Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

larry-berkelhammer_hs1This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is today’s question:

QUESTION: Somewhere on your website I remember seeing something about cultivation of well-being (which is a scientific term for happiness) and living a full life while still living with depression. Wouldn’t it be necessary to first get rid of the depression in order to do that?

ANSWER: Most depressed people use antidepressants to get rid of depression. There are problems with that approach. They are ineffective with a large percentage of people and when they do work, the side effects often cause various health problems. In addition, you are then dependent on those drugs for the rest of your life. Furthermore, they flatten out the highs as well as the lows.

For those individuals who are willing to fight for their lives, the very best solution is to learn and practice the life mastery skills that confer self-efficacy and self-mastery. This approach will not cure depression, but it will allow you to live a full and rewarding life. It entails learning how to not pay attention to unhealthy ways of thinking such as negative self-talk. It also involves adopting new behaviors that are associated with health and wellbeing.

Over the last few months I have discussed those specific recommended behaviors that you can adopt and practice in order to increase both health and happiness. All of those discussions are available in the Q&A Ask Dr. B section of this website.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health? Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column.

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