Depression and your spiritual nature.

A few months ago I posted an article titled “You’re not depressed. You’re selfish.” In it, I claim that depression is primarily caused by self-centredness, and that it is our personal responsibility to find something greater than ourselves which can free us from our depression-causing egos. With a few notable exceptions, the response to the article has been negative.

In the comments I have been accused of not understanding depression; of not understanding the causes, the symptoms or the experiences of people who suffer from it; of being arrogant; and rather ironically, of being selfish. While none these accusations upset me, the one that does bother me is the claim that I am in some way unsympathetic to the plight of the unhappy.

If the true and correct practice of religion has taught me one thing it is the importance of compassion. Compassion equates to love, and love is so powerful that it can independently relieve personal suffering. While I am well aware that my tone in the article is confrontational, to take that to mean I haven’t compassion for the sufferers of depression is strongly misguided. Truthfully, my real problem is not with compassion, but with acceptance.

You see, I can’t accept people so casually allowing themselves to be labelled as having psychological ‘disorders’. Allowing yourself to be labelled creates a sense of identity within you, and as opposed to being a person in need of spiritual fulfillment you become what you have been labelled. This creates nothing but confusion, and as your ‘disorder’ is a unique diagnosis meant exclusively for you it serves to feed the ego from which you should be trying to escape.

It further blows my mind that in times of depression, which are essentially times of great spiritual imbalance, those who suffer depression seek to resolve it with further complexity. Addressing spiritual imbalances with psychological solutions is not effective and such practices show an extreme lack of self-understanding, if nothing else.

We humans are far simpler than we like to think. At our core we are all very much the same, and that which we have most in common comes at a spiritual level. One need only understand our true core and our common spiritual nature to understand one’s own self.

The first step to understanding your true self requires you to forego your own ego, which is difficult for two reasons:

  1. We so strongly identify with our ego, such that despite its complete flexibility and subjectivity we come to think it’s who we are.
  2. As we so strongly identify with our ego we fear that letting it go will result in the nullification of self. Paradoxically, when we let go of the ego we actually find our true self.

The things I say about depressed people I say about everybody. You’re selfish? So am I! So is my neighbour, and so is pretty much everyone who I’ve never met. It’s not something to be taken personally as it’s in our shared nature. It is not therefore a question of “Am I selfish?”, but “How selfish am I?”.

To truly understand what I am talking about we need to get past all the psychoanalytical bullshit that we’ve been taught and to look at the universal spiritual traits that we all share. These traits are absolutely superior to our subjective, psychological ones.

The four communal spiritual traits are:

  1. Oneness. This is the longing to be one with something.
  2. Duality (or Twoness). This is the division that we have within ourselves. It is also the opposite of Oneness.
  3. The Centre. We all have and need a centre. For the religious it’s fixed (God). For the non-religious it can be variable (but it’s usually themselves. Yes, it is!).
  4. Self-centredness (Selfishness). We are all egotistical.

In knowing and understanding these four truths, we must understand how we are realising them in our own lives and whether the net result is a positive or a negative. Ask yourself questions like:

Do I achieve Oneness by hanging out with a bunch of negative people because they accept me?
Is my Centre something worthy of my time, energy and worship?
Do I suffer from multiple personalities, or am I pretty much the same person all the time?
Do I ever place myself above others?

Also look closely at Duality’s place in depression, because it plays an important part. As we all tend to suffer from multiple personalities (such as one at work and one at home) depression can act to suppress our duality, and it does so by placing us in a consistently negative state. This to many people is preferable to the insincerity of Duality. By being constantly (or ‘chronically’, or ‘manically’) depressed we can resolve our duality, but the net result is a negative.

My point is a simple one. We all long to be whole, single, centred and selfless. It is our directive as spiritual beings. We work towards it in different ways, but we are all trying to achieve the same outcome. The net result of depression, however, is an absolute negative, and it is the incorrect path to achieving spiritual harmony.

There isn’t a drug or a doctor in the world that can change your mind better than you can, but first you have to want to, and you also have to understand the spiritual reasons for your state of being. You are longing to achieve Oneness. You are longing to find your true centre. You are longing to rid yourself of your duality. And you are likely longing to be selfless. Your depression is hampering your potential to lead a happy, spiritually fulfilled life.

There’s one last thing I need to say. As obvious as it is already, I’m not even remotely a genius, and I’m not sharing knowledge that I came up with because I’m so much smarter than you. The things I say have been known since the beginning of our conscious existence and you can interpret them from any good spiritual text. They are truths which I embraced long ago, and I have since lead a more conscious and fulfilling existence as a result. I can show you the truth but only you can open your eyes long enough to see it.

Happiness-map

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233 Comments

  • Reply Sam June 23, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    Being depressed has zero to do with being selfish or with a spiritual imbalance I know that many people find comfort from prayer but we have realised that a holy text written hundreds of years ago won’t work as well on cancer as chemotherapy will and it is the same for depression telling someone who already feels like a failure that they have failed because they didn’t offer supplication to the invisible gods in the sky will just lead them to force them self to try and find a belief that for them that’s just not there! And you say you hate labels of mental disorders? Well I have to say that for many to find out what is happening to them is a huge relief and can be the first step to recovery. Do you say that those who have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are just labeled and need to pray it out ? I pity anyone that may confide in you as you will more likely do more harm than good with this non evidenced based drivel!

    • Reply Toma June 23, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      At what point in this post do I discuss God?

      Praying it out may or may not work. Self-understanding/enlightenment DOES work.

      I know a woman in Australia who was convinced that she had a kidney problem. She went to at least 5 kidney specialists in various cities to find out what was wrong and they all told her she was perfectly fine. That was 30 years ago. She’s still kicking along. Some people want to believe there is something wrong with them. Most people want to believe that they are normal. Which of these two groups do you think benefits by being labeled?

      • Reply Arby June 25, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        I am curious to know your thoughts on the interaction of physical diseases and diet on a depressed mind state. I think many people suffering from “depression” actually have physical disorders, and they become immersed in their negative thoughts as if that was their disease.

        Last fall I was dealing with sleep deprivation due to insomnia (with no accompanying ruminations or sleep anxiety), mental exhaustion, cognitive issues and mood swings, enough so that I quit my job. Two MD’s and an EAP counselor said I was depressed, yet I knew I wasn’t even with the negative thoughts and occasional suicidal ideation. I spent a lot of time on self-examination here and I always reached the conclusion that I was not depressed. Funny thing is three mental health professionals I consulted with agreed with me.

        Further medical follow-up revealed sleep apnea and hypothyroidism. After treatment when I still wasn’t feeling a whole lot better and suffering from ridiculous GERD symptoms, I decided to give up all grains (except rice), nightshade vegetables and dairy. This made a huge difference in all of my mental health symptoms and they quickly return if I go off my new diet.

        My comments are not intended to promote hypochondriasis (subject for another day), but to point out that there are disorders that medical doctors are ill equipped to deal with and many things get lumped together into the depression bucket because they are not understood. If you as a patient buy into that paradigm, then that is where you will stay and probably suffer useless if not harmful treatments.

        • Reply Toma June 25, 2013 at 1:55 PM

          This is the second comment of this kind I have received today, and it’s a great question.

          I have touched on the effects of diet as they relate to anger in the past, and it should be rather the same with depression. You can read the article here. I absolutely believe in the mind-body-spirit connection, but I also believe that of the three, the spirit is the most powerful. The spirit can absolutely overcome the mental, and can have a profound effect on the physical, but all three must be respected.

          I know a Yoga teacher who spent ten years living and meditating in India. I had a long chat with him one day during which he explained to me how pain in the human body relates to certain thoughts and problems. While he didn’t have time to go into detail, hypothetically, stomach pains are related to ego, shoulder pain to stress at work etc etc. He believes the psychological dominates the physical.

          Then there’s another guy I have been friends with for some 16 years who is a very unique sort of back specialist. He’s not a doctor, but more of a new-age type. He has a proven track record of helping people recover from major physical problems and is very well respected. Speaking to him about it he said his secret is in the conversations he has with patients more than the therapy itself. He’s someone people, including myself, open up to. People leave his office floating on air and feeling better. He said that those who aren’t willing to talk to him generally don’t recover as quickly as those who do.

          Although I can’t say it conclusively, my conversations with these two people lead me to believe that it’s probably the mental that affects the physical which affects the mental.

          • Graeme Jones November 12, 2013 at 11:35 AM

            1/3 people will get depression sometime in their life. For the 1/3 of the human beings on this planet i can empathise with, it sucks to be depressed. Massively sucks, so i can only assume that the author Toma is fortunate enough to be part of the 66%.

            Toma i think your logic is slightly confused at times. You acknowledge the relevance and importance of each person’s ‘center’ or whatever you call it ‘youness’, ‘meness’ or the essence of the individual (in modern western philosophy).

            You then suggest that we should remove ‘i’ from our vocabulary. The word ‘i’ is a representation of this individual essence, youness, meness or ‘your center’ as you call it.

            So you’re suggesting that we ‘remove’ the very ‘center’ that you state as ‘causal’ and therefore crucial to the problem of why people get clinical depression.

            I dont know about depression, but thats a clinical case of contradiction!

            My suggestion is that you channel your energy or chi into studying some of histories authorities on the issues you are talking about.

            From western philosophy, try a summary of Baruch Spinoza, and then a summary of Immanuel Kant’s writings.

            From eastern philosophy try particularly Confucius, he put forward a strong humanism that may be good to read.

            The rest is yours.

          • Toma November 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM

            Thanks, Graeme. The Centre is not you-ness. I could make cocaine my centre, but it would not be ‘me’. ‘I’ can exist without being my own centre, but the word ‘I’, its context and frequency are indicative of one’s centre. I will look into your suggested reading.

          • You're pathetic June 19, 2014 at 6:36 AM

            I hope you quit writing because your outlook on things is as bad as your outlook on depression. The thoughts in a depressed persons mind didn’t come naturally. 9 out of 10 times it was forced on to you. You don’t magically get depressed one day because you’re so sad and you hate life. Sometimes the negativity is forced upon the person and so natural to the person because of their environment that they don’t know how to think any other way. You’re a horrible person to make someone who hates themselves hate themselves even more. Sometimes a depressed person is the most selfless person and it’s other people constant selfishness that causes their depression. So why do you kill yourself before someone kills themselves over your ignorant articles.

        • Reply Nick June 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

          As an MD myself, I agree that there is plenty that medical science cannot as of yet explain, and that the medical community may often be the last to admit this. However, that certain medical conditions can cause depressive symptoms is a known fact. Just how many cases of “depression” can ultimately be attributed to an unknown “organic” cause vs. a “spiritual” etiology is a really interesting question. However, I would like to point out that, by definition, a psychiatric illness is one for which there is no medical cause to which it can be attributed. If a patient with depressive symptoms is found to have some kind of brain disease, then that case is no longer a psychiatric one; it is, by definition, a neurological one. If the cause is hypothyroidism, then it is an endocrine case, not a psychiatric one. If the cause of a person’s depressive symptoms is, in reality, due to an organic cause that medical science has yet to discover, it is actually not a psychiatric case of depression, which is the kind of depression it seems to me this article is mainly referring to, though I could be wrong about that.
          However, this highlights the danger of being labeled with a psychiatric disease. Under current paradigms, in general, if a medical cause has been ruled out (or at least, a medical cause could not be found using current laboratory and diagnostic techniques) and a psychiatric diagnosis is made, the illness is then attributed to some kind of “neurochemical imbalance” or some variation thereof using the biological model of psychiatry, the details for which there is no consensus and the evidence for which is shaky, at best. The patient may then be persuaded into believing that medical science has found the cause for his symptoms, when in fact, the true cause has now merely been obscured by the diagnosis, whether that true cause is spiritual or an unknown physical etiology.
          But if I may ask out of curiosity, what was it that caused you to come to the conclusion you were not “depressed” in the psychiatric definition of the word? You state that you came to this conclusion from self-examination, but don’t elaborate much further.
          By the way, I think it’s great that you took the initiative to further explore your illness and managed to find the true etiology of your symptoms.

          • Arby June 26, 2013 at 3:22 AM

            I really appreciate your reply. It is very refreshing to have a physician speak of trying to find causes. Unfortunately, being a diagnostician is very much undervalued today and I applaud anyone that can remain one with the pressures today to just treat symptoms.

            To answer your question, it is difficult for me to distill how I came to the conclusion I did. The best explanation I can give you is because of examining the evidence and from the spirit.

            The practical reasons I doubted the diagnosis were that there was only a cursory differential diagnosis being done, I didn’t entirely fit the profile, although the BDI pegged me as moderately depressed, and the fact that I grew up poor in the middle of nowhere. The impact of the poor part is that when going to a physician is a luxury, you learn to observe, monitor and ride out any symptoms that are not dire. Add to this my natural propensity to examine my thoughts and behaviors, and this meant I was able to compare what was happening to me physically and mentally in a somewhat detached manner.

            This is not to say it wasn’t a lot of work nor was it painless. I did a lot of research on depression and trying to find the right physicians and mental health professionals. And, I did a lot of soul searching through my recent and far past. Accepting the depression diagnosis was tempting for the reasons you gave in your response, yet the triggers, symptoms, feelings and thoughts didn’t match often enough. It always had me wondering, is it or isn’t it? Thankfully I was not alone in trying to sort this all out. The people who share their thoughts and stories on the internet were, and are, of immeasurable help to me. I am also very grateful for the help of the two psychologists I spent time with and my current GP. He hasn’t quite got me figured out yet, as a person or medically, but that is okay as I appreciate that he listens to what I have to say and that we are making progress.

            Ultimately though, it was that still small voice telling me I had a physical illness that kept me searching for the answer. This came to me after contemplating Toma’s well reasoned reply. Before reading it, I would have said that every fiber of my being was telling me I wasn’t depressed, except now I realize that would not be correct. Physically I was just feeling awful, and mentally I was examining everything and never quite sure if I was in denial. The only part of me that could have been that confident that it wasn’t psychiatric depression, and that could sustain me through it, was my spirit through His Spirit. With that said, I largely agree with Toma’s viewpoint. Chicken or the egg, or maybe just a duet? Yet sometimes people just become ill and it looks like depression.

            There is more I could discuss regarding this or healthcare yet I don’t want to stray too far off topic. If you are registered in the HealthTap internet application, I expect that you can find me under the same user name as here and reply to one of my questions. Some of the things I asked there were pure curiosity, yet most are around the issues I am dealing with now.

          • Arby June 29, 2013 at 3:29 AM

            Nick – it occurred to me that my first reply didn’t really answer your question on what caused me to reach the conclusion that I was not depressed. After a bit more thought, I realized what it was.

            It was the search for the truth.

            To find the truth, I self-examined. I revisited each demon/piece of baggage/personality fault from my past that I was aware of and had conquered or accepted earlier, and tried to see if it was impacting my mood or behavior during the time I was “depressed”. Also, I examined my current environment and behavior by asking others for their opinions (a tricky thing to do because I had to seek those I thought were the most objective and try not to elicit sympathy, excuses or condemnation from them). Note: Most of this was done before/outside of therapy. However, two of my psychologists were a big help in dealing with the self-doubt introduced by the other professionals that had labeled me as depressed.

            After doing this I had to accept the truth I found. In this case, that it matched my inner voice, was very comforting.

            Toma – I am not sure where self-examination fits into your view as it is inherently self-centered. However, I am entirely convinced that the search for the truth can not be selfish. Perhaps I am saying the same thing as you are when you are talking about self-awareness, I am not sure. I am still pondering the idea of depression as selfish. It is an interesting topic and I thank you for the forum to discuss it.

          • Nick July 3, 2013 at 5:58 AM

            Thank you for the replies, Arby. The self-examination that you describe as leading you to the conclusions that you came to are truly admirable, in my opinion.
            Personally, I think that self-reflection can be a very good thing if it helps us come to truths about ourselves, as it clearly did in your case. As a side note, I think the world would likely be a much better place if, in general, people were more self-reflective and allowed themselves to recognize the many problems we all have that have ourselves at the root of the problem.

          • Arby July 3, 2013 at 4:41 PM

            Wow Nick. Your posts continue to amaze me.

            Do you mind my asking what specialty you practice in? In a former occupation working in a hospital, I had frequent albeit limited contact with a fair number of MDs and I would not use the word introspective or spiritual when describing any of them.

          • Nick July 20, 2013 at 8:31 AM

            Hi Arby. Sorry for the late reply. I missed your last comment before. Thanks for your comments. To answer your question, I’m currently training in the specialty of Pathology. I dunno how introspective or “spiritual” I am, but I do think introspection is good for the reasons we’ve both discussed, as long as it doesn’t become excessive and/or obsessive. Also, with regards to your comment about MDs, I think the majority of the other MDs that I’ve known are people who I think are genuinely nice people. Certainly not all, but that would be unrealistic. And on that note, as critical as I am of the field of psychiatry as it is currently practiced, I think most psychiatrists genuinely want to and believe they are helping their patients, and I certainly can’t criticize them for that, even as I completely disagree with their prevalent ideologies and their methods.

          • Arby July 20, 2013 at 10:46 PM

            A pathologist? In a way, that kind of explains your leanings toward getting to the root cause of symptoms. I am glad my question didn’t offend you. Although I realize that my last sentence could be misconstrued as judgmental, and probably should have been reworded, that wasn’t my intent.

            I was trying to call attention to the striking difference I see between your writings and the MDs I’ve observed first-hand. They are nice people; that isn’t it. It’s that I’ve been astonished at how often they are blind to the impact their behavior has on others, good or bad. They are brilliant intellectually, yet their “emotional IQ” seems not to include this self-awareness. I am not sure if it’s the personality type drawn to medicine, if it has been “bred” out of them in med school, if it’s merely the cost of doing business when you have to make life and death decisions all day or just something they don’t display at work. However, I will say that I have read enough posts by MDs to know that there are many that are self-aware and/or spiritual, yet they seem like a minority and not one I’ve come across in my former job.

            For the care MDs provide, I was never formally trained in medicine and have always had only a consumer’s interest in it. However, working in the hospital there was rarely a day I didn’t see something that would have me thanking God, that there are people in this world with a passion for the healing arts. Not just physicians either, although I give them a special thanks for their dedication in getting through school/residency and for what we ask of them.

      • Reply kc August 28, 2013 at 4:31 AM

        You are not talking about God, however, you are imposing your spiritual beliefs on others. You know what is funny, and this is coming from a spiritualist, is that the more I meet, including those of other faiths, seem to be more critical of others. I find that those on the fringe of society are the first to lend of hand without criticism and judgement or their opinion. I have lived a lot of life and seen many many things. I would like to know more about you, if you are willing to share. Have you ever had or currently suffer from mental illness? Do you have a family member that suffers from mental illness? What struggles have you dealt with? What is your spiritual belief? Have you worked with the mentally ill? Have you visited hospitals? If this is your opinion, have your done any volunteer work to help those suffering? If so, what have your experiences been like? I know you gave a little information on yourself in the top right-hand corner of the blog, but it would be interesting to know more about you?

      • Reply R. S. M. September 3, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        That’s called Munchhausen’s Syndrome. It’s a mental illness. Like depression.

      • Reply dil September 29, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        The problem in your comment here is that you’re mixing up stupidity with mental issues. I do however agree with you when you suggest that mental disorders (particularly mild ones) are simply a negative mindset. Albeit there are some disorders I believe are genuine such as those that are so extreme they cause hallucinations or extreme delusion, but I also believe those are EXTREMELY rare. A mild disorder can also turn into a severe one, if not properly handled, but again, that is only likely in hard-to-achieve conditions.

        To the posters showing extreme anger, bitterness or sadness, can i suggest you consider (for the first time?) what it is you’re looking at? I did not come here for an expert opinion, and nor should you have. This is simply a man posting his opinions on subjects he so chooses. Why one could be upset over an opinion (that is not ignorant, prejudice or based on bigotry) is beyond me. I think it was clear from the start the author had no intention to cause anyone any negative feelings. People HAVE become far too sensitive. They’ve begun to make far too many excuses for themselves, this being one of them.

        Finally, I must admit that I am a little disappointed that you (Toma Haiku) wrote this article. After reading the original article that this one stemmed from, I felt completely on-board with your ideology on the subject. However, the disappointment comes from the fact that you felt you needed to justify your original post. It’s unfortunate you could not maintain more confidence throughout, regardless of sad or angry opinions.

        • Reply Toma October 2, 2013 at 10:48 PM

          Thanks for your feedback, dil. Confidence was not the motivator. I think compassion was. Plus there was more to be said, and I wanted to say it. That’s all.

          • Mike Wade April 11, 2014 at 6:28 AM

            I found your last article by searching for an atheist comedian comment:

            “Being offended is subjective. You choose to be offended. There is not a list of rules in your brain that trigger an offence mechanism, you hear something, then you decide if it’s offended you or not.”

            Don’t know how you showed up on the first page? I chose to let this article offend me, where the first one You wrote I mostly liked.

            I wonder how Dil came to the conclusion genuine disorders are EXTREMELY rare? I think we need to follow the facts and trust that medical science and research can be used to improve our understanding of neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s, dementia, and about 250 more.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_neurological_conditions_and_disorders

            If you think you understand the brain, then I understand you don’t think.

            Thinking the answers are in centuries old texts isn’t helping science. My dad thinks his church works better than my bipolar drugs. You should ask the rest of my family who is more level headed. Everyone including my dad would say I am.

      • Reply Scott October 19, 2013 at 6:51 AM

        Toma, I am convinced of what you write. I have been on every anti-depressant known to man, 2 long stays in the mental hospital, endless therapy, and none of it has helped. I don’t totally understand the meaning of duality or non-duality, but I am seeking spiritual help, as nothing else has helped.

        • Reply Toma October 20, 2013 at 10:59 PM

          Seek truth. People can lie to you about the spirit, but the truth is as eternal as the spirit and it will never change. Your heart will recognise it WHEN you find it. I recommend starting by reading the new testament, and learning to meditate. Even if you don’t buy into Christianity you will have started your journey in a great place, and then you can carry on comfortably.

          • Sini May 14, 2015 at 1:36 AM

            I personally am battling depression for more than 10 years now, but i never took any medications for it, i tried by staying strong and reading spiritual books as you have stated, i still fight my depression, and i too have realized that staying negative only increases the depression and i tried to stay positive and help other people out so that i would feel happy. But the sad reality is that when i tell people there can be other ways to look at depression and fight out of it, people get so cold and angry and lash out at me, even over social websites. It hurts to see that when you truly like to help someone and they don’t get it and act out as if you don’t know a thing depression. I personally experience it and still experiencing it on a daily basis. But when i try to reach out to others and try to help them they lash out so bad, that it hurts me a lot. I feel sad about it.

      • Reply Erin October 22, 2013 at 7:25 AM

        You mentioned GOD right here..

        The Centre. We all have and need a centre. For the religious it’s fixed (God). For the non-religious it can be variable (but it’s usually themselves. Yes, it is!)

        AND you, basically, said that the non-religious are self centered.

        I read what you had to say and some of it is a bunch of shit, some of it is great. The problem that the majority of people have in what you had to say is your delivery, it comes across as non compassionate and judgmental. Dude, work on that and you might find people will accept the good parts of what you had to say. There were some good parts, but since I started reading Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now I have a suggestion, you just need to expand on the POSITIVE aspects of your message. Honestly it was a bit negative. Maybe YOU need to work on yourself a bit more before you start handing out advice to people you, clearly, do not understand.

        What I found ironic is that you are dogging the non religious….yes, you did/are, yet it’s the non-religious that follow the principals of some of the things you had to say. Irony at it’s best. Most God following people do not meditate, or follow principals of not allowing negative thoughts to dominate their minds. I know a whole bunch of them. In fact I had to cut those types of negative thought mongers out of my life for that very reason, yet they are Christians who go to church regularly…hmmm it would seem that just simply having that “fixed” center doesn’t work for all of them.

      • Reply Just a mother November 1, 2013 at 5:46 AM

        Dear Toma,
        I have been struggling with deep depression for a few years now.
        I look back and remember a time when I did not struggle with this depression.
        I know it is possible to acheive that state of mind.
        I agree it is selfishness is some way.
        Every time I try and talk to someone about it they do not want to hear it.
        Which leads me to think that they do not like me.
        The thoughts that I think i do not want them there.
        I am afraid that my depression has croniclly gotten worse.
        My thoughts are not like most depressed peoples about how their life sucks and everything like that. Mine is with other people. I treat people like crap and they are still good to me My thoughts I do not even want to share with people because i do not want them to think the same things i do.
        Their is so much i would like to share with you. It is no coincidence that i just happened upon this page. I do not want to live this depressed life. For my daughter. I want a happy life for her. I feel like i am always confusing her with being happy and then not being happy.
        Sincerely,
        A mother

      • Reply Allisom November 23, 2013 at 10:59 PM

        Praying ALWAYS works you little twat.

      • Reply Ait December 22, 2013 at 5:51 AM

        I’m curious. Have you ever experienced an extreme depression? Do your posts come from experience or observation? You may have mentioned this already and I missed it.

      • Reply Keri December 28, 2013 at 6:11 AM

        I think you nailed it… !

      • Reply The cakes December 31, 2013 at 6:01 PM

        Funny you would use a lady who thought that she had something wrong with her kidneys and after 30 years she is still kicking along! This is to make us believe that their apparently was nothing wrong with her kidney! Well, let me tell you that i experienced a horribly painful issue which I thought at first was a urinary tract infection! After going to my primary care doctor and finishing about 3 rounds in antibiotics; I could not get it to clear up. I was then referred to a urologist! He declared me to be fine but the pain I felt told me something different! Many doctors later, I was finally admitted for tests and was diagnosed with a very painful disorder called interstitial cystitis! It is a very hard diagnosis to come by because even the specialist did not know that much about it at the time and still don’t know much more about the disease after many years! Oh, and do you know after 15 years I am still kicking so long as I am not in a flare! So you are right, self understnading/and enlightment certainly helps! My understanding that i was in dire pain and the medical comunity’s enlightenment about a disease that not much is know about finally came about! Now i know that this is not what you meant by this statement! I get the feeling that you are very arrogant! Just because you have enjoyed good health does not mean this is so for everyone! If you had this disease years ago, they would basically write you off as crazy and unforutnately it is mostly women that suffer from this! I was hoping that i would see something in you that i failed to see in the last post but that still seems to elude me! Also, how many people have been misdiagnosed by the medical comunity? Not all misdiagnoses will kill you but some certainly can! I am saying a prayer for you when I finish this post! For a man that believes in god, I see very little compassion in your! I do not see the self-understanding or enlightenment that you point out to others in you either! Oh, do I believe in god? You bet I do, I do not believe I would have survived as long as I have if it were not for God and his devine love! I also would like to know what titles you hold that would give you the qualifications to write the things that you do! In all my years, I do not believe that i have ever heard a medical professional tell me that a person who is depressed is actualy just self centered or selfish and these are people who have went to school for a long to to try and help people with depression! Yes, I will pray for you at the same time that I am praying for myself and my loved ones!

      • Reply hey you dont deserve all this hate but you are wrong my freind January 15, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        look toma you are a nice guy really and I don’t think you deserve all the hate your getting right now (your just trying to help) but, here is the thing. Spiritual enlightenment does not control you emotions this is insanely hard to do and while I think self enlightenment might help stop from killing yourself it does not make you any less depressed or sad if anything it can create another burden. As a religious person who used to have depression I remember feeling that god would be dissapionted in me because of the way i was thinking the way I abused myself and the way I felt even though I should have been grateful. But this only made it worse, it made me feel as I couldn’t turn to anyone or anything to relieve myself of depression. This is not out of self centeredness but out of care of what others think and feel. I kept my depression down and tore me up from inside till I had a panic attack and had to go to hospital due to a stress related heart attack. Depression is real my friend please do not tell people they can cure it on there own. God works in misterous ways and psychologists is only one of them.

      • Reply Paityn April 10, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        You clearly do not understand depression. Unless you’ve had it, don’t try to act all high and mighty claiming it’s not real and people are selfish because they feel a certain way. And this “centre” crap is all just your own opinion all just your way of dealing with things. So what research has been proven to support your statements same goes for depression being real and not just someone being “selfish”. News flash we aren’t all you. Meditating and chi or whatever does not work for everyone. Never worked for me and I’ve tried everything. Next time you want to go claim you know all there is to know about having depression. Keep your mouth shut because frankly you are insulting and condescending. Get off your high horse and go meditate.

        • Reply Angelina H May 14, 2015 at 2:15 AM

          THANK YOU!! You are 300% correct!

      • Reply Auden May 15, 2014 at 11:38 AM

        I agree with you that labels aren’t a good thing. I personally suffer from depression, and I understand that I am not my diagnoses. I have thought a lot about your articles, and I have to disagree with you on your view that depression is selfish. I don’t know if you have ever suffered from depression, but I do and I can’t control it no matter what I do. I spend a lot of time trying to help others and do things for others, I love putting a smile on someone else’s face. That being said I don’t think that selfishness is what lead to my depression. I have been to poorer countries and seen what those people have, but coming back here I realized that we don’t need all these things so therefore they are not really part of the equation of happiness. As I explored buddhism I realized just how little possessions actually mean to people.

        People can’t be happy and appreciative about things sitting around them that they don’t need. Yes, I am very grateful that I have access to fresh water and food, but I have learned that grateful does not equal happy. Also, here in the United States many of us are detached from our families and communities and don’t have strong relationships with our loved ones as the people in those developing countries do since they depend on one another for survival.

        What people commonly don’t understand about clinical depression, is that it’s when you’re sad when everything in your life is going right. I don’t want this, and nothing I do changes it, it’s just all pain management, and I’ve tried everything I can think of from coping skills to medication to religion to hypnosis…etc. When people ask what it is like to be me, I describe the pain I’m in as living with that awful feeling you get when you have a cold or a mild case of the flu. Except I’ve had that for months, that turned into years, just about every single day. I don’t know how I’m supposed to find happiness and joy in that kind of pain, especially when no one else acknowledges that that pain exists and others make it known that that pain is not legit and my fault, which is equivalent to saying that it’s my fault if you slap me in the face and it hurts.

        Also I disagree that people who are depressed blame others for their misfortune, we spend the majority of our time blaming ourselves. People I know who suffered or suffer from depression or bipolar disorder or anxiety are the kindest, most compassionate, selfless, honest, and helpful people I know.

      • Reply Kat Denham January 31, 2015 at 4:13 PM

        Why I don’t agree is that some people like me, suffer from depression and anxiety because of abusive family membrs. if I don’t go near them, them I’m being selfish, but if I do go near them then I have to put up with being told how wrong, bad, unwanted I am. The biggest problem is that if I try to stand up for myself, then they get physically abusive and the authorities won’t do anything because the people are related to me. So what is someone supposed to do?

      • Reply charles March 24, 2015 at 5:10 PM

        I am not going to say that you do not know anything, because obviously you are educated. But why would anyone take advice or “wisdom”, so to say, from somebody who accuses every other religion to be wrong. “If the true and correct practice of religion has taught me one thing”. Really? That is so close minded. I may not be able to unread this article, but i sure would love to.

      • Reply sarah September 17, 2015 at 9:37 AM

        I just wanted to thank you for what you have shared over both posts on the subject of Depression.
        In all honesty it did take me a short time to appreciate what you were in fact saying as I had read the previous post first and to start with I found myself offended but quite quickly in just that emotion alone I realised what you say is very true and I do know this in my every day battle with what has been diagnosed as having ptsd and a border line emotionally unstable personality disorder due to the trauma I suffered as a child.
        I found it quite sad reading the responses you received and feel no matter what you say this will always be the case, in fact some of the really extreme responses on both sides were a great example of what you were saying, that is how I came to understand them anyway.

        I am suffering a low period at the moment myself as I read this, my ptsd consumes me every day taking me back to re live the several forms of abuse and neglect I suffered at the hands of my care givers which in turn makes me feel depressed and fuels my anxiety to be fearful of my life now as an adult.
        During times like this I struggle greatly to reason with my mind but I never give up fighting, I don’t lie in bed feeling sorry for myself or look to others to make me happy or blame for my pain, though I have done in the past and that’s how I understand what you were saying is true and even though at this moment in time I do struggle and I know I’m making only myself a prisoner of my pain and in doing so being selfish, but I also know I am trying my hardest to make a change and it is possible to be happy and at peace because I have done it before.
        Thank you for reminding me what I need to get back to doing :) xx

      • Reply John October 27, 2015 at 6:27 AM

        Right now, I could go on a long rant about how wrong you are, but clearly that doesn’t affect you. You crave that attention; you want to argue with people. So instead of doing that, I’m going to provide you with some basic information that you either do not know or have blatantly ignored.

        1. When another commenter pointed out that not everyone believes in God, you claimed to have never referenced God in this post. However, I have a direct quote from your post that proves otherwise:

        “The Centre. We all have and need a centre. For the religious it’s fixed (God). For the non-religious it can be variable (but it’s usually themselves. Yes, it is!).”

        This quote clearly references God, something you denied doing. Another thing to point out is that while you did acknowledge those who are not religious, you implied that those who aren’t religious are self-centered. Somehow, you have come to the conclusion that those who do not worship a God worship themselves. May I ask how?

        2. In another one of your posts, you talked about how there are two types of non-religious people: atheists and agnostics. First off, there are more than two types of non-religious people. An easy example is a very common type: a Deist. Deists believe that a God or gods created the universe, but that he did nothing else, and is no longer a part of what happens in the world. Would these people be lumped into the category of non-religious people who worship themselves, according to your logic?

        Some of the most obvious mistakes in that post were your definitions of “atheist” and “agnostic”. You wrote that while both an atheist and an agnostic will deny the existence of God, an agnostic will accept that the religious have different views whereas an atheist will persecute those who are religious.

        Not true. An atheist is someone who does not believe in a God or gods and is not religious. Atheists also do not believe in ghosts, spirits, etc. Some may accept the views of the religious while others will persecute the religious. Agnostics do not confirm or deny the existence of a God or gods. They require more physical proof before they decide whether or not God or gods exist(s).

        Defining atheists as persecutors of the religious and agnostics as people who do not believe in a God or gods is incorrect, offensive, and confusing. If you’re trying to make an argument, at least use the correct terms.

        3. One of your main supporting arguments is that in order for something to be real, you have to be able to see it, because you need physical evidence to prove anything. By this logic, you are either an agnostic or a hypocrite. Unless you have somehow seen your God or gods, you have no physical proof that the figure(s) you worship is/are real. So how do you know that your beliefs are correct?

        You just know, right? Your belief is something you feel, not something tangible that can be seen, felt, etc. It’s the same for those with depression. You may not be able to see your God or gods, but you are confident that they exist, just like you may not be able to see depression, but you still know it is real.

        I could go on, but I think I’ve gotten my point across. A recurring mistake in all of your posts is your determination to pass off your own opinion as fact. Because YOU believe something, it MUST be true, regardless of whether or not it is backed up with facts. You have taken a real mental illness and turned it into something you can persecute people for.

        Depression isn’t something selfish, or fictional, or unimportant. Depression is real, and it has destroyed millions of lives. To ignore depression is to ignore the millions of people around the world who suffer every single day, in part because of the ignorance of people like you who can’t or won’t accept that you aren’t always right. Argue with me if you want, but you cannot deny the truth, and the truth is that it isn’t those who depressed that are in denial— it’s you.

    • Reply Christopher Knight July 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      Hi Toma just wanted to say that having suffered from long term depression I have realized that I am more selfish than most people around me and probably had the largest ego although I think I hid it well. My fiancee is the opposite of me and she has the most stable of moods. I’m going to try to dedicate the remaining amount of my life doing things and thinking about others than myself unless that would hurt me as I need to look after myself so that I can carry on helping others. I feel a lot calmer as a result and am really looking forward to looking after other people in anyway that I can.

      I think its important when being unselfish to really think about what good for others sometimes charity can hurt, it has to be the right gift for everyone or we risk making more depressed selfish people which I really don’t want to do.

      I get the feeling that you wrote this article because you genuinely care about people. I didn’t feel any malice from it, just a refreshing view point.

      Maybe this can be introduced more in a local way so that people gradually come to realize that the ego can cause depression if left unchecked.

      We are social creatures its more selfish (but positive) to be useful to other people as it creates value in ourselves which is anything but temporary. If your just selfish you end up useless and alone which I feel like I was on the way too. Its a harsh truth but a very good one.

      Its time for us all to help one another. There is enough for us to do that if we start now there will never be an end and that is a good thing too.

    • Reply Brian November 12, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      Very well said. This man is dangerous. I understand the type of depression he is speaking of but its not true for all types of depression and he has obviously never been affected by a chemical imbalance. When you feel a sense of impending doom for weeks and even months even when you dont really have anything to be depressed about. When one becomes suicidal because everything just seems over. And even though you know that you have nothing really to feel depressed about you just are so gloomy you’d rather die. Toma you are NO expert on depression for anyone but your own. And what may be YOUR solution doesn’t mean its everybody’s solution because you obviously have never walked in the shoes of a bipolar body. I only wish it were that easy. Give up writing about things you have not researched before you kill someone with your words. One that may take your words to heart and end up offing themselves because they cant think themselves back into happiness when maybe a doctor would have saved their life

      • Reply RSM November 12, 2013 at 10:28 PM

        Well said, Brian. Thank you for posting this…you are absolutely right.

      • Reply Toma November 27, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        From the title down, this article was more about the cause than the solution.

      • Reply The cakes December 31, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        I dont think it is true of most people that are depressed!

    • Reply Yelen November 18, 2013 at 1:59 AM

      Mr. Tomahawk, you are full of yourself, bet you drive a Mercedes and Have a trophy wife or boyfriend,,,,do your research,

    • Reply Grace December 9, 2013 at 5:31 AM

      There are words which I came to read again in scripture recently. “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 7:21
      Prayer, or talking to God, does make a difference. However, I think the Lord God only helps you right at that moment of prayer when you really want to Do the thing that will make you happy, His will.

    • Reply Ali December 21, 2013 at 3:03 AM

      I partially agree with the authors arguments.

      When I say partially disagree I mean to say that some people are more prone to depression and negative thinking. this may be due to genetic traits, family conditions, bad parenting, lack of emotional support or understanding from childhood etc etc. These people cannot simply snap out of it as they have been trained throughout their lives either through circumstances or family to think little or no positive thoughts. They do need help, and although medication may help relieve symptoms it is a known fact that unless and until the patient is treated i..e taught or made to realize that their way of thinking is wrong through therapy. And I do not mean drug therapy but rather talking to them and making them realize that medication has temporary effect and permanent resolution of their problems can only be brought about by changing their thinking pattern. they will continue to fall deeper into their mental illness.

      My partner suffers from depression, antisocial behavior and paranoia (she may be a possible border line person) but refuses to believe any of it is her fault and blames it all on the people around her insisting that if they had given her more she would be happier. And this is where the I agree with the author. Where a partner tells you that you caused her depression by not earning more money than you already do, or by telling you that instead of taking her on a holiday you wronged her by doing a masters degree (which would have paved way for a better future) That is selfish, specially when she agrees with you first. When your partner tells you that you caused her depression by not transferring each and every penny you earn into her account THAT is selfish. When a partner tells you that she knows she is clinically depressed but says its entirely the fault of people who have supported her financially and emotionally through years and bore with her screaming and cursing that is selfish. And after that she refuses to get any treatment as she believes that everyone around her should accommodate for her and live to serve her and provide for her so that she may gain happiness. That is selfish. And I know more than one mentally ill person who does this. To know that you do need treatment and take absolutely no steps to ensure the problem is solved because in their mentally ill state other people would be bound to serve and solve all of life’s problems AND to use that to your benefit. That is selfish, you cant call it anything else.

      The author is wrong to say that all people suffering from a mental illness are selfish, I think only the ones who know the problem is in them but refuse to do anything about it as it would require them to muster the courage and strength to change themselves for the better are selfish. Those who do take steps to resolve their mental illness are not selfish, in fact they show courage, strength and selflessness. I personally respect and admire everyone who has fought depression or any other form of mental illness. And I believe the Author should give credit to those people as well.

    • Reply depresionisnotcancerbutitsucks January 8, 2014 at 2:04 PM

      look please don’t compare cancer to depression they are 2 completely different thing and they weaken your argument. However depression is not just saddens people its also being emotionally numb that means you do not feel anything. You don’t feel sad happy or angry you just feel numb to everything. Than because you cannot feel happy or sad or anything you start infecting pain on yourself to make sure you are still human. This has been around for years self inflecting pain is everywhere from the Catholic church to the Indian Hindu’s. As for the argument of why people are happier in third world countries, it’s because of the daily shock of Adrenalin from just being hungry or fighting the animals in your neighbor hood. People like business men never get adrenalin hardly ever have reason to be happy other than I have things (not a good reason to be happy). So what you are currently saying is that people can help them-selves by doing things that make you happy or others happy, but that means nothing if they cannot feel anything.

    • Reply colin sanderson February 7, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      You can be depressed and at the same time be content, it’s when you fight it when the problems start. The problems arise in a world where we go against our nature. If you sleep when you are tired, eat when you are hungry. If you know it will come and go but a but to accept it is there and nothing will help,but adding to the pain is optional the self blame, the guilt dit is your fault.

      I can be happy and depressed at the same time, but getting thing done is very difficult. Its like you have been drugged, you make mistakes, and at times not fit to drive. I used to believe in willpower in some immature way. The power of the mind can overcome many things but to rewire it is a massive task that is achieved by the few it may be down to look. Many devote there entire lives to achieve this for themselves without contributing to the poor buggers who have to keep things going without any recognition thanks any little reward.

    • Reply Dan March 10, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      I’m so glad you are not personally in my life and I genuinely hope your family and friends never suffer from some sort of mental illness. The same goes for many of the people commenting here. The fact you can write such drivel just shows your complete lack of understanding. Mental illness kills.

      • Reply A March 20, 2015 at 4:23 PM

        100% agree with Dan here. You seem to believe you are compassionate and rational but you are misguided, at best. It’s scarily ignorant, poorly researched while pretending to be holistic and with a very narrow focus that dances around your magical solution of ‘spirituality’. The brain and human society are both much more complex than you seem to comprehend.

    • Reply Trevor May 12, 2014 at 8:53 AM

      I’m assParkinson ‘ ren’t including people who have a physical reason for being depressed. I have Parkinson’s, my brain is rapidly losing its ability to produce dopamine which is the chemical responsible, basically, for carrying the messages that are responsible for moods and feeling. It’s a daily struggle to motivate myself everyday, let alone act “normal” around my family, I see the toll it takes on them every day and I often think about suicide to end their suffering. I realize the grief in losing me would be intense but there’s no cure and I’m not getting better, just worse. Often times when people are caring for someone terminal or with a condition that drastically effects who they are they often, under guilty duress, admit a sense of relief. The depression I feel is real and can be measured. Making blanket statements like this on a subject that you are not qualified to soak in, and baking up your opinion with religious garbage is both short sighted, and a disservice to your faith. Remember, Christ killed himself too. If tit are including us well, what do you say to someone who would call a cripple lazy because he just won’t get up and walk?

    • Reply lena March 29, 2015 at 1:23 AM

      I do really dislike your article because you are missing a point. Here is answer to your hypothesis of depression is selfish. According to your poor man example, here is my poor man example. A poor man fights so hard to for his family but one day when he gets back home, his family dies because he wasn’t able to provide his family heat at amid cold. That non-selfish, hard working man saw all his family, his kids and wife dead due to cold, frozen in their bed. And after that hE had syptoms of depression bcuz no matter how hard he tried, and forget ‘i’ and fought for a better cause, his efforts were fruitless.

      So my selfish friend, depression is a response to a traumatic event. You are full of wrongs and thinking spirituality and religion can heal a depressed man..i hope one day YOU suffer from depression and then come back write another article.

      I had depression, after i saw my father dieing in front me due to cancer. I saw his body shrinking Day by daY. And after his death death, i couldn’t have the power to go on.

      I dare you to call me selfish because.you are the greatest selfish person ever for writing an article like this for billions of people who.suffer this.condition due to.their trauma. My friend was raped and she suffered from severe depression. So you will call this person selfish.too? Lol you are full of joke with your article.

      I became more powerful after depression, i still am getting better.

      You should watch how your words can affect other people negatively, because believe me nobody.wants to be in depression. I didn’t want to continue my life after my father’s death. Each day was like suffering to me without his presence.

      If you want to respond me, feel free too. My mail is deniz.dagli@windowslive.com.

    • Reply Lymo April 7, 2015 at 4:26 AM

      Just because God isn’t your Center doesn’t mean that yourself is your Center. The earth can be your center. Stop assuming dumb shit.

    • Reply going April 8, 2015 at 6:57 AM

      YOU NEED TO STOP FUCKING WRITING. You do not have any fucking right to fucking do this. this is my last and final goodbye to your bullshit and the Earth. I HOPE YOU ARE DUCKING SATISFIED. NOW GO SHOVE SOME WORDS DOWN YOUR OWN THROAT. JERK.

    • Reply Caitlyn Smith July 2, 2015 at 8:52 AM

      “The first step to understanding your true self requires you to forego your own ego, which is difficult for two reasons:
      1.We so strongly identify with our ego, such that despite its complete flexibility and subjectivity we come to think it’s who we are.
      2.As we so strongly identify with our ego we fear that letting it go will result in the nullification of self. Paradoxically, when we let go of the ego we actually find our true self.”

      Those words have been racing through my head like a greyhound for the past week (except phrased differently, because I’m just now finding this blog, haha).
      It’ hard to separate yourself from your ego though, because almost everything (if not, EVERYTHING) is connected to it somehow.
      Thanks for posting- enjoyed reading it.

    • Reply Erika September 23, 2015 at 4:59 AM

      This is fun because I have found the opposite. I have found that I am most as dis-ease because I am selfless. I give so much of myself, my time and energy, I depleted myself. It wasn’t until I decided to live for me and become selfish that I found happiness. People who care too much for others more than themselves get hurt the most ( at least in my experience) You nurse a person and they die. I have watched my friends in Iraq lose their limbs and some their lives… losing them reoccurs in my dreams over and over… and you want to say I am selfish because I have feelings for those who lost their life to a senseless war?

  • Reply Nick June 24, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    Great follow-up to your first post on the topic. Agree especially that these truths have been around for ages, open to anyone willing to think for themselves about the topic with an open-mind. Unfortunately, it is infinitely easier to blame our problems on these literally made-up and completely arbitrary labels under the mistaken assumption that it is science. Which is a shame, since even a brief perusal of the literature on the subject and a basic understanding of the field of mental health will reveal that the “science” is vastly more unfounded speculation than anything else.

    • Reply R. S. M. September 3, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      People keep coming back for antidepressants because they work. I was a ghost before I accepted I was suffering from clinical depression. When I had it, I never complained.

      But a dear friend saw it – saw my funny, witty, alive self sink deep under the surface – and literally had to beg me to address the problem. And the addressing of the problem has taken years. Your arrogance is ignorance. And maybe you just can’t let yourself believe that absolute, unexplainable, suicide-inducing pain is something that can overwhelm and kill a person for no reason at all. Maybe you – and others who dismiss depression – have to paint the world in a light where strong, good people can overcome and survive anything.

      If that is the case, I hope you never come in contact with the ugly truth – for your own sake. But for those of us who know that life can be as nonsensically cruel as it is beautiful – we know that holding onto hope despite urges of suicide is a much more ornate spiritual enlightenment than the one you pretend to understand.

      Articles like this are rare for a reason. Vincent Van Gogh. Virginia Woolf. Sylvia Plath. Ernest Hemingway. Abraham Lincoln. Winston Churchill. Agatha Christie. Who are your individuals that don’t believe in depression? Tom Cruise?

      • Reply Nick November 16, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        Do you know what else really, truly works to treat a host of mental illnesses? Lobotomy. Good thing that’s never been done in the past…
        Just because something eases symptoms doesn’t mean you’re really treating the underlying cause. No one said that depressive symptoms aren’t real. And I certainly never said that suicide-inducing pain isn’t something that can cause people to kill themselves. I’m really not sure where you got that from. My issue is with the literally made-up categories that are used to categorize mental diseases and the myth that medical science has discovered the cause of these illnesses, that they are rooted in “biological dysfunction” and that therefore the way to cure them is to alter brain chemistry with drugs.
        Also, for the record articles that criticize the legitimacy of the mental health field as it is practiced today are certainly not rare, and are becoming increasingly common. Just Google it.

        • Reply R. S. M. November 17, 2013 at 5:36 AM

          I absolutely agree that psychiatry is a medicine far from total legitimacy. In fact, this frustrates me to know end. And lobotomies were practiced at a time when the medical community sought a total cure for mental illness, rather than a treatment for mental illness. I was able to predict my entire regimen through eight different anti-depressants – and there was no true reason to try one after another, besides the pharmaceutical preference of the doctor.
          My doctor should have looked at my “type” of depression – hypersomnia rather than insomnia, catatonia rather than anxiety – and have seen that I an SSRI that doubles as an anti-anxiety medicine would have no effect on me. But that didn’t happen, they tried three different SSRI’s before finally pursuing atypical anti-depressants.
          My comment was directed toward your statement: ” Unfortunately, it is infinitely easier to blame our problems on these literally made-up and completely arbitrary labels under the mistaken assumption that it is science.”
          I interpreted your criticism (perhaps incorrectly) of the labels created and lavishly applied by psychiatrists as you also criticizing the idea that depression itself exists. That is why I raised all those names – depression has always been a texture in medical history.
          Anti-depressants – like ECT – work to treat depression. But Anti-depressants – like ECT – are not at all well understood beyond conjecture to what it does to brain chemistry. If I were alive at the time of lobotomies, I would have been given one, and yes – that is horrifying. Otherwise, without anti-depressants, I would have been given ECT treatment – which is usually effective, however it is also damaging to one’s overall cognitive skills and memory capacities.
          But I am now on anti-depressants, two a-typical, one off label. I know two of my medicines are focused just on stimulating dopamine, but the translated effects are all conjecture. And although it is maddening that the psychiatric community is unconsolidated in their views for treatment, it is not a field that should be dismissed completely. Because a depressed mind looks differently under a MRI than a healthy mind, and because most individuals respond well to anti-depressants – usually to the first or second ones given.
          If people were still taking opioids for depression, I would be deliriously happy, but definitely would be being treated by being kept high. I know that if I want a cure, Vicodin would be the ‘fix-all’ for my depressive symptoms. However, the medicine I take does not make me happy. It gives me the ability to finally live again, and through that – I am slowly recharging myself to contentment, ambition, and excitement again.

          I agree that anti-depressants are over prescribed, and that some individuals do live under the belief that all of their problems can be solved by a pill or procedure. But individuals who are depressed to the point of suicide are individuals that can be helped by anti-depressants – even if they are mere prototypes compared to what actual chemical understanding and control might one day yield.

          Lobotomies cured depression – but suffocated the mind in the process. Anti-depressants treat depression, creating a mental environment where the personality, ambition, and happiness can be self-cultivated.

      • Reply Nick November 16, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        “Vincent Van Gogh. Virginia Woolf. Sylvia Plath. Ernest Hemingway. Abraham Lincoln. Winston Churchill. Agatha Christie.”
        R.S.M., don’t stop there. You’re going to have to add Bob, and Joe down the street, and Mrs. Smith, and Janice, and literally 1 out of 4 of every person you meet, since a full 25% of people in the United States suffers from mental illness, according to the CDC.

        • Reply R. S. M. November 17, 2013 at 6:01 AM

          And I did not, because I do not agree with those figures. Psychiatry falls short in successfully sewing together the dense interpretation of psychology, and the chemical objectivity of standard medicine. I reference the above names because they are well established intellectuals, leaders, and artists, who would not “blame” their problems on “made-up” labels.Sylvia Plath’s problem was depression – suicidal ideation in it of itself is enough to qualify as a serious problem.
          Some people are not happy with their life, and turn to a medical fix rather than a life-change. And its not their fault they are prescribed SSRI’s, the symptoms of depression clinically are very loose. And the medical community would rather falsely prescribe SSRI’s to someone whose problem probably does not relate to brain chemistry, than risk that person commiting suicide – even if the person says they have never had such an inclination.
          But some people cannot function due to depression itself. Depression is a well established condition, and that’s what those names add validity to. Perhaps Bob, Joe, Mrs. Smith, and Janice technically can qualify as mentally ill. That is due to the field’s inclusiveness, its history of psychoanalysis, and its fear to not treat someone – on the off chance that person’s symptoms are more severe than they present.
          That does not mean though that 1 out of every 4 individuals is suicidal. And the percentage of individuals who truly are facing debilitating thoughts, impulses, and fears – they should not be withheld from the right to believe that they are actually sick, just because other people can claim they are sick so easily.

          Depression is real, it is not a choice, and for those who it hurts to the point where death is a more desirable option than the mental agony – it is not avoidable. But it is treatable.

          • Nick December 19, 2013 at 3:45 PM

            Ok, those are all valid points.
            As I mentioned before, I agree that depressive symptoms are very real. You’re absolutely right that the one in four does not refer to depression, and certainly not depression with “suicidal ideations.” But my point was that, though the symptoms are real, the experience is an inherently subjective one. Where do you draw the line between someone who is “legitimately” depressed and one whose symptoms aren’t “related to brain chemistry?” After decades of research after the “biological model” of mental disorders was first proposed, there still has been no significant evidence for this theory. And as long as psychiatry as it is practiced today continues to focus on this biological model, the underlying problems will never be treated, and the symptoms merely blunted by the medications.

          • R.S.M. December 27, 2013 at 4:21 AM

            Maybe we are a bit on the same page then? I do not agree with the present model of psychiatry. It is too simplified, and is almost designed to be taken advantage of by pharmaceutical companies. To answer your question though – I draw the line at self harm, delusions, and an inability to participate in life (hah, I know – that’s the big vague one). When someone hurts themselves and falsely believes they are hated – I think they are finitely in need of some kind of treatment, even if it is basically experimental.
            I suppose I feel that psychiatric medicine is worth pursuing when the potential benefits exponentially outweigh one’s present condition.
            Of course that is the kind of proposal that can never really be written into official medical protocol, so the catch-all advertisement of anti-depressants will continue to prevail. And who knows how many individuals benefit simply from the placebo effect of a 10mg starting round of SSRI. Who knows how many individuals live blunted lives now that they take daily doses of Lithium and just don’t care enough about anything to realize something is wrong. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the maker of one of my own anti-depressants (Eli Lily) purposely allowed Cymbalta’s withdrawal effects to be as immediately devastating as they are to ensure me as a lifelong customer. So much of it is corrupt, in the most exploitative and disturbing way.
            But I sort of see this field’s medicines as the equivalent of leech bloodletting centuries ago – no one had any idea why the practice worked, but it worked enough to keep using until other medical professionals actually understood the underlying effect. I’m not sure if the biological model is correct, but I think that antidepressants help enough individuals to warrant its continued use.
            I wish the FDA, or whichever organization actually has power, would put the creation of anti-depressants on a standstill until at least one legitimate hypothesis can be supplied and ‘proved’ – so we don’t have to keep making and destroying sandcastles in the minds of the unstable via the ridiculous trial and error process used in psychiatry today.

  • Reply Kristen July 9, 2013 at 2:44 AM

    This may be more of a philosophical question, but what about people who aren’t spiritual? It just seems like a stalemate, there is no right and wrong, just sad people and people who are totally missing the point (and other people I guess). Maybe your depression diagnosis was an example of the over-diagnosing in the US?

    Depressed people can’t soul search–they have a lot of guilt and a totally skewed perception of everything (a generalization, of course, but a very relatable one) What’s sort of funny is that the selfish causes of depression from your last post are the exact same reasons many feel more and more depressed. I didn’t want to bother my parents, my friends thought it was weird; why would I want any of these things?

    We disagree on a very basic level and in all honesty, your post offended me (in an attempt to laugh to keep from crying, I read particularly disagreeable parts out loud to a coworker) It’s just a bummer that so many people believe things that stigmatize mental illness even more. Nothing works right when capitalism is involved, and no one is trying to say that psychiatry is perfect. But how can someone feel okay invalidating someone else’s feelings like that?

    • Reply Toma July 10, 2013 at 12:42 AM

      This is an awesome comment because it addresses the entire point of THIS SITE. In a world without spiritual recognition and self-understanding, which is ultimately a secular world, things like depression become common-place.

      If you don’t believe in the spirit then you will have to be helped through philosophical means. On a shallow level secularists can handle philosophy, but when you get deep enough into it philosophy always ends in God. You may as well skip a few steps and just embrace your spirit now. Alternatively you can remain in the rut that is modern psychiatry, trying to deal with spiritual problems using the mental. I equate this to drinking Coke when you’re thirsty.

      • Reply R. S. M. September 3, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        What about drinking water when you’re thirsty. Why Coke.

        Your semantics are insulting. Please, any suicidal soul researching ways to degrade themselves – and who have found themselves here – antidepressant can help.

        How can you challenge an entire type of medication? Depression is challenging, and does require a philosophical revamping – but oftentimes such a revelation can only be achieved once depressed individuals are lifted far enough out of their fog to see that they can achieve such a revelation.

        Even with my own antidepressants, I struggle with my own self worth and suicidal past every day. And I would very much call what I am going through a “spiritual” journey. But if I had never accepted that I had depression (meaning I would never have accepted I was delusional about everything pure) I would have killed myself. Killed myself.

        I feel as though you do not understand the gravity of that fact. I’ll repeat it: if it were not for antidepressants – I would have killed myself. I would be under the ground – two years dead. A dusty obituary and dozens of traumatized loved ones left in my wake. Probably causing another suicide in response (my father’s – because depression has a CLEAR genetic link).

        You can’t talk someone out of depression. Please, do not dismiss the pills that keep me alive. If you had met me as a suicide risk – I know you would see that your lofty opinions of those who are experiencing something you have not is frankly embarrassing. And you would tell the pale, girl rocking in the fetal position, staring at a watch – the girl with dark circles underneath empty eyes, and with unwashed, oily hair – to take those antidepressants.

      • Reply brad koehn June 9, 2014 at 9:59 PM

        I’ve read this and the other thing you wrote and it feels like you are a sheep telling me how a whale feels. Like you have no understanding of the matter. I am a christian, but depression still gets me. One of the hardest things about depression is the lack of good reasons to have it. It just happens. You keep saying how selfish it is and I can understand that bit of ignorance but I doubt I’m the only one who feels like I’m ruining the lives of those around me. That everyone would be so much better off. Think how many comedians suffer from depression what do you suppose their motivation is to make us laugh if they are only thinking of themselves. Depression is the worst desease in my opinion because all other diseases draw sympothy depression draws condemnation which only further demonstrates the world would be better without you.

  • Reply Terrence July 9, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Thanks for you interesting article. The military, unofficially has the same views with regards to depression. Most just “suck it up” and press forward to avoid getting kicked out . I chose to kept mine a secret rather than be called a pu*sy. Selfish? I don’t know about that, if anything it’s quite the opposite.

    • Reply Toma July 10, 2013 at 12:30 AM

      So there’s an Australian football player who only yesterday publicly declared he suffers from depression. He also referred to footballers having to ‘suck it up’. I immediately wondered if people think that’s my view. And here you are.

      My perspective is far from sucking it up. It’s about a better understanding of your spiritual self – which requires even more work than sucking it up does, but also less. It’s right in front of us, so close to our noses that we can’t see it clearly and hence can’t easily grab it, but once we do, it’s ours for eternity. Please don’t try to suck it up, but don’t wallow in it either. Learn an eternal truth from it and move on.

      • Reply The cakes December 31, 2013 at 6:50 PM

        You seem to make so many statements about this selfish depressive state that people are in but your answers are so vague! It’s right in front of us, so close to our noses that we can’t see it clearly and hence can’t easily grab it, but once we do, it’s ours for eternity! How helpful do you think this was to me or anyone else? I have been depressed for a very long time! I had a drunk driver hit me which caused the death of my baby and almost killed me. I was serverly injured to the point that I have screws in my spine which unfortunatley broke and cause me constant pain. Even the morphine pump that they implanted in me is not a big help. Then I deal with the problems that were caused by people getting medications to sell and have a very hard time getting my medication alot of times now! I have a disease called interstitial cystitis which also causes trememdous pain and makes it impossible to have sex! How much can a person have on their plate and expect not to have a feeling of emptyness! I was so desperate that I let them do two full series of ECT on me; electroconvulsive therapy. This is not what someone does that is selfish, this is the action of someone who is desperate! The first time i agreed to this treatment, I was threatened with the treatment or state mental health hospital (great) Ok, so I had almost suceeded in killing myself and I do seem to come around at times a bit but for the most part I have no enjoyment in life! Even things that people want to do I have no interest in! I happened to find your site because I again have grown very tired! I am tired of people wanting me to do more that I can physically or mentally do and winter seems to be even worse, I was actually looking for someone to talk to when I found your site! The truth is that I have been thinking of killing myself; I know a very selfing thing for me with this selfish self of mine! However when i find this kind of attitude it sure does not help me any in fact it angers me even more and anger if you have not been told makes things that much worse! I once swallowed a whole bottle of pills with one gulp of water while angy! Oh, i do not know why I keep going on, there is nothing that is going to get you to change your mind and see people like me as sick instead of selfish! So know that this selfish bitch is going to end my uglly situation beofere the end of this day; I do not want to be here to start another year! Call it selfish, desperate whatever you want but I am calling it unable to go on! My physical pain and my mental pain between them makes my life misearable! Then, seeing people write stuff like yours sure does not help! Good night and good bye!

  • Reply R. S. M. July 31, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    I understand that you mean very well with your articles. But discouraging depressed individuals from taking medications, and implying their problem is rooted in egotism, is frankly dangerous. Maybe you do not believe in psychiatry at all, I do not know, your two depression articles are the only ones I’ve read. I do hope though that you are not an individual who sees others who sink their faith into psychiatric drugs as deluded and completely wrong in their actions.

    Something you said earlier confused me in your first article. You mentioned how ‘I’ and ‘my’ were the motifs throughout every depressed person’s language – and how none of it was about other individuals. However, you also included “My dad was an alcoholic” as an example – is the person who is theoretically saying this complaining because of the pain that the alcoholism caused them, personally? Or are they lamenting for their father’s pain? Because if that is the case (which very often it is) then I would say they are not being selfish – they are being empathetic, absorbing the pain and sharing it at an attempt to ease it.

    I always believed in psychiatric disorders from arm’s length. I loved reading about it, thinking about it, and theorizing other’s as having it – ever since I was twelve. But as I read, I refused to allow the symptoms to exist in anyone but myself.

    Up until about a year ago, I truly truly believed that everyone experienced urges to take breaths underwater, that everyone looked to a corner of a room and imagined themselves hanging from it. These thoughts were so constant to myself that it seemed ludicrous to imagine that seeing suicidal thoughts as a symptom was anything more than labeling a fever as a symptom of a virus. Optional, a detail.

    My first episode lasted a year, but I got through – denying anything was wrong. I lost all my friends, I slipped in school, but I survived. Then for the next two years, fine. Academically I was valedictorian. I had a strong group of friends. My home life was stressful however, and complicated. Maybe that triggered it, maybe it just came. But for whatever reason, when the suicidal thoughts came again, they came very hard.

    I lost my mind. I descended quickly. I thought I was selfish at the time, but I was insane. I also thought I was hideous, ugly, crude, boring, annoying, worthless, rotting, mean, envious, lumbering, and evil. I tacked every negative adjective to my identity, and saw myself as the root of my family’s struggles, of my friend’s struggles, as the one unifying problem in all of my loved one’s lives. I wanted to run into traffic. In the middle of the school day, I’d sit silent (in a class where my hand used to always be up) and stare at a small clock I wore around my neck. I mutilated myself in a trance like state, sobbed during class periods, once curled up in an office and said I just couldn’t be around all the sane people, that it was too much effort. During lunch I’d sleep. When I got home I slept until 10, ate something left for me, and slept again to morning. Death was everywhere around me, and everywhere throughout me.

    But then I hit upon the right medicine. I’d already tried three, but finally an a-typical antidepressant shocked me awake again for the first time in months. I didn’t find the right stabilizing add-on to the drug until a year later, and I didn’t find the off label drug that gave me my past-times back until a year after that.

    I have gone off my medicine before, out of negligence or experiment. And although the withdrawal affects are mighty – it’s nothing compared to when I begin to descend again into madness. And then I go back on, or a friend forces me back on, and I’m back again.

    I had felt depressed thoughts and imagined death since I was seven. And then, now, I am here without them. Treatment-resistant depression runs in my family. It is chemical, it is graphable. It’s real. It took me years to accept that myself, but it is true.

    Depression is mysterious and ancient. Suicide is a theme throughout human history, a possibility explored again and again by each generation. Although I will concede that anti-depressants are prescribed readily and often to those who perhaps do not need them, the science behind the medicine is sound. And it saved my life and the lives of others I love dearly.

    You have yelled in outrage at one commentor in response to her being labeled depressed. You said that she is not crazier than anybody else. But my friend, if you want to kill yourself – if you want to through your life away in an deluded attempt to improve the world – you are quite a bit crazier than just anybody else. At my lowest point, I would pray to God that there was not afterlife. I would pray desperately that if I were to finally kill myself, I would truly be dead. The thought of even post-living consciousness was an unbearable burden.

    If you had told me a couple years ago that I was not sick, that I was not suffering anything more than my own moral stumbling – and that I should stop the medication, I would. And I would have killed myself in the aftermath. Even with medication many depressed individuals have to fight everyday.

    And impoverished communities have depressive symptoms as pervasive as 30%, compared to a united standard of 17%.
    http://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com/stats-on-human-rights/statistics-on-poverty/statistics-on-poverty-and-health/#2
    In other countries, depression exists – except so often it is the standard. Imagine Cambodia in the aftermath of genocide – everyone is broken. Everyone is sick.

    This poem by Elizabeth Bishop I think eloquently navigates the most common misunderstandings associated with depression.

    House Guest

    The sad seamstress
    who stays with us this month
    is small and thin and bitter.
    No one can cheer her up.
    Give her a dress, a drink,
    roast chicken, or fried fish-
    it’s all the same to her.

    She sits and watches TV.
    No, she watches zigzags.
    “Can you adjust the TV?”
    “No,” she says. No hope.
    She watches on and on,
    without hope, without air.

    Her own clothes give us pause,
    but she’s not a poor orphan.
    She has a father, a mother,
    and all that, and she’s earning
    quite well, and we’re stuffing
    her with fattening foods.

    We invite her to use the binoculars.
    We say, “Come see the jets!”
    We say, “Come see the baby!”
    Or the knife grinder who cleverly
    plays the National Anthem
    on his wheel so shrilly.
    Nothing helps.

    She speaks; “I need a little
    money to buy buttons.”
    She seems to think it’s useless
    to ask. Heavens, buy buttons,
    if they”ll do any good,

    the biggest in the world-
    by the dozen, by the gross!
    Buy yourself an ice cream,
    a comic book, a car!

    Her face is closed as a nut,
    closed as a careful snail
    or a thousand-year-old seed.
    Does she dream of marriage?
    Of getting rich? Her sewing
    is decidedly mediocre.

    Please! Take our money! Smile!
    What on earth have we done?
    What has everyone done
    and when did it all begin?
    Then one day she confides
    that she wanted to be a nun
    and her family opposed her.

    Perhaps we should let her go,
    or deliver her straight off
    to the nearest convent-and wasn’t
    her month up last week, anyway?

    Can it be that we nourish
    one of the Fates in our bosoms?
    Clotho, sewing our lives
    with a bony little foot
    on a borrowed sewing machine,
    and our fates will be like hers,
    and our hems crooked forever?

    The hosts cannot understand the origin of this sadness, cannot find reason in it. And so it upsets them. The thing they can’t see, or can’t accept – is that so often these tragedies are out of any one entity’s control. Depression is unreasonable. It cannot be predicted or soothed by what would soothe a healthy, normal sadness.

    Sylvia Plath. Vincent van Gogh. Virginia Woolf. Ernest Hemingway. Charles Dickens. Emily Dickinson. JK Rowling (she based dementors on the feeling of depression). Fyodor Dostoevsky. Franz Kafka. Abraham Lincoln. Tennessee Williams. Oscar Wilde. Kurt Vonnegut. Leo Tolstoy. Andrew Soloman (author, by the way, of an excellent exploration of depression – Noonday Demon) Billy Joel – and more and more and more.

    Names that are as much vocabulary words as they are proper nouns. Depression is not simple. But if you treat depression correctly, some of the most wonderful depths of human strength and human compassion can be revealed.

    Dear impassioned stranger – you are not yet wise if you have never conceded to the idea that evil can grow like a weed from within. Fighting depression is just that – fighting something other than yourself. And what you are fighting for is yourself.

    1 Peter 4:12-13
    Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

    Struggle is overarching, and comes in many forms. Depression is a fight against your lot in life, a fight against yielding to darkness. I have only written like this because you seem open minded.

    • Reply Toma July 31, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      I really appreciate you taking the time to write this. Truly, I do. Due to it’s length I can’t respond to all of it, so forgive me. I will address the points I find most pressing.

      1) The reference to the father being alcoholic is most definitely intended to demonstrate the impact on the subject.

      2) When I told another reader they were no crazier that any of the rest of us, I meant it whole-heartedly. I believe we are all the same. It is only the extreme that differs. Jesus loved all men equally, ‘crazy’ or not. I believe he did so because he knew this also.

      3) I most certainly DO believe in psychology. The discoveries used to market products, for example, do work. Certain people tend towards A based on psychological elements; others towards B. However problems like depression are not subjective, psychological ones. Their source is spiritual, hence they must be addressed on a spiritual level.

      • Reply R. S. M. August 20, 2013 at 12:38 AM

        I know that any Spiritual entity worth believing in would love one despite a mental illness. But mental illness takes one’s identity away, and it makes your life a fight. If you are on the side of psychology, I am trying to understand if you’re just theoretically against the stigma of mental illness in its labeling, or if you don’t believe in anti-depressants at all.

        I resent the belief that depressives are selfish. Two years ago, I was drenched and bogged down by depression, and all I wanted in the world was to kill myself. And this was because my mind lacked the ability to enable happiness, which inhibited self worth, which instigated suicidal thoughts and delusions over everyone’s opinion of myself.

        The thought that got me through though – eventually, after I was slightly lifted from the fog by an anti-depressant – was re-realizing that I was loved, whether I felt I deserved it or not. And even though all I wanted to do was stop, was to sleep, to disappear – I now knew that that was the selfish action that could emerge from depression. Giving up, leaving my loved ones behind to pick up the pieces, was the selfish choice. (And even then, I could never call someone who killed them self selfish – I know how far a mental illness can pull you from reality).

        Realizing that I was integral to someone’s life, whether I wanted to be or not, whether I “deserved” it or not – that was a thought that I found through a lot of “soul searching”. Treating depression is a two-prong process, one of the prongs being a succession of trial/error of medications and therapies – and the other prong being able to somehow find a reason to keep living, enabling you to keep trying the medications and therapies.

        Depressed people think they are selfish. They also think they are worthless, ugly, stupid, evil, crude – etc. And it takes everything in me to overlook those thoughts of myself in order to address your comments – which are dangerous comments to depressives who are not well enough yet to know that their instinctual thoughts about themselves are not true.

  • Reply Daniel F. August 10, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Getting diagnosed by a doctor, is for many, the easy way out.

    • Reply R. S. M. August 20, 2013 at 12:21 AM

      To a certain extent, yes – antidepressants are oftentimes over prescribed, because some individuals feel as though life should just feel better than it actually does. But if you actually have Major Depressive Disorder – diagnosis is not easy, and neither is the subsequent regimen of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, empty-eyed therapy sessions, and then a medicine leaves you slipping into unconsciousness – and then its time to try the next. I was on three anti-depressants before I found one that remotely worked (Lexapro, Pristiq, Zoloft – then Wellbutrin), and the one I found only addressed my lack of energy, and not my suicidal thoughts and tendencies. It took another painful swing and a miss with Prozac (which gave me migraines I was told would fade with time, and that I had to wait a month to gauge the medicines actual effect) until I got Cymbalta, which stabilized my mood swings (stopped my crying fits) – but did not stop the suicide risk, again. Then there was Abilify, which did nothing. And finally I am on a Dextro-Amphetamine in addition to the two other helpful drugs, and that seems to be mostly working.

      But the diagnosis took four years of my life away. However, I can’t complain, because without I would have had my whole life taken away – by myself.

      Nothing easy about. I still hate myself for what is in me, for what I’ve put my friends and family through, and for what I have lost in the meantime.

  • Reply Matt August 19, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Why don’t you just say that someone with Schizophrenia is selfish and does not have a Nuerological illness. Here is a better idea. Mabey you should write a blog that “selfish” Army Veterans who suffer from PTSD and depression after seeing organs and limbs blown off just have a spiritual imbalance. How about this one… Why not read your “holier than thou” articles giving depression advice to the mother’s who lost their children to suicide? I am sure they would agree with you.
    Are you a scientist? Are you a nuerologist? Is cancer a non biological disease that Reiki and Qi Gong heal? Do you think it is “spiritual” to comment on a persons unique hardships without walking a mile in there shoes?
    You seem to like to give wake up calls to people, so how about I give you a wake up call. Mabey your lack of empanthy shows that you aren’t as spiritually advanced as you think you are at this point, or as you’re article underhandly suggests. I would tell you that I hope you get major depressive disorder so that you may then actually know what its like, but I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. I apologize for the harsh words and do wish you well, but I feel absolutely livid right after what I just read!

    • Reply Toma August 21, 2013 at 7:18 PM

      Actually, Chi Kung has been known to cure cancer. Here is one brief tale of many.

      • Reply R. M. September 3, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        See, I have a problem that you respond to a post where the writer is “livid”, and you just give a link in reply. If you are going to post inflammatory articles, at least have the decency to respond completely.

  • Reply kc August 27, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    I am a spiritualist and have studied all the things you have written above. I have listened to Buddhist monks, priests, pastors, studied Chi Kung, meditate etc…The big fad now among spiritualists is you are what you believe or put out in the the universe. I know Buddhist have believed this all along. However, there is also darkness in the universe. There are two sides. I have seen both. Since we are in human form, we are still fallible and we truly do not know everything, including you. True love does not impose one’s opinion on the suffering. True love, is just that…love. That is it. Many people suffer in general, including myself. We should simply have compassion for each human’s journey. Your words have put you in a position as ‘all knowing” or on “higher ground” compared to your fellow human beings. This is not loving. As you said, you are selfish, so this shows you should focus on yourself and work on yourself rather than writing articles such as the one above, which is not helpful at all. It’s actually hypocritical. Do you ever think that when you meet people who are suffering in general, there is a divine purpose in that? We are all here to teach one another. So in the end, I have compassion for you because I see you have a lot growing to do.

    • Reply Toma September 4, 2013 at 10:04 PM

      Based on your logic, Jesus Christ wouldn’t have opened his mouth once because he would have been imposing his opinions on others as opposed to working on himself, and that wouldn’t have been true love. So how does one share without sharing? With what you have stated, you yourself should not have left this comment. This theory is a black hole. The second you reveal it, it consumes itself.

      • Reply KC September 5, 2013 at 2:21 AM

        Actually I never said Jesus should never open his mouth. In fact, the point of many ascended masters is to help the world. Since you brought up Jesus, let’s take a story from the Bible. I believe someone mentioned the story about the women at the well. Jesus did not just confront her and say, hey, you’re a slut and very selfish. Just to show His love, He broke three major Jewish customs (speaking to a women; she was a Samaritan, which most Jews despised; He asked for water) Jesus then said, I can give you living water, which referred to eternal life. Jesus also revealed to her that He knew she had many husbands and also was living with a man. She was shunned by other women because she was living in immorality. Jesus knew her history but Jesus accepted her. The point of that story is that society and individuals generally have a tendency to judge others because of stereotypes, customs, religious and/or personal beliefs etc… Jesus accepted people just as they were/are with compassion and love, while at the same time spreading His word. In fact, most importantly, Jesus was judged so harshly and so broken the night before he was crucified. He cried out to His father in The Garden of Gethsemane. The point of the story is, again, since we are talking about Jesus now, problems, pressures and suffering are part of the human condition.

        You have judged harshly. It is not to you can’t say or write about your opinion, but what place in your heart is your opinion coming from.

        It seems through my experience moving down here in the Bible belt and meeting people of many religions, these same people are the first to criticize and judge. On top of it, they are the worst about it.

        On a final and MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: I want you to be aware that you do not know the severity (manic depression; bi-polar, major depressive disorder etc…) of the people who have read this or will be reading this blog. These same people may read your blog and STOP THEIR MEDICATION(S), which is very dangerous. People reading it may be suicidal and decide, hey, this guy is right, maybe I should take my life because I am selfish. Your very words may be taking a life. You may think, I am not telling them to do this. However, it happens, especially in times of confusion, suffering, manic episodes and a number of other reasons. You may want to educate yourself at least on that part. Words do hurt. Choose them carefully.

        Check out the websites Bring Change to Mind and NAMI.

        Sometimes I wonder if you are even wrote this blog just to get a rise out of people, then you have drawn more readers to your site.

        For those reading this and who are facing depression or other mental illnesses, and struggles, you do not have to prove anything to anyone. Yes there is a stigma attached and it is being worked on and getting better. You will always find someone out there who have their opinions, who are just not educated or do not want to get educated on mental illness. Just focus on yourself, stay away from negative people like this, take care of yourself and by all means, keep taking your medication. If you feel suicidal or you want to get off your medication, talk to your doctor first. YOU ARE WORTHY! YOU ARE LOVED! YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN!

        Check out supportive websites like Bring Change to Mind and NAMI.

        • Reply R. S. M. September 5, 2013 at 7:17 AM

          Thank you, KC. You are summing this up correctly. I found this article to punish myself, as I’m sure many other depressives have as well. Thankfully I’m not as impressionable as I used to be – but two years ago, this very well could have contributed to a falling over the edge, and definitely to stopping medications.

          What I’ve seen of this writer suggests that he is just a good enough writer to hold his followers over with his rhetoric. But I have not heard a legitimate response from him to all of these negative responses. He has not talked about suicide. He has not clarified whether or not he “believes” in antidepressants.

          I want a statement declaring whether he simply is theoretically declaring those who “act” depressed as selfish – or whether he is suggesting that depression does not exist as a legitimate illness, and that those on antidepressants should stop the medication, and figure it out on their own.

          And on the topic of the image included – would not “taking prescribed antidepressants and accepting you have a mental illness” count as changing something in the pursuit of happiness?

          And then again on the topic of the graphic – weren’t slave owners “happy”? But they could not “keeping doing” what they were “doing” – they had to either adjust their social awareness and address their ignorance, or…stay unhappy. Just saying, happiness cannot be summed up in a three step graph.

          • KC September 5, 2013 at 10:45 AM

            R.S.M. I am glad you are here. I know it is a tough road, as I am on the road myself. I have been hospitalized and experienced what you have talked about.

            Ironically we do beat ourselves up too. I have to always work on myself. The medications are not fun either. My story is similar to yours. Not accepting depression, great grades, friends and then one day spiraled down and ended up in the hospital. I am glad you did not get off your medications.

            I find that people do not realize how lethal their words are. I hope that others who read this, actually find solace in your words and know that they are not alone.

            I have worked on trying to get everybody to understand and I have explained myself until I was blue in the face. I found even in my very own family that they do not want to understand or deal with it. In fact my mom and step-dad are very, very religious, but they have treated me the worst when it comes to depression. I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of ignorant people in the world. It took me about 15 years to accept that some people will not accept me and my depression. Sometimes I can laugh about it, especially this guy. . You won’t get the response you are looking for from him. How can he give you a meaningful response when he has not walked in our shoes. There are people who think they know everything and we are not going to change their minds.

            Also, your writing is very eloquent. You put into words what is it like to have major depression. I am not good with words, so thank you for sharing your story.

            Sending love your way.

          • Toma September 5, 2013 at 9:07 PM

            Which is more lethal?

            a) Words

            b) Perspective

          • R. S. M. September 6, 2013 at 10:13 AM

            First of all – that post was nonsense. Words yield a perspective – even your words. It’s just the perspective your words yield is hastily conceived pseudo-spiritual/scientific nonsense.

            But to address your point…I think…If you come onto this site because you are trying to punish yourself by finding others who share a similar opinion of yourself – and you find your “perspective” – a lost depressive very well may take your advice and stop the medication.

            Or they will find your ignorance so encompassingly bleak, that they sink a tier farther away from believing anyone could understand them.

            And yeah, that could very well lead to suicide. Does that bother you? Frankly any modern day article about depression is irresponsible without this:

            “Need help? If you or a loved one are considering suicide, please call 1-800-273-TALK, or 911.”

            You have every right to share the opinion you are sharing, and I have every right to try my hardest to show you how dangerous dismissing depression is – if not for your mind, for someone’s.

          • R. S. M. September 6, 2013 at 9:57 AM

            Goodness – what a relief to finally get a legitimate response on this website. Thank you so much for your support, I wish you well on journey – what a gift it is that you have been strong enough to fight against nonsense like this so vocally.

            Thank you also about my writing…you’re writing is well formed as well. Ah I am so glad my on and off watching of this page has finally yielded a legitimate human connection!

            Thank you, thank you, thank you. Right now, at least for right now, I can tell you I am truly happy.

          • Toma September 5, 2013 at 9:05 PM

            I have addressed the issue of medication on several occasions. I believe they work by artificially ridding us of our duality. They impose a state of oneness that may make us feel more stable, but creates an artificial reality that inhibits us from ever feeling truly alive. I would NOT encourage anyone to simply drop their meds in an instant. I would suggest spiritual exploration to the point that meds will no longer be needed, which they won’t.

            I have also addressed what I mean by depression not existing. Here’s the link.

            What are you wanting to know about my views on suicide?

          • R. S. M. September 6, 2013 at 10:43 AM

            Ah, that article. The one that started it all. Okay.

            So at the end of the day, you are saying that Vincent Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Abraham Lincoln, etc etc etc – all of these names suffer from nothing more than an unevolved spiritual nature? That despite Van Gogh’s heartwrenchingly beautiful paintings –

            And despite Emily Dickinson’s awe-inspiring poetry –

            You have somehow reached a spiritual plane higher than they were able to achieve?

            I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
            And Mourners to and fro
            Kept treading–treading–till it seemed
            That Sense was breaking through–

            And when they all were seated,
            A Service, like a Drum–
            Kept beating–beating–till I thought
            My Mind was going numb–

            And then I heard them lift a Box
            And creak across my Soul
            With those same Boots of Lead, again,
            Then Space–began to toll,

            As all the Heavens were a Bell,
            And Being, but an Ear,
            And I, and Silence, some strange Race
            Wrecked, solitary, here–

            And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
            And I dropped down, and down–
            And hit a World, at every plunge,
            And Finished knowing–then–

            (–Emily Dickinson)

            What about Fakhra Younus? She committed suicide after years suffering social stigma and and medical maladies brought on by disfigurement due to her husband pouring acid over her face out of spite in 2000. He was acquitted. She was left blind, and faced daily pain and alienation. Are you honestly telling me that her depression and eventual suicide was something that she could have avoided if she had merely wanted to?

            When you are depressed, it takes a lot to realize you are “wrong”.

            “You think that the veil has been taken away, the veil of happiness, and that now you’re seeing truly.” –Andrew Soloman

            What about pain medication? Surely you believe in the use of pain medication. Well, the anguish caused by depression is located in the same center of the brain as physical pain – and my goodness, when I take a hydrocodone-acetaminophen, I am completely cured.

            I feel perfect. My happiest moments were on that medication. And I wasn’t cognitively inhibited either – I was achieved my highest SAT scores while on that magic. Of course it’s unsustainable, opioids are addictive, and require a rapid increase in dose to achieve the wanted results. Once I overdosed on hydrocodone cough syrup, and stopped breathing in my sleep, on and off. Dangerous.

            But I was happy. Anti-depressants do not make me happy. They give me the ability to find happiness from within again.

            Unless you’ve daydreamed about suicide, you don’t have a right to tell me that anti-depressants are an easy way out. Especially because I’m not even out yet.

        • Reply Toma September 5, 2013 at 8:50 PM

          Read Matthew 23 and tell me it’s not a criticism. Out of curiosity, have you ever entertained the possibility that my belief may be correct? Or was it so absurd to you that you immediately dismissed it?

      • Reply KC September 5, 2013 at 2:47 AM

        There is a difference between exposing your beliefs and imposing your beliefs. I exposed my beliefs in response to your article.

        • Reply Toma September 5, 2013 at 8:53 PM

          The difference you perceive is as subjective as it is convenient.

          • kc September 6, 2013 at 12:22 AM

            I live in Americas not Tibet. Check it out in the dictionary.

      • Reply posie April 2, 2014 at 6:45 PM

        Thankyou KC. It’s wonderful to read a comment written with a genuine spiritual loving perspective. TOMA: Love is the absence of judgement. Every action has a reaction: A cause and effect. Be aware of what effects you are putting out into the universe – there is a different way in which you could have presented your views and created curiosity, learning, insight and options for positive change. Instead you have chosen to present your views in a way that has encouraged anger, sadness, fear, hurt and guilt. Remember that whilst we are all responsible for our own reactions to what we read, hear, see and feel, we are also responsible for the effects we have on other people and the universe around us. You are causing effects in motion with every word you write as am I, and these effects then become causes for other effects and so on. I try to be conscientious about what I write so that it may be put forth into the universe in a positive cycle of cause and effect. Certainly one must express one’s beliefs if they truly feel that it is the truth and that it is helpful or needed. All I am saying is that there are ways to get your point across that will be more beneficial. The funny thing about perspective, is that it can only be gained through personal and spiritual learnings, not through someone else telling us. Often once we gain insight and perspective it hurts and propels us forwards to growth, and that happens on it’s own without the need for additional hurt from others. Please consider this the next time you write, or speak or manifest your thoughts in any way.

  • Reply Langdon September 3, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    I’m not religious, nor very spiritual. I read both of your articles, and honestly agree with both.

    I was searching for something like this mainly to check myself, because a friend of mine was talking about how we need to pretty much ‘baby” people who have depression, or anxiety, because they cant help it, and its ”not their faults” I challenged it saying that ”its all in their heads”, and ”life is what you make of it”. Only to be met with bashings and being called ”insensitive” and ”rude” but honestly; being someone who has gone through ”depression” back in highschool, I know exactly what i’m talking about. It was after realizing I was being selfish, and not accomplishing anything by wallowing in self-pity that I was able to move on and make something of my life.

    I honestly feel that people who defend people who are depressed are also making excuses for themselves. Everyone goes through a hard time, sad time.. but I guess not everyone figures out how much of it is how they make of it.

    • Reply Langdon September 3, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      Also want to add that people who bring up Down syndrome or schizophrenia, and etc.. it’s not the same thing, it’s really not.

    • Reply R. S. M. September 3, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      I take 40 mg of cymbalta, 450 mg of wellbutrin, and 40 mg of adderall every day. I’m doing so much better than before, but it was a long – three year process. When I miss my dose for more than a day – I become a different person. I want to kill myself. When I am off my medication – I crash so close to suicide again it’s horrifying.
      My grandmother killed herself. My dad and aunt are severely depressed. I have had sever depression. There is a clear genetic link here. I know what kind of high school blues you’re talking about – and that is NOT what real depression is.
      You have not had depression if you are able to judge others who hate themselves to the point where they daydream of hanging, gunshots, razor blades, etc.
      You cannot walk into my life – where I knew (KNEW!) that what I was feeling was irrational and nonsensical – and tell me that depression is not real. I knew the urge to kill myself was something that – if acted upon – would shatter at least one life. But as the depression fog grew denser, the number of those I could imagine being shattered shrank – until I was a handful of motions away from ending myself.
      I agree that Depression is “all in their head” – in that it is a MENTAL ILLNESS that no person with “real” depression could possibly find a gain in continuing suffering if they had a choice in the matter to stop it. I also agree that “life is what you make of it” – and in the case of myself, what I had to make of it was accepting that I have a mental illness.

      I worked HARD to get to the point where I didn’t think I was just a selfish idiot whiner. (The only reason I found this article was because I was in the mood where I was doubting myself, and needed to gauge how many articles out there agreed with my depressed self v. my rational self.) And after I accepted that my mind was betraying myself – I sought treatment. I invested in my friends and family, I got to the point where I could honestly promise I would always resist my suicidal urges.

      “Life is what you make it” – I had to find a hope to hold on to that was stronger than my illness. If I hadn’t believed in Life as bigger than my current pain, confusion, and frustration – I would have surely given up after three medications, and died.

      But I didn’t. Depression does require action on the sufferer – and there ARE individuals too far gone to help out of it again. But depression is a documented mental illness that spans centuries. So it cannot be dismissed.

      • Reply KC September 6, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        Brava!

      • Reply PsychStudent October 8, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        R.S.M,

        In response to your reply on September 3rd at 4:31pm — I have to point out (after reading both of Toma’s articles, and you and everyone else’s responses up to this point) that you blatantly dismissed someone’s depression claim….which is what totally advocate against. How do you know this person’s ‘high school’ blues were not legitimately and clinically depression? You claim to know exactly what real depression is, and minimize this person’s high school blues – as if you have walked a mile in their shoes. What makes you an expert on depression, and why do you get to decide what constitutes as depression and what does not?

        I myself went through what you would call fake depression, and high school blues. I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. I was to fill my monthly prescriptions to rid my depressive thoughts and stabilize my mood. I was also given pills to help me with my anxiety. I was on anti-depressants for almost a year. I had suicidal thoughts, I had my death planned. I knew exactly how I would have killed myself…in a non-messy way so that I would not inconvenience the one or one’s who would have found me. It was like a light bulb went off for me one day. I chose happiness. I told myself that everyone has good and bad days, it is just how I choose to approach my bad days, my attitude, my reaction, and my perspective. What I learned through self-reflection was that I needed to learn how to deal with life’s curveballs on my own, through my strength. I felt more ‘depressed’ that I was told I had to rely on medicinal use to get through every day. I feel as though conflict is opportunity for self-reflection and self-improvelment.

        I am not saying that my realization is or will be, or can be everyone’s realization. If the anti-depressants are what keeps you from harming yourself, than sail that ship. That was my story and is relative to me and my beliefs. What I believe Toma is trying to do is raise awareness to depression, and sometimes it is mind over matter, as in my case. I do believe that authoritative figures (such as psychologists) do often pass out anti-depressants like Halloween candy and through the right therapy, sometimes medicine can be avoided, but that is a case by case basis. I am not minimizing depression or saying it does not exist, but sometimes I do not always believe in a diagnosis.

        There are still nights I pray I don’t wake up the next morning, and situations I am faced with that driving my car into a tree going 100mph would solve. Do I think I am depressed? No…I think I am human. But I wake up the next morning, and realize I have to deal with an unwanted situation, and that I don’t have a choice. So I better make the best of it….and complaining and secluding myself to a corner will not solve the problem at hand.

        I sound like I am somewhat against psychology and that is actually quite the opposite. I am a sophomore in college pursuing a degree in Psychology. Everyone tells me that Psychiatry is where the money is; however I do not want to be the therapist that passes out medicine without exploring other ways of healing…because they are out there.

        • Reply R. S. M. November 6, 2013 at 11:10 PM

          I am very sorry you misunderstood my posting. I said that this person with the “Blues” did not have clinical depression, in response to them (Langdon) writing:

          “Being someone who has gone through ”depression” back in highschool, I know exactly what i’m talking about. It was after realizing I was being selfish, and not accomplishing anything by wallowing in self-pity that I was able to move on and make something of my life. I honestly feel that people who defend people who are depressed are also making excuses for themselves. Everyone goes through a hard time, sad time.. but I guess not everyone figures out how much of it is how they make of it.”

          I felt that they did not have a true experience of clinical depression because they dismissed the idea of depression really even existing, by putting the word in quotations. Maybe, this person really was suicidal and despondent every day of their high school life, and they left the situation believing that they were just being selfish. You’re correct that I took a leap in judgement, but I did so only in response to their judging people like myself as individuals who just don’t know how to deal with being sad.

          I suppose the biggest button you can push of mine concerns the idea that depression can be avoided if you “try” hard enough.

          I would never, ever, call someone like yourself – who writes blatantly of having suicidal thoughts – as suffering from “fake” depression. The idea of that you think I am that kind of person is heart breaking. You are absolutely right to say that I do not have the authority to decide what is and is not real depression. That was not what I was doing. This individual wrote that their experience with the “high school blues” made them qualified to dismiss depressives and as selfish.

          The worst of my depression happened throughout high school as well, and I could slap someone who referred to that time of my life as just the “blues”.

          You are a sophomore in college, which means you and I are the same age. I am glad that you feel you have been able to read a point where you feel able to combat depression/anxiety without the aid of medications. I will not dismiss your ability to do this, although it is troublesome that you are still sometimes suicidal.

          I myself lose the ability to do math when I’m at my lowest point. I can’t think, I can’t do anything. A black hole on my life. But thankfully, after three years of trial and error medicinal experiments on my life – trying 8 different medications – I have found a combination that keeps me stabilized and energized enough to focus on repairing the rest of my damaged psyche with positive thoughts and focused attempts to “move on”.

          I am not putting my happiness in the hands of psychiatry, but I am letting my mind be taken to a place where I can actually listen to my rational thought, and in that way I am taking responsibility for a lot of my unsavory proclivities – my short temper when depressed, my inclination toward self harm, my anger toward my dearest friend – these are all things which the medicine cannot change. I am changing them.

          I’d actually really like to talk to you on a one-on-one basis, if you’d like to exchange emails, or something like that. I say this because we are the same age, and I too am consistently fascinated with psychology/psychiatry – and I, too, have decided against pursuing a psychiatric career. That is because I have been able to predict every one of my psychiatrist moves after each prescription ended up not working. We just don’t know enough about how medicines work yet, for me to feel effective unless I was helping individuals in a more therapeutic sense.

          You said you face depression combined with anxiety – this is something I am very interested in. There are two types of depression, there’s depression whose secondary characteristic is anxiety, and then there’s depression whose secondary characteristic verges more on hypersomnia and catatonia. You suffer from the former, I from the latter. I actually have a bit of an inability to feel anxiety at all, and anti-depressants which double as anti-anxiety pills have had extraordinarily negative effects on me.

          My mother has depression combined with anxiety, and she has been able to healthily do away with medication. She struggles – I’m not sure how much – but she channels it with the energy she gets from anxiety. When I’m at my lowest depression, I cannot do anything resembling productivity. My mind just says “no”.

          That’s all to say that, yes, I do believe you when you say you are able to be well without the use of medication. You seem reasonable, so I will trust you when you say you have your suicidal impulses under control. I have mine under control – but only with the boost anti-depressants give me, and even now I think about killing myself on a semi-daily basis. It’s just that now – because of the self-growth I underwent, not because of the medication I am on – I know I cannot kill myself. I know I am too loved and necessary, whether or not I believe I deserve it.

          I agree with you, anti-depressants are given out like candy. SSRI’s are just harmless enough for many individuals given them to enjoy a placebo effect – while actually undergoing improvement due to therapy or other positive changes they made. And then again, some depression/anxiety combination sufferers do very well on a higher dosage. (SSRI’s – I’ve tried three – only do bad for me.) However, the criteria for a depression diagnosis is fairly loose, considering that suicidal thoughts are not a requirement.

          I hope you get this response, I would very much like to clear the air with you, in terms of my intention. Thank you.

    • Reply mark September 28, 2013 at 4:01 AM

      I love your argument from personal experience and belief. You do realize that you haven’t proved anything right? You actually have no idea what you are talking about. It’s really insulting that after the huge accumulation of evidence on how the brain manifests these neurological disorders, people still arbitrarily whatever they intuitively think. You don’t care about evidence do you?

  • Reply Cianna September 4, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    True spirituality consists of true unconditional love, great respect and selflessness. Depressed people need our help and our total guidance. We must be there for them through the thick and thin and teach them that they are very important in this reality we call life. Through mistakes come great lessons. The greatest mistake that everyone makes is becoming their own worst enemy. The greatest enemy we can face is ourselves. Instead of tearing people down we need to be the light of hope within them.

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