Depression is a growing disease in the modern world. While young people may be very successful, assertive and even charming they are also very likely to be really miserable. There are different reasons, rooted in our modern, urban lifestyle that cause this sad inner pandemic of misery. Social isolation, being cut away from nature in a concrete cage of an apartment and regularly interacting with our electronic devices in an emotional and even sexual way are the main factors that causing this dark reality.
I’m a bodyworker, not a psychology practitioner. However I’ve seen through my practice that there are plenty of efficient methods that an individual can do to get out of this black hole.
I should know because I have suffered from depression myself. I vividly remember the feeling of absolute lack of motivation, the numbness of the body together with a dull pain in my heart and abdominal areas. I know that perhaps the biggest challenge is that one doesn’t want to do anything, including things that are sure to take them out of the situation they are in. That is why suggestions like ‘go and be with people’ or ‘go for a walk in nature’ are making sense perhaps but not to the depressed individual.
I have found out that loving touch has a great effect on depressed clients. If a person can bring themselves to the session room that is. But unfortunately most depressed people can’t bring themselves to book a massage session. They are too deep in their hole.
So what can one do? First I need to say that if you feel deeply depressed and have suicidal thoughts, go and seek professional psychological help. For anyone else there are few things to do with the situation you’re in.
First, I want to say that being depressed isn’t a bad thing. While it can be difficult, it is an opportunity, it will show you some depths of yourself you haven’t known before.
Therefore, my suggestion is , do not try to get out of it. Don’t try to distract yourself and make yourself happy. You’ll only dig the hole deeper for yourself.
You may think to yourself, I’m already wallowing in my depression, I don’t need you for that and that hasn't made me feel better! But please hear me out.
Take time to be with yourself without distractions. No smartphone, Netflix, food or alcohol. Just relax in your private space. Now, this will probably make your depressed feelings in the first minutes get more intense and difficult. But I’d like to invite you to consciously choose to meet yourself in such a way. It is just for a short while, stay with it.
As the dark feelings intensify, I want to ask you to pay close attention to your physical body.
This will need some focus as depressed feelings tend to come together with depressed mental movies that capture our story-loving brains. But I’d like to ask you to ignore the stories. They may seem really significant, about your childhood and parents perhaps, but please ignore them nevertheless. We are trying to have a little look ‘under the hood’. Looking for that place that GENERATES AND PROJECTS these movies and these feelings.
So, back again to observing the body. Give yourself a little mental report. Don’t try to change anything. Just watch.
∝ How does your body feel?
∝ Does it feel sensitive or numb?
∝ Watch your breathing process. Is it fast or slow? How deep is your breath?
∝ Is there any pain or other feelings of discomfort in the body? Where exactly are they?
∝ Concentrate on one dominant area of discomfort. What shape does it have? Is it static or dynamic? Do you see colors or other images?
Try and give a name to the emotion or feeling you’re connecting to. Like ‘sadness’ or ‘shame’ . It has to feel very real. If you cannot name it just leave it un-named.
While you may not be used to this kind of self observation, you will sooner or later find it easier than watching the endless dark movies that your mind produces. It also makes a real shift in your attitude to the darkness you’re in. You are no more the helpless victim to what is happening. You are a curious observer.
Also, the dark ’enemy’ isn't a formless nightmare anymore. It has a base in your body. Our emotions are created in the context of the body and this discovery will give you an important anchor.
The very inner observation process has a healing, relieving effect. Granted, you are not out of the woods yet and there are many things to do in order to restore yourself into a happy loving person. Such a process will help you to see the way, YOUR WAY, into healing and freedom from the dark world of depression. Now you have an efficient solid way to set yourself onto this great journey of healing.
We will continue discussing natural cures for depression in the article ‘Healing Depression 2 - Reaching Out for Support’.
- Gyan Amin