As a life coach with a background in psychology, I tell some of my clients that if they’re not depressed these days, they’re out of touch.
But that is just a piece of the truth, as I see it.
Being out of touch has much to recommend it, first of all. Some of the greatest accomplishments in our world were done by people whose outlook might have been deemed “unrealistic” by many. Skewing your words positively with a positive bias about children’s accomplishments, has been shown to produce great results with parenting, as well as great results with relationships, sales, etc.
People want to be around someone who can turn their every action into an accomplishment, and help them feel really good about ourselves. That is actually really good medicine for depression prevention, in yourself as well as others: positively skew your every word and observation.
We call this process of active listening, “reframing”, and it’s not always out of touch! Seeing things as steps towards your goal, whether it’s a hit or a miss; learning from mistakes even more than from successes, you re-frame the mistake as a learning experience, which is positive. And pat yourselves on the back because if you aren’t experiencing failures, you’re not trying hard enough! To reach a success, you have to fail first, usually.
Depression however can be really debilitating, a self-fulfilling prophesy of feeling low energy, fatigue, and mental fuzziness. It’s very much a physical thing, which is why medications often work, altering the body’s physiology with stimulants. This is a short term solution really though, because you’re not getting at the root cause of the depression.
The Root Cause of the Depression
Depression can have many causes, with similar physiological effects.
• Eating the wrong diet, including wheat which has natural sedative effects, as well as lots of sugar, sugar compounds, and sometimes dairy products. In children, this wrong diet can have the opposite effects, causing hyper-activity, ADHD, ADD, which are in the end a child’s reaction to depression. Some medications are depressants, being used to keep you docile and agreeable.
• Suppressing feelings of anger, being manipulated or dis-respected by a family member or co-worker/boss, will cause depression. You are being oppressed and suppressed by your environment.
• Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can increase the vulnerability to clinical depression later in life.
• Covering up deep grief and sadness. When you don’t allow space and time to express the feelings of grief and sadness over loss, you will get depressed.
• Genetic pre-dispositions, or serious illnesses can also cause depression, as the whole body is being stressed.
• Difficult and traumatic events can also cause depresssion, as in this pandemic when so many are quarantined and unable to function normally.
Many people think that they can take a pill and it’s over, but this isn’t always so. There are many medications for depression, and it’s hit or miss on effectiveness, as well as side effects.
Vitamins, minerals, and leafy greens do actually help, as does eating walnuts, a natural anti-depressant. Many people swear by drinking fresh juices to rejuvenate and energize the body, cleansing stagnant compounds from the gut and the bloodstream. Celery is apparently really amazing. Actually, taking the time and care to nurture your body will in itself help transform depression, as you are applying the balm of self-love and healing.
Also, exercise is a an elixir for depression, but of course, it’s really hard to start when you’re depressed.
Empatharian for Depression?
Doing a daily Empatharian Practice of movement meditation is really excellent for depression on several counts:
• great easy exercise, which stretches and strengthens, clears the brain fog.
• an energizing and inspiring spiritual practice, that reminds you of your source energies,
• stimulating the mind with the power of movement, so that positive phrases are embodied, and etched in the brain.
• Feelings are expressed, physically and verbally.
• Breathing in and out practices allow for release of stress and tension in the body, oxygenating the bloodstream, expanding lungs, teaching a breathing process for releasing energy and tension.
Empatharian Peace Arts Trainings also include other processes and opportunities for group sharing in talking circle, which can help depression:
• Art improvisation and journal processes which allow the subconscious and pre-conscious feelings and thoughts to emerge, without judgement, and privately. In this way, you work through your depression, finding the triggers, root causes and patterns that may be keeping the depression in place.
• Sharing with a circle group helps you feel less isolated, and you develop understanding of others who may have similar or different issues.
• Seeing and feeling other people’s perspectives helps to bring you into an active role as a member of a group, feeling empathy for yourself and others.
• Sharing is completely voluntary, but trained facilitators watch for body language indicators when someone may be having difficulty, and may need extra help after the session. In this way, people can get extra support or be referred for professional help if need be.
• You will learn how to stand up for yourself in a non-confrontational but authoritative way, state your observations without judgment or expectation, and make a request for your greater comfort or ease in the moment. This is a major tool to transform depression and get your needs met, not only in the moment, but also in the long run.
Depression as a Rite of Passage
Sometimes you have to touch bottom in order to know your authentic self. You come up from that bottoming out, with the energy and wisdom to make changes in your life, to find your true passions, and your personal sense of purpose. We can use this pandemic in this way, going inward to find what is of true value in our lives, and letting go of the deteris that deters us from that true purpose.
Having someone to walk with you on that journey is really valuable. I hope that Empatharian and an Empatharian can be your nurturer and witness, promoting and stimulating that personal growth that makes your life more satisfying and accomplished.
Depression can be something you use, instead of it using you. Empatharian will help you become that agile empatharian, for self and others.