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.
5 TIPS TO REDUCE STRESS
1.Do not read newspapers. Newspapers publish negative stories most of the time. Even in peaceful periods, newspapers will find the worst in humanity and place negative stories on display in order to promote sales and subscribers. Stories focused on War, rebellion, death, destruction, doom and despair abound in the newspapers. You will not miss any news. Friends, family, and your local air raid siren will keep you informed if your attention is needed. Only pay attention to the things you can control in your life. Stop reading the newspaper and reduce the negative input to your brain.
2.Turn off your television. Watching and listening about the horrible economy and the losses associated with War will add to depression. In fact, you guarantee the feeling of helplessness. Helplessness allows depression to nurture. If you really need to watch or listen to these kinds of news stories, promise yourself you will bury yourself in the documentaries that are sure to follow in the next 5 or 10 years. A way you can eliminate most of the negative input to your brain is by setting it aside for a date somewhere in the future. I guarantee in the future, you will not find it very interesting. When visitors come to your home, make sure you turn off your television and keep it off. News television broadcasters are fighting for your guests' attention as they promote despair, war, death, and destruction with many headline news interruptions. Those little banners that run across the bottom of the screen achieve your attention and they take hold of your consciousness. Television will diminish your positive spirit.
3. Say good things about others. My Mother always says, "if you can't say anything nice about others, don't say anything at all." However, when you find yourself in a conversation and a relative says, "Remember Uncle Phil?" " He was an alcoholic" Respond with " yes, Uncle Phil was an alcoholic and he was the most charitable person, I have ever met." Connect your friend's negative statement about Phil with a positive one. Set yourself up to find the positive in anyone's statement and you will keep negative thoughts and depression from overtaking your life. Og Mandino, a great motivator once said, "treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight." "Your life will never be the same again."
4. Get physical exercise. Adults forget about exercise when suffering from depression. Make sure you are exercising daily and sending more oxygen to your brain cells. The result of exercise will improve your health as well as your attitude.
5. Breathe deep and relax. Practice the following breathing exercise to relax your body and mind. Breathe deeply and relax. For 2 or 3 minutes each hour, take a short mental vacation. You can engage in this exercise while you are standing in the checkout line at the supermarket or when listening to others while talking on a telephone. You can complete the exercise at home or at work. Take three deep breathes and relax. As you inhale, concentrate on calm and peaceful thoughts. You may think about relaxing by a mountain, by the ocean or comfortably in your favorite room at home. As you exhale, concentrate on pushing any tension out of your lungs. Focus on positive images in your life. Focus on laughter, love, excitement, and hope. Keep breathing in and out in this pattern until you feel better. If you practice the exercise often, you will notice wonderful changes in your outlook and in other aspects of your life.
6. Get a relaxation massage. Recieving a professional massage can help reduce stress physically, mentally and emotionally. A single massage session has been shown to significantly lower your heart rate, cortisol and insulin levels. Massage therapy can often produce feelings of caring, comfort and connection, while releasing the feeling of stress.
Depression strikes most of us and it can make us paralyzed. It is essential that we do not let it get too much influence on our lives.
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.
Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.
Author: Katelyn Adamek