Depression and Purpose

Depression, which is partly anger at ourselves, is self-destructive and drains our energy to the point that it is sometimes difficult to function even minimally. Depression is an illness of will, which becomes diseased, making a person incapable of persevering in many pursuits. People always tell a depressed person to get control and stop wallowing in self-pity, but this is like telling a kindergarten child to solve a nuclear physics problem.

There are many types of depression with a variety of causes. If it is mental or emotional, and the cause is a lack of self-esteem, then there are ways to alleviate the depression. Finding fulfilling work or falling in love could temporarily counteract a problem that is only on the surface of the personality.

The most difficult cure to find is one for the invisible cause of a disease. When something is wrong, either physically or mentally, in our bodies or in a machine, we often look for what exterior factor has caused a problem. In the case of depression, sometimes the cause is not an invasion of something external, but rather a lack of something internal, a sense of purpose, a use of our innate abilities that we are born with and are destined to do that we are not doing.

A basic psychological principal is that gifted people will suffer psychologically when their gifts are not used to the utmost. This principal is not limited to only those we refer to as gifted, but to all humans, since, if you think about it, we are all gifted in some way. Just like the full moon makes the stars disappear due to its brighter light, but does not make the stars cease to exist. They will shine when the brighter light moves to another place and they become the brightest light in the night sky. People are the same, some of us have more flamboyant lives that outshine others, but that is only a temporary blinding. Eventually the small steady light gets its chance to show itself.

Depression comes when that little light is covered by a thick blanket of limitations, often self imposed, that suffocate it. We all have something to offer, and if we do not, we suffocate that bit of God that was born in our human body that wanted to be seen.

Humans are different than any other creature in existence, we are part mortal and part immortal. The immortal has taken a mortal form to show what it is, to express itself, to manifest a material reality of that aspect of the concept of God. If you do not express your talents, whatever they may be, then you are not allowing that immortal part of yourself to live as it wished to live, and that suffocates it and causes depression.

Your mind has to breath. The breath of the mind is the inhalation of thoughts to contemplate and the exhalation of ideas. Contemplating thoughts creates ideas. Ideas are contemplated thoughts that have been developed and need to be expressed. If ideas are not expressed, they get very unhappy because they cannot go out and play. The way ideas play is by being expressed and mixed with new thoughts. So if they cannot go out and play, their unhappiness becomes your depression.

There is a famous story in the Talmud about Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish, his disciple/colleague. When Resh Lakish died, Rabbi Yochanan went into a terrible depression, far more than for the loss of his children who died young, for the very reason of the lack of intellectual/spiritual stimulation, (Resh Lakish was the only one who was able to keep asking him the most difficult questions).

Consider the following points when you try to figure out why you are depressed, and do not limit thinking you are depressed to a major depression. A light perpetual unrest is still not something we need to live with.

Are you expressing your creativity.
Are you using your mind to think about, learn and discuss things that interest you.
Are you useful to anyone in some way on a daily basis, even if it is a different person each day.
All creative people in history have suffered from periods of depression whenever circumstances did not favor their inner creativity. Creativity is a double-edged sword: a blessing and potential curse, “USE IT, OR ELSE…”

Here is a little summary from another article I wrote entitled; ‘Depression or Boredom

There is a big difference between bored and depressed, however they appear the same, and so boredom becomes confused with depression. The longer you are bored, the more you will think and appear to others to be depressed. Eventually you become depressed. But in fact you are bored.

Children are easily entertained, and so boredom does not last long, because it is short lived, it does not turn to depression. If it lasts too long, then depression can result. Adults start to get bored at some point in their life,
due to circumstances which are difficult to change because of obligations that come with the search and acquisition of a ‘normal’ adult life. Often we deliberately choose certain situations because we see some need or benefit from it,  and that new situation soon creates the boredom.

For an adult to claim they are bored is not socially acceptable because they should be so busy with their family and work etc. So we deny the boredom because its cure is to make a significant change, which is too traumatic for the family. This way, boredom grows into depression.

Trying to cure depression when it is in fact boredom is like trying to sew a patch on worn cloths with a chain saw, it only makes it worse. When we find ourselves depressed, it is wise to first look at what is exciting in our life. If we find nothing, then boredom may be the cause.

The cure is a drastic change of attitude, understanding, location, work, hobby, etc.  each person must find their own. But a cure cannot be had until the true cause of the mental state is truly acknowledged and then corrected.

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