What is depression? It is usually experienced as despair, hopelessness, apathy, darkness and/or other dark emotions. It can be mild ("I'm in a funk today") to severe (thoughts of suicide). These emotions, of course, reduce one's motivation to make changes! Others in your life (friends, family, co-workers) may be in a place to notice the symptoms and encourage you to seek help.
Broadly speaking there are two different kinds as a result of a lack of balance between one's thinking and feeling energies. The affected person is either too intellectual (at the cost of a healthy appreciation of one's emotions) or else too emotional (unable to be objective or rational). Remember that emotions are not gods; they need to be balanced with reason and action. Coping with depression often means turning to medication. Transforming depression is far more freeing!
Before considering the possible emotional/relational roots to depression we need to consider possible diet and lifestyle causes. Magnesium deficiency, a lack of vitamin D and/or niacin and/or the consumption of too much sugar can all contribute. A lack of real exercise, sleep, daylight and nature/fresh air can as well. Other supplements that can be helpful are probiotics and B vitamins. A high-quality multi-vitamin may be beneficial as well. Some truly pure essential oils are reported to make a significant difference. Removing wheat and dairy products and especially refined sugars from one's diet may be essential.
What can cause a magnesium deficiency? Diuretics (such as alcohol, caffeine and blood pressure medications), chronic stress and junk food containing carbohydrates (virtually all packaged foods). Since these foods and beverages are often consumed to help people feel better they can end up creating more depression, and more bad foods/drinks! What foods provide magnesium? The best sources are legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and whole grains.
As for vitamin D: everyone in Canada and the northern U.S. should take supplements, especially if they feel worse in the winter months. Most of us are deficient in vitamin D3. It's inexpensive to buy and is an essential vitamin. Fatty fish, cod liver oil and ocean plants are excellent sources, too.
Sugar messes up the whole body and fogs up the brain. It is highly addictive and is loved by most who suffer from -you guessed it- depression!
Not getting much or any exercise? This is a very difficult step for those suffering from depression, but it is imperative that you work your way up to at least 20 minutes a day of brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, yoga or other activity. Find an ally who will go with you! Make sure you're drinking lots of water, too!
The other big cause of depression is relational: your relationship with yourself and those close to you.
When you are depressed the depression is not only a problem, it is trying to get your attention of what the real problem is. Let's figure out what the "depression light" (similar to lights on the dashboard of a vehicle) is saying.
At its root, most depression is anger turned inward. Instead of using anger in a healthy way depressed
people often turn their anger against themselves in an abusive way. This abuse takes different forms, such as one form of guilt, as debilitating shame, as retribution or punishment against
oneself, as self-judgement, and more. Because this abuse of anger usually results in an even greater difficulty to function well, the individual ends up being even harder on him or herself. The
resulting depression and/or apathy prevents positive change, and their world becomes even darker. While medication might help to reduce this cycle, it does not cure the condition, and can make
their life (and relationships) rather "flat" or dull. Only by making changes to how one functions is it possible to end depression and enjoy a full life, to
For some initial ideas about how to put depressive anger to a better use, go to the Anger tab.
The way we treat ourselves makes a huge difference. If we are critical of ourselves we will be very sensitive to how others treat us and those close to us. Having a critic follow us around 24/7 is enough to depress anyone? How often do you give yourself affirmations? Everyone has qualities, gifts and abilities that can be appreciated. Here is an exercise that will likely make a positive difference, as long as you put it into practice: A Thoughtful Look at Life. If you can't do this then consider how much shame ("I'm not ____ enough") you're carrying around. Shame is at the core of most self-esteem issues. Do check out the shame tab.
How are you doing in your relationships, especially with a spouse or partner? If not well this needs to be addressed if you want to do better. This website offers plenty of suggestions.
Here is an article on proven ways to improve your happiness. Well worth the read!
Want to know what neuro-science says you can do to improve your mood and well-being? Check out this informative site!
This website page offers a beautiful message of how depression and spiritual awakening are but two sides of the same door, with some scientific evidence to back up that claim!
If you have been told that you have to put up with depression (and/or the medication to "treat" it) there is good news! Various therapeutic methods can make all the difference! The next step is up to you.
Please note that this website's materials are for educational purposes only and do not replace individual counselling or medical assistance. These materials are not intended for those experiencing critical symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, for which emergency help should be sought.
When it comes to chronic illness such as anxiety and depression the medical community knows how to treat the symptoms, not heal the underlying problems. This is because they rely on pharmaceutical companies who wish to maximise their profits by keeping us dependent on their drugs.
The following 7 minute video, in English, is by a former pharmacist explains this very powerfully.
We can help free you from anxiety and depression, and the drugs used to "treat" these.
For high quality relationships and a life truly worth living.
Don't put it off any longer.
Link to Ian's profile on the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors website