Depression and Reality
Depression became so widespread that one psychiatrist even described it as a "perfectly normal" reaction, provided, of course, that it "does not interfere with our daily affairs." But even if this reaction is "normal" in the statistical sense, then as to what most people feel and how they behave, it can not be considered a healthy state. According to this definition of "normality," the schizoid tendency and the accompanying feelings of alienation and separation would also be considered normal if they embraced the majority of people, but on condition that they are not so severe that they would have to hospitalize the majority of the population . The same can be said about myopia and low back pain, which have become such frequent diseases today that can be considered from the point of view of statistics the normal state of modern man.
But since not every person falls into depression or becomes schizophrenic, not everyone suffers from nearsightedness or back pain - can we consider them abnormal? Or are they normal in the true sense of the word by humans, while the majority suffers from varying degrees of pathology, both mental and physical? In fact, no one can expect that a person will always be joyful. Even our children, who in their essence are closer to this emotion than we adults can not have fun all the time. But the fact that we reach the peaks of joy only occasionally, can not serve as an explanation for depression elavil generic name. The main criterion for a normal, healthy human existence is a sense of comfort. "I feel good, comfortable." A healthy person feels well most of the time - in everyday affairs, in their relationships with others, at work, when they rest or when they move. Sometimes his pleasure passes into a sense of joy and can even reach the heights of ecstasy. He can also sometimes feel pain, sadness, grief and disappointment. But at the same time, however, he will not get depressed.
For you to better understand this difference, let me make a comparison between a man and a violin. When the strings are properly tuned, they vibrate and produce a sound. Then on it you can play a merry or sad melody, a memorial service or an ode to joy. If the strings are badly tuned, the result will be a cacophony. If they are weak, without a tone, you will not get a sound at all. The instrument will be "dead", unable to respond to bow movements. This is the state of a person in depression. He is not able to react or interact with the world around him.
The inability to interact with the environment distinguishes the state of depression from all other emotional states. A person who is in despondency will regain faith and hope again when the situation changes for the better. The suppressed man will again take heart, when the cause of his depression is removed.
A man who has been loaded will become animated when he has the opportunity to have fun. But nothing can cause a response in a person in depression; Often the prospect of a change for the better or pleasure will only exacerbate his depression.
The absence of interaction with the environment in severe cases of depression is most clearly traced. In severe depression, a person can sit for hours on a chair, staring into the void. He can lie on the bed most of the day, unable to find the energy to join the flow of life. But in general, the cases of depression are not so severe. The patients I was treating were not so helpless. As a rule, they were able to continue to do daily business. They had a job with which, it seems, they coped at the proper level. They were mothers and housewives who fulfilled a certain range of duties. To the casual observer they would seem quite normal people. But they all complained of depression, and those who lived with them and knew them closely, were well aware of this.
Here is a typical case with Margaret. She was young, about 25, married, as she said, for a wonderful man. She had a job that she found quite interesting and did not complain at all. Indeed, she was happy with everything in her life. Nevertheless she told me that she suffers from chronic depression. I would never say from the very beginning that Margaret is depressed, because when she came to see me, she always smiled and told me about herself in a very joyful, sonorous voice. Having met her for the first time, no one would have guessed the essence of her problem, had not he been shrewd enough to recognize the mask in her manner of behavior. If you watch her more closely or when she does not notice that she is being watched, you can notice that at times she becomes very quiet, ceases to smile and her face acquires an empty expression that is indifferent to everything.
Margaret knew that she was depressed. She needed effort of will just to get up in the morning and go to work. Without these efforts she would lie in bed, doing nothing. In fact, earlier in her life there was something that, when she really felt herself unable to move from her place. Now all this is in the past, and over the years, Margaret's condition has generally improved. However, there is still something missing in her personality. There was an inner emptiness and a lack of real pleasure. She was hiding something from herself. Her smile, her talk, her mannerisms - all this was the facade, the outside, which seemed to show others that she was all right. When she was alone, the facade collapsed - and she was again depressed.
During therapy, she came in contact with a very deep sense of sadness. Margaret also realized that she still felt that she had no right to express her sadness. When she gave vent to this feeling, she began to cry, after which she felt better. Now she could even get angry when she was deprived of the right to express her feelings. Kicking the bed with his feet and hammering it with his fists, she revived, and her mood improved. The therapeutic work helped her to discover the cause of her sadness, to get rid of the need to wear a mask of ostentatious gaiety. As soon as Margaret came in contact with her feelings and learned how to express them without hindrance, her depression passed.
In later chapters, I will discuss the treatment of depression in more detail. The case of Margaret was not described in order to show how easily depression can be cured or that rapid and reliable results can always be achieved. Some patients recover easily, others may not respond at all to treatment. Each case is not like the other, each person is unique, and each person is formed under the influence of countless factors. But regardless of whether or not a patient successfully responds to treatment, we can identify the most common features of all states of depression. To do this, let me describe a few more cases.
David is a homosexual, he is already under fifty. He has greatly excelled in his profession. But he was depressed, because, he said, his potency had greatly weakened. At work, where he worked with great zeal, he had many acquaintances. However, he did not have a close person with whom he could share his life. He was alone and seemed to have every reason to be depressed. But David clearly traced the personality traits, which pointed to completely different causes of depression.
David's face was also a mask, but unlike Margaret, he did not even try to make any kind of ostentatious expressions. It really was so frozen that it was more like the face of a deceased person. Cheeks with chins were petrified, giving the face a sullen look, and the body was so stiff that it seemed to be made of hardwood. He complained of back pain and suffered from angina. He breathed very shallowly and spoke in a weak, lifeless voice. Looking at David, I could not say with certainty whether he was alive or dead. The same lifelessness was his attitude towards his feelings, from the excess of which he obviously did not suffer. Having worked with him for a long time and taught him to breathe deeper, and also to relax the body, I finally managed to get him to throw off his stone mask, after which he cried in response to my interest in him. But this happened only once.
David was a stoic. Despite the desire to recover, he was not ready or could not give up his unconscious stoicism and indifference. One more interesting fact can be added to this. David recalled a case from his childhood that shed some light on his behavior. His mother, to whom he was still attached, once fell into hysterics. David closed himself in his room to somehow protect himself from her cries and sobs, but she went to his door, demanding something, and then begged him to go out to her. But, despite all her pleas, he never came out. It closed in a literal and figurative sense and remained "closed" to the present day. Looking at David, I remembered the expression - to endure the agony with a smile on my face. It came to him as best as possible, with the only difference being that on his face instead of a smile there was a grim mask of pain and despair.
Closure in himself, David was always alone and almost always was in one degree or another depressed. With age he became even more withdrawn. His ever-increasing depression was a direct result of fading of the senses with a concomitant decrease in vital energy. In turn, the decrease in energy slowly destroyed its potency. It would be wrong to say that his depression started because of the loss of potency. Rather, his potency faded away as life withered in him and his life-force stifled depression. Of course, he would have survived, would continue to exist, but such an existence would be more like a machine, not a human. He even started going to the gym to keep his body in good working order.
Once I happened to treat a psychologist who came to therapy to find out about the bioenergetic approach to emotional problems. George had many problems that we openly discussed, because they were discovered in the physical expression of his body. For example, he often could take an idiotic pose, like a clown, which did not match the high level of his intelligence. On the other hand, his body was rather muscular, despite the fact that he had never engaged in any athletic exercises. His strong and excessively developed musculature was the result of squeezing and restraining feelings.
After the course of therapy, his condition improved significantly, and he noticed one day: "I feel that I have finally coped with my depression. To be honest, she always tortured me to a greater or lesser extent. " This recognition was a surprise to me. Before that, he had never said that he was suffering from depression, and, strangely enough, I myself could not imagine such an opportunity. He never complained that it was difficult for him to go to work, moreover, I knew that he found great interest and satisfaction in his profession. It seemed that he was an active participant in life in all its aspects and looked normal in the eyes of others.
But George was suppressed in terms of emotional vitality, emotional interaction with the environment. It was hard for him to get carried away with anything, he never experienced a spiritual uplift, feeling constrained and crushed.
His depression was not so strong as to "break" it definitively, but nevertheless it was depression, and in its most widespread form. I came to this conclusion, watching people at home, as well as outside, in everyday life. Most people lack inner joy, inner animation, which would add vital energy to them. They continue to live like cold calculating machines, perceiving everything around them in dull and gloomy tones. And this dullness, coldness and boredom of their inner life is very clearly manifested in their bodies and in their daily life.