(Note: This article is not complete. At times I simply list items that I have not had time to research and integrate into the article.)
Warning: If you are already on Prozac, or a similar drug, do NOT just stop taking it.
Introduction and Overview
Depression and anxiety is a growing problem in America.
Depression has become very big. Feelings of “helplessness, loss of hope, sadness, crying, sleep or appetite disturbances, or difficulty concentrating, for at least two straight weeks” are sufficient for the very common diagnosis of “clinical depression.” Over the past half-century, hospitalizations for depression have increased almost thirty times, from 9.8 per 100,000 in 1943 (in New York, which had more per capita than any other state) to an estimated 280 per 100,000 (nationally) in 1994.
Nathaniel S. Lehrman, M.D. (quoted by Joseph Mercola M.D.)
It is fairly obvious to me that the number one cause of depression in America is aspartame, otherwise known as NutraSweet, Equal, etc. It is extremely common for a person to drink a lot of diet drinks (e.g. Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi), or other diet foods, then get depressed, then go to the doctor and get a prescription for Prozac. This starts a never-ending cycle of increasing levels of prescription drugs used to treat the depression as the person continues to consume aspartame because their doctor never told them what was causing the depression.
Ann Blake Tracy, Ph.D, has treated hundreds of patients who wanted to get off of Prozac. In her book she stated:
It is rare for me to interview someone who is using Prozac who is not drinking at least a gallon or generally two to three gallons per day of diet soda sweetened with NutraSweet!
Prozac – Panacea or Pandora? by Ann Blake Tracy, Ph.D – p 90
While aspartame is clearly the number one cause of depression, there are other causes as well, especially if they are combined with aspartame.
Aspartame is known as an “excitotoxin” because it stimulates brain cells far beyond their normal state. This stimulation can actually lead to brain cell death. Another excitotoxin is monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG. Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) frequently has MSG added to it. These two monsters, which are also known by many other names, are added to virtually EVERY junk food on earth, including foods purchased at major restaurants. It may very well be that people who eat a lot of junk food, especially if they drink aspartame, are at major risk for depression.
Excitotoxins can massively exaggerate, in a negative way, the normal expectations, stress, trials and tribulations of everyday life.
See the web page: http://perdurabo10.tripod.com/id77.html
Depression can be caused by unreasonable expectations, financial concerns, family concerns, and can even be made worse, or be initiated by, the foods that are partaken. In many cases, it is a combination of several different issues. This article will discuss issues separately, knowing that there may, in fact, be multiple contributing factors influencing the problem.
Everyone has their “bad days.” Other people may do things that are not expected or appreciated, causing a person to be highly disappointed. Or a person might believe that another person is “Polly Perfect,” who seemingly has never had a care in her life, and somehow goes through life without any problems. These, and other emotional issues can cause emotional problems.
But there is far more to it than emotional or psychological issues. Why is one person depressed by their problems, while another person who has more reasons to be depressed not affected by their problems?
In many cases, a relatively normal situation is compounded by foods that are eaten. It is not that foods are bad, it is the way that foods are processed and it is the things that are added to the foods that can be bad. A person who eats whole, raw foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, rarely has foods contribute to their psychological problems. But even in this case, food allergies may come into play.
It should be made perfectly clear that many emotional problems are predominantly caused by diet. It may be a food allergy (e.g. to food dye) or a substance added to foods (e.g. aspartame or MSG) or the way foods are processed (e.g. trans-fatty acids), or heavy metals that find their way into the body (e.g. mercury and aluminum from vaccinations) but foods frequently play a far more significant part than most people realize.
In many cases, an emotional problem is a combination of both situational events and foods. Let me say that again: in many cases, an emotional problem is a combination of both situational events and foods.
Another issue that needs to be dealt with is whether to seek professional help or to deal with the problem within the circle of family and friends. This decision can only be made by the family, but the decision is not always an easy one.
It will help immensely to know what causes the problem. And since the problem may be a food problem, such as a food allergy, too much aspartame, lack of a critical nutrient, etc. it is critical to understand everything that might be a cause, especially those things that are beyond situational events.
The first level is to deal with the problem using family and friends. This level should include an analysis of what foods are eaten and may be contributing to the problem. Many cases which appear to have nothing to do with food are in fact caused mainly by food issues.
However, in rare cases where suicide is a real potential, there may be no choice but to immediately seek professional help for the short term, and deal with the causes in the long term.
However, there is a trade-off in dealing with professional help. When a person is forcefully put in a mental ward of a hospital there is a permanent stigma that may cause more long-term harm than by dealing with the problem within the family. Each case is different and each case must be dealt with common sense and much contemplation.
All of these things will be discussed one at a time. Because the food issues are so important and because they are ignored so often by professionals I will begin with a discussion of food issues.
Food Issues – The Bad Substances
When scientific tests were first run on aspartame (which is now known by the brand names: NutraSweet, Equal, etc.), it caused holes in the brains of rats. It would seem logical that such a substance would not be something a human should take internally.
However, knowing that tobacco is legal, it should not be surprising that the profits of large corporations are far more important to society than the health of individual human beings. The politics behind the approval of aspartame is beyond the scope of this article, suffice it to say that massive corruption in government was needed to get this poison approved by the FDA.
Virtually everything a person drinks that is “diet” contains aspartame. Many diet foods also contain aspartame. Things that are “sugar-free” may also contain aspartame.
Even skinny people frequently take aspartame in order to stay skinny. In fact, it is hard to find a person who does not routinely take aspartame.
You have probably heard that there is no scientific evidence that aspartame is bad for you. Let me introduce you to the corruption among “science.”
Dr. Ralph G. Walton, M.D., did a study of 166 published studies on the safety of aspartame. The funding of these studies were from the following sources:
- The pharmaceutical industry funded 74 of the studies
- The FDA funded 7 studies
- There were 85 studies that were not funded by the pharmaceutical industry or the FDA
Which of the three groups of studies do you think didn't find anything wrong with aspartame?
Of the 74 pharmaceutical-funded studies, not a single one of them found any health problems caused by aspartame. However, of the 85 studies that were not funded by the pharmaceutical industry (i.e. Big Pharma) or the FDA, 84 of the 85 found health problems caused by aspartame. Do you see a pattern here?
Where do you think the seven FDA studies landed? Six of the seven found no health problems caused by aspartame.
This kind of “science” sounds strangely like what happened with the tobacco industry. During a 42-year period, an organization controlled by the tobacco industry funded 1,500 studies. Not a single one of these studies could find a major health problem caused by tobacco. It seems that scientists are far more loyal to their funding source than they are to the truth.
When I tell someone that aspartame causes brain cancer, birth defects, etc. (actually over 90 different documented health problems), people just look at me and laugh. They will say there is “no scientific evidence” that aspartame causes any health problems. They will say that a person has to drink 800 Diet Cokes to have any bad effects. Unfortunately, it is all a lie that was started by well-paid scientists.
Getting back to real science, aspartame is one of many substances that is called an “excitotoxin.” Excitotoxins, when they get into the brain, cause brain cells to get so “excited” that they literally die or their DNA is damaged. In other words, every time a person drinks a diet Coke some of their brain cells die.
But for the purposes of this article, the side-effects of aspartame can also lead to migraine headaches, depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental problems.
Aspartame’s long-term effects can be even more significant. Aspartame is known to cause brain cancer, leading to a rash of brain cancer among younger and younger people. It can cause dementia and the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. It can cause the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, and so on and so on.
Someone who is experiencing depression, anxiety, migraines, bipolar behavior, etc. should first and foremost get aspartame completely out of their system.
Unfortunately, even if aspartame is a major part of the problem, stopping the ingestion of aspartame will not solve the problem immediately. Aspartame is stored by the body and will continue to cause symptoms long after the victim quits taking it.
It gets worse. Aspartame and Neotame can cause brain damage to an unborn fetus. This brain damage can be manifest as mental retardation, Cerebral Palsy, autism, ADD, ADHD, brain tumors, and a myriad of other brain related disorders.
There are other things that are also excitotoxins that can cause the same mental problems as aspartame. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is especially bad if it is taken with aspartame. Other things include hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) and cysteine.
Step one in isolating why a person frequently gets depressed or suffers from anxiety is to remove all artificial sweeteners out of their body, plus MSG, HVP, and cysteine.
Many people suffer mental illnesses due to food allergies. The interesting thing about food allergies is that a person craves the foods they are allergic to. Let me say that again: a person craves the foods they are allergic to.
I spoke to a doctor once who described a patient who happened to be allergic to bananas. He described that the person was perfectly normal, with perfectly normal behavior, but when the person was given a banana he (or she, I don’t remember) immediately went into a psychotic rage.
Most food allergies are not that dramatic, however. Foods that people are allergic to include dairy products (e.g. milk and cheese), which are probably the number one cause, plus wheat, food colorings, food additives, and just about any other food.
During World War II, the people of Holland suffered great hardships and extreme mental stress. However, mental illness in Holland decreased during World War II!! Why? Because the people basically lived on potatoes and could not get the foods they may have been allergic to.
There are two basic ways a person can isolate food allergies. First, go to a medical doctor who specializes in isolating food allergies.
Another way is to simply stop taking all foods that a person normally takes, especially the ones they crave and eat frequently, and instead eat foods they would rarely eat and avoid the foods that are related to the foods they normally eat.
This should go on this diet for at least three weeks. If this gives some relief to the person, there is a pretty good chance food allergies are a contributing factor, if not a major cause. After three weeks foods can be reintroduced into the diet, one food per day, to isolate what might be causing the problem.
Many cases of autism, ADHD, ADD, and many other mental disorders, can also be traced to food allergies, sometimes called brain allergies. And by far the number one cause of these types of allergies is dairy products.
My guess is that food allergies cause an inflammation in the brain that is what actually causes the problem. Migraines can also be caused by food allergies.
A worthwhile book to read on this subject is:
Brain Allergies: The Psychonutrient and Magnetic Connections, by Willam H. Philpott
Heavy Metals (plus aluminum)
The body is a very interesting entity. At times it attacks itself. In an “auto-immune” disease the body mistakes something for an attacking invader and destroys itself in an attempt to kill what it mistakes as an invader.
For example, Type I diabetes is a disease known as an “auto-immune” disease. The body mistakes something for a foreign invader and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas. That “something” may be dairy products, heavy metals (especially mercury from vaccinations) or other foreign items. (Note: there have been recent scientific studies – which were controlled by the pharmaceutical industry – that claim there is no connection between autism and vaccinations, but these studies are a giant lie.
There are many other auto-immune diseases, such as arthritis, MS, and others.
The question is this: “Can mental illnesses ever be caused by an “auto-immune” reaction?”
Well, let’s be logical. It has been known since World War II that heavy metals (e.g. the mercury in dental amalgam or the combination of aluminum pots and fluoride) were the major cause of Alzheimer’s and dementia. In this case, however, it may not be an auto-immune disease as much as the heavy metals simply blocking the functions of the brain.
However, heavy metals are also known to be causes of auto-immune diseases, such as Type I diabetes.
If someone is having mental problems it may be wise (actually it would be wise for anyone to do this) to throw away all aluminum cookware. Aluminum, combined with the fluoride in tap water, creates massive problems, similar to those caused by “heavy metals,” even though aluminum is technically not a heavy metal.
In some cases, it would be wise to have the dental amalgam removed. However, prior to having this done the mercury level in the blood should be checked to see if this might be a problem. Reduction in the amount of fish that is eaten would also help. If the amalgam is removed, flood you stomach with chlorella prior to going to the dentist.
Another thing is to avoid vaccinations, except for life-threatening situations. Flu shots should be avoided unless the person's life would be jeopardized by catching the flu.
The way to get rid of heavy metals is with “chelation.” There are two kinds of chelation: “EDTA chelation,” which is an I.V. that must be administered by a medical doctor, and “oral chelation,” which is a combination of nutrients. There are numerous nutrients that will “chelate” heavy metals. A discussion of these is beyond the scope of this article. However, I will say that chlorella may be the best chelating food.
Trans-fatty acids are a little more complicated. Trans-fatty acids are rigid molecules that attach to cell walls, in place of the pliable cholesterol. If enough trans-fatty acids attach to a cell wall, significant damage can be done because large molecules, such as the insulin molecule and oxygen clusters, cannot get into the cell.
If enough cells become like this the person will likely develop Type II diabetes. It is highly likely that trans-fatty acids, found in margarine, fried foods, peanut butter, etc. are the leading cause of Type II diabetes.
So what does this have to do with depression? Trans-fatty acids interfere with the absorption by the body of EFAs. As will be seen below, omega-3 EFAs are a major help to those with depression or anxiety. In other words, the effect of trans-fatty acids on depression or anxiety is an indirect effect that blocks one of the necessary nutrients needed for good mental health.
Other causes that need to be researched (some have been discussed above):
- Sugar (including a sensitivity to sweets, bread, pasta or alcohol) – feel good in the short run, feel bad in the long run, also fogs the brain. Dr. Tracy considers sugar to be in the same league with aspartame as a major cause of depression.
- Acid / Alkaline balance (related to fungus/yeast because fungus and yeast thrive in an acidic environment)
- Fungus / Yeast / Mould (microbes) – there are several books on these things, especially yeast. However, fungus and yeast are essentially the same thing (I won't go into why).
- Acne Medication (see: http://www.jamesonchiro.com/Jan23news.html ( search: depression )Read: http://www.motherearthworks.com/articles/Conditions/deperss.htm
- LOW cholesterol (sic) see:
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
- Birth Control Pills:
As a part of the research body of the Family Planning Association in London in the 1960s, Grant was at the forefront of research into the pill's side effects. She has since written many papers about the pill, as well as a book called The Bitter Pill, and founded an organization called Doctors Against Abuse From Sex Hormones. Asked if the pharmaceutical companies have tried to discredit her studies, Grant says, “Nobody has ever attacked what I've said, they've just ignored it.” Grant says the pill depletes the body's zinc levels, B vitamins, and essential fatty acids while causing copper levels to go up. “It causes a whole shambles throughout the body,” Grant says. “All of the body's natural pathways get blocked and unnatural.” This interferes with the brain's ability to metabolize serotonin, the brain chemical required for happiness.
- Birth Control Pills:
Food Issues – The Good Substances
The following GOOD supplement/foods need to be researched: (some are mentioned below)
Note: Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, Ph.D believes [based on the research of Dr. Felix Sulman] that the problem with depression is NOT that there is a LACK of serotonin, but rather there is an inability of the body to metabolize serotonin.
She believes the inability to metabolize serotonin creates an EXCESS of serotonin in the body. Prozac, and other SSRI drugs, further suppress the metabolism of serotonin, thus cause even higher levels of serotonin in the body. This excess creates an even higher level of serotonin toxicity. Thus, she does not agree that natural substances that INCREASE the level of serotonin (e.g. 5-HTP) are healthy for a depressed person.
- St. John's Wort
- L-Tryptophan (amino acid), available ONLY at: http://www.beautynhealth.com/tryptophan/index.htm
- Organic Germanium
- Vitamin B12 ( SUPERB !!! )
- For those who are sugar sensitive, see the book: Potatoes Not Prozac, by Kathleen DesMaisons, PhD
- DHA see: http://www.energywave.com/what_ails_you/brain_functioning/omega%20oils%20and%20the%20brain.htm
- Kava Kava (may create some health risks)
- Vitamin C and niacin
- Noni Juice
- Rosemary (herb)
- certain B vitamins
- chlorella (see the book: Chlorella: The Key to Health, Vitality, and Longevity, by Mark Drucker, M.D. [Note: chlorella is high in Vitamin B12, which is known to be a major treatment of depression.]
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
This quote explains why omega-3 EFAs are so important to the brain:
The brain is remarkably fatty: In fact, this organ is 60 percent fat and needs omega-3s to function properly. Now researchers have discovered a link between mood disorders and the presence of low concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids in the body.
Apparently, omega-3s help regulate mental health problems because they enhance the ability of brain-cell receptors to comprehend mood-related signals from other neurons in the brain. In other words, the omega-3s are believed to help keep the brain's entire traffic pattern of thoughts, reactions, and reflexes running smoothly and efficiently.
Omega-3 can best be obtained through flaxseed oil, fish oil or walnuts. However, there are many other foods that contain omega-3 is less dense quantities. Perhaps the single best source of omega-3 is spirulina. It also contains GLA (omega-6).
Fish oil has also been shown in many studies, to reduce your bad cholesterol levels and reduce plaque buildup in your blood. By reducing your bad cholesterol, you are helping your body to fight off stress and relieve anxiety, tension and even prevent heart disease. Fish and other foods that are high in Omega-3 are excellent ways to help your blood stream. (1)
If the person taking omega-3 is concerned about any type of cancer, they should also take cottage cheese, yogurt or skim milk with their omega-3 source. This is the only time I know of where a dairy product is actually useful in the body.
Vitamin B3, Niacin
Vitamin B6, Pyridoxine
Vitamin B9, Folic Acid
Vitamin B12, Cobalamin
Three B vitamins are clearly as important as omega-3 in supporting brain functions:
Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in depression. B12 deficiency occurs much more frequently in the elderly. A Norwegian mental hospital measured the B12 level of every patient over 30 years old who was admitted during a one-year period. The results showed that the percentage of mental patients with below normal vitamin B12 levels was 30 times higher than in the normal population in that area.
According to doctors from the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, depressive symptoms are the most common neuropsychiatric signs of folic acid deficiency. In one study, patients with major depression with low folic acid levels were treated with methyl folate (15 mg/day) or a placebo. At both three and six months, patients showed substantial improvements in depression scores compared to the placebo controls. Overall, folic acid supplementation significantly enhanced recovery from psychiatric illness.
Vitamin B6 is required for the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. Vitamin B6 deficiency may result in symptoms of anxiety and depression, due to decreased serotonin production. Numerous drugs can deplete vitamin B6, which can often lead to depression.
Niacin helps blood flow and circulation and thus will enhance the effectiveness of the other B vitamins.
When buying a “B-Complex” vitamin carefully check for the quality of where the vitamins come from and the dosages of the vitamins, especially Vitamin B12, which is the most difficult to obtain. Usually, however, a vitamin B12 supplement should be ADDED to a B-complex supplement.
Folic Acid (required for energy production) is considered brain food. The brain needs it to work properly. It helps to prevent anxiety and fatigue. Folic acid works best when combined with vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
Much research has indicated that a deficiency of folic acid may cause depression, insomnia, anorexia, forgetfulness, hyper-irritability, apathy, fatigue, and anxiety. (1)
GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid) is an amino acid help reduce anxiety, allows rational decision making, promotes restful sleep and enhances workout recovery. It has also been shown to have similar effects as the benzodiazepine drugs.
You will also feel more relaxed and notice that you are sleeping better. The recommended dose for GABA is 700-750 mg – 3 times daily – talk to a medical professional about using GABA.
Selenium, an important antioxidant, is a trace mineral found in soil and food. It protects neurotransmitters. Deficiency in selenium has shown to have a negative impact on mood. It also helps to reduce bad cholesterol and keep the heart healthy.
You can get much of your selenium from dietary sources such as Alfalfa, fennel seed, ginseng, butter, garlic, liver, Brazil nuts, shellfish and other fishes. You can find it in sunflower seeds, yarrow, wheat germ, and Brewer's yeast.
L-Tryptophan (an amino acid) and 5-HTP
L-tryptophan and 5-HTP are closely related. 5-HTP is synthesized from L-tryptophan in the body. L-tryptophan was sold as a food supplement during the late 1980s to induce sleep “naturally,” because this amino acid produces serotonin in the brain, similar to the calming role of milk as a sleep inducer. 5-HTP also has been offered as an aid for insomnia, depression, obesity, and for children with attention deficit disorder.
The story about the FDA and L-Tryptophan is yet another tale of massive government corruption and the desire of the government to satisfy the demands of their masters in the pharmaceutical industry.
By the way, if you have a problem with my cynical comments about the FDA, read my article at:
Big Pharma (the pharmaceutical industry) was getting ready to release Prozac, a highly profitable prescription drugs. Whereas L-Tryptophan actually created serotonin in the body, Prozac, and many drugs that have come out since then, fool the body into thinking it had more serotonin that it actually had.
L-Tryptophan, an essential amino acid the body cannot make by itself, is totally harmless and has never hurt anyone who has taken it. However, a drug company, Showa Denko K.K., in Japan, manufactured a contaminated batch of L-Tryptophan that led to a small number of deaths and injuries.
Normally, when a very safe product has a contaminated batch, the FDA simply fines the company making the batch, cleans things up, and soon everything is back to normal.
But that is not the way the FDA deals with natural nutrients, especially when they compete with profitable products of Big Pharma. The FDA made all distribution of L-Tryptophan illegal! What is interesting is that the FDA action against L-Tryptophan and the FDA action approving Prozac occurred within four days of each other. Was this a coincidence? Not unless you get all of your news from soap operas.
I won't go into the politics more, but the FDA relaxed their policy towards L-Tryptophan in February 2001. However, their restrictions on manufacturing this product are so severe there is only one company I know of that makes it. It can be purchased at:
Because of the limited availability of L-Tryptophan the alternative health field has taken up with 5-HTP, SAMe, and St. John's wort, to name but three. I suspect that L-Tryptophan is the best of them all if you can get it.
St. John's wort
St. John's wort is a herb that has been around for centuries for medicinal purposes, including the treatment of depression.
The positive research on the use of St. John’s wort extracts for depression continues on. A new meta-analysis has looked at 27 trials (2291 patients) using various St. John’s wort (SJW) preparations. As has been determined before, SJW extracts are significantly better than placebo and equally effective as other (bi and tricyclic) antidepressant products. Reported side effects with SJW were 26.3 percent, while standard antidepressants were 44.7 percent in these trials.
(Requires Adobe Acrobat)
One of the active ingredients in St. John's wort is Hypericum.
Pregnant and nursing women are not advised to take St. John's wort at the current time.
SAMe (S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine) is not only an effective antidepressant, it is available just about everywhere.
A 2002 Italian study found SAMe to be as effective as imipramine, one of the original tricyclic antidepressants. The researchers also found that SAMe subjects reported fewer side-effects than subjects who took imipramine. This research and earlier studies are summarized in these MEDLINE abstracts. While superior this particular study did not compare SAMe to placebo, previous studies have found it to be superior to placebo.
Some of the Emotional Causes of Depression
The Actions of Others
We live in an imperfect world. It is not always a fun place to be. People who seem to be perfect on the outside, sometimes turn out to be imperfect on the inside. In fact, some people are seriously “hurt” by the actions of others.
These actions may have been intentionally designed to damage the feelings of another person or they may have been totally innocent and either led to unintended hurt feelings or the “guilty” person may not have even known the feelings of anther were hurt.
If it is actions of others that have caused deep emotional scars, it is necessary to first determine whether the actions or words of others were designed to do damage or had other intentions in mind. This is not because this determination is important, but it is important to help avoid unnecessary mental pain.
Everyone has said things that unintentionally hurt others. It is part of life on earth. One person may say something that means something specific to the person who said it, and what was said may even have been intended to complement or make another person feel good about themselves. On the other hand, the “victim” may interpret the statement in a totally different light. We have all been the unintended “bad guy” and we have all been the innocent victim.
Other things that can happen unintentionally is a person may say something before thinking about the possible damage done by the statement. They may try to “take it back,” but by then it may be too late – the damage is done.
Then there is the rare case where a person really does intend to hurt the feelings of others. Few people intentionally seek to hurt the feelings of others, but it does happen. These people are, by definition, immature.
It is important from a mental standpoint to not harbor grudges and ill feelings towards another person, even when their actions were inexcusable. Even people who are not religious have come to this conclusion.
In fact, many cases of depression are caused DIRECTLY by the person's inability to “forgive” another person who has harmed them or a close relative or friend. Let it go. Say to yourself: “God will be the judge.” Then let it go.
It is a difficult thing to do, but it is absolutely necessary.
We all, by nature, want to feel important. It is doubtful that anyone has gone through life without the desire to be appreciated and feel the respect of others. That is not what is different between us.
What is different is our reaction to “failure,” as we suppose. Some people take unexpected results right in stride and barely even notice what has happened.
But others, for whatever reason, have a very different reaction. They become depressed as if they were a “failure” in life. Why people care so much about others think about them is a mystery to me, but some people are so concerned about what other people think about them that they become depressed when they do not meet their expectations.
Our attitude should be one of: “I will do my best to be accepted by others, but if they do not accept me, I will be fine.”
There is the hypothetical and mystical human being called “Polly Perfect.” She has never existed, but somehow people insist on comparing themselves to “her.” Her house is perfect – there is not a piece of dust in her house. She easily masters all of her community assignments. She takes care of her husband with the greatest of ease. Her kids are little angels. She is a pillar of her community. She never has any stress. She never has any problems. And she is pure fiction.
Sometimes we want to be like Polly Perfect. It won’t happen. It can’t happen.
But what is bad is that when some people fail to live up to the mirage, they become depressed and stressed.
Children frequently are the ones that get depressed or stressed out. Sorry, but parents, sometimes, are a big cause of their problems.
Children may not have a good comprehension of what “priorities” are, but they have an innate ability to feel what their parent's priorities are.
Every child on earth has a perfect understanding of their parent's priorities, even if they don't understand the terminology. It is built into being a child.
First, let’s talk about punishing children. Some parents punish their children far too much. Let me repeat that: far too much.
One thing that really irritates me is parents who have the attitude: “if I said something it must be fulfilled.” God can say that, but not parents. Parents make mistakes about their punishments and should be willing to back-off of their stupid statements.
Perhaps the book: Jay’s Journal, sets the story right. The book is about a boy who commits suicide. The book is really nothing but his journal, thus the book’s title (Jay is not his real name, of course).
Jay was mentally messed up, mostly by his friends, but as you read his journal you see a clear pattern. His father had no clue what to do with him other than to “ground” him (i.e. send him to his room for long periods of time). Much of Jay’s journal was written while he was grounded. It almost seems (as Jay describes it) like the only interaction between Jay and his father was when his father grounded him.
What was his father doing? It obviously wasn't spending quality time with his son.
A family should be designed to provide strong mental support for children growing up. That is one of its main purposes. This strong mental support must be done by the interaction between parents and children as friends, with love, not by a tirade of one punishment after another.
I remember standing around at an amusement park in St. Louis. One man, who had his wife and very small child, barked command after command to his wife and child. It was clear he was more interested in making it clear “who was in charge,” than in fostering a loving family.
It is doing things with your children, that they like to do, that gives them a clear picture that they are loved.
One thing that needs to be emphasized. A child can see through hypocrisy and guile as easily as they can see through a window. The true values of parents cannot be hidden from children.
If we were to list all of the things that needed to be done over the next 48 hours, everyone in America would have stress. We live in a world where things go wrong far faster than they go right. Things tend to disarray, not order (this was one of Newton’s laws).
If we work outside the home, we have stress caused by our job. But even if we work inside the home we have stress. If we have children, we are stressed by the children. If we have community responsibilities, we are stressed by them. And so on. The list of things each of us has to do is far too long.
So what can we do?
There are two things we must do. First, tell our spouse and hope he or she understands and is willing to help. Second, cut back on the things that are not necessary for our family.
We cannot cut back on our family responsibilities, but perhaps we can cut back on many of the unnecessary things we do.
But we also must mentally rest each day. Just sit back and listen to good music when a few moments can be cut out of the day.
We may want to cut back on our community responsibilities.
Each case is different, but we must first acknowledge and openly attempt to reduce the stress in our lives.
Psychologists and Psychiatrists
I mention psychologists and psychiatrists last for good reason. They should be the last resort unless suicide or other serious problems are imminent.
To simplify things, I will refer to “psychiatrists” as those who generally use prescription drugs to treat their patients and “psychologists” as those who predominantly use counseling as their treatment. I will talk about them separately.
Perhaps I can best describe psychiatrists by a personal experience I had with several of them.
My wife and I have seven children, two of which are boy-girl twins. Our twins had a very good girlfriend who came from a very dysfunctional home.
The husband was dominant and was a total jerk. Aside from numerous kinds of abuse, he favored his son, who could do no harm in his eyes. His son was just as bad as his father, if not worse. The mother was a wimp who stayed out of the way for the most part. In short, this young teenage girl was on her own inside of a very dysfunctional home.
It almost goes without saying that she attempted suicide on several occasions. It is impossible for me to adequately paint in words what this girl went through. In addition to all of this, she had no one to turn to but her friends, who bless their hearts, tried to give her good advice, but unintentionally gave her very bad advice.
I became involved after one of her attempts at suicide. My twins tried to solve her problems by themselves, without seeking the counsel of any sane adults. They meant well, but the girl overdosed on pills.
Fortunately, the girl's mother figured out what had happened and the girl was sent to a hospital (as I remember) and then to a mental institution (this was not her first appearance at a mental institution).
This is where things got very interesting. Before going on, ask yourself who should have been in the mental institution, the abusive father and son, or the girl? Was she a victim or was she the problem? Should a mental institution be filled with abusive people or with their victims?
Answer these questions before reading on.
Basically, I saw this girl in two different mental institutions and in both cases, her treatment was the same. Step 1, give her large doses of powerful mind-altering drugs until she no longer could think straight. Step 2, observe her until she had forgotten the intensity of what had happened. Step 3, send her back to the same abusive home.
Does this make sense to you?
Well, it made sense to the psychiatrists who did this time after time. In fact, many of the people in mental institutions are people who have been abused by parents, relatives, or the psychiatry industry.
See the website: http://www.stephensstory.org/
I must admit that some social workers tried to get the court to allow a sane relative of the girl to have custody of the girl, but it never worked. The cycle continued until she was of age and could move out of the house legally.
But above and beyond all of these things, it must be understood that medical doctors know absolutely nothing about nutrition and generally have zero interest in finding a cause for the problem, especially if food issues are involved. They make their money by prescription drugs.
Psychologists, by my definition, do not use prescription drugs to treat their patients, but rather they use therapy to treat their patients. They try to isolate what is the cause of their patient’s emotional problems and then try to talk them through a solution.
Psychologists, in general, probably do a better job than psychiatrists. In any case, both professions should be a family's last resort.
First, check for food problems (e.g. aspartame, dairy products, food allergies, etc.). Second, check to see if your family has the proper relationship between the parents and children. Only in extreme situations should these two steps not be done first.
You cannot make an appointment with a social worker. You get involved with them when it is far too late. Trying to categorize social workers is like trying to categorize the math skills of people. It is impossible to generalize.
A good social worker will try to get a person (usually a child) out of a bad situation and put them in a good situation.
In both phases, many mistakes are made, but in many cases, the results are in the best interests of the victim.
Sometimes social workers go beyond the realm of common sense and take children out of situations that are not nearly as bad as the social worker thinks. That can be just as bad as leaving them there.
On the other hand, social workers cause far more problems by putting these children in homes that are just as bad, or worse, than the homes they took them from. Social workers have a good reputation for taking children out of bad homes, but they have a bad reputation for picking good homes to put the children into.
Foster homes range from the magnificent to homes far worse than the ones the children were taken from. Abuse of by far the most prevalent problem caused by putting foster children into bad homes.
In short, most social workers mean well, and many have a good record of identifying bad homes and taking kids out of those homes. But social workers are definitely not perfect at identifying good homes to put children into.