Beat Your Depression

Tips, Facts and Information About Overcoming Depression

Archive for April, 2008

Anti-depressants and engine oil

April 08, 2008 By: John Category: Depression Treatment, Overcoming depression, Recovery from depression 4 Comments →

If you owned an automobile that was low on engine oil each week when you checked the oil level what would you do about it?

Would you just keep on topping up the oil to the correct level each week? Or would you find out what was causing the level of engine oil to be low and take appropriate action to remedy the situation?

You may find that there is a leaking seal or gasket that is the cause of the engine oil disappearing. This could be easy to detect by looking at the pavement below the engine after the automobile has been parked there for a while. Or the engine may have worn piston rings that need to be replaced, along with other mechanical procedures. This can be usually very noticeable by the clouds of gray smoke that exude from the exhaust pipe.

Another way of looking at this is that you find that there is a lot of oil accumulating on the pavement beneath where you park your automobile. You then discover that the oil level is low and this leads you to take the vehicle to a mechanic who will invariably find and fix the leak.

In the second instance you notice clouds of smoke coming from your exhaust pipe. You then discover that the oil level is low and this leads you to take the vehicle to a mechanic who will invariably find and replace the worn parts.

In either case you can make an informed decision about how to treat the problem once you have found the root cause of the problem. Topping up the oil level is only a temporary measure at best.

Now let’s look at anti-depressants and their role.

It is the contemporary “establishment” belief that depression, and similar disorders, are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. The chemical referred to is usually serotonin, a neurotransmitter, that aids in the transmission of certain signals between adjacent nerves. When the level of serotonin drops a person can display signs and have symptoms associated with depression. Thus the argument that depression is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.

If this is true then it could also be argued that happiness is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. This is because activities such as singing, dancing, listening to pleasant music, exercise, sex, being grateful for the good things that abound, and laughing can lead to an increase [imbalance] of the hormone beta-endorphin, the body’s natural opiate, that brings on feelings of happiness.

Could it possibly be that it is natural for the chemicals [hormones] in our brains to be in a state of flux, depending on the prevailing circumstances? I believe this to be the case as it is inappropriate to be happy, and natural to be sad, at the loss of a loved one through death or because of a breakdown in a relationship. Similarly, there are times, such as when at a celebration, when it is not appropriate to be sad.

Anyhow, let us go along with the “establishment” thinking that depression is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Then would it not be wise to determine what causes the chemical imbalances and remedy the problem rather than treating the signs and symptoms? This makes sense to me.

However, the “establishment” view appears to be to prescribe anti-depressant medication alone in many cases without looking for alternate methods to resume normal behavior.

When we discontinue pursuits that cause us to be happy, we eventually return to a state of mind where we are close to being neither happy nor sad. Similarly, over time we will progress from being depressed to being neither happy nor sad, unless we continue doing things, or thinking things that lead us to being depressed. Being happy or being depressed are emotions and emotions are usually the result of how we think or our state of mind.

Therefore if we change our thinking, or state of mind, we can change our emotions! We can then choose to be happy or sad. A great book to read on this subject is the old masterpiece, “As a Man Thinketh.”

A collection of books that proved very useful to my recovery from depression is the “Total Success Library” where there are a number of books on various subjects that assist in the development of our self-esteem and outlook on the challenges that life puts forward. The price that I paid for this collection was far outweighed by the amount of money that I saved on anti-depressants.

More about choices and depression

April 03, 2008 By: John Category: Depression Information, Depression Stories, Natural cures for depression 4 Comments →

I would like to elaborate on the subject of choices available to us as a follow on from a previous article relating to choices. There are usually at least two choices that we can make on any subject that we choose to think about [another choice]. We can even choose not to make a choice, and that in itself is making a choice to do nothing.

There is generally a direct opposite to nearly everything that we can think of in life, and many degrees in between. Take, for example, the atmospheric temperature and consider it to be perfectly comfortable. If the temperature increases it will become warm, then warmer until it becomes hot, then hotter and so on until it becomes unbearably hot. If the temperature decreases it will become cool, then cooler and so on until it becomes cold, colder, and then eventually freezing.

The extremes are referred to as being of opposite polarity. An example of this is the axis of the Earth with it’s North Pole and South Pole being at extreme ends of the axis. This is also why the condition where a person may be deeply depressed for a while, return to being contented, and then swing to being deliriously exuberant and unreasonably overconfident [manic], is called “bi-polar disorder.”

This used to be known as manic depression. Between the extremes the person may have passed through being very sad, sad, disillusioned, unhappy, discontented, joyful, happy, very happy, and ecstatic. [Amongst other feelings or emotions]

As it says in the book, “As a Man Thinketh,” we tend to become what we think about. Therefore we have a choice. Do we focus on negative things in our lives or our past and be miserable, or do we focus on pleasant things associated with our lives, including our achievements, no matter how insignificant? We really DO have a choice you know!

Have you ever noticed how it is hard to be depressed when you are happy? Conversely, it is hard to be happy when you are depressed. But you CAN learn several ways how to find happiness. One of the best ways is to focus on being grateful for all of the good things in your life. By doing this, we can re-program our brains into being happy just as we can re-program a computer to overcome a glitch.

If you take just a few moments each day, preferably just after you awaken, to think of several things that you are grateful for, you will be off to a good start for the rest of the day.

You can be grateful for making it through the night, your good health, your cozy bed, your comfortable home, your caring partner, the fact that there is food in the refrigerator, etc. etc. If it is raining you can be grateful for the plants and crops getting a good drink and the reservoirs being topped up with water. If it is sunny you can be grateful for the plants and crops getting good light for growth via photosynthesis.

If you think of your friends you can be grateful for their friendship, and if you happen to think about somebody you do not like you can be grateful that you are not like them. Be grateful for your job if you have one and the fact that it provides you with money to cater for many of your needs. If you do not have a job you can be grateful that you have managed to survive and that you live in a land of opportunity where you should be able to find a job. Your new disposition may help you to get a job over a person who is gloomy or pessimistic by choice [not by nature.]

What about some of the achievements and experiences that you have had to date? Think of some of the lovely sunsets that you have witnessed. Be grateful for your vision. Remember, you won the sperm race to enable you to be born. You managed to beat all of those other sperm to the egg and fertilized it. So you are a winner! 🙂

Even if you have had experiences that you would prefer to forget, be grateful for the fact that you have the opportunity to forge a better future. The list is almost endless if you apply yourself to thinking this way.

Why not write down in an exercise book the things that you are grateful for? Be prepared to buy several more books as time passes as you should fill them up quite quickly once you get the gist of thinking of things to be grateful about. You will be amazed at how powerful this simple exercise can be. If ever you find yourself feeling a little disconsolate you can get out your book(s) and jog your memory into being grateful again.

Another action that you can use to find happiness is to look at yourself in the mirror and smile, even if you do not feel like doing it. Tell yourself that you love yourself and that you are improving your lot in life each and every day. You can even give yourself a congratulatory pat on the shoulder. 🙂 When I did this exercise to overcome my depression I would often sing a little rollicking ditty that I learned a long time ago at school. I am 65 years old and so I must have a good [long term] memory. Here are the words to the ditty that certainly helped to get my days off to a good start:-

“Good morning brother Sunshine!

Good morning sister Song!

I beg your humble pardon if you’ve waited very long.

I thought I heard you knocking.

To lock you out was sin.

My heart is standing open.

Won’t you walk right in?

Good morning! Won’t you walk right in?


Good morning sister Gladness!

Good morning brother Smile!

They told me you were coming. So I waited on a while.

‘Twas lonely here without you.

A weary time it’s been.

My heart is standing open.

Won’t you walk right in?

Good morning! Won’t you walk right in? ”

I have promised to record this ditty and will do so soon when I overcome my self consciousness and pluck up the courage to do so.

Another way to kick start being happy is to listen to your favorite music and, better still, dance to it. This is how the ancient Greeks cured melancholia. Dancing and other forms of exercising, even walking, produce the “feel good” hormone, beta-endorphin.

Or you could adopt the methods used by author Norman Cousins and watch comedy movies to promote good belly laughs. Told that he had little chance of surviving from debilitating illness, Cousins developed a recovery program incorporating Vitamin C, along with a positive attitude, love, faith, hope, and laughter induced by Marx Brothers films.

Why not try all of the above? What have you to lose? Better still, think of what you have to gain!