Why Are So Many People Depressed?
Lately, more people are depressed than ever before. Statistics point out that diagnosable depression is common in the United States and internationally. Depression affects approximately 57.7 million American adults or about 26.2% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. Everyone will at some time in his or her life be affected by depression - their own or someone else's according to Australian Government statistics.
Why are so many people experiencing depression during their lifetime? The causes of depression are likely to be different for different people. Many interrelated factors can combine to play a role: losing a loved one, stressful life events, major disappointments, abuse issues, childhood trauma, dealing with a chronic illness, loneliness, the effects of pessimistic thinking, and even issues of self-worth and self-esteem.
There isn't one exact cause of depression. Each person has a unique and often complex perspective to his or her own depression. Yet, one significant detail is clear - the importance of compassion and self-love is at the heart of moving up and out of depression. Depression is more than a symptom to be cured or an illness to be medicated. Although the suffering of depression can be deep and agonizing, it is time during which we discover how to allow an influx of our own divine self into our lives.
Why is depression increasing?
In part, depression is on the rise because these are turbulent times of accelerated internal and external reorganization. Worldwide, as a nation, and individually, we are in a process of releasing old foundational structures that no longer function and building new foundations that are firmly rooted in new energy dynamics.
In the big, big picture, it's all very beautiful and compassionate - a natural unfolding evolution of earth, humanity, and consciousness. And in the little picture we often feel confused, alone, out of control, and scared as we feel the effects of change and transition.
This reorganization of life and self comes in great waves and leaves us with feelings of confusion and instability. Many people are sensitive to the unsteadiness that change brings, yet they may not consciously be able to explain what they are feeling.
For example, there are changes taking place with the Earth itself. We are feeling the effects of global warming. Our dependence on an ever-decreasing supply of fossil-fuel energy is creating chaos, fear, and turmoil. Our financial structure is strained with debt, the housing market has weakened, and inflation in food, energy, and medical costs exceeds salary increases.
In the transition period, these changes often appear and feel frightening. The world outside seems to falling apart, and it's easy to believe that sky is falling. Yet, if we bring honor to the process of change, we can gain perspective that the falling apart of things also comes with a rebuilding. Situations or even self sometimes require hitting rock bottom in order to restructure.
Every ending also brings with it a new beginning, if we add patience and spirit to the journey. We can see evidence of restructuring already in process. Great numbers of people are going green, utilizing reusable shopping bags, being drawn to locally grown or organic food, and buying hybrid cars.
So what does all of this have to do with depression? The deep changes are not only occurring in the outside world, they are also occurring within. Old choices no longer feel fulfilling. Careers once thought exciting now begin to lose their appeal or fall apart. Relationships built in old energy no longer seem to work so well in the new energy.
We are engaged in a process of moving away from living our lives based on logic alone, into trusting our intuition. This shift away from our logical, ego based self into trusting our divine self can shake the very foundations of who we are or what our purpose is. This period of intense change is unsettling and exhausting, and often leads to depression.
Depression Is Not a Disease
It is my opinion that depression is not a disease. Yes, depression is real and living through it is an indescribable nightmare. Yet, depression is a sacred journey. It is a crucial experience during which we invite ourselves to breakdown, explore old belief systems of limitation, dig in deep to discover what is meaningful. At the heart of any depression are a few essential questions:
* Who am I?
* Do I choose to be alive during this time of upheaval - and if so why?
* How do I bring joy back into my own life?
* What or who is God ad nwhy won't God save me from this misery?
* What is most important to me?
In the most desperate darkness, when we realize no one can save us or make this depression go away, we one day look to ourselves for love and compassion. Every depressed person eventually faces a point where they assume responsibility for making a choice to stay alive. And that is a scary place to find oneself - in the middle of darkness, feeling no joy, and yet deciding whether or not to continue forward in the journey.
When we make a conscious decision to choose life from within the depths of depression, we do so with a stipulation - we'll stay alive only if is possible to live differently. Yes, we choose life but with a requirement... we must feel the joy and experience the preciousness and true beauty of Earth. And in this decision we assume personal responsibility for discovering and acting upon the experiences that enlarge a personally fulfilling life.
This choice opens the doorway to our divine spirit. Now as we move forward in life, we align our actions and energy with insights that increase our sense of joy and purpose - not from what we think we 'should' be doing or from what others tell us is the 'right' thing to do. This is the beginning of a new journey during which we start to trust our inner guidance and intuition above all else.
Depression is a process of bringing compassion and love into self, which then radiates outward into the greater good. Rather than focus on how to heal the world, we focus on how to bring our vision of world peace, or harmony, or joy into ourselves first. In this new consciousness, we heal scarcity, abuse, oppression, doubt, and fear within self - and in doing so we create a compassionate new potential in the world.
This process of 'self reorganization' involves putting yourself first, trusting yourself to make decisions that are important to you, learning to eventually always follow your intuition instead of your logic, and letting go of old ways of doing things. If you are feeling depressed, I would offer encouragement by saying you on a right and worthy course of the natural process of your personal evolution into a new energy, new consciousness being. Hold onto hope and keep breathing.
Dr. Annette Colby, RD, author of Your Highest Potential, can help you turn difficult emotions into joy, release stress, end emotional eating, and move beyond depression into an extraordinary life! Spark an amazing relationship with your self, your body, and your life!
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