See what i did there? – type two words and you hear one – check out the literary alchemist. Seriously though, it’s not surprising that most people will have “heard” the word depressed when reading the title – depression seems to be everywhere right now.
Note – I may be a literary alchemist but i should apologise for the slightly disjointed style of this, i’ve tried re-writing it a few times only to find i couldn’t really do much more right now. It says what it needs to say.
Right, back to the matter at hand.
Depression is the mindbody system doing what it has to in order to return to it’s optimal state. In the presence of almost constant stress and negative/harmful stimulation, it is simply being completely honest about how it feels and then taking action to remedy that.
For example – Someone with “chronic anxiety” will become “depressed” (have moments of deep “depression”) but the two cannot exist at the same moment as one is a “defence mechanism” against the other.
Too many things to think about. Too much to “worry” about. Too much to “care” about. Too much choice. Too much to do today – every day. In a society that is “designed” to make us unwell, the mindbody decides it has to “not care” about any of this nonsense. It “realises” how unimportant these things that we are “worrying”/”stressing” about really are now that it’s (your) health that is at risk. Instead of “doing the right thing” and appearing (at face value) to appreciate everyone’s point of view and lifestyle, it becomes contemptuous of (much of) the society it sees and seeks to distance itself from it – Because to continue to go along with all of this and make like everything is OK is really hard work – highly “stressful” – becoming so harmful that a “deep rest” is the only answer.
I like to think of it as “de-pressed” or, as suggested above, “deep rest”. It has (rightly in my opinion) been argued by some that depression is actually a pretty natural state for the mindbody to “adopt”/adapt to in our modern world as the information being piped into your “mind” via the various media channels is pretty awful – From worldwide water and food shortages to constant wars and massive inequality – the world possibly being “run” by a group of individuals/families/groups who, if you believe that “evil” does exist, could certainly qualify for that label. The oceans being poisoned, species becoming extinct at a rapid rate, peak oil, knife attacks – Not to mention the conditioning that takes place from a young age and the pressures of being a child in today’s society! It would be easy to feel less than optimistic the way the world seems/is right now. This is why we see younger and younger children affected by this “condition”.
It’s easy to see how – with all of the above – day after day, week after week, month after month, that the mindbody says “enough, i can’t take this shit any more – i don’t care – i just don’t care” – And it’s response is to make you feel that way through changing the message you are sending to your nervous system and beyond.
It’s first line of defence is to adopt a “stoic” expression. An expression of “i don’t care” – “i’m not bothered” – and this, as we know, causes you to feel that way through the relationship between what your face says/does and how you feel – your mindbody is making your face adopt that expression to change your chemistry – to affect how you perceive the world. It is protecting you, helping you. Obviously this is a feedback loop and thoughts affect chemistry too – but changing your chemistry through physical/body language is more powerful as it changes your perception and therefore your thinking every minute of every day.
As we’ve seen above, this change causes you to feel differently – to become “closed off” – almost emotionless. Not wanting to socialise for example – why would you when it’s hard work communicating with those who only talk about bullshit things that you don’t find interesting in the slightest? Time to be honest – either find new friends or become a recluse. Family that can’t talk about your situation? Who find it impossible to be vulnerable? – Your defence mechanism will tell you to communicate as little as possible and when you do, keep that face on and you’ll seem fine to them – no point trying to talk to them about it, they won’t be able to, they are too closed off to their own feelings, let alone yours.
This is why so many people are surprised when they hear that a family member of friend has committed suicide. The person concerned seemed relaxed; un-phased, if a little distant at times – but nothing that “stood out”. It wouldn’t would it, especially to those who often can’t even communicate with themselves openly.
I read recently that suicide is the number 1 killer of men between 20-49 in the UK and i think the statistics are pretty close in Ireland too. More men between 20-49 are killing themselves than dying of anything else?! – Seriously, it’s time to wake up to the fact that our “lifestyles” are killing us. We have probably all heard the expression “your health is your wealth” but so few of us actually live that way – thinking that a hour of physical exercise and a half decent diet are the keys to staying well – they are not.
So, the defence mechanism is in place, trying to help you return to an optimal state of body and mind. Problem is, the world carries on hassling you – In oh so many ways – have to keep going to work to pay the bills, dealing with all that the job entails, days often filled with bullshit and stress. TV doesn’t get turned off, more messages of negativity, doom and gloom etc – people relying on you for things, more stress when your mindbody just wants you to stop and look after yourself. Time to go to stage 2, Physical pain.
Physical pain is a complicated thing. It is known that pain can be “created” by the mindbody complex as a “distraction” from processing that which is hard to process. It’s pretty hard to process everything that is “wrong” in the world right now so this would be an ideal time for pain to do it’s thing. Pain can be “created” by the mindbody to get you to do what it has told you to do already but you haven’t listened. Obviously pain can also be from actual tissue damage as well as from other sources but for the purpose of this subject, we are looking at it as a creation to make you change your behaviour. And that’s what is happening here – there is no structural damage, you’ve done nothing to cause any – That pain is the mind body trying to get you to do what it wants. Stop and rest, change your lifestyle.
So to finish i suppose that what i’m saying is this – Depression is natural – even helpful – If that person listens to the signals and acts accordingly. If they are able to do what needs to be done – Which is basically listen to the bodies signals and not ignore them and carry on. If they are able to truly accept that their health is their wealth and everything else at this point is moot.
This means change and sometimes change can seem hard – bad habits are hard to break – but not so hard if you allow your chemistry to be changed by this defence mechanism. This change will make your behaviour change, your habits change. If you can truly allow the healing to take place, it will work it’s magic. Your mindbody wants you to be “well”. And remember, this is the big one, without your health everything else is pointless. So learn to listen to the signals – accept that they are right, do what they ask. Don’t push on through, they are you trying to help you. Even something as simple as folding your arms a lot. Don’t listen to the naysayers telling you it’s “negative” body language – it’s your body language doing what it needs to do to help you in that moment. If you just let it do what it needs to, it will get you back to where you need to be.
I’m not saying for one minute that the above is easy to do – but it can be done – we just need to create the space to allow it to happen.