What is Depression?
Depression involves a sense of numbness, a lack of motivation and enjoyment in life, a sense of heaviness and helplessness. When depressed, our problems - whether inner demons or outer circumstances - seem bigger than us and life tends to lose its sense of purpose or meaning. We may feel that we have no energy and are tired, yet struggle to sleep. The things we usually enjoy don't interest us.
Closely related to depresion is anxiety, which can be thought of us a state of fear or worry with no obvious cause or a tendency to worry over little things, and often involves intense physical discomfort.
Medically, these conditions are treated as illnesses. You are told that they can be 'managed' with medication, and a little counselling perhaps - but the underlying attitude is that you are stuck with it, that you have to learn to live with it. I will not tell you that!
A Different View of Depression
Although we live in one of the most affluent and free societies in the world, depression is on the rise. Some people refer to an 'epidemic' of depression. People with lives that are successful, people in good relationships, can still be depressed or anxious.
Over years of counselling, I have come to the conclusion that depression is primarily the end result of not living our own lives. A recent study reported that by far the most common regrets of the dying is that they didn't live their own life, but lived according to other people's standards, or wishes; and didn't have enough fun. It is simply this that underlies depression. Although it may sound simple, finding the courage to change it, against a lifetime of social programing, is not simple.
to Passionate Living
If depression is at one end of a spectrum, then the other end of the spectrum is living passionately. Having a sense of what I want out of life and working to achieve it. Being willing to work hard, but believing that satisfaction and happiness can be reached, whilst enjoying the things and people around me along the way. Perhaps most importantly, itís having a sense of meaning and fulfilment in my life, feeling part of things and being connected to the world around me.
I believe that that is what most of us want. We know that there is something more in life for us, that a life of authenticity, courage, passion and purpose is possible. When we have meaningful goals, when we work hard to achieve them, then we become filled with a sense of vitality and enjoyment that is palpable to the people around us. We start to attract people in to our lives that live the same way. Once we have touched this,then we will refuse to be held down by life again.