Couple of interesting but random bits of information that struck me as interesting, obvious, somewhat sad and quite possibly connected in some weird way. Without further ado, here we go:
Let’s suppose a university did a study about depression and how it could be connected to growing older, even tangentially. Suppose the research isolated one particular group within the population and found that they were almost four times as likely as the rest of us to suffer from a depressive episode. Four times!!! That sounds like a pretty high number to me. Don’t you think having a four times greater risk of depression in one group more than another would make a lot of headlines? So did I. Here’s the news:
The Risk of Depression Doubles During And After Menopause.
It took nine years of study, but researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have discovered that women are more than twice as likely to be depressed during and after menopause. Specifically, during perimenopause they were about twice as likely as premenopausal women to have a depressive episode, and after menopause we are almost four times as likely as other women to experience depression.
I’ve read that sometimes depression masks itself as anger. In other words, you look and sound angry but you’re actually depressed. But let’s think about anger. The experts we hear from most often extol the benefits of serenity, peace, calm, Zen, being centered, balancing our chi and aligning our chakras. We practice karma yoga and Burmese meditation to “still our mind and perceive oneself.” We drum, we chant, we hold crystals, we bond with nature and honor the wisdom of our body. We get hot stone massages, mango-sugar scrubs and crushed pearl facials. We buy books, CDs and DVDs to help us find the Secret to our happiness and fulfillment.
Fine. Knock yourself out. Namaste. But here's a different idea. When was the last time you let forth a string of curses to release your demons? If you answered when you were fourteen years old and trying to feel grown up, you’re making a mistake. Here’s the news:
A curse a day may keep the doctor away.
According to a study excerpted in The Utne Reader, researchers at Keele University in England have discovered a positive link between using colorful language and the ability to withstand discomfort or pain. As study participants repeated a curse word during adverse conditions, their heart rates rose and theoretically, that may have helped them withstand the discomfort longer than others who repeated a benign word. They also felt less pain afterwards.
Maybe the next big self-improvement craze will be a chain of “Expletive Repeated” rooms across the country. In these simple but comfortable facilities, people can pay a membership fee, come in twenty-four hours a day and swear their bloody heads off with no harm done and no offense given to anyone near and dear to them. Their heart rates will go up, their anger will diminish and they can go on with their day.
How many times do you wish things were just more positive? It would be nice to live in a world where we listened to nothing but the Good News Network and focused on happy thoughts that helped us achieve our dreams. Life hard enough without more misery heaped on us daily, right? Right? Wrong. Here’s the news:
People are much more attentive to negative words than positive ones.
Where would we be without scientists conducting research? In a British study that flashed a variety of words on a screen for mere fractions of seconds, guess which words people remembered and identified most accurately? Yes! The winners were the “negative” words, much more often than those labeled “cheerful” or “neutral.” One of the professors involved in the study believes that using negative words delivers a more effective message. She suggests we post road signs that read “Kill your speed” rather than “slow down.”
So, where does all this leave us?
God knows. But as a woman of a certain age, I can tell you this. I may be prone to depression. So if I curse a blue streak once in a while or say things like “I’m in agony with this headache” or “This day is just murder, isn’t it?” you’ll understand. Right? Right??? Dammit, what do I have to do to get someone to listen to me for one damn second?
Thanks. I feel so much better.