A Brain on Depression – Tribute to Trey Pennington

We are still reeling from the shock! Sadly, Trey Pennington is gone, and will be missed by an entire world. But is your brain near depression’s door today?

A Brain on Depression-Tribute to Trey Pennington

Your three-pound brain, consistency of raw egg, continually rewires for or against stress and depression on a daily basis. But did you know your brain can also fight back?

Medicinal therapies and natural alternatives increasingly improve in ways that raise serotonin’s well being fuels and reduce cortisol’s toxic attacks. The key is to become aware of depression’s stalking persistence.

Rather than lose hope – reach out to trusted others who crack you up or who may be stronger at the moment. Connect and commumicate before you slip into mental toxins that work against your brain and even damage your heart.

Awareness of Frontal Cortex Helps

Depression cuts creativity, stiffles proactive responses, and blocks living memories of better times, regardless of your fights against frumps? That’s how it wins victims like our precious social media king, Trey Pennington who ended his life yesterday.

Depressed people fear and dread the future, triggered by mood disturbances, serotonin failure, or imbalances within the brain’s frontal lobes. The healthy brain’s executive function allows you to recognize future consequences from current thoughts and action. For instance, you’ve likely noticed that when you reach out to thoughtful people, you begin to imitate their kinds of serotonin strategies that win.

When despair deepens –  loss of creative responses result – so that you often choose against engaging the plasticity that rekindles your brain to regain that hopeful perspective. You cannot find comfort that comes from knowing that dark moments pass and new hope rises over time.

Change from Depression Can be Brutal

From a brain’s perspective, the process of changing moods can be brutal for adults since learning requires massive rewiring of vast cortical connections. Simply stated – every time you act from depressed responses your brain grows neural pathways for more of the same depressed responses.

To cultivate winning approaches filled with hope – is to see how these new skills come into plastic competition with neural networks that developed deep ruts  into despair. See why the trends that led you into current quagmires financially, emotionally or socially can be tough to snip?

Without doubt change can appear daunting at first. Those who engage even one neuro-discovery for sustaining mental health in spite of stressors, already cracked open hope – worthy of Trey’s life-changing legacy. New windows exist for rejuvenation and excellence that will grow hope-filled neural networks, and displace depression’s paths.

The brain orchestrates over 200 kinds of cells with trillions of neural signals communicating hope or despair  in your cortex. The chemical and electrical circuitry observed through brain imaging, shows how brain chemicals seep through clefts in the brain and convert to electrical impulses.  These connection – both good and bad -  impact what you think and do. Your frontal cortex sways your reactions to life around you much like the atmosphere sways the ocean.

Will it be smile or sneer? Chemicals called neurotransmitters act as biochemical messengers, which generate learning, and act as stimuli to excite neurons or as inhibitors to suppress them. Drugs can stimulate or block synapses, another name for communication and electrical activity among neurons. You also tend to mimic those you associate most because of magic-like actions of mirror neurons – the  brain’s inner equipment to replicate what’s observed.

You’ll enjoy this recent study to show how the brain builds natural chemicals for well being in a powerful placebo effect.

Medical Fields Hold New Solutions too

In spite of revelations, malfunctioning brains continue to hide keys that unlock problems and reveal learning patterns. We know that drugs such as Prozak block depression, for instance. The key here is to consult with experts in the field, as some serotonin altering drugs also rob that adrenalin zing that helps you reflect deeply, design novelty, or connect ideas.  It takes trusted gurus to help you keep or produce the dopamine or other natural drugs of choice, that enable you to take good risks.

Before you succumb to stress’ traps – there are other choices that work in your brain’s favor. Physical exercise and good health increase oxygen, and other such serotonin builders also affect moods positively. Yet how or why moods brighten, is often less obvious.

Depressed Brain Differ from Healthy Brains

Unfortunately depressed people often lack images that secure, comfort and console. Instead of hope for a finer future, they see negative images only – or hear recriminating inner voices plague and disturb their thoughts.

Imagine yourself failing at work today. Instead of inner mental responses that soothe and show lessons about recovery, depression shoots darts of fear, so you dread further disasters. And yet, while no cure exists for some forms of depression, hope increases and help moves closer for many who face depression’s deadly aim.

Determination alone is rarely enough for serotonin laden well-being, since depression is ruled at times by gene pools we carry, and at times by lives we lead. Not surprisingly, brain researchers disagree on cures and causes for two common depressions.

Two Common Depression Roots

One kind, endogenous depression, originates from innate predisposition to mood disturbances. Victims suffer despondency, hopelessness or guilt over trivial triggers. Another kind, called neurotic or reactive depression, signifies external miseries like illness, death or loss that trigger gloom. In both cases, we have learned lessons lately.

You may be surprised to know that statistically more endogenous depressions are treated with mind altering drugs or anti-depressants. Reactive or neurotic depression is often treated with drugs in addition to psychological strategies that help people find more realistic views of their problems. People labeled psychotic when severe depression robs reality, still drop out. And even mild depression prevents some from cracking misery’s spells. But we can all learn more, and we also now know that DNA can be overridden by actions we take in the opposite direction, to build new neural pathways toward hope and health.

We know that rich inner lives help people to refine images and stockpile positive emotional responses to combat difficulties. While we can expect fears and worries, and will lack courage at times, we can learn to face futures with hope. Reflection helps us create a cache of positive images to block fear and deal realistically with negative events.

Brain breakthroughs remind us that human intelligence is in some ways as complex and difficult to understand as it was for Greek scholars. Homer’s epic poems in the eighth Century fail to mention doubt or depression since people in Homer’s stories simply lacked free will. They acted because of driving inner voices or were driven by gods.

Seek Help before Hope’s Light Dims Too Low

People are living longer and for some this means longer bouts with depression. On July 17th, 1990 George Bush suggested that North America, “enhance public awareness of the benefits to be derived from brain research.” Research continues to tap at doors yet blocks still prevent genuine cures for depression. Or we fail to say or do what really helps the Trey Penningtons -  before the risk of suicide.

Depression increases in toxic workplaces. Or a  friend lets you down after making a promise to help you, you feel too tired to work, you lack money to pay your bills, or you just slip into the blues for no apparent reason. Regardless of why depression strikes, we learn more and recover better when we know others who look for new facts and tools in neuro science. Did you know for instance, that left brain damage tends toward depression while right hemisphere damage can actually lead to manic cheerfulness?

All to say, as Leslie Hart, did in Human Brain and Human Learning, said: “With our new knowledge of the brain, we are just dimly beginning to realize that we can now understand humans, including ourselves, as never before, and that this is the greatest advance of the century, and quite possibly the most significant in all human history.”

When this new understanding benefits those like our friend and missed colleague Trey Pennington, who suffered depression and ended his life, we’ll all  capitalize more from the most powerful force on earth, the healthy human brain. The brain rewires daily and can transforms despair into laughter, learning into leading and pleasure into purpose.

2 Comments

  1. [...] The conversation takes an unexpected turn. Ellen discusses the suicide of social media guru Trey Pennington, and how depression impacts our brains and the way we work. Are you aware of what’s going on [...]

  2. [...] Innovative opportunities spiral into lost prospects, as seen recently in one young leader’s suicide. [...]

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