According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression, making it the leading cause of disability worldwide. It is also classified as a mental disorder, but does it truly fit that classification?
Anti-Depressants May Worsen Depression
A good deal of research suggests antidepressants might actually worsen depression. For example, a fairly recent study published in the journal Medical Hypothesis outlines how chronic depression is on the rise (a statistic that can’t be argued), and as a result, so is treatment. This indicates that the use of antidepressants isn’t really solving the problem, and that antidepressant efficacy is on a downward trend. The study suggested that this is “emerging evidence that, in some individuals, persistent use of antidepressants may be pro-depressant” in the long term, and it’s not the first study to mention it. (source)
Neuroplasticity – Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Brain
Positive thinking literally changes your brain. It’s called neuroplasticity, and it shows us how our thoughts, our emotions, and our perception of the environment around us can re-wire our brain.
Neuroplasticity is widely accepted in the scientific community, and continues to prove that our brain is extremely adaptable and “changeable.” Again, neuroplasticity shows us how thought can change the brain’s structure, and it’s being used as treatment for various diseases. This means that constant positive thought and activity can rewire our brain and strengthen areas that stimulate positive feelings.
“The idea that the brain is plastic in the sense of changeable, adaptable and malleable is, I have come to believe, the single most important change in our understanding of the human brain in four hundred years… [Neuroplasticity] is that property of the brain that allows it to change its structure and its function… it’s in response to sensing and perceiving the world, and even, quite fantastically, to thinking and imagining…. Human thoughts and learning actually turn on certain genes in our nerve cells which allow those cells to make new connections between them.” – Dr. Norman Doidge (source)(source)
The fact that our consciousness alone has the power to transform our biology is also well illustrated by the placebo effect. You can read more about that and access some studies here.
Mushrooms (Psilocybin) Can Treat Depression
Multiple studies have been published showing the effectiveness of psilocybin in improving psychological well-being. For example, a fairly recent study was published in Journal of the Royal Society interface comparing M.R.I. brain scans of subjects injected with psilocybin with scans of their normal brain activity. The brains on psilocybin showed radically different connectivity patterns between cortical regions (the parts thought to play an important role in consciousness). The researchers mapped out these connections, revealing the activity of new neural networks between otherwise disconnected brain regions. (source)
What we are looking at here is the fact that the brain temporarily behaves in a new way under the influence of psilocybin, and it might have very significant consequences with it comes to treating disorders like depression.
In depressed individuals, there is over-activity in the anterior cingulate cortex. Psilocybin possesses the power to switch off the over-activity in this part of the brain. Then, rather than increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, Psilocybin binds to serotonin receptors and mimics them, causing the brain to function as if it has more serotonin without actually altering the levels themselves.
Neuroscience researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim have reported that, not only does the use of LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline not cause long-term mental health problems, but in many cases, actually decreases the rate of these issues.
There are a plethora of studies outlining this beneficial link between psychedelics and depression, many of which have also stressed that they are not linked to mental health problems whatsoever.
According to a study conducted at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, psychedelic mushrooms, or what are commonly known as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms,” may have long lasting spiritual and medicinal benefits. You can read more about that story here.
It really makes you wonder, what if these were our “pills” (straight from the jungle) instead of what the pharmaceutical companies are giving us today…
It Takes Effort
It’s easy to pop a pill and think that it’s going to assist you in some way, but depression is all about effort. You have to change your way of thinking. Obviously, this is extremely difficult to accomplish and can take years of work, but with the science of neuroplasticity and consciousness coming to light, it’s definitely worth a try. The more positive thoughts you bring forth, the better. The less you dwell inside of the victim state, the better. The more you see your problems and depression as an opportunity for growth, the better. The more you eat healthily, exercise, and follow your passions, the better. I know that when you are unmotivated as a result of depression, staying in bed all day may feel like the best, or indeed the only, thing to do, but you have to take that first step – change starts within you, not from something outside of yourself.
The Environment That Surrounds Us: Our Current Human Experience
Feeling depressed, especially in today’s world, is not abnormal. Many of us are forced into lives we do not want to live, working long hours at a job we don’t like so we can have enough food in our bellies and a roof over our heads. Our passions, joy, and heart desires seem to be completely ignored the moment we enter into the school system and are encouraged to become ‘normal.’ If we are going to look at this issue properly, our environment and our current overall human experience need to be examined and changed.
Again, being depressed doesn’t necessarily mean you have some sort of mental condition to the point where you should be taking potentially harmful ‘medications.’ Doing what we are told takes a tremendous amount of time, and a big chunk out of one’s life, as most of us spend our entire lives doing the same thing over and over. If we take a look at what most of us do for joy, it looks pretty similar across the board. We go to various ‘entertainment’ outlets like bars, sporting events, and more, but is this really what we desire? Is this really a healthy source of happiness and joy? Is the current 9-5 human experience natural and healthy for the mind/body and spirit? Is it really okay to surround ourselves with toxic substances 24/7? In the midst of all this, we are not thinking about the planet and the products that we use on a daily basis.
At the same time, the idea of ‘success’ is heavily marketed to us, and it is an ideal many people are not able to achieve. As a result, they feel worthless or useless. The same thing goes for education, looks, and more. It’s like we have a defined set criteria of what it means to be ‘successful’ or to have ‘done well.
Maybe the problem isn’t necessarily a psychological/biological one, maybe it has to do with the environment we’ve created for ourselves here on planet Earth. Many people are experiencing a lack of joy, or hate their job, or are struggling to survive. How can one cultivate positive thoughts if they spend most of their lives doing things that do not provide them with any real pleasure?
This is why it’s so important to follow your heart and your passions. No matter what you are doing, take time to do the things you love, and take the necessary steps to make it happen. There are always changes you can make in pursuit of your own happiness, no matter how small you perceive them to be. The joy does not lie within the end results, it lies within the journey itself.
Hopefully this helps some of you out, thanks for reading.