Fighting the Blues

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down

Remember that song by the Carpenters? Today is a rainy day in my neck of the woods, so I thought I’d address the topic of depression and “the blues.”

massage sandy bluesWe all get the blues every once in a while–that feeling of sadness and lack of enthusiasm for life. There are many causes for depression. Some kinds are temporary, down-in-the-dumps kinds of things that go away in a few days, but other forms are long-lasting, extending for years at a time.

I personally struggled with depression for about 10 years, a long and dark period that I thankfully can’t remember much about, except that I felt hopeless and helpless. Ironically, the one thing I needed more than anything was to feel like someone loved me and cared about me, but the people I needed it from the most shunned me because I was depressed and was unpleasant to be around. It was a vicious cycle.

After I finally was able to pull myself out of the cycle with proper nutrition, exercise (and weight loss) and getting away from the pharmaceuticals that were making things worse (I’m one of the people who can’t take anti-depressants, it turns out), I enrolled in massage school and started learning.

I’m sure you’ve seen the documentary on PBS about the experiments conducted in the 50’s and 60’s on touch. Baby monkeys were deprived of touch and their emotional growth was studied. I remember vividly the video of a baby monkey clinging to a stuffed dummy that looked like a mother monkey, but not getting any love or attention from it. Still, the monkey felt comfort that the monkeys deprived of ANY contact didn’t have. Going without touch made the monkeys unable to relate to their counterparts, and they even¬† became aggressive and violent.

I’ve noticed that in today’s society, personal contact and touching each other has become alarmingly less prevalent. People who are alone and don’t have a loving person in their life to hug them and give them emotional comfort are more likely to become depressed and anxious. I fear for the children today whose main contact with their parents and their peers is through phone texts. I know of a family who calls their children to dinner through text messaging.

One of the reasons I became a massage therapist is because I recognized that if I didn’t start getting actual physical contact with other human beings, I would cease to exist. I had more than the blues, I was desperately hungry for human contact. A lot of the clients who come to me have the same problem. We are all starved for nurturing, healthy touch.

Hope for the Blues

As you observe the people in your life, remember that they need your touch. They need hugs, not just words. If you are suffering from these feelings, a good antidote is massage. Massage has been shown to increase cortisol levels and improve your feelings of worth and well-being. Make the blues go away. Call your massage therapist today.

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