IS FUCKING SHIT.
Let’s talk about it.
So we’re going to talk about a subject close to my state of being at the moment and that’s depression –this is a long article so I’ve split it in two. You can find the other half here.
Now before I begin I’d like to add that I’ve had depression on and off since I was in highschool. Bullying, my parent’s divorce and my old man’s death all highlight the happy experience that was my adolescence. It’s a problem that affects most of us at some point or another- sometimes for a few days, a few weeks; sometimes for years and unfortunately for some- entire lifetimes.
To give you context, I’m currently depressed because a couple of weeks back I split up with my partner, designer and lover of over two years. It wasn’t mutual and frankly, it feels like I‘ve had a limb ripped off (to be honest, since I’ve written this and done a bunch of this stuff myself, I feel pretty good).
Such is life, we carry on: we either learn from these experiences and move on or we let them consume us.
So being depressed is fucking shit. Everything may as well be grey. Nothing tastes good, nothing feels good and you wander around like a zombie; numb to everything and the only thing you can experience is hurt. You can’t sleep, it’s hard to get out of bed and it’s almost fucking impossible to get anything done without dragging your heels and feeling like shit while you do it. Everything seems to go wrong and the universe feels like it’s against you.
A few ideas on the cause / source of depression
Cut and dry I’d say depression is a symptom of three possible things: Disharmony, Disempowerment and a habit of thinking negatively.
Something inside you isn’t right and it’s manifesting into an internal uneasiness or a dis-ease if you will. Disease –see what I did there?
Internally you are not at ease. It could be anything from a repressed traumatic event, a shitty relationship, cognitive dissonance or something at work or at home that you haven’t dealt with.
Another component of depression is a feeling of disempowerment. There is something that upsets you that you seemingly have no control over so you feel disempowered and unable to do anything about it-this feeling of disempowerment typically bleeds into the rest of your life making you feel like you’re absolutely worthless and that you can’t do anything to fix your situation.
A taste for negativity
This last component is mostly targeted at chronic depression. People occasionally fall into the habit of constantly thinking negatively and this inevitably fucks with their heads – they get so used to thinking negatively so that’s all they know. This is the trap those who’ve had something go wrong in their lives fall into and they sometimes get stuck there – and the negative shit just builds up until they don’t know what’s wrong but something is definitely wrong. They can lift themselves out but inevitably something happens that starts the cycle again. This is the hardest to combat but it’s beatable.
Lets first discuss the medical solution
SSRIs ( Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors -the most common class of antidepressant) SSRIs loosely work by increasing the amount of serotonin available to your neurons, serotonin is linked to feeling happy so having more of that around should fix the problem (my biology degree is crying in shame at how basic and generalized this description is).
Before I rip into SSRIs let me make it clear that I understand they can help some people, especially those who suffer from ‘chemical imbalances’. This is not the be all and end all on the subject. I’ve heard good stories about people going on them for a few months to get through the rough patch and they got off them no problem – but I’ve seen the other side of the coin more often and I have a few issues with them.
My issues with SSRIs.
1) They don’t actually fix the problem which depression is a sympton of
2) They effectively lobotomize your emotional side so you’re basically constantly numb and feel nothing
3) Their side effects are hugely fucked up -usually requiring you to take more meds to fix the side effects
4) They’re quite hard to get off of and getting off them can be rather dangerous
5) In my humble opinion big phrama isn’t about solving your problems it’s about generating revenue (yes my tinfoil hat is very comfortable)
6) We live in a culture where there’s a pill for everything – this isn’t always the best solution and in my opinion when it comes to depression it’s the worst solution.
How I would colourfully explain treating depression with SSRIs
“hey doc, I’ve got this nail in my head, could you pull it out?”
“don’t be absurd patient! Take these pills that you have to take every day that you’ll likely get hooked on. They’ll sort you out. They are hard to wean off, they could possibly make you suicidal, they can cause weight gain and other side effects including: spasms, impotence, reduced sex drive and a bunch of other shit written in tinee tiny fine print”
“ok, but what do they do about the nail?”
“oh that’s the brilliant part, eventually after months of being on this medication you grow indifferent to the nail, your head and the rest of your body and eventually your head may simply fall off”
“sounds good, where are my drugs?”
Last words on SSRIs
I think SSRI’s and other medication are bullshit because you’re effectively putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound without actually taking the bullet out. You can’t take things from the external world to sort out internal strife – you have to go on a personal journey inside yourself and figure it out – this is where a trusted friend, a psychiatrist, meditation or maybe even a shaman can help. Anything you take orally is for the most part either a temporary escape or some sort of sedative (weed, alcohol, SSRIs) the only thing that might help you internally via ingestion are possibly ayahuasca (DMT) or LSD but that’s not exactly something I can recommend but there’s some cool research on the subject you can look into yourself. These would need to be taken not for recreation or escapism but to help you travel inside yourself and tussle with your demons head on (this is where the shaman would come in to guide you along and shamans can help you travel inside yourself without the use of psychoactives).
DISCLAIMER: I am sure you’re all smart enough not to take my OPINIONS as medical advice. If however you are that stupid and consider what I’m saying to be medical advice then I prescribe 5 blue jelly beans a day and your depression should clear up in about a week. If you’ve tried everything I’ve mentioned and nothing has helped I suggest you speak to a professional
Shaman disclaimer: I’ve never used the services of a shaman or anyone of the nature but I see it and hallucinogens as a potential treatment of finding out about one’s self. The issue is it’s very hard to find an actual shaman in a world full of quacks and stoners who watch VICE that like to call themselves shamans.
That’s the end of part one. Part two is about fixing depression without meds. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you for Part Two.