Five Ways Help for Depression Involves “the Real Me”
If I’m going to get help for depression that really makes a difference, I’m going to need to come to terms with the real me.
Self understanding and self acceptance are often key elements in lasting, long-term help for depression.
1. Personal Experience of Depression
Depression is an extremely varied and complex thing. It manifests very differently in different people.
It’s essential for an individual to understand how depression has appeared in his or her unique life.
Truly effective long term help for depression begins with awareness of how this condition is rooted in the unique circumstances of the individual.
2. Depression Has an Unconscious Aspect
Very often, there’s more than meets the eye in an individual’s depression. Likely, we don’t know everything about how our depression affects us and where it comes from. To uncover that often entails genuine exploration both of how it came to be in our lives, and also of the present situations where we feel “stuck” in the middle of insoluble dilemmas of which we are often only at best partially conscious.
3. Depression is Individual “Life Pressed Down”
Think of what the word means literally, to de-press, to press down. What is “pressed down”? Life’s energy, life’s intentionality, life’s teleology is pressed down, thwarted, denied, violated… [S]omething in us colludes with it. Life is warring against life….
For “life’s energy, life’s intentionality, life’s teleology” to be pressed down or thwarted means for me in some fundamental sense to not be allowing who I really am to emerge. I need to explore the unique situations and things in my individual story where that is occurring. What in me is keeping me back?
4. Depression, Anxiety, Self-Awareness
Part of the help for depression that I may need is to become aware of the ways which my depression may be related to my anxiety.
EXAMPLE: “Lisa” is depressed, because her life dream to be an artist is slipping away. However, to realize that dream would mean dealing with the anxiety created by disappointing her family, who point proudly to her career as an actuary. She finds herself “stuck” between the anxiety and the depression. Perhaps the only way forward for Lisa is to accept that she will never win the approval from her family that she has always sought, and to move into what she wants for her life.
5. Hand in Hand with the Real Me
Help for depression that makes a real difference involves individual therapy that keeps bringing me back to myself, to my own story, and to my own unique being. As Hollis again says, “It takes great courage to value depression, to respect it… to go down into the depression and find our soul’s greatest treasure.”
Often, our own fundamental nature lies at the bottom of depression. Only when we are prepared, like Orpheus, to venture to the bottom of that underworld, can we find our sense of real aliveness.
PHOTOS: Some rights reserved lisadragon ; dno1967b ; silicon640c
© Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)