Depression comes only after a significant loss or with physical or psychological pain in which a person feels hopelessly trapped.
Depression is probably the most commonly diagnosed problem by doctors and psychiatrists, and also by ourselves. The medical profession, particularly psychiatry, has promoted it as an “endogenous disorder”, meaning that it is the result of our biological makeup, usually chemical imbalances in the brain. This has been supported by scientific findings of differences in the brain chemistry of depressed people from people who are not depressed. Because of this, the existing belief in medical practice is that if you have a major depressive disorder, you can only come out of it with the rebalancing of your brain chemistry with antidepressants.
But, is the answer really this simple? Are we really doomed to a life of depression control with antidepressant drugs? Are the chemical differences in our brains when we are depressed only the result of the biology with which we were born?
The pressures and conditions of our environment constantly affect our physical and chemical conditions. We know that fear causes a significant chemical change throughout our body, including our brain, as does happiness or any other emotion. This includes depression. When conditions force us into depression, it not only causes a change in the way we act, it also causes a change in our body chemistry.
All of my experiences in 40 years of practicing psychotherapy have indicated that depression only comes when some significant loss occurs, like death, loss of jobs or property or marriage/family or personal esteem, or physical losses through accidents or diseases. This depression can be overcome, but usually with pain over time and hard work at readjustment.
Depression also comes along with oppressive, hurtful, unhappy situations that hold us back from being free to be ourselves. This could easily happen in a home where one or more of the family members are controlled and oppressed by a dominant person, or in situations like homelessness and indigence which a person or family cannot escape.
But it also happens when the beliefs that we developed through our growing up years become our own barriers to being ourselves. Guilt, demanding and rigid expectations, fears of punishment, and other self-negating beliefs are probably the surest causes of a depressed life. And all beliefs and attitudes can be changed, especially with effective counseling.
When the conditions that cause our depression are changed, so is our brain chemistry.
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