The Cycle of Depression
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Richard believes that he has discovered a link between the psychological and the physical aspects of depression, and he describes a unique approach to achieving relief from the emotions that may plague some people both during their waking and sleeping hours. Richard’s research has led him to believe that he can halt depression through a simple approach to shifting thought processes, and he explains this in more detail through providing a link between depression, dreaming, and exhaustion - Beating depression and anxiety symptoms therefore requires attention to the natural cycle of depression that anybody can experience at any time.
Richard’s research has led him to argue that depressed people tend to dream about three times as much as normal people, and according to him, “This is startling and an illuminating fact, and when this is combined with the recent research found out by Joseph Griffin of the European Therapy studies Institute, it gives us a clear understanding about how it affects us physically”. So, if one is depressed, this state is linked with the fact that this person ruminates and worries about a variety of things throughout their day.
Thinking & Emotional Loops
The thinking process that generally runs on autopilot is called “All of nothing thinking” that holds a negative belief bias, where thoughts about terrible things that have, will, or are happening in one’s mind lead to emotional arousal. The thoughts that lead people to feel angry, anxious, or helpless are essentially linked with the long-term states of depression that follow. Richard explains that this type of thinking leads to an incomplete loop in the brain’s limbic system (the limbic system is responsible for emotional processing). This loop may be illustrated through his example of a tiger in the bushes – If one sees a tiger in the bushes, experiences panic, and runs away, one has completed the loop. If a person sees their spouse and becomes angry, yells, and walks away, one has completed the loop. However, if one simply thinks about things that are threatening but finds that their thoughts do not reflect reality, they will experience emotional arousal without completing the event with some concluding action - The emotional state will persist, because the loop is not complete. However, Richard emphasizes that this does not necessarily suggest that one should act out their anger in order to complete a loop, because research suggests that this actually enhances feelings of anger. Beating depression and anxiety symptoms will therefore require that one learn how to work with their emotional states in order to complete these "loops".
Richard explains that dreaming serves as a brain process that “clears” emotional material out of the body. Beating depression and anxiety symptoms requires a fundamental shift in our understanding of dream states. The dream acts as a metaphor for the mind, which allows the emotional loop to be completed and therefore flushes thoughts and feelings out of the brain – Imaginary patterns complete the open loops, which is linked with the reason that depressed people tend to dream more. They are more emotionally volatile and so therefore require more active dream-time to clear their emotional loops. However, this results in a less restful sleep, because dreaming is an inherently active and arousing process – It requires energy. More active dreaming and execution of emotional loops results in stress hormone release, and this depletes the hormonal system and causes exhaustion. Moreover, Richard believes that this excessive sleep-time arousal triggers problems with the “Orientation Response”, which is responsible for enabling the mind to shift focus and experience a sense of motivation. Richard’s theory suggests that recurring dreams are linked with the fact that one is continuously thinking about a particular problem and therefore clearing out more emotional detritus. Richard firmly believes that depression and other mental illnesses must be regarded as both psychological and physical problems, and he concludes that depressive thinking styles are fundamentally linked with more frequent dreams and emotional arousal that result from repeated thought processes.
According to this theory, the solution to resolving depression is to reduce emotional arousal throughout the day through reducing thoughts that lead to anger, anxiety, or depression. This subsequently enhances quality of sleep and promotes the restoration of the Orientation Response, which enhances motivation and attention.
The subject of this article is referred to as “Richard” for the sake of anonymity, and the original article may be located at http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Am-Researching-More-Into-Depression/1587889