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Why I believe depression is not a mental illness
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stevehein Offline
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Post: #1
Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

I am working on an article called "How compulsory school contributes to teen depression" and in the process I have written a little about why I do not believe depression is a mental illness.

For example, most people would agree that feeling sad is not an illness. Most would agree that feeling scared is not an illness. Most would agree that feeling controlled is not an illness. Most would also agree, I believe, that all of the feelings I list below would not individually be considered a mental illness if someone said they feel one.


alone, anxious, belittled, bored, censored, cheated, coerced, compared, criticized, deceived, disapproved of, discouraged, discriminated against, disrespected, forced, hopeless, inadequate, insulted, intimidated, invalidated, lectured to, lied about, lied to, loss, manipulated, misrepresented, mocked, not empathized with, not listened to, not understood, offended, optionless, oppressed, outnumbered, rejected, repressed, robbed, stereotyped, stifled, stressed, surrounded, threatened, trapped, unaccepted, uncared about, underestimated, unforgiven, unimportant, uninspired, unloved, unmotivated, unsupported, unvalued, used, useless

So what if someone felt most of these on a regular basis, either at school or at home or both?

Would we call them mentally ill?

I don't believe we would, nor should.

I have talked to enough depressed teens to know that these kinds of feelings are very common, even if they are rarely identified specifically like this.

For now that is all I wanted to post. But I would like to ask anyone who feels, or has felt, depressed to let me know if this list describes a lot of how you feel or felt.

Please also add any other feelings you think of.

Thanks.


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04-05-2016 04:43 AM
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stevehein Offline
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Post: #2
depression, thoughts, feelings - whic come first?

Im moving this to

http://forums.school-survival.net/showth...?tid=36395
(This post was last modified: 04-05-2016 12:45 PM by stevehein.)
04-05-2016 11:03 AM
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Miller0700 Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

Quote:It basically repeated the mainstream beliefs about depression and showed nearly zero understanding of my original post.

There isn't a mainstream belief on depression. It just is. This isn't something you can pick and choose on what to accept. Reality doesn't bend to our wishes, I'm afraid.


And the facts don't lie.


The effects of depression can be seen in the brain.

Previously known as Derchin.
(This post was last modified: 04-19-2016 03:39 AM by Miller0700.)
04-06-2016 02:22 PM
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TheCancer Offline
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RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

What are some psychiatric problems that you consider to be real mental illness?

If you want to be a different fish, you've got to jump out of the school.


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04-06-2016 04:50 PM
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Cianna200 Offline
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RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

For something to be considered a mental illness, it's attributes must cause said person a degree of suffering, it must harm them in some way.
Depression does indeed cause suffering to people who are afflicted from it.
Depression is in fact a mental illness, but just like most if not all mental illnesses, it is treatable. One of the best treatments for depression is compassion and understanding. Not to mention being mentally ill doesn't make you a bad person, nor does it make you a worthless vile human who should be feared and hated.
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stevehein Offline
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Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

wow these comments are pretty discouraging...
04-07-2016 02:23 AM
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Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

It's very convenient to think of depression as a mental illness. That way it's easy to think about treating it in conventional ways, like with drugs, instead of actually looking deeper at it and trying to find the underlying cause.

I guess in a way it's similar to a lot of real illnesses, too... doctors prescribe drugs, and all manner of individual treatments, but it seems rare for them to really look at the whole person and their circumstances and try to figure out the underlying cause for their illnesses. "Here, just take this, and some of this to counter-act the side effects of the first thing..."

It's very convenient to just give people drugs instead of really trying to understand them. It's too damn convenient, and as such, I think it's dangerous to think of depression as a mental illness. It makes it easier to brush it away and not have to really have a look at what's going on beneath the symptoms.

It's like ADHD, and ODD, and any other convenient disorder. It's all just a smokescreen to avoid looking at what's actually really going on.

So no, it's not a damn mental illness. Or maybe it is, in a very tiny percentage of the population. Maybe some people really do have a chemical imbalance causing all their problems. But for the rest of the ridiculous amount of people who have been diagnosed with it? No.

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SoulRiser Offline
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Post: #8
Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

Quote:For something to be considered a mental illness, it's attributes must cause said person a degree of suffering, it must harm them in some way.
Depression does indeed cause suffering to people who are afflicted from it.

Is it the depression itself causing that, or is it the thing that caused the depression which is also causing the suffering?

... I can't think of any scientific way to test which it is. As long as the problems causing the depression are still happening... there will be suffering.

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04-07-2016 05:27 AM
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Post: #9
RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

(04-07-2016 05:24 AM)SoulRiser Wrote:  It's very convenient to think of depression as a mental illness. That way it's easy to think about treating it in conventional ways, like with drugs, instead of actually looking deeper at it and trying to find the underlying cause.

I guess in a way it's similar to a lot of real illnesses, too... doctors prescribe drugs, and all manner of individual treatments, but it seems rare for them to really look at the whole person and their circumstances and try to figure out the underlying cause for their illnesses. "Here, just take this, and some of this to counter-act the side effects of the first thing..."

It's very convenient to just give people drugs instead of really trying to understand them. It's too damn convenient, and as such, I think it's dangerous to think of depression as a mental illness. It makes it easier to brush it away and not have to really have a look at what's going on beneath the symptoms.

It's like ADHD, and ODD, and any other convenient disorder. It's all just a smokescreen to avoid looking at what's actually really going on.

So no, it's not a damn mental illness. Or maybe it is, in a very tiny percentage of the population. Maybe some people really do have a chemical imbalance causing all their problems. But for the rest of the ridiculous amount of people who have been diagnosed with it? No.

But it IS a mental illness, Soul, and it's usually a result of low serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Many things can help treat it such as CBT, talk therapy (almost like what you're suggesting) and/or medication which can help boost or regulate serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain.

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Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

Or, Miller, maybe the low serotonin happens as a measurable result OF the depression. That makes far more logical sense to me.

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RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

Sometimes, but it's not always the case. Some people can just suffer from depression with no history of abuse or neglect.

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RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

I am sorry if they are Steve, my comment was intended to be useful for you, sorry if it didn't come out as helpful. -hug

When was the last time you spoke to a teen Steve?
(This post was last modified: 04-07-2016 10:53 AM by Cianna200.)
04-07-2016 10:51 AM
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RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

For now I just want to point out that I was very careful in saying "I believe...."

I am seeing more clearly that people have *beliefs* about depression. Kind of like people who believe in one god or another or none. And it is very hard to change beliefs.

I would feel better if others would acknowledge that they have beliefs about depression, rather than saying it is or isn't a mental illness.

I was trying to present some support for why I *believe" it is not a mental illness. Actually I was presenting support. I learned something from this post. I learned how hard it will be to try to change someone's beliefs.

I feel sad about that. I feel sad to think of all the teen suicides and all the pain and suffering from what I *believe" is a very fucked up society around the world, and probably getting worse. I feel outnumbered. I feel not understood. Except by SR so thanks SR.

I wanted to mention to SR this quote again btw...

I heard it from Gabor Mate who pretty much agrees with me as far as the belief that society is causing huge amounts of pain. He offered the quote to people who say things like "mental illness" or "it's genetic" or that it is "all in your head" and you can fix yourself if you really want to, (or a therapist or "professional" can fix you) He said these kinds of explanations of cause and effect are what one person (Louis Menard) called "a way of explaining the way things are that does not threaten the way things are."

This is sort of another way of saying what SR said, ie that is is convenient to say it is an illness and it is genetic and a chemical imbalance. This "let's society off the hook". It means we don't have to question the cultural norms we were "domesticated" with that makes us sick, cause us emotional pain etc. Mate gave me this expression about letting people off the hook. Below I have the reference.

I will not get my hopes up on trying to change anyone's beliefs. But I will keep writing what I believe in the hope that there is someone who is undecided or who is in a lot of emotional pain from a lot of the feelings I listed above, and it will help them see that there is nothing "wrong" with them but instead they are responding in a natural way given the homes they are, for all practical purposes, legally forced to live in and the schools they are legally forced to go to and the countries and cultures they are legally forced to live in till age 18.

I feel a bit thankful actually for these comments because I see that it will be a real challenge to write an article that will not be too threatening for, let's say, the general public. I do still feel discouraged that there are not more alternative thinking people on the SS forum, or at least they are not the vocal ones.

If anyone is really interested in what I might call non-mainstream beliefs about depression, or at least teen depression, I suggest they read the posts from my former girlfriend, Priscilla, aka Cheeselover in this thread

http://forums.school-survival.net/showth...depression

I think Priscilla explains herself very well when she explains what is wrong with the mainstream beliefs. She probably explains it better than I do, and she speaks from personal experience from when she was a very depressed and suicidal teen. Just for the record it is a bit painful for me to read her old posts because I miss her a lot. She was the person I felt most understood by on these kinds of things. I feel pretty understood by SR too, so thanks for that SR.

I am also remembering now a t-shirt that someone named Sarah told me about once. Sarah was the first teen I ever talked to online about cutting and depression. I probably learned the most from her. She said the shirt read "It is people like you who make people like you me do drugs"

I don't feel very hostile or hurtful when I say that. I offer it more as helping inform or educate.

To be more specific and personal, I am often scared of these forum posts and this forum in general. If it were not for the support of SR I would probably stop writing here. When I come here looking for support and encouragement, I often leave feeling even more discouraged. Kind of like when I have visited psychology departments in universities around the world where not only the professors but even the students, especially after their first year, are supporting most of the mainstream beliefs. BTW after personally talking to many psychology professors in many universities I have concluded they are not mentally healthy people. Yet they are telling us what mental health is.

I will add that in all countries I have been to the vast majority of the psychologists support whatever system they live in. So, for example, in a Buddhist country they will support the Buddhist belief system. In a socialist country, they will support the socialist system. In a capitalistic, democratic system, they will support that.

They serve a useful role in keeping people in the system and getting people back in line if they start to stray away from it. Or they will "conveniently" label those people as mentally ill who do not fit into the system.

This is kind of like my satirical post about why the slaves did not want to work.

http://forums.school-survival.net/showth...?tid=29271

So if the school system, the laws, the beliefs, the values of your country/society/culture/family/religion are causing you a lot of mental pain, there is nothing wrong with anything outside you. It is all in your brain. You have a problem, not them. but the good news is we can fix you! So you can be a contributing member to the system.

And this is especially good news for the big drug companies, let's not forget, some of which are big supporters of NAMI in the USA

NAMI = National Alliance on Mental Illness,

===
References

Here is one article where Gabor Mate talks about how beliefs about genetics let people off the hook

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/12/25/d...the_stress

And here is a clip from Zeitgeist Moving Forward, with a transcript,where he uses the quote about a way of explaining things the way things are that does not threaten the way things are

"https://dotsub.com/view/a758e4c7-ff54-4041-adae-e6fd3400bedb
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Post: #14
RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

Way tl;dr

Smoking is one cause of lung cancer. Does that mean lung cancer isn't an illness? Isn't the brain also a physical organ susceptive to malfunction due to a plethora of reasons?

If you want to be a different fish, you've got to jump out of the school.


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04-08-2016 08:14 PM
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RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

Smoking is pointed to as a cause of lung cancer by the diagnosers and is suggested it stop. "Get out of that shitty situation" is very very rarely a suggested solution for depression by its diagnosers.

Hello, traveler.

This is an ancient account I have not used in a long time. My views have changed much in the intervening months and years.

Nonetheless, I refuse to clean it up. Pretending that I've held my current views since the beginning of time is what we in the industry call a lie. Asking people to do so contributes to moralistic self-loathing. "See, those people have nothing damning! I do! I'm truly vile!"

Because you can never be a good person with a single blemish on the moral record, I thought that simply entertaining some thoughts made me irredeemable. Though I don't care for his writing style, William Faulkner presents a good counterexample. He went from being a typical Southern racist to supporting the civil rights movement. These days we'd yell at him for that, probably.

People are allowed to change their views.

Nevertheless, this period of my life has informed some of how I am today. In good ways and bad ways. To purge it would be to do a disservice to history. Perhaps it will not make anyone sympathetic, but it may help someone understand.

If, after reading all this, you still decide to use the post above as evidence that I am evil today, ask yourself if you have never disagreed with the moral code you now follow. In all likelihood you did, at some point. If some questions are verboten, and the answer is "how dare you ask that," don't expect your ideological opponents to ever change their minds.
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RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

TheCancer: At least read the post properly before you respond with some irrelevant metaphorical stuff.

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Post: #17
Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

Quote:I feel like I saw only the negative sides of this world in my school years, as a result of the scare tactics used by the Turds and school, along with my own negativity bias.

"Good places, good people exist" This has literally been a recent revelation to me. Did they gloss over that because they were afraid I'd realize that there are better people, and leave them in the dust? Why are those born halfway up the pile exposed ONLY to the reasons their life could be worse, and not ways their life can be made better? For hell's sake, I didn't really get how fucked up my personality was until I realized that I found being insulted/criticized easier than accepting compliments; I accepted only this year that being happy is natural, and I only had to fail a year in college to realize that.

Being happy is a huge part of, idk, recovery i.e learning to live like a healthy, functional human being on a psychological level. Some of us have to re-learn (or worse, learn) how to be happy on a day-to-day basis, and that just pisses me off.

Quote:One of the things that folks are most confused about when it comes to anxiety and depression is the relationship between the feelings and the root nature of the problem. Our society confuses these things and way too often labels the feelings as the problem. Consider it this way. If you break your arm and then go into the emergency room, you don’t say, “I have pain-in-my-arm disorder”. The pain is the signal that there is the problem. Or if you are outside for a long time in the cold with no jacket, upon feeling very cold, you don’t say that you have "a coldness disorder". Or if you don’t eat for a long time and you feel famished, you don’t have a "hunger disorder". Feeling pain, cold, and hungry are signals that your basic needs for bodily integrity, warmth and food were not met. The feelings are not the problem, per se.

Negative feelings like depression and anxiety function the same way.
Depression and anxiety are, for the large majority of cases, emotional signals that one’s psychological health is not ideal and that one’s psychosocial/relational needs are not being met. Indeed, the first place that I look when I see depression and anxiety is the need for relational value. As deeply relational beings, humans have needs for relational value in the following areas: 1) family; 2) peers/friendships; 3) romantic partners and 4) group/occupational/social identity. There is also the relationship they have with themselves and the extent to which they feel proud and accepting of themselves (or the reverse). In other words, it is crucial that we feel known and valued by our family, our friends and our lovers and that we have a way to be known and valued in terms of how we contribute to society. And it is crucial that we respect and have compassion for ourselves.

The above quotes sum up my experience with depression. I guess it has been more of a symptom of an overall problem for me. Those last two words are very important, read them again if needed.

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Post: #18
RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

(04-07-2016 05:24 AM)SoulRiser Wrote:  doctors prescribe drugs, and all manner of individual treatments, but it seems rare for them to really look at the whole person and their circumstances and try to figure out the underlying cause for their illnesses.

In the case of depression, that's because that's their job. The person who's meant to look at the underlying causes and circumstances is the psychologist.

To paraphrase something a therapist told my mom once "All of these feelings are very normal for someone to experience, it's just when they're unable to deal with them that it becomes a problem."

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Brick RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

I have hidden this because I wanted to split it off but I can't see a way to do that right now. I believe it is not sufficiently helpful to remain in this thread w/out me taking a time to discredit it. And honesly, I don't want to spend my time on that right now. -- Steve

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There are certain facts about depression that are hard to dispute without just making shit up:
1/ There is some degree of heritability.
2/ There are strong correlations with imbalances in certain neurotransmitters.
3/ It can often be treated by drugs which attempt to correct those imbalances.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean depression is a disease in the same way that cancer is a disease. All feelings are caused by processes in the brain, and stressful circumstances can cause depressive symptoms. This is not straightforwardly 'disordered'. The problem is that after a certain point depression often doesn't have any straightforward causes except previous depression and some kind of inherent vulnerability.

I mean, my angle here is that I had fairly severe teenage depression which has had lingering (although comparatively mild) effects at this point well into adulthood which are really not related to external circumstances or even to unhappiness in the general sense. I don't think it's useful to talk about depression as solely a medical problem, but just because it has or had psychological causes doesn't mean medical solutions are inherently unnecessary or ineffective (in the same sense that you don't treat an already-broken arm by being more careful in the future).

This video is long but it's a good lecture:


Watch on YouTube

"Do we treat straight public sex differently than we do gay public sex? Of course. Straight people are so proud of their public sex that they named a cocktail after it."
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Post: #20
Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

Quote:I mean, my angle here is that I had fairly severe teenage depression which has had lingering (although comparatively mild) effects at this point well into adulthood which are really not related to external circumstances or even to unhappiness in the general sense. I don't think it's useful to talk about depression as solely a medical problem, but just because it has or had psychological causes doesn't mean medical solutions are inherently unnecessary or ineffective (in the same sense that you don't treat an already-broken arm by being more careful in the future).

That makes sense. People do things in certain ways, and then turn those ways into habits. In that sense, chronic depression can be thought of as a habit if it happens without any reason (although maybe there is still a reason deep down that the person just hasn't found - the reasons don't have to be obvious necessarily).

Habits can be broken, but are difficult to break... the person has to re-train he way they react to things, or how they think in general. I suppose certain medications could help with this process... but I don't see how they can replace the process entirely... at least, not in a healthy way.

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04-11-2016 12:08 AM
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magikarp Offline
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Post: #21
RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

(04-11-2016 12:08 AM)SoulRiser Wrote:  In that sense, chronic depression can be thought of as a habit if it happens without any reason (although maybe there is still a reason deep down that the person just hasn't found - the reasons don't have to be obvious necessarily).

Habits can be broken, but are difficult to break... the person has to re-train he way they react to things, or how they think in general. I suppose certain medications could help with this process... but I don't see how they can replace the process entirely... at least, not in a healthy way.
What I was trying to say, specifically, is that not all depressive symptoms (e.g., fatigue, ahedonia, memory problems) are straightforwardly the result of patterns of thought and there's no reason to believe you have or can even develop a lot of conscious control over them once they've kind of developed as separate from the things that initially caused them.

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04-11-2016 04:08 AM
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SoulRiser Offline
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Post: #22
RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

Quote:there's no reason to believe you have or can even develop a lot of conscious control over them once they've kind of developed as separate from the things that initially caused them.
If you believe you can't... then you can't. I suppose people who tend to get depression also tend to believe that they can't do things like that. If it was me, I'd find a way. Or at least I wouldn't give up looking for one.

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stevehein Offline
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Post: #23
RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

I made a little video about some of my thoughts after I read the comments...

https://youtu.be/h4hLAWfZe-4
04-13-2016 12:13 AM
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stevehein Offline
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Post: #24
RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

[quote='Rule_BreakerXVIII' pid='566029' dateline='1460124801']
Quote:for me


well i feel a bit embarassed to say this but i dont get what you mean by 'for me'

i first thought u met that is just your personal experience and u dont want to speak for others, but now im not sure.

could u help me out?

gracias

ps plus u said it was very important so i dont want to get anything wrong or miss something. i'd like u to feel understood 10 out 10, let's say
(This post was last modified: 04-16-2016 04:46 AM by stevehein.)
04-16-2016 04:45 AM
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Post: #25
RE: Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

(04-16-2016 04:45 AM)stevehein Wrote:  [quote='Rule_BreakerXVIII' pid='566029' dateline='1460124801']
Quote:for me


well i feel a bit embarassed to say this but i dont get what you mean by 'for me'

i first thought u met that is just your personal experience and u dont want to speak for others, but now im not sure.

could u help me out?

gracias

ps plus u said it was very important so i dont want to get anything wrong or miss something. i'd like u to feel understood 10 out 10, let's say

I guess I was referring to "my experience with depression has been like this" when I said those words were important. As in, it was only one case, and people shouldn't take that as being the only valid case or some such B.S. IMO most of the people on SSF know better than that, but all the idiots I meet IRL come to mind while discussing sensitive/controversial topics.

Quote:I guess it has been more of a symptom of an overall problem for me.

I've never had chemical imbalances or a genetic predisposition to depression; my issues were, as I like to call it, "asshole-induced". Being around abusive people, people I couldn't trust and to top it off they had issues. Which they took out on me.

I guess I might have fallen into a self-limiting pattern, and I'm trying to break that mentality.

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04-18-2016 05:58 PM
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stevehein Offline
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Post: #26
Why I believe depression is not a mental illness

thanks to rb18 for explaining a bit more.

i want to mention one thing as a way of offering u some help in how u think/talk.

when u said 'i have fallen into' a self limiting pattern. i believe it would be helpful to be more specific and say something like 'i was taught to think in self-limiting ways'.

*for me* this helps everyone get just a little closer to cause and effect, as well as prevention and 'cure'

i feel encouraged by your messages the other day. and i want to say here in case i didnt say it beore that i dont believe depression, especially teen depression is a result of either brain chemicals, chemical imbalance, or genetic predisposition nor do i believe it is a result of 'negative thinking'.

i like the term u used - self limiting. i sometimes say 'self destructive' thinking or communication.

thanks for your replies rb18
04-18-2016 07:09 PM
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