Heal Depression or Cope with Depression?

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Theres a story about life we all follow, the story of doing to get better when sometimes you just need to be. Depression can grip us in a way where being is the hardest thing to do, but it really is the wisest. Some of us live with depression for years and years, sometimes, weeks, or months so we get used to thinking the turmoil and never ending feeling of sorrow is just how it is the older we get.  Some of us are willing to take medication to cover it up or we become willing to hide behind doing enough so we don’t have to face the feelings.  As I think about my own depression and those around me who have been through it, I took notice at the similarities between my healing and theirs. The commonality was space. More specifically a space to be, to accept and to feel, no action just being, not having an answer for what’s next but allowing the trauma to be expressed in whatever form. We were able to retreat and step back from the routine so we could finally dig deep into the roots of what lead us to our depression. This space was given to us by counsellors, friends and family and sometimes we gave it to ourselves, the bottom line is that the space we received allowed us to express our truths in its rawest form and without judgement.

My friend had a dream where she was in an elevator by herself just going down, it was dark but she wasn’t scared, she kept going till she reached what appeared to be a subway station. Then she went into the subway and she was on it for a very long time, and it just kept going. There were people but they didn’t take notice of her and then when she got off, wherever she was felt ironic. As I listened to her tell the dream I thought about our need to dig deep and go down into our past, to travel back to the places where we had to abandon ourselves, our purpose or our desire for someone or for something. My second thought was that there are others on the train and that means people are deciding to dig deep and do the work they need to, in order to heal.

I remember during my retreat last February, many of us in the room had past life trauma and trauma experienced in our childhood. Despite how long ago it was, we only found the issues manifesting now, leading us into depressions that we were no longer okay to deal with on our own. As a society we have continued to seek ways of fixing things short term and so we cope with depression rather than heal depression. We use all sorts of mechanisms to stay away from feeling the result of never being able to reconcile the moments in our past where we had to abandon ourselves. And after the coping mechanism no longer works, we find ourselves back in the same place again, this time worse.

Since we’re used to coping you may think I’m saying it has no place but it does, we can use coping short term, but the important piece is the transition to healing… eventually.  In reality some of us are simply not ready to heal because the pain is so deep or hard to come to terms with, that is their journey and all we can do is accept their process and give them time. We also need to remember that coping is not a solution nor is it healing, the longer we fixate on coping as a mechanism to heal or deal with depression the longer we stay depressed. There is no simple solution, and there is no easy one. Coping with depression gives enough room to let it grow and taint other areas of our life so we want to make the transition at some point. I’ve witnessed far too many broken homes and broken relationships as a result of denying and coping with depression.

This piece will continue next week as I discuss some of the beliefs around dealing with depression that take us away from being, feeling, accepting and reconciling depression and the roots of it. For now understand this one thing; depression has no quick fix, otherwise it wouldn’t take so long to get there, nor would it take as long to truly get over. Regardless of what has brought on depression, who has enhanced it, who supports and who doesn’t, we will always be responsible for deciding how we heal it (with or without help). That is the reality of being human and living here on Earth. Also remember help is a request away from physical and non physical beings, so you are never truly alone although depression makes it feel that way.

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