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The Missing Link in Mood Disorders 12 July 2017

Last weekends newspapers reported the distressing increase in suicide in Australia, particularly in young men.

I wrote last week about the 4 quadrants of mood disorder-
1. Medical- biochemical, hormonal, microbiological.
2. Psychological- loss.
3. Toxic.
4. Anthropological.

That’s because I like to fit everything into manageable boxes so I can fix them.
But I knew something was missing from that model.
And I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and then I realised the common thread running through all of the boxes:

Loss of connection.

And this video explains the important missing aspect of healing mood disorders.
Yes I can help fix the thyroid, yes I can prescribe a drug, yes I can help with detoxification and yes I can suggest a lifestyle more consistent with our anthropological heritage.
But unless connection is established…. it’s not going to be enough.
This video really helped me. Maybe it will help someone you know as well.

1. Connection is why we are here. It gives purpose and meaning to our lives.

2. The flip side of connection is shame- “Is there something about me that makes me unworthy of connection?”

3. We all need to develop a strong sense of worthiness- a sense of love and belonging.

4. She found the difference between those who had a sense of love and belonging and those that didn’t was those that do have it, BELIEVE that they are worthy of love and belonging.
And the thing that keeps us out of connection is the fear that we are not worthy of connection.

5. Those who had belief had similarities:
- A sense of courage. Courage comes from the Latin word for heart. The original definition was “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”
- They had the courage to be imperfect.
- Had the compassion to be kind to themselves first. We can’t offer compassion to others if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.
- Had connection as a result of authenticity. They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were.
- They fully embraced vunerability. They believed that what made them vunerable, made them beautiful. They realized vunerabity was necessary.
The willingness to say “I love you” first.
To do something where there is no guarantees.
They thought this willingness was fundamental. Yes, vunerability is the core of shame and our struggle for worthiness but it’s also the birthplace of joy and creativity, of belonging, of love.

6. Many of us, as a protective mechanism, a coping strategy, numb vulnerability (I did for 20 years working in Emergency Departments).
But you can’t selectively numb bad emotions, you end up numbing joy, gratitude and happiness as well.
Then we become miserable. We lack purpose. Then we feel vunerable. So we numb ourselves more….

7. We also make everything that is uncertain, certain.
This also happens in medicine.
I’m certain that coconut oil is bad for you so just use margarine and if you say otherwise you are not worthy.
I’m sure there is no cure for irritable bowel, autism, chronic fatigue, eczema etc…and if you say otherwise, you are unworthy.
And there will be no discourse, no conversation- just blame.

8. Blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort. It explains the haters, the critics, the addictions, the substance abuse.

9. Then we aim for perfection. But it can’t work. We sign up for plastic surgery. We try and have the perfect children. Yet they are hard wired for struggle and adversity. Hard wired for love and connection, not perfection.

10. So what’s the solution? As well as fixing the medical problem, experiencing the pain of loss, getting in the sauna and sitting around a fire eating slow cooked brisket with our family, we need to:
- Let ourselves be seen, vunerably seen.
- To love with our whole hearts even though there is no gurarantee.
- Practice gratitude and joy. (I have finally committed to writing in my journal every night- what I’m grateful for, my plans for the next day, thoughts I had and any magic moments).
- Believe that we are enough. Then we become kinder and gentler to both ourselves and others.

Watch the video.
I did.
Five times.

“Adaline Bowman: Tell me something I can hold on to forever and never let go.
Ellis Jones: Let go.”
Age of Adeline.

Click here for the video

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Dr Emerson was recently interviewed on ‘Know the Cause’, the most popular health television programme in the US.

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