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On Thursday the 15th February we were given a talk by Steve Maddern which we found very interesting, informative and thought provoking. The subject of the talk was Depression. Depression is a condition that is very insidious, it creeps up on you often without you realising or knowing. It was interesting because most of our members have openly admitted to feelings of depression.

I found it interesting and informative because as someone who suffers from bouts of depression I could see what would make those bouts worst and how I could ease them. I know that I feel worst if I stopped going out, if I withdrawn from family and friends or if I stopped doing things I enjoy.   

Most of our members have worked in heavy industries and are feeling the ill health effects of that work. Many of us either have the responsibility of caring for a partner or are suffering from the loss of a partner and are therefore susceptible to feeling depressed.

An important thing to remember is that depression is not weakness of character or imagination. It could be a natural reaction to life or there could be a medical or dietary reason. It is impossible to just shake your depression off. One of the most unhelpful things that you can have said to you is “to pull yourself together”

It was thought provoking, because the thought that was going through my mind as I listened to Steve was; I can now see why the Men’s Shed organisation was set up. There are two ways to overcome depression one is with professional help and the other with self help. Professional help could be in the form of medication or with the help of a Medical Health Professional. The other way to overcome your depression is to use your network of friends to help you overcome it.

Steve spoke about doing again the things you used to enjoy doing. The body produces its own feel good chemicals called “endorphins”. These are produced when you exercise, go for a walk, dig the garden, learn something new, a craft or a skill.

By Joining a Shed you could renew, or create a new network of friends. Friends who may have similar problems to yourself and therefore you can help each other through the bad days. Helping someone else could be a way of making you feel better about yourself. Several of our members have said that they feel better after passing their skills on to others. You have the opportunity to try or learn new things. The other thing we try to do is to provide a nutritional meal. A good diet has been proven to reduce depression. Sharing a meal is an excellent way of reducing loneliness and isolation another cause of depression.