Mastering the beast in the darkness

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Depression is an interesting topic. Barely ever talked about, but so intensely experienced by so many that when ever I talk about getting, feeling or being depressed the response around me is an overwhelming relief that there is a moment to admit to and express the pain and anguish that accompany the experience. A vast sea of anguish that heaves and dips in a raging storm of emotion but is totally silent until given permission to be heard.
The experience, when it comes over, can be mild and short. It can also be devastatingly all consuming. The thought processes can be mildly negative and out of the usual positive and optimistic lines but they can easily head into realms of longing and anguish that no one should ever have to experience alone.
There has been a prolonged period of extreme stress for a lot of people. The economics of now and the medias’ new knowledge of how to tap into everyone’s pain bodies has created a culture of fear and mistrust. There is so much stress in our daily living that it is hardly surprising the individual batteries wear down and depression is the response.
What are the causes of depression? I am no doctor, but having lived with the feelings, come from a family where it is present, married into another family where it lurks, moved through addiction and into recovery, taught for 13 years as a yoga teacher it is easy to look around and see that the causes are many and varied: Stress, lifestyle, history, genetics, thought processes, lack of exercise and for some, depression is a way of controlling their environment and those around them. It can be hormonal and also very driven by uncontrolled thinking patterns.
The options, from a mainstream perspective, are medicinal. Anti-depressants are the main route ranging from Lithium through to low-level mood management drugs. Many prefer the old routes of self-medication and use alcohol, marijuana, pornography and intensity. All of these have their own side-effects which eventually wend their merry way back into a deeper darkness.
I think that when one finally gets to a point when it is enough. It becomes boring and repetitive and the experience is just replaying itself over and over again giving enough perspective to see that it really serves no purpose. From this point change can come. But how to do things differently? Choosing to change the habits of many years or even a lifetime can seem like a gargantuan task and just that realisation is enough to trip the switch back into all-consuming darkness again.
I have put together a list of ways to deal with the beast. All of these will produce results of varying intensity and for varying lengths of time. Each one is good just on it’s own and the best way to use the list is to print it out and go to it when you feel the need. If you have questions please do ask, and if you know others around you who could benefit from the list then please do pass it on.