Looking For a Simple Solution to Depression? It Doesn’t Exist

P4150038T.S. Eliot wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

I remembered those words yesterday, as I strolled around the Holistic Health Fair in Annapolis. Presented by the Maryland University of Integrative Health, it occupied three floors of the Loew’s Hotel devoted to massage therapists, acupuncture specialists, detox experts, yoga instructors, and professionals from all kinds of local healing and wellness centers.

Ironically, they were all the same professionals that I met ten years ago when, at the lowest point of my breakdown, I decided to drop modern science like a boyfriend with bad breath and go the holistic route. I was sure that someone had the one and only solution that would heal me of my inner demons, the magic urn of ancient cat pee, that with only three sniffs of prehistoric urine, could set my psyche back in balance. So asked everyone I knew: “Where is the path to the magic urn?” And they all pointed me in different directions.

I followed all the paths. To yoga instructors and acupuncture specialists and massage therapists and recommended naturopaths. I took Chinese herbs and banged magnesium packets against phone books because that’s what the instructions said. I paid psychics to describe the color of my aura, and to tell me what helpful and frightening things it had to say about my inner life. I listened to tapes of mystic healers like Caroline Myss, as I knelt in child pose in our bedroom closet with a candle lit.

I listened to friends and relatives who told me that my medication was toxic, so I weaned off almost all of my drugs.

I did not get better.

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