Depression and Inhibition

Each human is born with the word 'potential' tattooed in their psyche. From the day we come into the world we hit survival mode in it's most primal form. Total vulnerability and reliance on those around us to nurture us with the essentials known as love and sustenance. With a bit of luck we have parents who guide us through the many obstacles in life. Hopefully we end up strong, independent, centered adults who know right from wrong, and how to achieve many things. And above all things knowing we have a much deserved place in the world along side every other human being that has gone through their formative years. Excuse me if that sounds an ideal statement - no doubt it is for many.

I understand from the viewpoint of medical studies and science that this disorder known as depression is created by chemical imbalances in the brain. Yes, so true in many cases. I on the other hand prefer to see the disorder from the viewpoint of what caused the imbalance in the first place.

Potential means latent but unrealised ability or capacity. The ability to do, to achieve, to create; the capability of becoming. As we are primal in essence (animal) we have a healthy dose of fear to make sure we learn caution and instincts. Along with the guidance of our parents who also provide the necessary boundaries to ensure we don't fall out of too many trees and ride our bikes too fast in New York traffic, we soon learn how to survive, take risks, and achieve in line with our blossoming human potential.

What is at the bottom of Depression. Void of the chemical imbalance and without the use of test tubes, I suspect one of the major causes of depression is the inability to fulfill all or part of this latent individual human potential. Of course we don't always get what we want, not all the time. We have to compromise and share, be a giver as well as receive.

But how many times have you had your wantings quashed, smothered, blocked, smashed. Most likely many many times, particularly before the age of 14. Disappointment beyond limits. Okay, so this may sound a bit melodramatic, I mean parents are protecting their children, making sure they don't get hurt. So the word NO becomes an echo to the adventurous. No you can't. Every excuse a parent can give a child is presented for the sake of keeping the child safe. And in the process of keeping the child safe is often a projection of the parent's fear. Before you know it, and really without you knowing it, you become scared yourself of reaching goals that may see your potential show itself.

How many of your fears are a direct result of what your parents told you to fear? Okay, okay, there is perspective. But if your mother is scared of the dark, why should you be?

Depression is directly linked to the inability to use your will, to achieve, to have wantings and go after those wantings. A viscious circle starts to develop within a depressed person's psyche. I am taking a quote from a TV program I saw the other night: "The people who suffer the most are those that don't know what they want." One of the lowest or deepest states of depression is not having the desire to have a wanting. A dead space of nothingness, that feeling of being dead.

If you were not given the arena to achieve (big or small), if you were continually told no, if you were not let lose to take chances and feel the exhilaration of accomplishment, if you were not encouraged to step outside your comfort zone, or given the chance to make mistakes, then it is likely you are too scared to do it now.

One state of mind for a depressed person is that you have failed before you get started, so you don't start; The 'it's useless - why bother attitude.' But deep inside is this latent wanting to tape into your human potential. Along side this wanting is an incessant voice that keeps saying "You can't."

Please understand, I am not an advocate for anti-depressant medications. I am also not judging people who chose to use medication for their depression. It is through my own experience and self reflection that I am able to understand that there is much conditioning imprinted in our psyche that has a direct relationship to the resultant imbalances in our brain chemistry. Much can be resolved by getting to the source of our malaise and moving forward from there.

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Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 9 years ago

Very interesting!

Annalene profile image

Annalene 9 years ago from Richards bay South-Africa

I absolutely agree Jewels, I would walk big circles around anti-depressant drugs, Treat the source and not the symptom!

carolsuz profile image

carolsuz 9 years ago

Jewels, I have to say your insight on this matter is incredible. You really have something there. Keep on writing!!!!

Jewels profile image

Jewels 9 years ago from Australia Author

Thankyou carolsuz, I appreciate your words.

Nayberry profile image

Nayberry 7 years ago from

As a sufferer f depression, I can tell you that my counseling helped me more than medication, but I do have times when I have to have something to calm my nerves. This is a great hub. I wishmore people understood depression like this. My life is an uphill battle at times, but I am learning to reach my potential without being drugged through it. Again, great hub!


composed profile image

composed 7 years ago from the place where I have what it takes

GREAT hub!

Jewels profile image

Jewels 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thankyou composed, glad you dropped in.

Disturbia profile image

Disturbia 7 years ago

From one who knows.... Excellent hub!.

Mrvoodoo profile image

Mrvoodoo 7 years ago from ?

As a prolific failure or failer, this hub strikes a chord with me, especially as I'm getting older and realizing I've spent most of my life bumming around and haven't really achieved anything.  But then I guess it's all relative.

Like you say about parents trying to keep children safe, my sister has worked in the same little office for more than 25 years, ever since she left school, that's all our parents ever wanted for us, a stable job (security).  I've had many jobs, masted none, but enjoyed them all (sort of).

25 years in the same little office, a life-time, so whilst I might be a bit depressed about being an aging under-achieving bum, I reckon had I spent all my life in the same little room day in day out I'd be a lot more depressed, lol, each to their own though. :)

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Jewels, I'd not seen this hub before, but I was hub-stalking MrVoodoo in an idle moment! I can't argue with what you say here. It puts me in mind of this Philip Larkin poem:

Mrvoodoo profile image

Mrvoodoo 7 years ago from ?

lol Amanda, that's a brilliant poem, I guess everybodys parents are the same then. :)

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

In one way or another, Mrvoodoo, i guess they are.

Jewels profile image

Jewels 7 years ago from Australia Author

Hey you guys, thanks for dropping in.

Mr V at least we see it! It worries me that the mediocre life is part of the dumbing down epidemic, that's another hub. Not all, but allot of parents are more into the safety of life and will present the safe option over the one that has all the joy in it. Consquently they show what you can't do instead of what you can.

Amanda, that poem is so on the mark. When I went through the 'unravelling' process of course the first layer is blaming the parents. It's the easiest and most common experience. Not until I saw how they were brought up could see the sense in their actions. Then make the choice to be different and be more myself - not an easy challenge when I've always been defined by what they wanted. How would I know what I want when I was not the main focus, they were?

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pgrundy 7 years ago

That Larkin poem was a hoot! Pretty accurate too.

On a more serious note, I have to say that often when people talk or write about depression the physical element goes missing somehow. I don't mean the biochemistry stuff (which, you know, is that the chicken or the egg? Are we depressed because of our biochemistry or did our biochemistry change because we became depressed?), what I mean is this horrible feeling of pain and sludge that is close to emotion but is also real physical pain and lethargy and suffering. When I get hit with a depressive episode the very surface of my skin is raw and I have deep muscle pain and don't want to move--I can cry but it brings no relief, I can't get out of the pain, it's like falling down a well and breaking my legs--no amount of 'get up, get up' is helpful. I'm not just 'blue' I'm in real pain. That's hard to convey to anyone who hasn't been through that, and it's especially frustrating when it seems not to be connected to any external source or trigger--when it just slams into you like a dark, horrible storm.

Not that I thought you were saying any such thing here. I totally agree with the point you make about repressed (or oppressed) personal power, but there's something more sometimes, something that's almost alive on its own and not in a good way. I'm rambling. Sorry! Great hub. Very good points about the parental thing and aspirations and being who we really are. :)

Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States

Your hub strikes close to home, Jewels. Thanks for writing it.

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sandra rinck 7 years ago

Well I am bipolar. I had taken a few different types of anti depressants as well as anit- psychotics... Never did help me.

I wrote my own hub on living with bipolar disorder and one of the main themes was like your hub. I never did get better (or at least handle myself well) until I stopped letting people tell me, your wrong or you cannot etc...

Truly it wasn't until I decided to tell the whole world to F off and accepted myself for who I am instead of denying myself of what I am, that I could start the "real" healing process.

There is defintely something about being nurtured that seems to change the nature... neglect, neglect, neglect. Of course I couldn't tell my mom that, she would have smacked me in the face and called me a liar and then tell me to shut up.

Lucky for me I had a very kickass step dad who did more then listen, he accepted me for everything I am and never tried to change me but always incouraged me.

Jewels profile image

Jewels 7 years ago from Australia Author

Pam - I definitely know what that feeling is. The physical element is like the tar before the feathers. Very heavy cloak.  Over time the heaviness feels more in the bones than in the muscles.  Although this hub is more about the thoughts behind the feeling, it's there where it starts before it manifests in the body. And the longer it's left unaddressed the harder it is to alleviate.

Tom - glad you stopped by.  Close to home - it certainly hits me!

Sandra - mums can be such problems and so pleased you had a great step-dad.  You can tell he's had an influence.  I think dad's need to teach their children how to tell people to f**k off - of course in a nice way. It's there job.  Wish mine had done that!  Thanks for visiting.

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pgrundy 7 years ago

Yes that's exactly it. :)

Well said.

carriegoff profile image

carriegoff 7 years ago from Michigan

Very good hub! I think it's ineffective if we take a "one size fits all" approach to mental illness. Medication is vital to one person; unecessary or dangerous to the next.

But your description of low self-esteme is dead on. I've decided (finally) that the negative patterns I have lived with can be changed by me and I can change it all for my kids. Maybe I can't change my childhood, but I can change theirs' before it's over. "You can be anything you want" is said frequently in our home.

Jewels profile image

Jewels 7 years ago from Australia Author

Well said Carrie. I love how you use that mantra in your home and your attitude to changing is inspiring. We can only change ourselves, and not expect someone else to in order to make our lives better.

Jess Killmenow profile image

Jess Killmenow 7 years ago from Nowheresville, Eastern United States

Excellent article, Jewels. Knowing what you want is so empowering. It's one of the best skills one could teach one's children, I feel.

Jewels profile image

Jewels 7 years ago from Australia Author

That's a major element, to know what you want. Often for a depressed person it's just not a consideration. Wantings are only for the daydreams. But to bring up a child with the concept of being able to get what they want is very empowering. Thanks Jess for dropping by.

Shawn 6 years ago

I completly agree and enjoy this. Thanks for sheding the light on some things I didn't even think about.

Jewels profile image

Jewels 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you Shawn, glad you dropped in.

McHamlet profile image

McHamlet 6 years ago

"I suspect one of the major causes of depression is the inability to fulfill all or part of this latent individual human potential". I'd go along with this 100%. From my own experience, I think creativity is one of the best cures for depression and it's a pity the point is not emphasized more in our culture. Really enjoyed the hub.

Jewels profile image

Jewels 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you McHamlet, glad you dropped in. And thanks for reminding me to be more creative.

ACSutliff profile image

ACSutliff 6 years ago

A dead space of nothingness, that feeling of being dead! Profound, and completely believable! This is very interesting!

Thanks for sharing your answer to my question too!

Jewels profile image

Jewels 6 years ago from Australia Author

You're welcome ACSutiff and thankyou for dropping in.

copingdepression 5 years ago

Depression can make you feel isolated and in the end you are isolated. Don't alienate your family and confide in them. There you will find the support you need to get over this.

Jewels profile image

Jewels 5 years ago from Australia Author

I hope you found the support you needed to get over your depression coping. It's a shame that there are many people who don't have a support network, nor do they have family support. Thanks for dropping in.

htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Depression hurts a lot ..interesting post

SaritaJBonita profile image

SaritaJBonita 4 years ago from Upstate New York

Awesome Hub, voted up. I agree so much about the chicken or the egg thing, but in the end it doesn't matter. Everyone has times in life when they suffer from depression, but for others it gets to the aching, painful, emptiness that feels unbearable.

I have Bipolar Disorder, and yes it's true that I have a chemical imbalance. I believe that emotional "suffocation" is just one part of the complicated puzzle. I've found that when my life circumstances are better, and I have consistent, nurturing feedback, I don't need as much medication. The opposite is true for when things in my life suck.

However, it's also true that my moods can change for no apparent reason.

I think you're spot on when it comes to a piece of the complex puzzle of mental illness.

Jewels profile image

Jewels 4 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you for commenting. With years of research and experience I can see how a good healthy diet plays an important role in evening out the chemical imbalances. Together with exercise many depression states can be eliminated. I hope you can conquer.

SaritaJBonita profile image

SaritaJBonita 4 years ago from Upstate New York

The catch-22 to a healthy diet and exercise is that with Depression, I don't exercise and I eat "frankenfoods" (i.e. junk food). With Mania I don't eat much if at all, and I'm a whirlwind of energy. It makes sense that balancing out eating and exercise can help balance brain chemistry. I certainly could do a little more of both of these!

Jewels profile image

Jewels 4 years ago from Australia Author

You may find that the brain chemistry imbalance is caused by processed foods. Only 5% of my diet is processed. It has made an enormous difference. Start the transition when you are in a good space, as we know when you are low you won't make the changes. This takes will and at the end of the day these changes can only be made by us.

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