Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
Part of Depression is self-sabotage. One 45 year old patient today knows he'll go back to drinking sooner or later, despite the fact that it has ravaged his body, imprisoned him, ruined his relationships and interfered with his mental well-being. The only thing which still works mostly is his brain. Will he destroy that too or risk healing, responding to treatment, and living the rest of his life? Maybe living is more scary than dying. It requires responsibility, tolerating thoughts and feelings, building and sustaining relationships and more.
Another patient refuses back surgery because of the risks. He can hardly walk. Stokes have halved his vision and addled his memory. His medications tire him. Anxiety keeps him a prisoner in his own home. He refuses therapy, physical or psychological. He's given up. He's slowly dying inside It's the coward's way out. He's afraid to live around his disabilites, to help himself and others, to feel and love again. It takes courage to face the world and try to find something good, to reach out and join the social world. I think his wife may be the route to get him to try.
Then, there's the opposite. The teenager who was "lost"-- abused and acting out her pain, not concentrating in school and failing, bullied and fearful. She changed crowds, straightened out her behavior, sought out the support of family and overcame her fears. She learned from her mistakes and decided to change. She's not smarter, in fact of borderline intelligence. She's not unusally pretty. Her family is poor and uneducated. She's brave and not afraid to live for a better future. She'll make it.
Same with the woman, around 50, who lost years of her life to drug addiction and bipolar disorder. She was ready to pack it in, so many times, OD'ed, was in comas, in and out of psych wards. After years of resistence and the wastebasket label Borderline Personality, after prison and rehab and some terrible and then some helpful meds, she actually cleaned herself up. Now, she's living. She's working, socializing, volunteering, going to a church, and choosing to struggle with her moods and temptations, rather than to cave in and stay in hell.
Life is good, even life with difficulties is better than the mental dealth of a quitter.