In the last blog (Experiencing Depression, Part 1 of 3), I shared a pivotal turning point in my own personal story of depression. Today in Part 2, I want to put into perspective that depression doesn’t have to be define us, being a weight on our shoulders/hearts/beings, and that it may not have to be something that we live with the rest of our lives.
Alright, let’s jump right in with today’s blog!
An experience with depression can often lead one to be withdrawn, feeling lonely, empty, feeling like we are in darkness, alone, and overall be in a bad mood, feeling sad, angry, and often feeling hopeless. It can make us feel like we have a heavy blanket over us that in some ways is smothering out light, happiness, freedom, fresh air and more. It can be all-to-easy to be sucked into depression’s ailing qualities once we consciously or subconsciously enter into what feels like a darkness. After that initial step in, depression’s qualities have an inlet to take on a greater hold in/on us.
This all being said, depression is a process that hosts an invaluable amount of both thoughts and emotions. You know, that painful emptiness in our heart/soul, feeling stuck in our own thoughts, and battling many emotions. It can be tempting to look for a way OUT of this, right? Who wants to feel pain, emptiness, hopelessness, discouragement, and maybe feeling like we’re not enough.
Here’s some food for thought today, for ALL of us. What if we were looking at depression all wrong? What if by entering into depression’s mood and thoughts, we could actually be deeply satisfied as we begin to “find ourselves”, finding who we really are as individuals in the midst of depression? What if depression is actually trying to teach US something?
I mean, can we learn from depression’s qualities? Yes, we can. Well, then in what ways? For ourselves, we can learn from its lead by becoming more patient with ourselves and our lives, being present, lowering our expectations, taking a watchful attitude as our soul is dealing with the heavy burden of depression’s heaviness. In friendships we all can learn to offer a place of acceptance and containment. We can be present, offer a listening ear, and be willing to sit in silence too.
Depression can be to the point of debilitating at times. One powerful anxiety often associated with depression is that it may never go away. Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself. Maybe not. Either way, the answer remains the same that our anxiety seems to decrease when we stop fighting the elements that are in depression and instead turn toward learning from depression. Again, maybe… just maybe we are looking are depression from the wrong angle.
We each have choices to be made every day, every minute, every second. As we swim in depressions elements, the same is true. Depression has a tendency for us to want to swim deeper into our hole with our thoughts, theories, assumptions, and basically just go further into the darkness instead of reaching for the light. Being depressed shouldn’t mean that we wallow in its’ symptoms. It really means we should try to learn from depression, what qualities our souls and our beings need for change to come from our experience IN depression.
What if, when we go into the darkness, we allow ourselves to face into depression and begin to ask ourselves questions, because we want to be set free from depression, not letting it define us or our lives?
As we begin to come in tune with what we are feeling, we are helping ourselves to LEARN from depression’s qualities. In today’s society we are all too often treating depression with a medication which looks at it as an illness/disease to be “cured”. But it’s only getting “cured” by covering its symptoms, so we aren’t truly getting to the root of the issue(s). I’m sorry if this offends anyone, because this is NOT my intention. I hope that you will hear me out and ponder this blog in entirety, by looking at the big picture I’m suggesting, instead of looking at it from just one view.
It may sound like I’m against depression medications. Truthfully, I’m not. What I’m against is that medications only treat depression from both a mechanical and chemical standpoint…. and that is just not enough. Or it may not be needed at all. We need to be looking at depression from an emotional, spiritual, and physiological standpoint. And with that, asking questions that are going to help address the root cause/core issues could be the answer for deeper, sustainable help. Questions such as. “What is depression trying to teach me? Why is this happening FOR me (notice I said FOR me, not TO me).” “For me” and “to me” are two totally different perspectives; one is from a victim mentality and the other is from a mentality that is curious to ask questions and have hope of answers.
Depression has something, or maybe many things, for us each to learn no matter the degree we may be battling it. If and when we begin to listen and learn from what depression is teaching us, opening our hearts, minds, and souls, we’ll see how vital this really is. We then are giving ourselves space, an invitation, to start to grow and opportunity to change by sitting in silence and really hearing from a deeper place within us. We have space to question what depression is asking of us. And this, my friends, is truly what I believe depression is meant to do. To get so deep inside of our core that we ask ourselves those deep questions which are meant to make us grow, to overcome, and find freedom from both ourselves and our minds.
We don’t have a time frame for how long we may be dealing with depression. Everyone’s chemical make up is different, just like our DNA. But one thing we can do to help the time frame we have depression is to learn what it is teaching us, starting right here and right now. Becoming aware of our feelings, thoughts, emotions, senses, how we breathe, how our posture is, what smells we like or don’t like are all valid things to be aware of. By doing this we are beginning to learn what makes us tick, and what doesn’t! We may want to tuck ourselves in a quiet place to become aware of these things. And no, having a TV on for background noise doesn’t count. It’s a process of learning to sit in silence.
Today, whether you are battling depression or a loved one is, I want to give you hope. Depression doesn’t have to define you. It doesn’t have to run your life. It doesn’t have to leave you feeling alone, empty, or isolated. As much as we may think that “being positive” is going to make us not have depression, it’s more than likely not going to happen. Instead, can we start asking ourselves questions… in search of answers that only were meant for us to find and discover for our individual selves? Instead of sitting in emptiness or hopelessness with depression, can we look into our heart and find the mystery that is tucked deep inside and begin to learn what we need. What if we start searching and find that missing something? What if by facing into that emptiness and our emotions we begin to find who we were really meant to be? And what if depression wasn’t really a “bad” thing that happened to us, but instead happened for us? Is it possible that depression can become one of the greatest gifts we were given when we choose to face into it and learn from? And lastly, what if by facing into depression’s qualities, that we finally find exactly what we needed in order to be set free?
Depression happens for a reason. The answer is for each of us to find and discover for ourselves. I hope that by reading this blog today you may look at depression from a different view that holds hope, and REAL questions that may bring about REAL answers for you or a loved one. It is my hope for anyone suffering from depression to ultimately be set free, in ALL aspects (mechanically, chemically, emotionally, spiritually, and physiologically).
In the next blog, Part 3, of this series we will begin to piece together how to both face into and see things we need to be aware of in order to help be set free from depression. Note, there’s no one-shoe-fits-all answer, but there’s many contributing factors that we need to look at. Until next time!
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