Life is a series of adjustments to change.  As the years unfold, various events in later life may lead to experiences of sadness and grief.  The Golden Years can become tarnished by problems, and sometimes coping with life can seem overwhelming.

Older adults are faced with a variety of issues, including: declining physical health,  loss of relationships, decreased financial security, and a decline in mobility that affects keeping up with familiar activities and involvement.

Feeling depressed at times is a normal part of life, especially when confronted with such issues.  But, sometimes depression can get the better of us.

Depression is a multi-faceted problem with psychological, as well as physical symptoms that affects persons of all ages.  In older adults in particular, depression may be related to some physical health problems that may require consultation with a medical practitioner to rule out physiological processes affecting mood.

Depression can affect your whole outlook on life, kind of like wearing dark, gray sunglasses that continually filter out any rays of brightness and hope. The simplest task becomes a burden, and resources that were once relied upon seem inadequate to help or are no longer there.

Some common signs of depression are: feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, insomnia, early waking or sleeping too much, a lack of energy, difficulty initiating things that were once easier to do, a tendency to isolate oneself, irritability, difficulty concentrating.

Depression is a thief.  It steals initiative and self-confidence and convinces its victims of its omnipotence.  It tells you that you have always felt this way and that you always will.  Depression can be cruel.  It may kick you when you are down, negatively criticizing your attempts to be free of its influence.  It can be merciless and render its prey senseless and without hope.

Despite its effects, there are some strategies that can be useful in winning the battle against depression.

Here are some suggestions:

* Exercise
Even on a very limited basis, physical exercise helps.

* Get fresh air
Believe it or not, something as simple as fresh air and sunlight is very helpful.

* Try to maintain a routine
Set your alarm clock daily and stick to a schedule.

* Eat wholesome food
This seems like common sense.  Maintaining a healthy diet is important.

* Keep away from alcohol
Alcohol makes depression worse.

* Reach out to friends and relatives
Maintaining contacts with others helps fight depression and isolation.

* Discuss side-effects of medications
Be sure you discuss with your doctor what side effects you can expect with any medication you are taking.

* Join a support group or see a counselor
There are support groups available in many geographical areas.  Individual counseling may offer additional insight and support.

* Do something special for yourself
Something as simple as buying yourself a flower, eating your favorite food taking a stroll in your favorite park can give some relief from and helps fortify you to better deal with life problems.

* Don’t dwell on the past
The past cannot be undone.  Dwelling on the past does not help you move forward.

*  Take action
Most importantly, take action.  Do things that feel good and restore your belief in your abilities

You don’t have to fight against depression and shoulder your troubles alone.  There may be times when your own resources just aren’t enough.  At times like these the assistance of a mental health professional might be appropriate.

If you want extra support in unmasking and challenging depression, call me at (510) 232-1630 to discuss options.  Telemedicine via HIPAA-complaint videoconferencing or via telephone makes it possible to better meet the needs of clients who may have a difficult time coming to a physical office location or who simply have no professionals in their area with the particular expertise I offer.