I bet you think there isn’t one good thing that you can say about depression. And usually, I’d agree with you.
But it turns out if you’re a senior who battled major depression BEFORE the pandemic, you likely have developed a secret depression-linked superpower.
A new study finds that unlike other folks who are struggling with their mental health because of social distancing, chances are you’re doing just fine.
In fact, researchers say you likely are far more worried about contracting the coronavirus than you are about having to be socially isolated.
In other words, you’re naturally far more resilient than the rest of us.
The research involved older adults who were already enrolled in existing studies on depression. And the results blew everyone away.
Depressed folks are often resilient
Researchers at five major institutions, including UCLA, were surprised to find that instead of being more vulnerable to stress and anxiety as everyone anticipated, the older adults with depression were faring quite well.
For the study, the 60 and over volunteers were interviewed during the first couple of months of the pandemic.
The researchers used two standard depression and anxiety screening tools. And they found no change in participant’s depression, anxiety, or suicide susceptibility scores compared to before the pandemic.
According to the researchers, some common themes emerged in the interviews of the previously depressed seniors…
- they were far more likely to express concerns about getting the virus than any risks they might face from isolation
- most didn’t feel socially isolated even though they were physically distancing
- they did worry about their mental health IF the quarantine, and physical distancing were to last too long
- they were unhappy with the inadequate government response to the pandemic
The volunteers also did admit their quality of life was lower. But even that fact didn’t cause their scores to change.
Take steps to protect against depression NOW
So if you’re a senior with depression, congratulations on your hard-earned, quarantine-triggered superpower.
But the fact is, whether you have fared well during the social distancing or struggled, we’re ALL vulnerable to mental health battles right now.
And since it looks likely that we have at least a few more months of social isolation in front of us, now is a good time to make a plan to support your mental health.
You can start by harnessing the power of something the depressed seniors in the new study reported they were already doing. And that is using technology to reach out to friends and family to stay connected.
If you haven’t tried any video apps to get in touch with loved ones yet, you might want to give them a try. Facebook Messenger, Zoom, and FaceTime (if you have an iPhone or iPad) are some of the most popular ones. But there are plenty of others you can try. You can download the apps from the app store on your device.
Phone calls are nice, but nothing beats being able to see the smiling face on the other end of the line.
Next, a mood-supporting supplement could help get you over the hump. Curcumin works as well, or better than drugs for some folks. Studies show probiotics can be especially helpful for seniors battling depression too. (Click here to find out the three most studied strains.)
And finally, make an effort to spend some time outside. Just because you’re socially distancing doesn’t mean you need to stay cooped up in the house—plan in a walk at least a couple of times a week. Just take your mask with you in case anyone gets too close for comfort.
Exercise is a natural mood lifter. Plus, studies show low vitamin D is linked to depression. So spending some time outside in the sunshine could do you a world of good.