The most tragic thing about not taking depression seriously is when we don’t get to receive its gift.
What depression presents us with is deep and beautiful – the great boon of being redirected away from all that’s wrong for us, back towards our Selves.
I’m talking about our truest, biggest, deepest, most satisfying Selves. What’s real within us is a treasure; depression is what it feels like when we’re out of touch with that.
Harm happens to us gradually or quickly when we don’t listen to depression. In extreme cases, we hurt ourselves. Sometimes we succeed at finally destroying ourselves once and for all.
So if we’re feeling down, it’s important not to brush it off. If we brush it off too long, it will do damage to our core.
If you are depressed, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with you. Depression is feedback from your true nature. Something in you is saying no to something about your life. Depression is a big, huge, sacred no.
The gift comes when you ask yourself, if this is my psyche saying no, what would I say yes to?
Depression will say nope to everything but your true life. Depression says: “I want to live my real life, and I recognize that this is not it. Let me go find my true purpose and live it.”
Here are three ways of thinking about depression which may feel helpful for opening up the gift, if it’s knocking at your door these days.
1. Depression is about death – and rebirth!
Depression is death energy. This can mean a lot of things, but definitely something within you is dying to make way for the new. If we are not behaving supportively for this transformation, if we are resisting or clinging to old ways of being, depression can get quite fierce as it tries to get our acknowledgement of its truth.
Remembering that depression is a sacred nope, ask yourself: What am I saying no to? What needs to die within me? What is coming to an end? Is there a part within me who doesn’t want to live the way I live now? Why doesn’t she? Is there anything I could do, some change I could make, that would make her feel excited to live?
The answer might surprise you, and give you valuable clues about what you’re really here to do. Your depression is a part within you who knows you are in your nature, as well as what your real mission and purpose is here.
2. Depression is about anger
As the adage goes, depression is anger turned inwards. If you are depressed, you are angry about something, but that anger has collapsed inwards, and does not have the sense of possibility and power normally connected to anger.
Anger goes inwards when we do not approve of our own anger. If we cannot side with ourselves, and we tell ourselves we are wrong for being mad, it can easily turn into a black depression.
From the starting place of depression, conscious, vivid, lively anger on our own behalf is a healthy destination. This anger is not for acting out towards others, but for our own learning about who and what we are in our deepest nature.
So see if you can find out what you may be mad about & validate your right to be angry about it.
The information you want to get from yourself is: which of my vitally important boundaries have been crossed? Which of my universal human needs are not being met?
The information you get in this way helps you to see who you are and what you need to be yourself more fully in this world.
3. Depression is a call to go inwards: let yourself do that.
Finally, give yourself the darkness you need. Depression asks you to stop focusing energy towards the bright, noisy externals of your life, and to pull inwards.
You may like to treat a depressed period like a psychological flu: something that needs stillness, rest, quiet time and solitude.
Turn and face the darkness that is already within you, see what treasures are there when your eyes adjust. Don’t push yourself to be on the surface of life when you are being called to go underground.
The gift in the end is this: if you are living your life “wrong”, you will feel it as depression. If you are living your life “right” (according to you and you only!) you will feel it as joy, energy, purpose and alignment.
It’s that simple. Depression, as awful as it feels, is the best friend ever. A friend that tells us the truth, about how small we are living compared to our true, magnificent size. May we all learn to respect depression’s voice.