Some unfortunate people suffer from depression all their lives. There may be a sneaking suspicion it’s their fault in some way, which is not true. Lifelong (chronic) depression is an illness that can be as debilitating as heart disease, and if untreated can even be fatal. Chronic depression is caused by one or a combination of the following:
- You have an imbalance in your brain chemistry. This can be addressed through supplements and/or antidepressant medications. Many people think they don’t want to take medication, but what if your prejudice against it is keeping you from relief?
- You don’t get enough exercise. Research has repeatedly shown that getting enough exercise is the number one thing that helps relieve depression.
- You are lacking EFA’s and need to take fish oil supplements. This seems to be especially true of people from Northern European heritage.
- You have a highly sensitized reaction to alcohol, sugar, and/or caffeine, and may not be able to use them like other people. Bummer, I know, but many people with chronic depression see miraculous results when they begin to manage their diets in much the same way a diabetic does.
- There are ways that you think and things you tell yourself that are not helpful. Depressed people tend to have depressing thoughts. You do not have to be a slave to your mind.
- You don’t have enough friends or social contact. Depressed people tend to be lonely without adequate social support. Facebook doesn’t count – we need to be in the presence of other peoples’ bodies.
- You have unfinished business from the past that needs to be worked through. A competent, licensed mental health professional can help you do the work to get free.
- You are not living your right life. Depressed people often feel trapped in work that is not feeding their heart or their passion. There are hard decisions that must be made if one is to feel good about themselves and their lives.
- You are a spiritual person, and living a life without deeper meaning is not enough for you. Many depressed people have tasted something deeper than is offered by the mainstream culture, and have a driving desire to honor that inner knowing. This call must be answered.
The healing of lifelong depression takes a holistic approach, and yes, it can be done. If you or someone you love suffers, please get competent help.
© 2014 Catherine Auman This article is an excerpt from Catherine’s book Shortcuts to Mindfulness: 100 Ways to Personal and Spiritual Growth