I’ve always believed that the opposite of depression is not happiness. Maybe it’s because for a very long time I thought I could not be happy. But simultaneously, every time I’d cry or have an emotion besides being happy I was shut down for it.
I’ve continued to do lots of research and reading on depression. Some I agree with and resonates with me. I will reference some sources here and give you links below.
Depression as a Messenger
Until recently I had the perspective That depression was this demon that I couldn’t escape from. I’d spend days in bed because I couldn’t fight the demon.
I then listened an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast where he interviewed a psychiatrist who no longer prescribes antidepressants. Kelly Brogan shifted my perspective about depression. She talked about using depression as a guide to determine what is missing in someone’s life. For me for years I was “missing” a partner/husband/family and was feeling guilty and painfully lonely for not having this piece in my life.
I cannot really tell you when I started to shift my perspective about not having a husband/kids or even what my first thoughts were that gave me space for the shift. I can say that somehow I acknowledged myself for being motherly to many children & pets and being a supportive woman to men and women. This shift in thinking allowed me to release the loneliness and the pain of being on my own.
I also started practicing gratitude for what I did have in my life. This lead to a practice in receiving. I would practice saying Thank You to the sunshine, the green plants, the bus arriving in a timely manner, the hot showers, etc. As for practicing receiving, well, I’d receive the gift of an open door, a seat offered to me and ny other gift being offered. I’d receive the gift with gratitude.
While I still have days where I allow space for depression to simply be, most days I’m functional and active.
The opposite of Depression
Whether you believe it or not, the opposite of depression is not happiness. Nope! Somehow I’ve known this for some time. I’m currently reading a book called Undoing Depression by Richard O’Connor. In the book he states that the opposite of depression is allow emotions. This makes complete sense. As I mentioned above I was encouraged to suppress sadness or crying. As I’ve learned to allow emotions including sadness, grieving processes and allow tears whenever they fall, I’ve noticed that I feel much better overall.
I learned in my Coaches training program with Accomplishment Coaching that feelings happen but they do not define us. However, if we don’t let feelings out they tend to fester. Therefore, if we are feeling sadness or anger or moving through a process of emotions, it’s ok to just let those emotions be and experience them. Know in your heart and mind that those emotions do not define you.
The opposite of depression is to feel every emotion.
My New Perspective on Depression
My perspective on depression is in a state of growth & shift. The more I educate myself on it the more I understand it the more I can take charge of it. I used to use it as a tool to blame for how I was being. Now, I own it and take charge of it. As I stated above I still have days when I allow it to just be, but those are fewer and fewer all the time.
I’ve learned that I am best when I allow emotions to be. I am best when I explore creativity sometimes first thing in the morning. I do well when I spend lots of time outside. I sleep best when I use calming oils and calming sounds with no lit screen. I feel good physically when I take time for movement and consciously choose my nutrition. I practice self forgiveness and allow human mistakes without judgement or criticism from myself.
All of these practices took me choosing to work them. The’ end developed over time. And I continue to develop more practices.
This is my practice of improving my depression. I invite you to develop your own practices. I invite you to reach out for support in getting clear on what will work for you. The reason mine continue to grow & develop is because I learn new ways of being and I implement them to see how it goes. Living a life of practicing emotions takes trial and error just like anything else.
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