Depression is like a dark whirlpool of quicksand, which sucks one down. Recently I came across and article, “Dealing with Depression: Self-Help and Coping Tips.” The article contains many excellent tips. However, it skirts the one tip that has been most helpful for me.
I grew up with a mother and sister who spent the last decades of their lives caught up in that dark whirlpool of depression. Likewise, I have struggled with it most of my life, but my mother and sister were my teachers. They taught me that there must be a better way. As analytical thinker all my life, I ultimately found that the word thoughts, the “reasoning” I used to combat depression, were like paddles in the quicksand. The more I turned to them, the more energy I contributed to the downward pull. Words just didn’t work. As one video I viewed said: “You can’t count the stars.” However, the cognitive approach did one major thing for me: it kept me paddling on the “observer” side of the drama, even as I sank into that quicksand.
The most helpful advice I’ve ever had for dealing with my tendency toward depression came from the Voice for Love within. It is simple advice. “Step back from your thoughts.” Through the Voice for Love embodiment program, I’ve come to know the real me, and occasionally, with increasing frequency, I am beginning to identify with her. She carries that Voice for Love to me, at all times in which I choose to access it. She is in a universe parallel to but separate from “depression.” My exercise is to “step back from my thoughts”, and from that perspective, and with the energy of the Holy Spirit, I can see even my thoughts of depression as neutral and innocent. I have given them all the meaning they ever had. I can feel a blessing toward them, and then just get on with my life. From such a place, I can return to implementing some of those fine recommendations given in “Dealing with Depression.”
As a staff member and volunteer on the counseling hotline, there have been many occasions for me to communicate from that higher Voice to those in the thralls of depression and stress. Two messages seem to be given to these seekers, repeatedly. The first is that they “step back from their thoughts.” The second is a reminder of the deeply honorable and beautiful being that they are, that they recognize privately, deep within themselves. Both messages seem to continually surprise the callers, yet they still their trepidations. To me, these messages are the branches held out to the person in the quicksand, to pull each of us back to reality. On the journey back, we are finally able to begin the tasks recommended to achieve and maintain a healthy mind and body.