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Many people, at some point in their lives, find themselves struggling to do what they need to do, lose joy in living, struggle with sleep problems, have lack of energy, find their appetites change, lose hope, and wonder if living is worth it.
There are different types of Mood Difficulties or Disorders. They can be mild to extreme. They can last a short time, or years. Sometimes a person can have one Mood Disorder, one time, and heal through it, never to experience anything like it again. Some people have multiple periods of Depression or another type of Mood Disorder. And still others suffer alternating periods of deep depression and extremely high energy manic periods. Mood Disorders are not something you can just decide to get over, or snap out of (although that would be convenient for people around the sufferer).
In my work with people who suffer Mood Disorders, I strive to find what works for whom. One approach does not work for everyone. For a certain percentage of people, the Mood Disorder is mainly about circumstances of their lives, for others, it might be more weighted to a genetic predisposition. Our culture and time in human history are not very oriented to overall good health. Some people need to change their thinking, some need to get exercise, some need a change in diet, some need to find a reason to live, some need to heal trauma, some need to forgive themselves. Many need to change several areas of their lives.
There is hope – I often carry it for a while for people I work with – even though many people cannot seem to find it while they are struggling within serious Mood Disorders. By working through (and changing) thought patterns, life patterns, history, trauma, diet, exercise, relationships, sleep issues, and developing healthier patterns, moods can lift and people can enjoy life. Some people oversimplify these disorders by saying it is just a chemical imbalance. Yes, there is an imbalance in the brain (and in life), but thoughts and activities of life can change that balance. As I heard one scientist say, there is only one type of medication that actually cures anything: antibiotics. The other medications just reduce or mask symptoms. So, I do not tend to rely on medications. Sometimes they are needed to help in the healing process; they can stabilize people while they face things, heal, and make healthy changes – but to rely on medication solely is to risk taking drugs the rest of your life, or to have the mood disorder come back after stopping the medication.
In my mind, the bottom line is usually to understand and not give in to the depressive thought patterns and unhealthy lifestyle that preceded the Mood Disorder, and find and practice, what energizes and leads to a healthy lifestyle. It can take a lot of work and some time, but a life with purpose and some enjoyment is something to be valued.