Early on in the days of medicine, doctors were perplexed by the alarming number of their patients who died following surgery. The basic problem was that the microscopic world of germs had yet to be discovered. As a result of this ignorance, surgeons would operate without gloves and walk from one operation to another, unknowingly transmitting infection.
After the development of the microscope, physicians were able to understand the lethality of infectious bacteria. Armed with the knowledge of this microscopic world, the adoption of sterile techniques was a major step forward in modern medicine.
Just as medicine’s effectiveness was advanced by the knowledge of these hidden harbingers of death, recent brain studies have uncovered ‘microscopic truths’ regarding the disease of depression. This research has empowered us with an understanding of the devastating physical and mental effects of harmful thinking patterns.
My goal, as a certified therapist working within the medical community, is to help dispense the ‘microscopic truths’ regarding this disease. I believe that knowledge of the body/mind connection can effectively empower others to combat this hidden tormenter.
One of the most powerful ways to battle depression’s grip on your life is to dispute the notion that your situation is a hopeless cause. The fact is people can and do get over their depressions. It’s time to start recognizing the ‘microscopic truths’ about your depression. Instead of living on your ‘perceptions,’ be challenged to look through the microscope of what is really going on underneath the surface of your perceived reality.
It is very important to know that there are many types of depression, but the two main sources are genetic/physiological and situational/adjustment reactions.
If you have a family history of depression and frequently feel depressed without reason you may need to be evaluated for physiological causes. In these cases, medication will often contribute to relief from what is genetically at fault. It is very important to note that genetic depression is not personal weakness and it is not something we can conquer by willpower alone. Antidepressants work, and using these medications, along with support and therapy, results in the best treatment outcomes.
Situational depression means that we are being affected by something in our environment. This type of depression, usually caused by loss, trauma and pain, may decrease over time. However, chronic depression is different in that it does not pass over time. Chronic depression tends to take control over our lives and can become the only way we perceive the world – through depressive eyes.
Bottom line: It’s time to familiarize yourself with the ‘microscopic truths,’ related to your specific depression. In the meantime, may I offer you your first dose of ‘microscopic truths?’ It may be hard to swallow, so I’ll just offer you one truth vital to your recovery: “You are not alone.”
James D. Martin is the program manager of the Heritage Program for Senior Adults at the Lincoln County Medical Center. Heritage is a program designed to improve the quality of life for the older adult. Confidential screenings are available by appointment. If interested please call 575-257-6283.