“There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
~ Leonard Cohen
Statistics suggest that 7-10% of us are depressed; I would guess that in reality, that percentage is much higher. Last month on Google, 9,140,000 people typed “depression” into the little white box. It’s clear that many people are looking for help in overcoming depression.
I’ve never studied mental illness; I’m not a psychiatrist, and I don’t have a college degree on the topic. But in some ways, you could consider me an expert in overcoming depression, because unlike your doctor, I’ve actually lived through it.
For many years of my life, my depression went undiagnosed. The sadness would come and go in waves; 1996 was a particularly bleak year for example. But it wasn’t until 2006, when I became critically depressed, that I felt motivated to do something about it.
January 2006 began with a vague feeling of discontent in the background of my life. I couldn’t put my finger on the cause of it, I just felt unhappy, all the time. By June it had progressed to a full blown case of depression – I had lost 30 pounds, I was shaky all the time, and I had a hard time working an entire shift at my job without crying. I was resistant to help because I have a habit of “doing everything myself”, but as suicidal thoughts began to creep into my head, I was so terrified of my own mind that I finally went to see a doctor.
My doctor suspected that I was clinically depressed, and she ordered me not to go back to work until I sorted myself out. She helped me find a counselor and prescribed anti-depressants, which I never ended up taking. I’m not against medication, but I sensed early on that there was a deeper cause of my depression than just the chemicals in my brain. As with all other forms of illness, I knew that the true cause of depression can be found on an energetic, spiritual level.
Negative feelings such as sadness and depression, are dynamic signals from our intuition. These signals occur when our thoughts are out of alignment with who we truly are, and why we’re on the planet.
I can easily remember the negative thoughts that ran rampant in my mind when I was depressed. I thought my life was pointless, because I hadn’t yet made a connection with my true identity or life purpose. I felt powerless, because I was not yet aware of the part of myself who had the ability to create the life I really wanted to lead. In this state of powerlessness I perpetuated thoughts and beliefs that kept me feeling trapped, stuck, helpless, and eventually… clinically depressed.
Overcoming depression once and for all begins with separating yourself from your thoughts, becoming aware of your thought patterns, and consciously altering them for the better. This process starts with remembering who you are, why you are here, and remembering that you really do have the freedom and the power to create your life exactly the way you want it to be.
Remember Who You Are
One of the reasons I was so depressed was that I mistakenly thought of myself AS a physical body instead of one who HAS a physical body. I remember thinking how depressing it was that my body was wrinkling, aging, and most likely destined for some horrible illness and ultimately, death. What was the point in living at all?
The exact moment in time when my depression began to lift was on the day I had the first glimpse of my true identity. To assist in my healing, I had ordered all sorts of personal development books from Amazon. The first book I read was “Ask and it Is Given” by Abraham-Hicks, and a short paragraph from chapter two really resonated with me:
“You knew then, before your physical birth, that you were “Source Energy” specifically focused in this physical body, and you knew that the physical person you would become could never be separated from that which you came from.”
After reading this paragraph, I felt instantly uplifted. Part of the negative feelings I had been experiencing were indications of how off-track I was with the thoughts I was holding about myself. Remembering myself as a spiritual being enabled me to detach myself from the preoccupation I had with my body. Baby fat and crow’s feet really aren’t that big of a deal anymore, once you remember you’re eternal.
Remember Your Purpose for Being Here
When I was depressed I had absolutely no idea what the purpose of life was, or more specifically, the purpose of my life. I felt stuck in a hamster wheel of going to work, eating dinner, watching TV, and then going to sleep. There was no joy, no creativity, and no vitality.
As my depression began to lift I re-discovered gifts and talents within me that I felt truly passionate about – creating art, writing, and singing, for example. This in itself motivated me to get out of bed each day, and the more creative I was, the better I felt.
Once you remember who you are, eventually you will realize that there is also something within you that is yearning to be expressed. You have within you certain skills and abilities that are unique to you; talents that are like gifts waiting to be unwrapped. Part of your purpose on the planet is to deliver your gifts, and if you’re not on track with your purpose, you will experience the dreadful feelings of depression.
Find your purpose by becoming still. Focus all of your attention on the area in the centre of your chest. Then ask yourself, “why am I here?”
Finding your purpose results in overcoming depression, because a new sense of vitality is born within you. It is not likely that you will ever become depressed again once you discover a genuine purpose for living.
Remember Your Freedom
In the midst of my depression I felt completely powerless. I wasn’t that thrilled with my job, but I didn’t know how to get out of it. I sensed that there was something else I would rather be doing, but I didn’t know what it was. I felt suffocated, and I felt trapped.
The light began to shine through the cracks when I re-read one of my favorite books from my teenage years – “Mind Power“, by John Kehoe. John reminded me that not only can I dream about how life could be better, but I can also create it… through the power of my mind.
After reading Mind Power, I began to think of what I really wanted in life, and I began to focus upon it to make it happen. I quit my job and fulfilled my life-long dream of working from home. I formed a band and recorded an album in my basement. I overcame my fear of speaking. I started this blog.
You can overcome depression by remembering that whatever it is you want in life, you have the power to create it. It’s never to late to make a change. If you’re stuck in an unfulfilling job, dead-end relationship, or sluggish body, you don’t have to stay that way – you have the freedom to make changes.
Change can be terrifying because it threatens our feelings of security. But after living on both sides of the fence, I can tell you that bliss mixed with a little bit of vulnerability is much more wonderful than perpetuating a safe existence, overrun with depression.
It’s been over three years since the depths of my depression and I now feel better than ever. I am healthier, happier, and more fulfilled than I ever have been before. I have experienced success in overcoming depression, and I don’t expect it to return.
None of us are meant to live in depression, but if you think you may be depressed, please seek professional guidance. Even though we can all find healing by following our inner voice, it is not always audible when we are depressed. A doctor or counselor can provide a professional diagnosis and perhaps medication that can build a bridge to healing.
If you are depressed, know that I am holding you in my heart. Overcoming depression can be challenging but you can make small changes that will eventually lead you into a life of contentment and even happiness. I know that this is possible, because if I can do it, you can too.