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Fading from blue to black

As the weather changes and there is more darkness than light to our days, it’s not unusual to feel somewhat grumpier or a little discouraged. Most of us carry on and get through it as best as we can. But when sadness, exhaustion and hopelessness refuse to lift, interfering with daily activities, they may signal an underlying depression.

Here is how Jason Finucan, 33, describes his bout with this illness: “For me, depression descended suddenly, like a plexiglass prison from which I could see and be seen in a world I could no longer touch, smell or feel.” This dark mood could last for months, then lift suddenly, he says. “When depressed, all of my basic physical, emotional and cognitive abilities were severely muted so that everyday life ranged from difficult to impossible.” Finucan, who had experienced heart surgery, says the complete loss of joy he had felt made his operation seem like “a trip to the dentist” in comparison. “I have never experienced anything more painful or daunting or terrifying, before or since.”

This chronic condition ranges from mild to severe, touching approximately 1 in 10 Canadians within their lifetime. In 2007, over 27 million prescriptions for antidepressants were filled across the country. According to the World Health Organization, depression will become the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020.

The problem with depression is that it may worsen if it is ignored – which is a pity, since there are many forms of help available in the community if one is informed.

To raise awareness, the CSSS Cavendish is organizing a free “Singing the Blues” concert on Wednesday, November 26. Award-winning singer and songwriter Rob Lutes will be on hand to lift spirits with his soulful, bluesy ballads.

Before the concert, community organizations will display information on the services they offer for those living with mental illness and to their families. Psychiatrist Floriana Ianni will speak on how to distinguish a passing phase of “the blues” from clinical depression and Jason Finucan will share his insights in navigating this sometimes crippling disease.

The event begins at 6 pm at River’s Edge Community Church, 5567 Cote-St-Antoine.

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