I’ve struggled with depression for most of my adult life. By now, I’m pretty familiar with its signature, its signposts, the way it feels, and especially the impact it can have on reality.
Mental health, which includes depression and anxiety, is a global epidemic. As someone who’s wrestled with depression and negativity for a long while, there are some things I’ve discovered that may help shed some light on how to break the grip of depression.
We are completely lost in our minds
For most people, our minds have almost completely hijacked the machine! That is to say that most people are so completely identified with their thoughts (and their accompanying feelings), that they lose touch with reality, with a deeper sensing of what it is to be themselves.
When we are the victims of our minds, we are in real trouble because the mind is incredibly powerful and oftentimes totally irrational. It will attract whatever it is we focus on, regardless of whether or not this is good or bad. It also creates companion feelings to our thoughts.
For someone with depression, we can become addicted to certain thoughts, and those thoughts re-enforce emotions. Without an awareness of what’s really happening, we can subject ourselves to years of mental and emotional pain and abuse.
Sometimes our minds can lead us into some pretty dangerous territory, including self-harm and hurting others. This is a real problem and there currently isn’t much out there that can solve it.
Of course, the cultural climate today and the twitter-verse adds another degree of pressure to many people’s lives. There is no shortage of attention-grabbing forces swirling around us.
What if we could separate ourselves out of all that for just a minute? What if we could find peace and groundedness, a singular moment of peace, calm, and lightness?
Look inwards to face the pain of depression
I have spent many moments in the practice of meditation. For me, meditation and the practice of looking inwards is a part of my life, and continues to evolve and deepen.
I believe this deepening of our self-awareness is one of the best tools for uprooting the weeds of negativity in our minds and transforming ourselves into the people we know we are in our hearts.
To give up negativity is no small feat. It’s literally like ripping away a part of your identity.
I tend to liken it to Venom, the alien entity that symbiotically latches onto Eddie Brock, the human host that Venom invades.
For depression, it can quite literally feel like there is a seed of darkness planted somewhere inside our mind and body. It can feel like it’s a part of us. And if you’ve lived with depression long enough or you’re attuned to it, you can literally feel the energy of depression inside of you.
Turning the tide on depression
It’s no fun to face difficult emotions. Our natural inclination is to run away from them. This can be especially true for men who were not raised with an awareness of their feelings.
Our natural tendency, or at least it was for me, was to avert myself from the feeling and to numb myself to it somehow, through food, television, and so on.
The problem is avoiding our feelings never solves the problem, only prolongs it.
To heal the mental and emotional pain that arises from our over-indulgence with thoughts, we have to put our attention onto the emotions, onto the thoughts.
We have to do this in the light of awareness. That is, we have to be able to witness the feelings, witness the thoughts.
This is where the real work happens.
You’ll know you’re on the right track if you can feel an emotion impartially, that is, without judging or thinking about it much or at all.
Once you begin to mobilize trapped emotions, many of the thoughts that trigger or vibrate with that emotion tend to dissolve or shift for the better.
Yes, depression is a serious matter but I strongly believe that depression is a symptom of our blind addiction to our minds and not enough true awareness of ourselves.
When we begin to cultivate an awareness of our bodies and begin to objectively face our painful emotions, we a) develop a greater balance between reality and thinking and b), we begin to remove emotional pain in our lives and start shifting our lives in a more positive and pure direction.
Please leave your thoughts and comments. I’d love to hear them!