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  • Writer's pictureGiacomino Nicolazzo

Making It Stop...


MAKING IT STOP...

Edition 64. May 2024


“Depression is living in a body that fights to survive, with a mind that is trying to die.”


One of the main reasons I withdrew from social media more than a year ago was due to the frustration, anger, anxiety and disappointment I was experiencing on a daily basis. I really got very little joy out of it. The negative reactions came from reading the many false, fake, inane, unresearched, grammatically-abhorent and feather-ruffling messages I would find crossing my timeline and newsfeed every single day. They really affected me mentally and emotionally. But when I realized they were also having negative physical ramifications, as far as my health goes, well for me...


quitting was a no brainer!


Now before I get going with the subject matter of this month’s blog, I want to once again issue my standard disclaimer.


Let me assure everyone that my thoughts, my comments and my musings are never meant to offend or alienate anyone. And although I clearly state what I write is my opinion, I assure you everything is well researched before I put pen to paper...or in this case, finger to keyboard.


What I write is always meant to provoke introspective thinking and civil conversation.


With that being said, let me tell you about a good feather-ruffling I had back in my social media perusing days. This absurd meme appeared on my Facebook timeline...


“Depression and anxiety are very real!

I would like five of my friends to post this.

I think I know who will.”


The first thought that crossed my mind was...


“And I think I know who will too.”


Those who would repost this meme would be those who had no idea that depression and anxiety, though quite debilitating, are in fact, not real. And by doing so they would only serve to perpetuate the myth and cause those who suffer from it additional damage.


I am not saying that depression and anxiety don’t exist. I know they do. What I am saying is these conditions are not as they are represented to be.


Many people think this way because The American Psychiatric Association has this to say about depression...


“Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.”


And with regard to treatment, they assert...


”Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80% and 90% percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment.”


And by treatment, they mean...


Brain chemistry alteration through antidepressant or psychotropic medications

Electrical stimulation of the brain through Electroconvulsive Cognitive Therapy (ECT) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) through on-going psychotherapy


Please note that in their description of depression, the APA tags it as a medical illness. However, with regard to treatment they call it a mental disorder. And according to the APA (2013), a psychological disorder is a condition that is said to consist of significant disturbance in...


thoughts

 feelings

behaviors


But the truth of the matter is this...


Depression may be common, but it is not a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Actually, it is just the opposite of what the American Psychiatric Association claims. They have it backwards...


the way we think and how we act is what negatively affects how we feel


Depression and anxiety are in fact thought-based maladies that may or may not manifest themselves with physical symptoms, which are indeed quite real.


This dichotomy is caused by the intricate intermingling of the mind (mental health) with the body (physical health). Disagree if you like, but I will stand my ground when I state...


depression and anxiety are illusory


Neither can be permanently remedied by medication, electroconvulsive therapy, surgery or prosthetics. The remedy can only be found in changing the way a sufferer thinks and perceives the world. Simply put...


by reprogramming one’s thoughts, one can rid themselves of that from which they suffer


Let me be clear...


This is not my opinion


This is a stated fact verified by literally hundreds of independent studies.


For the record, allow me to say this...


I know changing the way one thinks is much, much easier said than done


Overcoming the mind’s influence on the body, after a lifetime of wrong-thinking, can at times be difficult and (for certain people) even impossible.


I am also cognizant that many cases of depression or anxiety are deeply rooted in harsh or severe traumas. I am not in any way diminishing the gravity or severity of the pain any sufferer feels.


Many of you reading this will find what I’ve just written to sound naïve, cliché, absurd, insensitive, offensive or abnormally harsh. However...


it is in fact none of those adjectives


Those who know me also know that I always know my song well before I start singing. I will not take a stand on something that I have not thoroughly researched and looked at from all angles and schools of thought.


I have looked at these issues long and hard and I am comfortable with my findings and conclusions, many of which are supported by medical and psychiatric professionals as well as many spiritual leaders.


But please, let me also say this to anyone who is suffering from depression...


you should not feel bad about feeling bad

you should not feel sad about being sad

you should not be frightened about feeling afraid

you should not be angry about getting angry


Such actions will only make the effects and the physical symptoms worse.


There is no need to give up when you are feeling depressed. Nor should you be dismayed at the grief which often accompanies the outgrowing of anything which requires outgrowing. You should in fact be glad...


your soul is speaking to you and pushing you onwards.


The fact of the matter is we frequently need to go through a period of inner turmoil before the dust can settle and be swept out the door.


If you are reading this today, and you suffer from depression or anxiety, I have two simple questions I’d like to ask you...


Do you really want this suffering in your life?

Wouldn’t you really rather have peace?


Unless you are a masochist, you no doubt would say no to the first question and yes to the second. And this then leads me to another question...


Why aren’t you thinking the kind of thoughts and taking the sort of actions

that will push suffering and unhappiness from your life and usher in more peace?


I am going to ask that you trust me for a few minutes. I am going to ask that you suspend your usual way of thinking and consider your situation from a different perspective.


I want you to think of your body as a community of fifty trillion living cells. Each cell is a conscious, living, breathing, sentient being, interacting with all other community members. They are also part of the much bigger, much more wonderfully complex whole.


When your cellular community is in harmony, you are healthy...


both physically and emotionally


When it is in disharmony, the door opens to...


disease, depression and worse


Now before I suggest to you how to create your own cellular utopia, it is important to understand a bit of science that I myself just recently learned.


In a very extensive research program undertaken at Johns Hopkins, Department of Cell Biology, researchers have recently discovered that the so called "brain" of the cell is not in the nucleus as previously thought. Instead...


it is in the protective covering around the cell known as the cell membrane.


They also concluded that, like the keyboard on your computer or smart phone, the actions of the cell membrane are, keystroke by keystroke, programmed by what you think (your thoughts), by what you believe (your belief system), by what you feel (your emotional state) and by what you have gone through, what you are going through or what you anticipate going through (your experiences).


I found this discovery to be absolutely fascinating because it supports something I have believed for a long time...


we are what we think!

what we focus upon is that which grows!

we attract into our lives that which we think about most!


Knowing this about the cell membrane, it is easy to see that what and how we think plays a large (if not the greatest) part in our physical well-being as well as our emotional state of being.


Logic dictates that to create a "physical utopia," where each and every cell is happy, fulfilled and living a life of true purpose and thus providing us with sound physical health...


everything begins with the way we think!


If our thoughts (via the cell membrane) ultimately dictate cell health, then fixing the root of the problem is the clear solution. It is not through medications, electroconvulsive therapy or life-long psychotherapy. The solution begins with having better, consistent and more positive thoughts...


Focus your thinking only on what you want to attract into your life!


Many people assume that a mental disorder such as depression is an internal and personal entity essentially lying outside any given situation, society or culture. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently claimed that depression is the second most burdensome disease, disability-wise, in the world.


Now depression is no longer a medical illness or a mental disorder...it is a disease!


This is an assumption that is being aggressively challenged by researchers, scientists, psychiatrists and mental healthcare workers around the world. And once something, in this case depression, is declared real, it becomes real in its consequences...


but this does not mean it is valid.


Honestly! Is depression more burdensome than AIDS or Tuberculosis, Alzheimer’s or ALS, all of which combined take more than 6.5 million lives every year?


with millions more left disabled for many years if not life


I bet you didn’t know depression is a geographical disorder? It has no exact equivalent in non-Western cultures. This was unequivocally proven as a result of an international study performed by US and European researchers that concluded in 2018. Very capable and credible researchers have discovered a rather interesting pattern...


depression is most prevalent in Western cultures

and

almost non-existent in Eastern cultures


It would appear that depression, while being a modern health epidemic, is also culture-specific. Yet we mostly continue to treat it at the individual level with anti-depressant drugs, cruel electro-shock therapy and extensive psychotherapy. This wrongly assumes treatment lies in correcting individual biological and psychological imbalances.


For several years now, researchers in America and Europe have been investigating whether Western cultural values play a role in promoting the depression epidemic. They postulate that causation may all come down to one thing... 


the cultural definition of happiness!


In a series of very interesting experiments, they found that the high value we place on happiness is not only associated with increased levels of depression...


it may also actually be the underlying factor


Happiness is a highly prized emotional state in Western culture. Whether it is the smiling faces on billboards, television, magazines or the internet, advertisers are constantly pairing their products with feelings of happiness. Such marketing strategies make the products appear more desirable and the associated positive feelings they can bring are ideal.


But this marketing approach flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Happiness is not a product or commodity that can be purchased. It is not something that can be pursued...


it can only be chosen!


The paths we take in search of happiness often times lead to frustration and suffering instead. We try to create outer conditions that we believe will make us happy. Society has conditioned us to live and find comfort in the façade of “busy-ness.” Simply put, if we aren’t busy...


we aren’t being productive or making progress


But in fact, the complete opposite is true. Taking time out of your busy day to actually be still has proven to be far more beneficial than you can imagine. And it makes you far more productive than the busy schedules you think you have to follow every day.


Stillness...brings clarity to those who practice it

Stillness...draws us into the moment

Stillness...makes our thoughts and ideas clearer than before


Taking a few simple moments out of your busy day to be still and calm, clears your mind and could be the difference between making a decision that takes you down the wrong path toward depression or anxiety, (where you don’t want to be), or one that will take you down the right path to peace and normalcy...


the path that is meant for you


I will also tell you this...being still also leads to better physical health as well. For many, the demands of work and life introduce unnecessary stressors into our lives.


Stress is one of the biggest risks we face. The more worried we are that we might get sick, the more likely it is that we will. If we are already sick, the more we worry the more we might end up sicker, (or dead). The more worried we are about our health, the more damage we do to our bodies.


Worrying...feeling threatened to any degree, is stress. Whether you are being chased by a bear, worrying about your finances, your marriage or relationship, the changing climate or the next virus that may be coming...it is all stress.


Stress sets off a Fight or Flight survival response, which triggers all sorts of changes in our bodies. The systems more important for immediate survival, like blood pressure and heart rate to circulate more energy throughout the body, get turned up, and the ones not so important for immediate survival, like our immune system or digestion or fertility, get turned down. These changes help us run away from or fight off that bear, be it proverbial or real. But if we stay in that Fight or Flight mode for more than a few weeks, we're in for all sorts of trouble.


Taking a mere two to five minutes out of the day to be still and calm can act as a reset button, an opportunity to refresh your way of thinking, being and doing. It’s an opportunity to shift your focus from negative and destructive thinking and redirect it to more positive and productive thinking.


Make no doubt about it, stillness will not happen on its own. You must find the time for it. And it will not happen overnight...


Stillness is a habit. You must practice it.


In my new book, TRUST IN THE PROCESS...BELIEVE IN THE OUTCOME, I will help you find that time. You will learn how this stressful, chaotic, fear-inducing, depression-causing world negatively affects you...not only emotionally, but physically.


Stress and worry, fear and doubt are insidious enemies that change our physiology without us knowing it. These changes lead to ill-health, disease, mental illness, depression and even death. You will learn ways to deal with these enemies and how to correct the damage they’ve already done.


Page by page, together we will explore what trusting in this process actually means...to truly know that there is a divine plan moving through you and through your life at any given moment, and how the most important attribute you will ever develop is believing fully and unequivocally in the outcome.


Thank you for staying with me to the end. See ya next month!


Gia

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msukc
5월 01일

As usual, you are "spot on". We are what we think - we do attract to us that which our mind is focused on and that which we allow to manifest. During a period of debilitating anxiety where my thoughts were all the negative things that could happen, I couldn't ride in a car with anyone but my husband driving. I could drive but wouldn't take anyone along as I didn't want to be responsible for someone else. I can't begin to count the number of full carts I left sit in the grocery store because the "paralysis" would suddenly hit and I didn't know if I would pass out, lose control of my bowels or throw up in …

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