Feeling down? Here are some tips

Here's me being sad that I had to graduate and grow up. Talk to someone if you're feeling sad and it's not going away.
Here’s me being sad that I had to graduate and grow up. Talk to someone if you’re feeling sad and it’s not going away.

Instead of just doing a blog post where I admit I’ve had a rough few weeks, maybe months and am feeling down, I thought why not turn that into something positive.

It’s hard for anyone to admit they’re feeling crappy, maybe even depressed. But with Parkinson’s, it’s very common.

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation says that up to 60 percent of people with PD struggle with depression. It’s because Parkinson’s affects parts of the brain that control mood.

And a USA Today article says that “Nearly everyone thinks of the disease as a mobility disorder but the No. 1 problem turns out to be depression.”

It also interestingly enough said that those with depression are more likely to talk to their doctors about it than PD patients without it. It’s because depression will lower the daily quality of life. And it’s important to go to the doctor and talk about your symptoms. Apparently those with more “on-off” periods and freezing are prone to depression. You’d talk to your doctor if you weren’t sleeping with PD, so why not talk about depression?

Not sure if you’re depressed? Here are some signs from the PDF:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Persistent sadness (not just based on the day’s events, or a single feeling of sadness)
  • Crying
  • Loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy
  • Increased fatigue (I sleep too much when I’m feeling sad.)
  • Loss of motivation
  • Feeling like you’re a burden to your loved ones

So you talk to your doc or someone else. Then what?

There are a lot of little things you can do to improve your mood.

  • Be active. Being both physically active and socially active will help improve your mood. It’s easy to sit inside and mope when you’re feeling down (trust me, I know), but that’s not going to fix it.
  • Join a support group or talk to someone.
  • Try other ways to relieve stress. Get lost in a book, movie, etc. I’m a big fan of singing along with the music cranked up too loud.
  • And know that there are medications available to help. Just make sure you talk to your doctor to make sure they’re prescribing something that won’t cause side effects with your PD meds.

It’s important for PD patients (and everyone) to realize that being depressed isn’t a personality or character flaw. It’s a medical condition, and it’s easily treated.

And remember, you’re not alone. Even I’ve been dealing with stress badly lately and it took my family calling me on it to realize I needed to talk to someone. That doesn’t make me weak. It makes me strong for taking control of the situation.  (At least that’s what I’m telling myself :p )

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