Growing up in New York-Brooklyn and Queens/Howard Beach. Folk music stemming from Guthrie and other roots. Things in life.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Treating Depression In The New year
A sense of humor to greet the new year? I’m not sure. It’s gotten so bad that the Middle East crisis is beneath the radar. Korea and nuclear weapons, a mere gnat on the ass of civilization. It is the combined effect of deaths from the Asian tsunami and the daily death count from Iraq. The political ‘season’ was tumultuous, but this is tough to bear. And, is it just me? Or, does it look like our culture is in the process of collapse? Though we are supposed to go about our daily lives, how are we supposed to deal with the depression brought on by these tragic and horrifying events? Who do we ask for advice?
In modern western ‘society,’ we tend to look first to the medical profession, especially it’s little helper, the drug industry, or as they would have you say, the pharmaceutical industry. Hey, a drug is a drug. Here’s how they would have you handle the depression you are experiencing.
The basic medications used for depression today are:
* Tricyclic antidepressants such as Elavil, Tofranil, and Pamelor are prescribed for patients who are in despair, feeling helpless, and unable to feel pleasure.
* Serotonin uptake inhibitors such as Prozac, Paxil, and Effexor, all prescribed for uncomplicated depression.
* Monoamine Oxidase (mao) Inhibitors like Nardil and Parnate: These medications are usually used when depressive symptoms are accompanied by symptoms of an anxiety disorder.
* Lithium: This is the most effective drug for manic depression. However, it can also be used to prevent recurring episodes of depression.
Not everyone likes drugs! So, for those who prefer to talk it through, there’s this:
Cognitive Restructuring, aka Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive restructuring is a set of strategies designed to help you manage the "hot" thoughts and cognitive distortions that drive problems and symptoms. The goal is to identify extreme, self-damaging biases and to apply more reasonable interpretations and expectations about key areas of life, like safety and self-worth. Cognitive restructuring is not the "power of positive thinking" but rather the power of seeing more clearly and accepting life as a balance of both positive and negative experience. Steps include:
* Identify "hot" thoughts and distortions
* Develop reasonable, balanced thoughts
* Develop a coaching inner voice
* Detach from obsessive worry and anger
This sounds awfully difficult, especially compared to simply popping a pill, or a combination of pills, or pills plus a beer, glass of wine, or shooter, or the whole batch put in the old Waring Blender with some ice, perhaps some chocolate syrup and a scoop of FRENCH vanilla ice cream. Suck on that while doing some cognitive restructuring. Whoa, Nelly!
If neither of these approaches suits you, there are numerous ‘new age’ approaches to dealing with depression. There’s massage, mud baths, mud beverages, various soothing sounds, extended orgasm therapy (good for any ailment, really) and the foolproof...Fragrance Therapy. Here are some of the recommended flower essences.
When a person is in deep despair, feeling like they are falling. This flower essence will catch one and lift one out of a hole. Helps give one the strength to stand tall (like the Toetoe plant in the wind), and beat the adversity one believes is in one's life.
For hopelessness and despair, giving up. The blue flowers, like the blue sky, are full of promise. Buoyed up with hope and life.
Feeling helpless - like the sun going down. Brings the new dawning, full of promise and vigor. The promise of ripeness, full of potential.
Yellow Flower Bush
To lift people out of their depression. A “catalyst” essence, that enables the other essences in an essence mix to work more easily and more fully.
Not bad. All of this stuff can be purchased over the internet, or at Bath & Body, or from that old woman in your neighborhood, the one who lives in that big, dark house next to the vacant lot.
Looking back in history, we also find some advice to consider. It is thought that ancient man saw mental illness, including depression, as possession by supernatural forces. Ancient human skulls have been found with large holes in them. The accepted theory is that it was an attempt to let evil spirits out. (I have a large hole in my head. The sign says, “Dad.”)
I know this is extreme, but people still practice this approach to letting the evil spirits out – gun powder, bullets, all that. Don’t try it.
Now some of you resent my light-hearted approach to dealing with the world’s events and the consequent depression. It’s my way of dealing with it after spending day after day listening to and watching the news. Lots of people took a similar approach during World War II. They made up songs about that ‘stupid’ Hitler. There were cartoons and comics and movies and comedy routines while millions of people died and the world was at risk. Maybe the comedians went home and cried. Who knows?