What a Fun time I had at my 50th Class Reunion

I am taking a time out from my regular postings about beating depression, and share with you my experiences of going to my 50th high school class reunion last night.

It is always great to get back with the friends that you made in high school. It brings back good, and bad memories. I saw some classmates I hadn’t seen in 50 years! I guess you know they looked a little different. It was a good thing we all wore name tags!

There were a few that you recognized right away, because they stayed trim, and didn’t change their features very much.

From my old neighborhood, were several classmates that I was in school with from the first grade on. Can you imagine that? It was over sixty years since we all started grade school together.

(No the schools were not a one room schools for all the grades. We had nice schools with wonderful teachers.)

I remember Miss Ames, my fourth grade teacher. I had a huge crush on her. Of course so did all the other boys in class. She was so caring, and was very patient. And she taught us a lot too. That was 58 years ago. There is a chance that Miss Ames is still with us, and if she somehow reads this. I would love to hear from her.

As my wife and I sat  at our table last night, different people came up to me and said, “Do you remember me?” I, of course, said “sure I do”, and then look at their name tag. If it hadn’t been for that name tag I would have been in deep trouble.

Some of the “jocks,” didn’t look like jocks anymore, but they still were popular at the reunion. They brought back the memories of the pride we had in our sports programs.

They were playing 50’s music like: the Everly Brothers, and Fat’s Domino. They played songs like, Earth Angel, Peggy Sue, Bye-Bye- Love, and Cathy’s Clown.

That brought the most memories!! I remembered how shy I was in high school! I didn’t have one date the whole time I was there. (I know I really changed haven’t I)?

I came very close to asking one girl out for the senior prom, but I withered quickly when I saw her coming down the hall. She was at the reunion last night and I spoke to her several times, but never mentioned my cowardness in high school.

I took time to go and look at the display board we had over in the corner. It was a sad board. It had pictures of those that passed away since we last met. I as looked at the names, tears flowed, because some of them were very close friends. Friends that I never had a chance to say good-bye to. Many were very young when they did pass. Some were in car accidents; some had cancer or heart attacks.

I especially remember two of the guys.

 Bob Hawk, and Ray Oliver. Bob was a fellow Christian that went to church with me. He would give you the shirt right off of his back. God took him early. Someone told me last night that he thought he died on graduation night.

Ray Oliver and I were in choir together. We were even in a talent show together. We sang “Hey there, you with the stars in your eyes….” We sang to a “girl,” up on a ladder except it wasn’t a girl. It was one of our buddies dressed like a girl. That might not go over very well these days, but the students loved it back then.

As I looked at all of the friends that have gone, I thanked God right on the spot for sparing me this long, and I made a vow to enjoy life even more after I left.

Memories, are one of the things that can help you through depression. Dwell on the good things from your past. Remember the wonderful friends you had when you went through the grades. See if you can find them again. Go to the reunions and bring back your youth for one night.

It worked for me. I sat with a couple guys from my old neighborhood, and I said, “Do you remember when we tried to crawl all the way around our grade school at the second floor window level”? We only had the little cracks in the bricks to cling to. We were playing, “I dare you!” We braved the crawl around the second floor because we said, “Double dare ya!” We couldn’t back down then. We made it, and even today, I wonder how did we came out of that alive? We must have thought that death was for someone else. We were fearless.

I am so glad I went to the reunion. I found that the friends I had back then were still my friends today. I found out that many of them lived right in my home town. We made promises to meet more often, and plan a reunion every year from now on. Our time on this earth is getting shorter.  To have some close friends to share that time with is priceless.

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The Top 5 Ways to Support Someone in Mental Need

I thought I would let you know that I am going to be gone for a couple of weeks. I am leaving in the morning for Hawaii. (I know…name dropper!) I will be back the 14th. Feel free to make comments to the posts that we have now. I will be back, refreshed, and ready to hit the road running….walking fast….maybe crawling.

Have a good week, and here is my next How to….


When people are broken emotionally, they need others to support them until they can stand alone again. I have been there myself, by contemplating suicide in 2001. I was broken. There was no fighting life left in me.


Let me share a physical way of support, and then give you the top five ways to support someone in mental need.


Medical researchers have developed a bone-bonding compound that illustrates the help we can give others.


The chemical compound looks like toothpaste. Once injected into the body, it hardens in ten minutes. In twelve hours it reaches the compression of natural bone.


A study in the journal Science found the compound virtually identical to natural bone crystals. The compound so closely resembles real bone that the body does not reject it. Weeks after being injected into the body, the cement is replaced by real bone.


According to the Associated Press, clinical trials “show the material has allowed patients to discard casts early-or altogether-and to resume walking more quickly and with less pain.”


That is one way to support the human body.


Here is the top 5 ways to show support for a person’s mental needs:


1.     Be the strength they need to walk against the storm. Shield them from outside pain or suffering.

2.     Help them to realize that they are a person of self worth, and will be able to climb the mountain of life again. Be their pillar of strength.

3.     Share with them times you needed support, and what it meant to you. This will let them know that they are not alone.

4.     Tell friends to stop their gossiping that may hurt the person you are supporting. They need to know they may need support someday also.

5.     Just be there, and be a friend. No long discussions, no hugs, no philosophical advice. Just be there and listen. I can’t tell you how many times I have received help and my friend/wife didn’t say one word.


Use all of these ways of support to be a help to others in your life. Use them to help yourself also.


Go to my blog to see past posts on how to swim in the quicksand of life. Read what others have done to keep their head above water. Share what you have done to walk down the path of loneliness, hopelessness, anxiety, etc.


Doug Bolton


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The Top 5 Ways to Face the Dark Side



I believe the first time I heard the term “the dark side,” was in a movie theatre watching the first Star Wars movie. From then on we all joked about a person being from the dark side was evil.


There are many ways to face something evil, but first let me share with you how a llama faces his evil.


Reports the Denver Post:


Like many sheep ranchers in the West, (including Oregon) Lexy Lowler has tried just about everything to stop craft coyotes from killing her sheep. She has used odor sprays, electric fences, and “scare coyotes.” She has slept with her lambs during the summer and has placed battery-operated radios near them. She has corralled them at night, herded them at day. But the Southern Montana rancher has lost scores of lambs-fifty one year.


Then she discovered the llama-the aggressive, funny looking, afraid-of-nothing llama….. “Llamas don’t appear to be afraid of anything,” she said. “When they see something, they put their head up and walk straight toward it. That is aggressive behavior as far as the coyote is concerned, and they won’t have anything to do with that….Coyotes are opportunists, and llamas take the opportunity away.”


I have been in eastern Oregon often, and you see the llama everywhere. The ranchers all have them for the protection of their sheep. When the llama was brought to the west, they were an investment. Their, “wool,” is very valuable for making sweaters, shirts and blankets. So now the farmer has two benefits from the llama. Not only does it protect their other “crop,” of wool, but they provide an income for the ranchers.


How brave the llama is to have no fear of the coyote. We need to use them as an example for our own lives. We face the dark side all the time, and like the llama we need to face it without fear.




                   The top five ways to face the Dark Side.


1.     Never let the little things build into big things. The philosophy that if I just do one thing wrong no one will notice may work for a while, but then it becomes habit for you. You eventually think doing wrong things are your way of life. Stop them in your tracks, and do a U turn.

2.     The dark side can be many things. It can be depression, self doubt, anxiety, fear, or hopelessness. All of these come from you allowing yourself to fear the unknown. If you don’t think you can accomplish anything you probably are right, but if you lift your head up and walk straight towards your fears, anxiety, etc, you gain tremendous strength to prepare for the everyday battles with the dark side.

3.     Play a game of “chicken,” with the dark side. Don’t let it push you around. If you stand your ground, and force the negative thoughts out of your head, you have defeated the dark side, and it will be running in the opposite direction with its tail between it legs.

4.     As I have said before, you always have lots of support from family and friends if you will just turn to them. They can help you work out your mental anguish. They will be there for you to share your fears. They can give you the reassurance you need to stand up and fight.

5.     The dark side can turn around and be the bright side of your life. Once you defeat the dark side, you have victory, and you can always use that to keep you going through life. Start enjoying the bright side of everything. Having a positive attitude is the strongest warrior against the dark side.



Visit my blog, which discusses many of the dark side varmints. Read posts on how to chase them out of your world. Check out what others have done to conquer the dark side.


Doug Bolton



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Depressed? You’re not alone

This is an article from the Hagerston Morning Herald, in Hagerston, Maryand.

6 million older Americans are affected, but only 10 percent of them are treated

Shortly after Mary Anne retired, friends and family began to notice subtle changes in her personality.

Once an extrovert, she was now declining social invitations and seldom returned phone calls.

She stopped going to church, wasn’t eating properly and was content to spend the day in bed.

“My family thought I was bored,” she said. “I was depressed.”

At the age of 68, the Hagerstown woman was withdrawing from life.

“I had worked for 50 years and had always found a lot of fulfillment in being a career woman,” she said. “I enjoyed going to the office every day, solving problems, working on projects. Now, all of that was gone.”

Couple that with the loss of her husband a year earlier, and it became too much to handle.

“But I didn’t see it as depression,” she said. “I thought I had reached a stage in my life – retired and alone – where feeling down was natural. I thought it was part of growing older.”

It wasn’t until her family insisted that she talk with her primary care physician that the word “depression” came into her vocabulary.

“Never, in a million years, did I think I would be depressed,” she said. “But I had all the classic symptoms.”


Today, Mary Anne said she is back to her old self. A combination of medicine and psychotherapy helped her through a rough time.

“I feel like I’m participating in life again,” she said.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, depression affects about 6 million Americans age 65 and older. But only 10 percent receive treatment.

“It’s a medical problem that is often overlooked,” said Dr. Dashka Patel, a psychiatrist with Brook Lane in Hagerstown. “Often, the elderly minimize their symptoms. They think this is how they should feel – so they don’t let their doctor know what is happening. This makes it difficult for a doctor to make a diagnosis.”

Patel said that many people believe depression is a normal part of aging.

“But this is a myth,” she said. “It’s an illness to be treated, just like high blood pressure or diabetes.”

And just like other medical issues, there are symptoms that should not be ignored, she said.

Signs of depression include a change in personality, she noted. Individuals often become sad, withdrawn, have no interest in socializing or participating in once pleasurable pastimes.

They feel hopeless or helpless.

Depression can also be hidden in complaints, she said, such as back pain, dizziness, fatigue or gastrointestinal symptoms.

Often the doctor will order tests and, even though the results are negative, the patient’s complaints persist. That person might be suffering from depression, she said.

Patel said there are several causes of depression in the older adult, but genetics is usually not one of them.

“Among young people – teens or those in their 20s – family history plays a bigger part,” she said. “If your parents are depressed or a sister has suffered from depression, your chances increase.”

But among the older population, she said, depression is often not related to genetics. It’s more likely to be associated with environmental loss – the loss of a spouse, children moving away, the loss of a job.

According to the National Institutes of Health, many older people face significant life changes that put them at risk for depression. Causes and risk factors include:

· Loneliness and isolation, such as living alone, a dwindling social circle due to deaths or relocations, decreased mobility due to illness or driving privileges.

·n Reduced sense of purpose. Feelings of not being needed or loss of identity due to retirement or physical limitations that affect activities.

· Health problems. Illness and disability, cognitive decline, damage to body image due to disease or surgery.

· Fears. Concerns about death, anxiety over finances or health problems.

· Bereavement. The death of a spouse or family member, friends or pets.

Despite the risks, Patel said depression is preventable.

“It’s important not to isolate yourself,” she said. “Make more friends, be active and involved. Pay attention to your moods.”

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