3 min read


At the desk, 8:25 a.m.

I've been kind of grumpy the last day or so. Grump, grump, grump.

You should know that grumpy is not my natural state of being. I'm not usually grumpy so this is an odd phenomena. I'm not really sure why I'm grumpy, I just am. What I mean by that is that I can come up with a hundred "reasons" for being grumpy, it's just that I was grumpy  before I made up the reasons.

Thinking about being grumpy brings me to something I've thought about quite a bit lately.


One of the many unusual things about my upbringing is my fascination with the Great Depression. I used to ask my grandfather and father about it. (I've written a bit about it before.) While they were both fairly wise, and deeply flawed men, they both felt that the biggest problem with the Great Depression wasn't the stock market crash or the drought or the dustbowl.

The biggest issue, and the reason the Great Depression lasted so very long, was that people were felt hopeless and depressed.

When I look around the world, I think we're depressed. Here's what I see:

  • Washington, DC & Politics - Did you know that when men feel hopeless and depressed they get argumentative, combative, and fuss over stupid stuff? This is called an agitated depression (An inability to maintain focus on one task, seemingly over obnoxious, easily irritated, and exhibit signs of being anxious. Doesn't that sound like what's going on in politics?) When I look at what's happening in politics in our world, I see a lot of depressed men attempting to regain their sense of power through fighting over ridiculous issues.
  • Antidepressant sales quadruple in the last twenty years: While there's little evidence that antidepressants alone help people feel less depressed, the number of prescriptions written continues to rise. Further, the number of non-psychiatric prescriber increases. People get their antidepressants from mental health experts such as their OB/GYN or their chiropractor. It's scary stuff considering that these medications can be found in the brain more than twenty years after a patient stops taking them. Further, we don't know enough about the brain to know what they actually do. (Here's a non-crazy, interesting article on this topic.)
  • Rising divorce rate: Look around you. This "recession" has taken a told on marriages. There's evidence which suggests that the recession is some of the cause. This is unusual as usually, people cling together when the economy drops. No one is quite sure why this recession is so different.

So let's face it - we're depressed. What do you do when you're depressed?  Here's some suggestions:

1. Go for a walk - exercise is the only scientifically proven treatment for depression

2. Stop eating junk - one of the reasons  people get depressed is that they junk. By eating junk, the arteries to their brain get stiff and clogged. This means that there isn't a lot of oxygen in your brain. Or to paraphrase Dr. Dean Ornish, if you eat better for even a week, the arteries to your brain will start to clear and you'll make better decisions.

3. Stop watching reality television and read gossip blogs/magazines - There are countless studies that show that when our focus is on someone else - their stuff, their money, their lives - we feel depressed. Give your life a break and turn off the tube!

4. Do something more interesting - Go to a museum, get out of the house, drive a new way to work. Frankly, in my experience, a lot of people who think they are depressed are actually bored out of their minds. Take up a new hobby. Learn to do something new.

5. Find a more comfortable bed - Seriously. Just do it.

So what am I going to do to ease my grumpies? I'm not sure. I'll probably head out into the light and air of our garden. We purchased a few plants that I can put in today. There's always weeding to do. After an hour or some, I'll come back and see what's next. That's usually what works for me.

What works for you? What will you do about the depression around you?