By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
You might know someone who suffers from depression, and if you do, you probably know that life’s a struggle for them. As hard as they try, they can’t seem to overcome the harshly negative thoughts and feelings that swirl deep down, and they basically have a little bully in their mind that won’t go away. You might try to help them when the bully surfaces and does its damage, and you might succeed for the most part, but it’s sure to surface again another time soon.
The best thing we can do for a depressed loved one is to be there for them, and we don’t want to do or say anything that could cause them to spiral back down (or fall even further down if they’re already low). We don’t necessarily have to walk on eggshells, but we do want to be cautious about things that trigger their depression. We’ll want to keep their feelings in mind before we speak, and plenty of people will tell you that listening to them is a lot better than talking at them.
It’s hard to be excited about life if a person’s depressed, and it’s hard to muster up any kind of joyous feelings in general. Life takes on a somewhat dull quality, and their energy is as depleted as their willingness to be in social situations. Whereas they once had a lot of energy and vitality, they now feel drained and unable to muster up any kind of positive momentum. They might detach from society or people they once associated with, because they just don’t have it in them to do the things they used to do.
Depression can come with a literal loss of energy, and this is why getting out, spending time with loved ones, etc. is less desirable to someone who’s depressed. They can’t find that spark that used to motivate them, and they feel cut off from a normal, happy life. They wish other people could understand the things they’re going through, and they feel alone a lot of the time.
Depression can also cause a loss of self-esteem, and it’s because of those pesky negative thoughts. They can pop up at any time and make a depressed person feel terrible about themselves, and it always helps to have a loved one to listen to what they’re going through and reassure them that the mental bully is wrong.
It’s my personal opinion that spirituality can play a crucial role in helping alleviate depression. I’m not saying spirituality will completely eliminate all of our negativity, but it’ll teach us to sit with it, examine it and eventually come out on the other side, free from its previously unrelenting influence.
Not to mention that it can give us something to live for, thereby changing our outlook on life. It can allow us to consider that there’s more to life than the struggles we experience every day, and depending on what kind of spirituality we practice, it can teach us to look deep within for solutions to our problems.
I don’t recommend modern religion if you’re looking for a form of spirituality that’ll liberate your soul, but if Christianity, Catholicism or any other religion helps you climb out of the pit of depression, then by all means, embrace it. We have to do whatever we can to overcome that negativity, and since we’re all different, not every spiritual path will work for everyone.
You might find that eastern spiritual practices that are centered on meditation and enlightenment are more helpful for you, whereas others might turn to a completely different belief system. You might not choose to associate with any religion, or you might pick and choose things from all of them that help you. I recommend turning away from religion while still being open to what some belief systems have to offer, and a little open-mindedness can go a long way.
We don’t have to dedicate ourselves to some priest or spiritual teacher just because their guidance helped us, but we can look to them now and again for assistance as long as we remember that the greatest teacher lives within. When it comes to using spirituality to lessen depression, we might actually benefit from finding a trusted source to learn from a little before we set out on a path that’s free of any kind of external teacher.
It helps to lay a foundation of spiritual knowledge on which we can uniquely build, and learning basic knowledge from a genuine spiritual teacher could help.
Overall, spirituality opens the doorway to higher states of consciousness – what most religions call ‘heaven’ – and allows us to connect with our creator, even if we’re only connected via our beliefs. Any connection with God is a genuine connection in my eyes, even if the ‘connected’ person uses their beliefs as an excuse to hate or belittle others.
Spirituality allows us to understand that the painful things we experience every day are meaningless in the bigger picture, and as we develop our spirituality, we might feel less depleted, agitated and depressed. Our self-confidence will eventually return, because we’ll understand that we’re infinitely loved in the eyes of our creator. Society might be keen on pointing out everything that’s wrong with us or chastising us for the smallest, silliest mistakes, but our creator loves and accepts us.
It’s only fair to point out that while spirituality can help depression, it doesn’t make a spiritual seeker invincible. Some people embrace spirituality in the first place because they were looking for a way to alleviate the pain, and as ‘enlightened’ or heart-centered as they feel some days, there will inevitably be days when they struggle. There’ll be days when they’re more depressed than they think they can handle, and all they can do is try to fight the negativity and get back into the heart.
The most important message I can share here is that love and compassion will heal all. Spirituality aside, if the world could show more love, compassion and understanding to people who suffer with depression (and people in general), we could turn things around and eventually eliminate it, along with various other societal problems that, in my opinion, are caused from a lack of love. Society’s doing a lot to combat depression these days, but it’s all worthless if we don’t have love.
If we can learn to care about people with depression instead of brushing their negativity under the rug or making them think they’re overreacting all the time, we can encourage them to open up and talk more about their struggle. We can help them come to terms with their depression and get more comfortable talking about it, but none of this will happen until the world can return to love.
It might sound naïve, but I think it’s possible. We just have to try to be a force for love in a world of disconnected, uncaring people, and I’m confident that others will eventually do the same. It might take a lot of time and effort, but a world that’s free of depression and filled with love and compassion will be worth it.
I’m a twenty-two year old spiritual writer, blogger and channel for the creative expression of the inner universe, and I created The Culture of Awareness daily news site.
The Culture of Awareness features daily spiritual and alternative news, articles I’ve written, and more. Its purpose is to awaken and uplift by providing material about the fall of the planetary elite and a new paradigm of unity and spirituality.
I’ve contributed to a few different spiritual websites including The Master Shift, Waking Times, Golden Age of Gaia, Wake Up World and Expanded Consciousness. I can also be found on Facebook (Wes Annac and The Culture of Awareness) and Twitter, and I write a paid weekly newsletter that you can subscribe to for $11.11 a month here.