This Journal offers a practical expansion on the most recent presentations of “Minding your Methylation” and “Minding your Mind.”
The subject of “unmasking depression” came up on a recent forum discussion in the wake of Robin Williams’ recent passing. I posted some comments on that forum, and have rewritten and expanded on these comments here.
I’ll reference a broad therapeutic consideration of depression from the approach which was mentioned in the 2 prior Journal writings. I termed this approach the “four-on-the-floor” way to manage your ride through life. I work with all clients through this broad holistic approach which addresses any issue in the quarternary of body-mind-emotion-spirit, as well as the holistic resolution of this interrelationship when it has slipped sideways. This is the same approach that I use when working with any kind of illness, mental or otherwise.
Here are some standard considerations in my practice of Haelan LifeStream. I’ll start with the mind first. Most people think depression and other mental illnesses comes solely from deranged brain mind thinking. Thinking is only one aspect of the problem, as it turns out.
At the mental level depression is related to numerous types of neurotransmitter enzyme genetic polymorphisms and the resulting central nervous system imbalances in dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA, glutamate, histamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and epinephrine metabolism. It is also related to our incessant, obsessive, self referential, and self judgmental patterns of addictive thinking which I covered in the last Journal, “Minding your Mind.”
However, aside from the so-called monoamine hypothesis of depression and addictive loop patterns of thinking, there is much more to consider.
At the emotional level depression is related to held and suppressed shadow anger as well as the shadow emotions which are lower in frequency than anger and are complexed with it: desire, fear, grief, and apathy, in descending order of frequency. Instead of just expressing our anger in a utilitarian manner to protect and heal our boundaries, we are conditioned to bury it along with these 4 lower frequency emotions which support it. The energy required to suppress this “anger complex” is an enormous strain and drain on the psyche.
This drain will smother one’s ability to access the higher emotion states which allow for manifestation, fulfillment, and lasting happiness. Until we find a way to transform our pain, we will always transmit it to those around us or we will turn it against ourselves by burying it back into the inner world from which it came.
At the spiritual level depression is about our Identity crisis. We do not identify with Spirit, or, Source energy. We do not identify with Nature, the teacher of Spirit. We identify with our warped perceptions about the trappings of this earthly plane. We chase them wantonly and recklessly while denying the Source from which they come.
Very few people in western cultures live in peaceful and happy accord with their own personal material existence. The current post modern conveyor belt of consumerist convenience will never be truly satisfying or fulfilling. It is designed to be as addictive as possible because it is profit driven. Our consumerist trend is unsustainable for the planet. We will be forced into accepting minimalism in the future.
If our consciousness were completely evolved into its full knowing of and alignment with Spirit, with no brain thinking override, then our ride in our bi-pedal carbon vehicle would probably be accompanied by a virtual absence of disease. We should try to reduce the amount of brain thinking override we pursue on a daily basis, and let the mind of the Heart hold forth. Meditation is essential to develop this state of health.
Tied up in the mental, emotional, and spiritual crisis is the entire inventory of trauma which we have memoried in the body. This trauma inventory of reflexive memory is triggered on a daily basis, constantly, and it continually drives the autonomic nervous system to express itself through the body as: 1) “foot on the gas,” 2) “foot on the brake,” or 3) both foot on the gas and foot on the brake. The nervous system is most commonly engaged in this latter activity. It is a highly chaotic type of signaling from, and back to, the cellular matrix.
It is easy to show client patients this activity in their own body with a biofeedback analysis of their heart electromagnetic activity. Life practices of correct exercise, breathing, contemplation, meditation, forgiveness, non judgment, and embracing memory associations of moments of joy or peak experience are recommended as an ongoing daily lifestyle practice.
The body also has nutrient imbalances in depression states, such as: 1) key hormone imbalances and deficiencies (most notably progesterone, cortisol, and thyroid), 2) vitamin D deficiency, 3) lack of a healthy gut microbiome, 4) mineral deficiencies (zinc, magnesium, iodine, lithium), 5) inflammatory chemistry, and 6) mitochondrial dysfunction.
Here is a very nice current explanation of the relationship between inflammatory chemistry and depression, as presented by naturopath Chris Kresser. It is thought by many good thinkers that all of the current diseases are propagated from a foundational inflammatory chemistry problem; from depression to osteoporosis to breast cancer. Might all of the various modern day ills of our society just be a symptomatic expression of an underlying inflammatory chemistry which acts as an epigenetic factor in aberrant gene expression and subsequent corporeal disease development?
In addition to the MTHFR genomic issues recently explained in a prior Journal entry, there are other very important genetic polymorphisms which affect the enzyme functionality in some super critical neurotransmitter pathways. Some of these neurotransmitter enzymes go by the acronyms of COMT, GAD, MOA, NTRK2, TH, DAOA, and CHRNA5. You can look each of these acronyms up if you want to and learn what they are about. They are frequently present as mutation events in the same individual. Almost everyone has single nucleotide polymorphisms in these enzymes.
The pharmaceutical industry and medical industry ignore the importance of these important genetic markers and variances in their pharmaceutical experimentation with patients who have mental illnesses. I speculate that Robin Williams never received a genomic profile in his long painful journey. If he had undergone genetic studies, which is now inexpensive and easy to do with a saliva specimen, I daresay we would know about it because Robin Williams would most likely be alive and well and would be telling us the story of how he overcame his demons.
Congruent with this consideration of pharmacogenomics we also have other added chemical problems such as the indiscriminate use of polypharmacy, and other types of legal and illegal drugs. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in liver detoxification, neurotransmitter, and endocrine pathways are important to consider in one’s usage of any kind of druggery.
Pharmaceutical chemistry can be highly deranging to normal body and brain chemistry, especially if individuals have genetic mutations which contraindicate the usage of certain pharmaceutical classes. Such mutations can be assessed by pharmacogenomic reports.
Polypharmacy usage does not change the causal underlying biochemical imbalances for the better. It only serves to mask or dull painful symptoms. Because of unrecognized and unappreciated personal genomic mutations, in many cases the use of pharmaceuticals only drives our body vehicle further off track.
A final important consideration in the realm of the body is the subject of mitochondrial dysfunction covered in the recent “Minding your Mitochondria” writings. Even the enzymes which control mitochondrial production of the cellular energy molecule, ATP, can have functional problems because of hetrozygous or homozygous mutations.
And so, there are a number of key behavioral, nutrient, and chemical disorders associated with depression states, and these are relatively easy to assess and remedy. On the other hand, it is important to acknowledge that healing depression takes time, and it takes a developed desire for one to be accountable to their own life process.
All of these facets of body, mind, emotion, and spirit must be assessed and addressed to fully help someone with depression, and help set them on a new life path.
The Life Work of Dr. William Walsh
William Walsh, Ph.D., is one of the most knowledgeable researchers and practitioners in the field of depression and mental disorders. He has been active in this field of research and treatment for 35 years and is one of the foremost pioneers in understanding the science of methylation genetic defects and how these defects affect neural chemistry and behavior.
Dr. Walsh considers methylation defects to be one of the primary subjects, as well as the epigenetic influences which drive them. He also defines 5 mental disorder sub-types from the chemical perspective. He came by this knowledge from his teacher mentor Carl Pfieiffer, M.D., Ph.D., and a subsequent study of some 30,000 patients and an associated 2,500,000 lab studies on these patients. His insightful and therapeutically helpful conclusions come from his extensive data base and his experiential wisdom.
The 5 mental disorder sub-types which Dr. Walsh defines are:
- Methylation disorders
- Zinc deficiency
- Copper overload
- Folate deficiency or overload
- Pyrrole disorder
In a live webinar which I attended last week, I heard Dr. Walsh say that Robin Williams had been put on a new drug which probably did not match well with his MTHFR genomic variant (his un-investigated variant), and probably tipped him over into a severe depressive and suicidal decline. I believe that this is more truth than conjecture. Many of the current drugs used to treat neurological and psychological disorders create sociopathic and suicidal ideation precisely because methylation chemistry is being ignored by those who prescribe such drugs.
If Robin Williams had undergone methylation or pyrrole analysis by some astute functional psychiatrist, then we would know about it. He would have been put on the correct nutritional biochemistry long ago, and may have been weaned off of all drugs. His Parkinson’s disease and suicidal event could have been averted.
The field of psychiatry, and conventional medicine in general, has not warmed up to the critical foundational knowledge of methylation biochemistry. Many of the anti-depressants are known to be associated with aberrant destructive ideation. This is because these drugs do not resonate at all with everyone’s uniquely individual MTHFR genomic status.
Robin Williams undoubtedly had methylation defects all along which were never uncovered and investigated. He went without appropriate treatments which could have been some simple epigenetic lifestyle and nutritional changes. Such natural healing support could have been streamlined to his particular genetic SNPS (single nucleotide polymorphisms). It should be noted that MTHFR genetic SNPS are highly associated with depression variants, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain dementias and neurological diseases. Please refer back to the partial list of disorders presented in this Journal entry, “Minding your Methylation.”
His life would have been very different if someone had thought to check his methylation status. He could have been a fabulous healing story and a teacher for others who suffer; offering hope and guidance for patients, families, and loved ones.
Some celebrity personalities came forth, and have blamed his death on Big Pharma’s misguided tinkering. Such criticism is not off the mark, at all. In fact, I think it is right on the mark. The pharmaceutical industry has manhandled the medical industry into accepting its druggery as the only way to treat peoples’ ills. This is a fallacy of attitude, and a fallacy of thinking.
We all have a supreme intelligence acting in our lives. I refer to this intelligence as our DHI.
This simple acronym stands for the Divine Healing Intelligence. If we support and maintain our DHI with simple lifestyle practices we will stay healthy and happy. If we are unsuccessful with this natural approach after seeking appropriate guidance from experienced holistic practitioners, then we have the alternative of using the current practices offered by the conventional medical industry to assist in stabilizing our process. Ongoing holistic methods can then be pursued in an integrative fashion.
Mainstream physicians are too taken with the standard of care model which has them always overriding and trying to outsmart the DHI multiple times with multiple patients on any given day. The post modern physician is usually an individual married to an electronic medical record device who is all too willing to write multiple prescriptions in a brief patient encounter. This kind of physician encounter and prescriptive polypharmacy chemistry is usually complicated, can often be lethal, and is woefully inadequate, at the very least.
Patients should take self accountability and learn how to carefully consider if this kind of tinkering is appropriate for them. Such an impassioned plea for your health will require that you educate yourself on your own life wisdom process.
The human being is supported and guided by an extraordinary healing intelligence; something that no one will ever be able to adequately describe with words. The DHI cannot be adequately described. It is like Love. It has to be lived.
This intelligence is the Owner’s Manual of operation that you were born with.
Vis medicatrix naturae…trust the healing power of Nature.
Mark Twain once said a very wise statement about his perception of the decrepitude of our educational system.
He opined, “Don’t let school get in the way of your education.”
Our educational system is not teaching students, at any significant level of study, the important life teachings of how to manage one’s body, mind, emotion, and spirit existence. We are entrained to go to school to learn a lot of utterly useless facts and memory bytes which keep us engaged in the same status quo activities of meritocracy, awards, prestige, ego pursuits, and endless societal and cultural shadow pursuits…such as paying into the system for the sake of the madness of war making, as well as other earth destroying activities.
Education, in my lifetime, and apparently in Mark Twain’s lifetime as well, has been shallow and marginally creative. We are barely covering any meaningful teaching on how to heal our world’s problems. Einstein’s famous quotation comes to mind…you cannot solve a problem from the level of thinking which created the problem.
Common sense is not so common, is it?
Our spiritual evolution lags way behind our innumerable and dangerously adolescent addictive technologies and imperialist agendas.
William Walsh’s teacher said some wise words which relate to one aspect of the DHI effect. Dr. Walsh calls this statement “Pfeiffer’s Law”…
“For every drug that benefits a patient, there are natural substances that can produce the same effect.”
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond
- Antidepressant Drug Effects and Depression Severity, A Patient-Level Meta-analysis…an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), published on 1-6-10, which basically states that antidepressant drugs are no better than placebo. This information was known back in the late 1980’s when the pharmaceutical manufacturers of the 5 most common antidepressant drugs also found out that these drugs were no more effective at treating depression than placebo. The pharmaceutical companies suppressed this information, but it slowly leaked out. Now we have a multibillion dollar Big Pharma industry which is pushing drugs that are not really helping people in the manner which is really needed.
- Your Personal Genetic Analysis…a writing on this website about the value of genetic analysis.
- Minding your Methylation…a writing on this website about the all-important umbrella chemistry known as methylation.
- Vitamin D…a writing on this website about vitamin D chemistry and benefits.
- Brain Health…a writing on this website about how to nourish a healthy brain.
- Curcumin–A Novel Treatment Alternative for Depression…note the study cited in this report in which it is shown that the use of certain nutraceuticals alongside pharmaceutical antidepressants is helpful. Those natural compounds are: omega fish oils, SAMe, folate, and vitamin D. I routinely recommend these compounds in my practice, and they are very effective and safe to use. Indeed, I think that these compounds work better than the antidepressants. If one does a genetics testing (23andMe), the information gained helps guide the recommendations, especially when considering the detoxification, neurotransmitter and methylation mutations, which everyone commonly displays on their reports.
- Unique Probiotic Strain May Reduce Depression in IBS Patients
- Probiotics Help Reduce Symptoms of Depression…a healthy gut microbiome creates an enormous amount of helpful chemistry which is important for a healthy life.
- Use of Antidepressants Continues to Rise…the placebo effect of antidepressants is discussed here.
- BodyWise: Discovering Your Body’s Intelligence for Lifelong Health and Healing…an owner’s manual book by Rachel Carlton Abrams, M.D., who explains some nuts and bolts and common sense about taking care of one’s life.
- Vegetarians Twice as Likely to Be Depressed…the vegetarian diet is nutrient deficient in iron, vitamin B12, carnitine, creatine, carnosine, and omega-3 fatty acids. If you are vegan or vegetarian it is very important that you supplement with these nutrients.
- Following the Advice of Ancient Philosophers Can Make You Happier…the most important and healthy life practice is that of practicing gratitude.
- Should Antidepressants Be Given Prophylactically To Nondepressed Individuals?…serious problems with the use of antidepressant drugs are cited here. Posted here on 10-5-2017.
- Moods are Contagious: Good and Bad…how peoples’ moods affect each other.
- Alternative Treatments Effective for Depression…expanding the considerations for relieving depression.
- New review demonstrates acetyl L-carnitine significantly decreases depressive symptoms…acetyl L-carnitine and carnitine are vital health nutrients which are missing in vegan and vegetarian diets, and should be supplemented. The acetylated form of carnitine crosses the blood brain barrier and is essential for brain health.
- Gratitude…a nice brief synopsis of the health benefits of gratitude.
- Simple Joy…becoming intimate with all of life’s circumstances is a doorway of liberation from depression.
- Eating the Right Foods Can Give Your Mood a Boost…food and lifestyle recommendations to ward of the world’s most common mental ailment.
- The Science of Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Mental Turmoil: Depression Treatment Drives Users to Murder, Suicide…the well documented problem which is a side effect of certain antidepressants. All users of these drugs should be screened with pharmacogenomics now offered by a number of genetic study companies to assess individual biochemical compatibility with antidepressants.
- Express Gratitude…the healing power of gratitude is explored here via a dozen methods to practice expressing it.
- The Impact of Hormones on Serotonin in Depression…an informative writing on the biochemistry of serotonin.
- Grape Derived Compounds to Help Beat Depression…a nice reading from the Mercola website which presents important information and a number of natural ways to alleviate depression, posted here on 2-22-18.