Depression – A Modern Dis-ease
By Margo Kirtikar Ph.D.
In our present turbulent times, more people suffer from depression than what we can ever imagine. The feeling of depression for sure has always existed in stressful conditions, for as long as mankind has. When surrounded with loving family members and friends who genuinely care for your well being, the emerging out of a depressed state of mind is made much easier than if one were alone, feeling neglected and unloved, without a network of support. Interestingly, the more we immerse ourselves into the materialistic world to satisfy our physical senses and the further away we are from our true feelings, out of touch with our inner self, the more prone we are to fall into the trap of depression. Apparently, the highest rates of suicides amongst the young generation, due to depression, are found in the wealthiest countries, with the highest standards of living, such as Sweden and Switzerland and Japan. It is not surprising that we seem to have an epidemic of depression on our hands. Just look at our fast pace of life, the breaking down of families and relationships, denial of our true emotions, many singles living without companionship, children not having enough love or affection, the stress of work or family abuse, bad living habits or bad eating habits. The list is endless, no one seems to have time any more for the essential things in life. Most of all, I think, the primary reason is the fact that we in general have deprived ourselves from our own spirituality, failing to communicate with our very individual soul. Too busy living in a cold materialistic world accumulating things, chasing success, money or fame, we have forgotten the very Spirit of our existence. Moreover, in our frenzy as we rebel again traditional religion we deny God, the very Source and Force of Life. My knowledge is not that of theory but of personal experience. I, like millions of others, have also suffered, now and again from a feeling of being depressed. I know what it is like to be stuck in a black hole, depressed, I know how it feels when it seems as if there is no way out of a miserable situation. Yet, with time, reaching deep within me and connecting with the very Source, the inner Force or God if you like to call it that, a light has always appeared at the end of the dark tunnel, offering new opportunities with new pastures to explore. With time and practice, I learned how to handle these dark moments. Rather than fight it, I recognize the feeling, I acknowledge it and I allow myself to be depressed but only for a short while, say an hour, half a day, or a day, depending on the situation. But then I wake up determined to begin a new day with a fresh new positive attitude and with new positive plans. There is a lot of suppressed and denied anger, resentments, fear and guilt in depression.
Depression, which is actually suppressing negative emotions, drains you of your energy and causes chronic fatigue. Many people live with a mild case of depression for a long time without even realizing it. They live with this denial for so long that what might begin as a light case of depression could develop with the time into a major illness. A light depression left unattended, can deteriorate to become worse and then still worse. Sometimes it could lead to very serious mental problems that will eventually require serious medication and perhaps even long or even permanent hospitalization. In the United States visiting a therapist, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or attending workshops for self-development is a popular and accepted way of dealing with personal problems and unhappy issues. People are more aware of the benefits of self development. In Europe, self development is mostly frowned upon or even ridiculed unfortunately. Europeans are only now, very slowly and very reluctantly, catching on to this new idea. Far too many believe falsely that talking to a friend about their problems is good enough. The reality is that friends do not appreciate at all being used as garbage bags for your problems and unhappy moods. It is also not fair to dump your problems and negative emotions, which is bad polluted energy, on to others. If you have been the recipient of an hour of listening to a friend’s complex problems and unhappiness then you know how drained and exhausted you feel after such a meeting. You say goodbye as you leave them, with a big sigh of relief, looking to breathe some fresh air to clear your mind. In the Eastern worlds perhaps they have less use for professionals in this field as families there are still intact and relatives, especially the elder generations, are always there to give love, affection, care, support and perhaps even advice as they lovingly listen to the woes of the young. Not to forget the fact of strong religious beliefs where faith and prayer can be a source of help too and work as an anchor for stability. Suffering from depression is not a stigma and it is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. The earlier one recognizes this and the quicker one seeks help, the bigger are the chances of recovery and the less danger there is of ending up with manic depression, paranoia or schizophrenia. To avoid falling into the trap here are some of the symptoms that you can look out for.
If you suffer from any of the following on a regular basis for a month or more, then it would be advisable for you to seek help immediately. The sooner you do this the better are your chances for recovery. Don’t try to delay by talking yourself into believing that you can get out of this on your own. Only the very few are strong enough to do this.
If you find that you are
unable to relax
lay in bed sleepless night after night
feel constantly exhausted and drained of energy
find it difficult to get out of bed mornings afraid to face the day
are avoiding contact with your friends and family
are avoiding answering the phone
are spending a lot of time alone at home
like brooding in the dark
are avoiding light, fresh air and sunshine
have no desire to take care of yourself, to bathe, to groom yourself
require a huge effort to do anything
are always in an unhappy hopeless mood
see nothing but the negative side of life
have no desire to listen to music
have no sense of humor and you don’t laugh
feel unloved as if the whole world is against you
get angry if someone mentions that you need to see a doctor!
Here are some simple solutions that you can take care of yourself when you notice the beginning symptoms of depression that can help you to get out of it. If the depressed state persists for a couple of weeks, then you really should seek professional help immediately. Share your problem with a member of the family or a friend and ask them to accompany you to see a specialist. Alternative and natural healing methods, in my point of view, are more desirable to begin with than traditional medicine. However, for chronic cases traditional medicine might be the only answer.
(1) Identify and differentiate your feelings. Emotional –
Acknowledge and experience them. i.e. be a witness to your emotions. Look at your emotions as if they were an ‘object’ in front of you to be analyzed. Communicate your feelings to the person concerned directly (if the feelings are connected with another person) or then see a therapist. Putting your feelings down in writing on paper can work wonders. Drawing or painting can help too. This puts you in charge of the situation rather than being the helpless suffering victim.
(2) Physical –
Exercise daily. An absolute must against depression is physical exercise to maintain good health. Daily walks, aerobics, dance, gym exercises daily is a must. The object is to move, keep on moving the body. This pumps oxygen into your blood, your blood circulation improves, and it keeps up the vibration of the cells saving you from being heavy and lethargic.
(3) Mental –
Learn to accept and to integrate both the desirable and undesirable of your self image. Do this by self observation, self acceptance and self improvement. Learn to love yourself as you are by practicing self love. If you cannot accept and respect yourself, forgive and love yourself, it is not possible for you to practice these emotions with others around you. This is a well known fact.
(4) Recognize and live your own thoughts, values and beliefs. The power of thought cannot be ignored in healing the mental self. Maintain positive thoughts through positive affirmations. (see below)
(5) Guilt breeds fear and resentment, stress and tension, anxiety and conflict. Guilt is a major obstacle in healing a relationship. For a relationship to heal both must be free of all guilt feelings.
(6) Forgiveness is the major key to healing, peace of mind and healthy growth. Learn to let go and to forgive others and most of all to forgive yourself. If you are hard on yourself, others will be hard on you. If creativity is stifled, inner conflict, depression and illness ensues. If you constantly try to be less than what you are, do less than what you are capable of, you will be forever unhappy.
(7) St. John’s Wort, a herbal remedy, is well known to help with mild cases of depression. Also Bach Flower remedy, Rescue is good to have always near at hand. A therapist specialized in these remedies can help you.
(8) Listen to happy music, have a lot of light in your home and at the work place.
(9) Surround yourself with happy flowers, the colors yellow and orange for energy.
(10) Be grateful for whatever good you have in your life. We all have something to be grateful for. Gratitude is healing and makes you feel good. Be grateful and thankful for what you have rather than being unhappy about what you do not have. You can always create what you want in your life. Get out of the depressed state first so that you can create.
Here are some basic affirmations to repeat as often as possible. You can repeat these anywhere anytime, aloud and/or quietly mentally. Choose the ones that correspond with your own need. You can begin with repeating any three or four for a whole week, then take another three or four for the next week and so forth. The idea is that you repeat these aloud as often as possible until it becomes a habit for you to think them. In time you will be able to know them all by heart and you can then make up your own affirmations as you need them.
I am healthy
I am happy
I am creative
I am a beautiful person
I love myself
I love life
I love my body
I am happy to be alive
I am master of my life
I am thankful for everything I have
I love people
I love being active
I love being with myself
I love being with people
I do everything that is good for me
I am in touch with my higher self
I am in touch with the Divine within me
I am in touch with my intuition
I always know what is good for me
I am free of the past
I am free of fear
I am free of all anxiety
I am free of all negativity
I have faith in myself
I have trust in myself
My body is healthy
My mind is strong and healthy
My organs are healthy
I sleep peacefully
I am strong full of energy and vitality
I feel inner peace and harmony
I am in control of my thoughts
I am in control of my emotions
I am fully aware
I am master of my life
I am a beautiful being
I am happy to be me
I am full of love (the energy of love is a universal healer)
NB. You can make up your own affirmations. Always remember to be in the positive.
Ex. I am wealthy. I am fearless. I am slim. I feel wonderful. etc. etc.
© Margo Kirtikar Ph.D. www.visionsunusual.com
Margo Kirtikar Ph.D. is psycho therapist since fifteen years. She helps and guides individuals who find themselves at a crossroad and going through difficult changes in their lives. She helps them to contact their own inner source of strength and inner guide so that they are able to think clearly and independently to make their own decisions. She uses both eastern and western techniques and therapies dealing with mind, emotions and energy. website: www.visionsunusual.com email email@example.com
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