Struggling with Depression
Did you know... Fifteen out of one hundred young people with depression take their own lives? Anxiety and depression is a serious illness that can be easily overlooked. Learn what the two major underlying causes are and what we can do to reduce stress.
The NMHA survey shows a major shift in public opinion in the last decade about the cause of depression. A majority (55 percent) of those polled who have never been diagnosed with depression symptoms understand depression is a disease, and not "a state of mind that a person can snap out of." In 1991, only 38 percent recognized depression as an illness.
Perceptions also diverge when it comes to understanding what treatment can deliver. Thirty-five percent of the general public believe that a person can be cured completely of depression symptoms, a belief held by only 12 percent of people in long-term treatment for the illness. It is likely that many in this group are struggling to achieve realistic expectations for treatment because the majority of subjects in the survey sample are in long-term treatment for multiple episodes of depression symptoms.
I am often asked, "Can drugs be helpful for anxiety and depression?" The answer I give is "Yes" and "No." Yes, drugs may be useful for short-term help. No, drugs are not a good long-term solution. Anxiety and depression are not caused by a lack of drugs. Drugs do not heal the underlying causes of anxiety and depression. However, when drugs are temporarily used to give a person a window of relief to do the inner work necessary to heal the underlying causes, they can be useful. Anxiety and depression generally have two major underlying causes - emotional and physical.
THE PHYSICAL CAUSES OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Our bodies go into imbalance when we do not eat well or have enough healthy exercise. Our bodies are not made to handle the unnatural substances found in processed food. When we overload our bodies with chemicals, pesticides, sugar, and devitalized foods, our bodies become depleted of vital nutrients and go into stress. Anxiety and depression can be the result of this physical depletion and resulting stress. Our bodies are designed to thrive on the food and water that God gave us - pure, clean, organic, unaltered food and water. If you take drugs for anxiety and depression and do not clean up your diet and get proper exercise, you are just using a Band Aid for a gaping wound.
THE EMOTIONAL CAUSES OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Emotionally, anxiety is caused by dysfunctional thoughts - thoughts that are not true. For example, if you tell yourself that you are not good enough or you have to be perfect, you will likely feel anxious. Thoughts of not being good enough and having to be perfect are generally focused on our outer qualities of looks and performance, rather than on the inner qualities of kindness, compassion, and gratitude. When we choose to be kind, loving and compassionate with ourselves and others, we feel good about ourselves. When we choose gratitude for what we do have rather than dwell on what we don't have, we create inner peace. Kindness and gratitude are wonderful antidotes to anxiety! Anxiety is always a sign that we are telling ourselves a lie. The truth creates peace inside, while lies create fear and anxiety. This is a sure-fire way of knowing what is true and what is not true! Emotionally, depression is caused by not taking good care of ourselves. If we ignore our needs, don't speak up for ourselves, judge ourselves, and make others responsible for our feelings, the result may be depression. If you have a child whom you ignore and judge, that child will likely be depressed. The same occurs on the inner level when we ignore and judge our own inner child. Putting yourself last and taking care of everyone else but yourself may cause you to feel unworthy and depressed.
DEPRESSION IN TEENAGERS
No doubt you have seen the recent news headlines about a federal panel that recommended to the FDA that anti-depressant medications carry the strongest possible warning label for use in children and teenagers. This recommendation to the FDA shook the medical community, especially those who work with depressed young people. The biggest problem from the treatment community's point of view was not the recommendation for the warning label, but the way that the media portrayed the panel's recommendation.
The panel reported that 2% to 4% of children and teens who were given anti-depressants for the treatment of depression became suicidal, that is they had suicidal thoughts, or made suicidal attempts of one kind or another. None of the 4,000 children and teens studied committed suicide.
What the media did not report well is the fact that 15% of children and teens with depression who receive no treatment will commit suicide. These 15% will not just think about it, but will actually kill themselves.
So what are we to do?
If the media had their way it seems that no teens with depression would receive anti-depressants. As a result the suicide rate for those who could be using the medication would rise from nearly 0% to about 15%. But at least we wouldn't have to be concerned about evil medications.
Look, I understand that there actually are young people, even adults, who have become suicidal only after beginning treatment with an anti-depressant. Some have in fact gone on to take their own lives. This is absolutely tragic. But so is the fact that untreated depression is potentially a fatal disease. Fifteen out of one hundred young people with depression take their own lives. They should be allowed to receive a treatment that will lower the suicide rate dramatically, and without any stigma attached to it by the media.
Some studies suggest that 500,000 teens attempt suicide each year, and 5000 are successful. Increased use of alcohol or other drugs is common, along with other forms of "self-destructive behaviors." Poor self-esteem is common with teenagers, but especially with those who are depressed.
Cure against depression: Practice this cure on a day off
* Have a healthy and balanced breakfast in your dressing gown.
* Take a warm shower or sauna.
* Rub your skin with body lotion and your feet with foot creme.
* Put on some comfortable clothes.
* Go for a long walk.
* When you come back home, make yourself a cup of hot tea on St. John's Wort, rosemary or lavender.
* Make yourself comfortable in your favorite armchair.
* Read a good book or magazine.
* Listen to your favorite music. (It should be cheerful)
* Make sure you are warm. Slippers and a blanket may come handy.
* Be sure to have fresh air in the room. Take some deep breaths to fill your lungs.
Great self confidence can be learned. You can learn how to be confident about who you are and what you can do. You can learn how to tolerate uncertainty and be confident with not knowing what is going to happen.
1. Write down your positive achievements, all that you can remember; educations, jobs, loves and relationships (even if they ended, you still achieved them), friendships, children, driving licence... Look at what you already have and realize you have done rather well.
2. Write down good things that others have said about you. Read through old documents from former employers or teachers that state all your strong sides. Maybe you forgot you had them?
3. Make plans. Ask yourself what can be done. What can you change to make things better? Write down precise goals and write a step-by-step plan on how you intend to achieve your goals.
4. Making a Life Changing Decision. Make a decision that tomorrow you will start dealing with the first step of your plan.
When you read what you have written you will realize that you have grown and developed over the years. That also means that you can grow and develop further.
Learn more about how to reduce stress: 6 TIPS TO REDUCE STRESS
Katelyn Adamek, LMT, CWC
Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.
Author: Katelyn Adamek