In Alice in Wonderland, we saw Alice going down the rabbit hole, and down and down she went. However, unlike Alice in Wonderland, there is no wondrous land at the bottom of the Rabbit Hole of depression.
In contrast, the further you go down the harder it is to get back out and the worst everything looks and becomes.
Life experiences and our reaction to them cause us to evaluate the world based on our experiences. For example, if everything appears to go against us, we start to believe that everything is against us, then whatever happens next in our life will be seen through the perception that this will be bad.
Turning this process around it’s not an easy task. In the past, I have suffered from bouts of depression. I know what it feels like and how difficult it is to change the way you feel. Awareness of what we are up against empowers us to make changes which will result in a change our direction.
The World that we know consists of three phases of time. There are the past, the present and the future.
The past is a record of what happened to us. We have no ability to change the past. You can if you want to use that as a permanent record of how screwed your life is and hence how screwed your future will be.
Or you can look at the past and see it as a history of things that have happened and how we have reacted to them. By using this as a learning experience, it can enable us to make changes in the present moment which will, in turn, affect our future. The present moment is the point at which change becomes possible.
But how do I change?
It just feels like such a weight is pressing on you when you are depressed. All you can see is the things that are negative in your life. And while that seems to represent the entire sum of your life, there are two sides to everything.
The world that we live in is a duality as things exist in pairs. For example, we have night and day, good and evil, happiness and sadness as well as right and wrong. One cannot exist without the other.
If I take a coin, it has two sides to it, a head side and a tail side. If I decided that I want to remove the tail side and keep the head side, I can take a grinder and start grinding your way to get rid of the tail site. But as I get rid of the last bit of the tail side of the coin, the head side also disappears.
One face cannot exist without the other. So believing that everything is bad in your life, is misleading. We become so entrenched in how we feel that the only part of life we can acknowledge is the negative part and the positive part is ignored. (see my other blog post)
I’m not talking about some simple solution such as “think positive thoughts” or “cheer up things will get better”. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in those situations, I don’t want to hear that sort of rubbish. It just seems so so far away to be able to do any of that, and I feel so oppressed by the feeling of depression that I have forgotten what is like to feel happy.
Our thoughts, however, do hold the key to getting out of the well of depression as they tell our brain what is important to us and how to filter the information around us. If I want to see a change in my world, I need to make a change in my thoughts and what is important to me first.
The first step lies in finding some thoughts which are ever so slightly more positive than the ones you currently have. You may be feeling as depressed as possible, but must be able to find one thing which is good in your life.
Perhaps it’s the fact that you’re wearing clothes or that you’re living in a house and have shelter from the elements. I know that’s just a slightly better thought, but by looking for at least one positive, you are instructing your brain that positives are important to you. If you can find one can you discover another?
Start with one thought that is more positive and then work your way up from there. If you like try to find one different positive thing per day. Doing so will increase your brain’s understanding what is important to you.
This whole discussion is assuming that the depression that you are experiencing is situational depression. In other words, depression which has been brought on by the situations that you encounter in life and in not the result of any physical condition which needs to be addressed in other ways.