YOU CAN’T AFFORD THE LUXURY OF DEPRESSION – OR ANGER
In 1974 one of my patients, moribund from metastatic cancer, cured herself by forgiving her family. Thirty months later she became depressed when her dog died and her pain returned. Fortunately she came to see me and the cancer had not returned. After careful analysis, she stated ”I now realize I cannot afford the luxury of depression.”
Dr. Hans Eysenck demonstrated years ago that 75% of those who die of cancer have life-long depression and 75% of those who die of heart disease have life-long anger. Incidentally most of the deaths in the other 25%, who die of cancer or heart disease, have anger and/or depression. In his studies, depression was three times as likely as smoking to lead to cancer. And smoking, depressed people were almost 100 times as likely to develop cancer as happy, autonomous individuals.
Recent studies begin to demonstrate even more dramatically the physiological pathology of anger and depression. Among other factors, High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein is elevated in those with anger or depression, even when other risk factors are absent. Age, gender, diabetes, smoking, body mass index, exercise, LDL cholesterol and even family history, all factors in elevated HS-CRP, are not necessary to have very high HS-CRP levels. Even men who have had a previous major depressive episode continue to have elevated HS-CRP a year or longer ”after” the depressive episode.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES emphasizes that Happiness is an Inside Job. Of course anger and depression are also inside jobs. Over the past two decades psychoneuroinnunology has increasingly proven the remarkable interactions of body, mood and mind. Just as you cannot afford to ignore gravity, you cannot ignore common sense. Depression, anger and indeed all negative emotions, are harmful, not just to your psyche, but also to many biochemical factors, and ultimately to your health and body, especially the heart. Anger is appropriate when there is an immediate significant threat; the adrenalin response may save your life. But chronic anger has no psychological, physical or physiological benefit. It is no different from a grudge—remember that holding a grudge (anger) is like taking poison and expecting it to kill the other person. Now we have the biochemical evidence that it may kill you! Depression, and anger, may well help complete the death wish.
Eysenck also reported that life-long depressed and/or angry individuals could learn to be autonomous. Other individuals cannot make you happy or unhappy. YOU are responsible for your happiness. Ultimately you can spend 20 minutes or 20+ years coming to grips with your anger or depression. The choice is how you approach it.
You truly cannot afford the luxury of depression or anger. If you need help dealing with it, I suggest you do my 90 DAYS TO STRESS-FREE LIVING program. Learn more from the Shealy-Sorin Wellness Institute.