What depression has taught me

In a strange way I'm glad that I had depression... at least I'm happier now than I was before my depression.

After coming out of a twelve year trough of depression and being a tired, frightened and aggressive person, I screamed internally with pain. After a while, I realised that I needed to change. I had to, using those stridently cleansing words, “Strip myself bare and cut out the bull****.”

Self awareness was slow, but sometimes came in flashes. I realised that THE most important relationship you ever have is the one you have with yourself. This relationship forms the foundation for all other relationships.

I rid myself of the ‘must do better’ self destructive perfection paradigm and paradoxically I’m now more creative and productive.

Here’s what I have learnt and realised:

  • When I placed personal humility before conditioned ego I was freed. 
  • When I recognised, acknowledged and accepted my frailties I became more robust.
  • When I understood that I don't experience objects as they are, I experience them as I am and that I can change that experience, I felt empowered.
  • I began to trust my 'felt sense' - “Sentience as well as Sapience."
  • I learnt to feel and perceive subjectively and spontaneously, not with just objective rigid cognition and intellectual thought. 

“When I realised I was simultaneously the most important person in the world and yet just another transient speck of sand I discovered an inner strength.”

  • When I learnt that no one was really thinking about me except those who really mattered and then that even their consideration was fleeting I became less concerned, conceited and introspective. 
  • When I understood that comparison with others was fatuous, unnecessary and often downright harmful, I was liberated.    
  • It dawned upon me that the only people who truly question me are my loved ones and myself and to all others I’m just an incidental thought.
  • When I found that the place in which the uniquely perceived emotional space within myself - rather than the cognitive material external happenings - is what truly matters I felt more grounded.    
  • When I stopped worrying about the what ifs and concentrated on the what is, I relaxed.    
  • I realised that saying sorry to someone doesn't always mean blame, right or wrong... It might be a way of saying that you value that relationship more than the need to protect your fragile self structure.
  • Eventually I comprehended that while my parents, along with the biggest significant other – society - moulded me, they don’t define me. My expression belongs to me. 
  • I now know that fluidity and change is a gift not a threat... A flexible attitude to change can help create a richer personal environment. 
  • Total acceptance of absolutely everything is a concept, but it’s a concept worth conjuring with. 
  • Empathy can be tough in a frantic life, but it offers greater rewards.
  • Recognising your true self and sitting comfortably next to that person is the real trick to learn. 
  • “Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” Don Miguel Ruiz
  • "What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality." Plutarch
  • “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 
  • To know what you know and to know what you don't, that is real wisdom. Confucius 

Let’s leave the last words to Carl Rogers: “Be open to experience, live in the present, trust ourselves, take responsibility for our choices. Fully accept ourselves and others.” 

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