It is fortunate that the stigma attached to it has lessened so that those who are dealing with depression are more likely to reach out for help. The physical health factors influenced by depression are many and can often be extremely serious.
I have also been encouraged by some of the research into the successful use of mindfulness and meditation in treating depression successfully being described in the main stream press. For those willing to try a psychological/spiritual approach please read on.
Sometimes it helps to know that someone else has had the same experience as you are having and that they were able to get out of the depression. If you are experiencing depression, believe me, I know the pain you are going through.
Having experienced severe clinical depression myself for three years and having worked with depressed clients as a therapist for 30 years I believe I have a strong experiential basis from which to describe the way out of that darkness and pain.
At the outset of the depression I went to a psychiatrist in hopes that he would be able to help me. He prescribed an anti-depressant and sent me home. After a few weeks life appeared so dark and worthless that I became even more depressed and attempted suicide. I was then hospitalized for two weeks and put on more meds including anti-depressants. The depression just kept getting worse so I weaned myself off the medications and decided to live with the depression without pharmaceutical filters. For three years I lived in the dark pit. Each day spiraling further and further down into the endless darkness. I tried everything to get rid of the depression. Natural remedies, un-natural remedies, prayer, meditation, exercise, travel, spending money and on and on and on. But I just kept going further down into the bottomless pit.
Then one morning as I lay in bed I practiced a mindfulness exercise and was examining the depression. All of a sudden it came to me that this darkness was something other than me. That it was, in fact, not me or any part of me at all. My belief has always been that God is All and that God is Love. I do not believe in a separate entity that most religionists call God. I further examined then the darkness that had been overwhelming me for the past three years and asked myself, “If God is Love and God is All then what is this that I have been experiencing”? The thought came to me, this is darkness. Immediately an inner dialog began with a dark ‘voice’ that said, “I am a part of you. I am your other half. Without me you cannot exist. Without me you will die”. This inner dialog went on for about three minutes or so and finally, out of complete desperation I said out loud, “I know you now. You are not me. You are not any part of me and you are not any part of God. So that means that you are a lie and a liar from the beginning. You have been lying to me all my life and feeding on me. No more. You are no longer welcome in me any longer. You are no longer welcome in my life. Your welcome is taken back. I would rather die without you than live with you”. With that it disappeared completely and I felt only bliss.
I laughed for a while when I realized that I had always been this bliss and that the darkness I had been experiencing all those years had been an illusion. I had given it power by succumbing to it. By feeding it. The Real me had never been depressed or overwhelmed. For about a year this darkness kept trying to come back. Using mindfulness, internal dialogs and imagery, little by little I kept dissolving it in the same way until finally it was truly gone. I treated it as if it were some sort of metaphorical being or mythological creature. This worked for me.
The key to the process that has helped me and hundreds of others with whom I have worked is mindfulness. Once you are able to mindfully examine emotions, beliefs, experiences and your identity you have taken the first step in removing depression from your life. Of course, mindfulness can be used in the same way to deal with stress, anxiety, pain, fear and low self-esteem. Once you are able, with mindfulness, to disassociate from this darkness it is possible to recognize your True Identity and to dissolve the darkness. Of course mindfulness alone is not enough. There are a number of practices and processes that are essential to use in your life on a day to day basis. It is not always easy to dissolve depression, especially when you first begin. Some days are more difficult than others. But with commitment and work you can do it.
I believe in using good tools to support your efforts. Learning mindfulness is quite simple. There are some easy and powerful mindfulness exercises presented at this website. Practice them from the first one to the last one. Practice every day. See how you can apply mindfulness in your daily life. If you feel that you need some help or guidance for your mindfulness practice then I recommend starting with Meditation 1 and Meditation 2. You can download them and listen to them in your mp3 player or make a CD with them mp3 files. If you want some guidance with the mindfulness meditations specifically designed to help dissolve depression then you can find those downloads here.
Then read the Freedom From Suffering book here, or download it at Light Unlimited Publishing, and practice the suggestions in the book. If you wish, contact me for help and support working through this process to dissolve the depression in your life.
Give these specific mindfulness practices a chance to help you get rid of depression. It can work. And remember, no matter what that dark inner voice says, you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life, you can live without depression and you are not alone.