M.Scott Peck in his best selling book ‘ The road less travelled’ says depression is experienced because ” It is precisely because the unconscious in it’s wisdom knows that ‘the way things used to be’ is no longer tenable or constructive that the process of growing and giving up is begun on an unconscious level”. Depression is a positive sign because it’s part of spiritual and mental growth of a person. But before going into that let’s try to understand what depression, in general, and what are the reasons for depression. Recommended reading: https://tearingshoes.com/spirituality-journey-to-the-ultimate-wisdom/
According to WHO, globally 300 million people are affected by depression. Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations of everyday life. If the feelings of sadness, worthlessness, feeling down and having a loss of interest in life, insomnia etc. persist for a long time it could be depression.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood for a long period.
- Loss of interest in everyday activities of life.
- Insomnia or lack of sleep.
- Difficulty to face crowd, especially, people you love or know, without any particular reasons.
- Anxiety or unwanted worries about the future and life in general.
- Increased fatigue or unwanted weight loss.
- A feeling of worthless or guilty.
- Suicide tendency or thought about death.
- Excessive sleeping or finding yourself unable to get out of your bed.
- Continuous omitting or lose interest in eating.
- Continuously repeating worthless activities – like cleaning.
- Finding yourself unable to do daily activities like taking a shower or brushing your teeth.
- A tendency to lock yourself inside your room.
- Finding yourself unattractive all of a sudden.
Causes of Depression
In some cases, there could be no easy trigger for depression. However, the following are the main reasons for depression:
- Unexpected bad experiences in life like the death of a loved one, divorce or breakup or illness.
- Failure in career or family relationships.
- A feeling of loneliness.
- Lack of relationship management skills.
- Abusive parenting or bad childhood experiences.
- Over expectations by others or by yourself from life.
- Inability to handle success or failures.
- Lack of a good friend.
- Possession of an immature world view.
- Cognitive errors: Cognitive Distortions are biased perspectives we take on yourself and the world around us. They are irrational thoughts and beliefs that we unknowingly reinforce over time. Cognitive Distortions are the base for all most all mental illness and negative thoughts. It is always useful for any person to have a complete understanding of cognitive distortions. Read more about them here: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/cognitive-distortions/
How to Deal with depression or why depression is a positive sign?
Depression and Spiritual growth
As you can see from the causes listed above, depression is mostly, a result of our childhood bad experiences, misunderstandings or misconceptions about the world and cognitive errors in our thinking patterns. However, It’s possible for a person to have a seemingly ‘successful ‘life with this wrong patterns. But, the result of such a life will be unhappiness or purposeless life even after achieving everything possible in life. You are experiencing depression because there is tremendous urge or will inside you, which is working towards spiritual, mental or personal growth of yours against all odds.
Depression itself shows the power of your unconscious, which is ready to challenge the taboos around mental health to achieve spiritual growth. This is what Viktor Frankel meant when he said: ” mental health is based on a certain degree of tension between what one has already achieved and one has still ought to accomplish”. This, depression is a positive sign which shows the strength of your mind. That’s why psychotherapist often says their patient is the one with the highest mental health because they have the courage to face reality.
Come out and talk to some one about what you are feeling
It’s always important to come out and speak to someone about your depressive feelings. Having the courage to come out and seek help is the first step to face depression.
Psychotherapy : the stage for rediscovering yourself
M.Scott Peck says: ” The period of intensive psychotherapy is a period of intensive growth during which a patient may undergo more changes than some people experience in a lifetime”. In my case – I was always been considered as a good student. But, I started failing in mathematics from eight standards onwards. I was terrible in my work. everyone including me, associated the reason for my failures to some genetic conditions or my laziness, without putting any real efforts towards finding the real reason or solving it.
But, within 10 minutes of our first appointment together, my therapist asked me ” Sarath are you suffering from lack of concentration?”. Thus we started to work towards real problems. It was during the therapy that I found my relationship management problems and cognitive patterns in my thinking. It is the therapy, which helped me to find out my linguistic skills within me. A good Psychotherapist will easily understand the childhood traumas of their patients and work for them in the capacity of a good parent. Thus psychotherapy and depression can work as a positive sign for your growth if you are ready to work for it.
Meditation and brain gym exercises
Meditation and brain gym exercises can work wonder not only in overcoming depression but also in the overall development of a person. Recommended reading: https://tearingshoes.com/how-to-be-the-best-version-of-yourself/
Anti-depression medication is drugs available on prescription from doctors which should be used for a certain period. As against the popular beliefs you don’t have to use it forever. They are useful for moderate and severe depression. However, they are not recommended for children.
Reading and understanding more about mental health can be a great aid in the treatment of depression. Following are the two great books which will be helpful in this respect:
- The road less travelled by M. Scott Peck – This is a great book to understand more about mental illness parenting love and marriage and what not? This book could be an answer for all most every question you have in life
- Man’s search for meaning by Viktor Frankel: A small but great book about life.
when does depression becomes dangerous?
Can depression become dangerous? of course, it can be dangerous. If you choose not to see it as an opportunity for growth and learning and choose to not to act on it.Then, the result could be, depression turning into abusive personality disorders, serious neurosis and character disorders and abusive parenting. Such people will make life a living hell – not only theirs but also people around them, knowingly or unknowingly. Abusive parenting is the root causes of all mental illness. The result of an abusive relationship is mostly narcissism. As rightly pointed out by M. Scott Peck, character disordered parents will mostly make character disordered children for themselves and for the world.
But why do people chose to not to react to depression positively? Well, mostly because of the taboos around mental health in our society. There are superstars in Bollywood and Hollywood who keep on making fun of mental health issues. They are adding to the ignorance of society. Some people literally believe that being abusive is a sign of their manliness. Some people even misunderstand abusive behaviour as love and they took being subject to abusive behaviour as a sign of their moral superiority. I know a lot of medical professionals who firmly believe that taking medication for depression is dangerous.
That’s why we need more open discussions and more writings on mental health. We need more people especially celebrities, to come out and openly support efforts towards better mental health. We as a society need to be more open and aware of mental health. That’s why I am trying to do my bit here too. According to WHO, suicide is the second reason for the death of youngsters in the world.