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DoubleEdge

Depression: a great disease of our time

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Dear Sangat Ji,

I am a frequent reader of this site but I seldom post, and am for the first time ever starting a new thread. I do so because I feel that we can perhaps openly examine as a community some of the root causes of many of the challenges that posters present here, especially in the Gupt section. I post here instead of "Whats Happening" as there may be those who wish to contribute but not reveal their identities.

The topics that keep coming up over and over include:

Women and issues with hair (and the fact that it affects their chances of marriage)

Youngsters and romantic relationships (how soon they wish to start their journeys toward Ghristi Jeevan)

Depression (having nobody to talk to or share their feelings with)

Isolation (lack of sangat and the impact of social politics and dynamics)

Each of these can be reduced to the last one on the list: Isolation or loneliness.

The need for human contact, identity and belonging is recognised as paramount to healthy human development. The impact of being "under socialised" or isolated can lead to all kinds of psychological issues. In fact, the affects of isolation in the young can lead to "Failure to Thrive" syndrome where people cannot function or catch up with their "normal" counterparts. Today we exist in greater numbers that ever in human history, have vastly greater social connections than we have ever had, (this site is one example, and of course there is the social media that surrounds us), yet it seems that humans have never been lonelier. It has also been proposed that while we have more connections, the relationships have become shallower and less meaningful as they become greater in number. We might have 300 facebook friends and 300 phone contacts but feel like we have nobody to talk to.

At the same time we naturally make efforts to be part of some or other social "tribe", and try to identify and be accepted by them by acting, talking and dressing alike. The human social instincts that we have been blessed with drive us to join with others and also drives our fear of rejection. In ancient times, social rejection (from your tribe or village) was a sure death sentence. We could not survive without the protection of our social group and its function to sustain members of the greater whole. Today, rejection is unlikely to result in death yet we still fear it as such. Loss of friends, the end of a marriage, the rejection of a proposal, rejection by those we would keep Sangat with, a breakdown in communication or relations with family, we may fear and treat any of these and react in a manner as if it is "the end of the world" (read death).

Fear of being alone seems to be a great driver of the challenges that keep coming up for the Sangat on this site and beyond. Women who fear rejection due to their facial or body hair are afraid that they will end up unwed and alone (or with someone who does not fit the ideal picture they might have of a husband). Youngsters drawn to the rose tinted fantasy of romantic relationships are also trying to get a head start in the race to find a partner, again for fear of ending up alone. We all want to be close to others, to have understanding and to be appreciated by someone that will find us to be worthy. If we do not have this acceptance and appreciation, we face the terrifying prospect of not only a lonely life, but death at a genetic level as there are no children to carry on our biological heritage. Parents desire the respect of their children. Those who are bullied for being different wish that they would be accepted just like others are instead of being socially rejected. All human beings want to find their place in the world. And if we feel that those needs are not being fulfilled, we end up feeling isolated and depressed.

Depression is so ubiquitous now that I was told that one Chardi Kala Gursikh said to one of the Singhs in their Sangat that "People come to us claiming that they have been attacked by black magic, that they do not understand what is happening to them, when in fact they are suffering from depression". They said that Mahraj describe it in baani as "Mann Ka Taap" or "disease of the mind". And why not. For someone who doesn't know what a panic attack, or a bipolar disorder is, a sudden shift in their equilibrium can be terrifying and seem supernatural. They may develop agoraphobia, claustrophobia or any one of numerous symptoms, as result of feelings of isolation and loneliness which lead them to depression. It is important to mention that isolation doesn't have to mean physical isolation. We can feel isolated within Sangat, within the family, even within a marriage. When faced with depression people can behave in destructive manners, i.e using the five vices of Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh and Hankaar or addictions such as alcohol or drugs to try to protect themselves from the symptoms of depression. Then, we often see posts of people confessing their guilt and doing a virtual Peshi before the Sangat here, asking if Mahraj will ever forgive them, or posting that they have lost faith as they feel isolated even from Mahraj.

The truth is depression is a mental illness. It has symptoms and those symptoms can be treated to correct the chemical imbalances that drive this illness. Further, it needn't be a cause of shame, any more than having the flu should cause us to be ashamed. For those who are currently facing depression I would like to add that there IS light at the end of the tunnel and there are ways of combating this. Different methods work for different people and there will be a combination of methods that will work for you.

So Sangat ji, I invite you to share ways, both spiritual and practical that we might combat depression and its symptoms. I know some members will say "Do more Paath" and others will say "Get some exercise", I think it would be especially useful if those who themselves have faced or are dealing with depression to share the solutions that they have found and applied on their own journeys. I am hoping that in the advice that is shared members of the Sangat, wherever they are on their spiritual journey, will find inspiration and tools to carve their own path to well being.

Edited by DoubleEdge
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Depression is under-estimated, I had a lecture on depression yesterday and there are two types of depression. The first type is associated with a particular situation or event. The other one is a long-term depression which could stem from loneliness, isolation, being a outcast from a social circle of friends, the mind being unstable and personality clashes so on. I have suffered from a few cases of depression who hasn't? Like now am stressed because I have a Essay due in tomorrow which am nowhere near finished and it becomes associated with depression because you don't have that support or uplift your mind and soul needs but it's more stress than depression. Solutions.....well what I would say is a routine is the first step to a solution. We should have a routine of being exposed to friends, social interactions and have a routine for meditation which will balance the mind. It's all in the mind so the mind creates such a situation that you feel imprisoned and look at everything negatively. That's just my input. :happy2:

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Depression is underestimated because people see it as a common feeling of sadness. It's not. It's a chemical imbalance in the brain. Therefore it's really NOT easy to get out of.

Imagine feeling an intense emotional pain throughout your day, and for some reason, nothing you do lessens it and you don't understand why. Imagine feeling that way every single day. People ignorantly say things like "You can get yourself out of it be stronger" but they don't understand it's not a case of simply overcoming a regular sad state.

Edited by Questioner

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Guest justme

I had social anxiety from the age of 13 and depression from the age of 15 ...I have tried different medications but there side effects were more than any good .I took medication for nearly 2 years .and in between that period I felt like a machine as medication were trying to hide my emotions and feelings ..I would feel sick when I would miss on medication. But I didn't like the feeling and left the medications and after leaving within a 1 month everything became same like before. I felt low again . For next 2 years I tried to fight it on my own and felt suicidal and got agoraphobia too .I stayed home for 2 months with going out just 6-7 times as a whole ..but still I never gave up as I wanted to live .my college attendance were very poor .

And at last I found a better cure permanent solution Cbt.

People who are suffering from mental problem ..

U should try Cbt ( I have downloaded it for free from a torrent :D )

Overall I have 2 cbt pdfs and audio files .I do meditation . Exercise .social contact .try to leave my home everyday .Don't drink and take medication .st John's wort a homeopathic medicine. A strong belief that I will be alright. I have fallen many times but don't give up .cbt is the best thing .But every person is different and maybe medication works better

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Depression is underestimated because people see it as a common feeling of sadness. It's not. It's a chemical imbalance in the brain. Therefore it's really NOT easy to get out of.

Imagine feeling an intense emotional pain throughout your day, and for some reason, nothing you do lessens it and you don't understand why. Imagine feeling that way every single day. People ignorantly say things like "You can get yourself out of it be stronger" but they don't understand it's not a case of simply overcoming a regular sad state.

Every person going through a blue period of a few weeks or a couple of months starts bleating about how depressed they are. So when someone who really IS depressed comes along then people's reactions are "Oh he or she is only depressed. It'll pass". It's these people, some who desire attention, that play the depression card are the ones who damage the perception of the problems regarding depression for those who have been in that situation for 2, 5, or close to 10 years.

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Every person going through a blue period of a few weeks or a couple of months starts bleating about how depressed they are. So when someone who really IS depressed comes along then people's reactions are "Oh he or she is only depressed. It'll pass". It's these people, some who desire attention, that play the depression card are the ones who damage the perception of the problems regarding depression for those who have been in that situation for 2, 5, or close to 10 years.

Exactly, and the thing is, it's the vast majority of people that do that. It's a shame, that those who are really suffering with depression are made to feel weak, and there's such a stigma attached to something that people don't really understand. It's hell to not be in control of your emotions, depression is far from regular sadness and crying for a few days.

Edited by Questioner

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People don't often see severe depression - you can end up in a stupor where you don't move, you don't make eye contact, you don't talk etc. This is where IMO medication is most useful.

Most people will feel low for some reason or another and it often passes. Counselling can sometimes help. As the idea of communities as been eroded, people are no longer able to discuss issues with other people (outside of immediate family) and along with greater social isolation, it can be difficult to even just talk. This is where sangat should be helpful.

I think it can be shortsighted to put people on medication straight away, particularly if they're going to be on it long term. It's not the solution to every case and probably not the majority of cases. I'd argue it's more important that people can access self-help and psychological therapies like group sessions.

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I know this is going to annoy a lot of people when I say the following but I'll say it anyway: Gurbani does help a lot when it comes to issues like these. Of course, seek professional help but for shanti of one's mind you just can't beat Gurbani. It's when you don't want to even think of doing Nitnem or reading Gurbani because for some reason it makes you angry, THAT'S when you have to drag yourself to the special place where you sit down and recite whatever you need to recite. You've got to fight it. Nobody is going to come along and drag you out of the mire; with the help of Waheguru's aut-aasra it has to be done by yourself.

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ਆਜ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਰ ਜਾਨੇ ਕੋ ਦਿਲ ਹੈ

ਆਸਮਾਨ ਮੇ ਤਾਰਾ ਬਨ ਜਾਨੇ ਕੋ ਦਿਲ ਹੈ

Edited by gurdeepsinghjohal
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Guest scali

Meditation(naam simran) and Gurbani. Its like a meeting with Whaeguru (All in all). It is life energy turned up all the way. May take some time but worth the investement. Need is an illusion because mind likes to be contuinally fed incoming data for it to feel in control. So lack of incoming positive response lead to loneliness, depression etc. see the illusion as a illusion. sit and observe your mind see how its chatter is making most of us miserable. like i am lonely, not good enought...... pretty soon you will rise above it and you with Gurus grace

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Having had a terrible child-life, with divorced parents, step-mother and entire schooling away in a boarding school in India, where parents would come zero-to-once a year to meet me, life has been hellish. This had led to severe depression after my son was born. Life had just become too much to handle.

From my personal experience, the first step to getting rid from depression is to acknowledge it. By acknowledging I do not mean that one accepts that they're sad or etc, but to acknowledge that they're suffering from depression and they NEED help.

I don't know whether it is the same for others too, but I had always been over-forgetful. I couldn't concentrate on anything I listened to. Neither someone speaking or my own thoughts. There would be like infinite thoughts in my head every moment. I would be puzzled most of the time. Insomnia. Too emotional. Too scared. Suicidal. Terrible mother. Terrible wife. Terrible person.

Despite counselling and anti-depression drugs for about 6 months, nothing changed for me. Then suddenly it just clicked! I would sit down to meditate and carefully try to listen to and analyse the thoughts in my mind. Meditation definitely cleared my head and I felt immensely relieved.

Thinking about the 'bigger picture' did a lot of good for me.

By 'bigger picture' I mean, our real selves, life and death...and things like how would suicide really help me?...whatever 'dukh' I have is a result of my own past karams. I have to face them and not stay with them. I had to move on. No point being in the past.

P.S. Sukhmani Saheb paths have done wonders for me! Please, anyone wanting to recover should definitely seek refuge of Gurbani.

By reading yours i am remembering mine...

My life has a lot so called tensions which made me a person who is always ready to fight...

I was very quite person ... very nice... but the problems that i have faced... made me rude.. n bad as well......

Counselling myself to be a fighter n will say no to things... made me so tough that... whenever there is wrong happening with me or anyone else...i just start opposing it....

I am very religious n i took a lot of support from Gurbani...

U r true... Sukhmani sahib helped me alot....

But my mind is never at peace in spite of doing path..... but gurbani gives me lot of strength to fight datz true...

Whenever i feel depressed i start doing path till the time my problem do not get solved.. i do path daily but i increase my bani when i am in great tension...

no one can look at me n say i am sad... coz i do know to keep smile on face... but there is always a instance when something from the back of my mind says... dont pretend coz u r not... so....

Gurbani is no doubt is my medicine to cure me everything n to keep me healthy.... but sometimes.. when i am in great tension at dat time i dnt know y... but i still think... death is the only way to get rid of this life full of struggle... on the other side.. my soul says.. i am not so weak... i dont know how i am surviving.... but i am.... :D :D :D :D :D n i will.....

Keep reading Gurbani.... Guru n Gurbani both helps... :D yes sometimes i dont feel like doing path... n i dont do.. but i try to bridge that gap... by reading those path which i rarely do read... like dukh bhajani sahib.... etc.. its a kind of change... but at last u r reading guru's words... n it helps... :D

Waheguru g ka khalsa... Waheguru g ki fateh :D

Edited by Gurpreet14

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Guest Guest

Will recommend SEVA (selfless service, volunteer duty, task for God)

There are 3 ways of doing it -

1. Tan = Physical

2. Man = Mind

3. Dhun = Monetary

Fit them in your routine.

HELP others to feel better.

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Depression is a disease of mind. Medical assistance will help. Simran is the best cure for this disease.

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