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I recently attended a meeting which addressed the subject of depression amongst men.  There were several good points made, but in particular, I noticed the need for men to stay active if they are to overcome depression.  In fact, retirement is sometimes the trigger for depression, because it is so much easier to become lazy when there is nothing urging you on.  That one I could definitely relate to myself, now that I am not so actively leading our community.

I've never considered myself to be a serious candidate for depression, since I've always been pretty upbeat.  However, this meeting touched on the fact that men can sometimes be depressed without even knowing it, i.e. just running downhill in many areas, until you don't have the will to do much of anything.  They said that you can even feel "happy" about it all.  I thought to myself, "How depressing!  (lol)  That even our happiness could be something bad." Ironic, isn't it?

The computer era is contributing to a lot of this kind of depression, where we sit in front of a machine that requires only the minimal of physical exertion... fingers moving on a keyboard... at the same time that it can give you the feeling that you are doing incredible things... fighting wars, solving problems, preaching to the whole world.  We easily become vegetables, deluded into believing that we are crusading warriors instead, saving the world from any number of imaginary demons.

What I have personally experienced is a malaise about doing anything away from the computer... out there in the real world.  Things like filling in paperwork for any type of business seem almost overwhelming at times.

Then I started thinking back to people I have known who have serious mental problems.  Often it is associated with depression or laziness.  There is a cycle where depression can cause someone to become lazy, but being lazy can cause depression as well, and so strategies need to be adopted to pull someone out of this downhill spiral, by getting us out into the real world, feeling real discomfort, making real decisions, using real muscles.

We have recently encountered quite a few people on our forum who have serious mental problems.  I think that trolls (people who wander the Internet posting negative stuff towards various people) probably fit into this category.  They have found a way to take out their depression on other people, rather than break out of the addiction and deception that cyberspace has become for them.

Things like hiding behind real or imaginary sicknesses, wanting to sleep a lot, making excuses to avoid work, turning more and more to drugs and medications to solve problems, and even indulging ourselves with junk food can all be part of this self-destructive cycle.

It sounds a little like I am promoting pain just for the sake of pain, and if getting up off our backsides and out into the cold is considered pain, then yes, I guess I am.  In our rich Western culture, it is too easy to find ways to avoid all of these things, to our own detriment.

In the system, at least while people are gainfully employed, there are mechanisms in place to keep people jogging on the treadmill.  Amongst ourselves, however, we can easily run down if there are not standards which we are willing to enforce on ourselves.  We sometimes become backward about enforcing "the law" on one another, for fear that the cult-busters will accuse us of demanding too much from one another, especially considering that we are not earning money for what we do.

But it is important to see that it can be an expression of love for each other to make some demands, to set some targets, to measure how well people are performing, and to observe what we are doing with our time.

Right about now, I should probably be thinking of some way to summarise what I have just said and to draw this article to a conclusion, but at the moment, all I can think about is the need for me to start practicing what I have been preaching.  So I'll just leave it there, get up out of my chair, and go out into the cold to see if I can find something heavy to lift.

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