How to Turn Depression On Its Head

depressed girl with paper smileWhat if we’ve been wrong all along? What if depression wasn’t an illness? What if it was as natural as breathing? And what if it was a fundamental and necessary part of our (spiritual) growth?

For countless centuries philosophers and spiritual teachers have been telling us that our answers lie within. That is to say that what we perceive on the outside is a mirror of what is going on inside. And if you were to look into a mirror and see that your face isn’t smiling, you wouldn’t go over to the mirror and try to make the reflection smile! You would turn inwards and find out why you aren’t smiling.

Makes sense right? Yet when we can’t find the answers outside of us, we ignore our natural instinct to go within. Why is that?

Cultural Conditioning

Modern society, with its focus on all things external, doesn’t allow room for introspection. In fact it shuns it. We have deadlines to meet and appointments to keep. Places we need to go and things we need to do. And we don’t have enough time in which to do it all. (Or so we tell ourselves.)

Worse yet, when we do spend time soul-searching or doing some self-exploration we’re made to feel guilty. Selfish. Thinking only of ourselves and letting others down. So we ignore the urge to retreat and go within.

We have literally taught ourselves that it is wrong to look for our answers within ourselves. We have learnt to define ourselves by our external circumstances. We are walking up to the mirror and trying to make the reflection change! Which will never work.

“If you don’t go within, then you will go without.” – Neale Donald Walsch

And there is a part of you that knows this. A part of you that carries the highest wisdom and agrees with all those philosophical teachings – our answers lie within. So the “go within” urge persists. And gets stronger.

The desire to cut yourself off from the world intensifies. There is a growing need to separate from others and not to interact with anyone. You don’t know why you feel this way, you just do. You don’t want to hurt any one or cause any offence, but you just want to push every one away. Then our cultural conditioning kicks in and before you know it that pesky thing called guilt rears its ugly head. So you start berating yourself. Putting yourself down and maybe even telling yourself there’s something wrong with you. Which then spirals out of control. You tell yourself you’re useless. Unworthy or undeserving. You de-value yourself – which is quite possibly the root cause of all “depression”.

You do anything you can to try and get out of this dark place even turning to drugs in an attempt to control it. But again I ask; what if this thing we’ve labelled ‘depression’ is perfectly normal? What if there is actually nothing wrong with you?

What to do instead?

Turn it on its head. Embrace it. Tell yourself it’s okay to be “depressed”. Or to put it more succinctly; stop de-valuing yourself. Allow yourself to feel your value and to accept the simple truth which is this:

Something in your world needs re-evaluating and no amount of looking outside of yourself is going to give you the answers right now. Go with the process, let it flow. Trust your feelings and your natural tendencies because eventually you will find what it is you are seeking.

And when you do, your depression will immediately end.