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Depression medications, Spirituality and Hindu scriptures

Part one of depression must have made you realize what is depression and its kinds, now it’s time to dwell on the more scientific view of depression, depression medications and the methods of overcoming depression.

Science on overcoming depression and medications

One of India’s ancient medical science is Ayurveda. It is the study of a human’s positive self-being. It aims at studying man in his social, religious, seasonal, climatic, and regional environment. After studying Ayurveda and Boot vidya, in particular, one observes that there is more emphasis on maintenance and preservation of normal physical and mental health than on the treatment of any disease or illness.

One should understand the difference between being healthy and being normal. Being healthy is the outward presence of the body, and one can only notice the illness while health isn’t. World Health Organization had defined health as ‘not merely the absence of disease or infirmity but positive physical, mental, social and spiritual health and spiritual awakening’. However, this definition is ambiguous, idealistic, and one cannot use this in practice.

Patanjali has defined health as, “optimal utilization of one’s physical, intellectual and emotional faculties to maintain harmony with the self without undue preoccupation with the environment” which means, to lead a peaceful and happy life, physical health alone is not enough, the mind must also be kept clean and worry-free; only then the body attains complete health. The quote, “an empty mind is a devil’s workshop” didn’t come from nowhere. When your mind is empty, it’s where all evil begins, and every evil is wanders because of self-doubt and loneliness.

Sushruta has not defined health but has elaborated certain parameters of health. They are:

1) Samdosha — equilibrium of body humours,

2) Samagni — uniform healthy digestion,

3) Samadhatu — normal body tissues,

4) Malakriya — the normal process of excretion

5) Prasannatmanendriyamana — coordination of functions of body organs, mind, and soul to maintain happiness

According to research, it is a known fact that the body’s every cell is programmed to fight against evil germs and keep the body alive and healthy by creating antibodies and good germs. And what controls all these cells? The brain. Each neurotransmitter carries a specific function for every single part of the body. But what happens when those neurotransmitters malfunction? When you constantly be pessimistic about everything; when you show no interest in your well-being, believe it or not, it directly affects your brain activity. Imagine working hard for a job for 10 years and then your boss suddenly fires you for some unknown reason? How would you feel? Angry? Doubtful about your work? Won’t you question,” what’s the use anyway if there is no appreciation for the hard work?”

That’s exactly how your brain reacts. The neurotransmitters carry negative signals to the parts of the body and make the body tired and weak. You are literally doing something horrible to yourself. The studies finally prove that depression is not natural, it’s man-made. It’s absolutely terrifying and fascinating how your own body acts against itself when you need its support the most.

Vedas on overcoming depression and depression medications

Let’s talk from a religious and eternal perspective. When you talk about depression and spirituality, every single scripture says that suicide is wrong and that it is a sin and we are going to look at it. Now, this may or may not trigger some people who are sensitive to talk about homicide and death, but just know that knowledge does no harm, only actions do. Get to know what is going on within you, so that you can learn to treat it. Everybody must’ve heard the famous stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Did you also know that the characters in these two epic Vedas portrayed conditions of mental illness too?

Gaining birth as a human is considered a rare opportunity for the jiva to attain the ultimate truth through the intellect. We should not waste this rare opportunity

This is said in Adishankaras Vivekchudamany.

Mental illness drove people into ending their own life in ancient times. And there was a prohibtion of any form of ritual rites to the people who took their own rights. Since they became a ghost and an unclean spirit, and their punishment for taking life for granted is to wander about the world in the ghost form.

Why suicide is not allowed?

Suicide interferes with a person’s reasons for staying in the worldly plane. He will have to come back again and again to the worldly plane to complete his education if he commits suicide.

Characters with Depression in Hindu scriptures

Listed below are some characters who showed signs of depression and mental illness according to Hindu scriptures:

  • Ravana’s brother Marrich – He was having symptoms of PTSD after Lord Rama’s arrow grievously hurt him and was almost dead
  • Ravana- showed signs of bipolar disorder. Being a huge devotee of Lord Shiva, he was a calm worshiper, but he changed into a monster when it came to women and poor civilians by torturing them and enslaving them

‘unmad’- mental illness mentioned in Vedas

Vatonmad — similar to schizophrenia,

Pittonmad — similar to mania,

Kaphonmad — similar to depression, and

Tridoshonmad — Depression.

Kapaala moksham– salvation of the skull

Vedas also mentions that powerful Rishis and yoga practitioners in ancient times were aware of their last day on earth through years of meditation and high knowledge about the Puranas and varam (gifts from God) from gods. And so when their day comes, they perforate their skull and the ‘athma’ leaves the body whenever they desire. This is still a debate whether it’s an act of suicide or were they really that powerful to have known their last day on earth.

You might be interested to read on how to achieve a sense of Self Realization

How to overcome depression and anxiety

Before going into dealing with depression medications and the method of overcoming depression and anxiety, remember, it takes a great deal just to accept the fact that you need help to deal with your life, there is no one in this world to understand you better than yourself, after all, everyone is only as human as you, so if you don’t stand up for yourself, nobody ever will. One should understand that depression differs from sadness and grief, just taking depression medications will not solve anything. You cannot call someone ‘sad’ when they are actually depressed, it will make their feelings get even worse. And one should not call someone depressed if you see them having a sad moment. Losing a loved one, breakups, and family issues always brings sadness along with it. That immense heartache you feel while missing the person you loved can be sadness or depression.

The difference is that, when one is in a state of grief or sadness, they also smile from time to time, remembering the good memories they had with their loved ones. But during the period of depression, no matter how many good memories are there, they just cannot accept reality, their heart is still in pain, their mind is still in confusion and their body is still processing what is happening to them.

It’s a painful loop to have to wake up every day just to face the same demons in your head that left you broken the day before and to have survived that the end of the day is a huge achievement for someone who is constantly battling the thoughts of suicide.

It’s like your heart breaks into a million pieces, and you try again and again to put it back together, but no matter what you do, it keeps bleeding; it keeps missing a huge portion that the person you love the most took away and you are aware of the harsh truth that you cannot build that part back because you have convinced yourself that there are no more people in this world that you can love as much as the person who broke your heart. The words, “I’m sorry” “thank you” “I love you” became difficult to say. Though you knew you were struggling, you pretended you were a fool and ignored it.

Do you probably wonder what will happen if you say that you are not fine with a crying face? Will anything change? Will it make a difference? Everyone is going to have their own troubles anyway, who is going to have a harder time if you say that you are not fine? Maybe you trapped yourself in your own misunderstanding. And adapted to the darkness and the voices whispering in your head. If you experience all this, my friend, you need help.

All you need is someone you can talk to without being judged for who you are. Depression is among the most treatable mental disorders depression medications. Between 80% and 90% percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment with or without the depression medications. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. But the treatment isn’t the hard part, the hard part is accepting that one has depression and gains the strength and courage to seek help.

Read to know more about what is depression, its symptoms, and types?

Helpline numbers for depression-

 Jeevan Aastha Helpline: Toll-Free: 1800 233 3330

AASRA: 09820466726

KIRAN MENTAL HEALTH (GOVT):18005990019

Roshni Foundation (Secundrabad):  040-66202001, 040-66202000

DEPRESSION MEDICATIONS- overview

  • Before the doctor prescribes anti-depressants (depression medications) or anti-anxiety meds, they will first ask about yourself and diagnose your condition. This is an important stage because the diagnosis will be purely made on your actions and traumatic experiences. Hence you need to be completely honest about your situation to receive proper treatment. In some cases, a blood test might be done to make sure the depression is not due to a medical condition like a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficiency.

 

  • The main cause of Depression is malfunctioning brain activity, hence medical experts prescribe anti-depressants according to the range of your depression, which reverses the process by putting the malfunctioning neurotransmitters to rest. It also increases your serotonin levels   (a hormone that makes you feel the emotion of happiness). If you feel like the medication is doing no change to your symptoms, your psychiatrist will change the dosage according to your situation and change in symptoms. It is important to let your doctor know if a medication does not work or if you experience side effects.

 

  • Psychotherapy– this is also called ‘talk session’ which is used for mild cases of depression. Depression and spirituality both play a role in this form of treatment. This method is used alongside the prescription of anti-depressants. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective in treating depression. CBT means solving the problems that you are facing currently. It helps you understand what you feeling about yourself and distorted/negative thinking with the goal of changing those thoughts and behaviors into a more positive manner. Sometimes one can take therapy sessions individually or as a group. Some people need to be assured that they are not the only ones facing difficulty in life, and so group therapy sessions involving people with similar life difficulties are put together for psychotherapy.

 

  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)– this is the final attempt to minimize depression, when the person is still depressed despite all the medications and talk sessions, this method is utilized. It involves a small electrical stimulation to the brain when the person is under anaesthesia. It’s basically like reviving your heart from a cardiac arrest to bring it back to beat normally; likewise, the electrical stimulation will make the targeted neurotransmitters function properly. But this method has its own disadvantages. There is a risk of permanent memory damage which will make you forget who you truly are. It also has other side effects, like headaches and vomiting. 

 

  • Yes, there are a lot of medications and drugs out there that might help you with overcoming depression. But like I said, only you can fully understand what you’re going through, no matter how many people hear your story. Self-help is the best remedy you can do for yourself. For some people listening to music gives them peace, the meaningful lyrics and the melody of the songs calms the irregular brain activity.

 

  • Travelling is also a great way to cope with depression. People find peacefulness in the beauty of nature. Once again Mother Nature proves to be the way to go when people feel hopeless and unloved. A beautiful sunset over the crystal beaches, the smell of the sand as you walk beside the sparkling green trees while it’s raining, the melody of the birds as you sit by your window bay and watch the world run. Nature therapy is also the best way to go when you feel like the world is a cruel place. You just need to see what more the world is capable of beyond your cruel surrounding.

YAMA

  • Another healing method is art therapy. Wherein you’ll beperforming a different art that soothes your emotions and make you forget about your sadness and focus on the art in front of you. This has proved very helpful among adults who just need a moment of peacefulness from their hectic life.

 

  • Yoga and meditation are the best therapy to exist for every mental illness. Meditation helps you to understand your body better. Anxiety is when you cannot regulate your emotions, and anxiety-inducing thoughts have a way of bouncing around your mind, creating a major situation if you’re not aware of it. When we meditate, we assemble those thoughts, sit them down, observe them, talk to them and let them go. And with that, we release the pent-up tension. And when you release your tension, the brain activity comes to normal, making you feel much better.

 

  • Help your friends out: if you feel like your loved ones; either a family member or a friend is in depression, do not take it lightly, don’t tell them, “come get over it it’s time to move on” instead tell them, “I can understand your suffering”. Instead of telling them, “talk about something else”, tell them, “it’s okay, I will listen to what you have to say”. Or instead of saying, “this is not even a big problem”, tell them, “I would also be scared if that happened to me”. Rather than judging depressed people for their problems, say, “regardless of what you say, my opinion about you will remain the same”

 

  • Depression is your heart’s way of asking for help. The heart that is beating for you and you alone, so you must protect it at all cost, right? And the cost you’re going to pay is simply talking to it. Your heart needs a companion, and when you concentrate on your breath as you focus on your heartbeat, you will be able to hear why your heart is aching and what can you do to make it feel better. The practice of meditation for physical and mental wellness has been carried out for centuries and there are scientist proved research studies that yoga and meditation keep both mind and body healthy and active.

All you have to do is sit in a comfortable position and be selfish and forget about the world. Focus on yourself, the way you breathe, your heartbeats, the position of your hands, the position of your legs. And think about only happy memories while you breathe. Do this every day until you see results. Your life will definitely change, your depression stare will surely start to fade away as you focus more on what’s coming than what’s already gone.

Besides, though the past has a huge influence on your life, the present is all that matters. Will you use it to worry about the past or plan your future is in your hands only? Your mother gave birth to you, your father gave life for you, your friends have your sweet memories, your lover gave you happiness in a way only you can understand, you think the world gave so much to you as it took away, but what did you give yourself? The one that matters the most is in this world? Depression? Isn’t it time to get up give yourself more credit?

Read more about Detachment, Freedom from all attachments

CONCLUSION

Life begins from nothing and ends in nothing. It’s the time in between this nothingness that means something because you are alive and that means something to someone. Not all of them hate you because not all of them know you. Nothing lasts forever, because all you know is you only live once, and remember, it’s not a bad life, it’s just a bad day, this will pass by too, your body has a program that can endure pain as much as it can take, and YOU yourself shouldn’t be the reason of the pain to your own body.

Believe it or not, depression isn’t a disease, it’s a phase, life has so much more to give you, maybe you don’t know that now, I know you are trying your hardest to hold on; you give your all to survive the day, and I don’t know if anyone has told you this, but that’s enough, you can stop now, I know it’s going to be hard but it’s okay to pause and be selfish and enjoy life; so don’t give up just yet… you still have a long way to go; because to survive is to hold on to absolutely nothing. Don’t wait for the light in the darkness because honey, you are the light.

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