Physical health and mental health
The recent news that common drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen could be used to treat, or rather prevent, depression was obviously of great interest.
The theory is that, in some people, the immune system is always more active than normal behaving as though there is a persistent low level infection resulting in permanent inflammation. These people "appear to be at a higher risk of developing depression and psychosis."
It's another illustration of the connection between physical health and mental health.
Having been diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency which is known to cause fatigue, mood changes and even depression, I am well aware of this connection having, what I call a medical depression as well as a clinical one.
I've also had IBS and migraines for years so I know that my body is at least a little messed up.
I know I don't do enough exercise or get enough sleep - contrary to all the advice - but it's not always easy. Working shifts and commuting four hours a day (two hours each way, door to door) makes establishing patterns difficult. Bed time for an early shift which would (if I feel asleep straight away) give me 8 hours is sometimes before I get home on a late shift. Regular just isn't a thing.
I do, at least, get my 10000 steps in most days with a good couple of miles or so of brisk walking on weekdays. Still, I know it's not enough; there just never seems to be sufficient hours in the day.
When I mentioned by email that I was frustrated my meditation practice had fallen by the wayside and felt I needed it to combat the depression, Jon Mitchell replied with such a profound response:
It’s so important not to burden the practice with that kind of saving power, though. I think it’s more like brushing your teeth than going to therapy. Even when you’re sick, you still need to brush your teeth, but brushing your teeth is not a guarantee of physical health.
We shouldn't be in a position where we end up resenting that which is good for us because it doesn't appear to have an immediate impact; shouldn't become slaves to it just because we feel that's the answer. Instead, our path to it should be more natural, more organic and not forced - part of an holistic approach rather than a magic bullet.
I need to make changes but need to fight the right battles. As Stoic wisdom dictates, we should not worry about the things we can't change but control our reaction and behaviour.
Baby steps still reach the finish line.