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Healing Depression

Depression is so oppressive to be in the middle of. So often, there’s a feeling of helplessness and powerlessness and a sense that everything is awful. Not only that, but you lose your sense of historical and future perspective. Your thinking becomes global versus specific: everything has always been awful and always will be awful.

How Other People React to Depression
Strangely to someone who is depressed, other people seem to react to you by giving a lot of advice and wanting you to get over it as quickly as possible. “Take walks, go to movies, do things with friends, work out at the gym,” they’ll say. The very fact of them telling you these things so blithely intensifies your feeling of hopelessness. You’d love to get over it, but you don’t know how.

The very fact of other people coming up with solutions puts you even more into the role of the one who doesn’t have the solution. That’s the role you’ve already been occupying—somehow you’ve slipped into it, or you’ve been in it for a long time. If you could move into another role—say, the one who has the solution and can put it into effect, that would be great—but how to do that?

Healing Depression is a Process
It is definitely possible to emerge from depression—and healing depression takes patience and perseverance. The very thing that’s difficult, right? Most of the time, there’s this pull to go into a timeless fog of sadness.

Here are some things to think about in an attempt at healing depression:
1. Accept yourself and your experience as it’s happening. Notice exactly what you’re experiencing—let’s say someone disapproved of something you did. You’re thinking “everyone hates me.” Let’s drill down into that a bit: what is the experience you’re having inside yourself when you think that? Do you feel all alone in the world? What is that feeling made up of? What color is it, for instance? Is it black or gray or white, or…? Where do you see yourself: in a desert? In the middle of the ocean? In a white fog? Or where? Maybe you can be there in that place, accepting it as a place to be, for right now. Not spinning out with thoughts that you’re going to be there forever, just accepting this place right now. Find out more about it maybe: what else is around you, above you, below you? If you feel like it, you can drill down like this with any experience you’re having—sadness, for instance. If you feel like it, notice the feeling, the color, texture, the scene you’re in, what’s around you and accept being there just for right now.
2. Remember depression tends to make your thinking global. Healing depression might involve trying to be more specific. If you applied for some jobs and they all went to other people so far, you might feel that you’re never going to get a job, that no one wants you, that everything in your life is awful and that it’s always been that way. Being more specific might mean to notice that today you didn’t get this specific job, remembering that you’ve had jobs before. Remembering the specific jobs you’ve had, the specific things you were good at in those jobs. And remembering the specific times when someone at your job appreciated you and what you were doing. Also, maybe, if you feel like it, you can think about the other parts of your life where there’s something positive going on. Is there one person—or more than one person—who loves you and values you? How do you know? Even though you might think you’re worthless (because that’s often part of depression), healing depression might mean really focusing and noticing one—or more—things that you believe are good about you—or have been good about you in the past. Or something you’ve accomplished in the past or are accomplishing in the present.
3. Part of depression is feeling oppressed, sad, and helpless. If you feel like it, maybe ask yourself, “What can I do to help myself feel better?” Some little—or big—thing that might help you feel a bit better about yourself or your situation for a few minutes—or longer.
4. Another thing that can help with the feeling of helplessness is to notice what you could do about a specific problem you have—something that doesn’t depend on anyone else doing something too. It doesn’t have to be a big thing or something that will solve the whole problem right away. It could be a first very small step in the process. Again, this is something that you can do by yourself without anyone else having to do anything.

Getting Help in Healing Depression
Since part of being depressed is feeling overwhelmed by your experience, sometimes it can be useful to get help from a professional therapist. This person can help support you through some of the above steps. There are also counseling modalities that are effective in finding the source of and healing depression. For more information, see .

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