Many very successful people struggle with depression, as do many people who would not be viewed as so successful.
The ironic thing is that the people who are less successful often believe that if they had achieved more they wouldn’t be depressed. And the people who run larger, more demanding lives with a lot of responsibility often wish they could let go of it all and live a simpler life.
I was recently in an email exchange with someone who asked me some great questions about healing depression. I’m often asked these questions, so I’m sharing my answers here.
- Does it work?
This is not about taking a happy pill so you never feel anything again. You’re going to learn how to reduce the power of the down cycles over time until you’re no longer bothered by them. You will also discover the light that exists at the heart of depression (which most people have no idea of) so there’s nothing to be afraid of any more. And you may even discover the roots of your depression and release them, though that can take longer. Whichever way it goes, you learn so much about yourself and your own patterns that you gradually become able to master your emotions, rather than be owned by them.
- Is this going to work for me? I’ve tried lots of things before and failed so maybe I’m different from other people.
This is a very common question. Most of us who feel we fail wonder if we’re a freak or there’s something terribly wrong with us. We have a weird idea about success and failure, which is probably rooted in early school experiences.
You may be able to get 100% in your spelling test and come top or second or third (or last) in your English exams, but these scoring systems simply don’t translate into life. There is no pass or fail in life. There’s no such thing as success or failure either, when applied to a person. What does it mean to say “I am successful” or “I am a failure?” I may have succeeded in something or failed at something but these are everyday occurrences for all of us.
The most important things in life are not learned in a single lesson or mastered in a few days. If you want to learn a language it takes many years to become truly fluent. If you want to master the violin it takes a lot longer and many hours a day of practice. If you want to become highly proficient in living a life you love, you can expect to be continually learning for the rest of your life. Sometimes you’ll learn from a teacher, sometimes you’ll be learning through life itself.
If you’re depressed you may be depressed to hear that. But it’s reassuring because it means there’s always a way forward and it’s never time to give up. Overall it gets better and better, as long as you keep learning. There are ups and downs along the way and you may not always be able to see where you’re heading, but there are also signposts and you can learn to read them.
So the answer is yes, it will work for you. But you may need to change your expectations and stop wishing for a quick fix so you can learn how to have a great life that you love, instead of a mediocre life you can survive.
- What if it doesn’t work?
In my experience, if you want something it always works. It’s rarely how you imagine, but usually far better in some surprising ways. Commitment is the key here. We can’t always know how long it’s going to take and we virtually never know where we’re going to end up, because there’s so much of life we haven’t even dared to imagine yet.
- Is there any guarantee?
The best guarantee in life is the laws of life itself. Life is not a punishment or a trap or a test that you keep failing. It has laws that are beautiful, elegant and profoundly loving. It’s just that we don’t realise it because we’ve been educated to believe something completely different. So this is an exploration of the truth about life – the more you learn, the more you realise that life actually works. In fact it works better than you would have ever suspected. So the key is to learn more about it. That’s better than any human guarantee.
- When is enough enough?
This is not really the right question to be asking. The search for a solution to depression is the search for purpose and meaning in life. That is a lifelong search, even if you have found answers. More is always opening up. It’s a highly relevant search for this time in our evolution, because we have developed as a species with a lack of clarity around the purpose of life and so we’re messing up life massively.
I see people who are searching for purpose as the key to the next stage of our evolution. The more people who discover and live on purpose, the more the whole of humanity will be affected by that and it gives us a chance of creating the beautiful life many of us sense is possible, and what we were designed for. That’s the main reason I do what I do.
If this sounds like you, check out my online course, “The Journey – from depression to health, happiness and purpose”.
Videos about Healing Depression: