Depression seems to be a very common problem from which a lot of us suffer. It has become very common today for people to visit psychiatrists, counselors, therapists, and professionals who have somehow mastered the workings of the mind.
Over the years, I have been suffering from depression a lot. I had even considered going to a counsellor at one point to find out exactly what’s wrong with my mind.
Fortunately, I was a miser. I decided I’d rather try and figure it out myself rather than paying thousands of rupees to some random person with a bunch of certificates.
Quite honestly, I was a little strange. I mean whenever we go to a therapist or a counselor, we check the person’s qualification. The more certificates the person has, the better they know their stuff, right? To me, it was the other way round. I always felt that the more certificates a person had, the more stupid they must be.
A few people would find it easy agree with what I just said and will say that certificates do not matter, but experience does. To me, both are useless.
Experiences are just as useless as certificates. You may ask why? Understand that collecting experiences can become an ego trip just like collecting knowledge. Unless a certain experience in life has given you a certain insight, that experience is useless.
Knowledge does not matter. Experience does not matter either. What matters in life is insight. Every problem in life can be handled if we have a certain insight. Before we could get an understand how to get rid of depression, let us first have an insight on what depression is.
What is Depression?
Depression is a product of lack of acceptance of a certain circumstance or situation in life. Just ponder over your entire life and look at all the times that you have felt depressed.
Whenever you have wanted something in life to go a certain way, you’ve been depressed. To put it simply, you wanted something, but couldn’t get it.
Let’s take a very common example. You have gone through a breakup and you’re feeling depressed. The man or woman you loved has broken your heart. Now you’re feeling depressed obviously because you didn’t expect something like that to happen.
I will get into the details of this further, but for now, I just want you to understand the reason why you get depressed. For now, just hold on to this idea that depression is caused by non-acceptance of a certain situation. As we go further into this, you will be able to understand this with more clarity.
What Isn’t Depression?
It is not only important to understand what depression is, but also what it isn’t. I can write an entire thesis on what depression is, but until you don’t understand what depression isn’t, you will remain ignorant. Let us get clear on this before we get any further.
Sadness or any other negative emotion isn’t Depression:
Please understand that in life, there will always be situations where you will feel negative emotions such as sadness, anxiety, frustration, hatred, jealousy and so on. To feel such emotions does not mean that you are depressed.
To condemn these emotions is what leads to depression. Earlier when I gave you the example of going through a heartbreak, you may have been surprised when I said you need to accept your situation and not feel depressed.
Yes, I did say that you shouldn’t feel depressed, but I didn’t say that you cannot feel sad, or that you cannot feel angry or other negative emotions.
Whenever we go through a certain loss in life, it is inevitable to feel sad. Sadness is natural, so it isn’t wrong. On the other hand, depression is wrong, because depression comes as a result of condemnation of sadness.
To feel sad is okay, but to say that “Sadness shouldn’t be there” is not okay, because that means you are against sadness. This is denial or non-acceptance. This denial or non-acceptance of the negative emotion is what depression is.
So remember, depression isn’t the negative emotions that come as a result of a certain situation. Depression is, in fact, a state in which you do not want the negative emotion to be there.
Give your negative emotions a “Chance”:
When you feel happy, joyful and ecstatic, you never complain. Do the same when you feel negative emotions. Why complain. In life give everything a chance to express itself.
If a positive emotion arises in you, give it a chance. If you feel happy, express the emotion of happiness totally. Completely lose yourself into happiness.
This ability to lose yourself into happiness will give you the strength to lose yourself into sadness as well because happiness and sadness are not separate emotions. They are the same emotions expressing themselves in different ways.
Therefore, you will be able to give your negative emotions a chance only when you have given your positive emotions a chance. Unfortunately, people live life halfheartedly. Have you noticed that when you are happy, you aren’t really happy? In fact, when you are happy, you immediately become afraid.
You think, “This isn’t normal”. How can I feel happy? Just observe yourself carefully. Whenever you are happy, you start to feel afraid because perhaps this happiness may not be there forever.
Why should you bother, though? You are happy right now, so can’t you just be happy?
The same thing happens when you feel sadness. You feel that this sadness will remain forever, but in life, nothing is forever. Everything is temporary.
Life itself is eternal, but everything that is part of life is temporary. With this understanding, things become simple. Now, when you feel frustration, anger, hatred or any other negative emotion, you don’t get depressed anymore because you understand the temporary nature of all these emotions.
Move Beyond Duality:
Moving beyond this duality of happiness and sadness, darkness and light, pain and pleasure is what ultimately ends depression.
Mystics have always emphasized on the dual nature of existence and moving beyond it. It may not be so easy to move beyond these emotions, but even the awareness that these emotions are transitory, leaves a deep feeling of contentment.
For a while you may feel depressed, and then again, when you become aware of your depression, you will start to feel lighter. Your depression will slowly subside as you start to see the whole absurdity of it.
Depression is something which cannot end unless we do not accept life the way it is. Until we are capable of accepting everything that life has to offer with a heart full of gratitude, depression will be there, because depression and non-acceptance are just two different words that have the same meaning.
If you are feeling depressed about anything right now, it is not that life intends for you to feel that way, but it is you who are not willing to accept life.
Hence, depression is not really a medical condition as most people think of it to be. If depression was a medical condition then the entire world needs medical help.
Depression is just a small misunderstanding that people have. If you put an end to this misunderstanding, depression then becomes a stepping stone towards achieving something more valuable in life.
Use every experience in life in such a way that it becomes a transforming force for you to move beyond it.
What are your views on depression, and how have you managed to handle difficult situations in your own life? Do let me know in the comments down below. I would love to hear from you.