By: Pamela Chubbuck
Depression has reached epidemic proportions in our society - what can we do? Depression is the most disabling non-fatal condition in the United States and around the world. Shockingly, one out of five adolescents in the US will have a major episode of depression by the time they are 20.
Many people think depression is a disease that must be treated with medication, and would be surprised to find out that depression is most often caused by holding in deep emotions. Depression is best successfully treated by working with the whole bodymind system. It is an imbalance and needs integrative help to overcome it. Research has shown that depression is not well treated by "drug therapy" or "talk therapy" alone.
When we de-press emotions, we literally push our feelings and our energy down. Often it is anger that we try not to show, but many emotions we have learned are not OK to express - sadness, fear, sometimes physical pain - get stuck in our body/mind and eventually hurts us. Holding them over a long period of time causes dis-ease to occur, such as, colitis, migraines, fibromyalgia, and other stress related diseases.
Those very emotions that Mom and Dad, church, school, and society said we better not show, are part of our normal life force. People who hold their Life Force seem to have less energy, move less, their eyes lack sparkle, and their body begins to fold into itself. In serious cases we observe those people hold their head down, breath shallow, eyes averted, mouth slack. Even their skin tone and color lack energy.
Stopping the Life Force causes most of the depression in our country. Denying feelings becomes the mask we learn to wear. It is learned behavior that is the fake "smiling face" we show to get someone to love us. We think and hope it will work. Pretending stops our Life Force - our deep down true energy.
Societies that teach their children to "stuff" emotions are those societies that have more depression among their population. Families that teach their children to hold in their anger, sadness, etc. will experience more family dysfunction. I know a family that taught anger wasn't allowed. Mother periodically, "lost it". and was verbally abusive to the kids and to her husband. Out of 3 children, two are depressed manifesting in slightly different ways. Both depressed teenagers are physically ill much of the time.
The third child, who is healthier physically, is very angry and shows it. She does not hold it in. She constantly got in trouble at home for her outbursts and fought back when her mother was inappropriate with her. As she grew older, she calmly told her mother, "no more", and moved out. That daughter is not depressed.
Since depression is holding emotions and blocking the Life Force, we must activate the Life Force and express our emotions to be well. An experience of depression can be wonderfully used as an open door to healing - to changing our life for the better - toward true lasting health.
Know that the depression you experience is not you. It is not a disease you are stuck with forever. Get in touch with your Real Self, the authentic wonderful you that you now de-press. For best results you need psychological guidance and instruction from a competent integrative therapist in order to best find your essential self. Body psychotherapies, such as Core Energetics, Bioenergetics, and other Reichian based work are shown to be most helpful because they work with the bodymind to express and celebrate the Life Force.
The treatment that makes most sense combines deep integrative psychotherapy with exercise, meditation, nutritional supplementation, yoga, acupuncture, homeopathy, and other types of self expression such as singing, dancing, drawing, and painting.
The medical term that describes depression is dysthymia which comes from the root word thymos - the Greek word for courage. Have courage! We can move through our distress and heal our lives.
Pamela L Chubbuck, PhD is on the faculty of the International Core Energetics Institute, is a Certified Bioenergetics Therapist, Director of Core Energetics Institute South, graduate of BBSH, and a published author. Pam has a private practice in the Atlanta Metro area and may be reached at 770-388-0086. or email: PLChubbuck@msn. com
Depression and the Body by Alexander Lowen, MD. Pleasure by Alexander Lowen, MD. Core Energetics by John Pierrakos, MD. Unstuck by James S Gordon, MD