I recently posted on Facebook the following status:
I am really realizing how much of my life has been ruined by wrong perceptions. It is still hard to change how you behave. I really am at a loss for what to do next.
I was attempting to convey that after studying Buddhism I understand that my perceptions create my reality. Even with this realization I cannot change my behavior and I was not sure what I needed to do. I was not depressed when I wrote it. I was disappointed in myself for some things that happened earlier in the day.
I got a couple of private messages asking if I was ok or if I was depressed. I responded that I was ok. Then I realized that the same place in my mind that created the post also caused my depression. I was “depressed” yet my depression is manifesting itself in a different way.
I suffered from depression for around 10 years the ages of 22-32. I withdrew and isolated myself. I began creating an entire drama around my life. I felt I was not good at dealing with people and that no one wanted me around. I felt I was deficient. I then created a ton of goals for myself and I thought if I achieve those goals I would then feel worthy of love.
I went and accomplished many things, but the underlying sense of unworthiness persisted. The underlying feeling of unworthiness. The feeling of unworthiness prevented me from enjoying my success and gaining even more success. It created disintegration in my psyche. One piece of my ego felt I should not be doing all the things that I am doing. Another part felt I needed to go further and nothing that I was doing was good enough. I was miserable all the time.
I am now realizing that my depression caused many mental constructs. The mental constructs shaped my reality and then resulted in the reinforcement of negative beliefs. This strengthened the depression and caused the depression to control my life. I am not sure what to do next though. I am not sure of what actionable steps I need to take to remove the effects of depression from my life.
With that being said, I realize the depression caused my suffering and my introspection. They are two sides of the same coin. I feel the current understanding of depression as a disease is incorrect. I am not saying it is not real or that people should stop taking medication. I am saying that depression is a multifaceted phenomenon with good and bad elements. It is not a disease. I think it is the result of understanding the difference between reality and what society wants you to believe.
My depression caused me to question reality and really start looking, searching for real answers. I looked into psychology, mindfulness, and finally Buddhism. My life has grown so much, I have met so many people, been to so many interesting places, and grown so much in real knowledge. I would not trade depression for the world. I hope everyone gets depressed at some point.
December 16, 2016 at 7:57 pm
Interesting, However, let that depression not last too long.
December 16, 2016 at 8:32 pm
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July 2, 2018 at 6:13 am
Great post. I agree with your analysis on depression. I would say it in this way: ‘depression is a chance to change society’. Gestalt therapy theory (not the same as Gestalt psychology) may help you, if you haven’t already studied it.
I feel that the best way to use depression is to admit the wholeness of ourselves, however difficult that may be, so that no part is left unexpressed and so that every part of us interacts with and is aware of every other part. Because depression means ‘pushed down’ or ‘pushed under’. Strangely, modern society doesn’t seem to encourage this, and seems to encourage fragmentation. Once we are on the road to whole self-expression, in order to continue the path that depression started for us, to truly be fulfilled we must live in such a way that challenges the society that gave way to the opportunity of depression in the first place. Rates of depression in modern industrialised societies are high. Surely depression is the seedbed of revolutionary change? Depression is like the gestation period of new forms of society that are still in formation within us, experienced as ‘depression’ because we haven’t quite worked them out yet. What do you think?
Of course, issues of race and the expression of wholeness in a racially fragmented society, where history still hasn’t been addressed, adds whole new dynamics. As a white man from the southwest of England, having socialised with people mainly like me, my life experience is limited. But I too have practised Buddhism, and I know it has given me invaluable tools for the whole process indicated above and for my awareness of self and other.