As a culture, we tend to address mental health issues through pharma drugs and therapy, as if the problem lies within the patient. However, perhaps we should consider that it is the environment’s sickness which causes depression within an individual. Maybe that’s why it’s such a hard illness to resolve.
More than 6% of the U.S. population is affected with major depression, and an additional 18% of the adult U.S. population has some kind of anxiety disorder.
What if depression is a reaction, and not the problem?
Perhaps we are trying to fix the wrong patient. All that can be done for a depressed person is to alleviate their symptoms and change their environment. It is the environment that must be healed.
The world is sick. If we’re paying attention, how can we not be profoundly, and majorly depressed? Maybe the reason so many people are not depressed is simply because they are capable of tuning out the disharmony and imbalance that surrounds them. But doing so is like tuning out a fire alarm. The numbers of depressed people in the U.S. should function as an emergency broadcast siren for the whole nation.
We consume far more than we can produce or sustain. We, with our economies, cities, societies, cultures — have created imbalances that threaten to destroy everything. Insanity — the ultimate and contagious unhealthiness — is exactly what reigns all around us as the forgotten principles and values required for a return to balance remain displaced.
What does a sane individual in an insane environment look like? Tormented, or at the very least, depressed.
No matter what we’re taught, our hearts understand imbalance and discordant acts. Most of us sense when we, as individuals, or as society, are harming each other and ourselves with any act. But it’s impossible to live in the West without causing some kind of harm, either by the burning of fossil fuels, or supporting economies built on war and advantage.
Of course, there are good aspects to western culture as well. But they don’t eradicate the ignorant or knowing crimes against nature and humanity.
How can we not be depressed when we are forced to hand over taxes to governments constantly engaged in murder and blind self-interest, dysfunctional systems bought and paid for by corporate sponsors? When we are lied to constantly for the purpose of profit and control?
So yeah, maybe it’s not you. When the disharmony becomes deafening, when world’s disease is overwhelming, depression may occur. What to do about it?
Go out in nature. Ground yourself by going into the Earth — try gardening. Learn to camp (through the Sierra Club’s Wilderness Basics programs, or through a Meetup). Spend as much time outside as possible, in silence, where there are few people, and meditate there. Forming a relationship with the Earth and her other non-human citizens tunes your heart, so you can separate the wheat from the chaff in all you read, hear and feel.
Music also helps tremendously — create a music station on Pandora for example, using songs that lift you up. Listen positive to music to override negative thinking and block out disabling ideas. And if you live in a progressive state, see a doctor about using cannabis — nature’s organic depression medicine. It is available in edible forms that do not harm the lungs or interfere with function, on proper dosage.
Then do what you can, however you are inspired, to heal the Earth’s environment, and the people hurting within it. Pick the thing that you care about most — oceans, politics, human trafficking, corruption, clean energy, animal rights — whatever it is for you — and work to heal issues in that area.
Studies show that happiness comes from connection.
People surrounded by functional family and friends are happier. So while working to reconnect with the Earth, and to heal your area of passion, join forces and recruit others to your cause, and enjoy the fellowship that comes from working for a common goal.
You may find your depression ebbing away, as your mental suffering decreases, and your effectiveness and connection in the world increases.