Welcome back to my blog! I know it’s Monday and Mondays aren’t easy. Last night someone asked me a question about meditation and how he can use it to get out of depression. He feels lost and unhappy.
I am no stranger to depression. In fact, it is my constant struggle to make my way out of depression that led me to spiritual teachings, yoga and meditation. It was through my past and current relationships that helped me paved the way to understanding my self sabotaging beliefs systems and the shame I held. I’ve secretly battled depression for as long as I can remember. To prevent myself from being exposed, I’ve always worn a mask of happiness and optimism. I don’t want people to feel my pain and see into me. Empathy and compassion are my greatest strengths because I’ve been through excruciating pain.
In my earlier journey, I seek external solutions to depression. Whether it’s working out, partying, shopping, watching tv shows, trying to busy myself with learning new things, seeking new romances, etc., they were all a quick fix. While working out is healthy, any action that’s taken from a point of needing to “fix” yourself is self hating and cannot be sustained for long. Injuries happen or other forms of illness pop up in your body to tell you to stop. Then there will be times when you literally cannot pull yourself together to do anything. Depression is a really painful state where your mind and body is literally battling and you don’t know what to do or how to make it stop. You’re literally battling depression when you don’t need to. Instead, learn the lesson you need from it. Nothing is wrong with feeling depressed or lost, you just need to rest and tune inward.
The healing process begins internally. What you need to do first is rest. Literally just rest, do nothing, feel all of the depression and other emotions boil to the surface. Don’t try to escape it. Sit with it unconditionally, no matter how bad it feels. Observe the thoughts and feelings. What is it that you can’t let go? Don’t judge it. Don’t go into “I’m so worthless”, “I’m so stupid”, “God, why am I always like this”, “What is wrong with me?” spiral because that is your mind judging your own feelings. It is you telling yourself there is something wrong with you and that you should not be feeling that way.
Who told you that you can’t feel that way? You were socially conditioned by your parents and peers what’s acceptable and not acceptable to feel and behave. As adults, we have to begin to reparent yourself and allow yourself to feel everything and not judge it to be wrong.
You sit with it and give yourself permission to feel that way. You do not need to be any other way than that state. There is an aspect of you that has been mistreated, neglected by you for so long and you won’t give it your complete attention. Once you do that, you will no longer feel that way. Imagine picking up a crying baby and tuning into the baby’s needs to see what it needs and provide for it.
In the beginning, it is also easy to fall into the trap of making up new ways of “being.” You look at “happy” people in your life and you try to be like that. That will also cause you a lot of pain because you’re not accepting yourself. You believe you have to be differently than you are to be happy. Would you tell a friend who’s going through a difficult time to just be happier, be like that person? That is in no way helpful. What that friend needs is your compassion, focused attention, validation, your company. That is what your depressed self needs from you as well.
You may also want to find that “old you” who used to be happy. You have to realize you do not have one consistent permanent self. You have a fluctuating, growing, changing, expanding self. To cling onto the past is also causing you pain. Let it go. You have grown out of that person. Be with who you are in the present. That is who you are, even if you don’t like him/her.
The key is self acceptance and self love. Stop getting yourself to change or improve. It may work in the short run, but in the long run, you will always feel “lost”. If you want to “find yourself”, let go of the idea that you have to find yourself. It’s because you keep searching that you don’t realize that you already are who you are within you. If you know who you are, you wouldn’t want to be anyone else. You have to fall in love with the essence of you. You judge your depression to be wrong and you make it an enemy instead of being a compassionate friend to that aspect of you.
On the other hand, people who have struggled with chronic depression have completely identified with it, that all they’ll ever be at their core is a sad, horrible person. I once believed this myself. That’s why I kept people away from me. That I was absolutely unloveable and I needed my partner to prove me wrong instead of doing the self love work myself. This is easy to understand when all you’ve known for so long is feeling this way. You have believed all your negative self talk and couldn’t find a way out of it. Choosing a meditation that works for you can help you find relief.
I hope this reaches the people who needs to read this 🙂