When things don’t go the way you want them to, and you are depressed, don’t hate that feeling. Accept it as your current reality. That’s the only way to be at peace with yourself.
No one likes to be depressed. And no one likes a depressed person around them. But depression is a natural human response to certain Life situations. You can’t get rid of it by fighting it.
The term depression is widely used to describe a state in which a person is unable to express himself or herself emotionally to the point that his or her Life is impaired or dysfunctional. Anything you don’t expect, but which happens to you, can push you into a depressive spiral – a job loss, a break-up, death of a loved one, a business or career set back, a health challenge or a show-down with a best friend. Common responses under depression range from rabid anger shown against rank strangers in unconnected situations to becoming totally reclusive. Suicidal tendencies may be evident in extremely depressive states.
Someone going through depression will normally dislike being so – yet will find it difficult snapping out of it. It is normally a cyclical feeling. You are feeling low because things didn’t go the way you wanted them to. Then you start feeling miserable that you are feeling low. You soon begin to hate that miserable feeling. But more than that you hate that everyone else – but you – is having a good time. Then everyone notices that you are feeling low. And they start advising you to get out of it. That’s the last thing you want. You know you have to get of that lousy mood. Because you don’t want it yourself. But because you hate being advised something that you already know, you resist, sometimes very subconsciously, climbing out of that rut. And whatever you resist, persists. So, your depression drags along.
Some years back, I went to a close friend, who is also an eminent psychiatrist. Over several months, I was noticing that I was behaving rather irrationally at most times. I was getting angry with insipid things and picking up fights with anyone who even remotely said anything that I did not want to hear. One day I got into a brawl with an auto-rickshaw driver at the Madras Central Station. When I got back home, I felt stupid. I realized I needed help. So, I met my friend, this psychiatrist, who (after thoroughly reviewing my overall Life situation prevailing around then) said that I could be going through a mild, yet unique, form of depression. He said he could prescribe anti-depressants or he said I could employ my own “awareness” to reign in my emotions and “make peace with myself”. I chose the latter, obviously, and it worked well for me.
I still do encounter depressive moods time and again. But I have learnt that it is normal to feel and face depression. The key is to be awake and aware when depression strikes. When you are aware of what’s happening to you, you respond better. One good way to deal with depression is to accept it as a fact, as a reality, of your Life. To be depressed is not a bad thing. It is not a stigma. If you allow yourself to think deeply about your depressive state, you will soon realize that being that way is of no use. So, when you are depressed, just let it be. Face the reality that this is how you are feeling. Don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t feel reprehensive about it.
Depression cannot be countered. It cannot be got rid of by denying it. It cannot be met with more depression – asking ‘oh-god-why-am-I-depressed’ is never helpful! The best way (per my experience, and this view may not be subscribed to by others) to deal with depression is be aware that it is there and to just let it be – and to know that it will go, just the same way it came!
Yesterday I saw a comment by someone on facebook that he was going to be away from “facebooking” for several months as he was “feeling low” and wanted to deal with his depression. His comment made me wonder – can stopping to engage with people (isn’t that what facebook allows you to do?) help you deal with your feelings – low energy, distaste for anything and everything, and depression?
Yes, surely, we all need some time and space to be left alone, to pause and reflect. But you don’t have to go into a shell, into a cave, into hiding! When you feel low, examine your ‘feeling’ closely. You will find that what you think is causing your depression is not actually causing it. On the contrary you are causing your own depression. You are feeling low because you are ‘comfortable’ feeling low.
Consider this: your work and career are plateauing, you don’t enjoy the work you are doing anymore. Now is your organization and the nature of its business to blame for your feeling low? Or are your colleagues? Or your boss? The truth is that none of them is. You are. You don’t like the work you do so you don’t like going to work anymore on that count. What’s the point brooding about it. Take action. Simple. Look for a new job. And move on.
I am not advising or even suggesting that “feeling low” is bad. In fact, when you feel low, “feel” that energy with your soul. Give it all your attention. Don’t slip into the comfort that sadness, lethargy, distaste provide. Beware – being sad is comfortable. You don’t have to do anything. Just sit brooding and people will do things for you. You can go on staring at the walls or the ceiling. You don’t have to smile. You need not go for walks. You can just eat your meals or even skip them. You can say you are depressed and not go to work. So, in essence, wallowing in low energy is comfortable. On the other hand, feeling good about Life is a lot of work. You have to make a choice to stay positive. And you have to do it with all your soul.
Grieving over Life is not going to make living it any easier. Hiding from people is also not going to help either. The only cure for “feeling low” is to stop looking at what “isn’t” there in your Life and to start focusing on what “is” there! Shift your attention from scarcity to abundance. When you are soaked in abundance, your will find your energy levels soaring!