Guest post by Roy Holman
Let’s talk about what might seem to be a depressing topic: depression itself. To me, intense topics like fear and shame and depression are not upsetting. What is depressing is to ignore these things and not talk about them. Bringing them into the light and discussing them is actually uplifting.
We are currently experiencing some of the deepest or highest rates of depression our planet has seen. Signs of depression include anxiety, loneliness, fatigue, hopelessness, helplessness, inability to feel pleasure, and insomnia. How serious is this? Nearly twenty million Americans suffer from depression in any given year.
The prescribing of antidepressants has risen nearly 400% since 1988, according to stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors wrote 190 million prescriptions for anti depressants in the U.S. in 2006. One out of every ten American adults is now taking antidepressants–double the amount in 1996. Interestingly, many of the studies suggest that placebos work about as well as antidepressant drugs, without the often considerable side effects, although some do seem to benefit from drugs. There are also about 30,000 suicides in the U.S. each year, or 85 each day. Some recent studies argue that Americans are some of the least happy and most depressed people in the world.
Why are we so depressed anyway?
Some of the reasons Americans are unhappy or depressed:
1. Depression is the repression of expression. Our cultural epidemic of disconnect from our bodies and emotions. Inability to express either our pain or our passion.
2. Ignoring our call to life, to live our passion and dharma.
3. Loss of community and social support network.
4. Our cognitive dissonance, knowing that something is wrong in our life or world, but everyone seems to be ignoring the problems (or focusing excessively on them, such as the media!).
5. Nutritional deficiencies and environmental pollution.
6. Learned helplessness and perceived powerlessness.
7. Our cultural belief in finding joy and fulfillment outside ourselves.
8. Disconnect from our deepest self, our spiritual reality and Divine nature.
Tips for Defeating Depression:
Get help: Support groups, therapy, friends. Do not go it alone.
See a nutritionist or naturopath to make sure all is well physically.
Trust and follow your passion. Stretch your comfort zone.
Do not feed or believe critical voices in head. You are a spark of Divine!
Connect with, trust, and surrender to higher Self, Divine. Pray and ask for help, and follow the guidance.
Move your body. Play, be in nature. Do yoga. Breathe.
Go within. Face your shadows, demons and pain.
Learn emotional literacy. Practice feeling and expressing.
On the other hand, if you feel like you are going a bit crazy, you may in fact be waking up! There are tremendous shifts underway, with the Earth itself undergoing a healing crisis. All of us need to go through our own “dark night of the soul,” which ideally breaks our ego identification and small sense of self, and aligns us with our deepest, true Self. It is our Soul calling us to freedom.
Regarding the deepest reality, the Buddha said,
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