I struggled with depression for years. Finally during a visit to the doctor’s office (that had nothing to do with depression) the doctor asked me if I felt cold. “I always feel cold”, I told her. A quick blood test revealed that I have a thyroid condition. Depression, feeling cold, and weight issues are some common symptoms. I’m not a medical doctor, so I will not comment any further.
Now I take one pill in the morning and I’m fine. If you have not been tested for this, ask a doctor. It’s not something they normally screen for in blood tests. And its much more common in women then men. But I’m living proof it does happen to men.
Other than that, I’d like to share some of ideas about fighting the blues. I develped these habits before I knew about the thyroid condition, but there is no reason to stop them now.
Number one – do something nice and expect nothing in return. That is the greatest cure. There is no greater joy than selflessly helping another person, or even an animal. If you’re mentoring a robotic team, you probably already know this. You may also want to consider volunteering at your local animal shelter, food-pantry, etc. Hospitals and nursing homes are always looking for volunteers to visit their patients, too.
Next, memorize a happy song. My favorite is a Beethoven symphony with words by Henry van Dyke. Its especially powerful if you imagine it the way Beethoven intended it. Beethoven was the “rock star” of his era, you know. The song is performed by starting from absolute silence. The choir’ and orchestra’s initial sound surprises you with the impact-force of a shock wave.
Once you learn the words, you can play the song in your head. There is no way to feel bad with those ideas running through your head. Or pick your own song, as long as it makes you feel good.
Finally learn something new. If you like the subject, then do something with your new knowledge. For example, I’ll take just about any kind of non-fiction book out of the library and struggle through at least the first few chapters.
Of course you need to schedule ‘learning time’ to do that. It takes self discipline, commitment and perservernce. But making yourself do it forces you to overcome the blues. And the motivation is simple. There is an inner joy that comes from mastering something that just a little while before you knew nothing about.
For example, one of the topics I ‘forced’ myself to learn was robotics. It was actually a rather difficult book on industrial robots (I’m guessing that was about 1995). But I found that I enjoyed robotics and ended up reading more and more about them. Today I’ve put that knowledge to use by getting involved with FIRST. FIRST provides plenty of opportunities to do nice things for others and expect nothing in return.
Perhaps once you finally beat this thing you can write a book titled “The joy of Robotics”. I’d buy a copy and struggle through it.
Good luck and best wishes,