Depression

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I began the first post of this series by laying out what I believe are the actual causes of chronic depression. I’ve stated that I believe chronic depression is learned.  I’ve also stated that I do not believe chronic depression is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain.

I linked to an excellent article (which you can find here) which addressed the chemical imbalance hypothesis in depression, and when exactly it became an accepted explanation for chronic depression.  I’m not going to say anything more on either one of those topics.  I want to advance the series along so that we I can begin covering the topics of  depression in perimenopause and depression in menopause, which are different, in my opinion, from chronic depression which is not associated with hormone imbalance.

However, I urge you to please download the articles in the previous posts (here and here) which will substantiate my position on both of the aforementioned issues.  What I would like to expound on more in this post is the necessity of changing negative internal dialogue if we wish to defeat depression in our lives.

The Role of Negative Internal Dialogue in Depression

People who struggle with chronic depression (and I include myself among those people) have one thing in common: a propensity toward negative thinking patterns and negative internal dialogue.  And most importantly, a negative and self-condemning internal dialogue.

But the good news is that it can be changed. I can’t state this more emphatically:  We CAN change the way we think, what we say to ourselves, how we say it, and how we frame our life circumstances. And in doing so, we can also live free of depression.  But I am not saying it is easy, or that the process will yield results quickly.

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As a matter of fact, if you’ve struggled with lifelong depression, you will find that changing the thinking which leads to depression, will take an enormous amount of energy, effort, and time.  Really, a lifelong commitment.  I see the tendency toward chronic depression as being like alcoholism or drug addiction, over-eating, being a shopaholic or even a workaholic.  To over come it, one must recognize that it requires a diligent effort and commitment to staying well.

As I’ve already stated in another post, beating depression is not a “one and done” proposition.  If you do not want to slide back into the hell hole of chronic and debilitating depression, you must be dedicated to a life long commitment  of “depressive sobriety.” Anyone who has become sober from drug or alcohol addiction and remained sober, understands exactly what I’m talking about when I say that.

Recommended Book Titles

In order to learn how to harness, control, and change one’s internal dialogue, it’s important to understand the power that it has.  And also, the power that you have to be able to change it. There are a few books I would like to recommend which I think will be extraordinarily helpful in understanding this process.

A couple of them are by Dr. Aaron T. Beck, a medical doctor and psychiatrist.  He is considered the father of cognitive therapy in the treatment of depression. Cognitive Therapy and The Emotional Disorders, while a bit academic (though not overly) lays out an excellent case for the ability to change one’s thinking as a method to combating depression.

I’ve read several of his articles in my research for this series and would have liked to link to some of them.  But I couldn’t find any PDF copies to download for free.  However, what I have read of his work has been excellent.  It’s not so dry and academic that a layperson can’t read and understand it.  So, I think this book would be a great starting place on this journey.

Another title by Dr. Beck is Cognitive Therapy of DepressionAgain, further support for the notion that getting inside one’s head, so to speak, to understand the cognitive processes (thinking processes) is fundamental in combating depression. Like the other title, this title is somewhat academic, but in my opinion, not overly so.

The last title I would recommend is Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing How You Think  by Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky, both Ph.D’s, with a foreword by Dr. Aaron Beck.

This title is less academic, but no less substantive in its content and ability to communicate the ideas I’m putting forth here.  Some of you might find this title easier to read.

Either way, I think it’s important to establish that the notion of controlling one’s thoughts and internal dialogue as a way out of depression, is not a new concept.  And it’s certainly not something I’ve made up along the way. There is substantial research and science behind it which is worth reading.

I think the information found in these book titles in addition to the article which addresses the origins of the
chemical imbalance explanation for depression (download PDF copy here)  is enough to at least provoke some thought about what depression is, how it should be treated, and what we, those who suffer from depression, can do to really help ourselves.

If You Suffer from Depression Before Perimenopause Will You Suffer with Depression During Perimenopause?

There is a school of thought in the medical community which states that if women suffer with depression before perimenopause, then the likelihood of depression during perimenopause increases substantially.  I honestly do not accept this premise. I think depression triggered by hormone imbalance is a different animal than chronic, clinical depression.

My intentions in discussing chronic, clinical depression before I addressed depression in perimenopause and menopause, was threefold.  First, I wanted to establish that I have a lifelong personal experience and firsthand knowledge of how debilitating chronic depression is.

Second, I wanted to establish that I believe it’s completely within the realm of our capability to beat depression in our lives without being dependent on psychotropic drugs. And finally, I wanted to establish the clear difference between chronic, clinical depression, and depression which is triggered by hormone imbalance.  Namely, changes in estrogen during perimenopause and menopause.

For women going through perimenopause and women who are already menopausal, and who also suffer with depression, it’s imperative to understand the link between fluctuations of estrogen and depression.

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

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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 […]

April 26, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Fluctuating Estrogen in Perimenopause Increases Sensitivity to Stress & Depression

A study published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), states that an increase in sensitivity to stress and depression is associated with declining estrogen levels during perimenopause. According to the study, conducted by the Department of Psychiatry at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the fluctuation of estradiol (a form […]

January 5, 2016 CONTINUE READING →

Vaginal Dryness & Loss of Libido in Perimenopause? You Have Options!

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Sexual issues in perimenopause (loss of libido, vaginal dryness, inability to achieve orgasm) are a huge topic in women’s health lately.  I don’t know if any of you ladies have noticed that.  But, I have. Many brands, advertisers, and medical groups have begun to focus very intensely on this topic over the past 12 months or so, and […]

June 22, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Food as Medicine: Vitamin D & Magnesium for Chronic Pain & Fatigue in Perimenopause

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Chronic joint and muscle pain, along with fatigue are very common complaints from women in perimenopause.  If you are in actual menopause (no longer having menstrual cycles) and over the age of 50, then it only seems to worsen with each passing year. If you are also not interested in jumping on the antidepressant bandwagon […]

March 4, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Happy Calm Focused: A New Product I Think I’m Going to Love!

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I was contacted recently by the makers of a brain supplement called “Happy • Calm • Focused” also known as HCF.  They asked me if they could send a free bottle for me to try in return for giving an honest Amazon review. I receive more free products than you can imagine.  I am contacted nearly every […]

February 15, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Hormone Imbalance? Oh, Honey, You’re Just Crazy!

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I ran across an article last year at the online publication The UK Daily Mail entitled, “Women with extreme PMS will now be deemed ‘mentally ill’ following controversial revision of health manual.” The health manual cited in the article is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, used by the American Psychiatric Association. The “extreme PMS” […]

January 7, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Hot Flashes & Stress in Perimenopause? Breathe Deep with Zenytime!

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If you’re looking for alternatives to hormone therapy to treat your symptoms of perimenopause, today’s sponsored post will be of great interest to you!   Read on to learn about an exciting new App for your phone which will help you manage hot flashes and stress during perimenopause!   “If you practice deep breathing exercises […]

October 13, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

A Review of the Nutribullet: One Amazing Gadget!

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UPDATE:  I was contacted by a representative from Nutribullet who wanted to put a sponsored link in this post.  She made an offer that was a good deal for her, but not for me. I turned down the offer and gave her my advertising price for sponsored links.  She countered with another offer which was still lower […]

August 30, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Dear Magnolia……Does Anybody Really Give a Crap?

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Today’s Dear Magnolia post is from Lisa. Lisa is grieving. Yes, she’s also experiencing other symptoms of perimenopause, namely,  anxiety, depression, and other symptoms related to estrogen dominance.  But, she’s also struggling with grief . Grief is the part of perimenopause that no one talks about.  Well, not very much. Grief doesn’t sell, I guess. You can’t […]

August 22, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Clinical Depression in Perimenopause

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In her ground breaking book, The Female Brain, physician and neurobiologist, Dr. Louann Brizendine, tackles the issue of hormones and depression in women. Intrigued by research data which shows that women suffer from depression at a ratio of 2 to 1 compared to men, Dr. Brizendine deftly outlines the different stages of a woman’s life and the effect that […]

July 7, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

I Have a Tendency to Neglect Myself

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Do you? I haven’t written as regularly as I’ve wanted to for quite some time now.  A very long time, truthfully. It is primarily because I have been grieving.  Oh, how I have been grieving – the loss of my father, then my divorce, then the loss of my mother. I know we all face loss […]

June 17, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Menopause, Marriage, & The Male Brain

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Dr. Louann Brizendine is a doctor of psychiatry and neurobiology.  She is the founder and director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic in San Francisco, California. She is also the author of the books The Female Brain and The Male Brain.   I have referenced  The Female Brain  here many times, because in my opinion, it is one […]

March 5, 2014 CONTINUE READING →