depression is anger turned inward Do you think this?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by carebelle, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. carebelle

    carebelle New Member

    A post I read here tonight said this .I have really been thinking about this. I do not believe this is in every case.

    I have been dealing with depression for many years. I am not internalizing any hidden anger. I get so tired of this kind of blanket statement about depression.

    My doctors tell me that my depression is caused from a chemical imbalance in my brain. Nothing emotional or anything to do with anger.No hidden things that I have not delt with in my life.

    It is something my body does not produce, in my case it's seratonin. What does that have to do with anger?

    I try really hard to understand my depression and well I've had a pretty good life.I have had some bad things happen to me, but that has just been my life.I delt with them and moved on. I am the kind of person that chooses to live my life like that.I will not let anger eat at me til I am sick or a mean person.

    What do you think depression is ?

    [This Message was Edited on 07/14/2006]
  2. mrpain

    mrpain New Member

    I think depression can be many things to many people. I'm not a doctor but I've had bouts of depression for short periods of time and for me, it had absolutely nothing to do with anger....
  3. shootingstar

    shootingstar New Member

    But there may be many things which influence that balance. It might be initiated by grief, stress, infections, genetic predisposition, illness, or just seem to come out of nowhere. So treating the chemical imbalance with antidepressants etc. can help, but there might be other things going on too. No, I do not think depression is anger turned inward.
  4. Scapper

    Scapper New Member

    uuuummmmmmmm --- thinking --- I've heard this so many times and have always just assumed it to be true. I'll try to put my thoughts into words.

    I guess for me, depression can take on many different faces. At the core of it, it's no doubt a chemical imbalance.

    This is not to say that emotions do not contribute to depression. My inability to express my emotions, whether it be anger or anything else which is pushed down, definitely contributes to my depression in a big way.

    I guess any heavy emotion that gets suppressed can have negative effects. Not everyone's suppressed emotions play themselves out in depression though, sometimes it manifests into other things, depending upon what you're prone to.

    So, I don't think that statement can be made so blanket-type like that. For those people with no tendency toward depression at all, turning anger inward would not result in depression.

    Just my thoughts........good topic!


    ANNXYZ New Member

    I think depression is the result of brain or nervous system malfunction. I also suspect that there are SEVERAL MALFUNCTIONS that can result in one of the chemical imbalances .

    I have clinical depresssion, as does my mom and her mom , AND MY DAUGHTER , and one of my brothers . It is absolutely genetic in my family . When mine started I had NOTHING major wrong in my life , nor was I angry .

    I think for some people anger can be a feature of their individual depression . They can be extremely irritable , short tempered and mad at the world in general.

    For me the depresssion is like a sadness and dark cloud that are not pleasant . If the depression is not treated I also have NO desire to eat , can not concentrate and feel like crying for no clear reason .

    I think it is false to characterize depression as being the result of being an angry or bitter person. If that were true , then prozac would not make us feel normal again.

    psychotherapy can be beneficial to depression, but is not a cure all . Unfortunately meds are sometimes needed to
    normalize brain chemistry , which therapy can not accomplish.
  6. TAM

    TAM New Member


    And that is why i am depressed because i have a wonderful life except for this darn fibro. If it was'nt for constant pain i would'nt be depressed.

    (at least thats what most doctors say) TAKE CARE. TAMMY

    also i wanted to add that i think GEORGIAC knows exactly what depression is i agree totally!![This Message was Edited on 07/14/2006]
  7. Angelimbo

    Angelimbo New Member

    Well, I suppose that I speak from a "group" of people who's periods of depression have never been anything EXCEPT situational depression.

    This is referred to by psych docs as "Adjustment Disorder".

    In other words, if a person ends up depressed as a result of constant or long-term stress, illness, and all the frustrations and, yes, anger, that goes along with all that, then they are told they have a "disorder", as opposed to understandable and NORMAL human reactions to those untenable conditions.

    For most of my life, I was such a "happy" person, that I was called "Sunshine", and told I was "bubbly"! That IS my basic nature. This is why I have done (in the past) so well in jobs that involve customer service of some sort, or jobs like Receptionist/PBX Operator.

    But unrelenting stress (or even just different PERIODS of stress, but lots of them over many years) has caused SECONDARY depression for me.

    After I became ill in my late teens, and as I continued to try to be "normal" for years and years, and endured the frustration of being told "we can't find anything wrong with you phisically", I did begin to experience periods of depression.

    The longer this went on, and when added to stresses and other "issues" aside from illness, the harder it became for me to not slip into depression.

    They say that one of the hallmarks of "clinical depression" is a complete loss of interest in things you once enjoyed. Well, I NEVER lost my INTEREST in the things I enjoy! But I DID slowly lose my PHYSICAL ABILITY to participate in those things.....which caused frustration, grief, and, yes, ANGER, and finally, depression.

    In other words, as long as I was physically able to continue to live "fairly normally", at least for periods of time, then I was able to "get over" the depression.....until the next "round" of worsening symptoms, and the next time I was unable to go to work, or do things I wanted to do, like shop, or travel, or garden, or go hiking and camping....whatever.

    And even today, when I am no longer able to do even the most simple activities of daily living, much less things I used to enjoy, I still experience joy and pleasure....even if only for brief periods at a time.

    On "good" days, as long as there is no other "crisis" hitting me at that moment, I feel great JOY and gratitude just to feel better for a while, and maybe do something that either needs doing, or something just for fun.

    But due to the illness, and the "push-crash" thing, when the flare hits following the activity on a good day, I do get very depressed.

    I still get depressed, because of what this physical illness has done to my life. But NOT because I am a "depressed personality", nor because I have an "adjustment disorder".

    I get angry and depressed because it is a NATURAL reaction to living with a disabling, "step-child" illness.

    And I believe the voluminous evidence that, over time....especially a LONG time, the stress, frustration, and anger of dealing with this illness could cause changes in the brain that will produce an "organic" depression. It is well documented that long-term stress, or even intense short-term stress, actually causes brain damage, even in so-called "healthy" people.

    But one of the primary coping methods for treating stress and it's resulting depression, is EXERCISE, because of it's positive neurochemical effects.

    But that "coping mechanism" is not available to MANY people with chronic illnesses like ours.

    And even in "healthy" people, many will take an antidepressant (or something else), rather than to exercise.

    Antidepressants are being handed out like aspirin nowadays, more and more even to people with what would normally be considered a NORMAL "short-term" depression due to grief or other stress.

    And there is also evidence that the two largest groups of people who are given antidepressants, are WOMEN, and people with "invisible illnesses", most of whom are WOMEN.

    I personally have never bought into the "primary chemical imbalance" theory, even before I studied the evidence. And it IS just a THEORY! There is no scientific proof, or even hard evidence, that a "chemical imbalance" causes depression.

    Think back to the commercials for Zoloft, for example. The announcer says: "Depression is thought to be caused by an imbalance in certain chemicals in the brain." The key phrase there is "thought to be". Even the pharma companies KNOW that there is no proof of their claims, and therefore thay cannot say "Depression IS CAUSED BY a chemical imbalance in the brain."

    The medical/psychiatric/pharmaceutical community comes up with "illness diagnoses" that "justify" the development and prescribing (read "sales") of pharmaceuticals, not to mention the millions of dollars spent on "exclusionary" diagnostic tests and procedures. (And not just for depression.) This has been going on for decades, and is increasing daily.

    It should be remembered what Dr. Cheney said about antidepressants, and other stimulants that effect these neurotransmitters!!

    This is, of course, "JMO"....but it is based on years of research, and TONS of people who feel the same, most of them much smarter than I am.

    But despite all that I have said.....for anyone who finds that the benefits outweigh the risks and side-effects and withdrawal symptoms and brain damage.....I would defend to the death your right to continue taking them.

    [This Message was Edited on 07/14/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 07/15/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 07/15/2006]
  8. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    That may have been my post you're referring to. If it was and it's the post I think it was, I wrote that because I sensed an extreme amount of anger and feelings of helplessness in the person's orgininal post. Bottled up anger causes changes in our brain chemistry which can result in depression.

    My comment was intended to be specific.


    [This Message was Edited on 07/15/2006]
  9. IntuneJune

    IntuneJune New Member

    I like Angelimbo's response above.

    She had put out in clear terms the path so many of us follow in dealing with our illnesses.

    Working as a medical transcriptionist at a hospital with a Psychiatric Unit, I do transcribe reports where medications help with various "psychiatric illness" and therefore do believe medications do help brain function.

    I BELIEVE many psychiatric medications are over-prescribed.

    In the dark ages of my illness, (Dx'd about 25 years ago) the rheumatologist put me on a tricyclic antidepressant (to help with deeper sleep).

    OMG!!!! I could not get up the next morning, could not get out of the bed, I felt as though I was nailed to be bed. My mind was OK I thought, my brain was telling me "up" but my body would not respond, this was at the lowest dose possible of the medication.

    When I reported this to the rheumatoligist her response was "that is because your brain is not chemically imbalanced, I did not put you on this for depression."

    So, I am NOT SURE, if I would make a statement that depression does NOT exist due to chemical imbalance.

    We all know when we exercise, our body produces "feel good" chemicals.... If I cannot exercise, I get VERY moody, I hurt. After the hour in the pool, oh, I am a new person...... just due to the "feel good" chemicals????????

    I FEEL as though I have had to change the person I was because I could not do the things that interested me, but I have found NEW interests that I CAN do. Yes I miss the old "me" but the new me isn't too bad. Still wish I could do more though.


  10. shootingstar

    shootingstar New Member

    You make the statement that depression recurs when medication is stopped and therefore medication does not cure depression. If there is an ongoing chemical imbalance the medication may also have to be ongoing. It is not like killing off a strain of bacteria with an antibiotic and you are cured.

    I'd say clinical depression much more closely resembles insulin dependent diabetes. You can definitely help insulin dependent diabetes with diet, exercises etc., but if you stop the insulin you will be in big trouble.

    There is no way you are going to "cure" someone who is deficient in one or more neurotransmitters of clinical depression by behavioral modification therapy alone. I am not discounting behavior modification as an aid to treatment, but if you need medication you need medication. Someone who has a tendency toward type II diabetes may be able to prevent or delay its onset by changes in diet and exercise, but once it reaches a certain point they will require medication. To say you can "cure" clinical depression by behavioral modification is, to my mind, really highly questionable.
  11. carebelle

    carebelle New Member

    I am really into this discussion .Lets keep it going.

    I also agree that Medication may not cure, but I do believe also ,it is a tool when our brains are lacking in something that the medication can help supplement.

    I do not think that any kind of counseling can put back into our brain what it lacks in chemicals.

    I do agree with counseling to help with problems but medication also is needed in my kind of Depression.

    Thank you all for your thoughts its very interesting to find out different beliefs on this.
  12. shootingstar

    shootingstar New Member

    We will have to agree to disagree here. There has always been a very real physical component to the type of depression I have experienced.
  13. romanshopper

    romanshopper New Member

    Yes, but sometimes it is anger at yourself, or your situation - not always anger at other people.

    In my case, I find if I avoid guilt in general, I avoid depression. When I get angry, I feel guilty - that is the root cause of me getting depressed, I think. I strive to let myself feel it is ok to be angry, just to not act on it.
  14. razorqueen

    razorqueen Member

    We are not just physical, but we are spiritual and emotional as well. When we are ill, we need ALL areas of our lives to be treated. The physical, spiriual and emotional are all inter-conected. Drs and we, ourselves tend to forget that.
  15. Roseblossom

    Roseblossom Member

    Lamotta - That makes good sense. You explain it very well, with patience and clarity. The combination of therapy and chemistry is most effective.

    RazorQueen - Good point. I wish more realized this.

    Marta - your posts are always good food for thought.


  16. cymbeline

    cymbeline New Member

    I have been really interested to read all the comments on this page. I think it is important to remember that depression is a very complex "illness" and will not affect any two people in the same way, although of course there will be similarities.
    I believe that antidepressants can be useful enabling people to cope with the severity of their difficulties as they do provide some kind of "lift" to the brain through chemical means. However i agree that used alone they do not present a solution as when you stop taking them relapse is often the result. This is perhaps not the case when people are given antidepressants for depression that is less pervasive, such as following a berevement, but i am under the impression that it is longstanding, severe depression that is under discussion here. A lot of research is done with people who have less complex difficulties or have only a diagnosis of depression and nothing else and so the results are not always transferable.
    Therapy, CBT or other, has more recently been shown to have effects on changing brain chemistry and neuronal networks. Simply put the idea is that you build up new pathways in your brain as you did as a child when you formed your first ideas and beliefs, which determine how you react to situations. This results in long lasting change within the brain as opposed to medication which affects change only whilst being taken. This new research would go some way to explaining why changing your thought processes can make a difference to depression.
    I would hasten to add however, that CBT if done properly is a lot more than positive thinking, it includes thinking about an individuals situation and finding appropriate coping strategies, one of which is likely to be challenging your current thoughts as well as helping people to have the opportunity to think in depth about their situation in a theraputic environment.
    I think that it is also important not to forget the realities of one's external situation. Sometimes life is difficult and there are few changes you can make to a situation (i find it frustrating to be limited by CFS. Although i can do things that may help there isn't an overnight cure and that is frustrating and i imagine it will continue to be so). I found it helpful just to have someone acknowledge this and be willing to hear me rather than just try to fix me.
    Often advice given for depression is focused on the person making changes, which can make you feel responsible and that you are to blame for having depression. A medical view that advocates medication and brain chemistry can seem to remove this responsibility placing it firmly in a physical realm. Personally i feel that neither of these extremes is helpful.
  17. Angelimbo

    Angelimbo New Member

    excellent post there!

    I would completely agree that CBT is (supposed to be) much more than "positive thinking".

    However, almost without exception, every time I have sought counselling to learn coping and problem-solving strategies, I have (1) not gotten that help, and (2), been told I could not "learn" those strategies unless I got my depression "under control with a 'mild' antidepressant"!!

    But even worse, I have gotten "advice" that was so inappropriate, that I felt like I had entered the twilight zone!

    For example, one therapist REALLY went off the wall! It was when I was goint through the SSDI process. I was talking to her about how bad I felt about using food stamps. And then, when I added that I was also frustrated because I "qualified" for so little in food stamps, that it was just BARELY worth what I had to go through to get them.

    Then I made a comment about the fact that you can't buy things that are almost as necessary as toilet paper.

    This therapist had the gall to tell me that she perhaps I should do what she had heard Carol Burnett describe in an interview. She said that Carol said that, during a period of severe poverty, she and her mother, IIRC, would take large purses or tote bags into large department stores, and go into the bathrooms, and fill them up with toilet paper!!!

    I asked her in disbelief; "Are you actually suggesting that the solution to my problems would be to steal toilet paper?"

    She said, "Well, some people do what they have to do."

    Another example was when I was trying to describe to a different therapist what it is like to have these DDs, and constantly have to deal with doctors who either don't know how to help and won't learn, or who actually mistreat us because they believe we are malingering.

    Her response was that if only I would bake some cookies and take them in for everyone in the doctor's office, that maybe my doc would "treat me better".

    So, in theory, CBT would have great value for people struggling with these illnesses. We DO need strategies to cope and problem-solve!!! But I have had terrible luck finding someone to actually help me with those things.

    Back to the "depression as chemical imbalance" issue.

    I repeat: there IS NO scientific proof of that! NONE! It is a THEORY.

    Diabetes is a proven imbalance. It can be detected with medical tests.

    So comparing depression to diabetes is just incorrect.

    I am amazed how the public has totally bought into an unproven theory that is driven by the desire for more and more profits.

    But.....that's just my opinion. YMMV!
  18. carebelle

    carebelle New Member

    Steal Toilet paper? That is one of the worse therapist stories Ive heard.And somepeople wonder why others will not go .I'd question that Doctors Mental Health.

    what was the worse advice a Therapist gave you?
    Ill post it.but keep thisgoing also

  19. cymbeline

    cymbeline New Member

    Your experience of therapists sounds interesting to say the least! My experience has been a much more positive one.
    I think when you are choosing a therapist it is very important to make sure you like them before starting sessions as the relationship is the most important aspect of therapy. I feel that a therapist should be there to support you to think through the issues in your own life in your way not to tell you what to do.
    Most therapists (good ones anyway) should be happy to answer questions about their approach before you arrange to meet, and through this you should be able to gain a sense of whether you feel you can work with them, whether their views on depression or other difficulties fit with yours and whether you feel they are able to offer you what you are looking for. I think you should always talk to a feww people before signing up as then you have a real sense of what is out there- different people like different approaches, there is no one size fits all as some would have you believe.
    As for depression as a chemical imbalance being a proven theory, i think you are right that this is not the case. You cite diabetes as an example- what people describe they are feeling/experiencing are often thought of as symptoms. These are subjectively described by the person and heard and interpreted subjectively by the doctor. With diabetes there are as you say tests that can be done to confirm this, thought of as the signs of an illness. For depression as with all mental health issues there are only symptoms with no signs to back these up. So what you have is a subjective experience interpreted by the person hearing it and then categorised according to their interpretation into a diagnosis. Scientific??? This is why i feel that depression is too large a category to suggest one approach for everyone, especially adding the complexities of other difficulties a person may be experiencing.
    Jinlee feels there may be a chemical component and i agree with this. The body, emotions and thoughts are all inextricably linked and affect each other, trying to reduce this complex interaction to a simple cause and effect relationship, i feel is misguided and is why i think that often one approach does not work as a standalone.
    It also seems to me that chemical processes are hugely affected through the chemicals we put into our body in the form of food, and nutrition is recently beginning to receive a lot more attention by researchers in mental health and it seems to me that a good starting point is a good, balanced diet as without this the body does not recieve all the nutrients it needs to function at its optimum level. There is already a lot of information and research about nutrition and seretonin, which is implicated in depression. Also on the effects of herbs such as St John's Wort which i think is supposed to be a herbal alternative to antidepressants, apparently far fewer side effects from a natural product and in a form that the body can more easily assimalate. I know which i would rather try.
  20. Roseblossom

    Roseblossom Member

    I agree that neural pathways & networks can be fixed and improved, and new ones laid down.

    Cymbaline said "... Therapy, CBT or other, has more recently been shown to have effects on changing brain chemistry and neuronal networks..."

    " build up new pathways in your brain as you did as a child when you formed your first ideas and beliefs, which determine how you react to situations..."

    Lamotta said "CBT has an effect on balancing neurotransmitters in the brain...

    "...the brain is actually in the process being 'rewired' to relearn how to react and respond to things..."

    " neuronal networks are being formed and transmitter functioning improves..."

    "...the brain is 'plastic' meaning that it changes according to what we learn and experience in life..."

    Here's my question for you two and for anyone else who's also read the research on chemicals' effects on the brain:

    Isn't it possible that feeding your brain with supplements or brain-chemical-affecting drugs ALSO assist the brain to relearn or "rewire" in order to repair & improve itself?


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