And That’s How You Deal With Depression


The secret in overcoming depression is action.  The trigger that turns on depression is the
perception of powerlessness.  Turning off
the trigger is a matter of acting with power.
When you are depressed then the chemicals in your brain become
unbalanced.  The chemical imbalance is
effect, not cause; it is the result of being depressed.  If you take action when you feel powerless
then your brain chemistry will straighten itself right out.  In the same manner, if you eat a peanut
butter and jelly sandwich when you’re hungry then your hypoglycemia with straighten
right out.

An enormous
number of people, when they feel powerlessness, let it burn and blister inside
of themselves.  This is depression.  You may be told that you are “turning the
anger inward.”  No, in fact, you’re
not.  However, what you are doing is not
getting it out.  There’s a
difference.  A therapist telling you that
you are “turning the anger inward” gives the therapist a chance to blame you
and make herself feel good.

Anger
begins inside you, and you’re just letting it stay there instead of turning it
outward at the silly son of a bitch who is causing your problem.  When there is something important happening
and you’re not getting what you need, then you should get angry.  That’s how you’re designed.  If you don’t get outward-angry then you will
get inward-depressed.

The formula
is (a) one significant life event, in which (b) your needs are not being met,
which results in (c) you getting righteously angry.  Let the angry simmer inside you and you will
feel depressed; turn it outward and kick somebody’s butt and you feel all
better.  You can give up and get
depressed or you can fight back and get a life.

  • A
    teenager needs more independence in order to keep growing but a parent
    continues to keep the kid under control:
    kid gets depressed.
  • A
    person needs to be taught to take care of herself but instead is locked
    down on inpatient psychiatry where she is completely controlled by staff
    members with keys:  prescription for
    depression.
  • A
    woman is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer that she is powerless to
    fight, and she’s never developed a theology that encompasses life and
    death:  she gets depressed.
  • A girl
    child is repeatedly raped by her father; since children are powerless over
    adults, she enters a lifetime of depression.
  • A
    disabled person cannot “do” for himself and his family abandons him:  he lacks the power to take care of
    himself and therefore becomes depressed.
  • A
    straight woman’s best friend is gay but she belongs to a strict
    heterosexual Christian church; she lacks the power to change her friend’s
    sexual orientation or her church’s intolerance so she becomes depressed.
  • A
    teenager with an undiagnosed learning disability begins to fail in school;
    she lacks the power to learn or to change the school system, so she
    becomes depressed.

That was the beginning of my depression:  an undiagnosed learning disability.  It went from being my brain problem to being
a family problem to being a lifestyle.
Instead of figuring out why I couldn’t learn, they sent me therapy,
which of course didn’t work.  Inevitably,
I ended up on antidepressants.

Antidepressants don’t work.  According to my psychiatrist, who’s been
prescribing them for more than thirty years, they only work ten percent of the
time.  Did you hear that?  Ninety percent of antidepressants don’t
work.
  What antidepressants do is
dull your mind so you can’t think critically, then they numb you so you don’t
feel so bad.  Of course, you don’t feel
good, either.  How much happiness are you
willing to give up to get away from your misery?  All of it?
Then you start having physical side effects that are incorrectly
diagnosed and you end up in a wheelchair.

The alternate is to fix your life.

If you are
depressed then it is because there is something wrong in your life.  What is wrong is not inside you.  It is between you and somebody or something
else.  Do not let anyone tell you that
the depression is in you and is your problem.
It is outside you and is a problem between you and whoever.

Our biggest
mistake was letting the medical guys take over the treatment of
depression.  Depression is not a physical problem.  It is a family-social-spiritual problem.  Unlike cancer, pneumonia and a broken leg,
depression is not a problem that resides in your body.  Physicians only know how to treat what’s
inside the patient, so they have developed a model where the patient’s
depression is “inside” the patient and they try to treat it with medicine.  It does
not work.

No matter
how many antidepressants you take, the depression keeps coming back because you’re
not treating the cause.  The cause is
that there is something wrong—a non-working relationship—in your life, and it’s
a pretty important relationship.  Whether
you have a problem with God, your mom, your husband, your boss, or your
government, it’s always a relationship problem.

And the
only way you’re ever going to be happy again is if you go out and fix it.  You have to turn around and face what’s
depressing you.  I spent twenty-six years
taking antidepressants.  When they all
made me so sick that I couldn’t take them anymore then I was left with one
single alternative:  fix things.

I started
with an abominably rude and controlling Medicaid transportation dispatch
clerk.  I went over her head till I found
somebody who would listen to me, and the girl got fired.  I had hypoglycemia and my nurse wouldn’t let
my aides feed me until after I got a shower so I complained to the nurse’s
supervisor and got her taken off my case.
Paratransit was making me stay home when I should have been getting
rides so I went after the bus company.  I
ended up with a seat in the boardroom and federal complaint that forced the bus
company to do what the law required.

And that’s
how you deal with depression:  when you
feel powerless then you learn to fight back.

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About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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