Post image for Depression in Perimenopause and Menopause: Understanding the Power of Your Internal Dialogue – Part II

I would like to continue a bit more on the topic of a chemical imbalance causing depression. And then we can discuss the power of internal dialogue a bit more as well.

I’ve already established my position.  But, I think it’s important that you understand I’m not just pulling these ideas out of thin air. This is a topic that I’ve read and researched for a very long time, and feel very comfortable just sharing my knowledge. But, I also think it’s important that for you, I back up my statements and positions with legitimate research and studies on the matter, so that you can decide for yourself what you think about the causes of depression.

With that said, I’ve acquired an excellent article which was published in 2007 in the journal of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, entitled “The ‘Chemical Imbalance’ Explanation for Depression: Origins, Lay Endorsement, and Clinical Implications.”  You can download a PDF copy here.Imbalance_Stones_Edit

I realize that for some of you, reading academic research may not be your cup of tea. And I will agree, reading through these things sometimes can make your eyes glaze over.  But, this article is worth downloading if for nothing else, but the first couple of pages, which chronicles exactly when the chemical imbalance hypothesis of depression originated; what discoveries led to it;  and when exactly psychologists, psychiatrists, and the medical community began to accept it as a scientific explanation for depression.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that it correlated with the development of certain pharmaceutical drugs in the 1950s to treat mental illness. And also the subsequent development of the field of psychopharmacology, which also led to the widespread use of drugs to treat mental disorders.

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I’ve said for years here at The Perimenopause Blog, that the pharmaceutical industry (and health insurance companies) essentially owns the Western medical system. We are a highly medicalized and drug oriented society as a result. A phenomenon which began to take shape in the 20th-century just after World War II, and has become an accepted and integral part of Western culture. For every new drug which is developed, the pharmaceutical industry and medical system also develops a new and corresponding “medical condition” that the new drug will treat.

Personally, I think there is something very wrong with this approach to health and wellness. However, I’m certainly not advocating that we clean out our medicine cabinets and forsake all pharmaceutical solutions to our health. But, I am saying that we need to be aware of how much influence and power pharmaceutical companies have in defining what is and is not a real medical condition, and how we should view and understand that medical condition.

This is especially true when talking about depression and women suffering from depression in perimenopause. Because how a so-called medical condition is defined and understood, determines directly how it will be treated medically. And quite frankly, I’m not a fan of becoming medicated zombies when there are other alternatives to treating and eradicating depression in our lives.

Thoughts Create Neural Pathways (AKA….Habitual Patterns of Thinking)

People who suffer with chronic depression get stuck in the negative self-talk and internal dialogues in their minds. The constant negative self-talk, or ruminating, as described by Stanford University researchers Jannay Morrow and Susan Nolen-Hoeksemabrain (PDF copy of article here), creates brain activity which can be understood metaphorically like a car getting bogged down in a muddy ditch.

All learning occurs by the development of neural pathways in our brain. Neural pathways can be thought of like a well worn path through the woods. Once these neural pathways are developed in our brain, learning and habits have taken place.  And like the well worn path through the woods, we no longer have to think about walking down that path. We just put one mental foot in front of the other.

However, when it comes to negative self-talk and negative internal dialogue for people who struggle with depression, these pathways are like a muddy ditch.  And the car is our thoughts.  The more we dwell on the negative thoughts, or the more we “ruminate” in the negative internal dialogue, the deeper we sink into the mud.  The deeper the neural pathways become.

The longer we think a certain way, the more habitual and “normal” it feels. We don’t have to think about it, because mentally and psychologically, we know the way down the path. How many times have you gotten in your car meaning to take a right at a familiar stop sign, but you took a left instead, realizing that you have taken a left so many times, that you are just on automatic pilot? I can’t count how many times I’ve done in just in the last month. Negative internal dialogue is the same way. We’ve done it for so long, we do it without even thinking about it.

If we wish to effectively combat depression, it’s imperative that we become aware of this dialogue in our minds. With deliberate and focused attention and effort, we can change it. However, I’m not about to tell you this is an easy task.  Because it is not.  And I speak from personal experience.

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Once we lay the neural pathways in our brain, to think any other way is going to feel weird, unnatural, and inauthentic. It doesn’t feel normal. It doesn’t feel like “us.”  However, the “us” that we’ve become accustomed to by way of negative thinking and self-talk, became that way in the first place.  And it can, albeit with a tremendous amount of work, be changed. Through the same process that we talked our way into what feels like our “normal” state of depression, we can talk our way out of depression and create a new normal.

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Depression in Perimenopause and Menopause: Understanding the Power of Your Internal Dialogue

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In the first post in the Depression in Perimenopause and Menopause series, I discussed my upbringing and the impact I believe it had in the development of chronic depression in my life. I stated in that post, that I do not believe chronic depression (or clinical depression if that is what you wish to call […]

April 21, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

The Western Medical System: All We Like Cattle

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Update: I’m currently wrapping up my master’s degree program this week and will complete it April 16th, at which time I will be back to regular blogging.  In the meantime, this is a post I wrote a few years ago that I thought would re-post for your reading pleasure.  Please feel free to contact me if […]

April 10, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Physicians Heal Thyself (And Hopefully us Too!)

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If you follow my blogs, then you know that I speak a lot to the over-all experience of perimenopause and menopause.  I also speak a lot to the actual symptoms of perimenopause.  But, as any woman knows who has gone through perimenopause, it is far more than just hot flashes and night sweats. It certainly was […]

April 1, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Can I Get Pregnant During Perimenopause?

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With so many Hollywood celebrities having children in their 40s, and some even in their 50s, one might think that conceiving children in the mid-life years is a snap. I mean, Halle Berry just makes it look effortless, doesn’t she? But the unvarnished truth is, statistically, the chances of conception occurring naturally after the age of […]

March 31, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Study Says Sedentary Lifestyle Makes Menopause Misery Worse

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A large study published in The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) journal Menopause, examined the lifestyles of 6,000 middle-aged Hispanic women in Latin America, and determined that a sedentary lifestyle was linked to greater incidences of depression in menopause, anxiety, insomnia and obesity. The women were ages 40 to 59, attended 20 urban health centers in […]

March 23, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Is “Putting on a Happy Face” the Way Out of Chronic Depression?

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In the first post of the Depression in Perimenopause series I made the statement(s) that I believe our thought life is an important key variable in understanding chronic depression.  I also said I believe it is a key to being able to free ourselves from it as well. One reader asked me if I was […]

March 23, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Dear Magnolia…..Are You Saying There are Two Types of Depression?

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The Depression in Perimenopause series is off to a slow start.  I will take part of the responsibility for that because of how I decided to approach the series.  Perhaps some of you expected that I would jump right into depression during perimenopause – what causes it and what you can do about it. And […]

March 21, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Is Clinical Depression a Chemical Imbalance, a Disease, or Learned Behavior?

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No one is more acquainted with depression in perimenopause and menopause than I am.  In fact, no one is more acquainted with depression in general than I am. I grew up destitute in an impoverished home filled with alcoholism, unspeakable abuse, and violence.  A dark, heavy, oppressive cloud of sorrow, sadness, and desperation filled every room […]

March 11, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

The 35 Symptoms of Perimenopause

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Update: This post was originally written in 2010.  It has been edited and updated to reflect the current position and opinions of The Perimenopause Blog in 2016 When I was in the midst of the worst of my perimenopause symptoms, I was convinced that I was going crazy. Yes, I had hot flashes, night sweats, irregular […]

March 10, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

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I ran across this website recently:  Evan Marc Katz, Dating Coach. Don’t ask me how I ended up there because I don’t remember. I will admit to stopping and reading it though and I found what he had to say fascinating.  Mainly because, well, how many men and women do you know that actually understand each […]

March 9, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Depression in Perimenopause and Menopause Series: The Prologue

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I realize that beginning a series on depression in perimenopause with an Introduction, might not be the most interesting place to start for some of you. But, in order for this series to unfold logically and with its intended purpose, I felt an Introduction would be helpful – especially for me. I need something to anchor […]

March 4, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Ona’s Natural Progesterone Cream: A Personal Review & Recommendation

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Last month I did a sponsored post for Ona’s Natural Progesterone cream. I was extremely excited about the post because I was excited about the product. I make recommendations for progesterone creams at The Perimenopause Blog either directly, when asked, or through my Amazon Store Front which you will find in the Resources section, and […]

March 2, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Vaginal Dryness

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Update: This post was originally written in 2010.  It has been edited and updated in 2016 to reflect the current positions and opinions of The Perimenopause Blog Let’s face it. Vaginal dryness is not exactly a topic most women jump on the bandwagon to talk about.  Yet, it is a very real and common symptom of […]

March 2, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Study Says Estrogen Therapy Protects Against Dementia

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Well, the title of the study actually said that estrogen “supplements” may protect against dementia. But, given that the study is published in the journal of Neurobiology of Aging referencing a doctoral thesis of a Norwegian doctoral student, we will overlook the nomenclature and focus on the findings of the study instead. Shall we? Facts About Dementia Globally one person […]

March 1, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Stay Young & Sexy with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement – A Book Review

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Okay, ladies.  I’m back with my book review for Stay Young & Sexy with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement: The Science Explained by Dr. Jonathan V. Wright & Lane Lenard, PhD. with a foreword by Suzanne Somers. First of all, I want to give kudos to Suzanne Somers.  Yeah, I know, we all remember her as the […]

February 29, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in Menopausal Women

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February is AMD Awareness Month, ladies.  And lest you think AMD, also known as Age-Related Macular Degeneration, is not something that you as middle-aged menopausal women should be concerned about, well, think again! Age-Related Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of significant vision loss in adults over the age of 55.  Yes! You read that […]

February 24, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Menopause ‘Evolution’ Fueled by ‘Stay-at-Home-Males?’

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Oh, my.  What to say.  When I saw the title of this study, conducted by the University Liverpool and published in the journal, Biology Letters, I shook my head.  WHAT? But, here’s the deal.  In order to remotely take this study seriously, one must first begin with the premise that you accept that mankind evolved. While I do accept […]

February 24, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Loss of Libido

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As if perimenopause doesn’t cause enough grief, it can also kill your sex drive. It seems awfully cruel too, especially if you’ve enjoyed a healthy and satisfying sex life until then. I distinctly remember panicking when I realized that my desire for sex would diminish – or at least, that’s what I was expecting to happen.  […]

February 22, 2016 CONTINUE READING →