In my article Internal Model (see this site), there is a model of the Depression. The methods of treatment of the Depression derived from this model are different from currently accepted methods.
Following is a description of the mechanism of the Depression derived from mentioned above article and description of approaches to treat this illness with emphasis on practical aspects of it.
Attempts to describe the Depression from a traditional point of view as disorders of mind only or brain only or hormonal system only, etc. did not arrive neither to satisfactory description of the causes of the problem nor to effective treatments. A different point of view is needed to illuminate this problem.
Note that successful methods of treatment of depression, from chemical to psychological, show numerous “side effects”. Drugs, which suppose to affect activities of the brain, are powerful muscle relaxants; methods of psychotherapy, which suppose to affect an individual psyche, create new social dynamics, etc. It is most likely that these “side effects” are essential causes of success of these methods of treatment.
Hence, we need a point of view, where society and individual, mind and body, hormones, and nervous system and muscles are not subjects of separate study. Inevitably we should accept the loss of precision exhibited by the disciplines dedicated to these separate studies, but we should catch details of what currently is viewed as “interactions” between society, individual, mind, body, brain, hormones, nerves etc.
The above mentioned article describes one form of the Depression as a stable state of body with a characteristic dynamic (activity of muscles, hormones, nerves, brain activity and on another level abstraction – activity of mind, social activity, etc.). Because there is no sufficient system of concepts to describe it, it is described as a vicious cycle of a stream of various “substances” (muscle activities, hormonal activities, nervous signals, thoughts, emotions, feelings, social interactions, etc.). This is a stable state in which a human being (described with all relevant attributes) could fall into.
This state manifests itself in perpetual anxiety, inescapable complex of thoughts, asocial behavior, etc.
One could attempt to form a theory, which could be useful in describing such phenomena. This theory declares that there are different stable states of the human being, some are undesirable stable states, and others are acceptable or even desirable stable states.
Description of these stable states in familiar terms is difficult. We had to resort to simple classification and detailed study of some of these states.
For the study of the Depression, a Vicious Cycle stable state is a focus of interest.
One, who is a victim of the Vicious Cycle state, could be compelled to seek another less unpleasant stable state through escape into a micro-world of inactivity or excessive work. This is another form of the Depression – it leads to suppression of own biological and social self and inevitable suffering as a consequence.
there are Acceptable States even happy states – these are normal states and
normally people flip from one stable
treatment of Depression as a treatment of any illness is flipping out of a
Hence, the person susceptible to the Depression has to acquire skills of flipping out of it at will.
Finding a method of flipping out of Depression is not trivial, as one could expect judging by the prevalence of incidents of this illness.
Some methods, people find trough experimentation, others come through official medicine. In many cases, they are inadequate.
The above article describes one efficient method of Flipping out of a Vicious Cycle. Neither discovery of it nor description of mechanism of its action is trivial; however, the method itself is relatively simple.
To flip from a depressive state of the Vicious Cycle type, one needs to physically exercise sufficiently long time in a specific way.
One requirement is obvious – it should be a pleasant soothing environment.
The other is not so obvious – muscles have to be relaxed.
While it sounds as a contradiction – exercise and relaxation, this is exactly what is taught in martial arts to achieve higher strength, speed and control of actions.
This is a crucial requirement – a Vicious Cycle always comes with tense muscles, with muscle spasms. One has to learn how to relax muscles during the exercise.
Exercise should be sufficiently strenuous and it should be practiced until one achieves a flipping from the Depressive state. This flipping is so obvious that one cannot miss it.
When one achieves ability to flip from the Depression state with relatively small effort, one changes the entire environment on biological, mental and social levels. One stops being anxious of falling into a Depression state and people around are less concerned with it. The illness becomes manageable, less destructive and gradually diminishing.
There are relatively shallow states similar to the state of Depression – it is easier to flip out of them. Learning to control them – detecting and flipping out of them, is useful in controlling Depression.
One should distinguish Anxiety from fear. As it is described in Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, fear is a quick highly useful emotion triggered by a sudden change in the environment, while Anxiety is a vicious cycle based purely on internal mental images.
Healthy suspicion is a normal reaction to new information; however, Paranoia is excessive examination and reexamination of information. While some specialists have to exercise Paranoia like behavior in area of their professional interest, it is not a normal state of mind; it is asocial and destructive in a normal society.
Some factors make the Depressive state more stable – a trap easy to fall-in and difficult to flip-out. One with propensity to Depression should monitor them and take corrective actions, when their effects are detected.
Excessive Stress fortifies stable states of functioning and especially bad states. Hence, Excessive Stress most likely strengthens a Vicious Cycle state and an Escape state and one should avoid it. Note that one should differentiate between Excessive Stress and normal stress which accompany any development and growth.
One with propensity to Depression should learn own limits of stress tolerance and avoid situations leading to Excessive Stress.
Feeling fear in uncertain and especially dangerous situation is normal and healthy. Some people thrive in such situations because they provide them an environment conducive to their personal growth, expansion of understanding and control.
However, one with propensity to Depression should learn own limits of fear tolerance and avoid situations leading to Excessive Fear.
Not so long ago, the society mostly operated in unfocused way; only a small fraction of society could focus, and it usually occupied a comfortable place in the society (warriors, administrators, etc.). A modern society operates in a focused way (with frequent switched of the focus). In the modern society, inability to focus is perceived as illness (Attention Deficit Disorder) and rightfully so, because one has to be able to focus to be able to work, to drive, etc.
Focus is suppression of activities (biological, mental, social, etc.) in areas outside of the area of focus, which leads to increased efficiency of activities in the area of focus. Frequent and prolonged focusing produces patterns of activity, stable states. A person trained to focus, habitually flips between such stable states, while a person unable to focus acts randomly without preferences for any pattern of activity.
Some “focused” states of activity could become a part of the Vicious Cycle state and the more stable they are the more the Vicious Cycle state is stable.
Hence, one with propensity to Depression should learn how to loosen up from a focused state into being unfocused (not to flip into another focused state) and should do this loosening up frequently.
There are many different states of activity, which should be qualified as Depression of Escape type.
Escape states develop in forms mimicking socially acceptable and even socially desirable behavior. Workaholics, who escape into work, often unproductive, mimic adherence to the ethics of hard work highly praised in many societies. Those who suppress own activities mimic ability to be “calm and assertive” in the face of adversity – another highly praised trait.
Most importantly, Escape type of Depression is accompanied with the feeling of pleasure. This makes it similar to addiction or masochism.
First of all, a sufferer has to want to get rid of this affliction badly. This is an imperative first step of getting better. From that point, conscious understanding of the mechanisms of Escape should guide the person out of the real situation, which causes desire to fall into the state of Escape, and consequently to improvement.