By now, if you’ve read anything on my site, you can probably guess my answer to that question!
Most of us think of depression as a condition of imbalanced neurotransmitters. In western medicine, we often treat depression with SSRIS- “anti-depressants”- or other medications, all of which affect your neurotransmitters like serotonin and/or norepinephrine.
Is depression really an “anti-depressant deficiency”, or is it something more? It is absolutely true that neurotransmitters may be imbalanced in depression. And this should be addressed- whether with nutritional supplements, diet /lifestyle changes or anti-depressants. But what if the neurotransmitter imbalance was just an effect of something else? What if there is a deeper cause we could address to help treat the depression? Then we wouldn’t be so dependent on pills to help take care of the symptoms, and we could treat the deepest level of cause.
I was speaking with a patient today about her depression. She told me she has always had it, since her early 20s. I asked if anything triggered it back then and she said no, but her parents were both depressed when she was growing up. On another note, she also reported that she had just lost her job and was feeling hopeless. We discussed how her beliefs, which she absorbed from her parents as a child, could be contributing to her depression, as they affect how she responds to life in general. Her feeling hopeless after the loss of a job may also be related to her beliefs from childhood- this may be the only way she knows how to feel after such an event! Our subconscious beliefs run like automatic programs in our mind, and they determine how we will perceive things in her world, how we will react to people and events. For this patient, in order for her to treat the deeper causes of her depression, she would need to do some work with a practitioner on her subconscious beliefs. It is possible that after this work, she would feel significantly better!
We have proven how our thoughts actually affect protein production in our bodies. So it makes sense how our emotions, thoughts and beliefs all have an direct impact on our neurotransmitters. Happier thoughts create “happier neurotransmitters”. (If you are interested to read more about how our beliefs and thoughts affect our proteins/cellular function- check out Dr Bruce Lipton’s “Biology of Belief”).
This is a great example of how we can use the holistic approach to address depression. Yes, treat the neurotransmitters- the effect- with meds or supplements, deal with it and feel somewhat better! But also dig deeper. Look for how your thoughts, feelings and emotions may be contributing to the overall “atmosphere” in your mind. If you keep feeding your mind with thoughts that are self defeating and that bring you down, you will continue to create the same neurotransmitter imbalance. If you work on changing your perceptions, thoughts and emotions and feed your mind more positive, inspiring, uplifting thoughts, you will change your brain chemistry for the better- and for the long term.
To help you begin the journey of looking for some subconscious beliefs that may be affecting you, you can use this meditation here (the 3rd video on the page). At the end of the meditation, ask this question in your mind, while being open for answers, clues or guidance from your higher self.
One last note: There is a difference between your subconscious and conscious minds. When someone goes through therapy and talks about their feelings and thoughts, it doesn’t necessarily create any changes at the subconscious level. This means that it will be very hard for lasting changes to be made. You really need to shift the subconscious thoughts in order to create lasting change- because your subconscious mind really is what affects you the most.