I am interested in your opinion on depression, in general.
Kellie Granger , Sydney
In my opinion, ‘depression’ is one of the most dangerously misunderstood terms in the areas of self-help, self-development, coaching and high achievement.
If you are an individual or team member who is passionate or even just dabbles in these areas, you are likely to be familiar with hearing and even using statements such as ‘just change your state’, ‘change your physiology’, ‘stand up and look up’, ‘break through it’, ‘take control’, ‘create a new attitude’, etc.
All of these instructions or suggestions are very useful when it comes to creating a simple ‘state’ change. I am not referring to travelling interstate in your country of residence by the way! A mental-emotional ‘state’ is the combination of your internal mental pictures / self-talk (thoughts), emotions (feelings) and your physiology (body posture and biological well-being). States can include: happy, sad, joy, anger, love, guilt, fear etc.
As with any state, by accessing another state intentionally (or unintentionally) we can alter and move out of undesired or unproductive states. We can choose the ideal state for a specific activity or the moment we are in. It is obvious how useful developing such flexibility can be; to step in and out of different states at will for success in a performance, such as sport, singing, speaking, exams, leadership, and for the daily life experiences such as loving, being, playing, learning, etc.
Most often people will use the term ‘depression’ to refer to a single simple state such as feeling down, sad, low in energy, unmotivated, etc. And this is where we get into danger.
Depression is not a simple state. It is not only feeling sadness or only low energy, or only feeling guilty, etc. It is what is called a ‘gestalt state’ – a state that is greater than the sum of all its parts. The states that contribute to the gestalt state of depression include: sadness, fatigue, guilt, anxiety, worthlessness, lack of meaning, etc. It is these states all together that create the mental-emotional-physical experience of depression.
As you can perhaps begin to see, labeling sadness that is appropriate and relevant from a specific event such as loss, grief, bereavement, significant disappointment, or being unmotivated due to lack of energy from illness, jet lag, boredom etc are specifically those states, but on their own they are not depression.
What is Depression?
- Depression is not simply normal sadness, being moody or just a low mood, but a serious illness. It causes both physical and psychological symptoms.
- Depression is common. Up to one in four females and one in six males will experience depression in their lifetime.
- Depression is the leading cause of suicide.
- Depression is often not recognised or treated.
- Depression also commonly occurs with specific anxiety syndromes.
What is Depression? – My take…
Depression can in and of itself be a condition. It can also be one symptom of one or more complex conditions.
From having experienced depression myself and from many case studies, general medical practitioners, naturopaths, and counsellors often poorly explore the origins of depression.
Depression could be a symptom of:
- unresolved emotional processing;
- a mental health or neurological condition;
- a physical disease;
- or the result of DNA activation during a significant phase of personal biological and collective evolution.
Today if you present with any of the symptoms of depression, you can be very quickly prescribed anti-depressants (medical or herbal), which may be needed for day-to-day functioning.
Often as a result of poorly explored origins of depression, patients are often left without further diagnostics for the root cause of the depression, continuing on being treated with anti-depressants without ongoing evaluation, education, support or follow-up.
Now before we jump to a Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields moment, I am not at all against anti-depressants. I believe they are one critical resource during a crisis phase, during depression.
However, anti-depressants are mostly a short-term solution only. There are now many additional resources and solutions available for the long-term recovery and treatment of depression.
A critical part of this recovery depends on identifying the origins or source of depression before determining the ideal treatment and program.
Unresolved Emotional Processing
Childhood and adult traumas from abuse (mental, physical, sexual, etc), abandonment, fear, grief, debilitating disease, hurt, accidents, bullying, etc, that have not been recognised and worked through at the critical level(s) (physically, emotionally, mentally, energetically or spiritually) can get stored in some form or other in our bodies cellular memory.
Major and more minor life events can often trigger off unresolved emotions that had been quietly (till now) stored in the background; seemingly suddenly flooding us with intense emotions. Dealing with the event at hand plus all of these old emotions can very easily trigger us into states that contribute to depression.
Mental Health or Neurological Conditions
Depression can be a result of the mental health condition itself and also can be just one symptom of other mental heath conditions, such as bi polar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, psychosis, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, obsessive compulsive disorder, alcoholism, agoraphobia, etc.
Depression can also be a symptom of a neurological condition such as autism, aspergers, ADHD, ADD, dementia, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral vasculitis, etc.
In depression that is caused from one of these conditions, depression may be one of the first symptoms to appear and often long before an accurate diagnosis is actually made. In many of these conditions, especially those of neurological foundation, the average length of time before an accurate diagnosis is made is, startlingly, four years and for many people much longer. Without treatment at the source of the depression (ie the complex condition itself) recovery from depression will be elusive for many people who experience these conditions.
Physical Disease & Imbalances
There are many physical diseases that depression is a symptom of, some of them include: rheumatoid arthritis, graves, hashimotos, diabetes, hypo-thyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, brain cancer, mercury poisoning, brain damage for injury, drugs or alcohol, etc.
Depression can also be a symptom of hormonal deficiencies such as low DHEA, Human Growth Hormone, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), cortisol, testosterone, and progesterone. Apart from general depression in men and women, any one of these deficiencies can contribute to menstrual depression and postnatal depression.
Depression is a very common symptom from food intolerances, allergies and environmental, chemical, and emotional sensitivity. Using Chinese Medicine’s biological and energetic anatomy, any intolerance or allergic reaction that occurs in the lung, large intestine, stomach, and spleen and heart meridian/channels will affect brain neurology and therefore contribute to symptoms of depression.
Personal Biological and Collective Evolution
One of the interesting components about the current phase of evolution is that until recently we have only really spotted changes between generations; that is, in our offspring. Fascinatingly, we are beginning to detect and identify subtle changes in the living human species.
In our experiences, case studies and those of others who are observing and studying cellular mutation, we are seeing subtle changes beginning to occur in the human neurology, cardiovascular system, immune and digestive systems. We predict in the future the left and right hemisphere of the brain will be joined, the brain and cardiovascular system will be one operating system, the immune system will have new functions, and the digestive system will have also adapted.
As we individually and as a species move towards these changes, gradually and incrementally, each person who has had some cellular mutation activated (as governed by their DNA) will have had their neurology affected during the process.
One of the side effects of this process might be what we call a period of evolutionary depression, while the nervous system adjusts and self-organises to accommodate the slight but impactful biological changes.
Other contributing factors…
There are some key thinking patterns that can have a dramatic impact on fostering depression.
These include a dominant all or nothing – black and white thinking pattern. When we over-generalise we are forced to distort our perception of reality. The more and more distorted our perception of reality becomes, the more and more distorted are our reactions.
Such distortions can lead to what Martin Seligman refers to in his book, Learned Optimism, the three P’s – Permanence, Pervasiveness and Personalisation.
Permanence is taking a ‘bad’ state or experience and framing it as forever, always like this, rather than an accident or a fluke. Pervasiveness is framing something ‘bad’ as universal and in all areas of your life, rather than keeping the ‘bad’ experience or state specific and in context. Personalising is making everything about you. All the ‘bad’ things happening outside of you in the world, are somehow as a result of you, are actually about you and somehow you believe are in your locus of control.
Treatments & Solutions
First get help! Depression is not something that you can recover from without help. It does not just go away on its own. Depression can be debilitating, frightening, and a very lonely experience. The fogginess, emotional and physical pain, fatigue and desire to disappear and sleep can be overwhelming.
Depending on the severity of the depression, you may not be able to function – cook for yourself, pay bills, go to work, shower, wash clothes, clean the house, etc., often leading to serious short and long-term financial, emotional and life threatening consequences.
Firstly, seek help from a family member, friend, or community social worker. Let them know you are not functioning and need their help. This may require some crisis intervention if your depression is severe or simply another person emotionally supporting and checking in on you daily.
Find out the source
Do not blindly take medication. If you need anti-depressants to function, take them while simultaneously with personal and professional support, discovering what is the source of your depression. What is causing it? What is the catalyst? What are some of the solutions that you uniquely need?
Given the nature of depression, you are unlikely to have much motivation to find out the answers to these questions! That is why using the support of family and professionals can be critical, during a time when you really do need it.
If your Doctor or Naturopath sends you home with a script for medical or herbal anti-depressants only, take charge or ask your support person to (if you are having trouble speaking up) and ask for some further tests. Ask to have your hormones tested, auto-immune diseases, etc. Do you have a right to ask for such? Absolutely. This way you can either rule out or in any biological condition. This will help narrow your focus.
Seek professional allergy testing. Useful resources for testing include certain blood specific tests, Listen Testing®, and NAET.
Seek professional support of a cognitive behavioural counsellor, ideally trained in Neuro-Semantics®, and begin to identify if the source of your depression is grounded in unresolved emotions or trauma.
Explore with your Doctor the possibility of any of the other related mental health or neurological conditions.
Be prepared to ask lots of questions and have a willingness to persist.
Feeling our Feelings
A key step to recovery can very often be firstly giving oneself permission to feel our feelings. Perhaps family and social culture, heritage, or our own introversion disallows and judges emotional expression, and has taken away our healthy processing and healing power of emoting.
I cannot tell you the amount of people I come across who have been to personal development workshop after workshop, their bookshelf is packed to the rafters with success and achievement books, who pride themselves on their positive attitude.
Some of these people have erroneously drawn the conclusion that feelings such as anger, fear, frustration, irritation, sadness and guilt, are bad and unresourceful. As a result, many people have little or no permission to be with so called ‘negative’ emotions.
The irony is that when these feelings are suppressed and repressed, that becomes the source of unresourceful behaviour and denial. As these emotions are pushed more deeply into the body, they end up becoming unresolved emotions with the potential to be triggered off in the future, like a landmine.
This does not mean that we have to over-value our emotions either, where we have to express and vent and go through cathartic experiences every time we experience a significant emotion.
Our emotions are a critical resource and feedback mechanism to understanding and detecting what is going on inside our entire system of mind, body, emotions, energy and spirit. If we do not have permission to register and use almost all of our emotions, we find ourselves open to many different conditions, one of them being depression.
If a poor relationship to one’s emotions or unresolved emotions is the source of depression, learning to step in and out of different states at choice will be helpful (NLP), as will learning how to texture states and frame your reality (Neuro-Semantics).
In some cases, cognitive behavioural, narrative and solution focused therapy will be useful for making sense of the past and strategies for dealing with the past, stress and post traumatic stress that results in depression.
In some cases, modalities that help work with releasing and re-balancing emotions will be very effective, such as timeline / matrix therapies (NLP & NS), kinesiology, Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), Nabudripad Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET), acupuncture, homeopathy, body work, exercise etc.
A critical component for effectively processing emotions is to learn how to accept and embrace all emotions; to have a positive relationship to feeling emotions, including anger, fear, sadness, hurt, guilt and disappointment. As we do, we learn how to emote – that is, have our energy in motion, rather than our emotional and energetic states becoming stuck and stagnant. More on ‘acceptance’ see The Magic State of Acceptance.
Symptoms of Depression
Stopped going out
Not getting things done at work
Withdrawn from close family and friends
Relying on alcohol and sedatives
Stopped doing things you enjoy Unable to concentrate
“I’m a failure”
“It’s all my fault”
“Nothing good ever happens to me”
“Life is not worth living”
Tired all the time
Sick and run down
Headaches and muscle pains
Poor appetite/weight loss
There are many useful resources on the web, in books, video’s and other, full of different ideas and tools, from beginning exercise, how to deal with sleep, nutritional changes, supplements, lifestyle changes, that you can experiment with. Not all solutions will fit all people.
You are best to accept the reality that you will need to experiment with different solutions over a period of time and then adjust to suit your unique lifestyle and life system.
If the source of your depression is due to cellular mutation, this can be an incredibly perplexing experience. We encourage you to seek support through us in The New Human 2.0 or others leading out in these areas.
While instructions such as ‘just change your state’, ‘change your physiology’, ‘stand up and look up’, ‘break through it’, ‘take control’, ‘create a new attitude’, etc. can be incredibly helpful in shifting states and taking charge of your emotional capacity, and even in some situations be very useful in dealing with depression, however it will not be the solution to all depression. Depression is caused by many different mechanisms.
Finding out what is causing depression will be a different experience for each person. The key is getting help to step into a curious detective state, and discovering your unique source and solutions. They are within you and around you.