Depression: Believing “What Is” Shouldn’t Be - Grasshopper
I learned a long time ago that "depression" doesn't exist. That doesn't mean that we don't get depressed; it simply means that depression is only a description of the process of how we depress ourselves. That process requires action on our part.
When someone tells me they are depressed or are suffering from depression, the first question I normally ask is: "How are you depressing yourself?" The first response I usually get is loaded with wide-eyed incredulity.
Depressed people are in disbelief that they are causing their depression. They claim as soon as everyone hears their reasons, then all will know that it is something or someone other than them causing their depressed mental state. It's never the case.
Many years ago I decided that I had to know this claim as more than an intellectual concept; I needed real world data, so I questioned my own depressed states.
What I found was that my depressive states of mind were a result of believing that what was happening to me shouldn't be happening. It was an anti-reality strategy that I could always depress myself with.
When I worked with depressed clients, I found their process of depression was the same as mine - the result of believing what is, shouldn't be.
The wrestling match between what is and what shouldn't be always lands you on the mat, pinned down by "depression."
There is no win when you wrestle with reality; depressing, dark clouds will follow you as though they're your shadow.
The first step out of a depressive state of mind is recognizing you are causing it with a specific set of actions, the lead of which is believing "what is" shouldn't be.
Once that recognition is in place, you can adjust your steps so they lead you away from fantasy and towards reality.
When we have only the unvarnished reality in front of us, it becomes something concrete to work on rather than having the illusion of "shouldn't be" causing a work stoppage.
Here's a real life example: A mother/grandmother was depressed. She lived 300 miles from her family and didn't see them as often as she wanted. That was the reason she offered for her depressed state of mind. She was making the mistake of treating a reality as a reason, and when she added "shouldn't be" to the mix, she depressed herself.
We're never going to run out of reasons. They're like rabbits and coat hangers - they reproduce themselves out of thin air. The longer you give reasons for your depressed state of mind, the longer it will stay in place.
Once you recognize that it's your imposition of "shouldn't be" on reality that's causing you to be depressed, the cloud begins to lift and you start to see more options.
Recognizing the reality doesn't change the reality; it just removes the blinders of "shouldn't be" helping us to better see.
It from this clear minded position that we are better able to fashion a way forward unencumbered by the cloud of depressive thinking.
"Depression Happens" is more than bumper sticker material, it's a reality - but now you have a strategy to recognize and outgrow shouldn't be.
All the best,
P.S. You could easily put any number of words in the place of “depression” and The Grasshopper’s observation remains accurate. You could easily say that “Frustration, Anger, Hopelessness," etc. is the result of believing “what is” shouldn’t be.
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