Inherited depression

inherited depressionDealing with inherited depression reveals a profound phenomenon that has parallels with numerous other challenges of our time. 

The tendency to blame genetic predispositions or historical burdens for our problems often leads to a fatalistic attitude that not only perpetuates the problem, but potentially exacerbates it. This perspective suggests a kind of resignation that prevents us from actively pursuing solutions.

In my family, generations - from my grandfather to my father to many other relatives - have struggled with the severity of depression. This pattern seems to continue, but this is only part of the truth. The complete truth recognises that depression is an aspect of the human condition that includes suffering as well as joy. This duality is a universal phenomenon that is the rule rather than the exception.

The prevalence of depression has increased in recent years, which raises the question of who is not affected. It gives the impression that some people are just better at hiding their problems. The experience of a first major depressive episode often leads to a deep fear of a recurrence, making it difficult to live in peace and joy.

This is where the concept of resilience comes into play. After several episodes of depression, I began to focus on developing resilience. Life may throw depression at us, but developing, finding and applying resilience requires conscious effort and can fundamentally improve our situation.

A comparison with the problem of obesity may be helpful here. The assumption that obesity is genetic can lead to us not actively tackling the challenge. The truth is, however, that an attentive and proactive lifestyle significantly reduces the risk of obesity. The situation is similar with depression: A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk and severity of depressive episodes.

Central to both phenomena - addiction and depression - is the reward centre in the brain that controls our cravings. The challenge is that the reward centre is accustomed to certain habits that it mistakenly prefers, without recognising the long-term negative consequences for the body and well-being.

The key to overcoming these cycles lies in consciously focussing our attention and understanding the underlying processes. Where complete abstinence is not possible, it is important to minimise consumption and find a healthy balance.

The basis of many addictions is often an underlying depression that is exacerbated by an imbalance in the brain's reward system. Individuals with a natural deficiency of certain neurotransmitters are more susceptible to developing addictions.

Resilience in this context means being aware of the challenges and actively choosing a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, exercise and the pursuit of mental wellbeing. By changing our diet and focussing on healthy habits, we can not only reduce depressive tendencies but also the risk of obesity.

However, the reality is that without timely action, the situation often escalates, leading to a state where help is needed quickly and new addictions are imminent. Resilience is a skill that is not prescribed by a doctor, but can be developed through personal commitment, support from professionals or spiritual strength.

In my own life turning to a spiritual path and the daily practice of faith has played a crucial role in overcoming my addictions and building resilience. 

This path has helped me to actively organise my thoughts and lead a life that is not dominated by anxiety and depression.

I thank you Jesus for your personal guidance, which makes me free every day. 

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