Depression: What Is It and Is It Genetic?
Depression is considered a mood disorder. It is defined as sadness, loss, failure, rejection, or anger that can have a severe impact on a person’s life and their daily activities.
This mostly occurs when a person feels completely overwhelmed in life as a result of traumatic encounters that were unpleasant as a result of personal circumstances. The degree of depression depends on the sensitivity and overall health of a person.
Scientists believe that a genetic link may be present in as many as 40% of people who suffer from depression. The remaining 60% can be due to environmental and other causes. From an alternative therapist’s view, depression is blocked and stagnant energy in the chakra system in one’s body. Similar to the scientist’s view about being environmentally birthed.
A person’s environment plays a major role in their mental programming and conditioning. If we are surrounded by depressed and negative individuals, then we are likely to follow the same behavioural patterns. This results in having the same energy blocks as the parents or caregivers. This becomes a vivacious cycle for future generations if these programmes continuing in the family line.
To read more about mental programming and conditioning since birth and how one can reprogram one’s mind, my Spiritual Awakening article covers this topic.
What Causes Depression:
A variety of factors and conditions can contribute to depression and its severity. With the exception of a loved one’s unexpected death, there is usually a combination of factors that contribute to the downward spiral, or falling down the deep dark rabbit hole. Please use this as a general guide, see your doctor or medical practitioner for any diagnosis.
- Genetic: a family history of severe mental illnesses.
- Environmental conditioning: mental programming from birth. This can be learned behavioural habits such as being pessimistic, having low self-worth and self-love, being sensitive and self-critical, being in constant stress mode, being a perfectionist, being judgemental of yourself and others. Living with or dealing with abusive relationships with family members or partners.
- Life events: the loss of a job or being unemployed for longer than expected. Financial strain or loss of a home, car, income, and/or constant debt. Unexpected accident or a diagnosis of a serious illness. Loss of a dream, ambition, or goal. Loss of your freedom and rights. Increase in responsibilities or life changes that you were not physically and/or mentally prepared for.
- Emotional events: the loss of a loved one, either through death or a relationship (either romantic or platonic). Having a baby and being overwhelmed with your new responsibilities. Being constantly put down and bullied by others on a daily basis. Long-term isolation or loneliness or having no one that you can trust, talk to, or rely on. Feeling guilty and/or regret over a situation that you feel responsible for.
- Long-term or serious medical condition: managing chronic pain on a long-term basis. The loss of a limb, or being restricted in movement. Being diagnosed with a deadly disease or condition. Sleep disorders as a person’s body and mind need that down time to regenerate. Any medical condition that has you in a constant panic of fight, flight, or freeze responses. Constantly feeling overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.
- Medications, drugs, and alcohol: unfortunately, a lot of prescribed medication side effects can cause depression and other medical conditions. Substance abuse using drugs and alcohol can trigger or intensify the feelings of loneliness, sadness, and hopelessness, which increases the chance of being diagnosed with depression.
Types of Depression:
Some types of depression have multiple names due to the world’s many countries. Please consult your doctor or medical practitioner for more information, as this is only a reference guide.
- Atypical depression: also referred to as Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) and Dysthymic disorder (dysthymia): Is a chronic depression that has persisted for more than two years. It is often known as a milder version of major depressive disorder. A person with this disorder can participate in daily life activities. However, most of the time, the person feels depressed or unhappy. They may experience changes in their eating and sleeping patterns, may have low energy, low self-esteem, or hopelessness, which are some of the other depressive symptoms of PPD. Short-term happiness can sometimes be achieved, but this is short-lived before depression takes back over.
- Antenatal and postpartum depression (PPD): also referred to as perinatal depression. It is a complex type of depression that can occur during pregnancy and after giving birth. It is a relatively common but serious medical condition that affects up to one in every seven new mothers. Due to hormonal changes, changes in the body and feeling restricted due to changes can have the mother feeling unattractive, empty, emotionless, anxious and sad as a result of these types of depression. For a long time after birth, it can cause mood swings, exhaustion, and a general sense of hopelessness, to name a few symptoms.
- Cyclothymic disorder: It is frequently referred to as a milder form of bipolar disorder. The person has chronic fluctuating moods for a period of less than two years, with periods of hypomania (a mild to moderate level of mania) and periods of depressive symptoms, with very short periods of normal life (less than two months) in between. Since symptoms are shorter, less serious, and less regular, they do not meet the criteria for bipolar disorder or major depression.
- Manic depressive disease: also referred to as bipolar disorder. People with this illness experience periods of unusually high energy or activity followed by deep depression. Manic symptoms appear to be the polar opposite of depression symptoms. People may have wild ideas, unrealistically high self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, and a heightened pursuit of all types of pleasures, including sexual pleasures, spending sprees, and risk-taking behaviours. The manic stage is frequently accompanied by self-destructive behaviour and is followed by a period of depression.
- Major depressive disorder (MDD): also referred to as clinical depression, is associated with a chronic and overpowering sense of sadness. Grooming, bathing, and eating are all tasks that people lose interest in. Even hobbies that used to make them happy, such as exercising, reading, creative activities, and/or spending time with their partner, family, and friends, now feel pointless and frightening. They might not get out of bed on certain days. They may experience difficulty sleeping, crying episodes, changes in food intake or weight. You will always have a feeling of fatigue and a sense of worthlessness.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): The symptoms of PMDD are enhanced symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Those symptoms that relate to mood and fatigue are more severe and evident. One may feel extreme fatigue, very self-critical, severe feelings of anxiety, and increased stress levels. feeling sad, helpless, irritable, feeling foggy, increased food cravings and uncontrollable mood swings.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): This type of depression has been linked to reduced sunlight exposure. Reduced sunlight exposure effects and causes an imbalance in the levels of serotonin and melatonin in the human body. Seasonal affective disorder emerges, usually in winter or in very cold climates when the sun is less present throughout the year.
Medical Professionals Recommend the Following Depression Treatments & Activities:
Medical professionals recommend: This is from an Australian medical standpoint, and I have added my opinion and suggestions on these therapies as an alternative healer:
- Medications: Typically, the initial treatment option for depression is antidepressant medication. Depending on how severe the depression is, antipsychotic medication or mood stabilisers may be recommended. I urge you to research these types of medications and pick one that won’t make you gain weight (unless you need to), won’t make you more likely to think about suicide, and won’t interact negatively with any other drugs you’re taking for health reasons.
- Psychological Therapy: This involves talking to your doctor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist about your worries and health issues. I strongly advise you to treasure (and trust) the expert who does respect you as a person rather than a customer or source of cash. They cannot work miracles; only you, with the right support and your faith (the universe, God, Jesus, etc.), may guide you to your own miracle. No matter how you feel, always be honest with these specialists while communicating with them.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. As it teaches a person how to recognise and adjust their behaviour, I encourage this kind of therapy. No matter what type of depression you have, you must be able to get out of bed on your own and be willing to work hard to make the changes you want in order for this therapy to be effective.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Another therapy that I heartily recommend is this one, especially if you find a therapist who actually cares about their patients well-being. A person can learn how to slow down or stop negative thought patterns from happening as a result of better understanding their own mental processes.
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): Psychotherapists are licensed mental health therapists with a foundation in spirituality. These therapists are less common in Australia than they are in the western part of the world. This is where I ultimately want to take my studies. So, absolutely, I heartily endorse this.
- Activities: Spend at least 20 minutes each day exercising. Spend some time out in the sunlight with sun protection. Keep a journal of your emotions, ideas, and goals. Practice meditation as well as mindfulness. Attend group meetings or counselling sessions.
Alternative Healer Recommend the Following Depression Treatments & Activities:
My Personal Recommendations: I do not recommend anything that I do not have any personal experience or dealings with. This includes my own personal experience or situations where I have been nominated as a decision maker, carer, or facilitator for another individual.
I would love to hear about any therapies that you have participated in and how they have helped you. Please comment below. As you may be able to guide/help another person with more options.
Reprogramming the Subconscious Mind: I am a big believer in reprogramming one’s mind for better health. I would suggest listening to (rather than reading) the following suggestions.
Listening to these suggestions with headphones or earpods aids in the introduction of new beliefs to the subconscious mind. It’s perfectly fine if you can’t concentrate on the words. You don’t have to. Continue to listen even if you’re not paying attention to the words.
Your subconscious mind is constantly listening to everything within hearing distance, including your thoughts. This is a fantastic exercise, especially if you suffer from mental and emotional anxiety, because it will train you to break free from your racing thoughts. I will be adding YouTube search engine links below (the pink writing) where you can choose a subject of your own liking.
Apart from being a fan of their work, I have no affiliation with YouTube recommendations or these authors. These are also free to listen to, and if you have a YouTube account, creating a playlist will automatically save your progress.
If the ads become too bothersome, I recommend purchasing a premium subscription or purchasing the books from audible.com or another retailer. Ads are usually only shown before or after a meditation or self-hypnosis session.
I literally reprogrammed my own traumatic mind with the below suggestions. I am a CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) survivor. Depression and anxiety are common ailments with CPTSD.
- Self-Help Audio Books: There are many great selections of self-help audio books available. At present, I am currently listening to The Journey Home by Lee Carroll. Depending on your personal beliefs, you may want to listen to something less spiritual than Lee Carroll. The authors that I do recommend are Louise Hay, Dr Wayne Dyer, and Dr Joe Dispenza, to name a few. There are so many fantastic authors.
- Self-Hypnosis: As a qualified hypnotherapist, I am a major fan of self-hypnosis. At a later date I will be adding my own work to my Youtube channel to help others. I am a fan of Dr Steve G Jones, (the next two also have meditation and positive affirmation sessions too) Michael Sealy and Kenneth Soares to name a few. Try your own search for the area that you need support in.
- Affirmations: Everyone that I have mentioned above does affirmations, except Dr. Steve. Browse through this search and find someone that resonates with you, as a person’s voice and manner are very important for all these suggestions.
- Meditations: The same as above. Explore this search to find a releasing meditation that resonates for you.
- Breath Work: As boring as it sounds, breath work is actually really healing and exciting as this is a fantastic way of moving blocked energy in one’s body. Whim Hof is an expert in breathwork. He has been able to cure illnesses, and he has volunteered himself as a guinea pig for scientists to study. To check out other practitioners who do breathwork meditations, explore this search.
It is a misconception that to meditate or listen to self-hypnosis, one must remain completely still. You can engage in any routine, or safe activities that do not put you or anyone else in danger or at risk of an accident. While meditating or in self-hypnosis, you can stroll, dance, clean, do yoga, and tai chi, and so on. Do not drive, use machinery, lift heavy weights, use tools or sharp instruments, or perform in a crowded or dangerous place. Please use your common sense.
- Medication: Some people do need medication to start their healing journey. Please be aware that weight gain is a common side effect of some of the prescribed medications. I’ve witnessed people gaining 15+ kg (33+ pounds) in the first month of taking some of the recommended meds without them knowing about the weight-gaining side effects. I gained weight in the past after being prescribed an anxiety medication following a life-threatening incident. Do your research and request lower-risk medications such as Lovan (fluoxetine). The last thing that you need is to feel more depressed because you are gaining weight involuntarily.
- Understand your Anxiety: If you missed last week’s article you can find it here – Anxiety. There Are 3 Things You Should Know Right Now!
- Self-love, Boundaries, and Forgiveness: Are the three major areas that everyone needs to learn on their journey to wellness. Read my self-love, boundaries, and forgiveness article. I also have a four-part series on where we store our trauma in our bodies and that can be found here.
- Balancing your Chakras: I have an extensive library of the chakra system on my site. If you don’t know what chakras are, read my article on chakras. If you know about chakras, the root chakra is your main chakra to start with.
- Inner Child and Shadow Work: Most of our trauma starts with our inner child, and shadow work is letting go of being a victim to becoming the survivor that you were meant to be. Read my article here.
- Herbs: Eleven years ago, I probably would have laughed at anyone who suggested I put more than a sprinkle of herbs into my pasta, then into my daily life. I have always loved nature, but I was never attuned to the healing that plant medicine has to offer. Ten years ago, aromatherapy completely changed my son’s life from being an aggressive, unstable adolescent to being calm, caring, and responsible. Herbs are now a part of our daily life, whether it’s growing wildly in my gardens, adding them to our food or as an aroma, or drinking them as tea. I personally kicked my nicotine habit by smoking a herbal blend as a relaxant before bed. Herbs can be used for overcoming other addictions as well. I have a few articles on how herbs can enhance one’s journey. These articles can be found here.
- Connecting with Nature: Is extremely grounding for one’s energy. Personally, I walk barefoot on the grass every morning (if the sun is visible) and do a 10-minute sungazing meditation before beginning my day. When I used to suffer from migraines or racing thoughts, I would rest my forehead against a large tree, close my eyes, and take a few deep breaths. It really works if you do it with a positive attitude. Take a walk in the woods or a park, preferably near rose bushes, or use rose oil for the scent. Walking and smelling the roses will boost your endorphin levels.
- Colour or Art Therapy: Colour therapy is also known as chromotherapy. I still participate in colour therapy, especially when I need to wind down after a busy day. This can be as simple as colouring in a mindfulness book. Don’t judge your work. Who cares if it’s not neat, perfect and in the lines? I suffered with OCD for most of my life, an inherent behaviour that I picked up from my mother. Now I love making abstract art that is vibrant, loud, and bright.
- Vision Boards or Journalling: Don’t you just dislike the question that most therapists ask, “Where do you see yourself at such and such a time?” I know that this question used to terrify me when anyone asked it. When you are struggling with depression, it is sometimes hard to know what you want to do right then and there, let alone into the future! Depending where you are on your journey, I would suggest starting with either one of these. Maybe you might see a picture of something that catches your interest. Put it on a vision board and slowly work your way up. As for a thought or idea, write it down. It may make sense to you at another time where you can build upon it.