Living A Joyous Depression-Free Life

A stunning thought occurred to me only moments before I was ready to end my life in my kitchen ten years ago.

What if there’s something you don’t know about healing depression? It asked.

Though I had tried everything traditional psychiatry and therapy offered to end my depression over the previous five decades, I stopped assembling the components of a kit I’d purchased online from Canada. The equipment guaranteed my death would be easy, painless, and not too messy, the latter in consideration of those who would find my body. I discovered this end-of-life option from a book I’d read that explains how a person can successfully end their life, detailing methods that are certain.

The book was designed for people with incurable, terminal illnesses, especially the kind that would cause tremendous suffering. The information was not intended for the mentally disordered who want to die because they can no longer absorb the pain of disorders such as depression any longer.

Regardless of the author’s intention, I saw the book as an answer to the way out of my painful life, a 50-year struggle with major depressive disorder.

Since I was 17, I had been “treated” by innumerable psychiatrists and therapists, so many I had lost count (to this day, I can’t remember most of their names). As a young adult, I was told that my depression was genetically based and that to function, I would need to be on psychiatric drugs and do talk therapy for the rest of my life; if I didn’t follow their advice, I would probably kill myself, I was informed.

For years, under the influence of multiple psych drugs, I was in a fog that numbed me so that the pain wasn’t as intense but didn’t cure my depression. Though mostly I went through the motions of life, I was miserably sad and not fully engaged in life, often incapacitated, and unable to get out of bed.

No matter what happened in my life—good or bad—, my misery would not abate.

I had been on almost every psychiatric drug on the market. Over the years, I saw countless psychiatrists and told the same old stories of childhood trauma and my unforgivable mistakes, grief, profound guilt, hopelessness, and despair to many therapists.

Several days before I prepared to end my life, I was on five psychiatric medications.

The side effects—weight gain, headaches, insomnia, nausea, constipation, restlessness, involuntary movement, and lightheadedness—decreased my quality of life even further than the depression.

The number of drugs I was on towards the end was probably dangerous; nevertheless, my psychiatric team prescribed one pill after another and though I never felt better, they prescribed more.

By 2013, after a second long stay in a psychiatric hospital, the physician team “treating” me deemed my depression untreatable and told me there was nothing more they could do and discharged me.

They gave up.

And I gave up on myself.

Since the psych drugs didn’t work, and, in some ways, made things worse, I decided I was done with medication.

When I told my psychiatrist about my decision, he angrily told me that if I did this, I could likely die from a seizure or heart attack. And if that didn’t kill me, I would eventually kill myself. He further stated that he would no longer “treat” me because I wouldn’t comply with his medical advice.

His words exacerbated my hopelessness and despair.

I told him I would rather die than continue the drug regime with its resultant effects.

That day I stopped all the medication.

And waited.

I was lucky I suppose because nothing alarming happened over the next several days, and I didn’t die.

Without the drugs, I was able to think more clearly, but my depression was as fire-poker hot as ever.

I’d had enough.

On that fateful day, as I prepared to end my life, the thought repeated:

What if there’s something you don’t know about healing your depression?

What if?

I had nothing to lose by exploring this notion. I gathered the pieces of the kit and the letters I had written to my children and stashed them in a foyer closet, deciding to delay my suicide. As the question repeated, I headed upstairs to my desktop computer. I entered alternative approaches to healing depression, non-traditional treatment for depression, holistic methods for healing depression in the Google search bar.

Why hadn’t I previously considered anything beyond traditional “treatment”?

Because my mind had been so dulled by decades of psych drugs and depression it hadn’t occurred to me as I relied on what the “experts” told me.

Shouldn’t they know, after all?

On my computer appeared an array of information that began the journey that ultimately healed my depression and ended my suffering once and for all.

I first encountered a seemingly unrelated book by Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics, published in 1979. I had no idea what Zukav’s book had to do with depression, but though I have the most unscientific brain imaginable, I was drawn to it. I ordered it for 49 cents, received it the next day, and couldn’t put it down. Through Zukav’s book, I discovered how energy works—atoms, electrons, photons, protons, and more. How energy is inextricably connected to everything, including me, and how I could manage energy to transform my depression.

Soon after, I discovered exciting facts about neuroplasticity—the science of brain malleability.

Donald Hebb, a neuropsychologist, in 1949 proposed that the brain is not hard-wired as previously thought. Instead, the brain is “plastic” or flexible, capable of creating new neural pathways that change its structure and neurochemistry. Hebb explained that neurons wire together when they repeatedly fire together, creating new neural pathways which are communication channels in the brain. And that we could change how our neurons wire by changing our beliefs and thoughts.

My mind was blown wide open.

But I wondered:

Why hadn’t any of the many psychiatrists and therapists I’d seen told me this?

Over the next several months, I pummeled down a rabbit hole to learn more. As I discovered that my thoughts and underlying beliefs fueled my depression and that I could change those, I became aware that my thoughts are not who I am.

Who am I? Not my transient, always-changing thoughts, that’s for sure. Learning this much gave me hope and was pivotal in my depression transformation.

I moved forward.

As I understood how neurons fire and wire together and how neural pathways are created, I developed methods, practices, and lifestyle changes that, over a few months, transformed my brain, ending my depression once and for all.

After 50 years of suffering, I have been depression-free since 2013 and live an impenetrably joyful life because I healed my brain, imbuing it with “feel-good” neurotransmitters.

While I am not a physician, psychiatrist, pharmaceutical company, or therapist and can’t tell you that you can heal your brain, I am an expert in how I healed mine.

And I believe that anyone can do what I did.

In my book, Out of the Darkness: Aligning Science and Spirit to Overcome Depression, I share precisely what I did in the hope that depression sufferers will open to the possibility that they can change their brains and transform their lives, too.

Here’s the link to my website so you can learn about my revolutionary methods and practices.


Debra Holz
Debra Holz
Debra Holz is passionate about writing~by age 9, she knew she would be a writer when she grew up. As a child, she wrote elaborate stories, or books as she called them, on scraps of paper woven together with colorful yarn. Debra’s professional career began at 19 when she landed a job with a public relations firm in Century City, California, where she wrote press releases and nationally published feature articles for celebrities. During that time, she earned a bachelor's degree in English education and later studied journalism in graduate school. After college, she was employed by major advertising agencies as a senior copywriter and creative director. An entrepreneur at heart, in 1985 she opened a highly successful advertising company that specialized in direct response marketing. In addition, as a freelance journalist, she has contributed news and feature articles to several major metropolitan newspapers, most notably the Boston Globe and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. With decades in her profession, Debra has superior writing skills and enhances them with a unique, intuitive ability to “listen” between the lines of clients’ goals, creating compelling, credibility-building, meticulous content that educates and influences. Debra recently completed her first book titled Out of the Darkness: Aligning Science and Spirit to Overcome Depression and plans to launch it in early December. It describes how she integrated neuroplasticity and gained a basic understanding of quantum physics and the truth about religions. With her new knowledge, she developed brain-rewiring methods that cured her lifelong struggle with depression. Her book shares precisely how she did this with the hope of helping other depression sufferers. Debra, who grew up in southern California, currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She loves spending time with her husband, adult children, and four grandchildren and hiking the trails of western Pennsylvania.

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