-- “A funny way to get you to be more curious.”
This page will attempt to help you with questions like: What do I do about feeling depressed? What should I think about it? What does it mean? (Quick answer: depression is a severe form of dysfunctional thinking about thinking. Or, put another way, nothing is wrong with your experience -- a wake up call to the truth of being human -- even though it feels horrible, to say the least.)
Another three minute guide to a common thought/feeling (a la The 3 Principles).
My Thoughts About Feeling Depressed
Hmm, my thoughts about writing about feeling depressed: “Don’t mention the war!”
Yes, it’s like I’m Basil Fawtly in that episode of Fawlty Towers (called The Germans) where Basil very much wants one of the characters, the Major, to NOT mention the war to a German couple who are staying in the Fawlty Towers hotel.
Don’t mention the war! Yet here I am -- mentioning the war -- and treading indelicately (probably) on a key are of mental health that seems to be misunderstood by all: depression.
From my experiences with clients, and from just listening to people and reading loosely (and not scientifically) about this subject it seems that depression can be ’caused’ by events like this:
- Unbearable heartbreak, or some other traumatic event that cannot be ‘lived with’
- A mental breakdown -- life, or the meaning we give to it, stops making sense
- We lose touch with ourselves -- being yourself doesn’t make sense; the pressure to keep up appearances cannot be maintained
Actually, these events are not the cause. The cause isn’t even what the person ‘makes of’ these events, the thinking about it. The cause is Thought. In truth there is a fundamental misunderstanding of how life works, how we work, how we create our lives through Thought.
I am not depressed, nor have I ever been depressed. (I’ve been low, miserable and often considered killing myself, but it’s never got to the point where I did not want to get out of bed. And I am thankful for that.) I have, however, had the following thoughts, and still believe them to be true
- Life is meaningless
- We have little or no control of it
- People cannot be trusted…
Depression and The Meaning of Life
Life IS meaningless. Life just is. The meaning we give it is all find and dandy -- it’s about love, it’s about fulfilling your purpose, it’s about God -- but these meanings are made up. There is no meaning save that one you give it. Or the point of the ride is the ride. This fact of life might disturb you, or it might not. It doesn’t disturb me
We have little or no control of life. Agreed. Like the surfer riding the waves, she is not in control of how things turn out. She can exert influence, she can enjoy the ride -- wherever it takes her -- but she is not in control. Again, control freaks might not like this, or they might see it as an invitation to stop wanting to control.
(For example, thinking ‘this should not be happening’ or ‘this should not have happened’ and -- importantly! -- believing that thinking, well this is a sign that you think you are in control, when you are -- sadly -- not!)
People cannot be trusted. Yes. The ONLY person you can ever truly (madly, deeply) rely on is yourself. Because everyone -- and I do mean everyone (including you!) -- is self-serving, when it boils down to it, serving their own personal agenda; that’s how we seem to be wired. IF you trust yourself, though, you’ll find you are able to trust others, whoever they are and whatever they do
None of these things are cause for concern, though. (No aspect of life is cause for concern. It just is.) You could make it a concern, of course, but you don’t have to: especially once you understand how you work, how you create your experience of life -- from the Inside-Out…
About Feeling Depressed -- The Inside-Out Understanding
There is no experience of a human being that is ‘wrong’. That includes PTSD, being bipolar, and depression. That doesn’t mean these experiences are not ‘unpleasant’. It simply means that this experience is not ‘wrong’.
It seems to me that we all think differently. We all have different values, different expectations of life (even though every one of us seems to start out the same way). And we all have different experiences in life, and make different meanings for those experiences.
Some of us think a lot, perhaps too much. Some of us are extremely sensitive. And, again, some of us seem inclined to create beautiful things from our thinking and some of us do not.
I have had many dark thoughts (that I will not share here). I also think life is meaningless, we have no control, and people cannot be trusted. But thinking these thoughts does not cause a downward spiral in my thinking -- a descent into darkness, a descent into depression.
And that’s not because I’m ‘better’ than someone who gets depressed. That’s not because I’m more positive than they are. It’s simply because my thinking -- specifically, what I think about my thinking -- doesn’t seem inclined to work that way!
“Well, lucky for you, Steve! How does that help me?”
Maybe it doesn’t help you, I don’t know. Depression is simply a form of dysfunctional thinking (about thinking), one of many forms of dysfunctional thinking, I guess is what I’m trying to say. Perhaps you can not control the thoughts that come into your head -- and I don’t think you can! -- but you most certainly can become more aware that it is ONLY THINKING, only feeling, nothing more.
Depression and a Lack of Imagination…
Imagine, for example, feeling in the blackest of black moods. Being irritable. Wanting to kill yourself every other minute. And not even wanting to get out of bed -- what IS the point. Now imagine understanding that nothing is wrong with thinking and feeling like this. Now imagine not resisting this temporary state. Now imagine being just a little curious about it all, wondering how long it might last.
In the Outside In paradigm that pretty much everyone believes in, depression is very much wrong.
In the Inside-Out paradigm that is the truth of every human being’s experience, it’s just a feeling, a thought, and nothing is wrong.
Of course in a low state of mind, a low mood, you may engage with the world in a more cautious way -- as you would with poor physical health -- but that is all.
Hmm, I don’t write this as some kind of reprimand to someone feeling depressed right now, or to someone who has suffered from depression and never wants to experience it again.
I simply write it because I believe it to be true.
I believe this Inside-Out understanding of the human experience liberates all from the punishing prison of not realising that you don’t have to believe your thinking. And that liberation dramatically improves every human being’s experience of their life, no matter whether they are inclined to feelings of depression or they are not.
Whaddya think then? Would it have been better if I’d simply not mentioned the war, or has this page about feeling depressed stimulated something new inside of you?…
About Feeling Depressed -- Video
Here’s what I was inspired to share in a video I recorded in October, 2015:
What Are YOU Thinking?
Is this making sense to you? Either the words I’ve shared, or the 3 minute hero video I recorded. Do you agree or (completely) disagree about my thoughts about feeling depressed (’bout depression) -- I’d love to know!…
"Leave everything undefined, including yourself. Befriend uncertainty. Fall in love with mystery. Kneel at the altar of not knowing. Give your questions time to breathe. The answers will find you." – Jeff Foster
Explore what happens to your problems when you leave yourself 'undefined'...
(1-2-1 transformative coaching conversations are a powerful way to explore the human condition. First conversation always free.)