I want to go out on a limb with today’s post and tackle the topic of De-press-she-own. I will be simplifying the hell out of depression. I will probably piss some people off. I will probably leave some things out. I will probably not be right on some claims… but that doesn’t mean that I’m wrong. I will be focusing on depression’s possible cause… because depression… is a symptom… a result… of something greater… of something underneath it all.
Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods.
True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or longer.
The exact cause of depression is not known. Many researchers believe it is caused by chemical changes in the brain. This may be due to a problem with your genes, or triggered by certain stressful events. More likely, it’s a combination of both. Some types of depression run in families. But depression can also occur if you have no family history of the illness. Anyone can develop depression, even kids.
Most people have felt sad or depressed at times. Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles, or an injured self-esteem.
But when feelings of intense sadness — including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless — last for many days to weeks and keep you from functioning normally, your depression may be something more than sadness. It may very well be clinical depression — a treatable medical condition.
According to the DSM-IV, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, depression occurs when you have at least five of the following symptoms at the same time:
- A depressed mood during most of the day, particularly in the morning
- Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
- Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
- Insomnia (an inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide (not just fearing death)
- A sense of restlessness or being slowed down
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
A key sign of depression is either depressed mood or loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. For a diagnosis of depression, these signs should be present most of the day either daily or nearly daily for at least two weeks. In addition, the depressive symptoms need to cause clinically significant distress or impairment. They cannot be due to the direct effects of a substance, for example, a drug or medication. Nor can they be the result of a medical condition such as hypothyroidism. Finally, symptoms that occur within two months of the loss of a loved one are not considered to be clinical depression.
Ok. Let’s see here. Apparently for “true clinical depression,” one must have a “mood disorder.” I have come across a lot of selfish assholes in my time on this earth and I would certainly throw them into the mix of a “mood disorder,” but does that make them depressed? Well, it’s possible. We tend to correlate “sad, blue, unhappy, and miserable” to people who are depressed, but what about the assholes, the bastards, the pricks of this world that simply manifest their sadness in a different manner? According to these definitions, an asshole is just an asshole but a very, very sad person is labeled and put on medication. And why do we have to label it as a “mood disorder”? Why the labels? That just promotes seclusion and finger-pointing. Just because someone is sad, angry, or annoyed all of the time doesn’t mean they have a “disorder.” They have real-life problems and either manifest it differently than others, have a different way of handling it than others, cannot come to terms with their situation, or are completely unaware of their situation.
“The exact cause of depression is not known.” That’s the medical community’s excuse for, “Here, this medication should help.” Drugs make money. And doctor’s make money by writing prescriptions. I really do not believe that “anti-depressants” are necessary (have you SEEN the side effects on these tranquilizers?!). This is not medical advice and I am not telling anyone to stop taking their medication if they are prescribed such. This is my opinion. So, what causes depression? I can think of two generalized possibilities… 1) Traumas, shames, blames, comparisons, boundaries, expectations, let-downs, hard-times, abuse, illness, failure, pressure, stress… you know, all of the mental and emotional experiences throughout one’s lifetime that could manifest into a “disorder;” i.e., a person’s thoughts have been affected by something(s) throughout their lifetime and they are still dealing with that experience (because thoughts never die… only people do). 2) Another route could be the physical aspect of life: malnourished diet, over exercise or exertion, poor digestion, leaky-gut syndrome, constipation/slow bowel-transit time or elimination, gut bacteria imbalance or parasite/bacterial infection, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, blood-sugar mishandling, hormone imbalance, stress hormone responses, or poor/improper sleeping patterns.
Now, we’re all familiar with the first, mental/emotional, approach and I don’t think I’m too out of left field on the second, physical, approach. We produce a good amount of hormones within our digestive system. If I recall it’s around 60%+ of the hormones are born and raised in our small intestine, which is also the main site for nutrient absorption and the home of millions of digestive bacteria (that have minds and manipulations of their own). And, around 90%+ of our Serotonin (5-HTP) is made there, too. You know, that stuff that apparently makes us “feel good” and all sleepy-like. The thing about Serotonin (and SSRI’s) is that it’s not the problem… it’s the symptom. If a person has an imbalanced Serotonin count, why the hell do we think… “Ok, let’s provide them a platform for more Serotonin and all will be well!”? IT’S A SYMPTOM, peoples. And Serotonin doesn’t work alone. NONE of the hormones in our body work alone nor does anything produced by, ingested in, or applied to our body; it’s a system of systems! That’s like prescribing
I poked enough at PubMed. Now, WebMD’s take… to requote…
For a diagnosis of depression, these signs should be present most of the day either daily or nearly daily for at least two weeks. In addition, the depressive symptoms need to cause clinically significant distress or impairment. They cannot be due to the direct effects of a substance, for example, a drug or medication. Nor can they be the result of a medical condition such as hypothyroidism. Finally, symptoms that occur within two months of the loss of a loved one are not considered to be clinical depression.
MUST BE DAILY or DAILY for AT LEAST two weeks to be clinically “sad.” [Symptoms] cannot be due to the direct effects of a substance… so then my food theory is out of the question? And that other medical drugs can’t fuck you up, either? NOR CAN THEY BE A RESULT OF A MEDICAL CONDITION SUCH AS HYPOTHYROIDISM... Um, do you not understand how the body and mind work together? Do you not think that perhaps ezcema… a skin-disorder “medical condition”… can’t affect a kid’s ability to be happy and healthy while walking down the middle school hallways with funky looking arms that could possibly lead to verbal abuse by ignorant kids? Finally, symptoms that occur within two months of the loss of a lvoed one are not considered to be clinical depression. HEY, you… the one who just lost their loved one… you’re not sad… you’re making that shit up… so suck it up because medical science says there’s nothing wrong with you! Oh, you cry all the time, your bowel movements are off, you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, you have no appetite, you’ve gone into reclusion, and you sleep all of the time? You’re fine… trust me.
If you are dealing with depression, please, please, please get it in your head that there is nothing “wrong” with you. No, it’s not a “chemical imbalance”! I freaking HATE that dumb-ass reasoning. Yes, people’s “chemicals” may be “abnormal” but it’s a symptom. I can sit in front of the TV to watch 9/11 videos all day and I can guarantee you that my “brain chemicals” would follow a path towards “clinical depression.” No, you don’t have to fit a molded standard to be “sad.” No, you aren’t alone. Yes, you are normal. Yes, you are allowed to be sad.
My approach to depression: Learn everything about you, your life, who you are, why you are, how you get here, why you got here, and all of the factors that make you… you: Your past, your family, your friends, your diet, your lifestyle, your sleeping patterns, your bowel patterns, and so on. I shit you not, a person can be “depressed” simply by being chronically dehydrated. WHY would the body work properly if it cannot get what it needs to operate? And all of those past experiences people tend to bury because it’s not acceptable by society to be sad? Yeah, those can last a life-time and manifest in countless ways until peace is made between you and your scars.
I had a chat with an old friend the other weekend where he told me how sick, sad, and unhappy he used to be because he really hated his job. He switched jobs to one he likes and boom – he doesn’t get sick anymore, he sleeps through the night, and he has a reason to smile every day. How about them apples??
So, yeah. That’s my take. I’ve scapegoated two “credible” medical sources because a simple google search lists those two first and people like to believe everything that they hear from “experts”… especially since it’s been impaled into our brains for decades. I want to put it out there that there are other explanations, other perspectives, and, perhaps, better answers than the 21st century cycle of there’s-something-wrong-with-you-medication-heals-all.