WELLNESS-I recently read a quote that was written by self-help and spiritual teacher Jeff Foster. It said, “The word depressed is spoken phonetically as deep rest. We can view depression not as a mental illness, but on a deeper level, as a profound (and very misunderstood) state of deep rest, entered into when we are completely exhausted by the weight of our own identity.”
This resonated deeply and motivated me to write this article. Having dealt with depression in my own life, Jeff’s gentle words made sense like nothing that I had read before.
If you’ve been depressed, perhaps you have felt as if there is something wrong with you or that you are faulty in some way. Depression is very misunderstood and often makes the person who is suffering feel guilty or ashamed for having these heavy emotions. This is especially the case when we seemingly have wonderful lives surrounded by loving people. With so much richness, how can I feel lonely or depressed we contemplate? Often depressed people tell themselves to “snap out of it” or perpetuate their self-loathing even further because they “should” feel better than they do.
The idea that depression is in fact a deep rest may help you. If you’re struggling, these very words may lighten your load and support you in being more loving towards yourself. What if this down time was simply there to help you go deeper into that place where all of your answers lie? The space where you are more capable of doing the inner emotional and spiritual work. What if this has shown up once again in order for you to retreat and rest?
Resting and retreating may seem impossible at the moment especially when bills need to be paid but it is possible for you to go inward and also get your work completed. It may just be that you require more down time than most. Depressive people are often more highly sensitive to the energy of others around them and in order to get re-centered and feeling good, they require a significant time-out.
If you are suffering from severe, clinical depression you’ll need to visit your physician immediately to get help. Medication doesn’t make you a failure. Sometimes, it assists you to get a better perspective on what’s going on and it reminds you of what it’s like to feel good. Once you’re at a better-feeling place, it may eventually be possible to wean off medication. With proper doctor supervision you’ll be able to make that decision together.
Many of us have big shoes to fill. Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by the vastness of our role and the incredible visions that we have for our life. On the contrary, sometimes we can also feel very small. Both sides of the spectrum can cause us to get sad, self-critical, and downright depressed. Old programming from childhood along with day-to-day pressures can also trigger a downward spiral.
I learned first hand that we CAN move through it by opening up and becoming vulnerable, sharing our deepest thoughts with those who love us, and seeking professional help when necessary. The key during all of this is to remain loving and patient of your self. To remove all judgment that you “should” be somewhere else, and to ask the big question “what can I learn from this?”
If you struggle with a mood disorder, if you’re feeling down, or if you’ve been diagnosed with depression, take it in. Know that you’re not alone. And reconsider the words from Jeff Foster that perhaps you’re simply entering into a phase of deep rest. Allow it. Don’t push it away. Move through it and you may be amazing at what lays ahead for you on the other side.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles. http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)