Depression is there for a reason and it’s not a sign of weakness. We need to let ourselves feel how we feel in order to learn the lessons being presented to us. Depression is something all of us feel from time to time and is critical for personal growth.
No one enjoys feeling sad and down, yet the vast majority of us have experienced feeling this way at some point in our lives. Whether you have been diagnosed with clinical depression, or whether it is a subjective experience of feeling depressed, this is something that really is quite common to human experience. Yet, we still continue to stigmatise depression and view it as some sign of weakness, of an inability to cope. In many cases, however, those struggling with depression show enormous strength of character especially when they embrace the experience as an opportunity to learn, grow and change their lifestyle.
Depression is often a sign that things are out of balance. Perhaps there is too much time spent at work and not enough time spent playing or loving. Perhaps there has been a major loss – retrenchment, a death in the family, a divorce. There are a myriad of situations and circumstances that result in depression, but one can be sure that this state of mind will result in a ‘turning inward’ and a focussing on self and what is important. In this sense, depressed people tend to spend more time ruminating on their own thoughts, spend less time with other people and, in many cases, become quite creative in their painting, song writing and poetry. It is a time for reflecting, albeit negatively, on the things that are happening around them. And it is in this reflecting that a depressed person (with the help of someone neutral and objective) can begin to see where changes in their lives and thinking patterns are necessary. Being in a depressed state often leads to questioning and self-doubt. It is a time of deconstructing your normal way of being and allows a space in which you can begin to identify just what you want and need. You have an opportunity now to make some important changes – depression positions you perfectly for this. It challenges you to align yourself with a more balanced way of being in the world and for you to start aligning with your true self.
Here are some questions you may ask yourself when you are feeling depressed:
- In what ways does my current situation disempower me?
- Are there any situations in which I disregard the needs of my whole self?
- Is there an area of my life that feels misaligned, unbalanced and uncomfortable?
- Am I really as powerless as I imagine I am?
- What areas of my life could I effect change in that would result in a more fulfilling experience?
- How can I align more with my true self and needs?
Essentially, depression provides you with an opportunity to re-evaluate your life, your behaviour and your beliefs. It challenges you to live more authentically because it is only in paying attention to your needs and becoming more congruent that the depression will begin to lift. When you successfully meet the challenges the emotional distress will lessen and you may find yourself coping with situations far better than you did in the past.