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Depression: the battle inside

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  While a few centuries ago people were suffering of cholera and other pestilences, nowadays millions of people struggle with depression. People like you and me, our brothers and friends, our university mates and work colleagues. Depression is everywhere and it’s not contagious. So, how come so many people have it? Well, the reasons are many and they range from a bad genetic inheritance to a childhood trauma, pressure in school, mortgage, spending too much time on Facebook or breaking up with a sweetheart. Whatever the reason, depression surely is painful and cannot be treated with medicine…even though they try. The cure for this disease of the soul is in the personal journey of awakening and love.

Here are a few common symptoms of depression:

– Negative thinking

– Self-hatred

– Self worthlessness

– Guilt

– Delusions

– Anxiety

– Exhaustion

– Poor memory and ability to concentrate

– Sadness

– Apathy

– Loneliness

– Shame

– Isolation

– Insomnia

– Excessive sleep

People with depression experience continuous shame for fear of being found out by others. Besides the pain, shame is an important trigger for anxiety and panic attacks…which are also triggers for shame. And the circle keeps on going. Society does not embrace depression and depressive people and adds more pressure on all those burdens listed above. Our culture praises high accomplishments and perfect beauty and marginalizes weakness and disease. So, people living with depression learn to hide it or if they don’t hide it, they end up feeling stigmatized.

Watch this short movie below made by The World Health Organisation in collaboration with writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone about overcoming the “black dog of depression” and get a picture of this state of mind (in case you did not experience it for yourself):

And, while some may say that this is just a “disorder”, actually it’s a spiritual crisis. People who are depressed experience a sense of separation from others and from the Creator.  Also, they feel the painful absence of Love. It is a dark night of the soul, as mystics used to call it, which paradoxically brings in the propitious ground for healing and awakening. Those who crossed (or still cross) this black avenue in their life can understand the need for support, connection and acceptance when dealing with depression. Yet, it is a journey that we are given to make by ourselves. To understand the mechanisms of mind, to open our hearts, to forgive those who hurt us, to take accountability for every thought and action and to give up false definitions about who we are. It is a hard lesson, but it is a sure way to get us out of illusions and superficial habits and open us to a greater understanding and …love.

Also for this topic, I found Kevin Breel’s talk “Confessions of a depressed comic” to be very relevant. Have a look at his confession:

Some ways to treat depression:

– Physical exercise

– Psychological counselling

– Prayer

– Yoga, breathing exercises and relaxation

– Meditation: cultivating space in the mind, feeling the body, emotions and sensations. Accessing the heart and connecting with the profound being.

– Spending time in nature

– Giving up addictions such as: watching TV, playing video games, spending time on the internet and Social Media.

– Keeping a journal  

 

Also, if you or someone dear to you struggles with depression, you can read the following books:

The Emotional Alchemy by Tara Bennet Goleman

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie

Who Am I?: The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

The Art of Living by S. N. Goenka

 

Video 1: World Health Organization (WHO) Video 2: TED Talks

 

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