Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In Australia, it is estimated that 45 percent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. In any one year, around one million Australian adults suffer from depression, and over two million have anxiety. While depression and anxiety are different conditions, it is very common for them to occur at the same time. Over half of those who experience depression also experience symptoms of anxiety. In some cases, one can lead to the onset of the other.
In 2008 the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that one million people in Australia were suffering from clinically diagnosed depression and 2.3 million with chronic anxiety.
Beyond Blue estimates that Depression will be second only to heart disease as the leading medical cause of death and disability within 20 years. The economic impact caused by depression-associated disabilities is massive, costing the Australian economy around $15 billion dollars annually. More than 6 million working days are lost each year while over $600 million in treatment costs are funded by the government.
According to the World Health Organization, death from suicide accounts for more fatalities than all armed conflicts globally or all deaths from traffic accidents. There are approximately 900,000 suicides per year worldwide. Suicide is now one of the three leading causes of death among people aged 15-34 years. Approximately 2000 Australians die from suicide every year. Men are 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women and they use more violent means generally to end their lives. In 2010, 1.6% of all Australian deaths registered were attributed to suicide.
So, what is going on? Is life getting too hard for many people? Has our culture changed? Whereas the family unit of old provided shelter, encouragement and support, are we seeing too many broken homes today? Are Dads and mums too busy? Are television, social media and modern music having an impact? Is the pace of life too fast for many? Are expectations too high? Is it the fast food and lack of proper nutrition? Has love become just a word in parts of our society?
Whatever impact these influences may have had on us, life is too short to waste one moment on stinking thinking. We need to get over it and start smelling the roses. Unfortunately, there are also thorns, briers and thistles constantly vying for our attention. However, we need not give them our focus.
There are clearly two powers at work in this world. One exists for a self-centred benefit, resulting in heartache and destruction while the other lives to bless others. For example, hundreds of thousands of young girls in third world countries have been captured, drugged and sold into prostitution, while members of various benevolent organisations risk their lives to rescue and rehabilitate as many as they can. Atrocities happen daily in Africa and other countries, while benevolent organisations comprising doctors, nurses and support staff risk their lives to aid the victims. What a crazy world!
The answer for depression is often found simply in the concept of changing one’s focus. While many external or lifestyle factors can help significantly, the real solution lies in doing things to make a difference in the lives of others. There is nothing more exhilarating than saving another’s life or even just helping an old lady cross the road. When one dares to venture outside the dark corridors of the black dog syndrome to find ways to bless someone else, a temporary relief is experienced. A young, depressed man attended this clinic many years ago. He had a very low opinion of himself and was suicidal. He did not work and his diet was depressive, to say the least. During his two-week stint at this retreat, he learnt the importance of good dietary fats and controlled carbohydrates in the management of depression. He was also challenged to find all the old or needy people in his town and to do whatever he could to make their lives better. On returning to his home he did it! At first, it was very difficult, but he started knocking on doors offering his free services to mow lawns, wash windows and paint fences. The old people loved him and showed him gratitude. In time he discovered that the key to his depression was found in blessing others. The exercise also helped significantly.
Other things that one can do to help alleviate depression include:
- Remove clutter and organise your home. Disorganisation around us produces confusion within us. Begin with a drawer or small closet and schedule a specific time to tackle it. Throw out things you will never use.
- Draw up a ‘To-Do’ list and write down everything that is unresolved in your mind. Revise the list every day. Set new goals. Make plans for a happy future.
- Establish a daily schedule for waking up, eating meals and attending to business, etc.
- Use music therapy. A study published in Mexico reports repeated listening to certain classical works — including one by Mozart — helps ease the debilitating symptoms of clinical depression.
- Use cheerful colours and good lighting.
- Pursue a purpose worth dying for.
- Recognise and remove all roots of bitterness. Forgive everyone who has offended you and try blessing your enemies. It works!
- Give positive greetings and smile. Forget about your own feelings and focus on how much your words and smiles will benefit others.
- Have a full physical check-up. Consider hormonal changes, thyroid function, sleep patterns, other illnesses, genetic factors, spinal malalignment, colon health, nutritional deficiencies, etc. The naturopaths at Living Valley can help you to assess all of these factors.
- Consider your spiritual wholeness. Reach out to the Creator through prayer, and tell Him of all your burdens. He says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” Matthew 11:28-29.
Living Valley employs a professional counsellor, along with a team of naturopaths, natural therapists and support staff. The attention is amazing and the program itself is healing for body, mind and spirit. You are invited. Call 1800 644 733 to find out how we can help you.
Call 1800 644 733 or send us a message to find out how we can help you.