Entries in the 'Depression' Category

“What is the root of depression?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What is the root of depression?

Depression is rooted in our nature, which is a desire to enjoy.

If we fulfill the desire to enjoy with a suitable fulfillment, then we feel good. But if we do not give the desire to enjoy what it wants, then it starts eating us alive, and we call that feeling “depression.”

Ultimately, the solution to depression is in finding a way to bring our desire to enjoy fulfillment that is constant and increasing.

This is what the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches: how we can receive that which will make us feel good and better all the time. It is a sensation like nothing we have experienced in our world. Think about being hungry, and then you get to eat as much of your favorite food as you want, and in addition, the pleasure from the food together with your hunger just keeps increasing the more that you eat.

In order to fulfill ourselves completely, we need a new fulfillment that extends from the same root as our depression, our empty desire, and which can thus become fully compatible with that desire.

Based on the video “Depression’s Causes and Solution [in 2 Minutes]” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman and Oren Levi. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Photo by Damir Samatkulov on Unsplash.

How To Find A Cure For All Problems

565.02Question: In Israel, an experiment was conducted with selecting drugs according to the molecular genetic profile. It turned out that there are people with cancer who do not respond to any known medications.

There are known cases in the history of medicine when a disease acquired a drug-resistant form, for example, tuberculosis. Why is it that even today many people do not respond to drugs that medicine has developed?

Answer: The fact is that a medicine is a convention.

What is medicine? We attract light upon our egoism, which is in various ugly, and recently even mutational forms, and try to influence this ugly egoism with light, which is clothed in some chemical formula.

In practice, there is only desire and light, the force of reception and the force of bestowal, which interact with each other. If they are in harmony with each other, fill one another, then we exist in balance, in harmony, without any problems.

As soon as there is a problem in the egoistic desire to receive and one does not correspond to the other, then immediately there is a concealment of the light. The light exits, moves away, and disappears.

When the light moves away from the desire to some certain distance, we begin to feel more and more suffering, then illness, and then death. It all depends on how far the light moves away from desire. Gradually it comes out more and more, and by moving away, leads to death.

What has been going on lately? Our egoism does not just get bigger, and therefore the light departs from it naturally, according to the law of disparity of qualities or differences in qualities, rather egoism acquires unusual, mutational forms.

That is, the ego is getting transformed, it takes unnatural forms, not just to take, want, conquer something and absorb it into itself. It acquires opposite forms such as drugs, depression, various egoistic deformities, turns from the direct desire to enjoy the light, into desire to enjoy its absence.

This is how its mutational forms manifest themselves, egoism in a double, triple degree, when it transforms itself and enjoys its nothingness and emptiness.

What, in principle, is depression? Why can a person not get out of it? He seeks pleasure in his emptiness.

This leads to the fact that we cannot find cures for these diseases, and therefore we say that the immune system is damaged. We do not know how it is possible to restore at least some contact between the life-giving force, light, and our egoism, our organism, our desire. This is the problem.

I cannot imagine how we will be able to solve this if we do not begin to restore the correct connection between desire, the organism and the force that enlivens it, light.

Kabbalah gives a very simple formula. But who wants to use it?! We may still have to suffer for many years until we begin to listen to what Kabbalah calls for.

It says that everything is based on our egoism, and it can only be defeated by love. But how can we love each other, love your neighbor as yourself? This is a panacea for all troubles. But how do we do it if we hate each other?

The wisdom of Kabbalah explains that there is a force in nature that can do this, only you have to start studying, reading, summoning this force upon yourself, and asking it.

When you study the system of the universe, the way it works logically, and quite realistically, you see that yes, this is how it happens, and you begin to feel these forces concealed a little behind our world. You see our world as transparent and behind it all the forces of nature that play with our world and with us. This is what we should present to a person, reveal to him, and then we will find a cure for all problems.
From KabTV’s “Close-Up. The Philadelphia Experiment” 10/24/10

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“Why Antidepressants Don’t Improve Quality Of Life” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Why Antidepressants Don’t Improve Quality of Life

We would expect people with depression to feel better if they took antidepressants. Surprisingly, a huge study that examined 17.5 million adults diagnosed with depression each year between 2005–2016 concluded that they don’t. According to the study, “The real-world effect of using antidepressant medications does not continue to improve patients’ Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) over time.” Moreover, the study concludes that “Future studies should not only focus on the short-term effect of pharmacotherapy [treatment by medications], it should rather investigate the long-term impact of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions on these patients’ HRQoL.” Clearly, depression cannot be cured with drugs. The only solution to it is to deal with the root cause of depression; nothing else will help.

Drugs are chemicals that can affect our feelings. However, emotional satisfaction is far more than a temporary feeling that fades when the concentration of a drug in the blood drops. Emotional satisfaction, the lack of which causes depression, is the result of one’s connection with the root of life, the origin that vitalizes everything around us. Just as we do not feel the oxygen in the air, but immediately feel when its concentration declines, we do not feel that we are connected to the root of life, but we most certainly feel when we are disconnected from it.

The root of life is a vital force that generates and sustains everything around us. It maintains a dynamic balance between two opposites that we can generally relate to as giving and receiving. These opposites manifest differently on every level: night and day, spring and fall, life and death, love and hate, and so forth.

When we are disconnected from it, we feel disoriented, insecure, and aimless. Imagine being out in space with nothing all around you, not even stars or planets to show you where you are. You can breathe, but nothing you do has any effect. When we are on Earth, tremendous pressures operate on our bodies from the air, gravity pulls our bodies downwards, the changing weather and hours of the day dictate what we do, and the people around us force us to act and think in ways we would not otherwise choose to act and think were it not for social pressures. However, precisely these pressures and counter pressures we create from within make us feel alive and vital. They give us direction, spur our actions, and enable us to evaluate our lives.

When we become too concentrated on ourselves, we lose contact with others, our human and social connections break down, and our most valuable channel for connection with the root of life, that vital force, becomes blocked. This is why people without healthy social ties do not feel vitalized although there is nothing physically wrong with them.

The more we develop, the more we need emotional satisfaction. If previously, we needed social connections primarily in order to satisfy our survival needs, such as food and work, modernization has made securing our physical well-being relatively easy. As a result, our social ties have changed their purpose, and instead of securing our survival, they provide us with a reason to survive. Instead of diminishing their meaning, they have become the very meaning of our lives.

It has been shown in countless studies that a person with good social ties is far happier and far less prone to depression than a more introverted person. Again, it is the interaction of pressure and counter-pressure that makes us feel alive and gives us a sense of purpose and direction. The cure for depression, therefore, is not in drugs, which have no effect on our social connections, but in building meaningful social connections that will give us emotional satisfaction.

This does not mean that we should all have many friends or that we should not be alone. Our natural disposition to sociability or privacy should remain. However, every person, however private, needs social connections. Our purpose is to make the ties we do have meaningful.

Our social connections should be such that we support each other and encourage each other to realize our potential. We should learn to see the differences between us not as causes for separation, but as perspectives that enrich us with views we would not come to by ourselves. Just as the night gives meaning to the day, an opposite opinion to mine gives meaning to my own opinion.

Think, for example, of democracy. What would be the meaning of the word if everyone had the same political opinion?

Therefore, the only way to improve our quality of life is by having as many views as possible within the same society, and maintain the cohesion of society while keeping all those different views “alive and kicking.” This will keep us connected to that root of life, to the contradictions that give life direction and meaning, and that provide us with emotional satisfaction.

“Depression Comes Earlier” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Depression Comes Earlier

The Oxford based research center Our World in Data recently published a report showing that in many countries, “People are being diagnosed with depression at an earlier age than in the past.” The report showed that in Denmark, for example, in 1996, the highest share of people diagnosed with depression were around the age of fifty. Twenty years later, in 2016, the highest share of people diagnosed with depression were twenty-four-year-olds. While the research center attributed the earlier diagnosis to growing willingness to “seek treatment for mental health conditions,” other researchers have found different reasons for the earlier age of diagnosis.

Indeed, we are living in special times. In previous times, people were more connected to the land, to the soil. Today, everything is artificial. We are born and live within the walls of the hospital, then the walls of a house, then the walls of a school, then the walls of a business. As a result, we are different from previous generations, and our approach to life is also different.

To prevent depression, we need to make constant investments with the right approach, since people are no longer adapted to natural living. The investment is not a financial one. Rather, we need to build an envelope that will serve as a mediator between the new generation and the reality they live in. This envelope should prepare them for life on every level — personal, social, and environmental. They need to learn how to communicate and connect with one another and with nature. Otherwise, they will be lost, as is already happening.

Previously, people were more outside than they are today. They communicated with other people, and much of their lives involved interaction with others. Today, they do everything online and indoors, and the outdoors and other people are unfamiliar to them. We must familiarize them with the outside world, make them spend less time on their own and on their phones or laptops, and communicate instead with other members of the family, friends, real friends, flesh and blood ones, and with animals.

The technological advancements of the past several decades have enveloped us in gadgets, and disconnected us from people. Even our food is not real food, and we don’t make it; we only heat it in a digital microwave.

We needn’t shun technology; we only need to help people balance their lives. And the key factor in reestablishing balance is constructive, positive, and supportive human connections. If people find that connections with other people satisfy them in ways that technology cannot, they will nurture them.

Today, people mostly feel that their connections with others are competitive, where each one tries to outsmart, outperform, and generally outdo others. This is very tiring, so people naturally turn to a less competitive and abusive environment: the digital one. If people had positive experiences from their relations with others, if they felt that other people approve of them, appreciate, and welcome their company, they would have no reason to retreat into a virtual environment.

Moreover, connections with other people can give them what no technology can: meaning in life. Life becomes meaningful and purposeful only in connection with other people. The reciprocal giving and receiving gives meaning and purpose to everything we do. When we do something for another person, it stays. The act takes on a life of its own, a new meaning, and it affects our lives and the lives of the other people involved in ways we cannot predict. When we do something online, with ourselves, our act is lost in the digital cloud and leaves us feeling empty and meaningless.

Therefore, if we want to cure depression, we must find ways to encourage people to go out, communicate, and connect with other people. It will give them joy, satisfaction, and meaning, and a meaning in life prevents depression.

Freedom Must Be Paid For

283.01The war has led to a big increase in oil and gas prices, which has a hard impact on people’s lives in many countries. What can we do to make people suffer less? The only thing that can help is to unite people more and attract the light of the Creator to cover all crimes.

But we must understand that the states that the world is going through now are large corrections that cannot be avoided. These are not personal, private problems but global correction. We will have to pay for the world to become corrected.

Therefore, it is not necessary to concentrate so much on the increase in prices, of course, they will rise. But we must understand that this is how we pay for our freedom, for not being bribed by personal comforts. You need to rise a little above your egoism and understand that you must pay for freedom, for correction, there is no way out.

We want to be a free people in our country, that is, free in our desire and to direct it to where it is needed: to connect, to make the final correction so that no one tells us how to think and what to desire, not to make slaves of us, and own our thoughts and desires.

This freedom must be paid for by efforts to rise above egoism. Then in our connection, we will be freed and there we will cleave to the Creator.

We are free in our connection with each other, no one obliges us to connect; we, ourselves want to serve each other. This means freedom: I feel that I depend on everyone and serve everyone, and through them, I serve the Creator. There is not a single free desire in me, but I feel free because all the use of my desires leads me to dependence on the Creator. But I am free because I know how to use myself in the best perfect way.
From the Daily Kabbalah lesson 3/14/22, “Winning the War (with an evil inclination)”

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“A Systemic Problem Of Depression Requires A Systemic Solution” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “A Systemic Problem of Depression Requires a Systemic Solution

Depression has been a growing problem throughout the industrialized world for several decades, but it has skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic. Death rates from substance abuse, suicide, and gun violence have skyrocketed, anxiety has become a major problem, and professional help is either too expensive or unavailable for lack of professional staff nearby, or both. In such a state, a systemic, concerted effort is required. By using mass media to broadcast both calming messages and advice to people in need, we can save many lives and improve the lives of countless others.

All over the world, people are asking critical questions about the purpose of their lives. Their inability to answer these questions leaves them with a sense of purposelessness, and one who has no purpose in life feels that life itself is purposeless. This is the cause behind the growing escapism expressed in myriad ways, from extreme sports through religious fundamentalism to drug abuse and suicide.

For humans, eating, drinking, sleeping and mating do not count as living. Living means living out the reason we are put here on this planet. If we do not know why we were put here, we do not feel that we are alive or that our lives have value, and this can lead to horrendous consequences.

If only a few people feel this way, you can refer them to professionals who can help ease their pain until they find their purpose in life. But when so many people suffer from these distresses, it overwhelms the system and you need a new approach. Instead of stuffing our brains with messages that send us shopping and emptying our pockets and, more importantly, our hearts, the media, in all its forms, must spread messages that help resolve our situation.

It is not impossible; it is a question of the government’s resolve, and the media’s understanding that the situation will soon get out of hand. In a state of emergency, we must act accordingly, and we are certainly approaching one.

There are many ways the media can alleviate the growing misery of people, but the most effective one among them is to reverse its tendency to pitch people against each other and encourage them to reach out to each other. Countless studies have shown that solidarity and cohesion in society help mitigate or even solve most social, economic, and medical problems. Therefore, if the media offers a “collective treatment” for everyone by broadcasting content that encourages people to come closer, they will resolve most existing problems.

It is said, “A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.” This is very true. Sharing and connecting with others is a sure way to unite our hearts and heal our ills. This is why the more we work on our solidarity, the sooner we will resolve our social and emotional challenges.

Children Must Play Together

503.02Comment: More and more adolescents suffer from depression, hyperactivity, and sleeping problems these days, which means that more and more children are less happy.

According to psychologists, this is because children do not have the opportunity to play anymore, it is not about computer games, but about games that we used to play in the past like hide and seek and tag, games that help kids develop important skills.

My Response: These games develop communication between children, which is a crucial phase in their development and growth. It happens through games because the whole world is a game. We always play, but different games. But when a person is at home and does not communicate with others, he will grow up to be an ugly person in the human sense. He will not be able to communicate with people.

Children will grow up to be miserable because they have no natural, normal communication with their peers. We will not be able to do anything about this because it is simply impossible to replace communication with anything else.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 11/18/21

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“Unleash The Granny Power” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Unleash the Granny Power

A story by Rachel Nuwer published on BBC Future describes a unique, successful, and inexpensive way to tackle depression in Zimbabwe. With only twelve psychiatrists for a population of sixteen million, even the few who can afford treatment are rarely able to find a therapist within a reasonable distance.

Therefore, instead of professionals, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, director of the African Mental Health Research Initiative, came up with a revolutionary idea that became known as the “Friendship Bench.” Instead of looking in vain for professional help, Chibanda mused, Zimbabweans would consult with people who have warm hearts, lots of free time, a passion for heart-to-heart talks and the ability to give good advice. These people would receive some training and, thanks to their warmth and patience, Chibanda hoped, would be able to help people in distress.

Brainstorming where to find such people, Chibanda arrived at an unlikely solution: grandmothers. Chibanda and his team trained more than 400 grandmothers in talk therapy, which they now offer for free in more than 70 communities in Zimbabwe.

The idea proved to be a resounding success. “In 2017 alone,” Nuwer reports, “Friendship Bench, as the programme is called, helped over 30,000 people. The method has been empirically vetted and have [sic] been expanded to countries beyond, including the US.”

In 2016, Chibanda, in collaboration with colleagues from Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom, published the results of a randomized control trial of the program’s effectiveness in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers found that after six months, the group that had seen the grandmothers had significantly fewer symptoms of depression than the group that underwent conventional treatment.

Clearly, love can go a long way in helping people. Empathy, this is all we need. More than any medicine, it heals us from within. Connecting hearts connects us to the power that sustains our world, the creative force of love. Without this power of connection, no two elements in reality would be able to connect, and life would have been impossible.

When we connect in love, we create similarity between us and the force that creates and sustains life. Just as a string on a guitar vibrates when its note is played on another string when the frequency is similar, when we create a similar feeling to the feeling that creates life—the feeling of empathy and love—we “switch on” this feeling within us.

We experience this feeling as if it came from the person next to us, but it did not. In fact, it came because the warm connection between the two of you enabled you to feel the warmth that exists around you. As long as you have not made that connection, it is as if you do not have a sensor to perceive it. But once you establish it with another person, you can feel it.

This is why loving others is so important. It is not only important to others, but even more important to the loving person. People with love in their heart are connected to the power of love and creation that exists in all of reality. No feeling is more empowering. A person who is connected to it will never feel depressed, lost, or hopeless.

“What Is Depression?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What is depression?

Depression is an outcome of unsatisfied desires.

We are composed of several desires. If these desires are fulfilled, we feel happy. If they are partially fulfilled, we feel partial dissatisfaction, a state that we live in, and which we have become accustomed to.

We try to neutralize such dissatisfaction in a variety of ways, whether by means of medicines and drugs through to all kinds of entertainments and goals in our lives, and we thus manage to stay somewhat afloat.

There are certain states of depression where we feel a deep, dark and gaping emptiness within, feeling no fulfillment in the present moment, and also see no light at the end of the tunnel in the future either, which is indeed very difficult.

We usually live with hope for the future. We plan various goals for ourselves in order to fulfill our spectrum of desires. We are usually occupied with thoughts about food, sex, family, recreation, making money, gaining respect in society, accumulating knowledge, and some people even wish to acquire particular positions of fame or power. We have developed a smorgasbord of ways in which we fulfill such desires, and they act as distractions from deeper existential questions, letting us live our lives on a certain surface level. However, when they become swallowed by darkness, we become swamped in depression, and we are then even ready to die. There is a kabbalistic saying about such a state: “My death is better than my life.”

The moment we start feeling such depressed states, we then ask ourselves the existential questions that we had previously been able to successfully cover up. At the end of the day, depression is a feeling that leads us to search outside of our usual frameworks to find an answer to questions about life’s meaning and purpose, and we need to experience a certain level of depression in order to soul search.

If we find meaning and purpose in serving our desires for food, sex, family, recreation, money, honor, control and knowledge, i.e. if we are able to enjoy ourselves by either fulfilling these desires directly or by imagining their future fulfillment, then life’s deeper existential questions remain buried beneath this pleasure pursuit. In other words, we find meaning in life’s animate level of existence. If, however, we find no satisfaction through serving such desires, we then experience depression, which is ultimately a sensation that should lead us to actively search for the meaning and purpose of life.

We should understand that our world is a mere springboard from which we need to leap to a higher dimension. We can discover the higher dimension of existence while we are alive in this same world, in our same body.

The process of development through which nature guides us is in order for us to ultimately seek and attain the meaning of life. States of depression appear more frequently and with more intensity the closer we come to transitioning between the discovery of meaninglessness in pursuing the fulfillment of corporeal desires, and the search for higher meaning. In other words, the growing dissatisfaction we feel in pursuing our corporeal desires’ fulfillment is already an expression of our deeper existential questions.

In the wisdom of Kabbalah—a method that was created specifically in order to answer the questions about our life’s meaning and purpose by providing a method for attaining a higher dimension, perception and fulfillment—calls our corporeal desires beyond the fulfillment of mere necessities a “help against.” It is because the emptiness that we either currently or eventually discover in these desires pushes us to seek life’s true meaning and purpose beyond our animate existence.

Based on a Kabbalah lesson with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on October 2, 2016. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash.

Depression—A Result Of An Internal Request

546.02We all know that education is a big problem. I see how children are brought up in schools. Therefore, children’s depression will not go away! We just need to answer the children’s request.

Depression is a consequence of their inner request. Moreover, this is a huge social problem because it manifests itself in more than one child. We observe this in absolutely all children from different countries of the world.

There is such a thing as depression in animals, especially in pets that live near their owners. I am sure that both wild animals and plants have it.

That is, depression is a feeling of lack of the force of life, which is beginning to be felt in our world. It depends on the person because he must rise to another level so that through him the spiritual upper force, the force of life, passes into our world. And then the problem with the environment, with our health, with social relations, with everything, will disappear.

We lack vitality. We see that everything is exhausted, aging, disappearing, and losing its value, meaning.

We try our best to inspire ourselves with all sorts of fashions, aspirations, to keep each other playing with the help of technology. But if you look at the truth, we need a completely different level of existence, some other level, an understanding of what we are for, where we are going. This is the challenge all of humanity is facing, especially now.

And children in this case should play a very important useful role. After all, we will not get rid of them, this is our problem, and this is our pain. We can deal with ourselves somehow, and when a child feels bad, there’s nothing you can do about it.

So when I look at my children and especially my grandchildren, I start to feel these requests. They exist literally in the baby. It shows that even at such a young age, he is internally missing something in his life. It’s hard to explain. I just see it with my inner vision, from the depth of the nature that I have discovered for myself, but it exists. We’re not getting away from this.
From KabTV’s “Close-up. Depression in Children” 8/24/09

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