DEPRESSION

Where it comes from?

According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, every three in 10 adults aged 16 years and above have some sort of mental problems.

In Malaysia, the prevalence of mental health problems among adults increased from 10.7 per cent in 1996 to 11.2 per cent in 2006, to 29.2 per cent in 2015.

Furthermore, mental illness is expected to be the second biggest health problem affecting Malaysians after heart disease by 2020. Depression is a common psychological disorder, affecting some 121 million people worldwide.

by Kate Lim

Depression has become a common medical illness in our modern world; it is worrying when this issue has become common even in teenagers. What has gone wrong in our society? Where depression stems from? Could it be genetic? Or are there other factors that lead to it?
 

Depression may be genetic but since the discovery of EPIGENETICS, even if you have the gene of depression; it is NOT likely that you will get it; unless you are producing the chemical that ‘turn on’ the depressed genes.

WHAT IS 

Epigenetic?

Epigenetic is so awesome! It is a new type of science that is growing in popularity. This discovery allows us to re-gain our power to our physical and mental health. According to Bruce Lipton, epigenetic is the study of cellular and physiological traits, or the external and environmental factors, that turn our genes on and off, and in turn, define how our cells actually read those genes. It works to see the true potential of the human mind, and the cells in our body. 
 

Through the study of epigenetic, they found that only less than 1% of flawed genes lead to diseases (i.e. mental and physical illness); but the signal from the brain can cause up to more than 90% of disease in our body.

What does this mean? It means that the thoughts we create can alter the chemical in our brain and this in turn could affect how our cells “read-out” those genes. Put in plain words, how we think is translated into chemistry and this will determine what we become through the turning on and off of genes.

So if you think that depression is genetic, think again! Perhaps it was our thoughts that lead to it? The definition of depression suggested that depression causes one to feel sad and lose interest in things they once enjoyed. So where do this sad feelings come from? Isn’t it from our mind, the thoughts that we create? For example, if you
THINK that you have an interview tomorrow, how would you feel? Nervous and anxious perhaps? If you THINK that you are going for a holiday tomorrow, how would you feel? Happy and excited? Thoughts create feelings; so if one can master his thoughts, he can master his feelings.

Here are a few examples of thinking patterns that could affect our feelings:

WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK 

When we worry about what people may be thinking about us, we tend to ASSUME what they think or say; but it does not mean that what we think or assume is true! However, the brain does not know what is real or what is imagined; whatever you assume, your brain sees it as the truth. It then creates the chemistry in your brain and body that lead you to focus only to the worse scenario or the worse judgment. That’s because, when we are under stress (worry about what people think is a form of stress), our body will help us to look out for danger; for survival reasons. 

However, there is no real danger; it is all in the mind. Eventually, this could lead to depression because of the imbalances that occur in the brain caused by the constant feeling of sadness triggered by the assumption made.
We will never have control over what people want to think or say. Usually, what people think or say about you is based on what they have experienced in their own life; it really has nothing to do with you. But if you internalize what people might think or say, your brain will experience so much fear and suspicion that it will only produce long-term sadness and insecure feelings. So let go of such fear, go live your life! It’s yours!

THE HABIT OF DOUBTING THE SELF

Self-doubt is not a healthy habit to practice. It is damaging to the body mind and soul because the practice of self-doubt is demeaning to the ever-so hard working mind, body and soul that constantly help our cells to regenerate; help our heart beat; help us cope with stress by secreting the hormones and neurotransmitter that we need; help us to be creative; help us to find solution to our everyday problem and so many more. When you practice self-doubt, you are telling the body mind and soul: “Stop doing work for me, because I do not trust you”.

When your boss doubts you all the time, would you feel happy working for him? The doubting thoughts you create in your mind impede the happy hormones (neurotransmitter) in your brain and increase the stress hormones. Without the happy hormones, such as serotonin (neurotransmitter that allow us to have good mood) and dopamine (neurotransmitter that allow us to feel motivated), how can one feels good?
Value yourself; appreciate what your body has been doing for you. It never asks for salary or holiday even though it has to work 24/7. Learn to encourage yourself like how you would encourage a friend who feels insecure; you only need to do THIS little for your body mind and soul in return for it to not suffer from depression.

TO ATTACHED TO THE OUTCOME

When you are attached to the outcome (results), you become rigid; you can’t be flexible with how things are, you need things to be how you expect it to be. And when there is a constant gap between your expectation and the reality; feeling such as disappointment and frustration would occur. In the long run, this could lead to depression because of the inflexibility of the mind; it makes one to dwell in the disappointment and frustration than to help the person to come up with ideas for solutions. If a person carries his frustration for too long, he would start to feel discouraged and may stop trying in life.

However, life is ever-flowing; life is never rigid. Sometimes things are not going the way we wanted  because we need to learn or discover NEW ways to do things. Whenever we can’t get what we want, it is always a great opportunity to learn something new and discover a different side of our capabilities. But if we are boxed by our rigidness and frustration, we will never discover any new ventures in life.   

WAITING TO BE APPRECIATED

A lot of time, people who are kind and compassionate seems to have higher chance of developing depression. Why? That’s because they are waiting for their kindness and compassion to be appreciated; but most of the time, they do not receive what they expect. Many have forgotten that being kind and compassionate is merely about being kind and compassionate; it was never about what can be received in return. When you are kind and you help others, it just means that you ARE ABLE TO DO SO. And isn’t that something wonderful to be celebrated by YOU, something to be proud of?! Did you know that not everyone can be kind and compassionate?

There is no need for people to realize your act of kindness for you; nor do you need to wait for their appreciation before you could celebrate or be proud of yourself. The longer you wait for their appreciation or validation, the sadder you become because again, what you are expecting is not being fulfilled; and it may never even be fulfilled. Sometimes, people don’t show appreciation because they are too consumed by their own life challenges; they have forgotten to show appreciation or realize what you have done for them. It really has NOTHING to do with you or your self-worth. However, by waiting for the validation and feeling frustrated that people are not appreciating you; you are draining your physical and mental strength that could lead to depression. Be proud and appreciate what you ARE able to do; there is no need to wait for others to do so.

TO SUM IT UP

If you can become aware of your thinking pattern, you could make some changes to it and change how you feel. But if you are not aware, then the thoughts pattern stays the same and this could lead to all kinds of negative feelings to rise. That’s because the thoughts that we create in our brain can either enhance the happy chemistry to help us feel better; or impede them and make us feel lousy and depressed. It is important to change your thoughts, focus to yourself, focus to what you WANT (NOT the opposite) and see how your feelings change for the better.

When you start to feel better, you don’t just prevent yourself from developing depression, you prevent yourself from developing other diseases too because according to Epigenetic, 90% or more of our diseases are create by the changed in chemistry in the brain as compared to flawed genes. In short, you are the master of your genes; you are the key person to decide whether the bad genes should be turned on or off! In other words, depression can be prevented if you use your brain wisely.

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