Updated: Jan 25, 2022
Can we overcome thoughts of depression?
First we need to have some type of awareness of how we experience depression. Depression may be experienced on many levels and everybody has a "different" feeling, all because our different life experiences, objective and subjective, and our different ways we have learned to cope.
Depression and Western Medicine
Medically, the medical professional may ask a series of questions(Depression Screening) which will determine what level of depression the person may be having. Diagnosis may range from Clinical Depression, to Acute Depression secondary to an Acute Event(ie. the loss of a loved one), Severe Depression, etc... Usually the next steps are: Start on a prescribed medication, which is usually an antidepressant, and maybe initiate the referral process to a counselor or psychologist. Because of many factors, the medical professional usually does not inquire about the root cause of the concern.
Depression as a Whole-istic Picture
If you or someone in your life has ever been seriously depressed, you may know that depressed people will reject help if it is packaged in the pseudo-wisdom of “look on the bright side” or “you’ve got so much to be grateful for.” It was Ronald Seigel, Psy.D., from whom I first learned: “The premature offering of hope is an empathic failure.” When we try too hard to fix depressed people, all they feel is, "You can’t tolerate my suffering or be present to me in it." Besides-fixing is for things... not people. Presence is perhaps the most healing spiritual energy for depression. It is important initially TO BE present with the darkness without fixing it, to offer empathy and non judgment, and—when the person feels and trusts your non judging presence—to hold out hope and a gentle challenge to actions that promote recovery.
Being present with depression requires mindfulness, which is not just a hot topic in spiritual circles but also in mental health. How does mindfulness help heal depression?... you may ask. Looping over and over through negative thoughts and problems is typical in depression. Mindfulness can help break the loop. Instead of cycling repeatedly through What’s wrong with my life? we can learn to say to ourselves(...first and foremost): "The feeling is here again, I am aware of it …” It’s also a way to move us, the client and myself, toward an in-session guided meditation about imagining ourselves as a filament for an energy source bigger than ourselves. I want the my client to begin to feel, as we meditate together, even a small, brief trickle of the large or sacred Self flowing through the filament of her or his spirit. Connection to God/Source/Higher Self. In practicing meditation with clients in session, I adopt a child’s mind, a moment where everything is released—a willingness to be amazed, as we once were, by the simplest of things. Especially for a depressed person, this can be the beginning of grace. Other modalities I use are EFT, auriculotherapy, Reiki etc., all depending on the client and their own personal needs.
Spirituality & Growth
A spiritual approach to depression also includes the possibility that depression can be a spiritual wake-up call. Perhaps it’s telling us we need to accept a loss, let go of an outdated understanding of ourselves, deal with a dysfunctional relationship, or find more meaning in work or life. Sometimes it is the fear of our own growth, and we look away from the discomfort of growth. When we see depression only as a set of symptoms to get rid of, or only as a chemical imbalance, we may miss that it is asking us to transform our habits, thought patterns, and lives so that we can live closer to peace and joy.
In the end, beyond all my ideas about how to try to help someone with depression, the most spiritual energy of all is the sacred connection the client and I make with each other. I hold the Sacred Space they require to be aware, to see, to look within, to listen in order for them to start their own inner healing journey.
If you, or someone you know, have depression and would like to book an appointment to know how my holistic modalities could benefit you, please click on the link below.