The musings of a fourth year English medical student

Monday, 11 April 2016

CAN YOU OVERCOME DEPRESSION?


As you lot know, I have been recently struggling with my depression. I stumbled across Mimi's YouTube video titled: "How I overcame depression and anxiety". In the 40-odd minute video Mimi is really honest and discusses how her relationship, plus yoga and meditation all contributed to improve her mental health. 

When my mood is low, I often contemplate 'Will I ever not be depressed?'. Despite Western culture slowly accepting depression and anxiety as bona fide diseases, it is still a bewildering area of health. You can't pop a pill to cure it. You can't inhibit one enzyme or neurotransmitter and then Bob's your uncle: no more depression. We know that stress, trauma, family history and exercise all play a role, but what is actually going on? What actually is depression? I find it baffling that doctors prescribe medications such as SSRIs that affect partially the limbic system, when scholars cannot even agree on the anatomical definition of the limbic system. 

I do believe that lifestyle is a factor, but is it a cure? For example, I went to the gym bright and early this morning and did circuits. I felt fab immediately afterwards. However, by lunchtime I was tired and pretty miserable. Hang on, I'll refine my question: do lifestyle changes alleviate the symptoms or can they cure the pathology? What I mean by this is that, although exercise boosted my mood (the main presentation of depression), regardless of how good I am at going to  the gym, my sleep is always rubbish and I am always tired (two of the symptoms that can come with depression). Lifestyle could be the cause but I'm not sure it's the cure, either. You know when you have an awful headache, and you take some co-codamol. The pain is relieved but you feel foggy; you can still tell the pain is there in your head but someone has put a blanket on it. Maybe lifestyle is the co-codamol to depression. 

I truly hope in the future we can learn more about mental health, and that people with legitimate mental health diseases are not stigmatised. 
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