Depression – Happiness Unveiled: by Dr Damiana Corca
When I started writing articles a while ago I never knew how much of a blessing would be to me. Every article I write comes from my heart, but this one is truly special. It has brought me joy and gratitude, and for that I need to thank all who participated in this interview-article.
The last article I wrote, titled “Depression – Lifting the Cloud with Natural Medicine”, asked for something more. I have decided to interview 8 people of different faiths, cultures and careers. My question to them was: “What makes you happy and what keeps you antidepressant-free?” Let’s get going and explore this wealth of answers!
“Most of us spend our whole lives in veiled search for the only two things we really want. Those are to be loved and happy. We wrap this search into a lifetime of actions, events, things and people. If I could just have a little more free time, I would be happy. If I just had a little more money, I would be happy. If I could get a new car, I would be happy.” These are the first thoughts of Dr. Rodney Dunetz, an Acupuncture Physician and Doctor of Oriental Medicine practicing in Boca Raton, Florida. He continues by explaining how helping others is at the core of true happiness: “I too, did this dance for much of my life. Then I realized, it was not the getting of my “stuff” that made me happy, it was the no longer wanting the “stuff”. I realized at the end of my life, I was going to give all my stuff back. I didn’t even get to keep my body. I give that back too. The stuff only made me a little happy and for a little while. And when I really looked at my life, I realized what truly made me happy was helping others. I embraced the idea of helping others. I made helping others a priority in my life and found my path to happiness. The more happiness I give, the more happiness I get. May you find your happiness, may you find your path. The truth is they’re one in the same.” He beautifully ends his thoughts by quoting Rabindranath Tagore: “I slept — and dreamed that life was joy. I woke — and saw that life was but service. I served – and understood that service was joy.”
Dr. Martha Lucas holds a PhD in Psychology; she is a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, teacher, and author, and has a practice in Denver, Colorado. She begins by summarizing all that brings her happiness in one single sentence: “My life is so full and, in part, it is gratitude that makes me happy.” She goes on through every major aspect of her life showing us how every day and every moment can be lived at its fullest: “Wonder – I have beautiful, healthy grandsons who fill my heart with joy and whose wonder about the world is so sweet to watch. There’s a line in one of Neil Young’s song I am a Child that says, “you can’t conceive of the pleasure in my smile”. That is a perfect description of how I feel when I watch the young ones wonder at the world; their smiles are so sweet and innocent. Service/Career – as a Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), I see all manner of illness and pain. This often makes me very grateful for my good health and that of my family. Having the ability using this wonderful medicine to help someone who has given up on life is very rewarding. Further, knowing the energetic effects of antidepressants make me want to avoid taking them; for the most part, we can treat emotional distress using acupuncture and herbal prescriptions rather than relying on pharmaceuticals. Nature – I love the outdoors, sunlight, moonlight, the quiet after a deep snowfall … I think that it is important to truly “see” those experiences. Sometimes we take the burst of Spring for granted but it is so rewarding to appreciate all the new growth, sweet smells, warm sun on your skin. Relationships – my children, husband, good friends, and students, all add wealth to my life. Don’t get me wrong; I have stresses and disappointments just like most other people. The bottom line is though that this moment is in a real sense, the only moment. Therefore I do my best to enjoy the moment and put worry aside.”
Dr. Cynthia O’Donnell is the CEO of the East West College of Natural Medicine, Sarasota, Florida, and has been in the Natural Medicine field for 25 years; she is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Acupuncture Physician, she has extensive training in Taoist longevity exercises such as Qi Gong and has had full training as a Classical Homeopath. Cynthia answered the following to my question: “I have been lucky in my life in that I had an incredibly happy childhood, and my disposition has always been positive. I have incorporated classical constitutional homeopathic treatment, chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage and herbs and nutrition into my lifestyle as health maintenance therapies and I have exercised regularly my entire life. I also have guided my life with spiritual principles and have been blessed to enter the career of my choice and be successful at it. However, I did once become terribly depressed for a long period of time after having received anesthesia for surgery. For that, I received healing sessions of external qi healing (a hands on healing technique similar to reiki) from a Taoist master and I was cured. After having been depressed for several months, with sluggishness and excessive tiredness, three external qi gong treatments had my friends marveling at the difference.”
Dr. Harsh Luthar, PhD, professor in Providence, Rhode Island, and the founder of HarshaSatsangh based on Ahimsa (the philosophy of nonviolence) and the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, states that “In terms of what happiness means, I am not sure it is a transient stage where some external thing or force can make us happy or unhappy. In Advaita, we use the term the Sahaj state or the natural state of the Self.” He feels that reading his article called “Easy and Natural is the Way” posted on his personal blog site, will describe more of his underlying orientation.
Claire Bangasser from San Juan, Puerto Rico, holds a Masters in Human Resource Development and a Masters in Pastoral Studies, with a focus on Feminist Theology. She is a passionate writer and she is sharing her first contact with depression and antidepressants: “I have friends who have to take anti-anxiety pills for long whiles to help them cope with their daily life. I may never have suffered from a depression because I understand that it is a real illness. On the other hand, when I was a child, I saw my mother taking sleeping pills and tranquilizers to escape a life that she did not like. I saw her groggy and no long remembering where she was. Once, I had to guide her to the bathroom as she was too lost to find it by herself. Having seen what pills did to her, I have never had any desire to follow her path. Strangely enough, it is also my mother who has taught me to look at the small ways Life blesses each of my days: a bird on the window sill, the blueness of the sky, the balminess of the wind. Thus, possibly, the attention I give to the moment helps me enjoy life more than others and prevents me from falling into a funk. Finally, I remember reading psalms of praise when feeling really down some years back. I praised God despite my deep fear of what was to come. This had a way of lifting me up and place me just a little above the fear itself.”
My dear sister, Mariana Corca, B.Sc, nun at the Valeni Monastery, Romania, for over 10 years, is sharing her view by quoting the devout Paisie of Mount Athos, “Psychiatric clinics would be empty if Christians would confess sincerely, humbly and reverently to an experienced confessor, who may even be a little harsh. No one would then experience anxiety, troubles and great temptation, as you should know they all arise from selfishness, disobedience and bad thoughts…” She continues by showing her gratitude for the simple joys of life, “I praise God for the world he created, for the snowdrops and violets already into bloom these first days of March, and for the snowflakes which seem to have forgotten winter is gone and are joyfully dancing in the air.”
Iuliana Olteanu from Brasov, Romania, B.A. and Certified Translator in 3 languages, is my cousin and best female friend. Iuliana truly lets love shine through her words. “When it comes to happiness, I have come to realize that we pursue it so eagerly in the wrong places, being blissfully unaware that in trying to cope with our daily routine, we have become blind to wonderful things right under our nose. As soon as things do not turn out as we wish, we tend to jump to conclusions, dramatize things and whine about being unhappy, and even envy others who SEEM to have a happier lot. Experience has taught me that situations having a quite black picture often result in the happiest outcome. I am truly blessed and thankful to have learned lately the most wonderful lesson, which is seeing life again through the innocent eyes of a child. Since my own eyes have started to betray me, I will from now on rely more on the apple of my eye, Sara-Marie.”
Finally, Dr. Catalin Buiu, PhD and professor in Bucharest, Romania, has practiced Integral Yoga since 1992. Here is his answer to my question: “there are a lot of reasons for me to be happy, and none to be unhappy. I’d even go so far as to say that the mere fact that I can answer this quite inspired question and share a bit of my innermost feelings makes me happy. As I was thinking about all these reasons, I’ve come to realize that behind them there must be an ultimate reason. It has to do with the fact that I am intuitively aware and many times I happen to directly feel the divine presence inside my being, that eternal spark bestowed upon me by God the Father, the individual Supreme Self. It is to me an inexhaustible source of beauty, harmony, hope and love. How could I ever be unhappy or unsure of my spiritual destiny and myself now that I feel I am Everything?”
The truth is, WE ALL HAVE A CHOICE. This being said, I have nothing more to add and I’d better leave you to meditate upon all these thoughts! Maybe you too would care to share your experience with the quest for happiness?
Click on each person’s name to learn more about them and read part I of this article “Depression – Lifting the Cloud with Natural Medicine”.