In my life, I’ve seldom felt depression probably due to my basic positive personality. It may seem that I’m not qualified to write about depression, since I haven’t lived with it for long. However, I believe writing about it through the lenses of my personality, my personal experience with depression, the experiences of my clients, and all the books I’ve read related to the topic may help others who struggle with it.
The ideas I’m about to share also match other ideas of revolutionary thinkers, such as inspirational teacher and author Louise Hay, who sold 50 million copies worldwide of her book, How to Heal Your Life. She spent years connecting physical ailments with underlying emotional causes.
To recap on my personality, I had always been a person full of desires. I always had drive and vision about the career I was going to pursue. I had ambition to learn more languages, to write a book, and so on.
The only time I remember experiencing depression was when I was struggling with anxiety. At that time, I thought my life was over. I saw myself as sick and lost all desires for the future because I thought I was screwed. I was unhappily married, living in a foreign country, and I didn’t think I could escape, so I had no vision or even hopes.
During my years as a life coach, I had also witness apparently "successful" people struggling with depression. In my conversations with them, I was able to detect that due to a rigid belief system, people seem to stop wishing, dreaming, and desiring because it doesn’t fit with their belief system anymore, even if the desire isn’t materialistic. Coincidently, Louise Hay wrote of depression, “Anger. You feel you do not have a right to have. Hopelessness.” in other words, you feel that you don’t deserve more; you’ve reached the limit of what you should desire.
Lise Bourbeau, author of Your Body’s Telling You: Love Yourself! writes of her study and observation of depression, the finding of a common feeling of bitterness for unresolved issues with opposite sex parents. She explains that because of this, it’s quite common for people struggling with depression to blame spouses for it. By refusing to get help, the person continues feeding that frame of mind with a steady diet of dissatisfaction.
While I cannot firmly say these are both roots of depression, I would like to give emphasis to some elements I believe are antidote to depression and that coincide with both authors’ ideas.
The antidote elements I’m referring to are: Dreams and Wishes, Forgiveness, Belief System, and Self-appreciation and Gratefulness.
The Antidote to depression
Dreams and Wishes, and the Belief System
We’re dreamers by nature. Everything we have was first conceived in the mind from “unrealistic wishes,” such as the dream of flying machines, navigating the seas in metal boats, or going into outer space and reaching the stars. When we place limits on what we can or cannot do, we fall into the trap of hopelessness because we’re not allowed to be fully, to express our dreams, and this is sad just to think about.
Quite often, these limits come from a rigid belief system we were taught about what you may or may not desire. In this way, some people stay in unfulfilling marriages because their belief system condemns divorce. Another example is that growing older means physical decline. An unwritten belief in my culture, for example, condemns not placing your family members above your spouse. Beliefs like this don’t allow us to desire our happiness but, instead, force us to please the belief system. From my point of view, it is vital for your well-being to nurture the part of you that wants to express to the world; be the source of creativity that you are.
From the observation of Bourbeau, it is essential to realize it is only you the person in charge of resolving any bitterness from past issues. As much as it may seem unfair, whatever wrong has been done to you in the past, only you have the power to forgive once and for all and let go of what limits your capacity to enjoy your life fully. No one can do it for you. Perpetuating your wound, dissatisfaction, and hatred only hurts you, and the most powerful lesson you can learn is to let go, but that takes courage and self-esteem. Can you love yourself enough?
Self-Appreciation and Gratefulness
If you want to know the power of self-appreciating and gratefulness, I challenge you to write a list of 50 things you appreciate about yourself and another list of things you have in this moment for which you feel grateful. This exercise will speak for itself.
Our perception of our surroundings determines our mood, and we can always take responsibility for it. Without gratefulness, we can easily sink into victim mentality: however, without desire, stagnation can occur and we don’t grow.
I’ve found that authentic gratitude and self-appreciation fuel a healthy desire and vice versa.
For myself, I can say, “I’m grateful for who I am today. I am stronger, wiser, healthier, and fitter than ever before. My kids are amazing, and I’m looking forward to continue my expansion and growth full of dreams and wishes. “
In conclusion, never stop dreaming and forgive wrongdoings as soon as it is possible for you, so that you can embrace true FREEDOM and JOY.