My own cure had its genesis by taking a look at depression in the bigger picture. When did it first start on Earth, I wondered?
We can make an educated guess. Let’s step into the classroom for a moment…
Lives Way Back When
Before the modern era, there was very little depression (or stress too, for that matter), recorded anywhere in literature. Sure, people recorded that they were sad, or worried, or angry, hurt, or just plain terrified of the Vikings. But there isn’t much record of people being chronically depressed, as we know it.
People had different words for things back then, it’s true. But it’s an interesting thought.
We can at least say for sure that there wasn’t an epidemic of depression, as there is today.
Why could this be? Well, they lived in a different world in a lot of other ways, too. Strict societal class, customs, traditions, and religion, combined with very real struggles against poverty and the threat of violence all provided a very different framework for people’s energies.
To put it simply, there was little time for many people to be depressed. Or choice, for that matter.
If anyone did feel “lost” – we can imagine there were very proscribed ways of dealing with errant behaviour, to pull people back on track. The Church would tell you what to do, and if not, your father, Lord, or even a very detailed calendar.
The right way of being a husband, child, wife or brother was very clear indeed.
Our Lives Today
We can contrast this quite dramatically with our lives today. For better or worse, we have a multitude of different ways of being, in the twenty first century.
We have a smorgasbord of choices: of different religions, styles and lifestyles.
We can choose none of our old belief systems, or pick and choose from many.
We can exist idly (lots of time, but very little money) or greedily (little time, but chasing large salaries).
We might even have doubts about which of these we should aim for – a third category.
Choice is great, right? Well, for some people, this increased choice may come at a cost.
I have found depression thrives when I have little focus or direction in my life. Or when stress knocks me from my life’s compass.
In the affluent modern West, our mind can become especially directionless, rudderless, or full of double guessing and doubt. It is almost our normal state.
Without the structures of old, we are lost and often feel weird, unfulfilled, and unsure. And, we might add, depressed.
I Thought There Were Some Answers in Here?
Ok then, what, exactly, should we do?
One of the first things we need to do is get back some sense of goals and direction. Like it or not, today it is up to ourselves to get the backbone we need, that was once provided to us.
In short – we have to save ourselves.
Here’s an Exercise Which Might Help
Write down what you want to achieve in life.
Ok. Now rethink, reconsider, and just damn well look at this list, and often. Treat it like the important document that it is.
Whilst this sounds extremely basic, I have found it was a key shift for me, and for many depressive people.
Whenever you are lost, just get out that piece of paper. Try thinking about what you really want in life. It might be the simple first step to solving your depression.