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In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins; not through strength, but through persistence. ~ Buddha

Depression as Self-actualizing Tool

At first glance the title seems to be completely ridiculous, ludicrous and can only be made by a deranged individual.

Depression surely isn't a “happy place” to be in and is a state of mind accompanied by a chronic “low” in moods, negativity and aversion to most daily activities. Depression normally impacts unfavorably on our thoughts, behaviors, feelings, emotions and eventually our physical well-being. It include feelings of sadness, anxiety, helplessness, emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, irritability or restlessness and emotions such as antagonism, resentment, hatred, guilt or bitterness. So… how on earth is it possible that any person in his or her right mind can even dare to think that depression could be a self-actualizing tool and the start of personal happiness, peace of mind and prospering future?

Please bear with me for just a little while. Actually, I am not really deranged. I just have a slightly different perspective and view on the implication, meaning and purpose of the human experience we collectively refer to as depression. And this is why…

I regard depression as the “low fuel warning light of life”, similar to the “near empty” warning light on the fuel gauge of a car. Once the “low fuel warning light” lights up, we normally don't ignore the signal and immediately adjust our daily schedule or routine and start looking for the nearest filling station to refill the car with petrol. Because, past observations and experiences has taught us - that when we ignore this warning light - we will soon run out of petrol and run the risk to possibly get stuck somewhere really unpleasant. We would rather detour from our present route for a while and “prevent the problematic consequence” by filling up in due time.

Another view regarding depression, is that the experience of depression is similar to experiencing physical pain. For example, when we are running, bump our toe against a rock and we experience a sudden sharp pain. We normally slow down, stop running and investigate what is wrong. Upon investigating our throbbing toe, perhaps, we discover that it is broken. We then might take the necessary corrective actions and adjust our present running routine accordingly to avoid further damage to our toe and allow for healing to take place. An unwise decision would be to swallow some painkillers and continue with our relentless pace of running, regardless of our broken toe… then we are sure to cause some serious damage that will have far reaching consequences in future. Following the latter route, can be just as destructive as turning up the radio to drown the ominous knock in the car's engine. There is a slight change that the knock will “disappear” when ignored, but it is much more likely that we will cease and completely destroy the car's engine, when not attended to in time.

Also, I am quite aware of and it is know fact that medical sciences and psychiatry, largely blame depression on a chemical imbalance in the brain. However, most of us - to a greater or lesser extent - know that thoughts creates chemical changes in our brain, which are scientifically confirmed by plenty of neuroscience studies and research conductedFor additional information on research conducted, Google it! Wikipedia is an excellent platform to start from. in recent years. Which subtly force us to tweak, adapt or chance our current perspective and view on depression.

What was first… the chicken or the egg? Do we experience an imbalanced thought as a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain or does a chemical imbalance in our brain occurs as the natural result of an imbalanced thought pattern? I tend to favor the latter as a more reasonable explanation and understanding of why we experience depression in the first place. Thus, it stand to reason, we must have had an imbalanced thought pattern first, before a chemical imbalance could be reflected in the brain.

And my point is… depression is our “warning light” indicating that we are running dangerously low on “life's petrol” (i.e. happiness) and the “emotional pain” that accompanies depression, is a sure indicator that we have to slow down our frantic pace in life and thoroughly explore our present thought patterns (i.e. beliefs) and views about life. Turning up the “music of medication” will merely “drown” the “pain” for the time being, but unless the cause of depression (i.e. our thoughts) isn't dealt with and put into the proper perspective or context, we are heading for a serious calamity and a path in life characterized by derailment and stagnation.

A word of caution though. Collecting all one's antidepressant medication and suddenly throw it into the nearest dustbin, wouldn't be a very wise move to make either. Keep in mind that depression is an evolving mental state of being. An imbalanced thought creates a chemical imbalance in our brain, which in turns intensify the imbalanced thought, which then further increase the chemical imbalance in our brain and so the unhealthy cycle continues. To suddenly remove antidepressants from the equation, wouldn't restore equilibrium and happiness in our lives and could actually worsen our present depressed state of mind.

A much more sensible strategy would be to use the “support” offered by antidepressants (much like plaster to heel a broken leg) while simultaneously make a serious and genuine effort to adjust our thoughts to a more balanced and contextually sound point of view. Then, as our mind gradually heals, so we will need less and less “support” from antidepressants.


Happiness and peace of mind is within all of us. It is our natural state of being.

Each one of us will - sooner or later - become disillusioned with our mis-perception of happiness. When we think we are going to find happiness outside of ourselves, that somebody or some miraculous event will make us happy, we are setting ourselves up for many depressing disappointments. We may look around us and conclude that others seem to be happy, with a degree, bigger car, fancy house, position as team captain, beauty queen, rugby player, being a dentist, politician, …etc. These people may be motivated by their latest attempt to change their miserable lot in life. It, however, is merely a temporary and relative happiness… relative, because it is dependent on rearranging outer circumstances, something that we have very little control over. All circumstantial expectations, eventually lead to bitter disappointments. We also could not know what real and lasting happiness is, if we didn't already have it… inside of ourselves. Depression is merely a mind-set, accompanied by feeling of loss and hopelessness, that comes into existence when our illusionary understanding of happiness and self-actualization no longer holds up to the reality we encounter.

The fact that many doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists call this natural personal development step a “disease” of our time, is a dangerous point of view, which frequently cause tremendous mental suffering. Any person (with a little bit of common sense, I might add) will inform you that medication is not a permanent cure and in fact could makes matters worse, especially when continued for a long period of time or being administered at an early age. Plus, it is readily admitted by some “specialists”, despite that they do not truly understand the cause of depression and simply attempt to make the “sufferer” feel better, by doping them up to their eyeballs with a variety of legalized drugs.

Experience has indicated that depression is actually one of the easiest human conditions to deal with, no matter how severe it might seem and feels to be. In fact the more severe the experience of depression, the easier it is to help the “sufferer”. When a person is at the brink of utter despair and they are ready to give up on life completely, they are also well prepared to let go of imbalanced thoughts that they cling to for dear life, and actually open themselves for innate happiness to shine through once again. The way that we could efficiently deal, treat and heal “depression”, is to bring our mis-perceptions to TRUTHS… truths about ourselves, our present circumstances and the context in which we function as unique human beings.

We could surely use the support offered by antidepressants to help “heal” our “broken thoughts”, just as we need plaster to help us heal a broken leg. But when we keep our leg in plaster for a prolonged period of time, we loose the natural ability of our leg to support our body weight with normal everyday walking. Antidepressants - in the same manner - let us loose control of our thoughts and we are unable to deal with everyday pressures, confrontations, challenges and changes in our environment… and we become helpless, hopeless, unhappy within ourselves, derail and get stuck in life.

The cure… is actually quite simple! Start to daily exercise and stimulate your mind with uplifting thoughts and different perceptions, just as you would exercise a weak leg to regain its muscle strength and stamina once again. When such an “exercise program” is also complimented with a healthy, balanced diet and a good nights rest, you will be amazed with the results and the progress made to restore happiness and peace of mind.

One final question… are you still of the opinion that the title 'Depression as Self-actualizing Tool', originate from a demented person? Or do you also think… “Thank God for depression and a chance to grow as a human being?

To overcome depression is a self healing (i.e. optimal self-actualization) process, and NOT dealing with depression as a chronic illness to be medicated or abnormality that must be treated.

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