According to the World Health Organisation, by 2030 depression will account for the highest level of disability accorded any physical or mental disorder in the world. Anti-depressant drugs are now among the best-selling drugs in medical practice with a market of US$12 billion.
One in four CEO's are diagnosed with depression.
20% of our population are struggling with depression.
Is it possible that the kind of depression we are dealing with in our world today is not clinical but circumstantial?
What is Circumstantial Depression?
Circumstantial depression is directly related to a person’s circumstances and not a chemical imbalance in the brain. There are many reasons why people may suffer from circumstantial depression; a high pressured, stressful job (especially if they dislike their job or feel under qualified for the job), the loss of a job, moving countries (or even just to another town or city), dealing with an illness, the death of a loved one, or the breakdown of a relationship, in particularly, a divorce. Many going through these experiences will go to their doctor revealing symptoms of sadness and depression and they will be given a prescription for anti-depressants. However, is this the answer?
Circumstantial depression is not a sickness of the brain. It is a sickness of the heart. It is the pain of living without hope, or existing in negative circumstances for an extended period of time and not seeing a way out. The book of Proverbs tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Circumstantial depression is the result of a “sick heart”.
When Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were trying to find a name for their book of inspirational stories, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jack tells of the time he spent in prayer asking God for a title. He meditated for half an hour a day and on the third day he saw a hand write on a big green chalkboard the words “chicken soup.” Jack said to the hand, “What does chicken soup have to do with my book? This is not a book about sick people.” He heard the words, “People’s spirits are sick. They are living in resignation, hopelessness, and fear.” Chicken Soup for the Soul has been around for twenty years and I don’t believe things have changed. People are still living with sick hearts because they have lost hope as the book of Proverbs, written thousands of years ago, so wisely states.
Is your depression circumstantial? Take the test.
Here’s a test you can take to identify if your depression is circumstantial. Ask yourself these two questions:
If I leave my negative circumstances for a short time, do I feel better? Then … when I go back into those circumstances, do I once again feel bad, sad, anxious, and depressed?
Example: I had a friend who was living in a very negative situation. Her relationship was abusive and after a few years of living with this person she was diagnosed with depression. However, this girl had a very good relationship with her sister and she would visit her every weekend. When she travelled the two hour distance to her sister’s home town she would instantly feel better and began referring to these times as her “sister fix.” On these weekends they would laugh, go out for dinner and do fun things and my friend’s daughter would be her normal, happy self. However, as she drove back to her home she would feel a blanket of depression come upon her and would quickly spiral into feelings of inadequacy and lack of self-worth. This is a sure sign her depression was circumstantial and nothing to do with a chemical imbalance. What my friend needed to do was get out of her negative circumstances and begin to enjoy life again.
Did something happen before the depression set in; The loss of a job, going through a life changing illness, a geographical move or a divorce?
Example: A very good friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. He went through chemotherapy and radiation and had a number of operations. He recovered and is now completely free from cancer, however whilst going through all of this, he lost his job. After all the treatment and the focus that it took for him to fight his battle, he sat at home and began to feel incredibly depressed. He would ask questions like, “What am I going to do with the rest of my life? What am I going to do with each day?” This friend had to come to terms with his new circumstances and find something that gave him a new sense of purpose and meaning to his life. When he did this, the depression disappeared.
If you answered yes to either of these two questions, the chances are your depression is circumstantial and not clinical and there is a better way to deal with circumstantial depression than taking anti-depressants.
Moving out of Circumstantial Depression.
The report produced by the American Psychological Association (as previously referred to) concluded that “a more effective approach [other than taking antidepressants] was … to take some positive step, even if a small symbolic one, toward changing the circumstances that were leading to the depression.” One very small, achievable step taken each day will eventually lead a person out of their negative circumstances and … out of depression. These steps can be as simple as listening to a positive, uplifting song for a day, or speaking positive words over your life and situation. They can be doing something small to help another person, or changing the way you think about what is actually happening to you. They can be practical steps, such as taking some time out of your current location and spending time in a different place; either on vacation, or taking a job in another city/country for a season. A geographical shift often creates big internal shifts in our mental frame of mind.
The Inner Compass Program will help you take the steps you need to change your circumstances. Through structured units you will discover how to have a healthy sense of self-worth (vital for overcoming depression), how knowing your identity can increase your happiness, understanding triggers and how they affect you, the power of our words and choices, and much more to help you take those small, achievable steps towards overcoming circumstantial depression.
You can access the units simply by clicking on the course link below. The process of moving out of circumstantial depression does not have to take years and it does not require the use of powerful drugs that, as yet, have not been proven effective in dealing with depression. It is possible to move out of circumstantial depression quickly and effectively.