If you’re reading this and been diagnosed with depression and given medication, the important thing is to take it but don’t stop there. The medication is going to make you feel better and with feeling better, you can continue studying and learning how you can heal yourself through different methods. Yes, I’ve heard people say that medication can be a crutch but if you needed a crutch to help you walk better, you’d use it right? Sometimes a crutch is what we need to get over the hump and which helps us persevere in learning to walk without it.
“Most of us grow up believing that we are not good enough to be loved for just being ourselves. So we try desperately to live up to a self-created image of how we should be. The constant struggle to uphold this idealized version of ourselves causes many of our difficulties. It is, therefore, important to discover on what assumptions you have created your own idealized image and how it has caused distress and frustration in your life. You will find it has achieved the exact opposite of what you had hoped it would. This discovery may be painful, but will allow you to reevaluate the way you are presenting yourself to the world and help you to become your true, relaxed self.” Eva Pierrakos, The Pathwork of Self-Transformation
Depression is an affective disorder (dramatic changes and extreme mood swings) that affects us physically, mentally and emotionally. Any one of us can be catapulted into depression by the death of a loved one, a change in residence; an unexpected financial crisis; bullying; news that suddenly shocks or upsets us; a job that we thought was a given; years working for a company that suddenly goes bankrupt; a relationship breakup; verbal or physical abuse. Whatever the cause, we lose our sense of direction, our footing, strong irrational feelings and emotions take over and we either overreact to everything or find ourselves withdrawing deep inside.
Symptoms of depression can include: low energy, fatigue, feeling slowed down, poor appetite or overeating, weight gain or loss, insomnia or increased sleep, inability to concentrate, agitation, loss of interest, irritability, indecisiveness, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness, guilt, fatigue, energy loss, headaches, backaches, digestive disorders, inability to perform sexually or decreased sexual drive, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. (Not all these symptoms occur in a person who is depressed, but some or many are present).
“Depression: This involves a deep inner sadness and longing for life to different, a conflict between the ideal and the real, between who we would like to be and who we are. There is no doubt that there is a chemical or hormonal imbalance that can cause this state, but the cause of the imbalance may be found in deep, underlying attitudes and emotional issues. How much pressure to succeed did we experience when we were children? Have we experienced life-changing events, such as war, that make ordinary life seem meaningless in comparison? Have we lost our purpose and reason for living maybe because a loved one has been lost? Depression clearly demonstrates the relationship between mind and body, for as the mind becomes depressed so the body loses its vitality and healthy functioning. Deep relaxation and a reconnection with our purpose are essential.” Deb Shapiro
Depression can isolate and even alienate us from friends, family and people in general. Even when not alone, people can experience extreme feelings of depression and loneliness. How many of us have found ourselves lying around the house, or staring blankly out the window; then we putter around the house here and there, picking up this and that, pretending we’re doing something but in reality it’s a whole lot of nothing.
With depression it takes a lot of time and thought before it feels like much of a blessing. When in the throes of it we have this thought, this feeling, an illusion that things will stay this way forever and I find that that thought is what holds the depression. We forget that we’ve been here before, maybe even not that long ago and gotten through and not only did we get through it but came out the other end much clearer. It’s as if we have to go through this kind of amnesia when we are in the thick of it to retrieve more of our deepest darkest, unknown parts.
To free your spirit and learn to accept every part of your being, you have to learn to feel all your feelings. No matter how dark or hidden….
“Some feelings and thoughts seem to emerge only in a dark mood. Suppress the mood, and you will suppress those ideas and reflections. Depression may be as important a channel for valuable “negative” feelings, as expression of affection are for the emotions of love. Feelings of love give birth naturally to gestures of attachment. In the same way, the void and grayness of depression evoke an awareness and articulation of thoughts otherwise hidden behind the screen of lighter moods. Sometimes a person will come to a therapy session in a dark mood. “I shouldn’t have come today,” he will say. “I’ll feel better next week, and we can get on with it.” But I’m happy that he came, because together we will hear thoughts and feel his soul in a way not possible in his cheerful moods. Melancholy gives the soul an opportunity to express a side of its nature that is as valid as any other, but is hidden out of our distaste for its darkness and bitterness.” Thomas Moore
DEPRESSION IS RAGE SPREAD THIN. ~George Santayana
“Depression is anger turned inward. It is also anger that you feel you do not have a right to have. For instance you may not feel it’s okay to be angry at your parent or spouse or employer or best friend. Yet you are angry. And you feel stuck. That anger becomes depression. Far too many people today suffer from depression, even chronic depression. By the time we feel that depressed, it is very difficult to get out of it. It feels so hopeless that it becomes an effort to do anything.
I don’t care how spiritual you are, you have got to wash your dishes every now and then. You can’t let the sink pile up with dirty dishes and say, “Oh, I’m metaphysical.” The same with your feelings, if you want to have a mind that flows freely then clean up your inner mental dirty dishes. Louis L. Hay THE POWER IS WITHIN YOU
When we feel angry or upset about something or someone and don’t express them, that’s really unhealthy. Perhaps you want to do the right thing by everybody and really dislike hurting or disappointing others. So with the feeling you have no other choices you continue to live in an abusive or controlling situation. Because you won’t standup for yourself, you begin to feel lost or don’t feel you belong and to counteract that feeling, you numb or deny your feelings. Sometimes when we deny or repress our anger, we go on eating binges to cover it up. The problem is, whatever we do to get another’s approval and love, all we end up doing is getting disappointed over and over again.
“Depression afflicts millions of people in the industrialized world today. It impairs the digestive, nervous and circulatory systems in the body and depletes any remnant of joy and happiness. By itself, depression is not an independent emotion but is directly linked to repressed anger.” It’s Time To Come Alive ~ by Andreas Moritz
When we suppress our anger the area in the body to react first is the gallbladder located in the solar plexus. As our frustrations peek and we become more closed and frustrated, the liver (also in solar plexus) will become affected. The liver is an important organ in terms of emotions because its main job is to regulate the flow of energy (chi/qi) around the body. The kidneys too need this chi energy in order to do its job, which is to support all the other organs. If the kidneys become affected, we experience poor concentration and memory, dizziness and the head can feel ‘empty’. When we feel empty this affects the pancreas and spleen and we feel that desire to eat sweets or fatty foods which depletes us even further. Then we may suffer from headaches, stomachaches and backaches and yet when we go to the doctor he or she says there’s nothing wrong.
All our organs are physically and emotionally connected to the brain via the central nervous system (CNS), which is connected to the rest of the body. It is through this system that the brain and the entire body can be in constant communication…. just the slightest shift in our thinking and feeling stirs our nervous system into action. Within the brain are chemicals called neurotransmitters that carry impulses between the nerve cells, which regulate behavior. The way these neurotransmitters work is very intricate. The physical cause of depression is the depletion of these neurotransmitters (e.g. endorphin, norephinephrine, serotonin, dopamine) in specific brain areas. Serotonin eases tension, while norepinephrine and dopamine cause alertness. Without self-worth or believing that we’re worthy, the brain loses its ability to function emotionally, when that happens we’ll back down from expression our feelings or nod in agreement when we meant to say no…a form of self-sabotage.
“Social conditioning has taught many of us to repress anger right from the beginning of life. When small children don’t get what they want they have tantrums and are often told off by an angry parent. All the small instances of withheld anger or frustration buildup to a highly explosive inner conflict, creating a strong chemical distortion in the body. Every new instance that triggers an emotional explosion reveals an entire past of unresolved conflicts. Anger, if it is dealt with before depression, can be a means to learn about the very weaknesses that we tend to project onto others. Whenever you feel angry, you are never really angry with somebody else, but you are frustrated over your own inability to fulfill your desires, both past and present.” It’s Time to Come Alive ~ Andreas Moritz
THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION
In psychological terms, there are many different types of depression: reactive depression is triggered by a trauma and/or the loss of or separation from an object or a person. Endogenous depressions are associated with delusions and hallucinations. Unipolar depression consists of depressive episodes that recur several times or throughout a person’s life. Bipolar depression or manic depression consists of alternate episodes of alternative episodes of depression and mania.
Types of depression http://www.irishhealth.com/clin/depression/types.html
Classification of different depressions http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/depression/classification_000001.htm
“The signs and symptoms of the depressive phase of bipolar disorder include unrelenting sadness. It may seem like everything is lousy, always was lousy, and always will be lousy. It may seem that any happiness you enjoyed was phony and fleeting. The hopelessness pervades your body and thoughts like a virus. You may not be able to function at all, and if you are, you feel like a robot going through the motions. You may think that you don’t matter and that everyone would be better off without you—no matter what anyone tells you. You may take no pleasure in anything that gave you pleasure before. It may seem there is nothing you can do about this. You may feel powerless, insignificant, and just a shell of your former self. It seems like this will go on forever.
The good news is that “forever,” in the case of a depression following a manic episode, may last only six to eight weeks. The bad news is that those weeks feel like forever, no matter what anyone says. You wouldn’t be surprised if someone said to you, “Due to the energy crisis, we have shut off the light at the end of the tunnel.” The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Bipolar Disorder ~ Bobbi Dempsey, Jay Carter
Clinical depression (depression lasting more than two weeks) ‘is’ a serious illness, and currently the leading cause of disability in the United States, and the World Health Organization expects it to be the second leading cause of disability in the world, second only to heart disease, by the year 2020.
“The symptoms of clinical depression often closely mimic the symptoms of early Alzheimer’s, because depression severely impairs both memory and cognitive function….Clinical depression is a biological phenomenon, characterized by changes in neurotransmitters and hormones. ….
Depression mimics Alzheimer’s in several ways. Clinical depression often slows down all thought processes, and all physical movements. People with clinical depression often speak very slowly, with long pauses, and have a vacant look in their eyes. Their movements are painfully slow and deliberate. This symptom, which is partly caused bv a deficiency of the stimulating neurotransmitter norepinephrine, is often mistakenly considered to be a symptom of early Alzheimer’s. BRAIN LONGETIVITY Dharma Singh Khalsa M.D. with Cameron Stauth)
Depression can also be triggered by stress; traumatic events, brain imbalances, thyroid disease, poor diet, magnesium deficiency, allergies, and prescription drugs like birth control pills, antibiotics, antihistamines, arthritic medications, and tranquilizers. Surprisingly food allergies are one of the most common causes of depression as well as cancer.
When we suppress anger, a chemical reaction in the body causes acids to be secreted and attack the body. Not only could we develop ulcers, anger, tension and stress also affect the heart and circulation, which in turn affect every other part of the body. A rigid frame of mind could be expressed as arthritis; a broken heart may manifest as a stroke or coronary; and a need for growth could show up as cancer.
Other types of depression are: seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which descends in the fall and reaches an all time low in the winter. People with this disorder tend to overeat, oversleep, and crave carbohydrates. Women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) become irritable and depressed at certain stages of the menstrual cycle due to hormonal changes. Some women experience clinical depression after the birth of a child. This disorder is called postpartum depression.
*We will look deeper into all these in PART III – Healing Depression Naturally
As our consciousness continues to expand outward our nervous systems are becoming more receptive and highly sensitive to every living thing on this planet. The more sensitive we become the more vulnerable we are to the subtleties of our environment and beyond. When this happens we can be so out of ourselves, so much out there, we lose the most precious connection we have, our inner center, our soul/spirit.
For the first time in history, we have the capabilities of knowing, emotionally and simultaneously what’s happening anywhere in the world. The development of technology has cut us off from being aware of our own human needs. Many of us are tuned into so much content it’s causing us to become emotionally unstable. If we allow ourselves to be swept along with the many highs/lows of life, we will forever feel insecure with our own life. Empaths take on others emotions as their own, so much so, they find themselves exhausted and drained. In the depths of all the pain and suffering in the world they have no idea how they can help a world that seems to be getting worse and worse. But we’re not meant to burn out when these things happen.
“We need to recognize, to the depths of our souls, that we are all part of one whole, that what each of us does individually has a powerful impact on us all. Our global crises relate to and mirror our individual processes. Only through healing ourselves on all levels — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual — can we heal our families, our communities, and our planet. Shakti Gawain, The Path of Transformation ~ this wonderful and inspiring book is on pdf http://theawareshow.com/2011/shakti-gawain/tas-attract-shakti-gawain-path-of-transformation.pdf
We have to train ourselves to focus on the present and it doesn’t come easy. When we are doing something, we are, at the same time, planning what we’re going to do next or tomorrow. Most of the time you’re probably deep in thought, pondering the future; going over things in your mind. You notice what’s around you but you’re so consumed with old patterns of thought, you’re not living it.
Because all things are constantly in a state of change, it is often difficult to get our bearings if we are constantly looking outside of ourselves. But when we search within, the answers are always available to us.
In the next article, we’ll continue to investigate what depression is and how you can make peace with where you are Now.
An excerpt from the next article…
THE THREE A’s
Awareness, Acceptance, Adjustment
“The formula is simple. Take your greatest victory as your ceiling and your worst defeat becomes the place where your foundation will be built. Once that’s in place you’ve got a frame which you will fill with joy and sorrow. From your center will come the creative force of your being, your truth and your instincts. It is from this place that everything else evolves.” Linda Joyce
AWARENESS – To make changes to our world, we first need to know where we are before we can decide how to get where we want to go. If you got lost driving to my house, you’d call and ask for directions. To help you get here, my first question to you would be “Where are you now.” Awareness is about asking yourself….”Where am I now”; this always determines your next move.
ACCEPTANCE – Awareness and acceptance are intertwined. By learning to accept freely and uncritically where we are at this moment, we begin to allow our unconscious to release more knowledge about ourselves. The process of acceptance is one of acknowledging to ourselves that we are in fact perfect—it is where we are supposed to be right now….
To be continued….
What is Depression “All of these famous individuals [listed] are believed to have suffered from a mood disorder in various forms. Yet they are remembered, not for their illnesses but for their ACHIEVEMENTS. ~ Mood Disorders Society of Canada.” http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/documents/Consumer%20and%20Family%20Support/Depression.pdf