At the time of this blog going live, it is Blue Monday 2019, the 3rd Monday in January.
Blue Monday is the term given to the one day of the year when we are supposedly the most miserable.
It was originally conceived by a PR company who came up with this formula, and has now become an annual event, for the tabloids at least.
Whilst I am all for promoting awareness for people to change themselves for the better in years gone by I have noticed it doesn’t often help people actually create change.
Whilst being in a temporary low mood or knowing you’re skint until the end of the month isn’t depression I thought I would take the opportunity to shed some light on what is often a taboo topic, I hope you find it insightful.
I’m going to start by saying this is the truth about depression according to me, it is my opinion based on my own experiences, witnessing numerous others and a lot of personal research from a variety of studies.
You see, depression plays an interesting part in my life.
I remember as a kid, about 10,11 years old when I realised a family member had I would now label as symptoms of depression. This is arguably the catalyst that has lead me to do this work in the personal development space nearly 20 years on.
Then later in my mid to late twenties, I can think of 3 key times when I have had feelings of depression over a decent length of time. In fact I’ll be 100% honest and say even recently I’ve had feelings of depression and part of my personal research into further understanding depression and changing how I feel is what has lead me to write this.
I have had this belief that because I am the ‘Mindset Strategist’ I should be able to overcome these things in a click of a finger but the truth is if I can’t do it I search until I can which often can take me longer than I would like.
So if you are in the depths of this right now, I feel you, I really do. I hope this provides some insights for you to consider thinking differently and overcome these feelings of depression sooner rather than later.
Notice I say feelings of depression.
Many will say ‘I am depressed’ or ‘they are depressed’.
For a start when people label themselves ‘I am depressed’ it is often because of someone else opinion that has been impressed upon them. Secondly ‘I am’ are the two most powerful words in the English language, it creates an identity.
“The strongest force in the universe is a human being living constantly with their identity” Tony Robbins.
So therefore never label yourself as anything other than something you desire to be if you do you’ll find yourself become it as your identity is your strongest form of belief.
So here is my opinion of depression.
Like many other negative feelings which I label within ‘The Rift’ depression is a signal to be thinking or acting differently.
For many people when we break down their feelings of depression it is often anger and guilt turned inwards.
According to Dr David Hawkins Map of Consciousness anger and guilt are on the lower end of the logarithmic scale, therefore being lower forms of energy.
Did you know that one of the most popular medications distributed in the world are for those that apparently deal with depression (antidepressants)?
A common choice is Prozac which comes with a warning that users may experience suicidal tendencies.
Ironic really isn’t it?
With millions taking medication for depression what is also scary is how few share about having feelings of depression with anyone else.
So what causes depression?
Feelings of depression according to scientists can be triggered by traumatic life events, poor diet, genetic conditions, blood sugar imbalances, medical illness, hormone imbalance, lack of exercise, medications, drug and alcohol use, and digestive difficulties.
Below is my opinion of what causes depression.
When you believe to have feelings of depression you have an imbalanced perspective or are focusing on unrealistic expectations of yourself that you are partly addicted to about how your life is supposed to be and comparing it to your current reality which of course is created by generalising, distorting and deleting information which you gather via your senses.
Whilst you’re conscious mind is creating its interpretation via those senses your mind is balanced but you are not consciously aware of that.
The extent of the depression is based upon how vast the perceived gap between the current reality and expectation is.
This gap will put you under stress.
When you are stressed, your brain works differently. You are more likely to resort to ‘All or Nothing’ thinking, which causes catastrophising, and difficulties in solving complex problems.
In turn, this creates more arousal, or stress, and so continues the ‘loop’, increasing the amount you dream at night, and so exhausting you during the day.
If you are having or have had feelings of depression, you may have noticed that you think deeply, or worry a lot during those periods. Typically, this deep thinking or worrying are emotionally-arousing as they are carried out using ‘All or Nothing thinking’ and have a negative bias. That is, you have a thought and you feel unpleasant after it – anxious, angry or helpless.
The trouble with this sort of emotional arousal is that it doesn’t do anything. The thought creates the emotional reaction (usually anxiety or anger) and that’s it.
But you see your mind and body is a clever bit of kit. It will go to extreme lengths to ‘wake you up’ so that you can live a fulfilled life and that is what it is doing in this instance.
So does that mean we have to just close that gap between expectations and reality to stop the emotional arousals?
Yes, but it doesn’t have to be done by achieving the expectation, it is done by creating balance.
The key to creating that balance is by changing your thinking and actions.
But what about the science behind it all? After all millions of people are ‘clinically depressed’ aren’t they?!
Our expectations are often associated with the neurotransmitter (aka biochemical) called dopamine. Which in its self is addictive.
Depression, on the other hand, is associated with other biochemicals namely reduced levels of serotonin and norepinephrine
So if you become overly addicted to your expectations of yourself, feelings of depression are leading you to associate pain and challenge with your expectation.
This is the subconscious mind sending you signals to break your addiction to something which it doesn’t currently perceive possible to achieve.
Depression, therefore, in my opinion, is not so much a mental illness or disease but more a feedback mechanism to make the conscious mind aware that it has become addicted to an unrealistic expectation or to put it even simpler a lack of appropriate balanced thinking or action taking.
I am also fully aware there are plenty of medical studies that state depression is due to a biochemical imbalance…. which I would agree there are chemical imbalances when people are feeling depressed.
But in my opinion, the chemical imbalance is a symptom, not the cause.
Yes, I know the big pharma giants would love to let us believe that this isn’t the case, of course, they would when a drug they distribute changes chemical imbalances. For as long as the cause isn’t dealt with the symptoms keep playing out and guess what, more antidepressants get sold!
So then what about things like cutting out sugar, alcohol, eating greens, doing exercise, getting exposure to natural light, taking vitamin D and other ‘healthier’ options to change biochemistry?
There are great things to do and certainly worth doing but again they are treating the symptom and not the cause.
So if dealing with the cause is the answer how do you deal with it?
You create balance.
How to create balance?
Well for a start changing the state of mind that you can be happy constantly when striving to achieve your expectation.
I often ask people to break down what happiness means to them and they tell me when they are happy the feel content, peace, have achieved/are achieving.
I tend to summarise that as being fulfilled.
If you ever think back to a time you were fulfilled then you’ll find you were embracing the pleasure and the pain, the support and the challenge and so on.
You will only be able to do this though by living congruently aligned to what you value and desire most. In a nutshell, your thinking and actions are aligned with your highest priorities.
If you are not doing this you become unfulfilled. You will then find yourself wanting to mask the feeling of being unfulfilled with instant gratification which may be in the form of food, drink, drugs, sex, etc.
On top of this, you may find yourself falling into two ends of the spectrum where you perceive only challenge and feel only resentment then you where the mask of tragedy. On the flip side if you perceive only support and feel only infatuation you put on a mask of comedy.
These one-sided perceptions, therefore, reveal the mask of one side of your personality and cover the other.
The result of this imbalanced perspective eventually is often illness.
One way we counter this is by seeking instant gratification which again can lead to an addictive personality – the byproduct of being unfulfilled.
The extent of these addictions will be to the extent of how unfulfilled you feel you are.
Therefore the solution to feelings of depression is by looking for a balanced perspective about our world, this is what will truly lead to breaking free from addictions and from the imbalanced desire to seek pleasure without pain, support without challenge and happiness without sadness.
Ask yourself better questions to identify the pleasure in the pain and the support in the challenge etc.
An imbalanced perspective will never fulfill you.
It can only exhaust you.
And from a preventative perspective, it is wise to not set goals based upon what others think and expect of us, parents, teachers, social idealisms etc but what you desire most and are most naturally inspired to strive towards therefore that will enable you to move forward without the need or requirement of external motivation.
I hope you found this beneficial.
Please email any questions to email@example.com.
Until next time… make it happen.
p.s. If you would like assistance with gaining a balanced perspective or creating goals that are aligned with your highest priorities you can get in contact to see how I could assist you one on one here.