In the last few months I have received many emails from people suffering from depression. I had not planned on writing any articles here about depression but I now feel that it is a very important topic to address.
I have a great deal of experience with depression. I know it intimately. I spent 3 years in the most severe depression imaginable. Each night as I went to sleep I would pray to die before morning. Each morning I would awaken and wonder how the hell I was going to deal with another day in pain. I tried suicide but was unsuccessful. I spent a week in a psychiatric clinic and went through psychotherapy and was on different antidepressants for a period of time. Nothing helped. I could barely function in day-to-day life. I had a few friends that helped me with shopping and dealing with other personal affairs. I tried traveling but that did not help. I tried shopping until I had almost no money left and that was even more depressing. I was in a downward spiral into darkness that had no bottom.
People would tell me that I would hit bottom and then could start back up. It was obvious that those people had never been in severe depression. I knew that there was no bottom. Most people just did not understand. Even those with clinical experience. I had been a psychotherapist for many years and even I could not help myself. I had been deeply involved in spiritual studies and teaching for many years and none of that helped me either.
Then one morning I was lying in bed not wanting to get up and a thought came to me. I know intellectually that God is All and that in God there is no darkness. I know intellectually that I am one with God. So if I am one with God then there cannot be any darkness in me either. So if there cannot be any darkness in me then what the hell is this I have been experiencing for the past 3 years?
A light bulb turned on. This darkness, this depression is not me. It is not any part of me. So if this is not any part of me then what is it? The answer that came was that this was darkness itself. It was something other than me that had attached itself to me for purposes of its own. I felt something stir within me. Something good, something I had not felt for a long, long time; a glimmer of hope.
Immediately an internal dialog began. It went something like this;
“Of course I am part of you. I am your other half. We are one.”
“No, I think you are not part of me. I believe that I can be rid of you.”
“No, if you get rid of me you will die. You cannot exist without your other half. I am your friend. I am always with you. I protect you. You need me.”
“Well, I will take that chance. I would rather die without you than live with you.”
So with that I spoke out loud to it; “You are darkness. I know you now and you are not me. You are not any part of me and you never have been. You have been feeding on me. You have instilled pain and fear in me and then fed on it. You have made yourself appear so much larger than me. You have made yourself seem totally overwhelming. But you are not. You are nothing. You are a lie and the liar from the beginning. Everything you have ever done to me or said to me has been a lie. You have used my voice to speak to me but it was never me, it was you. I thought I was speaking to myself but it was you who told me that life was a dark and sad place. You filled me with feelings of being worthless and being unlovable. You lied. You are no longer welcome in or around me. You are no longer welcome in my life. Your welcome is taken back. You must leave now.”
Immediately the darkness dissolved and I felt whole again. I felt light and joyous, blissful even. I realized that I had been surrounded completely by a warm wet blanket called darkness. It had been comfortable and painful at the same time. It was all I knew. I had forgotten who and what I really was. I had forgotten what happiness felt like. But that was over now.
Then the most amazing realization came to me. This whole past 3 years of darkness had been an illusion. The one that I am, the one I felt now, had never been depressed. I had always been joy and peace all along.
I laughed and got up and started my day from that perspective.
The darkness kept trying to come back for about a year. I used the same dialog over and over again. Sometimes a hundred times a day. Finally it gave up and happiness became the norm.
It is still important even now to pay close attention to my beliefs, internal dialogs, feelings and emotions, to pay close attention to any hint of depression or darkness’ return. I still use the same basic dialog but it does change according to circumstances. There are also a number of lifestyle changes and thought processes that are helpful in getting rid of depression and keeping it gone. I have written about them in my book, Freedom From Suffering, and on my book on tape, Freedom From Depression. If there is interest I will add some of them to this blog in the future.
Please believe me when I tell you that if you are experiencing depression you can get rid of it. I promise you this. And if you need help doing so remember that you are not alone. I will help you as much as I can as will others. The depression will tell you that you are alone and that no one really cares and that nothing can help you. It is lying to you. You may not be able to see it right this moment, but there are people in your life and some you have not met yet who care and there really is an end to this depression.
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