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Sunday, December 21, 2008

How to deal with depression

Posted on Happy Minds!

Lets say your about to sink into a deep, smothering, morbid depression. You recognise the symptoms: you’re going down. You feel like a fish in a net: the more you flounder, the more you get trapped. There’s just nothing you can do. You’ve tried every remedy you know, or maybe your already to far down to try anything. Maybe you’ve looked at some positive images, you viewed some nice films on how beautiful our earth is. You tried to enjoy yourself with some kith and kin. You’ve done all meditation practices you’re familiar with. It might be you’ve taken some painkillers, a little herb, alcohol or other substances that help to ease the pain. Nothing helps.

Let me start this posting by conveying my sympathy to you. I may not know you, I may not be aware of any of your troubles, and my life may seem extremely comfortable compared to yours. I can only tell you from my heart: I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. It just hurts beyond imagination. It hurts to loose people and things. It hurts to do bad things to others, or to be a victim. It hurts to feel guilty and inadequate. It hurts to see yourself wasting all your precious time on gloom. It hurts not to be able to join the party. It hurts not to be able to love your kin. It just hurts.

OK. Now it would be very nice if I could offer you something that would instantaneously solve your ordeal. Probably I cann't. But let me give it a try. There’s some simple exercises on this blog that may interest you, and may help a little. Also, I want to give you some advise that seems to help me (sometimes ;-)).

First of all, realise that you are not the only one feeling like this. It helps to do a simple visualisation exercise: just try to see as many people as you can in your minds eye, the surroundings is not that important. Know that all these people are going through times similar to what you are experiencing now. Know that some even suffer more than you do right now. Try to feel some compassion, a little commiseration. Know that they too are really desperate. Know that they too are not able to get a grip.

Second, realise that everything on earth is impermanent. 80 million years ago, the Himalayan mountains did not exist. However, nowadays the highest mountain on earth is found right there. In another 80 million years, the Himalaya mountains probably do not exist any longer, there may be desert instead, or no planet at all! If even mountains rise and perish, have some faith that the same principle of appearing and disappearing applies to your problems. Think of all the problems all living creatures on this planet ever had. And think of what is left of those problems now. Your situation is real. Your problem is you’re believing it will stay this way.

Third, if you can bring yourself to it: do something positive, anything. Go to a park, bless all the pigeons, whish them a long, healthy, happy life. Give a little money to somebody who really needs it. Do a chore for an old grumpy neighbour that everybody dislikes. It will not solve your problem, but it helps to battle the thoughts concerning worthlessness. It helps, because every time you start thinking: I am worthless, you can proof yourself that this is just not true, because at least you’ve been kind to the pigeons, a beggar or a neighbour in need.

Last but not least: as soon as you’re able to, stop spending your time on going in your home devised circus attraction. By that I mean: try to stop repeating the same black, heavy and good-for-nothing thought-patterns! Distract yourself! You can work on a solution later, first get yourself out of this shit! If you have no money: start walking and concentrate on the interaction with your environment. Try to see people in need, help them with small things. Watch the movie "Forrest Gump" if you can, he walked for years just because he felt like it! If responsibilities tie you to your home: fine, let it be little children, take them to a park. Bottom line is: not doing anything and making up excuses why nothing can be done is PART of your depression. Try to recognise that, and get out of your comfort zone as soon as possible!

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