Clinical depression is a disease – or a dis-ease, it strives to make you ‘uneasy.’ A powerful metaphor for depression is to consider the disease as a team of engineers, whose primary purpose is to tear down bridges, not build them. The bridges that depression seeks to destroy are those bridges, or pathways in your brain that link the feelings of pleasure to your life experiences with people, place and events. In real life – depression hurts. Before it controls your life completely it is critical you find a way to deal with depression.
A more pathological description of this which illustrates why anti-depression drugs are helpful speaks of the neuro-synaptic pathways (bridges) that are in your brain, and over which these signals travel to connect the cells that retain the memory of our life experiences, to the cells the trigger the endorphins and hormones that we know are the sensation of pleasure. Anti-depression can do two things physiologically – they can stimulate the use of more serotonin (the raw material to build these bridges with) and prevent that raw material from being re-absorbed before it can be used to build the bridge.
These bridges/neuro-synaptic pathways, are built through every experience we have from birth. Like walking in a grassy field, the more you walk the same path, the more the grass lies down, and the clearer and easier the path becomes, until it become second nature.
As you may have experienced, depression tears these bridges down, leaving one dis-engaged, or ‘checked-out’ from many, and ultimately all, of those experiences that brought you satisfaction or pleasure. For those who allow this core of engineers to tear down these bridges, without enacting a plan to re-build the bridges, and save those bridges yet destroyed. find them selves completely ‘checked-out’ and reach such despair life may feel as if it has no meaning.
I believe that life is about fully engaging in BOTH love and passion, AND being the conduit of compassion that allows these gifts to flow through u s, and to be shared with others. Depression seeks to destroy our meaning of life by breaking these bridges.
Personally I faced the battle of depression back in the 90’s when I was burying a friend a week from AIDS, and from my clinical counseling training. I believe a multifaceted approach is the most powerful way to combat depression – a possible combination of drugs, therapy and personal action.
Only a licensed psychiatrist or medical doctor can prescribe anti-depressants. An experienced counselor or therapist is almost always necessary to help you travel this journey – and overcome that insidious corp or bridge destroying engineers!
The personal action is about effecting the plans you create with your counselor or therapist to “kicking the butts” of that insidious corp of engineer and refusing to let bridges to be destroyed, while striving to re-build old ones and create new ones at a rate greater then these nasty guys can destruct them!
Easier said then done, I know, as the loss of these connects leads to apathy, which feeds the destruction. It is quickly a vicious circle that can be created, and only an aggressive plan of action will stop this downward spiral.
Consequently, remaining motivated is not unlike an alcoholic remaining sober. Therapy helps, drugs help, but CRITICAL to success is a personal support system of friends and family who love you so much they will not let you fail. Support groups are great but few things are better then a proven circle of friends and family who love you too much to let you fail, and love you so much, that they can see past your pain, and patiently support you as you re-build these bridges together. Take stock of these relationships. Many may already be strained as depression has already worked its toll. Depression knows these connections are its greatest enemy – desperately seeking to destroy the bridges that you have built with these people. Yet they are the easiest bridges to salvage and re-build as they are the ones that have historically served you well. Your heart knows these relationships can be trusted, even if your brain tried to convince you that you have ‘checked-out.’
Curing depression is about creating AND re-creating love and passion in your life. Take a good look around you – who are the sources of the most powerful love you experienced in the past? Who do you know loves you enough that you can trust their judgment over your own as depression seeks to drive you into loneliness and despair? Who loves you enough and who can you trust to walk that journey with you?
Beating depression and living a life of passion and love will only happen in relationship. Those relationship best include your friends, family and loved ones, an experienced counselor or therapist who understands your challenges, and the possible support of a medical practitioner.
Clinical signs of depression may include some or all of the following descriptors. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, impaired concentration and difficulty making decisions, fatigue, loss of energy, or being tired all the time, low self-esteem, trouble sleeping or oversleeping the use or escalating use of drugs and/or alcohol, and/or a poor appetite or overeating.
If you believe you are suffering from depression it is critical that you seek professional help. The time to do so is as early in the process as possible. If you are experiencing some or any of the symptoms listed above contact a professional who will be able to help you. As you have learned from this article, the earlier in the process that you can take action to prevent the disassembling of the many bridges of love and support in your life as possible, the more effective and the quicker your treatment will be.
Experiencing a life full of passion and love is a phenomenal experience. To live such a life requires that you decide to be the master of your mind and experiences. Many of us do not intuitively know how to exercise these skills and an experienced counselor or therapist provides an excellent opportunity for you to develop this mastery.
Todd Kaufman provides counselling and therapy in Toronto and via SKYPE. He uses a broad range of therapeutic techniques and approaches unique for each client that are designed to provide powerful, effective and expedient ways to overcome challenges and create the life you desire. Todd’s personal experience and clinical training has made him and expert member of treatment teams for depression.
His organization http://www.GenesisSquared.com specializes in relationships and people-centric solutions for businesses and groups.
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