HAVE you ever “felt depressed” in your life?

If you are like me and almost everyone else, chances are you have “felt depressed” at certain times in your life. Who wouldn’t feel depressed when something tragic, devastating or calamitous happens? Extreme sadness, sudden loss, great uncertainty, impending disaster or feelings of hopelessness cause feelings of depression.

However, there is a difference between “feeling depressed” for transient reasons, and suffering from clinical depression, which is a serious and debilitating illness; a real illness, much like diabetes and cancer.

My late father suffered from depression during the last years of his life. He would not want to go out, would simply stay in bed, and I remember him saying that he felt like “banging” his head on the wall when it was so difficult to handle. It was sad to see him in such a state, as he had a very active life, was highly energetic and was athletic in his earlier years. He put up from scratch, Sunshine Bakery and Grocery, with its branches, and Hotel De Luxe, with the loving support of my late mom, friends, and loyal staff.

Apparently, for us who do not experience those dark and sinister moments, we find it hard to comprehend how they feel.

Some two months ago, I attended a half day seminar on depression at Forest Ho. It was hosted by owner operator Manong Ari Verzosa. I salute him and his family for advocating good mental health. Together with his children, Kylie (Miss International 2016), and Chelsea (who jokingly calls herself Miss Sisternational), they openly talk about their experiences with depression and give advice on how to deal with it.

Depression can be so challenging that some people have taken or do attempt to take their own lives during those difficult moments. Robin Williams, the Academy award winning actor and comedian, suffered from depression, and committed suicide in 2014.

Other notable figures who had or have depression (about 16 million Americans do) are: Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Naomi Judd, J.K. Rowling (creator of Harry Potter), Tipper Gore, Jim Carrey, Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, Sigmund Freud, etc.

My Dearest Family and Friends,

Depression and mental illness is not new to me. I have a “good” lineage of relatives who have suffered various kinds of mental illnesses. And the sad thing is that it can be passed on. As they say, “it is in the genes”!

What should you do when you have a loved one who is suffering from depression?

1. Ensure he sees a psychiatrist.

2. Ensure he consistently takes prescribed medication.

3. Give your support and understanding, as a family.

4. Enlist the help of a support group.

What can he do:

1. Exercise to release serotonin and dopamine.

2. Be exposed to natural sunlight.

3. Have healthy sleep.

4. Have healthy social relationships.

5. Eat healthy. Take in foods such as almonds, dark chocolate, eggs, bananas, avocados, blueberries, and food with omega 3 fatty acids.