several. If you are curious about the lyrics, check out “Lyricstranslate“. They offer lots of translations of lyrics. Please enjoy.

And where are we going next week?

Come Away With Me 2020 Musical Challenge Country for Monday, September 7th, 2020

I am taking a rather random route around the world, but sometimes it makes sense. Next week we venture into Romania. Please find musicians from Romania on the Last Fm page for Romanian artists.

As for the suggestions to take part:

  1. Join in! No matter where, when and with what. No matter if you have cancer or not! You missed the first week? Don’t worry. Just jump in when it suits you.
  2. Send us the link! The ping-back option does not always work so please leave a link in the comments of the post on the day you take part. Or leave it at the “Come Away With Me 2020 FB page
  3. Tag your post either with ” Come Away With Me Musical Challenge”/ #CoAwWiMeMuCh” / “Come Away with Me 2020 Musical Challenge” o/“CoAwWiMe2020MuCh” / . You can also use these as hashtags for Twitter and other Social Networks to give your post more exposure. If you add #blog and #music with your hashtags it will get you more readers.
  4. No matter which music or country the prompt favours you create with it whatever you please. This is supposed to be a fun challenge and no chore.
  5. I post a prompt for the next week with every “Come Away With Me 2020 post” I write.
  6. If you like, use this picture for your readers to find the posts.
Come Away With Me 2020 Badge
Come Away With Me 2020 badge

Please stay a little longer and find my poetry posts on The Bee Creates… on Weebly. Thanks!

You are more into photography? Then please check out my photo posts on Bee Wordless on Blogger.

You can also find my photos on Dreamstime (affiliate link, you do not need to buy anything but if you do I get 10% from your purchase).

Just one more thing before you go: The hospital that is treating me is fundraising for a dedicated breast cancer unit which would allow same-day diagnosis and better premises for patients and staff.

Please, if you can spare a little money hop over to their Just Giving Page and give as little or much as you can. Or share the page on your social media. Your support means a lot to me! Thank you very much.

Thanks my dears, for staying with me until the end. I appreciate your presence. Please stay safe, stay kind and remember that you rock!

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Tired/Muede

November 2018

Having had several months of work I have figured that in fact, it was a combination of accumulated exhaustion and depression. I have started to drink a mug of St. Johnswort (a natural anti-depressant) every day and I have a lot more energy since.

July 2012

Never thought I would say that but lately I am so tired. Tired of writing. Tired of being creative. Tired down to the bone.

I have no idea if this is depression hitting in again, or just a life~long developed exhaustion due to trauma’s that have not been dealt with when they have happened. Maybe it is just getting old or too much stress at work. Maybe it is just not knowing yet how my cycles work.

Maybe it is just change. I believe that life is change and sometimes you are like a butterfly in chrysalis stage: You have to rest to let the old go and wait for the new to arrive!

Description for visually impaired readers: black and white photo of a wooden sculpture: a sleeping woman on a bench

November 2018

Da ich jetzt mehrere Monate ohne eine Arbeitsstelle bin, hatte ich die Chance herauszufinden, dass diese Muedigkeit wirklich eine Kombination von ueber Jahre angesammelter Muedigkeit und von Depression war. Ich habe begonnen, jeden Tag eine Tasse Johanniskraut Tee (ein natuerliches Anti-Depressum) zu trinken, und seither habe ich sehr viel mehr Energie.

Juli 2012

Habe nie gedacht, dass ich das mal schreiben wuerde aber in letzter Zeit bin ich muede. Muede des Schreibens. Muede des kreativ seins. Muede bis auf die Knochen.

Ich habe keine Ahnung, ob das wieder mal die Depression ist oder einfach nur eine lebenslang entwickelte Erschoepfung, die durch Traumata entstanden ist, die nicht richtig verarbeitet wurden als sie passierten. Vielleicht werde ich einfach nur alt oder habe zu viel Stress auf der Arbeit. Vielleicht weiss ich auch einfach noch nicht wie meine Zyklen funktionieren.

Vielleicht ist es auch einfach nur Veraenderung. Ich glaube daran, dass Leben immer waehrende Veraenderung ist und manchmal sind wir wie der Schmetterling im Puppen~Stadium: Du  musst das Alte gehen lassen und warten bis das Neue ankommt!

Not alone

October 2018
Whenever depression and anxiety hit me I keep myself motivated to fight on and to believe that I can achieve my dreams with thinking about famous people who live with depression and are still good at their jobs. Here is my post from March 2011 when I first thought about this topic:
March 2011
Famous people with Depression:
Leo Tolstoy:
Author of War and Peace, one of the world’s greatest novels, Tolstoy told of his own mental illness in My Confession. It is also discussed in Dynamics of Creation by Anthony Storr and Inner World of Madness by Beet Kaplan.

Ernest Hemingway, Writer

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist’s suicidal depression is examined in the True Gen: An Intimate Portrait of Ernest Hemingway by Those Who Knew Him by Denis Brian.

Abraham Lincoln:

The 16th president, one of the greatest Americans, suffered from severe, incapacitating and occasionally suicidal depressions, documented in six biographical volumes by Carl Sandburg, and in numerous articles, including, “Dark Veil of Depression” by Judy Folkenburg,
Find out more at: National Institute of Mental Health 
and see how other famous people deal with and fared with their mental health:
And these famous people had trouble with depression too:
  • Richard Nixon, U.S. president
  • Murray Pezim, Canadian businessman
  • Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor
  • Gerard M. Hopkins, poet
  • Victor Hugo, author
  • William James, writer
  • Bev Aisbett – Author of “Taming The Black Dog” and other well known books
  • John McGrath – Chair, Mental Health Council of Australia
  • Neil Cole – Victorian Politician and Playwright
  • Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) – soldier, statesman and Lord Protector of England (1652-1658) after he declined the crown after Charles I was beheaded in 1649 during the Civil War.

photo source: QuoteSnydle. Despcription for visually impaired readers: black background, white writing saying: “Depression and I are old friends but I do not court his company” by Laura K Rhodes

Opinionated Man on Harsh Reality: Depression

Blast from the past: Come on get yourself together!/ Jetzt nimm Dich mal zusammen!

October 2018

I published this post first in March 2011

March 2011

There are conditions and illnesses that are just not taken seriously!

Whoever has suffered from Depression will agree with me that it is nothing to make fun of. Everything feels dark, impossible, everything is too much even getting out of bed in the morning is a major endeavour. It is losing control over your life, over your love, over everything. No one who has not suffered from it is able to understand what it means and their well-intentioned advice like “Come on – get yourself together!” just make things worse. That is exactly what you can not do: You can not get yourself together because of some trauma in the past and some hormones going mad in your brain!

You suffer. You suffer badly and on top of that, you have to face the ignorant society who often makes fun of you. Not a healthy environment that helps to get you back on track.
It makes me angry that people are so ignorant about mental health issues. Too many in our society suffer from it and suffer senselessly more because their condition is not taken seriously.

Next time you are about to make a joke about someone being a miserable git try to imagine how it would be for you to be kidnapped by a monster that imprisons you in a dark cellar, straps you to a bed and never ever let you get out. No sun ever, nothing enjoyable to eat, just laying staring into the dark. That is exactly how it is!

And you never know what trauma that miserable git has suffered in his or her life!

Black & White photo view over medieaval town of Noerdlingen

Oktober 2018

Ich habe diesen Beitrag zum erstenmal im Maerz 2011 veroeffentlicht.

Maerz 2011

 

Da gibt es Krankheiten, die werden einfach nicht ernst genommen!
Wer schon einmal an Depression erkrankt ist wird mir zustimmen, dass dieser Zustand nicht zum Lachen ist. Alles fuehlt sich dunkel, unmoeglich und zuviel an und sogar morgends aus dem Bett kommen ist eine grossangelegtes Unternehmen. Du verlierst die Kontrolle ueber Dein Leben, Deine Liebe, ueber alles. Niemand, der nicht schon einmal davon betroffen war kann verstehen, was es bedeutet und gutgemeinte Ratschlaege wie “Komm schon – nimm dich zusammen!” machen die Sache nur noch schlimmer! Das ist exakt, was Du in diesem Moment nicht kannst: Du kannst Dich nicht zusammen nehmen wegen eines Traumas in Deiner Vergangenheit und einigen Hormonen, die in Deinem Hirn verrueckt spielen.
Du leidest. Du leidest schwer und oben drauf musst Du Dich noch mit Deiner ignoranten Umgebung rumschlagen, die sich oft noch ueber Dich lustig macht. Das ist keine gesundheitsfoerdernde Umgebung, die Dir hilft wieder heil zu werden.
Es macht mich wuetend, dass viele Menschen psychologische Krankheiten so wenig ernst nehmen. Zu viele in unserer Gesellschaft sind daran erkrankt und leiden sinnlos mehr, weil Ihr Zustand nicht ernst genommen wird.
Das naechste Mal, wenn Du Dich ueber den ungluecklichen Kerl nebenan lustig machen willst, stell Dir das vor: Ein Monster entfuehrt Dich, sperrt Dich in einen lichtlosen Keller an ein Bett gekettet und laesst Dich nie mehr raus. Keine Sonne, nichts genussvolles zu essen, nur daliegen und in die Dunkelheit starren. Genau so ist es!

There is a rainbow hidden …

Some days are like this picture: no matter how good your life is you just see dark skies… but I am determined not to let them win. After all, both the sun and a rainbow are hidden in there somewhere…

Music and Mental Health

This post was first published in January 2016:

If you think about mental health issues and how to deal with them the first things that spring to mind are medication or talking therapies. Depending on where you live and how your health care system works those can be expensive and not available for everyone.

Choosing music intuitively for relieving mental health issues

Something many people living with mental health issues use intuitively though and that has been used for centuries is music. I have always listened to music. My family loved listening to different sorts of music from classical to The Beatles or German Folk Singers, and they encouraged me to sing children’s songs when I was young as well as taking part in choirs when I was older.

So music has always been a part of my life and when I look back, I realise that my favourite music has helped me to get through difficult times. Early last year I started a playlist on YouTube called “I am stronger than depression” with a collection of songs that improve my mood when depression or anxiety hits. And I also have heard of music therapy but that will be a topic for another time.

How does music help your mental health?

So what is music doing to help you relax or cheer up? Apparently both listening to and making music releases Dopamine a chemical in your brain that creates a feel-good state in connection with other stimuli like food or music.

Music releases Dopamine

The release of Dopamine through music was researched by McGill University in Montreal in 2011. The scientists found out that Dopamine release increases by 9% if you listen to music and that is a 9% higher feel-good state that certainly helps with your mental health.

Music helps you focus.

Music also contributes to focus. If you live with depression or anxiety focussing on anything can be quite a challenge. Classical music is known to help students to concentrate better on their learning, but I believe it also helps in a depressed person’s every day focusing.

Music elevates pain threshold

It is also said that music can help to elevate the pain threshold which is important for people living with mental health issues. So often we are affected by physical pain with no apparent cause. Feeling this pain less is a great relief and music can do that for you.

I often experience a kind of “speechlessness” when anxiety or depression hits. It is hard to express what I feel or finding words for what might help. Music and its lyrics often find exactly those words.

How music helped me in my latest flashback experience

In my latest flashback experience, I often turned to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” that has the line “Starting from now I’ll be strong”. I felt fragile and a looser but for reasons not known to me this line pushed me to get on and not give up.

I have also learned over the years that it is no good to reprimand myself for not being or doing how I should. Being gentle with myself often helped better to get out of a depressive phase. And that is what Jess Glynne’s whole song “Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself!” expresses. Even though I didn’t like it at first when I read the lyrics I was hooked, and it helped me through the past few months.

Music can have an adverse effect too

Music can have the opposite effect too. Besides the fact that classical music helps you to focus other music might make you feel rather aggressive or make you sad. Jess Glynne’s “Take me home” had a contradictory effect on me. When I heard it, at first, it invariably made me cry. I could not listen for a second without the tears rolling down. I believe though that it helped to let go of the pain I was feeling and the longer I listened to it the more it helped me to feel hope that there are people out there who take care of my broken soul. One for sure is my husband who might not know how much he helps me through difficult times.

Music, only one part of many, to help with your mental health

Of course, music is not a remedy for severe mental health issues, and you should always go and see your doctor or health care provider if you think your mental health is affected. It is one of those little things though that can make a whole lot of difference in dealing with your mental health. Because it is the little things like feeling less pain, finding just that glimmer of hope and being able to focus just that tiny bit more that can get you through a bad day.

Your experience with music and mental health

I would like to hear from you: Do you listen to music when your mental health is down? How does it affect you? And most of all what are your “get-through-the-tough-times” songs?!

Resources:

Reachout.com ~ Music and Mental Health

Mind ~ Why music is great for your mental health

BBC ~ Music releases “mood enhancing” chemical in brain

Psychology Today ~ Music Therapy for Mental Health and Wellness

Three Thoughts on the Anti-Depressant Debate & Love Is In Da Blog Prompt 23

This morning I saw Ellen C. Scott editor at Metro and co-presenter at “Mentally Yours” Metro’s mental health podcast on BBC Breakfast. She told her experience with taking antidepressants. She said she is able to work again and live her life since she has found the right one for her.

One of the headlines this morning on the news was that according to a major study supported by the UK Health department antidepressants do work, however, the 21 tested work differently well and have different severe side effects. The main message was: “Anti-depressants work and you should not be against them!”

Anti-depressants help but cannot deal with the reason someone reacts with depression to life events

Last week I told you that I was rather glad that my doctor did not push me into taking any medication and rather supported me with a book about practising Mindfulness. The book “Mindfulness A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World(affiliate link) states, that the practice of Mindfulness is as effective as antidepressants. It says antidepressants try to deal with the symptoms of depression rather than the reasons for depression. Antidepressants can’t change the reason someone is depressed and how someone deals with the challenge of depression.

According to the NHS, there are several reasons why some people react to life challenges with depression: It can be your genes, a family history of depression or your personality, that makes you deal with a traumatic experience rather on your own than with friends and family. These reasons can’t be changed with an anti-depressant. However, your mood can be lifted with an anti-depressant which gives you more motivation to deal with what causes you stress. If you have the ability to find a solution for your problems that in turn makes you feel better and relieves depression.

Is “Do Anti-Depressants work?” the right question?

I am not sure if the debate “Do Anti-depressants work or not” is actually the right discussion. And I give you three reasons for that:

  1. Successfully dealing with your mental health is a highly personal decision
  2. We take bad mental health as a given and do not look and change the reasons why we are more and more depressed
  3. Can I afford to take anti-depressants?

 

1. Successfully dealing with Depression is a highly personal decision

In my opinion, it is a highly personal decision how you deal with a mental health problem. For me, it is as personal as which kind of contraceptive you chose. If I am a more spiritual person and have found spiritual solutions for my life challenges then I would react better to the Mindfulness approach then if I am a more scientific orientated person. Everybody experiences their mental health in a very personal way and depression can express itself in various different ways. The “One way fits all” approach does not work because we are so different and the reasons why we are depressed are so different. I believe those who help patients with depression successfully have this in mind. This can be with antidepressants but it can as well be without. But just because one approach works without anti-depressants does not make them not work or bad. It is just a different approach.

2. We take bad mental health as a given but do not look at the reasons why more are depressed

The Conversation states in their article: “So many in the West are depressed because they’re expected not to be” that we live in a society that expects us to be happy. Even if we have lost a loved one, are stressed at our jobs and have trouble to make ends meet we are expected to keep up a stiffer lip and deal with all of it with a smile on our face. We seem to be more and more at odds on how to deal with someone who is sad or goes through a difficult time.

Now, I believe that a positive outlook on life is a good thing to have, however, feelings of sadness, anger and frustration are a part of life and important indicators that something is not quite right. If we ignore these and as a society are not able to give them an appropriate space we suppress a part of ourselves and a part of society. In my eyes, suppression of anything has never lead to a solution but rather to revolution and problems.

A change in values in our societies to allow sadness as an appropriate approach to difficult life events as well as accepting that we are all individuals and just do not react to life events, in the same way, might give many the chance to express their feelings and thus would not get to a depressed stage. Which also means they would not need anti-depressants in the first place.

3. Can I afford to take anti-depressants?

Now, this is a tricky one I admit. Of course, there are state schemes that help you pay for your prescriptions. If you do get benefits in the UK you are usually exempt and if you suffer from conditions like diabetes or cancer you are exempt too. And there is a scheme for low income where you can get help if you do not have savings over a certain amount.

However, if you are just over the threshold with your income and your savings you might just be able to pay your bills but anything on top is not possible. As funny as it sounds for some suddenly having to deal with a bill of 8,60 for a prescription can get you into trouble. Also, you are often not able when dealing with depression to apply for exemptions. To be fair to the NHS doctors I am sure they will help you short term if that should be the case. But if you are depressed even your normal daily activities are hard to keep up so dealing with authorities and applying for something is often entirely out of the question.

“One fits all” doesn’t work in my opinion

There are many reasons why one chooses to use antidepressants. And there are many reasons why one chooses not to use antidepressants. Just because a study tells us that antidepressants actually do work does not mean they work for all.

I believe we should allow everybody to choose their unique way of dealing with depression. Neither using or not using antidepressants should lead to any sort of shaming. Because people who live with depression already feel ashamed enough for having a mental health problem. They don’t need more shame when they are actually dealing with it!

Resources:

The Lancet: Comparative efficacy and acceptability of 21 antidepressant drugs for the acute treatment of adults with major depressive disorder: a systematic review and network meta-analysis  

BBC News: Anti-depressants: Major study finds they work

Reuters: Study seeks to end antidepressant debate – the drugs do work

NHS: Causes of Clinical Depression

NHS England: help with health costs

NHS Low Income Scheme

FranticWorld.com: What it can do for you

The Conversation: What causes Depression, what we know, what we don’t know and suspect

So many in the West are depressed because they’re expected not to be 


This post takes part in “Love Is In Da Blog 2018” and answers to prompt 22 “unique” (see end of post)


Love Is In Da Blog 2018 ~ Vulnerable ~ Prompt 23

I hope I have not confused the participants of “Love Is In Da Blog 2018” entirely with adding the next prompt after my post. Maybe I leave a link at their blogs.

 

But for now what’s on tomorrow?

 

Vulnerable

 

is the prompt word and I challenge you to create some poetry.

 

And here are the rules/suggestions on how to take part.

 

“Love Is In Da Blog” Rules/suggestions

  1. Join in! No matter where, when and with what. You missed the first day or week? Don’t worry. Just jump in when it suits you.
  2. Send us the link! Unfortunately, my blog is now self-hosted and the ping-back option does not always work. So please leave a link in the comments on the day of the prompt that you are writing to so we can all come and visit you.
  3. Tag your post either with “Love Is In Da Blog” or #LoIsInDaBl. You can also use these as hashtags for Twitter and other Social Networks to give your post more exposure.
  4. No matter which medium the prompt favours you create with them whatever you please, and whatever length you please (no pun intended ) as long as it is about “LOVE.”

  1. If you like, use this picture for your readers to find the posts.