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Disability Experiences: Writings and Perspectives

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December 1, 2006

The following article, "Depression - You Can Feel Better!" is the beginning chapter to Don't Make Depression Your Disability, written by Bobbie Ratcliff. Bobbie has given us a way to look at life that can turn our lives around for the better. Having sustained an injury and subsequent, illness, pain and disability, Bobbie has experienced first hand the extreme down side of disability. Bobbie and Anne, his wife of 24 years, have made their journey together which has brought them to this place and time. Now he has shared their remarkable, yet simple, everyday solutions, their "Cookbook for a Healthy Emotional Diet." With humor and humanity, he persuades us to make the most of life with his self-enlightened ideas to cope with illness and disability. Check back soon here at New Horizons Un-Limited for more chapters of his exciting article!

The following article, "Depression - You Can Feel Better!" from DON'T MAKE DEPRESSION YOUR DISABILITY is included here on our New Horizons Un-Limited website with permission from the author, Bobbie Ratcliff.
Copyright, 2006, Bobbie Ratcliff, All Rights Reserved.


Depression - You Can Feel Better!

If there is any symptom that all illnesses or disabilities share, be it psychological or physical, it's depression! Many of us who face change, hardship of life or suffer from uncontrollable pain from illness or disability will inevitably deal with depression. With ratings between 1 and 10, one's pain can be as slight as a pinprick or severe enough to loose consciousness to cause depression. Like the physical disability or chronic illness that we now face on a daily basis, depression is one more symptom that's shared by one and all.

Caring physicians offer medications, empathetic psychologists listen with educated intellect, while family and friends show their loving concern as they, too, share in the frustration with the suffering that often exceeds the disability itself.

If you're seeking for a way to alleviate, dissipate, or eliminate those hours, weeks and months of feeling downright lousy, there is a restoration, remedy and cure. Depression can be a thing of the past, and no longer your daily companion. It can be gutted from your life, once and for all.

In order to eradicate any symptoms of depression, one must first define, diagnose, and recognize it for what it is. Only then can an effective therapy plan be formulated for each and every sufferer, great or small, with mild or severe symptoms.

Definition: Sometimes depression is a way you feel when you just don't feel the way you use to feel. To feel depressed is to feel disharmonious with oneself, an experience of sadness that exceeds just how bad it really is, our inner core eroding into itself.

Diagnosis: To obtain a diagnosis one must undergo a process of subjective observations by both professional and caring participants on how one feels. This process usually entails a thorough and comparative analysis of patterns, old and new. It always includes observations of physical and verbal communications and a whole lot of gut instinct. Most often, it's the person themselves who know, plain and simple, the severity of their suffering.

All too often, I've seen ill and disabled people seek attentive physicians who immediately start a pharmaceutic therapy solution as soon as feelings of melancholy appear on the horizon. Filling shelves that line our drugstores, medicines abound that ease or eliminate. It's easy to see why even well trained doctors become firm believers in prescribing just one more pill.

Now please don't disregard the importance of utilizing the services of highly trained medical professionals, but instead, see them as a part of the solution to a healthier state of mind, not the whole. In many instances that care is a starting point to future wellness.

Evaluate the abilities within yourself to help yourself, because you might just be surprised at the healing powers within. Sometimes it's only when the need is greatest that the inner self can most clearly understand the areas of your life that are stopping you from loving every single minute without the dragging force of depression.

Recognition: This comes to us when we find ourselves in a state in which we just can't stand feeling this darn lousy one more minute! It's when the days stretch out with hopelessness and the nights go on forever; it's when we know that something has got to change, and the time is NOW! When you understand in full the invasive force of emotional darkness, you'll start your walk towards the light.

Making headway: There is help! There is a solution! You can make all those morbid feelings of worthlessness and emptiness erode into nothing more than a bad day, yesterday. Today can be brighter and filled with purpose for no other reason than, "Today's always worth something, if we're willing to give or find value in it." You're in it! That in itself makes it special! Now, it's what you decide to do with this day that's going to make today count, so let's start doing some math.

The best prescription I've found, and hopefully you'll find too, for ridding yourself once and all from depression is:

Then, like it or not, some days we just can't help but feel a little punk, and from time-to-time that's O.K. too. Due to situations totally out of our control, people fighting illness and disabilities like us, deal with just a little more than what the rest of our healthy counterparts call normal, daily life. For exactly that reason we might just find ourselves a wee off center in the emotionally healthy category. Accept "it." Work with "it," but don't let "it" become the reason for depression.

The importance in maintaining good emotional health cannot be overstated as we battle daily the ravages of illness and disabilities alike. No matter what the cost, you and those you love and care for are worth all your energies and efforts. We owe it to them, because they're worth it. We owe it to ourselves, because we're worth it.

Keeping the ravages of depression away, as we apply all our efforts, can be a full time job, harder than anything we've ever faced before. Some days will inevitably be harder than others as we fight physical deterioration, on-going illnesses, not to mention all the rest of life's challenges we will face, compared to what we use to call normal. Yet, we continue to hang on tight with all our might and effort.

DEPRESSION IS BEATABLE. Life is not supposed to be lived with sadness and gloom. By taking each day as a gift instead of as an entitlement, the value and purpose in each moment we're given can be spent with a smile, instead of a frown, and life's a whole lot more enjoyable and easier that way.

-------- Copyright, 2006, Bobbie Ratcliff, All Rights Reserved.
This article is included here, on our New Horizons Un-Limited website with permission from the author, Bobbie Ratcliff. Unauthorized copying or reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the author.

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