Many major life stresses that lead to depression are easy to understand— accidents, financial disaster, cancer, heart attack, divorce, natural disasters, the death of a spouse or child. It makes perfect sense that those things lead to depression, but there are other things that we want that that can cause depression. I worked in a retirement community in coastal South Carolina. There were men who had worked their whole lives in New York City and with an hour ride on a commuter train each morning and evening. They wanted to save enough money to retire and play golf every day in a gated community and they were successful. They wanted to retire early enough to enjoy it. They succeeded and six months after the move some of them became depressed. When I made that diagnosis, they could not understand it.
Let’s just talk about one of these men. How could he be depressed? He had achieved his goals and he had everything he wanted. Men are often defined by their work. He had retired, He left all his friends and family. He sold the house he had owned for thirty years. He bought a new one. He was in a totally new environment. Even though these were goals— things he wanted— they represented major life stresses that can lead to anxiety and depression. They are big changes even though they are goals and they create enough stress to cause illness. This is a good example of the way insight and coping strategies can make such a difference. Understanding what is going on helps. Once they understood, many of these men recovered quickly.
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I am wondering about how these men may have actually been living close to depression for a long time, meaning stressed which would burn out the dopamine levels. So, 2 thoughts. One, there's an interesting article from Gary Sharpe this morning on stress: https://garysharpe.substack.com/p/how-chronic-stress-feeds-suffering And then, I have a somewhat different approach to hitting inner stumbling blocks. You can find it here: https://fullflourishing.com Note: I see many methods as going with each other, rather than against each other.