A Special Note about depression and anxiety.
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A special note to anyone currently suffering from depression or anxiety (and those who love them):

People get depressed for many reasons, but weakness of character isn't one of them. It's true, of course, that depressed people have "stinkin' thinkin.'" But stinkin' thinkin' isn't the cause of their depression. It's a symptom of it. Advances in brain research have revealed that the brains of people who are actively depressed do not function normally because of reduced amounts of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, key neurotransmitters responsible for mood regulation, reward-seeking, and overall sense of well-being.

Nobody chooses to be depressed. Depression is a biological illness brought on by a combination of external and internal factors. It is a unique illness in that it wreaks havoc with every system of the body. It kills sleep, appetite, energy, mood, and libido. It can also cause: aches, pains, heaviness in the limbs, poor digestion, irregular heartbeats, electrical surges in the head, crippling anxiety, and feelings of guilt, shame and unworthiness.

The best known feature of depression is anhedonia, the inability to feel joy. But the worst part of depression isn't the lack of joy. It's the inescapable presence of dread.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 15% of the adult population--or 15 million people--suffer from depression each year. Forty million suffer from anxiety disorders. In older adults--especially women--these numbers are even higher. And the numbers are rising, especially among children.

So, if you're suffering from depression or anxiety, there is no need to feel shame. You're not alone, and you won't always feel this way. I promise. There are things you can do right now to start feeling better. I can teach you mindfulness practices that will help you disengage from your current suffering, and prevent relapse once you are well again.

Note: Betsy is an expert in the treatment of depression and anxiety. In 2011, she completed the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Training (MBCT) for Professionals, and is qualified to deliver the MBCT Program, an 8-week program that cuts the relapse rate of depression for people who have suffered three or more episodes.