When depression hits, sometimes I just want to run away. The pain so strange yet so real that I feel like tearing my forehead apart, find an opening and just run away from this prisonhouse of my head that hurts so bad. To someplace nicer. Quieter. Lovelier. Like a sea beach with white sand and seagulls. Or unfamiliar villages beside train tracks. Strangers. New places. New breeze. Then I stop. Over and over and over again I realise that even if I could afford to thus run away to places I would still be running to those with my same body, mind and brain. There is NO tearing away the prison bars of brain and body. There is NO running away from what’s happening to any of us deep within us.
Hence. I change my strategy of warfare. I pause and restrategise – since I can’t strip myself of myself nor can I tear away my physical brain and body to escape why not strip the word ‘depression’ – why not tear away the glittery sickly strange wrapping around that word I hold in my head?
What is depression? Psychology articles will give me/you several definitions. But I am tying to find my own here. What is depression To Me? What does it mean? And am I meaning it to be more than it actually pretends to be thanks to my Mind? What is depression? Is it a feeling? Is it an emotion? Is it a physical symptoms? For me, it’s probably best described as a ‘sensation’. That sensation of a heaviness and low dark hum between the ears, between the brows and a huge pressure of a ton of lead near my chest. Weighing heavy. Feeling heavy. And sad.
But sad for what? If sad it is, then there has to be a why. Every human emotion has a ‘Why’ attached to it. Just this morning I was reading a psychology journal talking about ‘automatic thought’ that isn’t thought through or practised – and how such ‘automatic negative thought patterns’ cause depression. I was surprised at even the contradictory grammar there, leave alone psychology! Yes by now these thoughts may have become automatic but that’s almost as automatic as riding a bike or swimming. It’s an ACQUIRED automatic. A ‘pattern’ even grammatically speaking is never spontaneous. It has repetition involved. NO human thought, triggering NO human emotion is Ever Thoughtless, Pattern-less or whatever ‘automatic’ means. Years of believing and living out negative (conscious And/Or subconscious) belief systems and thought patterns (about Self-perception, Life, Career, Relationships, Goals, Meaningfulness, be it whatever) result in what today appear, Only appear, automatic. If my professional mental health caregiver and my exposure to CBT has taught me One thing then it’s this – Every single emotion has a thought beneath it. Challenge that dysfunctional thought and Touché!
So. I come back to the sensation of this dark, brooding, heaviness between wherever in my body and ask – Why sad? Now what’s sad? Immediately the Mind like a pouting child starts pointing fingers at what it loves to hyperbolically call ‘Gaping holes’ or voids in life. Again; years of training under a wise professional psychotherapist and I know dismissing this pouty child is No Good. Acknowledge it. Acknowledge that it does feel and see whatever as sad ‘Gaping holes’. But then go on to more delayering. When does any of us feel a void? Simply when we Want But Cannot/Don’t Have. (Oh I know where this article is going. Some pep talk of enlightenment and giving up wants. Such a waste to read it, mahn! I don’t want Nirvana. I am a fresh and blood human with many justified wants and wishes and I have All the Right to feel depressed if I can’t ever have them!) Yes I hear you. I actually hear myself in you when you say that. And yes – You, I, he, she, they, all of us have the ‘Right to justifiably feel depressed’. Question remains – do I want justified reasons Into depressed or whichever way Out of It? Which desire is Stronger? For justice or for freedom? Trust me I have battled with exactly this choice for years.
We may (or actually may not, but can’t yet see the logic) have the “Right” to be depressed. But do I Want To Be depressed? If not, are we ready to throw away our Right to find our Relief? A year ago I chose Relief over Right. Freedom over Justified/unjustified. I may or may not feel justified reasons to feel depressed. Justified to want. Unjustified to not have. Compare with six billion others who seemingly ‘have’ it all. Blame. Bleed. Cut. Pop pills. Bloat. Go suicidal. Great! I have “justified reasons” to feel depressed if I don’t have what I want. Same Question again – what do I/You want? Specific wants or simply Our health and happiness? If the second then specific ‘Don’t have-s’ must be reinterpreted, if not repressed or renounced with any enlightened renunciation.
Wants, wishes, beliefs of absolute needs for our survival and/or happiness of our Mind HAS TO BE challenged in order to overcome depression. The Mind knows no better than ‘Want – Don’t Have It My Way – Hit Depression’. Train it! Train it (preferably under a professional mental health expert) to say “I Cannot ensure things I want outside of me. But I can Always reinterpret my Apparent Don’t Have-s and Choose my Thoughts and Emotional Response to it.” Do that and you’ve disarmed almost all of that complex wrapper around the word ‘Depression’. How each of us reinterpret our lives depends – on our individual isms, philosophy, understanding. But choose one that’s functional. (I have earlier covered the topic here – )
Meanwhile, as I am almost done with this article, am also telling my dear Mind – See how You’ve happily resumed ‘interpreting’ your prerequisites to happiness – hence depressed. But You’ve forgotten how peaceful you felt even in this exact scenario only when you looked at it differently the last time. Realise your lens has shifted. Realign your frame. Capture the story afresh, with a corrected aperture. You’ll re-realise – depression is needless, you’re rather blissful and happy.
Take Care, dear Mind.
© & Author : Nivedita Dey, 2016
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