A quick blog post as I don't have enough time to write longer...
Depression is on the rise in the United States. The common knowledge says that depression is organic and about chemical imbalances. But this cannot fully account for its stark rise in the general population. Many, including Johann Hari, have proposed other theories about depression that resonant with me far more. This includes lack of community, lack of friendships, jobs we hate, trauma and more.
Antidepressants are also used to treat depression. There is no doubt that they have helped many, and I think they are useful and should be prescribed for deep depressions. But too often they are prescribed like candy to anyone going through a little sadness. Any PCP with little understanding of mental health can prescribe you one.
The truth is depression is mostly telling us something about our lives. It's saying we don't have enough connection in some way. And because physical health and mental health are definitely not as separate as we might think, depression often times can be telling us that we aren't taking care of our bodies.
it's no secret that American diets suck. And that we don't exercise enough. And that we are really obese as a result. But could eating more vegetables and exercising more help with depression? Well, studies seem to suggest that exercise and antidepressants are about as equally helpful for dealing with depression.
So maybe the way to deal with our depression isn't just about taking a pill and going about our lives. Maybe it's about engaging with our bodies. Maybe it's eating better and exercising. Maybe it's about creating real communities or having work that is meaningful for us. Maybe it about finding a therapist we trust and can really be gentle with us and guide us to a better understanding of ourselves.