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Depression as a treatable emotional state

Depression comes in two forms; one is a chemical imbalance which causes an illness in the brain, the other is an emotional response to circumstances that the mind can't deal with. The first can only be treated by the medical profession, the second must be examined more carefully and in most cases is misdiagnosed as a mental illness. It is not a mental illness, it is a failure of the mind to cope with reality and can be relieved by teaching the sufferer how to deal with negative emotions.

Two things typically can cause emotional depression. The first is a situation from the past that the subconscious has buried and was never properly dealt with by the self. The second is a false expectation by the ego of what reality should be like. Except for the identification of the past cause, which can usually be discovered through therapy or counselling, the solution is the same.... SMILE.

There is a saying that if you want to be happy you just have to "decide to be happy". As easy as it sounds it is the hardest thing you will ever do. It will also be the most rewarding because it will stay with you forever.

The "Serenity Prayer" says:
"God give me the Grace to accept the things that can't be changed,
the Courage to change the things that can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference."

This tennet is the key to letting the decision to be happy have life. We have to believe that as bad as things can get, nothing ever stays the same and things will get better once again. When bad things things do happen, you have to allow yourself to feel and experience the negative emotions associated with the situation then decide if the situation can be changed or not. Now, if the situation can be remedied then remedy it. If not, then move on. Its that simple!
No, not really; but in principle that is all it takes. With training and practice it does, almost, become that easy.

  • Feb 7 2012: The research is personal experience and common sense (a rare magical gift). In this society they would have us believe that everything is cured by a pill, but this is an emotion and therefore completely controllable by the mind. It takes desire and willpower and a "knowing of self" to control.
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      Feb 7 2012: Definitely agree with you on this.Many antidepressants,SSRI's are being prescribed to those who suffer from cases like depression,however i believe that illnesses such as depression are more likely to be caused by the negative psychological experiences one has interfered at some point in their life,rather than a chemical imbalance in the brain,which is what those drugs are designed for and as a result, pills will only have a small impact on decreasing the persons suffering.As you have said,I think depression is the difficulty of dealing with those emotions /blocking them as a defence mechanism,but ending up blocking ourselves from who we really are and also the inability of expressing those emotions,leading to an amplitude of the negative thoughts in our minds,therefore more inner conflict and withdrawal of self from others.So I think in order to really decrease ones suffering,one has to be made aware of his/her emotions,ask whats really behind them and become less frightened by the expressing of emotions.
  • Feb 13 2012: Paul, a while back on "speaking of faith" which is a public radio show that interviews all kinds of people, many of these have even given TED talks, Parker Palmer gave a wonderful interview on his depression.

    It is worth listening to....if you get the chance. You can just google his name and speaking of faith/depression and it comes up.

    I just remembered this today, and thought I'd share.

    Mary

    [EDIT] Here's the link: http://being.publicradio.org/programs/depression/

    Click on the Parker Palmer uncut interview icon.
  • Feb 8 2012: Krisztian, this is definitely opinion for now, based on the personal experiences of my wife and I.

    I believe that Depression as an emotive state is not a mental illness but a failure of self in dealing with a personal situation or a false expectation of reality. The subconscious often buries personal experiences which may damage the ego, what we need to learn is that negative emotions : fear, sadness, hate, and emotional pain are all valid responses to life experiences. We have to allow ourselves to experience these feelings, connect them to the root cause, give them validity and then move on. The mistakes seem to come in not connecting all the dots or in using drugs to mask the symptoms.
    @Mary, the only problem I have with bringing Religion into the treatment is that Religion usually imbibes a sense of guilt or weakness. What really needs to be driven home to the sufferer is that emotional responses are completely natural and valid from the viewpoint of the individual. The secret is in understanding what you should take responsibility for and what you can or can't change. These skills can be taught.
    • Feb 8 2012: Hi Paul,

      I don't recall mentioning religion in my reply. I said prayer and bible reading. There are accounts were individuals suffered from depression (Job, Jacob, Ana, Jonah, David, Nehemiah, Paul)...their prayerful attitude and faith eventually allowed them to come out of their depressive state.

      Those individuals that are spiritually inclined can find wonderful texts in scripture to help them, if they choose to go that route. And prayer is also very therapeutic if you are a person of faith.

      I do agree with you Paul, religion.....organized religion.....and religious leaders, can only help you if you are fortunate in having someone who has passed through the ordeal of depression himself/herself, and can empathize with you and help you. This is not always the case

      As you stated, and I agree with you, some religions imbibe a sense of guilt or weakness to depression.....this is out of pure ignorance. But I have found this attitude in people who are not religious as well. Sometimes they will say....oh, you need to snap out of it.....not relaizing the seriousness of the person's depression.

      I have wonderful articles on depression, and I have helped many people with their depression. I totally empathize with anyone dealing with it.

      And yes, the skills needed to combat depression can be taught, I totally agree.
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    Feb 8 2012: There is a difference between pathological depression and subclinical depression.

    Before you blame the sufferer you might want to find out the difference.

    http://www.mentalhealthandillness.com/pathology.html
    • Feb 8 2012: The sufferer in never to blame. Either it is a physical disability as in a chemical imbalance or it is a lack of ability to cope. The ability can be taught so the lack of it isn't a failing but a failure to be taught.
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        Feb 9 2012: Whose failure? You have to understand from the point of the sufferer either they are to blame or they become victims. Neither is appropriate. Both exacerbate the underlying pathology. Understand that pathology means there is a disease. And the disease is treatable.

        Nobody (well nobody sane) would posit you can think away diabetes.

        In medicine there are ethical mandates in treating disease with new methods. I do not think you could get your idea to a clinical trial because there is no data anywhere to support that you can think depression away. It would be unethical.
        • Feb 9 2012: Lol....I disagree, it's not that it is unethical just unprofitable. If there is a failing of ethics it is in providing dangerous and addictive drugs to individuals who just need help coping.

          I am not saying that you can think away diabetes or major depression (caused by chemical imbalances in the brain). Neither am I saying there is any fault or guilt associated with individual emotions.

          What I am saying is, I believe you can be taught to cope with emotional depression. It starts by identifying the root cause of the emotion first , then helping the individual learn what their triggers are and how to refocus.

          In my opinion, "Emotional Depression" seems to have a myriad of causes, two stand out for me though. One is caused by a traumatic event in the past that the individual can't cope with or buries subconsciously and doesn't deal with; and the other is a perception that the reality of self or circumstance doesn't meet the imagined perfection of self or society. Depression caused by these I believe can be treated by therapy, coaching and support.
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    Feb 7 2012: If you are interested in depression, I see you are, I would like to recommend you a book 'Brainswitch Out of Depression: Break the Cycle of Despair' by Arline Curtiss. It states depression is easily treatable without any medication.
    You don't need to read the whole book, the first pages will tell you the main idea, which is repeated and repeated throughout the whole book and in the last pages there will be various tips.
    By the way, I do not think the idea of 'two forms of depression' is right. I believe depression can't exist without any biological base (chemical imbalance) which cause depressive emotional state.
    The book does not deny everything you told, some your sentences taken separately may be approved.
    • Feb 7 2012: Julija, some women have post partum depression due to a hormonal inbalance, which, when medicated, goes away.

      Others, go into depression due to sadness caused by a realization of........many things, a husband's betrayal, a realization that their belief system is a lie, losing your job, death of a family member....etc

      I really have to agree with Paul on this one. Different factors can trigger depression.

      Here is something I discovered while researching Alzheimers. Depression in the elderly, when they start to think too much about their mortality, can cause memory loss. This in turn is often misdiagnosed as a dementia. But actually, this memory loss caused by depression is reversible. I have witnessed the reversal of both the memory loss and the depression through medication.

      I'll look up the book you recommended, it sounds interesting. I am one that honestly feels that depression, which is NOT caused by a chemical inbalance, CAN be reversed without medication.....but, you need some kind of psychological help. Without the psychological help....books, magazines, tv programs (like the ones on PBS), and caring friends/family, prayer and bible reading if they are believers, or of course a psychologist...it is near to impossible to deal with the depression.

      The person can do it himself, but by looking for the psychological help available out there.

      This is my humble opinion.
      • Feb 8 2012: Sorry Mary I misread your remark about prayer and bible reading.
        • Feb 8 2012: Apology accepted.....to err is human, to forgive divine.
  • Feb 7 2012: I suggest adding in quotes from published scientific research, for without them, someone could BS anything they want and parade it around as truth.
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      Feb 7 2012: The truth? What exactly do you consider to be the 'truth' in the context of depression?

      Truth does not always equate with science, and sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

      You can't read the plot of a TV drama by analysing the components of the television.
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    Feb 7 2012: and we know that ... how? do you have any sources? or it is an opinion? original research?

    for me, your classification seems unsupported, and the solution for the "emotional" depression sounds unconvincing.