The “cause” of depression leads to the pathway out of it

Written by Amie on November 6, 2010 – 10:42 pm -

At some point the deadness gets to be too much

If I were to look at 100  people and compare the “cause” for their depression, the causes would most likely all look different. Maybe one person says they have a “genetic” factor to their depression, while a second person says they have been chronically depressed because they were abused as a child. A third person may say they are depressed because they were bullied and made to feel worthless. These are all different circumstances for depression, all with their own pain and validity. Many people would not be able to name the reasons as to why they are depressed, but everything leads to the fact that their true self has been shut off. Since depression is usually a chronic deep dark feeling of  horrible dread and wanting to crawl under a rock, it is difficult to see past. I am able to step back now and see that depression is my body’s way of screaming to me that something is off, something is out of balance inside me, something is begging to be healed. So, when I am able to look at this as being the “cause” of my depression, I remind myself to take some time to just sit with myself, and let things just be as they are. Allow my body to bring things to the surface without trying to fix them or figure them out. Just be aware, and always keep breathing through strong emotions. To me, the “cause” of depression is the underlying “stuff” inside my body that is being ignored or repressed. It is a signal to me that I am needing something. Some time to just be alone, some time to express my emotions, some time to cry, some time to just accept what is. The “cause” is the start of the pathway out. Looking within to see what your body and soul is needing is your pathway to get out of depression. Looking within to see the truth of who you really are.

Once a person “goes to sleep” to their wholeness, depression is the body’s normal reaction.

When we learn to ignore our true self, we create more “stuff” inside ourselves that will need to be healed. When there is a long history of ignoring our true self, we become separated from our own unique self. Depression is my body and soul’s way of saying, “let the true you shine. Let it out! You are worthy and you are powerful!” My soul knows that I am not showing my true self, and in return gives me a “wake up call” to encourage me to look within. It knows exactly what it is I need, and that I am capable of healing my past traumas so that my true self will be revealed. Some people suffer with much deeper depression than others. Some people are able to “act as though” things are fine, but inside, they are dead. At some point the deadness gets to be too much, and a deep very dark depression takes over. Once a person “goes to sleep” to their wholeness, depression is the body’s normal reaction. We all want to feel alive and whole. Once we go to sleep and stop paying attention to what is true in us, our whole body changes-the hormones and chemicals, the physiological, the mental, everything changes. I believe this is why doctors can diagnose a person as having a chemical imbalance. I do not believe people are born this way. I believe that it happens because our truth becomes so far away from the reality we are living in. We have been conditioned to cover up the beautiful soul that lies within. How sad.

A family history of depression, a family history of alcoholism

When a person is forced to live a life that has nothing to do with who they really are, it seems inevitable that depression will become a factor in their life. When my depression became bad enough that I sought out help, I didn’t have any clue as to why it would be so bad. There were many theories thrown around. One was a family history of depression, a family history of alcoholism, etc etc. None of these made me feel any better. The answer was that I should get on an antidepressant and go to therapy. To me this felt like someone telling me, “well, you are kind of screwed, you have this terrible family history of depression and alcoholism, you may as well just accept the fact that you will probably fight with this your whole life. You may as well make the best of it, and talk to a therapist. ” Now I can look back and see why years of therapy and a few years of antidepressants did absolutely nothing for me except make me feel flawed, and make me feel dull-like I couldn’t cry even if I desperately needed to. That is just not good enough! I also want to throw in the (now very obvious to me) idea that a therapist can only help someone if they have done their own healing work. Being “book smart” or “lots of workshops” smart just doesn’t cut it when it comes to the processing of real, deep, dark, messy, scary, painful emotions. To be able to help someone get to the pathway of healing, you have to have gone through it yourself. And, even then, the person “helping” you can’t do the actual work for you, they can only be a witness for you. They can be there as your support. You are the only one who can “feel” what is true for you.

I would venture to speculate that at least 90% of the people walking the earth right now would be deemed “mentally ill”

Every single human has some inner work that needs to be done. Some people have adults around them that are more conscious than others, so they may not have as much healing work to do. But, I would venture to speculate that at least 90% of the people walking the earth right now would be deemed “mentally ill” (another term I really hate, and will address further on)  if they were to look at their true emotions and how they just go through the motions of each day living in their drama and keeping themselves busy so as to not have to look at their inner life.  The ones not willing to keep suffering are the ones that will decide to look within-to really face the pain and learn ways to integrate their past traumas and repressed emotions. I believe that our world is rapidly changing. I believe that people are really starting to  “wake up” to see how much they have been missing. We are waking up to see how dysfunctional this world is. I don’t want to sound like a downer because I see this as a blessing. I see this as a positive thing going on. I see more compassion and more love coming for all of us.

The “genetic” role in depression

I want to address the idea of the genetic role in depression, and the term “mental illness”. These two things still drive me nuts when I hear people say them. Sure, depression can seemingly “run in families”. However, in my opinion, it can run in families because dysfunction runs in families. In other words, if the family members are not willing to look at themselves and the traumas and repressed emotions that are a part of them, then yes, they will most definitely pass on the traits of depression. They will pass on the learned skills of avoiding emotions, quieting other family members that may trigger them, using a drug of choice to try to quiet their inner voices, and do whatever they can to avoid reality. These are the reasons depression runs in families, in my opinion. The term “mental illness” should just be banned from existence. It is such a negative term. It feels like a catch-all phrase. It is used to label people instead of giving them information that will encourage them to look within in order to find their true self and their human side. I am not saying antidepressants should never be used. I just wish that it wasn’t the norm to label a person and give them the impression that this is the only route to follow. I want it to become the norm that people suffering fro depression will be given tools to help them begin the process of looking within to find ways to change their lives so that their true self will shine through. I hope that teaching people to know that it is OK to feel, and OK to express their truth will become the norm.  People should be taught that it is OK to feel. It is OK to be human, and it makes for a strong person to be vulnerable. We have not learned how to be and to feel. We have been taught that being who we really are is scary and bad and we should fear anything that looks “out of the ordinary”. Follow along like little ducklings.

Feeling so depressed you can’t function

So, in a nutshell what I am saying is that there is not a specific “cause” for depression. The “cause” is that we are fighting within ourselves to try to get back to our “real” self, instead of being the actor we have learned to be. The “cause” is that we have been basically killed of our human side. We have learned to be happy, to avoid sad or other “negative” emotions, and to pretend that all is well with us. When our inside “stuff” shouts loud enough, “depression” will set in, in hopes of leading us to the path of our truth. The search can be called off. When the voices scream loud enough, you will know. You will know that you can’t stand another moment of feeling so depressed that you can’t function. This is when your truth is ready to be released and heard. It can be scary to face your own truth, I don’t claim anything different. And it isn’t just a matter of sitting down and saying OK I’m ready to know my truth. This is definitely the start, but we must be patient with ourselves and give ourselves time and patience to release the things that will show us the path to healing. We all have “issues” because we are human. When we just allow ourselves to breathe and feel while being with ourselves, the path will start showing itself to us. Each repressed emotion or trauma that is revealed is a brick in the pathway. It can really help to have someone act as a “witness” to hear what comes up for you. Other times, old stuff may be released and you have no words for what it was. That’s OK too. Be gentle with yourself, and don’t buy into the belief that something about you is flawed. You are perfect exactly as you are, and you are exactly where you are supposed to be. The pathway “out of depression” is to follow your heart. Follow the truth of who you really are.Namaste.

I thought I would add this video because I love it so much! I’ve posted it before, but I need to post it again. I saw Michael Franti & Spearhead in concert, and he is incredible! SO present, and so focused on peace and love in the whole world! Check it out!


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Posted in Awareness, Depression, Healing & personal growth | 1 Comment »

Depression and choosing to be alive

Written by Amie on June 23, 2010 – 8:10 pm -

My experience that might help others who are in deep depression

I would like to share this experience with you because I think it might help people that are in the deep dark places where depression can take us. I had this experience awhile back, but I was recently talking about it with a friend, and  thought it would be helpful to write about it here. I’ve written several times about how I have suffered with very deep depression. I say this because I want anyone reading this to know that I didn’t just have a “bout” of depression, so I really understand how debilitating it is.  I want to share this “ah-ha” moment because it really changed my thinking about feeling so depressed that you think you don’t want to be alive.

I didn’t think I wanted to be alive

I have been in that place several times. I have been in a place that I felt so depressed that I just wished I would die. I didn’t make any plans on how to do it, and honestly I would never do it. But, the fact is that I have felt bad enough that I thought that’s what I wanted. One night I was talking to my therapist, and I was feeling really really low. One question she asked me sparked hope within me. She asked me if I want to be alive. She asked me to put aside my emotions and how bad I was feeling, and just ask myself, “do I want to be alive?” There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be alive, which shocked me. I thought I didn’t want to be here, I have actually said those words before, “I don’t even want to be here”. But when she asked me that question there was no hesitation, the answer came without me even thinking about it. After I said I wanted to be here, I added the sentence, “but I don’t know how to be happy here”. This is the part I needed help with. I hope what I am writing makes sense. It may not sound like there is a difference, but there really is. It gave me hope knowing that I want to be here in this physical body right now. At the time, I really thought I didn’t want to be here. After she asked me the question, I actually gained hope. I had hope that since I wanted to be here, I could get help so that I could find ways to heal and find joy again. I know there are people who think they don’t really want to be here. My brother was one of them. He committed suicide over three years ago. Knowing what I know now, I really think down deep my brother wanted to stay here, but didn’t have the tools he needed in order to live here without suffering every day of his life. He gave up hope that he could ever find what he needed in order to feel joy.

Conforming can lead to self-destruction

I want to share my perspective because I want people to know that there are ways to heal depression. I wanted to share this specific experience because it gave me a new perspective. I have healed so much since the realization that I do want to be alive. I have worked hard on healing my past wounds that were debilitating me. In my last post, I wrote about how we learn to hide our truth in order to fit in or to gain love and acceptance. It is not always easy to break out of these self destructive habits. For me, I had to remind myself VERY often that my negative thoughts were not true. These negative thoughts and habits were conditioned non-truths. As children we learn to conform to what the adults around us need. As we grow, we get into the habit of conforming to what our peers are doing, what our society is doing, etc. We learn to look outside of ourselves hoping to find what we need. We learn to quiet the voice inside of us that is revealing our truth. We conform to fit the mold of what others need us to be. Depression happens when our truth is completely buried, and we get to the point of barely having any emotions at all. We shut down. Often times, anger is alive within us, but we don’t allow ourselves to even express that. Anger is present because it allows us to hide all of the hurt that we repressed when we were busy blocking our truth. Many people finally explode with the anger, sometimes lashing out at others. Some people may internalize the anger and let it eat them alive until they can’t take it anymore. They lash out at themselves rather than let themselves *feel* the repressed truth within them. They don’t allow themselves to *feel* what is really going on in their body. It can feel overwhelming at first since many of us never learned how to express emotion in the first place.

Reminding myself that emotion is energy

When I first learned that I did in fact,  have other emotions than just anger, I was surprised to learn that emotions are energy. It is the *story* we tell ourselves *about* the emotions we are having that make things more difficult. When I allow myself to just feel the emotion (energy) moving through my body, and acknowledge what I am feeling in my body and where I feel it, the energy moves along. Releasing this energy is a huge relief. It is when I try to figure out *why* it is there, or what happened to make me feel a certain way that I complicate my experience. Let it flow! Most of us have learned to be afraid of emotions. We have learned that they must be bad since we were not allowed to feel our truth or express it. Expressing ourselves has everything to do with wanting to be alive, and allowing ourselves to *feel* our “aliveness”. When we repress emotion, we are repressing *who we are*. When we repress who we are, we are sending ourselves the message that we don’t matter. The truth is we absolutely *do* matter, and everyone has the right to express themselves and to be who they are.

Learning how to be who you are and choosing to be alive!

The night that I realized I wanted to be alive, I knew I needed to work hard on allowing myself the space to be who I truly am. I would no longer just agree to doing things if my body was screaming to me, “NO”. Each time I was asked to do something, or asked my opinion, I learned to stop and check in with myself first. Then I would give an answer. Each time I listened to what was true for me in that moment, I was giving myself the true messages that would replace the old negative untruths. It takes practice, so give yourself the space and the compassion and patience you deserve. Each time I allow my truth to be heard, I take back some of my inner power that was given away. This post ended up being longer than I thought it would, but I hope it helps to give hope to those suffering with depression. There is always hope, I promise you. I didn’t go into every single thing I do in order to restore my truth, but I have in past posts, and I would be glad to talk to anyone that wants more detail. Please feel free to e-mail me from the home page. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please get help right away.

Embracing your inner acceptance, “Affirmations”, by Harold Becker, The Love Foundation.


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