I Think We've Got Depression All Wrong
Trigger Warning: talk of depression, darkness, and raw feelings.
Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. This information is not advice, or meant to cure, treat or diagnose.
Recently I have been going through a challenging time. I've been doing a lot of journaling in the midst of it...so much so that I've run through two brand-new pens in a week! Yes, I still journal on real paper.
Exhaustion. Fatigue. Lethargy. Disinterest in things that I normally enjoy. Lack of desire to do much of anything. Crying/being emotional...or having zero emotions at all. Feelings of emptiness, pointlessness, and confusion. I've been here many times before.
And if I went to the clinic, I know what they'd tell me.
BUT - I am not seeing depression the same way that I used to and it's changed my entire perspective of what I am going through. It hasn't magically taken away what I'm feeling, (I don't expect it to) but it has given me the ability to experience this in a whole new way.
Is Something Even Wrong At All?
I don't know about you, but when I feel depressed I immediately start judging myself and my feelings. I get "fix it syndrome" because depression just feels wrong. It's hard to describe if you've never had it in a dark way. I can't put a finger on the wrongness or where it comes from but it's not a good feeling.
The natural propensity is to go in search of the thing that is "wrong" and fix it. Find a way to change it. No one likes to be uncomfortable, so of course we want to be done with it.
But what if nothing is actually wrong?
I don't mean that there aren't things in our life that we would like or need to change. I'm specifically talking about the feeling of "wrongness" about ourselves when we are depressed or that depression itself is wrong to experience.
We've grown up in a society where depression is something to escape from or hide from others. It's something that we seek to treat and get rid of. Depression is seen as a defect or a problem. We were taught to fear depression because of actions that others have taken as a result of their own depression.
What if we stopped seeing it like this?
Depression Speaks to Us
What if the feeling of disinterest or lack of desire was giving us time to go inward and examine our lives...whether we want to continue to do the things we are doing or not...whether our activities and habits are actually serving us or not?
What if the feeling of emptiness was giving us room and mental space to self-reflect and self-realize?
What if the physical sensations of fatigue, exhaustion, or pain were telling us that we would do well to pull back from the things we think we need to do? What if it was telling us to truly rest? Not just for a day here or there, but for...a while...an undetermined amount of time.
What if depression arises as a helper, not as an enemy to fight off...what if it was just trying to get us to STOP and observe everything in our life, including the feelings we are having associated with depression.
What if depression was a gentle friend, pulling us deep within ourselves, wanting us to see our true nature, calling us to be our authentic self...guiding us to live out life in the richest way...drawing us far into the unknown where the realm of endless possibility lies?
Why does a lack of interest in things or a lack of emotions have to be a bad thing? Yes, it's uncomfortable, so what. The discomfort isn't making us do anything. It's our mind playing tricks on us, telling us that it will never end or that there is no reason for living, or that everything is pointless or boring. Depression itself cannot harm us.
Why can't we just tell our minds to quiet down, and observe what it says without acting on it...without making up a story about why it's there or making it bad.
What if there is something on the other side of depression that will open our eyes to a new reality? I'm not talking about death either. I'm talking about a new way to really LIVE.
And what if, by fighting it, numbing it, or ignoring it, we are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to use depression as a catalyst for this new reality?
When we find ourselves unable to sit still, unable to just BE and allow, unable to really tune into what our body and heart are telling us because it's uncomfortable, we escape into things.
Fighting or escaping depression can look like using drugs or alcohol, shopping, needing to socialize, being busy around the house or at work, watching movies or videos, reading books, or listening to podcasts. A person can even become addicted to spiritual things in order to kind of mask depression...forgetting that self-medication is anything that gets us to sideswipe our reality.
There is nothing "wrong" with any of the things I mentioned above. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed and experienced in whatever way we see fit. All of those things can be enjoyed responsibly without detriment to the body or mind.
However, if we want to experience reality in its purest form, if we want to heal ourselves down to the root, if we want to become the freedom we seek and truly live life...
We could instead choose to accept, allow and know.
And THAT, my friend, is some scary ass shit.
Let Fear Be My Teacher
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to just accept depression and allow it to be? To not act on it? To not hold yourself in resistance to it? Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to let it seep into every last crevice and crack and take you into the deepest, darkest unknown?
Have you ever wondered what's down there?
And I'm doing it. I'm not sure where this will take me...but instead of listening to another spiritual podcast or throwing myself into another spiritual modality, I'm going to sink into this. Watch it. Listen to it. Be the observer of it. Feel it. Come face to face with it and ask it what it knows.
I think it knows something that I don't.
Please do not think I am advocating for anyone else to go down this road. It is not a place to travel if one is unstable in their mental habits. It is absolutely NOT a path to go down if there are suicidal tendencies.
I am at a place in my life where I trust myself enough, and where I feel strong enough mentally to continue. I wouldn't have done this at other times in my life when I was harmful to myself. I also have people who love me to the core, so much so, that I know that they will honor my journey as well as look out for my well-being.
Love, Light, and Unity to all who read.
Question of the day: Who are you REALLY?