Depression is the most prominent psychological disorder in the western world. Although depression has a physical component, it is in it’s origin a socially driven condition. In the U.S. about 10 million people suffer from significant depression each year and the numbers are increasing significantly. In 2014 depression was 24% greater than it was in 1999.
People born since 1945 are 10 times more likely to suffer from depression than their parents, and women run nearly twice the risk of depression as men. Depression is the second leading cause of death amongst young people. By 2020, depression will be the second most disabling condition on the planet, ranking just behind heart disease.
Sadly, fifteen percent of depressed people commit suicide. If you have even thought about committing suicide, know that you are not alone, call the suicide prevention hot line: 1-800-273-8255.
Living with depression is like living at the bottom of a sea of mud. The environment pushes against you in every imaginable direction. Getting out is almost impossible. Even the simplest functions of daily can be extremely difficult. It is a living hell.
Let’s look at the way depression develops. It starts out with a difficult emotional challenge, and so the inner child starts out facing a painful circumstance. Adding significantly to this condition, and essential to the creation of depression, is the total rejection of the inner cild’s feelings by the adult.
Having been rebuffed by her parents and now frozen out by the older self, the now wounded and defeated inner child retreats into a cave of isolation for protection. The despair and desperation that result from a seemingly impossible situation creates the condition that we call depression.
In 30+ years of private practice, every case of depression I have ever encountered has hinged upon a reluctance by the adult to accept and address the pain that his or her inner child carried. It isn’t that there is no emotion - the adult is racked with it - but it is a bleed-through from the wounded inner child. It is a cry for help. The inner child is crying for someone to rescue her because she has been rejected by the adult and has nowhere else to turn.
The split between the adult and the inner child can be confusing to the casual observer. Especially because in this society we equate success with happiness, but more often than not, the two are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Anthony Bourdain fought in his early years with a heroin addiction, speaking to his inner struggle. Kate Spade was seriously depressed and Robin Williams fought with a debilitating mental condition that made it impossible for him to work.
And when we confuse who we are with what we do, when we lose the later, as in William’s case, the loss can be devastating. But from the outside, we are blinded by their worldly accomplishments. After all, by societal standards, these people should “have it all,” totally ignoring their personal inner struggles.
The thing is, depression is almost unknown in tribal societies and amongst the Amish in our own culture. I will say again, depression is a socially driven condition. The integrated nature of these communities brings personal concerns to the surface and does not allow them to get lost in the private hell of individual isolation.
Dealing with depression differs from other psychological issues both in severity and because of the rejection of the child’s pain by the adult. It means overcoming the adult’s resistance and going into the pain that she has avoided all of her life. No sane person wants to hang out in his or her inner pain. It’s messy, it’s disruptive and it brings up great deal of unpleasant emotions. Plus, the pain was totally overwhelming to the child and he or she will hold strong prohibitions against going back there. The unexpressed fear is, “If I go there I will die,” because that is how it felt at the time. Plus, the inner child will be angry, frustrated, defeated and untrusting, adding a significant obstacle to the resolution of the problem.
Most depressed people are so accustomed to living under the dark cloak of their emotions that they have no idea what it feels like to be happy. They have no standard against which to judge the pain that has accompanied them since childhood.
Unfortunately too, Western culture erects significant barriers to personal interaction and in many other ways creates a perfect environment for the creation of depression. And there is little help for people as conservatives in Congress and state legislatures have pared public mental health funding beyond the bone.
In this impersonal, stressful, non-spiritual culture of ours, many people suffer from some form of depression. So, one question to ask is, “Am I depressed?” Or, “Is my partner depressed?” Depression exists in a hundred shades of grey, and each of us reacts differently, but a list of depressive symptoms developed by Joan Larson may be helpful:
· Withdrawal from activity; isolating yourself
· Continual fatigue, lethargy
· Lack of motivation, boredom, loss of interest in life
· Feeling helpless, immobilized
· Sleeping too much; using sleep to escape reality
· Insomnia, particularly early morning insomnia (waking very early and being unable to get back to sleep)
· Unresponsive to good news
· Loss of appetite or binge eating
· Ongoing anxiety
· Silent and unresponsive around people
· An “I don’t care” attitude
· Easily upset or angered, lashing out at others
· Inability to concentrate
· Listening to mood music persistently
· Self-destructive behavior
· Suicidal thoughts or plans
Everyone exhibits some of these symptoms from time to time. The question is how strong and persistent are these symptoms in your life? If you fit into a significant number of the symptoms listed above, it is something you want to pay serious attention to. Depression is not just a mental condition. The stress will wreak havoc on your physical body as well. Men with heart conditions who are depressed are almost 5 times more likely to have heart attacks.
Depressed people have an excuse to not fully engage in life. They withhold from partners and friends, pull back from life and do not fully engage with their own children. The false sense of security created through their emotional distance is very unsatisfying, but some people live their entire lives that way.
And, when their relationships fail or become stressful, as they must, the failure reinforces their existing feelings of unworthiness. They then spiral further downward. In that regard, (unfortunately) the depression is doing exactly what it was designed to do.
Another significant contributor to depression involves people who are fighting an internal war with an overgrowth of a common intestinal yeast called Candida Albicans. This condition is rampant in our society, largely because of our diet, our heavy reliance on antibiotics and interestingly, because of the use of mercury in dental filings.
People suffering from what is called candida-related complex or CRC, are depressed, exhausted and anxious. They crave sugar and sometimes alcohol. Their mental retention is often impaired. Their immune systems are seriously compromised so that most foods cause them to bloat and produce allergic/addictive responses. These people can either put on significant amounts of weight, or be seriously underweight. The depression that results from CRC will not lift until the colonies of yeast are brought under control. Information about candida-related complex can be found on the internet.
Since depression has a more obvious physical component that other emotional conditions, prescribing antidepressants has grown into a huge industry. But because antidepressants have such awful side effects, all but the most severe cases of depression can be successfully treated with amino acids. Aminos are the fundamental “building blocks” of the hundreds of proteins and other chemicals in the body. And when properly supplemented, aminos have a powerful impact on all but the most severe depressions, with remarkably few side effects. Plus, they are considerably cheaper than prescription pharmaceuticals. (Part II discusses aminos in greater detail, Part III looks more deeply into the psychology of depression.)
copyright©Blue Lotus Press 2016 rev. 2018