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Depression

Dear Friends,

          Depression is self-loathing.  Self-loathing is self-hatred.  Self-hatred happens when you lose respect for yourself.  You lose respect for yourself when you treat yourself in self-disrespecting ways.  You treat yourself in disrespecting ways because you have internalized and believed the message of the world around you that your worth and value is low.  This creates a poor self-concept.  A poor self-concept means you have low self-esteem.  When you have low self-esteem you come to resent yourself.  When you resent who you are you become self-destructive.  When you become self-destructive you hate yourself for doing this to yourself.  When you hate yourself for doing this you become more depressed and the cycle repeats itself.  Sounds depressing doesn’t it?

          I am writing you about depression, not because I want you to become more depressed, but because depression can be understood and explained.  If it can become understood and explained then it can be dealt with, reduced and possibly, even eliminated.  Therefore, I write to you to be encouraged about something as depressing as depression.  If you or someone you know is depressed, take heart in this article. 

          Some of you have been born with a depressive make-up or what is sometimes called a depressive temperament.  This melancholy temperament has a natural bent toward sadness, negativity, gloom, and is much more sensitive than the other temperaments.  It is much more contemplative, meditative and thoughtful, and, therefore, experiences life on a much deeper level.  If you have been born with a melancholy temperament, often times you take life and yourself too seriously.  When you do this you “take life on the chin” and, therefore, your life is more painful than it is for others.  You have a tendency toward too much subjectivity making it important for you to be careful which movies you watch, what books you read, and who you listen to.  You also have a tendency toward too much introspection, making you more prone or likely to enter into the world of depression. 

Some of the people you know will never understand your depression because they have never entered this world.  And because their temperament is different than yours, they probably never will.  For this reason, you have to be careful taking advice from such people because what has worked for them will not work for you.  This is because you are different from them in that you have a melancholy temperament.

          This temperament is not all negative.  If you have one you should learn to appreciate this about yourself.  The melancholy temperament is often viewed as the “rich temperament.”  Most of the best artists (poets, writers, painters, actors, photographers, etc.) have viewed life through the lens of this temperament.  Therefore, you need to start to view your temperament as a gift from God and not a mistake that He made you this way.  As the old saying goes, “God don’t make no junk.”  You may not understand why He made you this way, but like the color of your eyes He made you this way for a reason.  Therefore, it is much wiser and more helpful to accept this about you.  Learn to embrace your melancholy temperament and learn its power and how to use it for the good of God, yourself, and your fellow man.

          Depression is also anger turned inward or against yourself.  Depression is the result of the anger that you experience toward God, other people, and toward circumstances eventually being redirected at yourself by way of blaming yourself.  If you are a depressed person, you are so because you unjustly blame yourself for just about everything in your life.  You may not see this, but if you are depressed you are doing this.  I’ve never met a depressed person yet who wasn’t doing this. 

          The reason you blame yourself is because your melancholy temperament also has a bent towards being passive.  In the face of conflict, you turn away, do nothing, become passive, and turn inward.  You lose respect for yourself when you do this.  You know you should confront conflicts head on with more courage, but it is too scary for you.  It’s terrifying to open your mouth and say the words that seem to come so easily to most everyone else.  You secretly admire their assertiveness and aggressiveness, but the thought of you doing it is too frightening.  The eventual outcome of self-blame is self-hatred.  The eventual symptomatic outcome of self-hatred is depression. 

          If there is any good news about this it is that you can get better by reversing the process.  In other words, if you are blaming yourself for things that are not your fault, it would make more sense to turn the anger around and blame things and people on the outside.  It’s not possible that all of what is happening around you is your fault.  Once you stop blaming yourself, you can learn to live more assertively by systematically taking small steps toward opening your mouth and learning to speak your mind.  Be prepared for some of the significant people in your life to pressure you to going back to being passive.  They will not be used to the assertive you, be uncomfortable, and confused unless you clue them in on what you are doing.  Even then they may not like it, and unknowingly push for the passive you.  You cannot bow to this pressure if you want your depressive symptoms to go away.  It is as if you have to decide, “do you want the pain you feel from being depressed, or the pain associated with being assertive and speaking your mind?

          Once you stop blaming yourself and learn to hold to account those forces and people who you need to confront, you can learn how to forgive yourself for things that were never your fault in the first place.  You can also be in the best position to begin to forgive those who hurt you.  How can you be forgiving them if you are too busy blaming yourself?   By putting the responsibility for things in the right place, you can begin the healing process of forgiveness.  Once you are in this place, the next step is to learn to grieve the losses that add and cause your depression.  Another way of saying this is, “depression stunts, arrests, and stops the natural healing process of grieving losses.”  The natural steps and stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) get stuck in the depression phase.  Before acceptance can happen you need to cry over your losses.  This is best done with the aid of a professional.  In fact, the whole process of dealing with depression is best done with the help of a professional.

          There is much more that needs to be written about depression such as the different kinds (dysthymia (low grade depression), bipolar (manic-depression), clinical depression (severe, life-threatening depression), and situational depression (depression from significant losses that warrant sadness).  What I have written to you in this article is meant to give you a basic conception as to what is going on.  You may be suffering more than you need to because you don’t know what is going on, resulting in you becoming confused as to why you feel the way you do.  When you understand what is happening to you and why, you can develop strategies to reverse the process.  By doing so, you can gain greater control over your life.

          I hope this has been helpful to you.

 

                                                       Paul