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DISEASE OF THE MONTH

OCTOBER 2000

DEPRESSION

The following information is garnered from a website on the Internet.

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders affecting 340 million people in the world today, accounting for a full 10% of productive years lost throughout the world.
No one is immune from depression - it occurs in people of all social classes, all countries and all cultural settings. One in four women and one in ten men can expect to develop depression during their lifetime, but it's not just adults who suffer......depression affects at least one in 50 children under 12 and one in 20 teenagers.
About half of all cases of depression is unrecognised and untreated.
About 10-15 per cent of depressed people take their own lives.
Depression costs for example the United States an estimated $53 billion each year.
The World Health Organisation predicts that by the year 2020 depression will be the greatest burden of ill-health to people in the developing world, and that by then severe depression will be the second largest cause of death and disability.
BUT DEPRESSION IS ONE OF THE MOST TREATABLE MENTAL ILLNESSES.

The core symptoms of depression are:

lowered mood
loss of energy and interest
a feeling of physical illness or of being rundown
poor concentration
altered appetite and sleep, and
a slowing down of physical and mental functions.

In addition, many genuine physical problems, such as heartburn, indigestion, constipation, headaches or altered
periods often go hand-in-hand with depression. This happens so commonly that many people focus on these
problems without realising they are depressed.

But its probably the relentless feelings of

hopelessness,
helplessness,
guilt and
anxiety

that also accompany depression which are the most difficult to cope with. One indication of the depths of despair
experienced by sufferers is the fact that depression is the most common cause of suicide.

Even so it is very hard for anyone who has no personal experience of depression to really understand the extent
of the problem. This account written by an anonymous sufferer, which appeared in the British Medical Journal,
helps put it in perspective:

"A symptom of the bad times is that you think that they will never abate. You convince yourself that you are
doomed forever to a state of half life. You awake to a sighing gloom and an inordinate effort of will is required to
leave your bed. You know that you should get up to arrest the feeling of despair, but the listlessness which is a
characteristic of the condition holds you there, gazing upwards in static stare, musing over the endlessness of
the day ahead. Everything is an effort and is carried out in slow motion. The smallest task is a weight on
you...Minor problems become issues of magnitude. Decisions are deferred and avoided. Simple tasks are
shelved. Worst of all is the disintegration of your self-confidence. You fumble in speech and in action. The
ringing of a telephone assaults you and you shrink from answering it."

And depression may affect not just the anonymous, given the famous writer W. Styrone, in his book entitled
'Darkness visible', providing us with an in-depth description of his own personal experiences when he suffered
from depression.

Should you experience symptoms like the ones mentioned above, you are advised to discuss this with your
doctor.

What causes depression?

The exact cause of depression remains unclear. The most probable explanation, and the one on which treatment
with antidepressant drugs is based, is that it is an imbalance in certain chemical messengers (also called
neurotransmitters) in the brain.

The neurotransmitters, of which there are about 30, transfer messages between nerve cells in the brain. Some
evidence suggests that depression is caused by a deficiency in two neurotransmitters called noradrenaline and
serotonin. Although this does not explain everything that is known about depression, it does at least serve as a
useful 'pharmacological' model and is usually referred to as the monoamine hypothesis of depression.

But if depression is caused by an imbalance in these neurotransmitters, what triggers it in the first place ?


All the above comes from the website and of course I do not recommend you take anti-depressants. All drugs do is merely cover up the symptoms without addressing the real cause or causes of the illness, and in addition are toxic and damage the immune functions of the body.

If we look at the core symptoms from the point of view of yin and yang we can see that they are all more on the yin side. I should add that it would not be surprising to find that most people who suffer from depression are overweight and it is undoubtedly true that EVERY person suffering the symptoms of depression has Chronic Intestinal Stagnation - for a detailed descroption and account of this condition and how it arises you will need to buy my book, "The End of Medicine" which you can do by clicking on the link.

So, the reason for depression (or any psychological disturbance) is that the human organism is constituted of physical body, etheric body and astral body such that disturbances in the physical body manifest as disturbances in the astral body (the locus of feelings, emotions, attitudes, thinking, memory, etc.). This means that the so-called "chemical imbalances" in the physical brain are also symptoms of the condition.

Rudolf Steiner's incisive statement needs to be broadcast far and wide :"All physical disturbances have their origin in the psyche (astral body or soul) and all pyschological disturbances have their origin in the physical organism".

Thus, in the quest to heal ourselves of any illness symptom we have to work both on the physical body AND the astral body at the same time.

A study of the Five Transformation Theory shows that disturbances or imbalances in any of the five paired organs manifest pyschologically as well as physically. In the case of depression there are three main paired organs involved and these are, in order of importance, lungs/large intestine, liver/gall bladder and kidneys/bladder.

So to heal ourselves of depression is relatively speaking, straighforward. We adopt a macrobiotic dietary regimen and do the Ginger Compress Regimen on our abdomen which addresses the imbalances in the physical body. And we start working on the astral body by developing specific psychological healing forces.

The most important of these is gratitude. It cannot be overemphasized how significant in the healing process is the development of UNCONDITIONAL gratitude. This was one of the first lessons I learnt from George Ohsawa. This means we are grateful for everything, especially our misfortune and our illness. This idea is simply axiomatic to any macrobiotic practice and if it is not developed then the healing process is seriously undermined.

Other important psychological impulses which will help strengthen the astral body are the development of patience, discipline and consistencey in our macrobiotic practice, and attention to detail. The practice that most helps the development of the latter three is learning how to cook macrobiotically - it is simply not possible to heal fundamentally if we do not take the trouble to learn to cook macrobiotically.

The macrobiotic way of eating and the foods employed do not in any way consitute a cure and it is incorrect to approach our macrobiotic dietary regimen as if it were some formula that we take as it if were a more "natural pill". There is no healing power in any of these foods, there is no "active ingredient" or "cancer-fighting nutrient" present in any of these foods.

This is where the latest so-called "natural alternatives" like "nutraceuticals" and "phyto-chemicals", not to mention vitamin and mineral supplements are so far off the mark - taking these will simply not get the job done (see Food and You for more discussion on this topic).

The key point I want to make is that chronic illness symptomologies of any description whatsoever are indicators that our entire lives are out-of-balance with respect to the rhythms of nature and the cosmos. It is therefore not a question here of treating these symptoms with some chemical ingredient, as any so-called "chemical imbalance" is ALSO a symptom of our life being out-of-balance. So, of course it makes no sense to introduce into the body more chemicals which are in the long run only going to cause even more imbalances while utterly failing to address the underlying reasons for the imbalance.

So what if you take these pills and you feel better able to cope? As time goes on the underlying imbalances will simply become more pronounced and further degeneration will take place and these will more than likely manifest as cancer ( a person dies of cancer every 58 seconds in the US) or heart disease ( 3 people die of heart related conditions every 60 seconds in the US) or some other degenerative condition.

However, it is important to note that if you do choose to adopt a macrobiotic approach to healing yourself of depression, and if you are taking these very powerful and toxic medications, that you do not simply stop these medications cold turkey. It is easier on you and your body if you start your macrobiotic dietary practice and only after four months do you start considering weaning your body off the medication. And this you do gradually over a period of 4 - 8 weeks. BUT, it is important to note that as long as we continue to take drugs ( of any kind ) that we are seriously undermining our body's ability to heal itself.


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