Dealing with Depression; Mental Health

  • When you have depression which is interfering with your daily activities including work and livelihood it is best to consult a doctor or psychiatrist for immediate help.
  • The first of all ways to prevent depression is to live an active and worthwhile life which gives personal satisfaction.
  • The most obvious sign that a person is happy is that he will look at himself in the mirror and smile; the opposite for a person that is depressed. He will have a frown on his face.

Mental Health is considered by many health practitioners to be more important than physical health. Good mental health is preventative medicine for the body. However it is not considered life or death which makes it take a secondary role in medicine. In Judaism when making a special request for health is first mentioned the healing of the mind before the healing of the body. Mental health is more important than physical health in appreciation of the value of life. Mental Health also has a close connection to spirituality.

Many people today are searching for answers to solve the problem of depression. On You Tube I saw a speaker from England addressing a large crowd telling about his own life experience in dealing with depression. He emphasized that depression was not only his problem, it is a problem which a large percentage of the population is suffering. Some 15 million Americans a year struggle with depression from major depression and seasonal affective disorder. Wikipedia defines depression as a state of low mood and aversion to activity which can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior tendencies, feelings, and sense of wellbeing. The speaker on You Tube who seemed to have developed quite a big following pointed to the chemical cause of depression as a deficiency of Serotonin in the brain. Each time he took a remedy with serotonin he saw improvement but only temporarily. Psychiatrists and drug companies are busy working to find conventional cures for depression. When you have depression which is interfering with your daily activities including work and livelihood it is best to consult a doctor or psychiatrist for immediate help. The next step is to see a psychologist or counselor to find the roots of your depression and to solve them if it is possible.

Depression and anxiety usually go together. There are people who are born with chemical imbalance who will discover mental health problems at a young age. Sometimes these problems develop in the teens during change of life approaching adulthood. Sometimes in your middle ages approaching old age. The elderly face depression because of fear of death and physical sufferings of old age. During life depression can be caused by trauma. Trauma comes in many ways such as a health problems or disability, a disappointing love affair, low self-image created in childhood, employment disappointments, divorce or problems in marriage, problems in raising children, loneliness, hard knocks, disappointments in education, death of a dear friend or family member, causing harm to another person accidentally, getting angry at your employees. Anger can bring on depression and anxiety.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Life is not completely in our control. However we can try to organize our lives in a way that will give us satisfaction, peacefulness, enjoyment, and pleasure. Each person has his own likes and dislikes particular to him. However there are needs in life which all people share which are love, pleasure, friendship, entertainment, education, work and livelihood and nutrition. Each person needs a doctor, a teacher, a love partner that he can make a family, a place of refuge out of the house with friends or at work as well as in the house such as office space or a study room and patio.

The Bible begins “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” When a person will believe in God and that everything in life has a divine source and reason, he can cope better with traumatic events in his life. It is a custom to say,”all that God has done is for good,” And to say thank God for everything that happens the good and the bad. There was a famous Rabbi who lived in the middle of the first century whose name was Nachum. They gave him the nickname Nachum Gam Zu which means Nacham “also this”. He was well known to be a happy man even though his life was filled with suffering. His hands were paralyzed and he was inflicted with bodily ailments. Even though when people would show great pain and sorrow over his welfare and ask him how he is still smiling he would answer them, “all this is for good.” He recognized that all the sufferings of the world which are given to a man are an atonement for the sins of his life and to give to the man a share and portion in the afterlife. There is no one in this world that has no suffering. Especially during old age the physical suffering increases and no man is free from the pains of death. Happy is the man that trusts in God; and in God is his trust.

The first of all ways of prevention of depression is to live an active and worthwhile life which gives personal satisfaction. On the first day of creation when God saw the earth empty and void, he said “let there be light.” The first appearance of light in creation was the first preventive cure of the feelings of emptiness and depression which is to build an active and worthwhile life. The Ethics of the fathers teach, “Good is faith and religion with secular work” together they remove depression. “Love work and don’t look for easy money.” No one gets rich in one day. There are two types of work. There is work which a person does without seeking from it a reward which may be raising a family, or prayer. There is work for a livelihood. Maintaining an active schedule and keeping this schedule doing the work that you enjoy which is satisfying is the best medicine against depression. Even when a person will feel trauma and mild depression he should continue to keep this schedule, perhaps the depression will pass naturally.

When the trauma is interfering with you keeping this schedule, it may be the time to go to see a doctor. A doctor may be a Psychiatrist, psychologist or spiritual healer. God said, Let there be light which was the preventive cure of hard work and life activity building life and the kingship of God on earth. Let there be light and then it says, “And there was light.” The second mentioning of light is the medicine a cure for depression which can come from a psychiatrist or spiritual healer. Spiritual healers work to remove depression by adding light to the soul. Psychiatrists heal depression through stimulation of the body with medicine to add Serotonin to the mind. The mind is stimulated by thought. Learning stimulates the mind. Learning adds light to the mind. The depressed mind can be healed by feeding it with positive thoughts. A negative depressed self-image can be uplifted by a psychologist through communication. A spiritual healer can produce positive energies of light which a psychologist cannot produce with speech.

In my clinic in Jerusalem I produced positive energies of light on my computer which were successful to heal depression and anxiety. In 1994 I invented a machine called Visual Stimulation devices which I used in my clinic. The patent which has already expired is published on the internet. Later I produced these effects on a computer. A picture is worth a thousand words. For a Catholic on this computer program I can stimulate him with positive energies by flashing the picture of the Pope at different intensities in conjunction with music. For a family man who loves his children, I can use the pictures of his children to get him out of depression. There are many types of visual stimulus including videos. There is also stimulation with sound through music.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov a Chassidic master and healer encouraged his students suffering from depression to communicate their inner feelings with God directly through praying in their own natural language. Song is the most ancient remedy for depression like it says in Psalms, “Sing to God a new song, sing to God and honor his name.” It is good to unite with prayer and song meditation, to close your eyes and to sing and pray. If it is hard to find words and difficult to sing or whistle, I would give my patients numbers to count in this way: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 sing, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 rejoice, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, peace, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, relax and repeat each sequence individually seven times and rest. Also there is another number remedy 1,12,123,1234 sing, 1,12,123,1234, dance, 1,12,123,1234 rest, 1,12,123,1234 heal, repeat each sequence rest, relax, breathe, and heal.

Relaxation training is another technique of spiritual healing. After repeating these numbers several times close your eyes and listen: relax, listen, breathe and heal; relax, listen, breath, and heal

Sound has healing energies. If a person will close his eyes and listen to the sounds in his environment and identify each sound. The moving of a car, a bird tweeting, an airplane passing, a baby crying. Most important to connect to the sound of the breath and the vapor of the breath as it is released from the nose.

In India they teach repeating a mantra which can even be a single syllable for healing. In Israel people are chanting the name of Rabbi Nachman Na, Nac,Nachma, Nachman

Rabbi Nachman proclaimed, It is a great good deed to be happy all the time. Most religious Jews believe in making God happy; and they themselves may be depressed. Rabbi Nachman disagreed. God wants mankind to be happy. To be happy all the time is quite a great accomplishment. Rabbi Nachum Gam Zu even being afflicted with personal suffering said, Even this is for good. Learn from the wise men of the Bible how important it is to by happy and to thank God for everything.

The sign that a person is happy if he will look at himself in the mirror and smiles; the opposite for a person who is depressed he will have a frown on his face. It says in proverbs, like the reflection of a person in the waters, likewise is the secret of his heart and feelings. We see ourselves in the back of our minds in our subconscious in a different way than in the conscious mind. In the subconscious there is only light without darkness in infinite reflection. In the conscious mind or image there is reality good faces evil, life faces death. The trick is to connect with the subconscious mind called the superconscious where there is only peace and happiness. In the back of the mind the superconscious is the secret of the resurrection of the messiah. From the nostrils is released vapors of the breath of life. Uniting the mind and the breath is the secret of healing depression forever. In India this secret is called Om Tat Sat. In Hebrew it is the combination of Shalom and Emet the word for peace and truth.

Simetimes trauma is unbearable and when untreated immediately it can lead to a nervous breakdown and even hospitalization when there is a danger of suicide. Understanding the implications of a nervous breakdown is another lesson in healing. Neurosis is mild to moderate depression and anxiety partial disablility. When the illness reaches to the point of breakdown, it becomes psychosis.

(The picture above is of the gravesite of Nachum Gam Zu the man who was always happy and received his suffering from God with joy saying “also this is for good.” He is buried in the city of Zefat where lives the author of this article.)

David Wexelman

Rabbi David Wexelman is the  author of five books on the topics of World Unity and Peace, and Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Wexelman is a member of the American Friends of Maccabee, a charitable organization helping the poor in the United States and in Israel.  Donations are tax deductible in the USA.

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