When a person experiences the negativity of depression, his or her natural reaction is to look for an instant cure. Fortunately, today there exists effective medication for depression, but that doesn’t excuse a conscious patient from actively participating in healing. A study of depression provides an interesting situation to realize the necessity of harmony in the patient-doctor relationship in managing a chronic illness.

There are 2 types of clinical depression (depression severe enough to require medical attention)—reactive and endogenous. Reactive depression is the response to an external event or situation seemingly beyond your control. Endogenous depression is bio-chemical (internal) and not subject to conscious control without medication. Many people can experience both. In this article, we are going to look at how the patient can play an active role in coping with both kinds of depression.

The New York Times of 7-20-10, reprinted an interesting study from the journal, Neurology, 7-6-10: The Framingham Heart Study, for the last 17 years, followed 949 participants. 17% developed dementia during that time. 22% who were depressed when the study started developed dementia. Depression raised the risk of dementia by 72%. The more severe the depression, the greater the risk of dementia later.Lead researcher, Dr. Saczynski, suggested that vascular changes in the brain associated with depression might lead to dementia. "It is very clear that depression is a risk factor for dementia rather than a consequence of the disease."

The obvious point of this example is that, if the 22% of study participants who were depressed at the study’s start had actively participated to lower their depression, fewer would have been likely to be diagnosed with dementia.

How a Patient’s Quality of Life Affects Healing

Would you do something that improved your condi
tion 10%? Then, if you did one thing with that improvement, would you do three more things? Using myself as an example; I have a chronic illness, MS, which really has no medical cure. I do, though, have the ability to change the way I interpret my condition and how I deal with it, which can create changes in the quality of my life.

Here is what I can do and the effects they have;
• I can change my self image, which changes the perspective on how I interpret my health conditions…at least a 10% improvement.
• I can change the way I trust my inner resources…at least a 10% improvement..
• I can develop habits that help me avoid limiting thoughts and by doing so connect me directly to the Wisdom of the Body…at least a 10% improvement.
• I can develop the above into habits and use my brain as a Bio-computer, which automatically utilizes these skills every time I perceive something…at least a 10% improvement.

Now, if you add up all of the percentages, as they are used together, you get 40% in the perception of improvement of quality in your life. Even though this isn’t a cure, perceiving your illness with a quality of life helps you to cope better.

If you apply this approach to any chronic illness, including depression, you will increase receptivity to treatments and improve the quality of your life. Medicine is a valuable gift when it works to cure or lessen the effects of your illness, but there is more to healing than jus taking a pill. Many people, by their past conditioning, develop the life skills that create an inner environment for healing. Unfortunately, many people have to recondition their mind to create that environment. Maybe the greatest beauty of illness is that it forces us to develop the life skills that create a healing inner environment.

Do not be a victim to your past conditioning. As the playwright, G.B. Shaw, said: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

© 2010 Marc Lerner and Life Skills

Author's Bio: 

Marc Lerner is the President of Life Skills Institute and has been working with people in a health struggle for over 29 years. He is the author of A HEALTHY WAY TO BE SICK, which teaches you how to consciously create yourself in the midst of a health challenge. You can view a mini-copy of this book at: http://ahealthywaytobesick.org He also conducts tele-seminars that lead you through the main techniques of this book, where you will do over 20 experiential techniques on your own to support the main techniques. Be conscious of how you create yourself.
Marc has had MS for 29 years, is legally blind and in a wheelchair. The idea of a healthy way to be sick reflects a positive spirit during difficult times. If a patient consciously approached the healing process, they would become valuable partners with their doctor. Marc has been working with people in a health crisis for decades and knows that this is a significant resource in a national health plan. Marc has developed simple techniques that transport your consciousness to powerful inner resources which can reduce medical expenses and personal anxiety.