Depression comes from a life out of alignment.
Out of alignment with what?
Out of alignment with what you perceive to be true.
Out of alignment with your sense of purpose and meaning.
Living in incongruence with your desires, hopes, and dreams.
Maybe you’re in congruence with some of your desires and hopes, but are depressed anyway…
I’m not the definite authority on this.
I am just a person who has spent most of their life depressed.
And spent most of their life out of alignment with what matters to me.
And when I have been in alignment with what matters, the depression goes away…
So while I am not speaking for everyone and all cases, I do think there is something to this.
Then the question becomes: If the kind of depression you’re experiencing comes from being out of alignment, then what can you do?
One thing you can do is get yourself into alignment.
Stop making compromises and giving up what’s important to you.
Let other people be disappointed in you. Let go of your obligation to meet other people’s expectations all the time.
Communicate about what you need. Let the people who love you know that you need to make some changes.
Maybe they’ll be on board with it. Maybe not.
It would be ideal if we could all learn to love and support each other, and be less conditional about it. Leaving our preconceptions behind and giving our loved ones the space they need to fully be themselves.
But not everyone gets to experience life that way.
Some people have to choose between being themselves and being what their loved ones want them to be.
Maybe there’s a way to be both, but figuring out how is sometimes a complicated puzzle.
Especially when you’re a weirdo like me, who seems to be predisposed to swimming against the current of life, challenging our unchecked societal stigmas, and overall being terrible at accepting our cultural realities for what they are at this point.
Another possible way to transcend depression when it’s due to being out of alignment, is to shift your perspective.
Essentially, to change the center of gravity of what’s important to you.
This kind of shift in perspective comes from the prolonged tension between what you desire, and everything that stands in the way.
In a way, sometimes the trials of life wear you down until you can’t hold on anymore. All that’s left is to let go…
This is tragic and beautiful.
It’s kind of a weird paradox, but a lot of the time I’ve noticed that when I let go of my need for something, not long thereafter is when that need is finally fulfilled…
But even if it isn’t, that’s okay. Because I let go of it.
And in letting go, there is a powerful reduction in tension.
And in the nuts and bolts of mind, carrying around that escalating tension for so long is probably one of the major causes of the depression to begin with.
So by letting go, depression can dissipate.
And here’s the thing.
Any time my happiness depends on other people conforming to my desires, I know I’m in trouble.
Sometimes people flow with me and support me. Sometimes, they stand in the way.
Since I can’t control it, it’s foolish to depend on a specific outcome.
So in order to take responsibility for my depressed states, it becomes evident that letting go of my need for control is paramount.
Letting go is the best.
It seems hard to do, but it’s the simplest thing in the world.
If you’re holding on to a baseball bat, and you want to let go of it, what do you do?
It’s the opposite of effort.
You just drop it…
Stop gripping. Relax your muscles. Just let it go.
And it’s the same way with mental stuff.
You don’t have to do anything to let go.
You just stop carrying it. Drop it.
That baseball bat will stay on the ground where you left it.
All the mental baggage will stay where you left it too.
You can come back to it later if you want. Or if there’s a need. Or if you end up missing carrying it around with you, I guess.
Look at it this way. If you have some major life and interpersonal problems to solve, do you want to be carrying around an extra heavy burden while you do it?
Let go of the burden.
Let go of your demands of life, of God, of other people, of whatever.
It’s tricky, because it requires trust.
Trust in the process. Trust in the flow of life. Trust that you’ll be taken care of even if you let go of your need for control.
Maybe that’s another way of looking at depression.
A side effect of being a control freak with a poor track record for actually controlling anything.
A control freak who can’t control squat.
After all this time, I’d love to stop swimming upstream.
Of course, in my heart I wish the stream would just flow my way…
And maybe someday it will.
But it’s not doing so right now. And my insistence that it flows my way is one of the major reasons I am depressed.
I’ve held on for too long. My mental muscles are tired.
I am awash in a lack of motivation. Optimism is low. Energy levels are abysmal. I’m sinking in mud with a three hundred pound pack on my back.
Time to reconfigure.
Time to breathe.
Time to let go…
Also published on Medium.