JAcOB shares his techniques for self expression and the impact this sometimes has on those around us…
I have for many, many years kept a journal, largely this is for work reasons, but I also keep a personal journal for writing thoughts, and songs, and poetry. I used to travel a lot on my own, and my time on a plane was “me” time; Purely because I couldn’t be reached by anyone! I found, in this place of anonymity, that my self expression was often prolific. Thoughts would come and go freely and safely in my journals.
The way we choose, (and that’s an important piece of self expression!), to express ourselves will have effects just like a ripple caused by a pebble thrown in a pond or the toppling tile in a line of dominoes. The dominoes keep falling, be they positive and loving or negative and hurtful.
Depression is an illness that can be so powerful in a sickening way, for not only does it affect the sufferer but also the loved ones of the sufferer. I know my actions have been so horrid at times and I have made the most terrible of mistakes, but I have some degree of peace in my heart that deep down inside, I tried my best.
If you are a loved one of someone with depression, I wonder if you might allow “just an ordinary bloke” to offer a thought for reflection? Often a depressive person can act erratically to a point where the loved ones can be emotionally hurt, upset, offended – perhaps by erratic self expression, triggering the domino effect. The fact is that sometimes the real root cause can be the oblivion of PRESENCE in a depressed person’s state of mind due to the depressive illness.
How do you ascertain what state of mind someone is in?
There is a list of questions that has been used for many years by psychologists, psychotherapists, and mental health professionals to help determine if a person is suffering with depression, and if so, to what degree. I’ve added it to this blog so you can assess for yourself where their head is at.
Using this score key, score the following questions for yourself, or your loved one, in the table below:
Answer: Not at all – score 0
Answer: Several Days – score 1
Answer: More than half the days – score 2
Answer: Nearly every day – score 3
|Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)|
|Over the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?|
|Little interest or pleasure in doing things?|
|Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?|
|Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much?|
|Feeling tired or having little energy?|
|Poor appetite or overeating?|
|Feeling bad about yourself – or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down?|
|Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television?|
|Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or the opposite – being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual?|
|Thoughts that you would be better off dead, or of hurting yourself in some way?|
|Total = /27|
|Depression Severity: 0-4 none, 5-9 mild, 10-14 moderate, 15-19 moderately severe, 20-27 severe.|
So how does it add up for you?
If you are suffering in silence – and I have known many who do and have – then I feel for you. If I could jump out of this computer screen and just stand shoulder to shoulder and listen, while you use “self expression”, or walk through the darkness with you, believe me I would: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. With good justification you may not feel that way, but with extreme respect, sincerity, gentleness…if you have scored 5 or more, please speak to someone, even if it’s just a friend.
And if you feel you don’t want to do this for yourself, then maybe you can “steel” yourself to take this step for your kids or friends, as a compassionate act toward them…because if you don’t, they will likely feel the lack of your self expression and the domino effect.
With love, peace, hope and sincerity,