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Mindful : October 2013
54 mindful October 2013 “Depression is not a disease,” says Dr. James Gordon in his book Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression. “It is a sign that our lives are out of balance, that we’re stuck. It’s a wake-up call and the start of a journey that can help us become whole and happy, a journey that can change and transform our lives.” For anyone who has experienced depression firsthand, this view may come as a surprise—and a relief. For anyone who’s had a doctor hand over a drug prescription at the slightest sign of the blues, Gordon’s take may seem like heresy. And it’s about time. Depression ranks as the “most disabling of nonfatal conditions in the United States and around the world,” according to Gordon. It is, he says, “ the defining disorder of our times.” The statistics in Unstuck underscore the point. One in five Americans will have an episode of either major depression or dysthymia (defined as a “disordered and depressed mood”) during their lifetime. More than 13 million Americans will have a major episode of depression this year, and countless others will experience symptoms that don’t quite reach the threshold for clinical diagnosis. Depression makes people more likely to suffer from a host of other problems, such as heart disease, alcoholism, and diabetes. The annual cost of lost productivity is more than $50 billion a year.