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Understanding Depression – Is It An Illness?

Article by Jennifer Stewart

Depression: the word is enough to make anybody run for the hills. It’s one of the most uncomfortable, painful things to experience. It makes a mockery of hope and faith, it obliterates the light, turns daily experiences into nightmares and normal challenges into massive undertakings. It invades your mind and your soul, and drains your body of energy. It turns dreams into dust and the idea of love into a cruelly unattainable concept.

It takes your power away, cripples you, depletes your will to seek solution. It makes life seem horribly bleak, meaningless and not worth living. The most awful thing about it is that temporarily destroys the ability to see solution – sometimes even to seek it.11 million people in the world typed “Depression” into Google’s search in December 2009. I doubt anybody was searching just out of curiosity, just for fun. Yahoo showed 350 million results for the word, Google 65,9 million and Bing 51 million.

With so many people suffering, and actively searching, why don’t we have an answer? Why hasn’t science and medicine come up with one for us? One that works, that actually frees us without creating dependency on some chemical or making us crazy or close-minded in some way or another?

I’ve been one of the millions throughout the past 30 years looking for solution. For so long, the word had a capital “D” for me, and I thought of it almost as some kind of alien monster that invaded humans and made them powerless. Or else some kind of state that had no cause and therefore could never be understood. Which is not, when you think about it, that different from what the medical profession tells us. It’s a disease that they have no real explanation for.

Sure, they once thought you could zap somebody’s brain with electroshock therapy and bingo, the depression would disappear. Then they realized it didn’t work, so they tried removing bits of brain. That didn’t work either. Then they made a huge discovery – the chemicals in your body are out of balance when you’re depressed.They said “it’s a disease, it’s DNA, it’s caused by the chemical imbalance and there’s nothing we can do about it except try to control it more or less with drugs, live with it”. Well that’s a great help; that really makes depression sufferers feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel. No wonder we’re so terrified of depression. Not only is it the most awful of conditions to experience, but the people we look to for answers assure us it’s totally out of our control to fix.

And boy do the pharmaceutical companies like that one. After all, that’s how they make their money. Pardon me for being cynical, but it’s no wonder depression has become such a monstrously difficult thing to overcome. Look at who we rely on to find solution. The companies and people who make money off our pain.

But who else can we turn to?

I don’t believe depression is an illness or disease or DNA deficiency. I don’t believe it is some chemical defect we’re born with. Most of all, I don’t buy that we are as powerless as Medicine would have us believe. Au contraire, I think depression is something that each of us can understand and correct. Without drugs. Who am I to take on Mighty Medicine? Well somebody has to do it, might as well be me. I fancy the role of David in the face of Goliath.

No, this is not another Secret-type hype magical thinking formula. Depression cannot be cured in a day or with positive thinking. I believe that “cures” offering that kind of prospect are just exploiting our desperation. For money or power.

I had depression for 30 years and I do not have it any more. I didn’t take drugs, pills, hynoptherapy or any of the less invasive but hardly any more sustainably successful alternative “solutions”. I learned about emotional fluency.

I remember the day I realized from experience that depression is the consequence of repressing emotion and not meeting my need. I had learned the theory of it, but it’s easy to not realize the theory applies to you! The day that is lodged in my memory, I recall being angry, and choosing not to express my anger, choosing to push it down. Within a short while I was severely depressed. It was amazing, as if I was participating in and observing a science experiment. I already knew that emotions generate huge energy that needs an outlet, and we all know the image of a pressure-cooker.

But that day was the beginning of my paying close attention to what happened to my body and my mind when I repressed emotion – I felt kind of sour, acid, heavy – oh my, could that be the dreaded chemical imbalance for which there is no scientific explanation? I watched my body become enervated, my vision of life become cloudy, my faith and hope disappear.

As soon as I let myself express my emotion – the depression melted away and back came hope, faith, clear vision – and I had tons of energy. From one moment to the next. The principle is simple, but learning how to feel, how to express and meet the need in a sustainable way takes time. But now that I know, there is no going back. My days of being controlled by depression are over. Forever. I have a lot more to say on this subject! Watch this space…

About the Author

Jennifer Stewart experienced bankruptcy six years ago which changed her life dramatically – for the better!. She now writes a blog about her experiences and her journey of Stepping out of History. Visit

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