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Abraham Lincoln’s journey to becoming President of the USA

July 13, 2009 By: John Category: Attitude, Depression Facts, Depression Stories 1 Comment →

The road to becoming President of the United States of America was not smooth sailing for Abraham Lincoln as you will see from the Portrait of an Achiever list below.

He managed to get there though, despite many setbacks, including suffering from depression. Years ago a severe depressive episode was called a “nervous breakdown” and sufferers were often shunned as they were thought to be unreliable and even weak.

Abraham Lincoln proved to be neither unreliable nor weak and he must have been well aware of the axiom, “Winners Never Quit, and Quitters Never Win.”  He obviously had his thinking right!

It can be surprising what persistence and determination can lead to.

Have you ever been to a presentation of an award for outstanding achievement of some form or other? Has the presenter ever said that the recipient achieved their objective WITHOUT overcoming at least some trials and tribulations?

Failed in Business – Bankruptcy, 1831
Defeated for Legislature, 1832
Sweetheart/Fiancee Dies, 1835
Nervous Breakdown, 1836
Defeated in Election, 1836
Defeated for U.S. Congress, 1843
Defeated again for U.S. Congress, 1846
Defeated once again for U.S. Congress, 1848
Defeated for U.S. Senate, 1855
Defeated for U.S. Vice President, 1856
Defeated again for U.S. Senate, 1858
Elected President of the U.S.A., 1860
You cannot fail… unless you quit!”

Abraham Lincoln is just one of the very many famous people who have suffered from depression.  Obviously he had his thinking right.


February 14, 2008 By: John Category: Depression Facts, Depression Information, Depression Treatment No Comments →

On October 25 2007 I made a post entitled, “What Causes The Chemical Imbalances That Lead To Depression?

I did not receive any real convincing replies as a result of that article and so I have been doing a lot of research on the claims that depression is, more often than not, caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain of sufferers of depression.

The results caused me to have many doubts and genuine concerns about the value and safety of using many of the prescribed medications. In fact, I was made to reflect on the drug, Thalidomide, that was once deemed to be the Godsend for pregnant women to alleviate their pre-natal problems. Unfortunately, there are many people alive today, who will attest to the fact that Thalidomide caused deformities in fetuses.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, defines ‘Chemical imbalances’ as:-

“Changes in levels of neurotransmitters and other neural level phenomena are hypothesised to be the underlying psychopathology for certain mental illnesses, notably clinical depression and schizophrenia.”

In 1965, Joseph Schildkraut hypothesized that depression was associated with low levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter, in the brain, and later researchers thought serotonin, another neurotransmitter, might be the culprit.

In addition to depression and schizophrenia, changes in levels of neurotransmitters have also been implicated in anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder). As well as changes in serotonin and norepinephrine, dopamine systems have also been considered. So, while all biology is essentially chemical in nature, rather than being caused by simple chemical imbalances, mental illness is now widely recognized to be caused by complex and, in many cases, as-yet unknown factors.

According to Jaelline Jaffe and Jeanne Segal:

“The misconception the [drug] commercials foster is that the brain somehow develops a chemical imbalance and the result is depression, occurring in a single directional process. In fact, the relationship between brain chemistry and experience is a two-directional phenomenon: Life experience affects brain chemistry at least as much as brain chemistry affects life experience. The ‘chemical imbalance’ hypothesis is not wrong. It’s just not entirely correct.”

Most disorders treated with medication have a hypothesised neural mechanism, but it is important to note that chemical imbalances are not believed to explain all psychiatric differences, nor are medications used to treat all neurological or psychiatric issues.

The chemical imbalance theory, according to critics, is routinely presented as ‘fact’ so often it has become widely accepted as fact, despite having been challenged repeatedly. For example, Pfizer has heavily promoted its antidepressant drug, Zoloft, with ads asserting that mental illness may be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that “Zoloft works to correct this imbalance.”Without mentioning its own name, Eli Lilly urges viewers to seek treatment for depression, and to visit their website,, because “Many researchers believe depression is caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring chemicals, serotonin and norepinephrine, in the brain and the body.”

One critic, a psychiatrist mentioned in the book, “Your Drug May Be Your Problem” by Peter Breggin M.D. and David Cohen M.D., is said to have stated that “Biochemical imbalances are the only diseases spread by word of mouth.” Another psychiatrist, Douglas C. Smith M.D., in his praise for the book , stated, ” One hundred years from now, people will read current psychiatric books with the same incredulity we have about blood-letting and snake oil….”

Critics contend that psychiatric drugs are not always efficacious, not always safe, and not necessarily a scientifically sound method for improving mental health. The number of different chemicals in the brain and their unknown interactions limit understanding and increase the likelihood of unforeseen complications. Moreover, critics assert, the psychiatric establishment merely assumes patients who are diagnosed with a given mental illness have a neurological basis, even though behavioral checklists, and not actual neurological measurements, are used to reach a diagnosis.

Psychiatric diagnostic practices in the United States have come under criticism for over-reliance upon these behavioral checklists rather than thorough, whole-body medical testing, and for making decisions based solely on a fifteen minute consultation each month. For example, in a Florida psychiatric hospital study from the 1980s, one hundred patients diagnosed with a mental illness were subsequently given a complete medical exam, after which it was discovered nearly half of the patients’ psychiatric problems were secondary manifestations of an undiagnosed medical problem, such as hypothyroidism mimicking depression.

Even when neurological and neurochemical differences are associated with certain behaviors, the practice of pathologizing these behaviours has been questioned by some. Because neural mechanisms imply a physiological difference underlying mental illnesses, they appear to justify the use of medication in treatment. Critics argue that the legitimacy given to medication by neural mechanisms can lead to an over-reliance on medication. Similarly, the perceived efficacy of medication as a treatment implies an underlying neural mechanism.

Critics also allege that pharmaceutical companies have a conflict of interest when they fund research into biochemical mechanisms behind mental illness and the efficacy of medication at reducing behavior differences. Remember that they can be hounded by shareholders who want quick and lucrative returns on their investments, and the researchers may be swayed to “deliver the goods,” albeit at a subconscious level, to ensure future funding for research.

An important consideration with regard to chemical intervention is the potential for relapsing into depression or other psychiatric conditions when medication is discontinued abruptly or without medical supervision. This point is argued very strongly in the book, “Your Drug May Be Your Problem.” Aside from malnutrition, the only certain means of creating chemical imbalances in the brain is the use of psychotropic chemicals, a category which includes both legal prescription drugs and illegal drugs like LSD or cocaine. Side effects from psychotropic drugs can be significant. Great care must be taken to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms after using psychotropic drugs. Neuroleptic drugs (typically used in the treatment of schizophrenia) are particularly dangerous to withdraw from quickly. Rebound psychosis is common and can leave a patient more unstable than they were prior to taking the neuroleptic in the first place.

So what does all this relatively technical jargon mean?

It’s a bit like the old song, “It ain’t necessarily so” that recommends that we do not necessarily believe all that is being told to us.

This is particularly true with respect to the preaching of the virtues of the use of drugs to combat conditions of the mind, assuming that the cause is physiological. Many prominent psychiatrists argue strongly against this assumption and consider the cause to be psychological and therefore able to be treated by less invasive methods such as cognitive therapy.

If you, or a loved one, suffers from depression or similar conditions, I strongly recommend that you get a copy of the book, “Your Drug May Be Your Problem.” Whilst it appears to be directed at medical practitioners, it is written in lay terms that most people should easily understand.

I know that I weaned myself from using drugs as soon as practical because I could not feel any beneficial effect and was concerned about the possibility of becoming addicted to the drug. I credit my recovery to the information contained in the Total Success Library and listening to good quality self hypnosis tapes, especially the Creative Mind Training set.

What is the BEST advice you have ever received?

February 13, 2008 By: John Category: Depression Facts, Recovery from depression 1 Comment →

Recently my son, Bryan, had to fill in a questionnaire relating to a survey. One of the questions was, “What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?”

This was his response:-

My dad and mum have had a great influence on my life and it is tough to determine which of the 3 below I consider the best.

Mum told me once that I should always look after myself first so that I am in a position of strength to help others. If ever I feel emotional about a situation that I feel is going wrong in my life I know that my mum will always come up with something totally amazing to help me out. What she told me here helped me out with a situation I was in about 15 years ago.

Dad has always told me to keep an open mind. When I was a child he would point to the stars and tell me about the possibilities that exist due to the unknown. This has helped me to develop an “outside the box” thinking attitude which increases my problem solving skills.

Dad recommended a set of books “total success library” for me to read, written by Dr Robert Anthony. This set of books was the best self development material that I have ever read and I feel that my life has improved since reading them. My girlfriend is currently reading one of them and she is incredibly impressed with it too. She asked if she could highlight parts that she liked. As it turns out, she has been highlighting just about every paragraph.

One thing mentioned in the books was something like “you always do the best you can for your present level of awareness”. I found this information very useful as it can be used for a number of things. If you are aware of this, then it is easier to forgive yourself, and hence forgive others. There is no right or wrong, it only exists for your present level of awareness (or belief system, as others have written in other books).

When I read what my son had written, I felt very proud of him and pleased that he had actually taken notice of at least some things that my wife and I had tried to teach him over the years.

The “Total Success Library” certainly helped me to overcome my depression and that is why I have included it in the Resource Section of the Beat Your Depression blog. In fact I rate this right at the top of my recommended resources. It is a valuable tool for dealing with many aspects of life, including relationships and financial matters, and represents extremely good value for money.

Stop the presses! Listen to Stephen Pierce.

February 07, 2008 By: John Category: Depression Facts, Depression Stories, Natural cures for depression No Comments →

Below is an email that I have just received. It is from Stephen Pierce who is an internet marketing genius and people motivator.

If you ever hear Stephen’s history you will be truly amazed at what he has done with his life after being expelled from school several times, going bankrupt several times, living on the streets, and even being shot with a bullet that is still in his leg.

Stephen, and his wife Alecia, truly do love to help people to help themselves.

This short address has the potential to help you in all aspects of your life and I immediately saw the benefits that it could bring to sufferers of depression and anxiety etc., and to those people who may even be contemplating self harm. The talk discusses “true” and “the truth.” It may sound a little confusing the first time through and so I recommend that you listen to it with an open mind a couple of times to get the important message contained therein. Perhaps you, like me, can relate to this.

Enjoy and learn:-


I spent what felt like a lifetime starving
for success, while standing in a pool of
opportunity that seemed to always recede
away from me every time I reached out for

And the moment I was able to take hold of
something, it seem to always turn to dust.

I had an inverted Midas Touch at the time.

That means, what I touched didn’t turn to
gold… it turned into dust.

I was shattered inside, lonely, heartbroken
and desperate.

What looked like a promising future seemed
to fade away quickly into a cold, dark
valley of nothingness.

It got to the point where the only thing
I could think about is what was true at
the time.

What wasn’t working.
What I didn’t have.
Who was better than me.
What others thought about me.
And “I could of” and “I should of.”

Does this sound like you, or someone you

If so, stick with me here.


One day I read a phrase. A phrase that would
liberate my soul and recalibrate my thinking.

After reading this phrase I had one of my
life’s most shocking illuminations.

And right now I want to share both the phrase
and the illumination with you so that YOU can
feel freedom in your soul and rip the chains
of bondage off your life.

Now prepare yourself, because the first few
minutes of this TalkBack may seem rather

However, you need to stick with me and hold
on because it’s just following that heaviness
that your burden will be lifted.

…all in just 9 minutes and 34 seconds.

So let’s get started.

God Bless YOU and YOURS,
Stephen Pierce

P.S. Today’s DTAlpha TalkBack will blast you
into an orbit of outstanding success and

Be ready for your ILLUMINATION!

If you liked that, you may also like to listen to the following message as well:-


If it’s true, that change happens in
a moment.



The few people who previewed today’s
TalkBack say it’s the most powerful
15 minutes of the new year so far.

God Bless YOU and YOURS,
Stephen Pierce

P.S. This is an unforgettable 15 minutes.
You owe it to yourself to experience it
right now.

Check out the rest of the site for other beneficial information whilst you are there.

Top Australian sportsman succumbs to depression.

February 01, 2008 By: John Category: Depression Facts 2 Comments →

Shaun Tait is an excellent fast bowler in the game of cricket. However, he is still developing and is finding it difficult to maintain a position in the elite Australian cricket team.

Obviously, the extreme pressures of the game, plus self-imposed pressures have taken their toll as the articles below suggest:-

Tait to consult depressed sportspersons to revive career

Melbourne (PTI): Australian pacer Shaun Tait will speak to sportspersons who have battled depression to revive his desire to play cricket.

The 24-year-old stunned everyone by taking temporary retirement from international cricket on Tuesday citing mental and physical exhaustion.

And in a bid to get over it, he would now consult others like him, including England batsman Marcus Trescothick.

Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) President Darren Lehmann confirmed that Tait will consult some athletes who have coped with depression to get over his mental block.

However, he refused to give particular names.

“There are a few (people) that we have got in the pipeline but I would rather not say who at the moment … we will get him in touch with some good people,” Lehmann was quoted as saying by the ‘AAP’, a news agency here.

“He’s not in a great place at the moment. He has got to get back to enjoying life again,” he added.

Lehmann has played with Tait in domestic cricket and described his current state as “sad”.

“Looking back … he’s not (been) as happy as he was in the last few months. He was always struggling a bit on the field,” he revealed.

“The simple fact for him is just getting back to basics and enjoying life. I think he just needs to get away for a while and rest the body.

Lehmann’s view was echoed by South Australia coach Mark Sorell, who felt the youngster needed emotional support.

“We will be giving him the space that he needs and support so that we can see how long it takes,” Sorell said.

Source: The Hindu News Update service.

[Do you think that Shaun Tait would be better off consulting sports people who have overcome depression rather than “depressed sportspersons”?]

Confused Shaun Tait: I don’t know what’s going on
Article from: The Advertiser


January 31, 2008 12:10am

SPEED ace Shaun Tait admitted yesterday he was as confused as anyone about his shock exit from cricket at all levels.
When approached by The Advertiser at his Hyde Park home, a healthy-looking Tait, 24, said he “will talk at some stage” about his indefinite exit from the game.

Dressed in official Australian cricket tracksuit pants, a white T-shirt and black cap, the paceman, who was dropped for last week’s Adelaide Test against India after a poor performance in Perth, said: “I don’t even know what’s going on.

“I will talk at some stage . . . just not now,” he said, clutching a three-litre container of fruit juice.

Tait added that he “would appreciate being left alone”.

His father Phil, who lives on a small property at Dawesley near Nairne in the Adelaide Hills, was also reluctant to speak about his son’s future or reasons leading to his decision.

“(Shaun) asked for his privacy to be respected and so it should be,” he told The Advertiser

Phil Tait blamed sections of the media for being too pushy in the wake of his son’s announcement.

“I think the media should back off and be careful what they say about people,” he said.

On Tuesday, Tait rocked the international cricket world when he quit the game after succumbing to a mental and physical breakdown a day earlier.

“This is not an overnight decision but something I’ve been struggling with for some time,” he said in a prepared statement on Tuesday night.

“A break from professional cricket will hopefully give me a clear mind and a chance for my body to rest and recover.”

“My love and enjoyment of the game is struggling due to these issues and if I continue to go on, it will be unfair on my team mates and support staff of both the Australian and South Australian cricket teams – and most importantly, my family and close friends.”

On Sunday, against Victoria in Traralgon, Tait played his last match when he claimed 3/57 for the Redbacks, which followed his failed return to Test cricket in Perth two weeks ago.

He was not selected in the starting 11 for Australia’s fourth test clash against India in Adelaide last week.

Team-mates and close friends were shocked by the bowler’s decision to quit at such a young age, but are hopeful he will return to the game. Last year, Tait earned more than $600,000.

On Tuesday night, SA Cricket Association medical officer Terry Farquharson said: “The combination of his injury history and the demands of being an elite professional cricketer has affected his physical, and significantly, his emotional wellbeing”.

Tait turns 25 next month.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Tait will consult other sportsmen who have battled depression in a bid to rekindle his desire to play cricket again.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association will put Tait in touch with other sportsmen who have suffered depression, possibly including former England batsman Marcus Trescothick and AFL footballer Nathan Thompson.

“There is a few (people) that we have got in the pipeline but I would rather not say who at the moment . . . we will get him in touch with some good people,” ACA president Darren Lehmann said yesterday.

“To be perfectly honest, he’s not in a great place at the moment. He has got to get back to enjoying life again.”

Lehmann was confident Tait would play again, but cautioned: “However long it takes, it takes”.

That sentiment was endorsed by SA coach Mark Sorell.

“We will be giving him the space that he needs and support so that we can see how long it takes,” Sorell said yesterday.


This is all very sad as Shaun Tait has the talent to become a star performer in the world wide arena of the game of cricket. I hope that he soon recovers from this ailment.

Perhaps Shaun should be persuaded to read the articles in the Beat Your Depression blog. There are so many that could provide some assistance and relief for him. A good starting point would be, Tending The Mind Garden.

So you think that you are a loser?

February 01, 2008 By: John Category: Depression Facts, Overcoming depression 1 Comment →

How often do people just give up when they come to a hurdle in life? Too often I believe.

Hurdles are just stepping stones to success. Look at the portrait of an achiever below:-


  • Failed in Business – Bankruptcy, 1831
  • Defeated for Legislature, 1832
  • Sweetheart/Fiancee Dies, 1835
  • Nervous Breakdown, 1836
  • Defeated in Election, 1836
  • Defeated for U.S. Congress, 1843
  • Defeated again for U.S. Congress, 1846
  • Defeated once again for U.S. Congress, 1848
  • Defeated for U.S. Senate, 1855
  • Defeated for U.S. Vice President, 1856
  • Defeated again for U.S. Senate, 1858
  • Elected President of the U.S.A., 1860

Would you say that President Abraham Lincoln was a loser? Admittedly he did suffer from depression [see “You are not alone” free e-course] but he did not allow that to become an excuse to quit.

You cannot fail… unless you quit!”

Quitters never win and Winners never quit.

Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare and how the tortoise kept plodding along determinedly even though the competition was way ahead. He did not give up when all seemed lost but persevered and overtook the hare [competition] when the hare was sleeping and then the tortoise became a winner.

However, you do not have to come first to become a winner. I have noticed, on a couple of occasions, how a person who came second or third in a talent show on TV went on to become more successful than the person who won the event. Just because you did not come first does not mean that you are not talented or competent.

Look at the person who comes last in the finals of an Olympic swimming event. Do you think that person is a loser? No way! There were just 7 other people in the world that were better than him or her on the day. Look at all of the people who tried to even get to the Olympics, let alone qualify for the finals. Most of those people were also champions in there own rights.

Consider the person who came second in the final. The winning margin can often be measured in hundredths of a second. I consider the second place getter to still be a great athlete.

You too can be great at what you do if you persevere. You can still be a winner without coming first. Let us say that you develop a business where you have scores of competitors ahead of you financially, but you still make a net profit of $5 million per year and growing. Would you consider yourself to be a loser? This shows that you do not have to be the best to be a winner.

Below is a poem and a quotation that I have kept handy for many years to keep my mind on track when it sometimes wanders.


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns;

And many a person turns about

When they might have won had they stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,

You may succeed with another blow.

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup;

And he learned too late when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out,

The silver lining in the seeds of doubt,

And you can never tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far.

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.

It’s when things go wrong that you must not quit




Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not.

Nothing is more common than unsuccessful individuals with talent.

Genius will not.

Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not.

The world is full of educated derelicts.



Holiday Depression

December 21, 2007 By: John Category: Depression Facts, Good Mood Foods, Overcoming depression 3 Comments →

Why is it that depression is common at holiday periods and especially at Christmas?

We are told that it is the season to be jolly. But what if you’re feeling anything but jolly? I can recall how, in my late teens, I had an unexplained feeling of being low and “down in the dumps” on Christmas Day. Actually, for some reason or other, my mood is often at a low ebb on Christmas Day. I can recall my father asking me what was the matter and I could not give him a logical answer. I was just as perplexed as he was. I wondered if it was because I knew by now that Father Christmas was not real. I still cannot explain why I often feel low at this time of the year.

Depression is common at this time of year, for many reasons.

For some, Christmas and the holiday season is not a time of joy and cheer but of depression, loneliness, anxiety and self-evaluation.

It seems that the festive season tends to force you to face the fact that life isn’t always as joyful as we are led to believe.

For single people, in particular, Christmas and New Year can be a very isolated time. But even if you’re surrounded by family and friends, this time of year can bring more than its fair share of stress, noise, anxiety and squabbles.

When you add this to longstanding financial problems, family conflicts, job problems or bereavement, it’s no wonder calls to helplines about depression and suicide rise by nearly ten per cent during the festive season.

There could be many reasons including financial constraints, not being able to spend time with family, especially those recently departed, or conversely, spending too much time with family, can all lead to Christmas depression and holiday depression.

The added stresses, unrealistic expectations, and fatigue can also contribute to holiday depression. People with few friends or family members, or living a long way from friends and family, may feel even more alone and isolated. People with a large circle of family and friends may feel stressed by having to cook and entertain for large family get-togethers, especially if there is an unpleasant in-law that you need to deal with without causing a scene.

Other holiday depression stressors include:

  • Separation or divorce that can leave people celebrating Christmas and the holiday season alone.
  • People who have lost a loved one, especially recently, are often very mindful of that loss.
  • The activities of the holidays can place a significant burden on already full schedules.
  • The costs involved with the holidays can place a significant burden on already tight budgets.

Although the stressors that can cause holiday depression cannot be completely eliminated, there are a number of suggestions that can help keep Christmas and holiday depression at a minimum.

  • Schedule obligations and parties wisely. If trying to cram another obligation into the already overfilled schedule causes stress, cancel and spend the evening taking a bubble bath or curled up with a good book.
  • Recognize the sadness of absent loved ones instead of denying the sadness.
  • Set reasonable financial goals based on what the budget can afford.
  • Remember that Christmas depression is not permanent. Moods typically improve once the holidays are over.
  • Set reasonable time goals while employing time management techniques. For example, you can do Christmas shopping during the off-peak season and shop online or by mail order. Unique, thoughtful and handmade gifts are often much more appreciated than a gift bought out of obligation.
  • Be especially mindful of diet during the holiday season. High sugar and carbohydrate laden foods typical of the holidays will only make depression matters worse. Allow indulgences during the holidays, but with limitations.
  • Put old issues aside when dealing with family. If that is not possible, consider limiting the time spent with people who aggravate you.

Children, can also experience a post-holiday let down after Christmas, when the brightness and togetherness of the season make way to more mundane things.

Compounding the problem of depression around Christmas and the holiday season is fewer hours of daylight that occur from Thanksgiving and past Christmas. So, in addition to holiday depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can also play a role in depression during the holiday season.

Although there are many easily identifiable causes for holiday depression, there are also some people [like me] who cannot pinpoint the exact cause of their Christmas depression. They know they are “supposed to” feel happy during the holiday season but instead of feeling happy, the flat, lackluster cloud of depression hangs over them.

Regardless of the cause of depression during Christmas and the holiday season, sufferers of depression during the holiday season might experience excess fatigue, a change in sleeping patterns, irritability and feelings of sadness. People who do not display the outward symptoms of depression during Christmas and the holiday season might develop other stress responses like over eating or excessive drinking.

Should you be a sufferer of depression, try to think of things other than inward thoughts. You can show more interest in, and engage with, children who usually really enjoy the festive season. This will make you think of things, other than your own problems. Or you can start a conversation by asking people questions [not nasty] about themselves. This takes your thoughts away from your own particular problems and makes you appear to be a “nice guy” to the person that you are questioning. Everybody seems to like talking about themselves and people who take an interest in them usually become very popular. Also be careful what you eat as this can affect your mood, either adversely, or for the better.

For those of you who have friends or loved ones who exhibit signs of depression, you may be able to understand their feelings and try to distract them by involving them in activities that will discourage inward thoughts. Giving them a simple job [accompanied with some genuine praise] may be all that it takes to jolt them out of their introspective thoughts and get them to be the pleasant people that we know that they can be.  Introduce some good humor as this, too, helps to alleviate problems associated with depression.  You will need to use discretion with this though.

I hope that you can keep depression at bay during the festive season and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

“You Are What You Eat” applies to depression

December 18, 2007 By: John Category: Depression Facts, Good Mood Foods, Natural cures for depression, Overcoming depression, Recovery from depression 1 Comment →

There may be some truth to the adage “You are what you eat.”

Do you happen to be moody or depressed, in need of revitalization and energy, or notice your behavior and mood changes from day to day? For example you may feel on top of the world one day whereas on other days you feel like you are at the bottom of a pit. Then your mood and energy levels may be related to your diet.

It has been demonstrated that what you eat affects your mental functioning and, by choosing foods wisely, you may be better able to stabilize your emotional and mental health. Just as putting the right fuel into your automobile is very important, [You would not like the problems associated with diesel fuel in a gasoline tank.] putting the right food in your body may make the difference between a happy day and a grumpy day, and it may improve your overall performance.

Food can make us feel good. There is no doubt about that as many people eat food for pleasure more than for nutritional needs. The food we eat has the ability to alter the production or release of neurotransmitters within our bodies. These neurotransmitters are chemicals that the body uses to relay, amplify and modulate the transmission of our thoughts and actions to the brain, and other tissues such as muscles, via interfaces, known as synapses, between nerve endings [neurons]. There are very many neurotransmitters doing a variety of jobs.

Some examples of neurotransmitter action:

  • Acetylcholine – voluntary movement of the muscles
  • Norepinephrine – wakefulness or arousal
  • Dopamine – voluntary movement and motivation, “wanting”, pleasure, associated with addiction and love
  • Serotonin – memory, emotions, wakefulness, sleep and temperature regulation
  • GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) – inhibition of motor neurons
  • Glycine – spinal reflexes and motor behaviour
  • Neuromodulators – sensory transmission-especially pain

It is important to appreciate that it is the receptors on the ends of neurons that dictate the neurotransmitter’s effect. This will be expanded upon later when discussing addiction and withdrawal symptons and how they are caused.

The food we eat affects the neurotransmitters and thus our moods. These neurotransmitters also tell us when we are full, if a food is too hot, and how it tastes. There is a theory that the nutrients in foods are precursors to the neurotransmitters, deciding how much of the neurotransmitter is produced. Foods are made of many nutrients that interact together and this can complicate matters. This is also why some foods produce natural reactions, and maybe even remedies, that commercial extracts from the food, or synthesized chemicals, are unable to mirror.

Physiological and psychological interactions make up the mood-food connection. It may be that a food is comforting because it reminds us of a pleasurable association with family meals while growing up. It may be the temperature of the “comfort” food, like warm hot chocolate, that is the comforting element helping you to relax or fall asleep.

It is interesting that a little warm milk before bedtime also increases the levels of seratonin. As mom may have told you, it helps you to sleep. Serotonin is a derivative of tryptophan, which is found in milk. The “warm” part is just for comfort!

More about mood foods in the next post.

Good Humor Counters Depression and Anxiety

December 17, 2007 By: John Category: Depression Facts, Depression Treatment, Natural cures for depression 1 Comment →

“Good humor is tonic for the mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment. ” – Grenville Kleiser

With the benefit of hindsight I now realize that good humor has helped me to stave off depression on many occasions over the years. In fact, it is only when I allowed circumstances to overcome my sense of humor that depression set in.

Notice that I said, “when I allowed circumstances,” and did not blame prevailing circumstances for my predicament at the time! This is because we all have choices as to how we react, or respond, to what happens in our lives.

Make sure that the choices that you make are in YOUR best interests.

What causes the chemical imbalances that lead to depression?

October 25, 2007 By: John Category: Depression Facts, Depression Information, Depression Treatment 11 Comments →

The medical fraternity often claims that a major cause of depression, anxiety, and other forms of emotional disorders, is chemical imbalance. However, there is seldom any discussion about what causes the chemical imbalance. I have been searching for answers to this question and so far I have found that there is very little information provided by doctors, scientists, or clinical researchers.

There is a considerable amount of information discussing what the chemical imbalances are and what can be done, medically, to adjust the imbalance of chemicals. However, despite a lot of research over a long period of time, it appears that there are only several theories put forward regarding possible causes. One of these relates to a sustained increase in the production of adrenalin as a result of daily stressors, and a corresponding and compensating reduction in the production of the neurochemicals [or neurotransmitters] such as seratonin and cortisol.

Another theory suggests that disturbed sleep patterns and/or chronic pain cause seratonin to be used quicker than it can be replaced by the body. This leads to a situation where the synapses [the region where two or more nerve cells meet and across which an impulse passes] have insufficient amounts of neurotransmitter in them to allow the passage of complete signals relating to sleep, pain control, and mood control. This, in turn, often results in a snowball effect that compounds the problem.

There are some people out there who believe that pharmaceutical companies may know more about the causes of the imbalances than they are prepared to divulge because it may lead to a downturn in the lucrative sales of their products. Perhaps the tobacco industry’s record caused them to have this slant on their outlook? They may have a point though as I understand that not all sufferers of depression and anxiety etc. have a chemical imbalance; many people do not respond to antidepressants used to compensate for chemical imbalances; and there are times when sufferers respond positively to placebos. In other circumstances it is time that tends to heal the problem.

I believe that the medical profession really is trying to get a much better understanding of the problem. viz:-

“A study at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston may lead to a better understanding of how antidepressants like Prozac work — and how to make them more effective.” 2005

“Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Eric Gouaux at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and colleagues Satinder K. Singh and Atsuko Yamashita published their findings August 8, 2007, in an advance online publication in the journal Nature. ….. The researchers began their studies with the goal of understanding how TCAs interact with their clinical target, sodium-coupled neurotransmitter transporters. These transporters mop up neurotransmitters from the synapse, the junction between neurons. Neurotransmitters are molecules that neurons use to communicate with neighbouring neurons. TCAs work by inhibiting the reuptake of neurotransmitters by neurons.

Disorders such as depression, epilepsy, autism, or obsessive-compulsive disorder can result from impaired function of sodium-coupled neurotransmitter transporters. Thus, these molecules are the target of a variety of drugs, including TCAs.

It has been a great challenge, however, to understand precisely how these molecules function and interact with drugs. The problem, Gouaux said, is that the transporters found in humans are not amenable to study.”

Another person has remarked that life would be miserable if we did not have some chemical imbalances that affect our moods. When you think about this there is some merit to the statement. Without mood swings, ostensibly brought about by chemical imbalances, we would all be like the legendary Zombies, or living dead. We would not enjoy the natural highs of endorphin, the body’s opiate-like hormone, brought about by singing, dancing and exercise. Nor would we be able to display sorrow or grief when it is appropriate to do so. And if we did not have our down days we would not have a yardstick to measure against and appreciate the good days.

We are all probably aware that it is our thoughts that generally prompt the secretion of the various hormones. For example, if we think that our safety is being threatened, we quickly secrete adrenalin and its cohorts to equip us for fight or flight by closing down nutrient supply to some organs, such as the digestive system, and re-directing the nutrients to the muscles, heart and lungs until the threat is gone and our system can return to normal.

When we anticipate [think] something favorable is about to happen, we produce hormones that put us in a good mood; and thinking of a sumptuous meal causes us to salivate in anticipation of partaking the meal.

This, together with my personal experiences, convinces me that, if our thoughts influence our body’s endocrine glands [those that excrete the hormones and saliva etc.] then, by controlling our thoughts we can influence the secretions of hormones, and the timing of such secretions, to our advantage. Cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT] is a relatively new method of treating problems associated with depression and anxiety etc. and is certainly a step in the right direction. This, and other forms of mental programming, will be the subject of much of my discussion in future.

In my case, I applied the information that I gleaned from the “Total Success Library” and listened to relaxation recordings to hasten my recovery from depression.

Note: Since I originally wrote this post I have been searching for the answer to the question that I posed. My research has caused me much to be alarmed about, especially when a prominent psychiatrist has stated that chemical imbalances of the brain is the only disease spread by word of mouth.

There seems to be a considerable number of psychiatrists who disagree with the position taken by the pharmaceutical companies that produce anti-depressants and the many doctors who prescribe them. One such psychiatrist is Douglas C. Smith, M.D. from Juneau, Alaska, who stated “One hundred years from now, people will read current psychiatric text books with the same incredulity we have about blood-letting and snake oil…”

I was particularly concerned to read about the association of anti-depressants and suicide, attempted suicide, homicide and attempted homicide by people who take anti-depressants, plus the fact that during the first 12 years after its introduction, there were 40,000 reports of adverse effects from Prozac submitted to the FDA.

Expect to read more about these concerns in future posts.