As I sit here in the midst of a depression, something is different.
Ever since Sunday evening, fears began to clog my consciousness to a point where no matter how well I rationalized my thoughts, I couldn’t seem to make my way out of the ‘dark’. I’ve felt heavy in emotion, but ironically my physical body feels like it’s vaporizing into thin air. Being social is the last thing I want to even think of and my creative abilities are at a serious low. Plus no matter what I do, no matter how happy and exciting it should be, I find a way to either become anxious, angry, frustrated, sad or withdrawn.
These are all my typical symptoms of depression; however, there has been one thing different this time around — Ever since Sunday evening I’ve been aware of myself as depressed. As I talked about in this recent post, not only have I experienced the depression, but I’ve had this incredible ability to observe myself as depressed.
With this new perspective, depression has started to take on a new meaning. Instead of trying to fight my way out of it, I’ve decided to let myself go with it since I know it can never overcome if I’m able to transition myself into being aware of it.
As strange as it sounds, I’ve found a way to ‘corner’ my depression so that I can experiment with it.
Right now we live in a society that has labelled depression as ‘bad’ or the ‘wrong state’ to be in. We take drugs or find coping mechanisms to survive through it. While both these approaches are important depending on one’s given boundaries, I am certain neither are for me. Deep down, I believe there has to be another approach…. another way for us to use depression instead of believing its using us.
To start to transition my mindset into seeing depression as a normal part of my lifestyle has been exciting to say the least (gotta love the irony there). I finally don’t feel like I need to ‘get out’ of anything but rather stay right where I am and learn lessons that our crack-sniffing societal tendencies typically rush us through. I still remember a video I watched recently in which Jim Carrey calls depression a ‘deep rest session’. I am finally seeing the profound wisdom in his words.
Here’s are some of the lessons I’ve learned so far by letting myself be depressed as it were no different than being hungry…
- Our society is truly addicted to crack, and that crack is the need to always be ‘doing’ something. One of the biggest things I struggled with before I became aware of myself in depression is the fact that I didn’t have, nor could muster up, the energy to do things that typically I could do almost effortlessly. I would constantly be dragging my ass and becoming really frustrated I moved so slowly.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of randomly talking to my new neighbour, where he mentioned he felt he always had to be doing something or else he’d feel bored, and that he would do anything to avoid that feeling. It made me realize how addicted we are to action, and how adverse we are to silence.
However, if we were to pull ourselves back for a minute, how does our current addiction to ‘doing’ truly differ from a hamster in a wheel? One might say, “well at least I’m progressing towards something”, and I would argue I’m sure the hamster said the same by justifying his actions as exercise. But for what? What are we really running towards? What are we really running for? What are we really chasing? How are we so sure not-doing is enemy of doing? Depression pushes us into a state where we have a unique opportunity to slow down without feeling ‘sick’, giving us the space to really contemplate on who we are and why we are doing what we are doing?
- I’ve created arbitrary reference lines and am constantly judging myself by them without even knowing why they are there in the first place. Whenever I used to be in a depressive state I found myself going ape shit on my own ass – “Why am I not feeling better?” / “Why can’t I think my way through this?” / “I’m horrible personal development advocate if I can’t get my shit together!” / “I shouldn’t be in this state, I’m perfectly healthy!” / and the list can go on. I sometimes feel like Muhammad Ali beating the crap out of Muhammad Ali. Damn son, it stings like a bee!
As I became aware of myself in this state, I began to question this idea of normal I’ve become so accustomed to. If I were to accept that my energy is low, wouldn’t I ‘feel better’? What’s makes thinking through this any more valuable than being with it? Who’s to say my shit isn’t together when I’m depressed? Who’s to say that being in this state isn’t perfectly healthy?
As I meditated on these ideas I realized how often we trick ourselves into believing there is a ‘right’ answer in this game called life. We take one state, put it on a pedestal, and banish all the rest in exile, forgetting all along it’s futile.
Depression has been great in helping me break through these arbitrary lines, which are actually more like limitations. They give us the false illusion that we have ultimate control over how life pans out, which of course we know is not the case.
- No matter how much you think, you are really just using thinking to experience feelings. Sure, you may be able to think in a way that changes how you feel, but it’s not like the other feeling you had magically disappears. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transferred. Emotion = Energy in motion. No matter how much we think our rational minds can save us, they can’t. All they really do is create stories that allow us to access various emotions. However, all the emotions that are resonant to us must find an outlet at some point or another.
In other words, even if I were to come up with a fantastic story why I wasn’t depressed even though in the pit of my stomach I knew I was, the energy associated with the feelings of depression still lie within me. They will still influence my behaviour and my reality, because they have not yet found an outlet. Since energy is designed to flow through any system, you also better believe the external world, which is really just a giant feedback mechanism, is going to do whatever it takes to give that energy an outlet.
Thanks to depression I now treat is as the best detoxifying cleanse, and best of all it’s always on sale – for FREE. Allowing yourself to feel the emotions, allow them to work through you, and consciously release them after is the greatest gift you can give yourself in terms of freedom. As a great African Proverb says, “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.” ~ African Proverb