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Depression Help Suggestions

A Few Thoughts on Where to Start


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A few weeks ago, a young student wrote and asked me for suggestions regarding depression.

Hello Steven,

My name is Jaimie and I am a sophomore in college. I wrote you perhaps a year ago (not that I expect you to remember) and noted that your Layers of Aloneness Theory could be paralleled to religion in many aspects.

I'm writing to you now because I've been quite depressed for a while. It has been on and off for several years, but it does not usually stay this long at a time. I am not happy with myself nor with my life and would really like to be happy again.

I understand Emergence Theory the idea of visual wounds, but I am wondering if it is possible for one to find one's wounds and BLocks on one's own. Is the help of a therapist necessary? I'm beginning to think that it is, because I feel like I've tried to "fix" myself and to no avail.

I am going to begin seeing a counselor soon in hopes she can help me straighten out my thoughts. I have a lot going on inside my head most of the time, and it feels like a large mess. I suppose I am just asking for advice on depression and where to look for help without using drugs.

I very much enjoy your site and your straightforward explanations and any help would be very much appreciated.

Take care,

Jaimie

These Were My Suggestions ...

Hi Jaimie,

Well, I do remember; you made me smile with your suggestion that I might be reconciling science and spirituality. Something like that.

As for some suggestions, you offer some clues to some pretty good starting places in what you wrote.

[1] I have a lot going on inside my head most of the time and it feels like a large mess. Here's where I'd begin. And often have in the past. Thus, when my head gets filled with too many ideas, I transfer what is in there to something out here. Something physical. Like a list. Perhaps 3x5 cards. Perhaps on a pad. Or perhaps write a worry list and put it in a God Box. Something physical. That's where I start.

My point? Making your problems visible is the first step toward solving them. Even if you believe you know perfectly well what your worries are.

Why does this help? Because no matter what anyone tells you, we live in two worlds. A physical world and a non physical world. Worries in your head live in the non physical world. Writing them down completes their entry into life.

Sound too metaphysical? In truth, it doesn't matter. You see, all that matters is that you try it and see. If it helps, then great. If not, then try the next thing.

What you might also do here is, try to notice if, as you consider this idea, you feel intellectually resistant to "physicalizing" your worries. People who feel depressed often feel this resistance; literally they hope their depression will go away if only they ignore it long enough. It doesn't, and you feel worse over time. Why? Because depressions are like molds. They grow larger when you keep them in damp and dark places. Damp and dark is teary and inside you. Even if the tears never make it to the surface.

[2] Is the help of a therapist necessary? This depends on whether you, yourself, are willing to go down the road spiritual masochists like me go down (smile). What I mean is, many of my discoveries in and around human nature came directly from that I was too stubborn to ask for help. Or too afraid to open up. And while I have, indeed, authored much good work, I no longer choose to travel this road alone.

What I'm saying is, there is no real substitute for a qualified professional. Unfortunately, many professionals focus more on symptom relief than on restoring visual normalcy. Even in these cases though, you can be helped simply by sitting on a scheduled day and time across from someone with a good heart. Just don't take everything they say as the "truth." There is no "the" truth." Only your truth. Just the same, you might try it.

[3] I'm beginning to think that it is because I feel like I've tried to "fix" myself and to no avail. Jaimie, here you are spot on. First because you've failed to fix yourself. Second, because you're lost and alone. First things first.

Failure is the main experience of winners. Few folks recognize this. I, myself have failed more times than I can count. I simple am a stubborn old man who will not risk that I may regret my life as I die.

I also believe all babies are born with a chance to be significant, a chance to be of use to our world. This includes you, Jaimie. The thing is, we folks with high potentials seem to have very difficult lives at first. However, it you keep seeking and do not give up, you will find your way, your meaning for being here.

My intuition about you. You are depressed in part because you are disappointed in your life. Why? Because you cannot be satisfied with an ordinary life. Why else would you be trying so hard to find your way.

This means you need to patiently keep climbing while you search for your faith. Faith in what? Faith in nature. Faith in that we all have in us the astounding ability to do good in the world. Faith in that goodness is real and we cannot do what we cannot see. If we are meant to be of help, we must, as Buddha did, see the world's suffering. Just don't mistake this for some "meant to be" suffering. It is not "meant to be." It is only useful if and when you take this suffering into your heart and use it to do good.

[4] Finally, know that the main way most folks find their way is through good deeds. Focus on finding the needy and give to them. You're depressed. Volunteer in an old age home and ask them to help you. Sound crazy? It's not. Why? Because the root of depression in most old folks is feeling useless. Thus, if you give an old person a reason to be, you give them back their life.

Of course, I could be saying much the same thing to you, Jaimie. I'd bet you feel useless. Thus, give yourself a use and you'll feel amazingly restored and alive.

And do hang in. The world so needs folks who can find their way through to the other side of suffering. In fact, we then become the very guides the world is so desperate to have.

I believe in you.

Warmly,

Steven

P. S. you might try looking at the Cycles of Three articles on the site. They document how I helped myself. And do write and tell me how you're doing, even if you seem to have gone no where. If so, it might be good to remember what the Buddhists say about resistance. When you feel the most resistance, it means you are moving forward really fast.

P.P.S. Speaking of being of use, I'd like to ask your permission to post what we've just spoken about. Anonymously, of course. So many people write with your same concerns, and your courage in writing my inspire them to get help. Do let me know.

Which Resulted in This Reply ...

Hi Steven,

Thank you so much for writing back! I felt better after reading it because I felt like I am not so alone in this world, and that there is someone who understands. Thank you also for you suggestions.

I actually already do your first suggestion! I live off of lists, and am frequently making lists or writings of things to get them out of my head and onto paper so that I don't have to hold them in my head. I also just let thoughts flow out onto a keyboard or paper when my head feels like it is overflowing.

Also I've seen a counselor twice since I first wrote, and that has been all right. I feel like it's a time when I can get a lot of things out of my head (much like the lists) and off my chest, and let out a lot of tears. However, I don't think she can help me with what is really at the root of how I am feeling, or "restore my visual normalcy," as you said.

I was moved when you said "we folks with high potentials seem to have very difficult lives at first." I think this struck me because after trying to talk to so many people and none understanding, it is like a reminder that I do have potential and am not just a crazy depressed person. Such a simple reminder and assurance that I am not alone made me feel good inside.

I do intend to keep seeking for faith in the world and in myself as well. I have faith that this will not last forever, otherwise I would have given up hope a long time ago. I've recently been reading a book on Carl Jung's theories on the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious, some of which reminds me of things I've read on your site.

And I wouldn't mind if you posted these on the site. Maybe someone else can find out that they are also not alone. Thank you so much for writing back, Steven, and I look forward to hearing from you again. : )

Take care,

Jaimie

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