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Depression and Mood Disorders

Depression hurts.

Most of us may experience depression for days or months.

The good news about the neurobiology of depression may surprise you.

Those feelings of heaviness, brain fog, lack of motivation, procrastination or sadness are part of a biological strategy, known as the Freeze state. Your biology, in trying to help you manage overwhelming stress, starts to turn down the thermostat.

Like a dimmer switch, your biology softens the shock of too much to process. What was too much, too soon or too fast, needs less, not more input.

It needs support for stillness, invisibility, even immobility . . . And these are the superpowers of Freeze.

But they don’t feel like superpowers.

Many people call this depression, but from the point of view of your biology, this intelligence – by – design strategy, supports and preserves valuable inner resources.

But it doesn’t FEEL that. It feels awful.

Sometimes getting out of bed in the morning feels like a monumental task when your biology leans toward Freeze.

Accumulated stresses that your biology has had to face over a lifetime, add up in your “overwhelm bank account.”  If you’ve had some or all of these common life experiences, your overwhelm may be depleting your ability to cope:

Difficult medical or dental procedures

Motor vehicle accidents

Emotional hurt

Being bullied or betrayed

Setbacks such as losing a job, a pet dying, financial or academic setbacks

If you’re a minority, micro-aggression and physical threat

Add to these painful life events, childhood neglect, loss or abuse, military service, death of a loved one, being the victim of an assault, gaslighting or other inescapable double binds, your biology has a remedy: The Freeze State.

These experiences demand a lot from your body and nervous system because they are “saved” in a kind of nervous system database, waiting for the opportunity to be “righted.”

Because you may have had to endure bullying or were powerless to resolve a betrayal, or had to survive a difficult childhood, you may have entered adulthood with some feelings of “I can’t,”  feeling of helplessness and confusion, and shame.

The biology of Freeze tries to turn down these distressing signals that tell us that “the world is not a safe place,” or “I’m in danger.”  And when there is so much accumulated distress, we can’t even tell when we are actually safe, because we feel unsafe. And somehow, you override these feelings, and function when you must. And it’s exhausting.

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