Signs of depression and helpful ways to deal with it.

Some people have shared with me how lonely and depressed they have been during and after the Covid pandemic. Symptoms included physical ailments as well.

The following article I wrote a few years ago, based on a newspaper clipping written by a country doctor who lives in Independence, Kansas. I emailed it to a few friends this morning. I thought its suggestions were very good, and may be of value to some of my readers.

I WENT TO CHURCH LAST SUNDAY, AND WAS GREETED BY A TALL STATUESQUE BLONDE LADY. She was friendly and complimented me on my silver and turquoise belt from New Mexico. I found out she was Dr Anne Hogsett from Coffeyville Medical Center, Kansas. She once wrote an article in the Independence Reporter about depression. She was answering a question from a lady who was 84. The lady asked a sad, sad question:
Dear Dr Anne, I am 84 years old and my doctor thinks I am depressed. I say I am NOT depressed, I am simply being realistic about my uselessness from here on out.

This caught my attention, because for several years I have occasionally asked myself the same sad question. I think after a person turns 60, this question does begin to intrude into their mind.

The answer from Dr Hogsett was directed to an 84-year old, but I felt like she was talking to folks over 60, and maybe even younger people too. I include below, as bullets, excerpts of her answer:
• If you know how to crotchet or knit or embroidery … one of the elementary schools and volunteer to teach your craft to a child after school.
• If you are one of those lucky people blessed with a green thumb….. what if you taught one child the joy of gardening?
• If you are a strong swimmer…..teach someone that skill. How often do we lose someone in our lakes or floods because they are not strong swimmers?
• If you are a rancher or hunter or fisherman…… pass on that knowledge and those skills. They must be taught and taught carefully for safety.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Einstein.jpg
Albert Einstein in 1946 teaching a physics class at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania.

• In Independence, our head librarian is yearning for volunteers, of almost any age.
• What if you nagged three friends into going for a walk with you every day?
• Be a surrogate grandparent. So many kids are struggling – take a kid to church, or just be there for support and guidance.
• Find a charity you want to support with your time, or effort, or money.

• Age will no doubt be frustrating at times.
• But in your lifetime I bet you’ve already been through much tougher times than the stress of extra volunteering.
• Feelings of uselessness or worthlessness are cardinal signs of depression. But I guarantee you are NOT useless.
• Your wisdom and experience are needed by the community.
• And giving to others is a huge part of treating depression.
• Please don’t give up on yourself.
I HAD LUNCH TODAY WITH JOHN, about 45 years old, who agreed once a week to walk 4 miles while teaching an immigrant from Columbia how to better speak and pronounce English….. so his job prospects would be better.
Google has teamed up with a mental illness group to provide Americans with a test to check if you are depressed or mentally ill. People in the US who type “clinical depression” in Google search via a mobile device will now be invited to check if they are clinically depressed via a screening questionnaire. The partnership, announced Wednesday, has been developed by Google and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

In a blog post on Google, the CEO of NAMI said she wanted to use Google to increase the proportion of U.S. citizens who actually seek help for depression.
“Clinical depression is a very common condition, in fact, approximately one in five Americans experience an episode in their lifetime. However, despite its prevalence, only about 50 percent of people who suffer from depression actually receive treatment,” the CEO said.

Google said those who click through from the search suggestion will see a “Knowledge Panel” which will give you an option to “check if you are clinically depressed”.

The test, called a PHQ-9, is described by the search engine as a clinically validated screening questionnaire and is designed to test what level of depression a person may be suffering.
The Gray Nomad ….. help someone to hope
Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.

[From book of Deuteronomy, chapter 32].

10 comments on blog when first published:
1. Mary Ann says:
August 26, 2017 at 1:04 am
This is a great blog with valuable information about depression. You are right about depression hitting people 60 years of age and older. It also seems that people of all ages are having bouts of depression maybe because of the times we are living in. Young people have so much peer pressure and that can cause depression. Older people can have depression because of pain and loneliness. Dr Hogsett’s advice is really good, especially about helping others.
2. Karen Larre says:
August 26, 2017 at 5:26 pm
Wonderful, wonderful information. More info is out there and the issue still remains mostly unknown. Thank you for contributing to this most important conversation!
3. Neil Palmer says:
August 27, 2017 at 10:59 am
I’m continually surprised by apparent broad community acceptance that once people get old, they are of little use. I liked your suggestions of the myriad things older people can do to fill real needs in the community and hope many take courage to have a go. I met an 83 year old man recently who volunteers with a tourist railway – he proudly uses a big electric circular saw bench to cut up old sleepers (railroad ties) which the engineers use to light up the steam locomotives. He is a valued part of the team, and looks set to keep going for a good many years yet.
4. Staci Clubine says:
August 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm
This is a great blog. So many people fight depression. This is great information from Dr Hogsett. We are lucky to have her in Independence.
5. Patricia says:
August 30, 2017 at 8:25 pm
I’m not 60 yet….But I better start up my volunteer work again. Like I used to do many years ago. I developed strong friendships and it was very rewarding…..and led to happy days.
Thanks for sharing and also for the Doctor’s Comments.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Karen Larre
Karen Larre
2 years ago

Thank you, Ian, for publishing this again. It’s so very needed, especially now!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x