Making the most of suffering: my fight against depression
Let me start at the end. There are novels or films that begin by showing the final scene and proceed by explaining how the events got there.
With this difference: it’s my life that I’m talking about, it’s more important than a film.
The final scene I’m talking about here is that now I help depressed teenagers to regain the happy teen within.
I know that they can be happy again. I know it from my personal investigation of how this is possible, not from some second-hand and recooked statement made by people who are more interested in their statements than in our happiness.
Well, how did my film, sorry, my life get here?
When I was a teen
When I was a teen I wasn’t simply depressed. I was an entire dictionary of psychological acronyms. Now they are in fashion. ADS, ADHD, ADD, ODD, OCD, AVPD, IOD.
Don’t rush to google them, I invented a few.
I invent one more: EUPAD, Excessive Usage of Psychological Acronyms Disorder.
I hate psychological acronyms. They make things worse. I feel that they make my relationship with myself even more aseptic and heartless. It’s the other way round. I have to love the impossibility of defining myself, my ever-changing nature and my ability to evolve continuously. This has been good for me in finding my way out of depression.
My childhood and my teenage years weren’t very happy. I don’t blame anybody, because now I know that I needed to understand. Understanding and knowledge made me free, not blame.
My first depression
It came after my graduation. I didn’t sleep for a few days in a row. I was restless. I couldn’t sit down on a chair without feeling the urge to get up immediately. I had nightmares.
Later, I understood that one of the causes of my depression was that I had a goal: to graduate. This goal was more important than me. I was working hard and forgetting my needs. I had to understand that I am more important than my goals. One of the major steps in my recovery was to ignore all judgments about achievements and failures and the related pressure.
My second depression
My second episode of depression came much later. This time it was more intense and lasted longer.
My feelings and thoughts were very hurtful during this second period of depression. But, as I understood later, depression makes them look like mountains while they are actually molehills.
When I experienced these feelings, I didn’t know how to manage them. I learned to do that only later.
More hurtful than my feelings and thoughts was the discovery that depression is a skill we learn. Some of us learn it better than others. Knowing this hurt, but it was also liberating. This has been another big step towards my liberation.
A trick I used a lot to defeat my depression was to disobey it. If my depression suggested that I stay in bed, I disobeyed it and got up. If my depression told me that to do something was impossible, I tried and did it.
My studies in psychology
After this last episode of depression, I began to learn about psychology because I wanted to know. I was very determined to solve the problem.
I read more than 100 books of psychology, I did hypnotherapy, meditation, visualization, everything. I learned NLP, CBT, Psycho-synthesis, Psycho-Cybernetics, and many more. I studied Erich Fromm, C.G. Jung, A.S. Neill, Anthony De Mello, J. Krishnamurti, Carl Rogers.
I realised that the most important thing to do to solve my psychological problems wasn’t to find the best drug, it was to disobey the society’s sick conditioning.
Depression, the philosophical illness
Does depression derive from genes? From chemical imbalances? Is it a natural reaction to external events?
During my journey to freedom from depression, I discovered that my depression arose from what I thought about myself.
My deep convictions about:
- who I am
- my worth
- the worth of my thinking
- my ability to find what is true
were what produced my depression or, if changed, my chances of getting out of it.
I saw that the pressure that modern society applies to us to manipulate us is not as good as presented, but is inhuman and detrimental to our mental health. After I began to see, there was no way back. Since then, I see, and I refuse to say what I don’t see.
I realised that depressed teenagers would really like us to “stand up”, see and refuse to say what we don’t see. We owe it to them. They are the true victims of modern uncivilized culture.
Let me add a few words about the problem of people with mental health issues being stigmatised.
Society stigmatises depressed people? Do you think that I give a damn what a profoundly sick society thinks? Are its judgments worthy of any consideration? They aren’t.
Society should ask for forgiveness for using so much violence on teens to make obedient cogs of them at the service of someone else’s selfish purposes.
Do I tell people about my depression? No.
No because I would remind them:
- of their own depression
- that they are living a meaningless life devoted to someone else’s purposes
- that they believe that they are free while they aren’t
They don’t want to know. I don’t bother them. They will begin their brave journey to real freedom when they are ready.
May our society learn from our depressed teenagers about its own sickness and how to cure it. They can teach us if we listen. I wish future generations to remember our time’s psychological violence as just a bad memory belonging to an uncivilized past.
Journalist: “Mahatma, what do you think about western civilization?”
Gandhi: “It would be a great idea!”
Denny Dew is passionate about helping depressed teenagers. Check out Denny Dew's site, Depression Teens Help, to learn more about depression in teenagers and how depressed teens can be happy again.