Depression and anxiety are opportunities. Opportunities to figure out what is going on in the body. Opportunities to find out what gut and mind imbalances are creating the monster.
As I have said before, I am more than grateful that the idea was planted in me to get to the root of why I had depression. I’m not even sure where the idea came from–except that all good ideas come from God. It began as a small idea, a wondering, a musing…and it built. It eventually became something that I voiced and then something that I acted upon.
And that action has made all of the difference. It has not only allowed me to be free of depression and anxiety, but it gave me opportunities to learn about gut and mind health, to learn about the gift of coaching that I had no idea I had, and to be free from feeling out of control and so unhappy deep down inside of me.
What opportunities await you?
Undoubtedly, you have heard the theory that depression can be caused by low serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is the “happy” chemical the brain makes. And we have been told that antidepressants help to correct such an imbalance.
According to Dr. Broger, “There has never been a human study that successfully links low serotonin levels and depression…the serotonin theory of depression is a total myth that has been unjustly supported by the manipulation of data.”
So why is there this theory? Because it garners money as this article talks about. Billions of dollars a year are spent on antidepressants. Some doctors will prescribe because a patient is so convinced that an antidepressant is the only thing that will cure their blues–and the patient knows because they have heard the ads over and over and over that claim a cure-all.
So why do antidepressants sometimes work? This was my experience. Within a couple of hours of taking Prozac the first time, I felt much, much better. According to Dr. Broger, “When patients on SSRI medication improve, it appears that their brains are actually overcoming the effects of antidepressants, rather than being helped by them. The drugs are interfering with the brain’s own mechanisms of recovery.” (p 47)
So the drug worked for awhile for me. It was definitely better than the alternative. Dr Broger explains, “Perhaps it is by virtue of the brain’s own powers trying to combat the assault of the antidepressants–not the other way around. But over time, as the assault continues, the brain is functionally compromised under the constant force of the incoming drugs.” (p 47)
This was true for me. Eventually the side effects became very obvious–tiredness, numbness–and then I began to bounce back and forth between different meds to see if the side effects would lessen. They didn’t. So I always returned to Prozac until I reached a point where I was ready to do my own research; I was ready to figure out what was going on instead of remaining a victim of the head and gut war raging inside of me.
Antidepressants have long-term side effects that aren’t pretty. And they will manifest for everyone differently. I invite you to begin or continue your own research into what your fight against depression is really costing you.
Most of us have heard that depression is genetic…and therefore there isn’t much, if anything, that can be done about it.
For awhile now, scientists have been discovering epigenetics–which is the study of sections of DNA that tell a person’s genes “when and how strongly to express themselves.” (Kelly Brogan, A Mind of Your Own, p. 38) When I discovered this science a few years ago, I was fascinated because it clearly showed that there really was something I could do about the depression and anxiety I was struggling with. I even wrote a research paper on the topic in 2014!
From Dr. Brogan: “Like conductors of an orchestra, these epigenetic marks control not only your health and longevity, but also how you pass your genes on to future generations. Indeed, the forces acting on the expression of your DNA today can be passed on to your future biological children, affecting how their genes behave in their lives and whether or not their chldren will face a higher risk of certain diseases and disorders, depression included. But, by the same token, these marks can be changed to read differently, making it fully possible to reverse certain diseases…There are likely many windows during our lifetime when we are sensitive to enviromental impacts that can change our biology and have major downstream effects such as symptoms of depressionl…
“We need to look at the body’s ecosystem: intestinal health, hormonal interactions, the immune system and autoimmune disorders, blood sugar balance, and toxicant exposure. And we need natural, evidence-based alternative to psychiatric medications–treatments that target what’s really awry in our bodies.” (p. 38-39)
Perhaps your mental illness challenges were passed on to you through your ancestral lines and certain enviromental factors have allowed it to show up in you. I invite you to consider that there is something you can do to not just overcome but to break the cycle in your family line.
See also: The Biology of Belief
The Brain Maker