When I was younger, maybe four or five or maybe even six years old, I was what many would call an "out of control kid". There was always drama in my family from some place or another, and anybody with true sight would see that I was simply a product of my environment.
Before, let's say the change in my bodies "Bio-chemistry", I had never had any feelings of depression and I certainly had no idea what the word even meant.
I had large amounts of energy and problems with anger, but never depression.
Yet when I was prescribed Ritalin and its sister Clonidine (Catapres) by such a 'wise' doctor, I started to experience ups and downs, I'd go from anger into sadness, from energetic to lethargic, and this continued for almost seven years.
During that time I was also put on Dexamphetamine, which if you know anything about it, its side-effects can be depression and aggressive behaviour.
I sometimes look back at my childhood and laugh at the way we like to just cover things up, almost like a Band-Aid, treating the symptomology and neglecting the cause.
I ran away from home when I was eleven, and ended up living with my father, now he was totally opposed to all medication and stop it in its tracks. The interesting thing is that the depression I once felt disappeared within a few weeks and has been gone since... There were still other issues but the topic is depression.
Definition of depression (According to the Oxford dictionary)
- 1[mass noun] severe, typically prolonged, feelings of despondency and dejection: self-doubt creeps in and that swiftly turns to depression
- Medicinea mental condition characterized by severe feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy, typically accompanied by a lack of energy and interest in life: she suffered from clinical depression
If you are like most people then you may read that definition and still be thinking "I'm still not really clear on what it is though"
How about we simply put it like this:
Depression is excessive negative introspection, more simply, thinking about things from the past in a negative way, worrying about things in the future.
What happens next is you start to get all those feelings, the hopelessness, the sadness, you start to feel like you've got no energy and so forth.
For decades, medicine has believed that depression is a result of chemical imbalance. It is now a known fact that the chemical imbalance is a result of the depression, not the cause.
Yet for some reason, so many have yet to catch on to this train of thought.
Why do you think that majority of people who do a cycle of antidepressants, fall back into depression once off them?
Think about it from an un-biased view... Each of these examples makes sense, from some point of view:
- One could say that because they stopped taking the thing which was creating a balance of chemicals in the brain, that the imbalance re-occurred, and the depression kicked back in as a result.
- One could say that they became dependent on the medication.
- One could say that they need on going therapy to help them avoid symptoms.
- One could say that because the doctors were merely treating the symptomology, not the cause, that as soon as medication ceased, the thing that caused the symptoms (negative dwelling on past, present and future) kicked back into action in full force and caused them to enter an even deeper state of depression than before.
You can decide what you believe is true, what I know from my personal life and from working clients regularly is this: firstly, we must help them change how they think (cognitive), next we must help them with what they do (behavioural) and lastly we must be solutions orientated, not problem orientated, Simple right?
1. Cognitive Therapy - How we think is the first key.
Remember how I mentioned that excessive dwelling in a negative way causes depression?
Well for somebody that is in a state of depression, having them access all the things in their life that could be causing the depression is absolutely counter-productive. This causes the client to become even more depressed, they already dwell on things in a negative fashion they don't need to go and pay to dwell, that's why people that go see traditional therapists leave feeling worse than when they got there.
It's how we perceive the world that creates meaning for us, and everybody perceives the world differently, depending on life experiences, beliefs, values, and so forth.
For somebody that is depressed we first need to teach them how to change the way they perceive world and the secret is language.
"Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so" - William Shakespeare
To properly understand depression, you need to understand that we don't really reflect reality, we more so interpret it.
That's the reason two people can see the same event and give different descriptions of it.
A metaphor I like is the tree falling in the forest:
- A big old tree fell down in the forest and nobody was there to see it... (No meaning)
- Along came a hiker and saw the great majestic tree that had fallen and thinks "How sad that this beautiful tree should fall"... (Meaning is sad)
- Further down the track, a man looks out of his cabin window to see the big tree gone and he exclaims "Oh great! What a marvelous view I now have"... (Meaning is happy)
It's our perception that creates meaning, and it's the meaning we give things that influences our emotions.
The first key to being rid of depression for good is changing how you think about things, do you use language like "Why can't I make good money? Why can't I find a good relationship? Why do I always attract losers? Am I that worthless that nobody cares?"
Whatever question you ask yourself, you will get an answer, that answer will either give you a positive feeling or negative.
Ask yourself "How can I make good money? How can I find the most amazing and fulfilling relationship? How can I attract abundance and love into my life? I KNOW I AM BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING!"
2. Behavioural Therapy - What you do, effects how you live
This article has already gotten too large so I have to be short, so you need to become aware of the things you do because you can be the most positive person in the world, yet if your behaviours aren't s supporting as they could be then you will find yourself in positions where you really just don't want to be. Depression in my opinion is simply behaviour, something that we have learned to do.
Did you know that in Australia, over 100,000 children are diagnosed with depression each year? The astonishing thing is that some kids are as young as five.
How on earth could that be possible?
As I considered it, the only real logical answer was that it is something they have learned from their environment, children are like sponges, if there is always tension and conflict in home life then they will absorb it all up.
From a behavioural therapy point of view, anything thing that can be learned, can be un-learned, in NLP - we change behaviour very quickly.
3. Solution based Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy - Focusing on the things you want, not on the things you don't and learning how to relate in a better way.
This I feel is a big thing; it seems that we are pre-conditioned to focus our attention on all the things that are going wrong in the world. Consider the news, magazines, newspapers and so forth, would you stop and watch the news if the report was "And today was a great day, lots of people had a good day at work and then they went home to spend time with their family"
You most likely wouldn't right?
But if it said "1000's died in a railway explosion today, officials believe it's the result of a terrorist organization"
You will likely watch, because it is shocking, and it catches your attention, but he's the problem; we are being conditioned to believe that there is more bad than good in the world. And that's one of the reasons why depression and anxiety is so common these days. One in six Australians suffers depression.
We also need to learn how to better relate to our lives because so many people just feel like they don't fit in or can't find friendships and so forth. You also need to consider whether the relationships you have already, are truly benefiting you or whether they are holding you in place, locking the shackles of your current position.
So there it is:
- If you can learn to change how you think (The language you use, and questions you ask yourself)
- If you can un-learn some of those unwanted behaviour
- If you can redirect your focus and develop your interpersonal skills
Then you may find that the behaviour of depression disappears and is replaced by the behaviour of living a happy life.
I'd also suggest that if you have been suffering from depression, then to find somebody that can help you to overcome it, not just mask it.
NLP, Time Line Therapy, and Hypnotherapy are so effective for helping people to unlearn, grow and be happy, so stop living below your potential and allow yourself to transform.