Depressed. Melancholy. Joyless. What’s the answer? Many people resort to drugs to lift their spirits out of the gloomy throes of all-too-common human moods. Indiana University, like many research institutions, regularly recruits participants for studies on depression and mood disorders, in an effort to understand and treat mental problems. Is there a drug-free solution for depression? My colleague, Van Driessen, writing for the November 20, 2015 edition of New York Spirit, shares his personal experience of the permanent healing of severe depression through a spiritual approach. Here’s Van:
Are you companioning with some unsavory characters? I‘m not thinking robbers and arsonists here, but rather discouragement, worry, hopelessness, anger, resentment. These guys lead you into unhappiness, and maybe deeper, into depression, a dark, strength-sapping state of hopelessness and despair.
What if you were able to look at the thoughts which come across your mental screen and decide which ones to keep and which ones to toss–similar to keeping necessary mail and tossing the junk? That would be cool, wouldn’t it?
Of course, tossing junk mail by yourself is one thing, but dealing with hopelessness and despair on your own is another. Still, it does all come down to how we view ourselves and what we choose to accept into our thinking. And, drug-based efforts to treat depression face, it seems, an uphill battle in helping patients do this consistently and permanently.
Richard A. Friedman MD writes “When will we ever get depression under control? Of all the major illnesses, mental or physical, depression has been one of the toughest to subdue. Despite the ubiquity of antidepressant drugs–there are now twenty-six to choose from–only a third of patients with major depression will experience a full remission after the first round of treatment, and successive treatments with different drugs will give some relief to just 20 to 25 percent more.” (Friedman is specialist in mood disorders and depression from the Weill Cornell Medical College at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He writes a regular Blog, “Well”, for the New York Times.)
Yet, examples exist of individuals in every age who have found a way out of the darkness without drugs….