Nobody wants to talk about depression.
Nobody wants to admit they have or are experiencing depression.
Chances are that everyone experiences depression at some point or even multiple times throughout their lives. One day you are dealing with normal complexities of life and suddenly you find yourself in quicksand. Initially, you are oblivious to the fact that you are in quicksand,
You try to run
You try to fight
and then you realize…
that you are stuck.
Depression feels a little like sadness, but that’s not quite it. It feels like anxiety, but that’s not quite it. It has elements of worry, elements of anger, elements of shame, elements of disappointment, elements of guilt, elements of pain, and oddly even elements of hope. The only words that come close to describing depression are hopelessness and numb, yet, they barely scratch the surface.
The only way to properly define depression is by using metaphors or analogies to paint the picture. Depression is …..
A tornado of despair…
it is like an endless tsunami of hopelessness…
or a nightmare put on infinite repeat…
numb like the agony of being tickled for days …
being given a million choices after decision fatigue…
lost and stuck on a life raft in the middle of the ocean…
or falling for an eternity…
Perhaps the reason why depression is not talked about is that of its complexity. There are many layers of depression and the layers are unique to the individual. Depression is a process, each person puts up unique walls to suppress their feelings, creating complex layers meant for protection but actually entrapping the creator.
The creator (depressed individual) becomes entrapped because they have become so busy creating walls. They become tired, forgetting why they initially created the walls in the first place, leaving them feeling lost and hopeless without the energy to break down the walls. Unfortunately, the creator has created a fortress that no one else can break down, leaving the depressed individual isolated with only themselves to rectify the issue. It will take just as much energy, and as long a process to tear down the walls that they have built.
Here are the layers(walls) that I had to peel back to help me get through depression. Starting from the outer layer (the last layer built) to the inner layer (the first layer built).
- This layer includes: have suicidal thoughts, not wanting to live anymore, being completely numb to feelings, not being able to get out of bed, feeling immobile. If you are at this stage you need help fast, you haven’t physically died and may not even be ready to actually attempt suicide. At this point, you are basically physically paralyzed by your mental condition. However, if you go deeper into depression it will probably be near fatal. To tear down this wall you have to find purpose and meaning in life, you must cling to purpose because your life depends on it. It is probably wise to seek medical attention for many.
- By the time you have reached this layer, you have pushed everyone away. You don’t believe you have anything to look forward to because you are stuck in the endless web of negative thoughts. You are aware that you are in this endless cycle but don’t know how to make it stop, you just want it to stop. You have become numb, you are basically a zombie. Your brain functions and your body moves but your spirit is almost gone, meaning you don’t have much energy you are running off of fumes. To tear down this wall you must utilize what is left of your spirit to reach out for help. Reach out to someone who loves you, even if you don’t feel like the love you, even if you don’t love yourself. Love is the best hope and even a little can help get your spirit back.
- Once you make it to this layer you begin to push people away, you are projecting your confusion, sadness, and anger onto others. You blame everything and everyone else for your current state. You have already started to lose you lust for things and begin to get rid of people, places, and things that no longer serve a purpose in your life or are causing you tremendous stress. This sounds great initially until you notice that you no longer have anything to identify with, all you have is yourself and you are LOST. To tear down this wall do activities you love with people you love and stay away from people and places that drain your energy. Try to create a habit of talking to people more often who make you feel good just by talking to them. Remember the energy you surround yourself with is contagious.
- At this layer, you are fighting with your ego. Your ego has been shattered, severely damaged, or is being threatened. You are worried about the opinions of others and are beginning to hate yourself. Worst, you are lying to yourself about what’s going on and who you are. You don’t know everything and nor your life is as perfect as you try to make it out to be. To tear this wall down you must embrace your vulnerability and ask for help, it is ok to be human, it is ok to let yourself and others know that you have problems and you make mistakes. This is either an opportunity for breakthrough out of or the beginning of your breakdown into, depression.
- During this layer, you are beating yourself up for problems, mistakes, actions, bad decisions, or failed challenges/commitments. This is also where you beat yourself up for everything that you haven’t dealt with from your past. This usually includes problems, pain, anger, resentment, and most importantly suppressed emotions. To tear down this wall you must learn how to forgive yourself for the things you are not proud of, then you must forgive others for anything they have done to you. It is important to deal with anything that is bothering you because anything left behind will start a depression cycle in the future.
- This is the why me, layer. A recent event disrupted your fairy tale. Now you are uncomfortable, your sense of entitlement has risen to the surface. Why should you have to endure this pain? You don’t deserve this!! You shouldn’t have to go through this pain. To tear this wall down, you must find a healthy way to express your anger and build up your tolerance for pain through spiritual practices such as (meditation, prayer, and mindfulness etc.)
- During this layer, something has caused discomfort in your entity. Many of us try to avoid pain, run from it or mask it. However, pain is not the enemy it is here to protect you. It is trying to slow you down and get your attention so that you can repair a problem in your entity. If you run from, are unable to cope, or are unable to rectify your pain, you end up sad, angry, and ultimately depressed. To tear down this wall you must choose love over fear. You choose love by paying attention to pain and loving the area of your entity that is calling your attention.
- This layer is about suffering. You have become attached to an idea, an outcome, an object, or a person. However, you have come to a point in your journey where you must lose part or all of your current attachment. You are not equipped yet to overcome your current attachment and you have now entered the crossroads in which you must choose your suffering by growth or death (depression). To tear down this wall you must have patience and you may also need a spiritual practice (meditation, creativity, religion, nature etc.)
- Within this layer is the key to unraveling what has been inside of you all along. Without it, you may not have had the opportunity to discover the disease inside you. A trigger is an insurmountable challenge or obstacle for the current state of your entity. It crushes you ideas of certainty, introduces you to failure, and creates disappointment. Examples of triggers included: the death of a loved one, a huge failure, peer pressure, a physical challenge, or a traumatic experience just to name a few. To tear down this wall you are going to need knowledge which comes with experience, curiosity, and failure. You may also need help from someone with experience in the particular trigger you are dealing with.
- At this layer, you feel safe. You have just enough distractions in your life to hide your past pain. And not enough stress to stimulate necessary changes in your life. This is where most people exist with the illusion that they can avoid pain. However, there is no safety in life and you won’t be able to avoid a trigger. To tear down this wall you must live life with an intention or you will be left with regret. Either way, you will re-encounter your pain but intention will give you the courage and strength to face it.
- Within this layer, you are doing actions that help numb the pain. You are acting out of fear doing things to escape the pain hoping it will just go away. You may be able to bury your pain under actions for a significant time but if you are not careful you will hurt others to keep this pain buried and eventually your pain will find its way back to the surface. To tear down this wall you must dig deep to face your pain.
- During this layer, you have just enough spirituality to live through your pain. Or a belief that you have a solid plan to escape your pain. This could also be a belief system, a person, an animal, or idea, or mission. However, hope is short lived it will get you through most days but will come crashing down with a trigger. To tear down this layer you have to put your hopeful ideas and words into action to create a solution for your pain. Otherwise, unutilized hope turns into despair.
- The is the layer where depression begins, the first wall you actually created. Instead of experiencing the pain through our emotions. You attempt to suppress our feelings due to ignorance, innocence, or intolerance, not allowing the energy to be released into the world. And since energy is never lost, the energy is transformed into a disease (discomfort within the entity), which eventually shows up as some kind of pain within the entity although it may take a long time to show up. To tear down this wall we must experience our emotions, sometimes we just need to experience our vulnerability and cry or emote without limits.
- This layer is the catalyst for your depression the reason why you build walls. Some traumatic caused you to create your current identity. It could have been abuse, neglect, or loss etc. This is actually a trigger that was never fully addressed, it was avoided due to fear and or insufficient experience(knowledge) to deal with the trigger. The only way to tear down this wall is to deal with it when you acquire sufficient experience(knowledge), which often doesn’t happen until you have been triggered by something else later.
- This is our initial layer. You are an emotional energy being and if you want to remain healthy, you must harness your emotions through expression. They were given to you for a purpose to help you interpret the world. They are the spices of life which give the world flavor. They all come from one place, that place is love. So if you can find your way back to love, all will be ok. In essence, this is you, when you are your greatest version you are love.