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Lovely, However... - Julie C. - Jul 14th 2008

Question:

Luckily robins have very small brains and likely do not have the ability to feel depression or emotions of any kind.

If learning to be grateful and to "live in the moment" was all it took to cure major depression I believe most people would be cured by now. It just isn’t that easy unfortunately. When you have a family history of depression, obviously genetic, where 4 relatives (that I know of) have committed suicide and many others struggle each day just to keep going…anti-depressants help, exercise helps, having loved ones around help but a sense of well being and real happiness may not be possible for some.

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Answer:

Hi Julie,

Thank you for your comment. There is no question that Major Depression is extremely debilitating. When you add suicide into the family history, the sadness and tragedy is overwhelming.

However, I believe that you miss the point of the posting you were commenting about. The particular post was written June 10, 2008 and is entitled, "Life, are we listening and living?"
The point of the article is not about finding "happiness" or a feeling of well being. The point of the article is about how to go about finding some comfort in a life and world that is very difficult, as you correctly point out.

First, I, for one, cannot explain that concept that is much bandied about, "happiness." I am sure that if you asked ten people for a definition of happiness, you would get ten different definitions.

In fact, even a sense of well-being is difficult to define because people experience these "emotions" in different ways. Besides, whether it is happiness or well-being that we are discussing, no one has these feelings all of the time.

So, in a world filled with violence, like the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in a life that always contains losses of loved ones, how can we find ways of living and coping?

We know for a fact that going outside into nature can feel very good and relieving even for a depressed person. No, it may not be a cure for depression but it helps.

In the same way, listening to the sounds of nature, meditating, listening to music, watching the ocean waves, looking a log burning in a fire place, all of these are ways to find relief. Relief is not cure but it helps.

Depression is not only an emotion and a chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression is a way of thinking that further reinforces itself. In other words, "woe is me, I feel depressed, I am hopeless, life is hopeless and I feel even more depressed." It is a vicious cycle of misery and bitterness that leads only to the blackness of the pit.

We know that there are two important and useful ways to treat depression: 1. Anti depressant medication and 2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Medication along with CBT is particularly useful for Major Depression. What CBT does is help the individual learn more helpful ways of thinking that, in addition to the medicine, give the patient a greater sense of control over their mood and life.

My hope is that your family are getting not only medicines for depression but CBT.

Good Luck

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