Mental Health

Table of Contents

The other morning I had a conversation that made me think and think and think!

I woke up early (as I do every morning), packed my swimming gear and headed out the door to get my car. I was walking up my street when an older lady dressed in a black t- shirt and black capris stretched out her arm and stopped me. “Good morning” I said.  “May I help you?””I have depression” she answered.I was surprised, bewildered and wondered what to say to her.

I thought I had misunderstood her and the truth is that I did not know what to do next!I told her that I didn’t understand what she had said and so she repeated that she had depression.

Panic! “What should I say? What should I do?”

I came closer to her while I smiled at her and asked her if she had seen her doctor.  She said that she had and that the doctor gave her medication.”Good” I answered. “When did you go to the doctor?”  I asked.  I did not know what to say but I did not want to walk away because she looked like she need to do speak to someone.  She told me she had just gone and that the doctor told her she had to walk every day.  Her doctor told her that she had to get out of the house. She told me she did not want to walk and I said that sometimes when we are not well we want to stay at home and not do anything but walking was a great thing to do.

mental health, over50traveler

mental health

This is what being open is all about, right?

I asked her if she had someone at home that could accompany her on her walks and she said that she did have someone.  I looked at her and wondered how old she was.  She was a pretty woman and  looked like she was in her seventy’s.  The lady told me that she had a companion at home but that he wasn’t well mentally and she made that swirly, circling sign around her ears as if to say that he was crazy.I told her that if she could walk just a little bit a day and then make the walks longer…. She repeated that she didn’t want to leave her house.”Five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening, that’s all” I answered.”No””I exercise. I am about to go to the pool and I walk on other days” I said.”I can’t go out like this”I told her that I knew it was really hot right now and very hard to be out and about but if she went out early in the morning and then  late at night it would be a great help.We began to walk up the hill together and she turned right and I headed off to my car thinking about this lady. I looked back to see where she was going and maybe I could see her walking in a house. I thought I could check up on her later…Or something like that but she did not go in any of the houses there.

Exercises

I went in the pool and I could not stop thinking about her as I did my laps.  Will she be alright? What else should I have done.  I kept on swimming and did more laps than usual. By the end of my laps I was feeling calm. Will I see her again?  I wish I could tell her how swimming is so good for mental health, well…My mental health!  When I swim I stop ruminating.  It’s a very meditative exercise.I just heard a BBC interview with Mr. Kofi Annan who said that he went on long walks to clear his mind.Exercises are so helpful.I decided that I will keep an eye out for this lady when I walk around and hope to see her again.  I cannot help her with her mental health  because I don’t have the training but I could be supportive somehow.  I don’t know if her depression was due to a health problem or an event and I did not feel comfortable asking her.I felt that this lady was abandoned and left to her own devices at a difficult time.  I couldn’t help but think about her age and that she needed more support but she knew how to communicate and I just hope that she will communicate with the people that can help her.

UPDATE

It took me awhile to finish the illustration and meanwhile I asked the ladies at a cafe in front of my house if they knew her.  I will be writing about this cafe because it is a meeting place that is funny and interesting. Back to the Lady in Black…. She does have family support and she has been walking.  She has had mental health problems for some time now and has that conversation with many people.  She is also walking every day and complains about having to walk.

Marguerite Beaty

Marguerite Beaty, Blogger, Photographer & Artist

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