Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


The Science of Resilience

posted by Beyond Blue

Peter Kramer describes the science of resilience in his fascinating book, “Against Depression.” His dream–the fantasy of resilience–gives me great hope that one day I might not have to work so hard at staying positive and sane, that I will, more days than not, think about coffee the first thing in the morning.
I’ve excerpted part of his chapter on resilience. There is a lot of technical language in here, but I think this passage will help my Beyond Blue readers to know that their condition is not make-believe, and that science is on our side.

What is to be done to fulfill the fantasy of resilience? The answer would seem simple: everything. . . . But attempts to prevent depression through social or general medical interventions have their limitations. Some people are born with a marked predisposition to depression. For them, routine levels of stress will prove excessive. Even for people who are not especially fragile, there are just too many pathways to mood disorders. Often, societal change is slow; and the swing of the pendulum is not always in the right direction—we can easily imagine life getting more stressful rather than less.


If you had to specify one direct response to the modern understanding of depression, it would be an effort to devise general tools that interrupt the pathway leading from stress to brain injury. The interventions would afford protection to neurons at risk, even for people in adverse social environments. Ideal treatments would catalyze repair and new cell growth.
This goal has, in fact, driven the psychiatric research of the past decade.
For the last fifty years, pharmacologists have worked on modulating the brain’s handling of norepinephrine and serotonin. The results have been disappointing. New medications like Prozac and Paxil and the others have their advantages—they do especially well, for example, with social anxiety, and they have improved the treatment of low-level depression. But the early antidepressants, developed in the 1950s, are as effective at ending depressive episodes.
Besides, throughout that half century, scientists have understood that serotonin and norepinephrine play at best supporting roles in the biology of mood and mood disorder. Research into stress hormones has been a refreshing alternative. It builds on a substaintial knowledge base—decades of studies of endocrine diseases, stroke, and aging. And it holds the promise of prevention, even in the absence of complete knowledge about the nature of depression. . . . .
The gross approach to the stress hormone system—shut it down—may lead to useful treatments for mood disorders. But researchers hoped to craft finer interventions. Perhaps it would be possible to alter the brain’s response to the stress hormones without harming the body’s overall ability to respond to acute challenges. By 1990, the cutting edge of research had moved from modulation of serotonin to the selective blockade of the brain effects of stress hormones. The prime target was corticotropin releasing factor, or CRF.
Corticotropin releasing factor was characterized half a century ago as a hormone that causes the adrenal gland to produce other stress hormones. But CRF has a second set of functions—it acts directly in the nervous system. In a variety of animals, if you introduce CRF into the brain, or if you create a genetically altered individual that produces excess CRF, you see behaviors that look like depression. A number of research results pointed to CRF as a suitable target for intervention in humans. Depressed (human) patients often have elevated levels of CRF in the spinal fluid, a marker of excess CRF in the brain. Studies of untreated depressed patients at autopsy found a tripling of CRF-secreting brain cells, in a pattern suggesting that neurons that normally do not produce CRF had been transformed to do so. Many of the (deleterious) brain effects that we have attributed to stress hormones are put into action by CRF. . . .
Six pharmaceutical houses have patented compounds that block the effects of CRF. In lower mammals, these drugs pass into the brain and block the effects of stressors that otherwise produce depression-like syndromes. Barring disaster—and disasters (suicidality, liver damage) have been common in research on CRF antagonists—the day will come when we get to see these substances in action, in the treatment or prevention of depression in humans.
In the meanwhile, some research teams are shooting the moon. Robert Sapolsky, in particular, is pushing science to its limits. He is using genetic engineering to moderate the effects of stress hormones on the brain. . . .
Sapolsky’s work involves altering neurons so that, when stressed, they make substances that guard again cell death. Sapolsky begins with genes that manufacture neuroprotectants. He attaches these genes to viruses and lets the viruses carry the genes into the neuron. . . .
Sapolsky is engineering an increasingly complex means of fighting brain injury. For instance, he has created a molecule that looks like a stress hormone receptor on one end and like estrogen on the other. In the rat model under study, estrogen causes repair through the growth of new neurons and through arborization. Now when a stressor comes along, the rat brain produces this dual-purpose molecule. The “rear end” of the molecule soaks up stress hormones. And then the “front end” sets repair processes in motion. The more stress it encounters (this is the theory), the more resilient the rat becomes.
Sapolsky is well aware that his model might equally be used to protect the mammalian brain against the causes and consequences of depression. He is extending his research to look at neuroprotection in mental illness. . . .
The Sapolsky work allows us to imagine a future in which depressive patients, or people with a pronounced liability to depression, might be protected through the insertion of genes that, at critical moments, would kick in to prevent cell damage and promote resilience. The result might be, if not the extirpation of depression, then a dramatic interruption of its progression. When you came to adulthood, you might choose to adopt neuroprotective or resilience-inducing genes. Thereafter, your level of depression would not worsen, even in the face of dramatic stresses and humiliating losses. The vascular depression of old age might be delayed. Depression would be ever less common; in the fact of a single bad episode, preventive measures would be employed, to prevent recurrence. . . .
The beauty in this fantasy, the fantasy of resilience, is that it takes place at the level of anatomical pathology, the level of vulnerable cells in selected regions of the brain. A gene is inserted that remains dormant most of the time. Only in the face of stress is it activated—and even then, after a time lag. The brain’s reaction to transient stressors is unchanged; the stress-response “switch” works as it always has, permitting emotion in the face of challenges. It is only when stress threatens to overwhelm and injure neurons that the altered cells produce neuroprotective factors. Protecting neurons should also protect the stress-response switch.
In this model, you are who you are most of the time—glum or perky, empathetic or clueless. You may experience unease, anxiety, alienation, and despair. But even after a humiliating loss, your stress switch will not stay stuck in the “on” position. In due course—and before they shrink your hippocampus or disrupt your prefrontal cortex—your stress hormones will abate. They will not take you farther down the road to chronic depression.



  • Theresa Poole

    I feel that the drug companies have failed at least for me.. I am now 49 … I had my breakdown at age 30 and for the last 19 years i have been on every new antidepresant on the market… but, i must say i am still alive, and at first i did not think i would make it…i keep waiting for the new drug that is going to make me feel like the old me, perhaps that’s somthing that’s going to occur naturaly.

  • sunheart

    What I’d like to tell my psychiatrist:
    Dear Dr. F:
    Here’s the best analogy I can come up with: There’s always been this parallel universe — the real one, the one that encompasses normal daily life — rushing by me like a train. And off to the side of the train I run, franticaly trying to catch up and leap onto it. Sometimes I make it for a while, but I’m just barely hanging on, and eventually I fall back off. Then I start trying to catch up again. Over and over. Only just lately the train has started going faster and faster and it’s less possible for me to catch up and I’m runnng out of breath. Even with all these meds, all these psychopharmaceutical tweakings. And then, just yesterday, I start to think it would make more sense to just let it go. The train is for everyone else. And even if I get on it, I’ll be put into the coal room, and I’ll have to keep struggling to feed the train coal, non-stop, if I want to stay on it and keep it going. And it will go faster and require more and more coal shoveled into the engine and I’ll find myself unable to keep up there either. So then it starts to seem so much better to just stay OFF the train. Just let it ride on. And I’ll just fall permanently behind, somewhere else, off the train, in a ditch. At least it will be quiet and slow there, and I won’t have to struggle so hard. Just let it go without me. I’ll just get under the covers and let life go on while I stay out of the way and sleep.
    Of course, I can’t. I have responsibilities. Husband. Kids. House. Clents, such as they are. Messes to clean up. Chauferring of kids to do. Troubled pre-adolescent to guide and discipline. Post-surgery help to provide to my mother. Appearances to keep up. But how to do those things when inside I’ve given up? When just getting out of bed and getting dressed feels like a mistake? When everything I see is a reproach? The neighbor women bustling about with babies on hips tending their gardens, the other moms at gymnastics camp in high heels toting cameras and snapping away enthusiastically while I shuffle in late, missing the performance, having forgotten the camera, and watch listlessly as my youngest daughter shows me around. My daughter, who I love beyond love, my golden girl…
    The criteria for getting inpatient help is if the patient presents a threat to herself or others. What constitutes a threat? I’m falling down on the job, not doing my duties, barely conscious of my surroundings, wallowing in self-pity, getting farther and farther behind that train. And I don’t foresee any miraculous turnaround without some drastic intervention. Does that count? Does that meet the criteria? No. To get serious help one needs to attempt suicide, it seems. To attempt suicide requires more bravery, strength and motivation than I can summon. I’m caught. It’s a nightmare. The perfect storm. And your meds haven’t worked, Doc.
    Please advise.

  • Larry Parker

    “Barring disaster — and disasters (suicidality, liver damage) have been common in research on CRF antagonists — the day will come when we get to see these substances in action, in the treatment or prevention of depression in humans.”
    For some reason this does not make me optimistic …

  • Ian C

    I’ve never met an antidepressant I’ve liked. And I’ve tried many!
    What I have discovered is a new ( to me ) form of meditation. It comes under a couple of names like Holosync (quite expensive CDs) or CDs from themeditationsolution.com (one tenth the price of holosync).
    The are a series of 12 levels of meditation that is induced with varying carrier frequencies and you change a level every 3 to 6 months.
    It is working for me. I actually get slight side effects each time I change a level, they are pretty mild fortunately.
    The world is full of friends we haven’t met yet, and I hope some of those friends will find relief from depression like I have with this type of meditation.

  • ?

    Dear Sunheart,
    I am writing because I did not want your letter to seem unread! The analogy of the train was so right on….but somewhere on that train is the place for you where the train still moves fast but you have the “luxury” of enjoying the scenery and finally feeling the beauty of a slower pace with people that love you AND you FEEL love..
    That analogy may not be the “right” mental picture for you but I couldn’t let you think that the only way to be a part of life is to shovel coal always or cover up and sleep in the ditch or just not be.
    I have posted earlier and do struggle with the desire to go back to bed and make the world stop. When I have a reprieve from the debilitating, wrenching pain, I go to a place where NOTHING sounds like “fun” to me…so I have trouble moving forward. Sometimes my brain actually screams with too many thoughts. I want the “cure” NOW!
    The whole mother issue is HUGE! Sometimes it is the last string that I drag on to get up. However, many a night I have raised my fist to heaven and sobbed that a good God would not have sent such angels to such a failure. Why should my children have to have a mother like me when they are so beautiful? I do not want to pass on this misery to my children. These thoughts hinge on a very real love for our children but they just take the wrong fork and go down a horrific, illusionary path.
    Reality is that every child, every person deals with failure. This is not a platitude..this is just what we all know. But our sensitivity digs a deeper pit into universal suffering…we hang on to life by threads and conversely also feel intense pain when a thread is broken and unexpectedly rips at what seems our last vestige of hope. Our going down into the depths of depression is sometimes a major blindside (even when we were trying to be vigilant). Plus our “tools” for recovery and the medicines are slightly archaic…but the crux is, beyond that crippling window, you are. Your existence matters, no matter how pathetic it appears now. Your every breath makes a difference! You are the mother (the person) that got up and drug through the day. You are the mother (the person) that pulled the covers over her head and begged “someone” to take you away. In no way can I ever invalidate your pain! But still, thank God, you are.
    Call a hot line! Keep looking..read and cry over the depth of our misery. Know that we will survive and your life will be better. (Please, I request no negative energy here…I am not naive…know that I have 3 siblings that have been in and out of mental institutes and are often so totally “off” when they do not take their medicine…they suffer from paranoid schizophrenia..my cousin died in his late 20s from medicinal overdose related to this disease….there are so many painful stories and much misery that wraps around the lives of people I love.) But still I beg of you…Get help! I don’t have all the best advice. I don’t know all the answers. I don’t know all the stories. I just know your pain is unbearably real and that you are loved. Despite the inexorable physical pain, I still believe in you. You are a survivor and your life DOES matter! I wish I had the right words for you. Please get help or more help!
    My prayers always!

  • linda

    i would be careful with this..I wouldn’t the doctor injecting mutant genes to hopefully fix the problem…I would want to have this tested for a while….

  • linda

    Sunheart, Like I advised someone else on this page, talk to your doctor about out-patient therapy and find a group to talk to that has similar
    problems like http://www.depressionanonymous.org/ or http://www.serenityfound.org/official.html or a help group of some sort from your church or other organizations.

  • liz

    I know I am in a depression but cant get out husban screaming at me wont stop wont stop. Took him back after I nearly divorced him a year ago for abusing me physically now he wont stop verbially abusing me and I cant get the strength to get out of bed at times. help

  • janet

    Liz,
    I care. Your life does not have to be this way. Please call someone, anyone who can take you away from him and give you shelter while you catch your breath. Do it now.

  • shirlene gosek

    Please get out of that abusive relationship, but make plans with people who love you. An escape route. The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when you go to leave. I know I spent three months in a womans’ shelter. You’re treated with respect and love. The time gives you time to put things into perspective, in order to move on. You deserve to be loved, everyone does. Baby steps at a time. Make sure people close to you know what the plan is!! Once you calm down and get into counseling things will turn around. YOu may always love your abuser no matter what. What you need to always keep in your mind is that you are not being loved back. No matter how many promises you get stay away from him the next time. Divorce him and move on. Find the strength. Your life is important. Email me anytime if you are in trouble please. shgosek@aol.com God loves you and love is out there. Being traumatized you can only see the world as you try to survive in it. Love does’nt hurt and people survive while being Happy. Love, A Friend….

  • Mary

    I suffer from Bi-polar depression and now it has become plain depression and I don’t feel like doing much .I still try to follow a daily routine but my sis. who’s my major support badly needs a holiday from all the work she’s put in for my mom(dementia) and me so it’s a big jar of pickles and I use prayer and have connectrions at church etc.Why can’t I be normal for a while?
    I ask for your help.I am on many meds and don’t know what’s what anymore???I pray my Shrink knows what she’s doing as they are hard to find so you just stick with the one you have.Have a counsellor who is really a social worker and my sis is an O.Therapist and knows a lot more.Somebody please help me.I’m mixed up…

  • Kathy

    TO Mary,
    Actually you are all that mixed up. In your note you have identified basically what you need…support (without being labeled ‘not normal’),
    a ‘shrink’who is pro-active and pays attention to you, and a therapist who is properly credentialed. Your sister may indeed need a break…the dementia is sometimes harder to deal with. Use your resource of reasoning and following up on the medical care you need.
    Mary you do not have to ‘stick with the ‘shrink’ you have”
    Your sister the OT maybe able to ask for ‘in house’ recommendations from co-workers or the office or hospital she is associated with.
    Be pro active and look for a highly recommended ‘shrink’.
    That change alone can make a world of difference in how your Bi- polar depression is treated. There a new medicines and as the article stated and some reliable “old medicines”.. They also should send you to get a liver check just to be sure the meds are doing more good than bodily harm.
    The current medicine for my depression has worked. But let me say also that I have had success with three different medications which lasted for six weeks each before I felt a ‘drop’. The skilled MD added and subtracted medications in slow careful incriments. I now have two combined which are working.
    Medications need adjustment and symptoms need frequent review. I am to the point where I am looking for ‘cognative behavorial therapy’. Your psychiatrist can point you in that direction there are clinics and programs in different health care locations.
    Another step I am taking is to have neuro-psyche testing. The results when done (again) by a reputable neuro-psyche tester will be helpful in determing many aspects of how my brain,reasoning,and its various patterns function.
    Stay encouraged and stay on the path to self-care. Even with Bi-polar depression you can be the best person to know what works. Taking the medication as prescribed and regularly is important…it takes time to see which med(s) your body and brain use the most effectively.
    Keep praying, thank God for somethingor someone each day…
    KAthy

  • A.H.

    I agree with everything that everyone else has said. You ARE worth fighting for and when things get rough, remember . . . don’t believe everything you think!
    We’ve probably all been where you are (I know I have been) and to stay with your abusive husband is to sacriffice yourself, your dreams for your life, and your dignity!
    Fight lady! One more time – you can do this! You can make a better life for yourself! If Hubby won’t help you get there (or at least decide to come with you) then Hubby doesn’t deserve you anyway!
    Don’t give up. We’re all right here.

  • SuzanneWA

    Wow…where do I start? There is so much psychic and spiritual pain on the blog these days. I, too, try to “catch the train,” but am thinking of stopping as well. That train is for the “normal” people, who go about life with only minor stressors and “minor” problems we will never know. Giving up on catching the train DOES alleviate the horrible need to conform. I’ve heard it said that we are “all different, yet all the same.” If you can grasp that concept, you’re a step ahead.
    If you were to catch the train, I would highly suggest that you sit in the dining car or the library; there, you could find the rest and relaxation for which you are searching. You do NOT belong in the coal car, constantly stoking the resources that contribute to your depression. Get in the “right seat,” and you can “coast” for awhile.
    I can see where genetic engineering CAN be a bane to those of us who suffer from clinical depression. Being a bipolar, I have only been hospitalized for manic episodes, but suffered with clinical depression ONCE (for a year), and once is enough! At the time, I had just purchased an apartment house, of which I was also the landlady. I had a job. I had responsibilities. When the alarm would go off in the morning, I surely DID NOT want to get up…but, I HAD to go to work. When I got all the reports typed and files filed, I would stare out the floor-to-ceiling windows in my office for HOURS, and if I had to deliver something to another building on campus, would count my steps, just to have something different to do.
    I finally climbed out of this hell-hole by going to the shrink at the local Community Mental Health Center, where he prescribed antidepressants, which worked in three weeks! He did ask the unanswerable question: Do you think of suicide? I have NEVER been suicidal, but answered I had thought about it – I was SO down…After emerging from the depression, I had “caught the train,” and relaxed after nearly a year.
    I hereby suggest that Liz and Sun get treatment. It does NOT have to be expensive, and you can always work out “sliding-scale” payments. My last hospitalization was thirty years ago; I have been kept out of the hospital by being capably treated by my Mental Health center for these many years. Yes, it is hard to live with bipolar OR clinical depression, but there ARE solutions, if you are willing to try.
    God bless you all.

  • Kathy

    Dear Sunheart,
    You have a gift to clearly express how you see things and feel about them. I would imagine you don’t take time for yourself …try journaling …which will force you to find a time and place to continue.
    I haven’t seen Dr. F’s post. But I think you can “commit yourself” for 72 hours of psychiatric observation in a hospital unit. It may have been sometime ago but a friend who is clinically depressed told me that she got help by going to the hospital and commiting herself for psych observation.
    You would be amased at how many professionals hold down jobs, and are more like their true self because of the right diagnosis.
    Also look at your time management…not everything you have listed necessairaly has your name written on it as a must do….the visitng nurse association can do post surgery follow-up (even if you ahould be a visiting nurse this one belongs to someone else.) You then could make less frequent checks on your mother and more frequent short visits.
    Call someone in the gymnastics group to shuttle your kids together…on a rotating basis YOur turn twice a month or ???. Even if your are bed bound with covers pulled high you can direct when you can participate in the necessary adventues of chauffering. There are opportunities to have some of the messes cleaned up by the mess makers…keeping each child on the path to self direction.
    Can you make the scheduling of your clients more favorable to your need for personal/family time?
    I do see that you have a husband but you also state you need to “keep up appearances”. Early on in my marriage before I recognized that my way of functioning was “adaptive learning” around different levels of depression both clinical and other-wise, my husband when told how hard it was for me to do the necessary tasks, let me know “it’s a known fact the mothers with children are the most depressed group in America” We are still married (39 yrs) He has always been a “fix it man” with not much empathy partly because his work has been extremely stress filled and partly because that’s the way he is. (God love ‘em)
    Make changes to the responsibilities you have taken on…little by little. Let go of what seems ‘ideal” (moms with gardens and babies on their hips) Kept the few that require your presence…Sunheart ( “Sunheart” what imagery of who you are, don’t forget who you are.)
    The truth be told no one can make this situation any different but you. Seek help, one to one, if that is the ONLY thing you can do. Do it first and only for your self care.
    Promise yourself to follow thru with the first step to self healing and care.
    Kathy

  • C.H.

    It would be one of the best things to ever happen to me if I could protect my brain from being overwhelmed.

  • Debbie

    If there were a cure all that stopped my brain from catching the depression train I’d hop on it. Hopefully I wouldn’t miss the last step to the boxcar and fall off into a field somewhere. (There’s the negative anxiety rearing it’s ugly head) Of course right now since there is no cure all, I will continue to take the positive approach and take one day at a time. (Or one minute at a time because somedays you never know how you will feel.)
    Thank you for the informative words about the precious disease. It is a comfort to know that science is on our side. Although the article was a little deep, none of us can actually drown from more information.
    God Bless all of you and keep catching that positive train. We will eventually all get there together!
    Love, Debbie

  • Cynthia

    `Playing devils advocate “Would the drug industry” allow this to take place? After it would cut into their sales wouldn’t it?

  • Veronica

    There was a time when anxiety and depression dominated my life experience. I say was, because that is in the past now…and I can hardly believe what my life is like now.
    Antidepressants were helpful in the short term (as was “talk therapy…I’ve done years of it) but would eventually lose it’s effects over time. It seemed my body was really good at becoming accustomed to my new biochemistry, and would require more and more med….just like a drug addict.
    I used to wake up each morning with a panic attack. Before my eyes were even open…my heart would be racing and compulsive thoughts taking over. It got to be so desperate I prayed for death (I didn’t have the courage to commit suicide). Here I was…reliving my alcoholic mother’s life at age 47 (and so many years prior).What a nightmare. All the positive thinking, prayer, 12 step, etc. were helpful…enough for survival that is. But I was just surviving and barely most times.
    A compassionate friend thought I might be interested in Energy Psychology. It sounded a bit woo-woo but when you’re really suffering you’re pretty much game for anything. She gave me the websites and let me decide for myself.
    I tried the method(s) and was amazed at the results. Things got better for me right away, so much so I have been practicing it steadily for the past 3 yr. The methods gave me so much I can’t possibly include it all in this post.However, I’ll mention a few results: depression disappeared (when it would reappear temporarily I was able to remove it), anxiety disappeared (when it would reappear temporarily I was able to remove it), insomnia cured, Irritable Bowel Syndrome gone, obsessive/compulsive thoughts gone, phobias gone, etc. I was able to leave a very painful relationship and move on with joy and purpose in my new life.
    When my friend mentioned it…it sounded too good to be true. Yet I have become a completely changed person. What makes me happiest is that for the first time in my life I can be truly present for those that I love and stop obsessing about ME.
    You can find help at emofree.com. If you like scientific abstracts and that sort of thing you can find that at ACEP energypsych.org
    It doesn’t cost anything to try it out and see for yourself. :)

  • antonietta

    I HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH DEPRESSION WHO KNOWS HOW LONG. I CANNOT EVEN REMEMBER. I TRIED ALL DIFFERENT KIND OF MEDICATIONS, BUT NO SOLID RESULTS. THAT BEAUTIFUL YOUNG AND STRONG SPIRIT OF MINE WAS LONG TIME DISAPPEARED, THERE WERE TIMES I WISHED DEATH UPON ON ME. A ILLNESS THAT WOULD DEFINATLY TOOK ME AWAY BECAUSE MY MENTAL PAIN WAS HORRIBLE. IT IS LIKE A CURTAIN, THAT WHEN IT SLOWLY COMES DOWN, IS REALLY DARK, AND I FEEL NOTHING OR SEE ANY WAY OUT. ALTHOUGH IN ALL THOSE PAST YEARS, I HAVE FINALLY REALIZED THAT MY DEPRESSSON HAS BEEN CAUSED BY OTHER PEOPLE, THOSE ONES THAT WERE AND ARE AROUND ME. I AM AT PEACE WHEN I AM ALONE, I AM DISCOURAGED AND DARK WHEN I REALIZE THAT PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS THERE TO HURT YOU AND THEY WILL HURT YOU SOONER OR LATER. GOD IS THE ONLY ONE THAT SUEDES MY SOUL AND MIND EACH AND EVERY TIME. EVERYONE ELSE ALWAYS FAILED ME, INCLUDING AND ESPECIALLY MY FAMILY, MY BEST FRIENDS, MY HUSBAND ETC.. ETC.. THE ONLY TIME I FELT REALLY GOOD WAS WHEN I WAS REALLY LOVED. I MEAN TRULY TRULY LOVED, THAT UNCONDITIONAL LOVE BY SOMEONE THAT WAS SO PURE AND GENTLE, THEY LOVED ME FOR WHO I WAS, THEY LOVED MY BRAIN, MY SPIRIT, MY SOUL AND NOT MY BODY, MY CLOTHES, WHAT KIND OF MATERIAL THINGS I HAD. I HAVE ANALYZED MY LIFE AND ALL THE DIFFERENT KIND OF SITUATIONS AND I HAVE DISCOVERED A CURE FOR MYSELF AND VERY PROBABLY WILL BE BENEFICIAL TO ALL OF YOU IN SO MANY WAYS. I ENDED UP ELIMINATING ALL THOSE RELATIONSHIPS THAT WERE HARMFULL TO ME AND TO MY MIND AND MY SOUL INCLUDING FAMILY. BY THE WAY THOSE ARE THE WORSE. IT IS OK TO SAY “WELL I HAD ENOUGH OF YOU AND EVERTYHING ABOUT YOU, I CANNOT DEAL IT ANYMORE” SOMETIKES YOU JUST HAVE TO SAY THAT AND GO ON FOR YOUR OWN SAKE AND SANITY. WE JUST CANNOT HANDLE ALL DIFFERENT KIND OF THINGS AND SITUATION ALL AT ONCE, BE ALWAYS THE ONE TO SAVE OTHERS. WE JUST CANNOT DO IT. I HAVE SIMPLIFIED MY LIFE AND SELECTED MY PRIORITIES IN LIFE. THE MORE MONEY YOU MAKE THE MORE YOU SPEND, THE MORE THNGS YOU HAVE THE MORE YOU WANT, AND SOONER OR LATER THE MAIN PRIORITES ARE LOST AND GONE, AN YOU WILL FEEL PRETTY MUCH EMPTY ALL OVER AGAIN. I REMEMBER ONE TIME, NOT LONG TIME AGO, IT WAS CHRISTMAS EVE. I DECIDED TO ATTEND A MIDNIGHT MASS. I WAS ALL BY MYSLEF AND FEELING GOOD. AFTER THE MASS WAS OVER I REMAINED A LITTLE BIG LONGER WAITING FOR THE CROWD TO BE SLOWLY GONE. ALL THE SUDDEN THIS OLD LADY CAME TO ME AS SHE WAS SLOWLY APPROCHING THE EXIT AND THE SAID “WHY A BEAUTIFUL LADY LIKE YOU
    IS DOING HERE ALL BY HERSELF, ARE YOU OK?” I REPLIED WITH A SMILE SAYING I WAS JUST FILLING MY HEART WITH MORE PEACE AND NOT IN NEED OF ANYONE AND WISHED HER A MERRY CHRISTMAS. SHE LOOKED AT ME LIKE I WAS SOMEKIND OF CRAZY. AS YOU SEE WE CREATED AN IMAGE THAT AT CHRISTMAS WE SHOULD NOT BE ALONE AND WE ALL SHOULD AROUD THE TREE OPENIING THOSE STUPID PRESENTS. CHRISTMAS IS NOT ABOUT THAT, IT HAS A DIFFERENT MEANING. THERE ARE 364 MORE DAYS IN A YEAR TO SHOW LOVE TO SOMEONE WITH A PRESENT. THE POINT I AM MAKING HERE IS THAT WE ALL CAN BE AT PEACE, JUST DO WHAT YOUR HEART AND SOUL TELLS YOU TO DO. JUST DO NOT ALWAYS TRY TO PLEASE AND MAKE EVRYBODY HAPPY, SOONER OR LATER YOU WILL CRASH JUST LIKE I DID AND THERE IS NO CURE FOR THAT. LOVE YOURSELF FIRST AS MUCH AS YOU CAN, PUT GOD AS A PRIORITY IN YOUR LIFE, AND EVERYTHING ELSE JUST CAN WAIT IN LINE.
    I APPRECIATE YOU READING MY NOTES. LOVE TO YOU ALL.

  • CLeo

    Yes! but like everything else, it largely depends on the drug industry’s willingness to accept reduced profits.
    It’s easier to stuff people with pills and chemicals than to adopt a solution such as Kapolski’s, unless this yields even higher returns!
    What a bummer to know that with age we can only expect to get worse!
    I was more resilient, scarsely, five years ago. Just a few years that have proven to be very distructive to my resilience and ability to accept and deal with stressors.
    I’m OK and feeling well until something insidious comes my way, something I can’t accept or understand, like malicious gossip or the unkindness of others that stand to gain not a thing, but twisted pleasure, out of hurting others or the world.

  • Lynne

    Oh GREAT now I get to worry about a shrinking hippocampus?! I can tell you a few things that make sense to me. A- Happiness isn’t having what you want…it’s wanting what you have. B-You can only expect the best from people of equal morality (those who share your values) and C- When there’s money involved in any equation-all bets are off! When the world can learn in general how to conquer SELF it will become a better place!

  • Freida

    It’s comforting to know that so many other people suffer from depression like I do. At least I am not alone. It is a very dark, lonely, hopeless place. But, you know, I’m never suicidal. I may not mind if I died of natural causes, but something keeps me hangin’ in. I believe it’s God. He has a purpose for me. But even knowing that, there are times when it all seems so useless. And I don’t get so depressed just thinking about my circumstances. I get really depressed thinking about other peoples’ circumstances; so much tragedy and evil and turmoil in this world. I live in fear of what will happen next. And if God is there, why isn’t He doing something about it all. The way I experience depression is definitely physical. It’s a physical pain, a sick feeling in my chest. I have tried all different kinds of medications, and they do help, for awhile. I think depression, for a Christian, is different, too. Because with it comes guilt about feeling depressed, like we shouldn’t. Like if we are depressed we’re not thankful enough for what we do have. It can get very confusing. I try to remember that most of the depression I have is a chemical thing. That doesn’t make it go away, but it helps me not to feel so guilty. Can anyone relate to this or do I sound like a total nut!?

  • LadyLily

    HOPE – HANG ON TO H- O – P – E !!!
    Freida you are not a nut a all.
    Lynne, when your hippocampus shrinks, there will have been scientific advances made to counteract that!I got such a different meaning from the article. The research on the animals & on treatment of humans is cause for hope! I agree that the SELF is a thing to be loved but whic when unhealthy & beset with fear, insecurity, can be hurtful, harmful and destructive both to self & to others!
    Antoinetta, family can be hurtful, especially when you need them the most. Sometimes when we most need LOVE, we act or appear to others to be most unlovable. I ermember my mother telling me that in regard to my baby brother. Anxiety & depression run in the family, as well as dependent personalities & a bit of obcessive compulsive tendencies.
    Veronica, is this the Emotional Freedom Technique that involves tapping on certain nerves that emerge from the skull out into the face & on regions of the body specific to a symptom group/diagnosis?
    I’ve heard good things about this from elsewhere.
    Cleo, don’t worry about the Drug Companies. It does stink to need their medicine to function at our best. Yes, but we must work on ourselves from all angles, we are not just a chemical soup, not just energy fields, not just muscle & bones or blood & guts. We aren’t even just spirit, we are spirit & soul & body and all 3 need care to recover and sustain recovery from depression. We must all work to encourage one another. AS WE THINK, SO WE ARE. WHAT WE SPEAK, WE GET.
    WE ARE WHAT WE EAT. AND, THE APPLE DOESN’T FALL TOO FAR FROM THE TREE,(SOMETIMES UNFORTUNATELY!)IN OTHER WORDS, WE CAN’T PICK OUR FAMILY.
    WE MUST MAKE A DECISION, DAILY, AND MINUTE BY MINUTE, TO CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR OURSELVES. UTILIZE THIS AND OTHER POSITIVE, ENCOURAGING WEB SITES, E-MAIL SERVICES ETC. RESEARCH COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY AND USE ITS PRINCIPLES. AVOID ALL NEGATIVE INFLUENCES (MUSIC, LYRICS,NEWS, TV SHOWS, PEOPLE ETC.) KEEP ANY & ALL ACCOMPLISHMENTS & EVIDENCE OF THEM -VISIBLE – REMIND YOURSELF OF THEM OFTEN. STICK WITH THE LOYAL & LOVING & ENCOURAGING FRIENDS & FAMILY. AND TAKE POSITIVE ACTION – ANY KIND THAT YOU FIND FUN (OR USED TO FIND TO BE FUN), THAT WILL MAKE YOUR SITUATION BETTER, & DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF IF IT DOESN’T WORK OUT EASILY – ENLIST OTHERS TO HELP YOU ACCOMPLISH THESE POSITIVE VENTURES FORTH – REMEMBER THOSE GOOD FRIENDS.
    CONSIDER A NEW FAMILY DOCTOR TO RE-EVALUATE YOUR HEALTH PERIODICALLY, AND GET ONE WHO LOOKS AT THE WHOLE PERSON. TOUGH TO SUBMIT, TO NEW EXAMS BUT WORTHWHILE IF THEY FIND AN APPROACH WHICH HELPS.
    CONSIDER B VITAMIN DEFICIENCIES – ESPECIALLY VIT B12 (MEDICATIONS CAN MAKE IT HARD TO ABSORB VIT B12.) WHAT KIND OF DIET? HIGH IN CHOLESTEROL/ THEN DECREASE THE GREASY FOOD & FATTY RED MEAT & GET MORE NUTS, FLAX SEED & FLAX SEEF OIL, & OR FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS.
    GET OUTDOORS & INTO THE SUN, WALK IN AN AREA OF NATURAL BEAUTY.
    NOW – I MUST GO & DO SOME OF THE ABOVE. DO PRAY & BE THANKFUL.

  • SalonMom

    I have suffered from anxiety and depression on and off for years. it really hit a plateau last year and there were days that I didn’t know how I was going to get through it. I prayed alot, got therapy and i am a firm believer in my zoloft. I don’t think medication is a cure all however I know for sure that I feel better on it than off of it. I tried going off just as an experiment and I went straight downhill within a few weeks. Once I started my zoloft again I felt better within days. This is a true testimony to medication. Maybe it doesn’t work for everyone but it did for me. And talk, talk , talk. Find a therapist that you connect with and trust and talk it out. Mine saved my life. I thank God everyday for bringing her into my life. I wish the same success for everyone who suffers with this terrible disease. May you find joy.

  • J.J.

    I can say that it is so important not to lose hope. I to am a believer in zoloft and of course God who is our ultimate healer. I also tried not taking my zoloft because I felt so good I was convinced that I was no longer depressed and I only took a few weeks to discover
    that I was not “cured” now I don’t take any chances. If you need medication take it it does not mean you are weak.

  • Umah

    Frieda, i totally agree with you. I feel the same thing as you in exactly the same way. So, we r definitely not going nuts. I’d wonder why certain people have depression and some people don’t. Is it our past karma that causes us to face such a struggle? Or is it God’s way of telling us to some things which we have not realised and need to do so in this lifetime?

  • Morgan

    It is nice to read something different and in a more positive note about us “depressive” type people. I for one have experienced great amounts of stressful situations since atleast, 2 yrs of age. When I have my earliest memory, of Mom leaving us with Dad.
    All my life has been stressful. Some situations I was the survivor of a wrong done too me; others, I am a survivor of wrongs I’ve done too myself. From sexual abuse to drug abuse. I have managed to survive them all…though not without a cost. Yes, my nerves are definitely shot. Now days, as my life finally settles down and is peaceful. I am happy and have every reason to live. I am stricten with several incurable illness’ which are directly “stress” related. My heart can’t even handle much physical stress anylonger. I’m not even 40 yet.
    The pattern has revealed with each “stressful”, especially emotionally stressful, situation my health worsens.
    So, how does one with our conditions live and/or function in a society which is so demanding of every breathe we take. Balance. Which ain’t easy. Now, knowing science is recognizing this process actually does happen…perhaps has found a way to prevent the everyday stress of life from taking us to an early grave. I’m for it. As long as it isn’t gonna give me cancer or something like that. Then, again…doesn’t everything in our environment today have some ill effects of a sort?
    Alana

  • will

    good research deserves positive attention. In fact all things need good, positive attention–especially my thoguhts … I TRY to loo at all my expriences as positive–not easy to do–but it is very helpful to keep receiving hope, and even more than hope–Thinking of things at least as neutral or better will alter thinking patterns–eventually. As you think so shall you be’ Poaitive thought, sunsihe a good long walk and loving talk with ourselves can do wonders! These can give us the kutspah we need to move forward: something I usually did not feel secure with. (notice how I write the last sentence in the past tense form: this is like changing the way “I kept” thinking. All of this and we can and not then have room in heart head nor spirit for such negetive outcomes from past experiences continue to lead us, like fish on a lines, into yet another (and usually similar) bad experience.
    Traumatic experiences in childhood are not allowed tp be reinforced–using theses types of thinking solutions–for better things to come!

  • cynical –or not.

    Okay, just a thought here so don’t go crazy on me. And no I have no history of mental illness or paranoid delusions etc. i just like this Beyond Blue for regular reading and the support it gives me for regulary 21st century challenges. So here’s the question- could the military give the drug to soldiers in combat so they dont’ get stressed and charge ahead in situations that put them in harm’s way because they aren’t feeling the ‘normal’ stress that they should feel in some circumstances?
    Then again, in the same population maybe it would be useful in Post Traumatic Stress disorders, which would be a wonderful use for these folks. –

  • Joanne

    Three yaers ago, I experienced depression,anxiety and overall nervous breakdown, this was three moths after my last child was born. I had been taking the pill for non-child bearing 1 yr. prior to becoming pregnant,had been taking it since 15 yrs of age, the doctors refused to allow me to take it any longer because I smoke. When this episode hit me, I knew that it was because of the reduced hormones from taking the pill, I asked why they couln’t come up with a form for me to release them of obligations so I could continue taking the pill or some form of hormonal therapy, they refused time and time again.I ended up coming to the conclusion that I needed not take the pills they were offering, and instead reduce stress levels on my own, this resulted in my quiting my job.See, I have a 24yr,19yr,18yr old, and now the newest is four. Prior to the last child, I worked diligently at work and home and had little difficulty in handling the pressures, but after having the latest, was forced to go to work, as my husband refused to do his duty and work at full time on the books job, so I went back to work, it was killing me,I tried to explain to my husband that I felt ill, had not been sleeping well, and had to be up for work everyday by 5:00 am, he just kept saying,oh, you can do it, just go to work, but, I wasn’t handling it, and ultimately crashed.I was on my way to work one morning, 3 degrees below zero, had stopped for gas and then my car wouldn’t start again,no man at the gas station had a pair of jumper cables, as I knew my battery needed to be jumped, finally I got one man to find another to help. After getting car to run again, I sat there asking God “what do I do now?”He answered”Go home, I never commanded you to be out here to begin with, the enemy is running ramped in your home, go there and do not leave until I command you to do so!”I asked Him”how, all the traffic the stops will cause my car to die again”He told me how to do this without difficulty,my husband was terribly upset that I did not go to work, I explained what happened, and he said you really are certifiable”Nuts” well, I have done what God instructed, everyone saying your crazy, how will???/I explained God said it I’m doing it and I will rely on Him for????God has stuck by me and our family, and eventually my husband realized he was not going to force me to do his job,now, I’m not saying it’s been all peaches and cream, but, I believe that many women find themselve in this same situation,thinking that they have to or no one else will,that’s a lie!Think about it how many men compared to women have to deal with hectic stress both at work and home?How many men Vs. women suffer this epidemic of depression?Check out the sttistics.It’s appauling.Many women are afraid to take a stand against all odds.If you listen to God, he is saying “I never commanded you Eve to be working outside the home, I have instructed the man (Adam)to do so, your job is home and family!”So, if you are one of me, take that stand!Make these lazy men be responsible, and let God take care of you and your children, for I am proof positive,He Will!

  • Liti DeMane

    Dear Therese,
    I just read the excerpt from the Peter Kramer book. How fascinating anf touching,it brought tear to my eyes.I read his “listening to Prozac”which I found very good.Just
    a thankyou for the good work you do
    Sincerely,Liti DeMane

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