“I know that I will always have depression and that the best I can do is to learn to cope with it,” my new client stated. “How do you know this?” I asked him. “They explained it to me at the psychiatric hospital. They said that the memories, thoughts, and emotions that cause our depression are always with us. The trick is to just not think about them. When we focus our attention on the life we want and the priorities we’ve set for ourselves, all the negative stuff is forgotten. It never goes away, we just choose to not think about it.”
Talk about depressing. If a person wasn’t depressed before hearing this, they certainly would be afterwards. It is essentially saying that the only way to deal with depression is to run from it. Put it in a box and place it out of sight. Look to the light and ignore the dark. How do you sleep at night trying to resolve problems in this way? I suspect many people don’t.
Looking away from and trying to ignore your depression is not the answer. You heal your depression not by escaping it but by going through it. Through a process of symbolic death and rebirth, your depression is an opportunity to discover a new vision and sense of direction in life. It is there to teach you something. For example, if you are pursuing a relationship with the wrong person you are likely to get depressed. Your depression gets your attention and challenges you to reconsider your perspective and path. What a loss to you if you merely redouble your efforts to think positive and focus only on why you think the relationship should work. Running from your depression doesn’t help you find real peace. It just leads you further from your home.
Copyright © Andy Drymalski, Ed.D.
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