Probably the biggest myth, or even downright fallacy, in medicine today is that depression can be healed merely by means of medication. Granted, there are definite chemical changes that occur in the brain in conjunction with depression. However, these are being viewed solely as the cause, rather than as a fact corresponding to—indeed, part and parcel—the condition itself. Much as bleeding occurs when the skin is cut or scraped, or the same as blood glucose rises when food is eaten, the entire body, not only the brain, responds to changes in mood. As witness to this, look at how the body, the mind, and everything that a woman is, in essence, changes in reaction to pregnancy. We are all designed to react in such ways. When the mind undergoes stress, the body goes along with it. It’s not only the “flight or fight” situation whereby our adrenaline kicks in that is involved. All our body chemistry gets into action.
Keeping this in mind, contrast the natural way the body acts, with the mind incorporated as well, with the allopathic methods used currently to treat depression. Drugs are used to stimulate various chemicals in the body that are seen as deficient. Do doctors believe that one chemical in the system is going to react independently? Nothing could be further from the truth. Insulin, adrenaline, and other internal chemicals, hormones, enzymes all work in synchronized form (barring illness or other forms of interference) as they are meant to. Yet when foreign substances are introduced into the system, all this is thrown out of balance. It’s much like adulterating a fine perfume by adding something that does not belong in the mixture—the result will be unnatural and will ruin the balance. The perfume will certainly not smell as it was created to!
Another aspect of the failure to successfully deal with mental or emotional illness via artificial means is that such interference is really only a temporary answer at best. Once the pills wear off, the problem is back. Is it any different than using alcohol to mask problems? Rather than a hangover you can suffer far worse after using psychiatric medicine. Not only will you become dependent (not always physically addicted) to such pills, you will turn to them automatically whenever stressful situations arise.
Still worse, look at all the occasions when those who use anti-depression medicines are made worse, especially children and adolescents. Suicide, violent outbursts, even murder are becoming more and more common in such cases. Clearly, pharmaceutical treatment of depressed patients of all ages is not the best solution. Instead, why not address the actual causes?
Depression may not always be situational, but in most instances, if patients are allowed to express their feelings, it is obvious that they are reacting to life circumstances. Bereavement, loss of career or job, economic problems, physical health issues, relationships, family trouble…all these and more are frequent sources of depression. When we are unable to see ourselves as worthy of love and peace, when we only have the description of ourselves fostered by those who malign us, depression will happen.
The solution, then, lies not in just masking depression symptoms with substances—including natural kinds like valerian root or St. John’s wort—that will not repair the root causes of the ailment. Severing negative, harmful relationships (never an easy task, especially in marriage), changing jobs if possible (another difficult measure these days) or leaving locations that stifle and bring constant conflict, are better because they tackle the reason why a person is in misery. To continually live or work among those who put you down, who blame you for everything, and devalue your personhood, is as bad for your health as living in a toxic waste dump.
Whenever possible, reject those who negate you on a consistent basis. While this is not always an option—for example, if you are a teenager who has parents who belittle you daily and may even be physically abusive—the least you can do is plan to make changes. Part of this is deliberately choosing to see yourself as someone of value. Put up a shield of self-affirmation against the darkness of those who seek to destroy you. Being strong against emotional abuse is difficult, and usually requires outside help. Using pills, however, will never change things because it will not stop the assaults, whether verbal or physical or both. Finding someone who can listen objectively and help you work out a path to emotional freedom, though, is the best method to achieve wholeness. Have hope and a plan, and act on them when you can.