Monday, October 8, 2007

Thought Becomes Deed

I arrived at the diner and pulled my keys from the ignition with the same motion that had turned the vehicle off. As I slid out of the seat I slipped my hand into my pocket, confirming that my wallet was within. It wasn't.

I checked my other pockets, and then the spare pair of pants I had in my bag - although I hadn't worn them. I opened the glove compartment, checked under and behind the seats, and in all the pockets of my bag. The wallet just wasn't there.

Panic rose in my throat. Had I left it at work? Work was half an hour's drive, and closed for the night. Further, this was Sunday night, so they wouldn't be open again until Friday. It would really have been problematic if I had left my wallet there.

I took a breath, released it slowly. No, I decided, you left your wallet on the desk at home. I smiled, and grabbed the ten dollar bill I had discovered when I had been searching, and brought it with me. I had to be careful how much I ordered, but it was a fun time with my coworkers.

I found my wallet on my desk the next morning - it was half buried in a small pile of papers.

What am I getting at here, anyway?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blue Monday

This won't be a full post because my internet connection is spotty right now.

Today is Blue Monday, statistically the most depressing day of the year. Holiday bills, bad weather, and failed resolutions all combine to make it so.

So congratulations, no day this year will be as bad as this one!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Migraines and Depression

I suffered from migraines as a child, and I became depressed as an adolescent. I would have thought it just bad luck, but a study suggests migraines and depression may both be linked to serotonin levels. I suppose I should have seen it coming, since it's kind of a dummy smack. My own anecdotal experience, now that I look at it, suggests a link between the worst headache ever invented and depression.

SSRIs are being prescribed as migraine preventatives in response to this area of research. The research suggests a link (47% of Migraineurs experience clinical depression as opposed to just 17% of the general population), but is not yet clear on whether one causes the other or not, or perhaps both are caused by the serotonin levels. I wouldn't be surprised if the serotonin imbalance itself was eventually proven to be a symptom only; however, I don't anticipate that being proven easily by science because of the difficulty of the scientific community in overcoming the body/mind link that depression and related illnesses straddle.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Solutions for SAD sufferers

I found this amazing article about SAD suffering, which is reaching its peak now as the stress and joy of the holidays falls away, leaving us with cold, dark, and dreary (or, if you live in the Northeast, unseasonably warm, dark, and dreary). I was particularly interested in the supplement SAM-e, which I have heard of in passing only. It's refreshing when a medical site recognizes that non-drug treatments can be useful for addressing depression. This particular post gave me the impression that there was some commercial reason for the supplement's promotion, but I am going to do more research on my own and see if the research bears out the claims from this article.

My misgivings notwithstanding, I'm glad to see real research on treatments that may have less side effects. Of course not all options will work for all victims, but that's why I advocate for a variety of treatment options being made available, so the best ones can be found for the individual.

As I side note, I really hate the term "feeling blue" in this context. I think it minimizes the seriousness of depression and sends a message that it's a disease that is not taken seriously.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Fish Oil is not Snake Oil

Studies have not shown if fish liver oil helps with depression. Science sometimes fails to be like the thing that it studies; that is, slow-moving and focused. I have not the slightest idea if fish oil has any impact on depression (although it is probably as effective a placebo as anything else out there), but I'm pretty sure that you aren't going to get fast results out of a natural phenomenon.

Any scientific study must be funded, and most funding comes from the companies that profit from research - the ones making products that they can sell. Sunlight, plants you can pick from your own garden, and air just aren't going to be studied as serious treatments for anything since they're free and plentiful (unless a marketing person can find a way to sell us what we already have, a la pet rocks); things like fish oil and cow pies and cat hair are all common enough that it would be tough to charge a lot for treatments derived from them, also discouraging the really big research bucks. We aren't likely to see long-term studies on depression treatments that nobody can make money from.

There have been some amazing breakthroughs for treatments of all manner of diseases through new drugs. That doesn't mean that every drug is wonderful, nor does it mean that every disease's cure is in pill form. Well-trained pharmaceutical representatives earn a great living convincing doctors to prescribe their products, and no one is out there equally passionately pitching St. John's wort, taking a walk every day, fish oil, getting a puppy, copper bracelets, and believing in God (at least in doctor's offices). Plenty of alternative therapies may be effective, but the medical community isn't designed to find out.

Of course, I can't say that I would like the idea of being accosted by fish-oil salesmen.