Depression can make your body so heavy it’s nearly impossible to get out of bed. It can rob you of interests, ambitions, the motivation to do almost anything. It can cause you to be irritated with everyone around you and upset by any circumstance, no matter how inconsequential.
Depression kills – obviously by suicide, but also more slowly. It can exacerbate any illness, lower your immunity, contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle and bad habits. It is impossible to will yourself out of it, to simply buck up and be happy.
There’s a lot of helpful stuff out there on depression – stuff researched, studied, written, and broadcast by very caring and knowledgeable people, but unless you’ve been through it, you cannot imagine what it is like to be clinically depressed.
I’ve been there. And not just briefly, nor only a long time ago. It’s an ongoing struggle, like sobriety is for the alcoholic. One day at a time. Because I’ve been there, I know what it feels like and what it can do to you and those around you.
I also know there’s hope, a light at the end of the tunnel.
Often, healing begins by finding a good psychiatrist who will eventually (often by trial and error) find the right medication and dosage to enable you to do the hard inner work of uncovering the causes and cures. Depression either causes neurochemical imbalance in your brain, or neurochemical imbalance in your brain causes depression. Either way, there’s a physical element to it and you need medication just like a diabetic needs insulin. Medication won’t make you happy or solve the problem, but it will assuage the symptoms enough so you can attack the core issues.
The depressive feelings – the heaviness, the lack of energy, the cloud of isolation – is on the surface. Under it is a cognitive layer of negative thought patterns. Deeper still, in the core of your being, are childhood wounds that lie buried in your unconscious.
Medication, diet, exercise, and relationships counteract the top layer of feelings.
Cognitive behavioral therapy slowly peels away the middle layer of thought patterns. Most people stop there. Please don’t.
Depth psychology and spiritual guidance dig into the deepest level, the inner core, to expose personas, integrate the true self, connect us with the divine eternal, and bring about wholeness, shalom, spiritual maturity.
Be patient. It takes a long time. There are no quick fixes. You don’t want to simply remove the symptoms. You want to be healed in your innermost being.
Start with the psychiatrist and the right medication. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor.
Connect with a good therapist who will help you over several courses of therapy to deal with behavioral and cognitive issues. Psychotherapists are either Ph.D. or Master’s level clinicians.
When you’re ready, find a spiritual director to whom you can relate over a lengthy period of years, and dig deep into the realm that only your spirit knows. This will likely either be a Jungian psychoanalyst or a certified spiritual director.
As your spirit becomes more open to the Spirit, transformation will occur.