Man is made by his belief, as he believes, so he is. – The Bhagavad Gita
Feeling depressed really leaves a lot to be desired doesn’t it. So what am I depressed about, better yet why am I depressed?
There is a change of leadership coming next year which should make me very happy, and it does. So that can’t be it.
I have a good job, earn a good paycheck, lack for nothing really, so no that can’t be it either.
My favorite time of the year is here, Hallmark has a lot of great holiday movies, the air is becoming clear and crisp, so that cannot be it either.
So why am I depressed, and how do I know I am depressed?
I think I need to answer the last half of the question first, recognition of my depression.
I know I am depressed because I have to force myself to do even the littlest things of daily living. I find myself not wanting to do anything at any time. I want to sleep all the time. I feel tired, run down, and out of focus. Even writing this blog takes effort. These are some of my symptoms of depression and I don’t like them, not one bit.
But with all that said there is one main reason I have, correction, my wife and I have depression. Two years ago we lost our daughter and her death still weighs heavy on our mind. Not only that my wife lost her husband years ago, leaving her a widow with children. I lost a sister in the mid-seventies which I have never recovered from completely. Not to mention other family members over the years. This reason alone is strong enough to give anyone a major bout of depression.
So I have recognized the main symptoms of my depression, but yours may be different because not everyone suffers depression, or the amount of depression, in the same way. Now the next question is: What do I do about it?
The depression of death carries with it a different path to recovery and I will talk about that towards the end of this blog. For now let me concentrate on other areas of depression, things I can convey which may help me, and you, to confront and overcome.
First let us recognize that depression is a mental issue, not an illness but rather a state of mind. As humans there are many things we cannot control but the one thing we can control is our mental state, the things we think about. I am talking about normal individuals and not those with a mental illness which require a doctor’s care and monitoring.
Everyone suffers depression in their life; it’s just a part of life. But if we recognize that fact we can actually overcome our depression simply by controlling our thought process. As I just mentioned we have total control over our thoughts, what we think about, what we believe. Remember our thoughts actually control what we believe which gives us control over our lives but more it gives us absolute power over our behavior, our actions. And our actions control how we live.
This one element allows us to overcome the vast amount of reasons we become depressed.
Once we realize the amount of power we have over our life we can move ourselves to action, which is the force that actually removes our depression. Let me give an example:
We need to go to the store to buy milk. We need milk, and maybe some other items, but milk for sure. We think about going to the store but have no desire to get dressed. Think of this state as depression. So now we have a choice, we can sit and do nothing or we can act. Sitting around does not get us our milk but going to the store does. When the desire to act overcomes the desire to sit that is the point we begin to overcome our depression. We get dressed and head for the car, but we still have no desire to go to the store. We are still suffering our depression.
It is here, this thought process, to go or stay, which determines if we have milk or don’t have milk. We need milk, without milk we won’t have breakfast. Without milk we can’t feed the baby. Without milk we can’t make our ice cream shakes. Milk is everything. We have the reasons to buy milk. We are ready to buy milk, but our body says go back to bed.
Now what? Do we go back to bed or do we go to the store? It is at this point we must use our mind, the power of our mind, and the choice to go or stay becomes simple. If we want to obtain milk we must act, but if we allow ourselves to stay we deny ourselves all the great things milk can provide.
We can think and dwell upon this issue all day and night but nothing gets done. Yet… if we get into the car, start it and drive to the store we have engaged in an action which will get us the thing we really want – milk. Once we get into action we realize just how much more we can do. And we go hog wild buying food.
Action creates results. Thinking, and only thinking, does not. Hence we need both, thoughts and action in order to obtain a desired result. You cannot have one without the other.
Actions are marvelous things, almost magical in their ability to create hope out of despair. A single action can and does often lead to multiple actions because they lead to more thoughts from a single thought. The whole process can change your mood and your circumstance from a negative, depressed, mood into something wonderful.
Now will this create instant wealth? Maybe not in the bank account sense but for sure in an emotional way. And if the process continues it is extremely possible to create a roadway to a healthier bank account.
Has it happened for me? In a way. I have always been blessed by being constantly employed with a good job, even when I worked temp for several years. And I contribute this aspect to my attitude. Throughout my life my mind has been positive overall and my depression rather timid, until late. Now because I have given into my depression over the last few months I find myself in a financial place I don’t want to be in. I’m not in a bad situation, don’t misunderstand, but I’m not great either. And I blame this shift on my depression.
I realize I can overcome my normal depression by engaging in action, because action overcomes depression. What I am having trouble with is the depression caused by death.
I mentioned earlier the depression of death carries with it a different path to recovery, a path which varies from individual to individual. The path of my recovery is not the same as my wife, hers is far more complicated than mine and I contribute that to the sex factor. Females who lose a child are far more impacted by the event than the male counterpart.
I suppose this part of the post should stand alone but I feel I need to mention it as the holidays do tend to amplify our emotions.
First and foremost let me tell you with the loss of a loved one, you will never completely recover. Time dulls the pain but the loss is still felt, sometimes daily. Sometimes lightly, sometimes heavily.
Second, the very fact that death is a natural part of life cannot be discarded. This fact does not diminish the event but must be accepted just as breathing and eating is a critical part of life. And for me this acceptance is critical to my mental health. I don’t fear death because it is a part of life, and my relationship to Divine Providence is extremely strong. What scares the hell out of me is leaving this life without doing something of value. Let me tell you again, dying without creating value scares more than the hell out of me.
Finally understanding the aspects of death helps to transition the event and smooth the soul. In this step I firmly believe that faith in Divine Providence, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is critical to mental health. The belief in something greater than self carries with it a soothing element which non-believers cannot comprehend, hence their mental attitude is full of negative components which extends, or even eliminates the recovery period.
Everyone goes through the five stages of grief:
How long each of these stages last depends upon our belief in the Higher Power. The stronger the belief the shorter the transition.
This is not to say the depression goes away, like someone waving a magic wand. It doesn’t and I am living proof of that. When I think about my daughter and my sister I get very emotional and I find myself going down a rabbit hole, which I do not want to go down.
There are behaviors one can use to help pull oneself out this rabbit hole but they depend upon two critical elements: Faith and Belief.
Now to be sure these two elements can be applied to more than the aspect of death hence one should not limit their power to only one aspect of life. I don’t and never will. That said they seem to glow with power when death is involved more so than at any other time.
I wish I could make the hurt go away. I wish I had the magic words but I don’t. There are no words anyone can say which removes the pain of death. It is an individual emotion and being such must be controlled by the individual. I can only encourage my wife not to travel down the rabbit hole, and do everything in my power to help her. Sometimes I succeed, most of the time I don’t.
We have covered a lot in this post concerning depression. Normal depression, if such a thing exists, can be overcome with action. But the action must be meaningful because superficial action accomplishes nothing.
As far as the depression of death goes, each of us must find our own path, the one that works for us. We can ask for help and guidance from professionals but in the end our faith and belief that life exists on a different plane, a plane called the hereafter, is really the only force I know which helps me in dealing with my own despair.