What is Depression?
In part 1 of this blog, (read here), I shared the standard understanding and definition of depression as well as my reasons for ceasing to try treating it pharmaceutically. Today’s blog focuses on how I have come to answer the question of, “What is depression?”
You must be wondering what I replaced the pharmaceuticals with. The same things I do now; I work daily to create what experiences I desire most. “Depression,” by the definition above, which by the way must be noted is NOT a thing, but rather a concept, is the opposite of vigorous health. I don’t “treat depression,” I maximize my potential and health. I practice feeling good inside by cultivating and enhancing those positive emotions we all love. This is done by using the thoughts and thinking tools that are correlated with happiness and success.
I primarily eat the foods that make me feel and look my best both immediately after eating and hours, even days, later. These provide my body with the chemicals it needs to function optimally, especially the gut (see below). Deficiencies in micronutrients (minerals, enzymes and vitamins), will always decrease bodily functions and, some times, directly accounting for lethargy and feelings of not being well.
I exercise daily in the proper intensity range based on how much energy I have, (usually depending on how much sleep my sons choose to give me the night before). I work throughout each day on my business, which revolves around my passion of teaching others how to create health and strength. I learn how to be a more resilient father and husband and fulfill these roles better than the day before. In short, I try and spend as much time as I can focused and working on the person I want to be. Yes, some days are more challenging, such as when managing two irritable toddlers, but overall, if I graphed the satisfaction and progress I feel daily versus ten years ago, the line continues to trend upward.
Revisiting the “Symptom List” from part 1, (read here), depression is far more than the internal brain chemistry, which is still being researched. The most prolific example is the health and functioning of our gut. Interestingly enough, the gut is being increasingly recognized as our second “brain,” some even argue it has a greater effect on how we feel and behave than the brain in our skull. If I establish that I am feeling depressed, rate it objectively, then take an action to feel a bit better I am, then by definition, I am treating the condition. This may sound trite, but taking small steps throughout a day and repeating consistently over time, will move the gauge in the direction we desire.
Here’s a direct example from earlier this week: I did not feel well on Monday following the tragedy in Las Vegas. Witnessing how one very sick person can harm so many in the span of several minutes lead to feelings of grief and powerlessness. This was enhanced by thinking about how mentally ill I used to be that followed long periods of regular gambling. Also, by how many around me are experiencing this now, and asking how many more might be feeling something similar to the terrorist leading to these actions. Personal challenges enhanced these and for several hours I would say my level of depression was very high; possibly 8-9/10.
“Several hours” is the key here and my choices beforehand, that I make each and every day, keeps these downward spirals from reaching the bottom I used to experience. I was able to still think somewhat rationally, still able to eat vigorous foods, exercise, and practice beneficial thoughts as well as emotions. This lead to significant improvement, lessening my rating to a 7 or so and by the next day! Whereas a decade ago, when on meds, I would’ve festered in the bottom of that black hole for days or even weeks.
With sustained periods of practicing, using vigorous beliefs, thoughts and emotions, eating vigorous foods, sleeping as close as we can to our optimal amount, and moving enough each day will elevate and sustain desired balanced pleasurable internal sensations. I remember in the beginning of healing myself I thought about making changes, taking actions that felt impossible, and saddening.
If you are experiencing something similar to this now, or regularly feel depressed, then you are formerly invited to contact us here using email, through the contact form, or on FaceBook. I will refer you to the methods I practice for you to begin your journey. My hope is, that after reading this, you have the ability to answer the question of, “what is depression?” with a new answer; one that is empowering and hopeful. I’m far from alone in my experience and opinion on this controversial topic. Mainstream psychology is increasingly recognizing our body’s inherent needs and advocating a holistic approach (article).
Soon I will be releasing my free Vigor Keto Eating Guide and accompanying online training program. If having a leaner, stronger, healthier body is your goal, then I guarantee this program will produce the most efficient, thorough, and permanent changes possible.