I have a Google alert set up for the word “depression.” Everyday I get an email from Google with some stories and blogs that mention the word “depression.”
The cool thing about this alert is that it allows me to keep up with depression treatments, research and public policy, I also get a healthy dose of celebrity news and international stories about mental health in other countries. If you think depression is misunderstood in America, you should read some first-person accounts of having depression in India, Africa or the Middle East.
The only problem with my Google alert is that it also picks up stories that mention “depression” in its other meanings: economic depression and tropical depression. Both of these depressions freak me out.
And as we all know, hurricanes start out as tropical depressions. We also know that with hurricanes – as with foreclosures – you can lose your home.
If that happens, you will be hit by a trifecta of depression: tropical, financial and mental. I live in Florida, the state with the highest rate of foreclosures and many of those empty homes sit in fertile hurricane territory. I have been through three hurricanes but not a foreclosure – although I have seen my neighbors lose their homes to the banks.
Economic insecurity, hurricanes and falling into another deep depression are among my greatest fears in life. Right up there with sharks and being trapped in a car after a horrific car accident and the only way to get me out is by cutting me out with the Jaws of Life.
So, basically I have set up a Google alert that once a day totally freaks me out. I might as well have set up alerts for “shark attack” and “jaws of life” and “category 5 hurricane.” What have I done?
The revelation hit me this morning when I opened up my Google alert email as I trolled for fodder for my blog. Here what greeted me:
By creating this seemingly harmless Google alert I have brought a pile of anxiety into my life. As I have learned the hard way, anxiety = stress = depression. In the words of the philosopher Homer: D’oh!
So, I’m going to edit my Google alert: “Depression and Mental Illness” or “Antidepressants” or “Depression and bipolar.” And I’m going to do it now because the less depression in my life the better my life will be.
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Last reviewed: 19 Jun 2013