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If you are or have suffered from depression, you are not alone. Worldwide, more than 264 million people walk this path. Many people will experience at least one episode of severe clinical depression in their lifetime, and many more will face a lifelong struggle with "the black dog." Modern science still doesn't understand the underlying causes of depression and much about this life-threatening condition remains a mystery, but for those of us on a spiritual path, a better understanding of the psycho-spiritual causes of depression can help us. to heal.
What is depression?
Depression isn't just a miserable day here or there, or a disappointment because you didn't get the job, the boy, or the house of your dreams. Anyone can have a bad day, and we all do, but it's more than that. Someone suffering from depression faces a daily battle with hopelessness. You lose all sense of joy and the things you used to enjoy are meaningless. You can't sleep or you sleep too much. You can't eat, or you eat too much. You worry endlessly and your internal dialogue is constantly negative. You fight to take care of yourself, much less your family. Make no mistake: depression is a serious problem and it is not something that just anyone can "get over."
What is the problem with antidepressants?
Let me be clear: I am not a doctor, and this article is not intended to be medical advice. Anyone suffering from depression should see their doctor to treat or rule out physical causes, and should listen carefully to medical advice. However, antidepressants often become part of the problem and not part of the solution. They are often profoundly ineffective, can have horrendous withdrawal and side effects, and there is compelling evidence that SSRI antidepressants actually increase a patient's risk of suicide.
Antidepressants are not the answer to depression, for most people. Why? In addition to the reasons stated above, antidepressants simply do not treat the underlying causes of depression. These drugs work in the brain to limit your feelings of despair, but they do nothing to solve the underlying problem. If you stop taking them, your depression is still there. Many people take antidepressant medications in the hope that they will be a miracle cure, not realizing that they have to do emotional work to alleviate their depression.
Psycho-spiritual causes of depression:
From a spiritual point of view, depression is a period of darkness, an absence of light, so to speak. Now, there is nothing wrong with darkness as such. Without darkness, we would not appreciate the light; Without darkness, we would not hibernate, reflect, or grow. It is a necessary part of the human experience. Spiritual depression occurs when we simply have too much darkness at once, and we struggle to cope.
What causes this overload of darkness? There are two possibilities here: internal emotions and externally absorbed emotions.
Internal emotions causing depression
In this materialistic world, many of us have been sold a lie. We have acquired the dream of material success, the perfect family life, rigid standards of so-called beauty, and impossibly perfect lives. When we inevitably fail to achieve the unattainable, we feel worthless, guilty, lazy, useless. We lose track of the fact that it is enough to simply exist, just "be," without having to pursue an artificial goal. This sense of permanent failure draws light and joy out of our lives, leaving us with nothing but darkness and despair.
Externally absorbed emotions causing depression
For the highly sensitive and highly aware person, other people's spiritual depression can quickly turn into their own. If you grew up in a difficult environment, or if a family member is experiencing depression, or if you work with sad colleagues, before you know it, you will also find yourself on the slippery slope to a problem of depression. Life becomes routine instead of pleasure, and you just start to survive instead of thriving.
3 psycho-spiritual ways to heal depression
First, start looking for the light. This will mean different things to different people, but make a conscious effort to be part of a positive and inspiring change in the world. Do things for other people, rather than for your own ego or your own selfish desires. By doing so, you raise your vibration and make it much easier for positive energies to flow back into your life, dispelling the darkness of spiritual depression to its rightful place.
If you think that you will come out of depression when you get the job, or when you find the perfect relationship, or when you lose that weight, you are wrong. These are the wrong goals, and forcing yourself to work toward them only sets you up for further failure and a vicious cycle. Instead, you need something more satisfying and nurturing in life, and that can only come from a spiritual sense of interconnectedness with source.
Research the faith or spiritual practice that calls you. It doesn't really matter what that is - any belief or action in a higher vibration will serve the same purpose.
Secondly, meditation and mindfulness can also be great tools for understanding and countering depression from a spiritual point of view. Meditation helps you go inward and puts you in touch with your inner core - your higher self. Your higher self does not get depressed; there you will find a sense of acceptance and serenity that is hard to beat.
Mindfulness in your daily life helps counteract the anxiety that often accompanies depression. When you live in the moment, for the moment, there is nothing to worry about, and this in turn relieves much of the depressive burden, as the negative emotions and toxic energies of depression simply do not apply. Mindfulness also helps to release judgment, about ourselves in particular. Mindfulness also helps us to release attachments; When we let go of our attachment to a particular desired outcome, for example, it becomes easier to overcome fear and depression.
A third way Psycho-spiritual counteracting depression is making sure you can release your emotions. Do this through a journal, creative artwork, or any activity that allows you to spill your thoughts, uncensored, out of your head. It is vital to express your emotions in the open air, where you can examine and learn from them - you will detect patterns and triggers of your depression in this way, and gradually learn how to avoid sinking into traps.
These three psycho-spiritual responses to depression can help you get back on the path to emotional wholeness. They should be considered in conjunction with practical steps, such as debt or relationship counseling, where appropriate.
Depression is a very complex problem that we are still learning to understand, but a psychospiritual approach to depression goes a long way in finding and counteracting the illness and its underlying causes, and that has to be a good thing for anyone who goes through it.