Do you suffer from depressive disorder? Well, let’s hope you’re one of the small percent that does not.

If you do suffer from depressive disorder, however, I’m sure you’re on a mission to overcome this illness in any way you can. Of course, you are, and I am too, for I suffer from it as well. I have strived for many years to find the way out of this debilitating trap.

Facts about depression

Depression is the number one cause of disability in those ages 5 and older in America, Europe and the remainder of the western world. In fact, 14.8 million American adults suffer from depression, making it an epidemic which, unfortunately, leads to suicide in so many cases. Another alarming fact is that depression wasn’t always this bad.

It seems we have mastered depression in these modern times. Our ancestors were quite a bit happier than we are, and so were their ancestors before them. This goes on and on, back to much simpler arrangements. I bet you can see a pattern here, right? Well,

Author of The Depression Cure, Stephen Ilardi, says,

“Depression is a disease of civilization.”

Take diabetes and cancer for instance. These diseases, although rampant in society today, were almost non-existent in indigenous cultures past and present. Yes, they had diseases, but simpler forms and fewer kinds. Anthropologist Edward Schiefflin interviewed over 2,000 Kaluli, indigenous people of New Guinea, and found that only one of those people showed symptoms of depression. Wow!

Although the Kaluli faces negative circumstances and diseases daily, they seem to deal with these issues much better than we do. As with other epidemics, depression has only grown worse as time has advanced with technology. And what does this mean?

It’s simple really

Okay, so if you don’t have depressive disorder and you’re curious about what it’s like, imagine this: everything is right, going well, you are enjoying the basic joys of life, but if you have depression, all that is hidden behind thick shadows of torment and pain.

And yes, it’s a physical epidemic, controlled by an area of the brain responsible for the fight or flight response. Now, if you don’t have depression, this seems unfortunate, but If you do, then you can relate, and fully understand the mechanics of the illness.

And here’s what’s happened. The fight or flight response is designed to alert us of danger and cause us to act to combat the danger or run from it. In modern society, the threat lasts much longer and so, again, we are locked in the fight or flight response until conflict passes and peace ensues.

If you notice, modern life is almost always hectic and our brain is busy fighting and running all the time. As this happens, our bodies are being filled with toxins created by negative emotions. Thus, depression takes over and becomes a way of life. Sad, isn’t it?

So, what do we do with this negative information? Well, we turn it around, that’s what we do! The good news is there are 6 steps to curing depressive disorder, which has become a real epidemic nowadays. It’s basically the steps that the indigenous Kaluli use naturally in their lives.

Take your time, practice these actions and see if you make any progress. It’s worth a shot.

1. Exercise

It’s medicine and is more powerful than any other medication. The moving body is a healthy body; thus, exercise is key.

2. Sunlight

Sunlight is a natural supplier of vitamin D, and so plenty of light will help lift the mood.

3. Social connections

Social connections are important to keeping the brain stimulated and a stimulated brain is healthy. Exercise can be paired with social connections by walking or doing an activity with a friend.

4. Anti-ruminative activity

Another important step is to stop dwelling on negative circumstances and instead, look for solutions to the problem at hand. Focusing on the negative will allow you too much time in a bad situation and less time working on the positive outcome. Refuse to wallow in the mud.

5. Sleep

A healthy amount of sleep is useful in fighting depressive disorder considering stress levels are reduced when rested well.

6. Omega 3 fatty acids

Since our diets are greatly altered in modern foods, we fail to get the right amount of Omega 3 fatty acids. Our ancestors did not have processed or fast foods and were more likely to receive more ample amounts of natural supplements like Omega 3. Recent findings show that modern anti-depressants contain large amounts of Omega 3s. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in other substances and foods as well.

To be honest, I suffer from bipolar disorder, which includes depressive episodes. Like others with depressive disorder, I have had to face my illness head on with practical ideas and solutions. I have heard many stories of where depression originated and why it has such an impact on the lives of humans – especially those in the western world. This helps me discover strategies to cope and learn to live my life around the madness.

With this information, I’m using every tool in my possession for combat. Some things don’t work and some things do – some things are in operation as we speak. Unfortunately, so far, nothing has proved as a permanent solution. What can I do? We must discover this together, I see.

Be blessed and fight the good fight. Never give up!

Featured image: A “mudman” from the Asaro tribe, Papua New Guinea. Image by Jialiang Gao, CC BY-SA 3.0

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Lisa

    Good stuff! Speaking of adrenaline rushes, I wish doctors would be more critical of caffeine and its effects on us, but these days all we hear is how healthy it is. I have found that completely eliminating caffeine helps even me out in many ways:

    1) Caffeine had the opposite effect on my appetite that it’s touted to have — it made me severely hungry within hours of consumption, to the point where I suffered from scary blood sugar crashes, even though I drank black, non-sweetened coffee. This also happens to my husband, so it’s not just me, come to think of it. It became a maddening cycle in which I’d eat every two hours, even if I wasn’t hungry, to stave off those awful plunges. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you I gained unnecessary weight, which affected my self-image, as well as a feeling of control over myself. Cue the depressive feelings.

    2) I sleep better. I’m sure that’s no surprise to some, but we’ve all read the advice about avoiding caffeine after some arbitrary hour and we’d sleep fine. Not so, I’ve found. I thought I slept ok before, but now I see that I sleep even more deeply without caffeine.

    3) I have had panic attacks for years, and they seem to all but vanish when I don’t have caffeine. I think it’s mostly because of the obviously stimulant effect of caffeine, but I’d also get panic attacks after suffering blood sugar crashes which were caused by — you guessed it — caffeine.

    4) Caffeine caused interstitial cystitis in me that all but resolved itself within days after abstaining from caffeine. If you aren’t familiar, interstitial cystitis is a painful bladder condition that can become severely agonizing.

    I know it’s hard to quit caffeine, especially given the advice out there to wean yourself off to avoid unpleasant withdrawal effects like a splitting headache, nausea, constipation, etc., but I just had to bite the bullet and go cold turkey. After a couple of days of feeling ill, the withdrawal passed, although I’m still waiting for my energy to return naturally after years of the “pseudoenergy” of caffeine. (I’ve been caffeine free for 4 days, but I’ve abstained for much longer before. This time is going to stick for good, though! I’m fully committed.)

    So, if you guys want to try everything possible to feel better in your mood, you might want to at least try two weeks or longer of no caffeine — no coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, sodas, and anything else with caffeine. A few days without it won’t cut it, since you’ll still be dealing with withdrawal and maybe not feeling your best, but it’s worth an honest try.

    1. Lisa

      I should add, though, that cold turkey might not be the best way for some. I only drank 2 cups a day, sometimes 3, which isn’t as nearly as much as some people I know and I still felt pretty awful the first day abstaining. I just didn’t have the luxury of weaning myself off, due to excruciating bladder pain caused by caffeine. But if you can wean, you might want to try that to lessen potentially nasty withdrawal.

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