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Depression Help

trust your gp with your depression | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

 

We all like to think that going to our family doctor (GP) with our depression will help cure us. But there’s an ongoing debate among people suffering with depression. Should you trust your GP with your depression?

I’ve got friends who are mental health advocates. These people all regard GPs as good people, trying to do their best to heal depression. But the tools a GP has for depression don’t always work. Or the tools make the depression worse.

Depression is not an illness

Depression is not an illness like chicken pox. You can’t get a vaccine and whamo! You’re inoculated against depression.

Nor can you cut out depression. Depression is as serious as cancer but no doctor can cut out the darkness.

So what can a GP do? Prescribe antidepressants and advise CT (cognitive therapy). But antidepressants and CT don’t heal depression.

Antidepressants reduce quality of life

Many doctors think that giving a depressed person the strongest antidepressant will cure the person. All antidepressants do is calm down a person. This is because no one wants the person to have suicidal thoughts or think about self harming. If you can sedate someone, and still have the person walking around in a semi functional state (even if it’s like a zombie), then you don’t have to worry about that person killing or hurting his/her self.

However, spending one’s day like a zombie isn’t great. Antidepressants are terrific for reducing anxiety. They increase serotonin levels in the brain. So you actually feel better, and your mind gets clearer. These are positives. But here’s the catch:  the happiest you’ll ever feel is at a level that is still way below what a so called normal person feels when happy.

What do I mean? On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the ho-hum, I’m good kinda day feeling an ordinary person has every day, and 1 being suicidal, the best that antidepressants can make you feel is that 5. So you feel better than you’ve felt in a long time. But compared to anyone else, you are still at the a baseline emotion that most people experience everyday when they wake up.  So when your friend wants to go to a restaurant with you or tells you let’s go for a walk because you look happy, you’re really functioning at a level of joy that says, “Ho hum. Whatever.”

Cognitive Therapy challenges thoughts and ignores feelings

Doctors love using cognitive therapy (CT). CT can be successfully used for any person because the procedure has become standardized. Just like hip replacement surgery where the procedure is the same for everyone all across the country. All you need is the proper medical training.

CT over the years has been fatly funded by governments and companies. CT can show graphs and research data to prove its point of positive delivery. Of course so can alternative medicines such as herbal supplements, but herbal supplements heal emotions in addition to thoughts. Western medicine has pushed back against this kind of treatment. I think its because of funding. Western doctors know the value of treating emotions, but when big pharma companies and governments join the cure depression sandbox, its the players with money who win.

So your GP will suggest CT because all treatments in CT can have expected results. The treatments don’t change from doctor to doctor. What you get from one doctor is what you can expect to get from a second doctor. There is a pure and simple focus on thoughts. Emotions are out. Alternative medicines are out.

But in depression emotions come first

CT is about challenging thoughts. It’s about breaking down complex, unhelpful black and white thoughts like, “I am stupid. People hate me.”

People are emotional creatures. Emotions drive our thoughts. So trying to control your thoughts without healing your emotions is like removing a cancer tumour but not treating the despair, guilt, and anger that you’ve had since you discovered the tumour.

Feelings come first in depression.

Feelings come first and last in depression. There’s no shortage of emotions. Exhaustion, despair, pain, the terror of not knowing why you feel so bad and depressed.

Many GPs understand this. If your GP gets it, and suggests treatment that involves all four parts of what it means to be human – emotional, mental, physical, spiritual – then you are really on the way to treating depression. But if your GP only focuses on one or two of the four cornerstones of being human, then I suggest you look around for a new doctor. After all, depression demands healing the complete you, not just parts or pieces of you.

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