Someone told me once that depression is your soul telling you that you have traveled too far from who you really are. We have our true selves, and our social selves, the image that we portray to the world. When those two selves start to become too far apart, our souls start communicating to us to tell us that we are drifting too far from our true self, and that we need to start going back. So, depression is that signal our soul sends. The way then to truly combat depression is to go back to who you are so that the true self and social self are one in the same. At first, I didn’t understand this concept, so I thought about it for days. I can fixate on something until I can figure it out. I am a natural born problem solver, and come with a huge sense of curiosity and wonderment.
I started by thinking about people I know or who I have met who are happy. I mean sincerely happy, not fake happy. You can always tell because real happiness shines through the eyes, and the energy around that person is uplifting. You just start to feel better around someone like that because the joy radiates. Fake happy people don’t have the same glimmer in their eyes. Examples of life that radiate true joy are babies and dogs. Babies only know love and joy until someone teaches them something else. Dogs will love their masters no matter what they do to them.
People who are truly happy do not suffer from on-going depression, and people who are living the lives they have always wanted, and are being the people they have always wanted to be do not suffer on-going depression. Why because their true self and social self are one in the same. It seems very simple, and logical.
When we start out as babies, we are a clean slate. We come to this world only with the knowledge of love, eating, burping, and pooping. We start to develop our social selves through our families, school, the media, and our general surroundings. We grow up and become someone. That someone can be what you always wanted to be or it can be what someone else wanted you to be or what you thought people wanted you to be.
The classic example is the daughter who’s social self becomes “The perfect woman”. She gets straight A’s in school. She has the picture book career .She dates the right men. She follows the rules. She doesn’t drink, take drugs, or sleep around. She volunteers for after school projects. She stays thin and pretty, and she does everything “right.” Her whole life is built around this image of being perfect. But deep down she knows it’s all a front. and impossible to maintain.
Miss perfect starts suffering from “one wrong move” syndrome. I make one mistake and my cover is blown. Which then eventually breeds into self-hatred because deep down she knows she is really a phony, a fraud. In fact, she may even come to hate the very image she created. The depression grows greater every year the mask is worn. But, she keeps up the charade because she has invested years in building this persona, and she will not take the risk of being her real self because there’s the fear, the trembling, consuming fear that she might find herself in a place where she is without love and acceptance from the very people she is trying so hard to impress.