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Understanding Depression And Overcoming It
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Understanding depression is the first step to overcoming it.

Probably the worst part about depression is when you can see no reason for it. You have a good, secure job. A loving spouse and family. You don't owe anyone any money. So why should you be feeling so unhappy, reluctant to climb out of bed in the morning? All you seem to want to do is to sit around and brood about times long past.

Now, until recently, doctors and scientists were finding difficulty in linking the psychological elements of clinical depression to the physical symptoms. However, Doctor Joseph Griffin of the European Therapy Studies Institute has found that depressed people dream about three times as much as people without the condition. Not only that, but the dreams are often disturbing, bordering on nightmares.

Dr. Griffin's studies have also given us an excellent understanding of how depression affects us physically. If you've actually suffered from depression, or sunk to a low and unhappy state, you may have noticed that you tend to ruminate and worry a lot and usually in a negative fashion. You tend to think of episodes that happened to you years ago. Psychiatrists know it as 'All Or Nothing Thinking,' and we'll be chatting about this later on.

You've probably found that the thoughts you've had have left you anxious, angry or unhappy. The problem with these thoughts or emotional arousals is that they're of no use whatever. They don't do a thing. The wretched thoughts simply create an emotional reaction -- anger or unhappiness -- and that's it.

Now we come to the brain's emotional system, or limbic area. Under normal circumstances, the uncompleted limbic loop would be played through. You hear a noise in the night, you grab a torch and creep through the house, terrified of being hit over the head, when suddenly you hear two cats going at it and you realize that's all it was. Just a couple of cats. You return to bed and drop off to sleep.

But what happens when the loop doesn't complete? If you don't suffer from depression, then all's well. However, if you have been in the middle of clinical depression, or simply being down, miserable and unhappy, it's almost certain that you've been ruminating. Now then. Because you've been doing so much more introspection than you would under normal circumstances, the brain has to increase the amount of dreaming that you do.

When you dream, you don't rest. Dreaming is hard work! What happens is that you enter the Rapid Eye Movement, (R.E.M.) stage of sleep, so called because your body goes rigid and the pupils of your eyes move rapidly from side to side. Because you're dreaming at a rate of 75%, when it should be nearer 25%, you're not enjoying the physically rejuvenating Slow-Wave-Sleep, the sleep that's so important to the repair of your body. Instead, what's happening is that your hormonal system is being depleted with night time emotional arousal.

Therefore, your ability to focus, to motivate and to concentrate are, night by night, being depleted. This is what causes depression, not those silly adverts on TV that like to tell us that our serotonin and neopinephrine levels are too low. Then you're advized to take some pill which in the long run will prove habit forming, as well as putting a lot more money into the pockets of the major drug companies.

Up until this stage, you've been thinking black thoughts. These, together with your improper sleep and excessive dreaming, has caused your depression. Not only that, but this depression has prevented you from following your hobbies and the things you normally enjoy doing. You simply haven't been bothered. This state of mind has been going on, probably, for some weeks now, and it must cease forthwith if not sooner!

Most of us have hobbies. You may be a lady who loves to do tapestry. A man who's great love is electric trains. Whatever it is, pick up your tapestry, go and have a look at your trains.

Another thing you must do is exercise. I'm not talking about leaping around in spandex nor climbing ropes. A nice short walk will do you the world of good. Grab the mail and keep on walking, let's say round the block. Look around you. Notice things. What you must do above all else is to ease yourself out of this blackness. Once you're able to do that, then you're 90% of the way home.

Stop your ruminating. Do that, and the dreams will stop. Then you'll start to have a good night's sleep and you'll stop aching all over. You ache and feel pain only because your body isn't being given enough time to heal. You're too busy dreaming.

Push yourself out of the station, connect with the rails of life once more and it won't be long before you're back to your old self.

Street Talk

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