"I used to be depressed,
then I thought differently."
-- Albert K Strong
[Classic post from 5-6-14]
Having lived through a lot of depression in years past, I have a certain perspective on it. I love how Lao Tse puts depression into perspective. He said, "If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present." That is certainly worth more than a casual reading, but even in that, it is impossible to miss.
Anthony Robbins taught me a lot about depression and antidotes to such a state. In fact, he calls this a state, which is a mindset, but it is also a physical state or position. Change the state, change the thought or mindset. In other words, you can chase away depression by changing your bodily position. When I learned this and then observed my own habitual positions when I was experiencing that emotion, it showed me the correlation.
Esther Hicks and Abraham, along with others, taught me the other antidote, which is to simply think a different thought. To a depressed person, that simple solution brings anger, but that certainly doesn't change the truth of it.
From the many teachers I've had that changed my outlook about depression, it has come down to this. Depression is an emotion. It is a response to thought. Doctors cannot change my thinking, pills cannot change my thinking. Only I can do that. Only I can choose that. I can be encouraged by others, but only I can make the change from thinking one way to another.
I can create a discipline of change by also changing my physical habitual patterns. I was often most depressed with a drink and a pack of cigarettes sitting outside by myself feeling sorry for myself, all my perceived failures, missed opportunities, should have's and could have's and didn'ts. Change those things and I'm halfway there.
I had to realize that there was a payoff for me being depressed. I realized that one day, and it was the day that I began to change. If anyone ever consoled me while in that emotion, I would soak it up like a sponge, but it did nothing but enhance the state. In other words, it didn't change me for the better, I just got more of a payoff than when I was alone feeling sorry for my miserable self. Thoughts of suicide were common as well. After all, wouldn't the world and my family be better off without such an anchor as me?
Lao Tse was so wise to say that if I was depressed, I was living in the past. Absolutely. That's exactly where all my missed opportunities were, and my failures, and all the things I could have done and didn't. What I really wanted was to change the past, but that cannot be done. Once I began to allow the past to be what it was and that it has no power over me unless I give it such power, it became so much easier to choose better thoughts.
Do I still have depressed thoughts today? Once in a while. It's sort of like quitting smoking (11 years now), and every once in a while I think about having a cigarette. Then I change the thought by thinking of something else, especially something to appreciate.
What has changed is that I am now a dedicated joy seeker. If there is any one thing that I can say has helped me to leave depression behind it is becoming a grateful person, seeking joy, finding things and people to appreciate every single day, even all day long.
Depression Is A Reaction To Thought. So Is Joy. Only I Get To Choose Which.
Spread Some Joy Today--Recklessly, and with total abandon!