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Treating Your Depression, Successfully For A Happy Life

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February 14, 2011
A Tipping Point Is Nearing
By Jeff T. Allen
We are facing a tipping point. There will soon be a crisis affecting US citizens beyond any experienced since the Great Depression. And it may happen within the year. This past week three awful developments put a dagger into the hope for a growth-led recovery, which held promise of possibly averting a debt and currency implosion crushing the American economy.

The first was a little-noticed, but tragic, series of events in the newly elected House of Representatives. The speaker, Mr. Boehner, had given the task of fashioning the majority’s spending cut agenda to Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), a rising conservative star representing the vocal wing of fiscal conservatives in the House. Promising to cut 0 billion of government spending, Mr. Boehner spoke before the elections of the urgency to produce immediately when Republicans took control.

Out of a .8 trillion government spending agenda, the wonkish Mr. Ryan, considered by many to be the best hope for fiscal conservatives, revealed proposed cuts of a whopping billion. After some tense meetings, (referred to as a "revolt" by some media) newly elected conservative congressmen convinced the leadership to commit to unspecified cuts of an additional billion. The actual "cuts" from any such legislation will, of course, be less once the appropriate political log rolling and deal-making are done- let’s call it billion (while the deficit grows by billion during the week it takes to discuss it). So go the hopes for serious spending restraint from our newly elected wave of rabid, anti-big government Republicans. They may deliver cuts 1.3% of total spending that is itself approximately 90% greater than collected taxes. Let’s mark this spending reduction effort as an epic fail, at a time when epic success is almost required for survival.

The second awful development to occur last week was the employment report from the Labor Department, describing employment conditions in the U.S. economy in January, 2011. The report was packed with statistics, all pointing to anemic growth with a modest pickup in manufacturing employment. The little-noticed (not by the bond market) aspect of the report was the "benchmark" revisions, an attempt to get the total picture more accurate each year than simply adding up all the monthly change numbers. This year’s benchmark revisions showed two alarming things: a decline from previously reported employment in December 2010 of nearly 500,000 jobs, and a reduction in the workforce of a similar amount.

Coupled with insistence from the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the Fed intended to continue "quantitative easing" (a euphemism for monetizing the bonded debt of the federal government), the employment data caused bond holders to assume there will be no end to the red ink. Ten-year U.S. bonds lost a full percent of their value, declining a total of 18% since Bernanke announced the acceleration of Fed policy in August 2010. The yield on these bonds has increased from an ultra-low 2.4% in August to 3.65% today, as the Fed repeatedly describes inflation in the U.S. as too low.

In context, a 3.7% yield does not appear high by historical standards. In our current predicament, however, it is heading toward Armageddon. If interest rates on our debt rise by 1% it means our interest payments rise by more than 0 billion dollars annually (not including the interest payments owed to the Social Security Trust Fund–see below). As global liquidity and deficit spending have accelerated, food and commodity prices have skyrocketed, sending many prices up 25-50% worldwide since August. In some countries (Tunisia and Egypt among them) rice prices and cooking oil have doubled. Copper is up 40% in that time. If global inflation expectations take hold with tenacity, as they have many times in past periods of "easy money" by our Fed and Congress, interest rates may easily rise to 5-6%, an event which will blow an additional 0-500 billion hole in a budget already beyond sanity. Can our creditors give the U.S. a nod on trillion of new debt each year without any plan to fix it? Remember, there is plenty of past experience with U.S. debt yielding 7-8%, a potential expenditure on our current debt of nearly 100% of tax receipts to pay interest alone should yields go there.

The third development of the last week which received much less press than the Egyptian crisis is the "new normal" in Social Security. The CBO released a report disclosing that the net cash flow for the Social Security trust fund — excluding interest received from the book entry bonds it holds in U.S. debt — will be negative billion in 2011, and for every year hence even more so. This is the train wreck that was supposed to happen in 2020. It is upon us now. Any limp action by conservatives to bring this program into solvency can be expected only to slow the raging river of red ink this behemoth program (along with its twin Godzilla, Medicare) spills on U.S. citizens. With no political will to fix them, these "entitlements" will obligate Americans to borrow more and more money from China–to honor promises we simply refuse to admit we can’t keep.

So why do these developments argue for a crisis of Great Depression proportions? Because they speak unequivocally of our pathway to insolvency, and the potential of currency failure via hyperinflation, despite the hopes of conservatives and market participants to see a halt of such direction. Housing prices, the foundation of so much of private citizen debt loads, are destined for stagnation — not inflation — as the supply of homes is far greater than the demand — 11% of the nation’s homes stand empty today. When the world begins to recognize that there is no fix for America’s borrowings, a fast and brutal exodus from our currency and bonds can send us a shock in mere weeks or months.

Unlike the Great Depression, however, we will enter such a shock in a weakened state, with few producers among us and record mountains of debt. More cataclysmic is the specter of inadequate food, as less than 4% of us farm, and those that do may cease to be as productive or may not accept devalued currency as payment, should the tipping point be crossed. Corn and wheat prices in the U.S. have nearly doubled in less than 12 months, using our rapidly evaporating currency as the medium of exchange.

The time for action has passed, which may only become apparent as the "aid" of easy money becomes seen as the harm that it is. May we all be spared the worst, but I offer no such prayers for those responsible. The harm that comes will be swifter, and more severe, than most of them thought possible.

It is important to understand the things to watch for and what you should anticipate when it comes to depression treatments. You need to have the right resources and the information on who could provide you the answers you need in order to improve your way of living. This article contains tips to help you get started.

If depression interferes with your day-to-day life, get yourself to a doctor. Your primary care physician can refer to to a therapist, or prescribe you an antidepressant. Both of these can help you cope with depression, and make life a little easier.

Take a good look at the personalities of the friends you spend the most time with when you are struggling with depression. It is good to have friends with different personalities. If you feel depressed, spend more time with your happier friends to avoid getting influenced by negative behaviors. Simply thinking about who you choose to spend time with can be helpful in giving insight into your own feelings.

Think about the causes of your depression. Depression has psychological and physical components. When you have experienced anxiety and stress for an extended time, your brain’s serotonin levels can be depleted. This may lead to increased feelings of depression. Medications such as anti-depressants are prescribed for depression, as this encourages the brain to step up its production of serotonin. You can boost your serotonin levels naturally several ways. Stimulants can depress serotonin activity, so it is wise to avoid them when possible. Furthermore, adequate rest and exercise will help you recover from stress quickly.

These medications can, in many cases, balance out the neurological and hormonal chemicals in your brain. However, if you want normalcy restored in your life, you must also exercise and take part in therapy.

Quit using the words “depression” and “depressed”. Thinking of yourself in these terms, although they are valid for diagnosis, can make your problem seem hopeless and unmanageable. Think of your depressed times as a temporary set back and not as a permanent state of mind. Simply concentrate on happier things, rather than dwelling on fighting depression.

If you are dealing with depression, stay away from diet sodas and anything which contains artificial sweeteners. The sweetener interferes with your serotonin production, possibly leading to insomnia and headaches. As these two items can already be caused by depression, sweetener consumption should be avoided. You will want to avoid these substances at all costs.

Develop some interests to direct yourself away from depression. Not having interests or fun activities leads to boredom, monotony and depression. Even if you’re busy, a routine is boring. A wide range of hobbies can help keep you happy. There are a lot of passions you can pursue that will assist in keeping depression away from you.

Start dancing if you are feeling depressed. Try putting on some music that makes you want to dance. It’s hard to feel sad when dancing to some funky beats. It’s hard to be sad when dancing. Choose the music that you like and that lifts your mood.

If you are challenged by ongoing depression, consider treatments using either cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy. The focus of interpersonal therapy deals with the way you interact to the relationships in your life. Altering negative thoughts and actions is the focus of cognitive behavior therapy.

Recovery

Do not indulge your tendency to hide away and avoid all social contact with people you love and activities you enjoy. This is quite the opposite of the action you should be taking. Instead, surround yourself with plenty of positive, uplifting loved ones, and go about your life as normally as possible as you recover.

As you have seen in the above tips, there is a lot of knowledge you can acquire before seeking treatment for your depression and it’s this knowledge, along with assistance from a doctor, that can help improve your symptoms. Do everything you must to find a treatment that works for you.

Category: Anxiety Help
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