Depression is defined as:
|1. Severe despondency and dejection, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.
2. A condition of mental disturbance, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life.
However, Depression Doesn’t Exist!
Now that I have your attention and possibly your anger, please, keep reading! For anyone who experiences depression or has come through it, the feelings associated with it are very real. However, one of the most valuable lessons I learned from my four years of Gestalt Psycho-therapy training was that depression in and of itself does not exist – it is a mental and physiological response to one of two things: repressed anger or repressed sadness. Think of it as holding a ball full of air underneath the water. Everyone knows that it is difficult to do because the displaced air within the ball forces it to ascend upwards and we have to forcefully hold it to keep it under the water. When we do eventually let it go; it flies out of the water upwards proportionately to how deep we were holding it under.
This is very similar to what happens when we are holding anger or sadness within us – it wants to come up and be expressed – but we may not want to see it on the surface. The problem with this is, the more we repress our anger or sadness, the less we can actually feel joy or happiness. This is why it is crucial that we allow our anger and sadness to come to the surface so that our hands – and our entire being – is open to experience the joy and happiness life has to offer as well.
The fact that depression in most cases is a result of holding on to negative feelings – and negative energy – is very good news. While depression feels like a heavy weight upon our shoulders or quicksand that we feel powerless to become free from – anger and sadness are simply emotions that have been trapped within our bodies in response to an experience – and we can be free of them, which in turn will eventually help lift the feelings associated with our depression.
How do we do this?
I am certainly not going to advise for or against anti-depressants; but sometimes they can be a TEMPORARY solution to severe depression until we can process and deal with the sadness or anger in which we are holding. Times in my life that I have experienced depression I did not take drugs and I was able to work through it and come out the other side and that is what I want to share with you today. The truth is there is no quick fix to dealing with depression. If one is in this state, even affirmations and trying to lift our vibrational energy may not work – although they cannot hurt either!
Step # 1: We need to first identify what emotion is causing the depression – is it anger or is it sadness? And very often, even behind our anger lies sadness or disappointment over something that has happened to us. For example, if someone has said or did something very hurtful to us, we are likely to have felt sadness but masked it with anger very quickly in order to deal with it and ‘feel stronger’. Often we mask our sadness with anger in order to have the strength to stand up to or say goodbye to a particular person or situation in our lives. How many times have we thought we originally felt anger towards someone and then a few days later, realize that we are actually sad about what happened?
Step # 2: What are we feeling sad or angry about? The problem with trying to discover what and why we are feeling what we are is that many times by the time our bodies have gone into a depressed state, the actual original hurt or event has long since passed. It may even have been something in our childhood originally and has been triggered again by something in our adult lives.
So how on earth do we get to the heart of the issue and figure out how and why we are feeling this way? It isn’t easy. This is the step at which most people feel the most resistance – especially if the hurt did originate – and most do – in our childhood. We have buried it so deeply and so strategically in order to not have had to deal with it – usually because we were too young to do so or simply not equipped – that there are a few layers that we have to peel away first. It is necessary that we realize this is a process – and that is what I want to stress here – growth and healing of any kind is a process. When we cut our finger, our bodies have a wonderful – some would even say miraculous – ability to heal the wound. This does not happen overnight however; but we can apply ointments that expedite the process. This is where therapeutic modalities come in – they can include anything from journaling, talking with a friend, talking with a trained psychologist, E.F.T (Emotional Freedom Technique), Reiki, Acupuncture and many more. You need to discover which one works best for you. In the meantime, I will share with you some practical techniques you can do in the privacy of your own home.
Step # 3: Writing to Heal
I have done this several times and I cannot stress enough how powerful – and effective – a technique it is to get at the heart of many of our repressed emotions and physical ailments. What we do is actually journal with the Depression – almost as if it is a person – or the physical issue – directly. Why not give it a try? If it doesn’t work then you haven’t lost anything; if it does, I would love to hear back from you as to how it helped.
You have taken over my body, slowed me down, made me feel lethargic and really awful some days. You must be doing this for a reason. Please, what is it that you are trying to tell me? What real emotions are you trying to hold onto for me? I know you are not my enemy. I know that you are attempting to protect me from my real emotions. Please help me to figure out what these are.
Take a few seconds and then respond from the Depression’s point of view – in other words, give it a voice.
Dear (Your Name):
Here is where you allow – freely and without judgement – your Depression (and you do not have to be severely depressed at all, you may just simply feel down or not so great) tell you what is really going on with you. You may be surprised by what it tells you or it may make a lot of sense. The trick is to allow it a voice.
This is the same for ailments in the body – another manifestation of repressed hurts, emotions or beliefs that have surfaced in a physical form. It does not matter if this is a small annoyance such as a hemorrhoid or if it is cancer. Our bodies are the mediator between our core inner self – our subconscious – and our minds. They are constantly giving us messages. When our leg falls asleep and we begin to feel pins and needles, our body is communicating to us that we need to move and stop cutting off the blood supply to our extremities. Why does it do this? To protect us. Why do our bodies develop “dis – ease”? Because we are “out” of “ease” with our true selves and our bodies want to return to homeostasis and ease again – and it will help us do this if we are willing to give it a voice.
Dear Hemorrhoid/ Dear Cancer: Again, allow yourself to be really honest about how you are feeling towards it. Maybe you hate your cancer or your disease. Tell it that. It can handle it because it is in your body to tell you something as well. Then let it.
Give your depression, anger, sadness and your pain – whether it be emotional or physical, a VOICE today. Let it communicate to you in plain language what it has been trying to tell you silently. Once you “hear” it – you may well be on your way to recovery and freedom.
Below is a website that delineates the Myths and Facts regarding Depression: