The Stroke Network, Inc. )


By Marty Arlen



It's the holidays; letís all get depressed together

Psychologists have said that the holidays are the best (or worse) time for depression. Now Iím a kind of non-denominational sort of guy. I celebrate everything.

I admit I'm more fortunate than others. I get around on my feet, drive, and can take care of most of my needs. Sure I miss those days of old when nothing could slow me down, but after dwelling on what I couldnít do, for a day immediately following the stroke, my wife looked me in the eye and said "we're going to get better". Now you don't argue with my wife unless you're hanging pictures.

Muck. I love the word. I was introduced to the word when my wife and I were seeing a marriage counselor. As she put it, "your marriage is stuck in the muck.Ē Some survivors are having a tougher time than others overcoming physical limitations. Some have no mobility, very limited mobility, or have bounced back. It is so easy to be depressed over the hand we were dealt. The same goes for caregivers who find themselves leading a new kind of life.

I was immediately put on antidepressants following my stroke. But I decided if I worked hard, and looked at each day as a challenge, I didn't need those tiny white pills. I'd rather let others feel sorry for me, than waste my time in the muck. If you look around this network, you will read what some people have accomplished. Steve Mallory is in a wheelchair, but gave us this truly wonderful network to share. I've read Jean's posts on how Don has progressed over the years. For all the Kims, Michaels, Pams, Garys, and everyone who has let us know of your accomplishments, I salute you.

So if you stay depressed, what do you find? Your life is empty, sad, and without meaning. We weren't put on this earth to be worthless. We all have something, anything to look forward to. Celebrate this Holiday Season as if it's going to be your last. Morbid thought, but it will give the holiday a new meaning. Make a new year's resolution to eliminate the words can't, won't, don't want to, shouldn't, couldn't, and any other negative phrases from your vocabulary. Force a smile. It will thoroughly confuse your mind.

As you read this, you're probably thinking that I am doing better than most. Let me tell you, it took a lot of hard work, a great supportive network, and some humor thrown in for good measure. And I'm still at it. If I as much hint that I'm feeling depressed, the earth moves, thunder is louder than ever, lightning is brighter, waves on the lake become higher. And there stands my wife with a big tub of muck.

Got the picture?

So have the brightest holiday ever and look forward to a healthy, happy and positive new year. 

Copyright © December 2005

The Stroke Network, Inc.

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