I’ve had a handful of depressive episodes throughout my life, and while I’ve built up a robust set of skills and coping mechanisms, each time it hits, it consumes me. There’s something particularly insidious about the depressive mind. Having recently gone through another round, I’d like to record my experience, in hope that it might help others, or at least my future self.
My partner suffers from hereditary and deeply systemic depression (currently alleviated through complex pharma therapy), and your description rings incredibly true to how she appears to experience it.
One of the most important things I've learned about people who are depressed is that thoughts of suicide are not "horrible" as most normies would suggest. Rather, these thoughts are actually the most logical and rational thoughts to have given the points of reference a depressed mind has to utilize and build strategies around.
Nicely done, and thank you.
You describe depression super vividly. That said I do think the serotonin hypothesis of depression losing support is very different from depression not being a deeply neurochemical phenomenon. There are plenty of emerging alternatives with better evidence.
Thank you for sharing something so private.
Luckily I’ve never been depressed, but I just had an idea: have you tried, when not being depressed, recording a video to your future depressed self where you remind him that you deserve happiness and that this episode will pass? Maybe hearing it from your own mouth will help you believe it next time.
I am sorry to hear you have had these struggles. I read something once to the effect that capacity for woe deepens you capacity for joy. I don't know if that's true, but it kinda seems true no?
I have had my own issues with depression, including one time I was hospitalized over it. One real benefit of being enlightened is that I see through neurotic crap like that instantly. I had a relatively mild depression a few months before enlightenment, and some months after enlightenment I've had the interesting experience of the depression coming on, like I get the seed of it, but then seeing it effortlessly dissipate.
Of course, saying things like "I am an enlightened" can sound like I traded one insanity for another, and it's true I have issues related to the endless machinations of ego, but they are not the sort of thing that gets you warded.
That dissipation is very interesting, because it revealed that I actually worked very hard at maintaining the depressed state. You are not conscious of how much effort you're putting into it while you are in the grip of it, but with enlightenment comes awareness of the meta-depression, which is the belief that you have earned this, that you deserve this, because the world just has been that crappy to you and this is your payback, kinda like how the man from Notes from Underground thinks.
At least, that's how depression worked for me, but I suspect there are many kinds of depression with many different reasons. Mine was extremely judgemental, both of myself and others, which doesn't seem to have been an element in your depression.
You have realized in part how depression is a task, when you bring up doing healthy things and meditation to interrupt it and ultimately get out of it, but the real silver bullet is to head it off when it's nascent. But that may be an enlightenment-complete problem, given how it depends on bringing into conscious awareness something that was previously unconscious.
Sorry to hear you have had these episodes. I can tell you are a very smart & caring person, which I believe makes you more susceptable to it.
Thank you for sharing this - your description of depression resonated with me. And whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing - it was just reassuring to know that other people experience this in a similar way to me.
Thought a bit about how I wanted to respond, still don’t really know. All I can say is: continue writing about it and know that we’re rooting for you.
Thank you for this, it’s a great written version of something a lot of people struggle with. I’ve also found in personal episodes I have a “highlight reel” my mind chooses to remind me of, the worst things that I’ve done or happened to me. I recently told a friend about this and laughed when I explained these tiny moments that I was convinced “proved” I didn’t deserve to exist. The depression acts as lens that magnifies things. I also grew up in a religious household and depression was just a spirit you allowed into your life instead, a sin or weakness. That mentality was especially hard to shed.
Here is my depression story. But this one has an happy ending.
Just wanted to point out that meditation practice isn't limited to formal sits. It's just easier without distraction!
I hope you are feeling better. But also don’t shame yourself about feeling bad. I do this and it’s incredibly destructive.
I think it’s incredibly brave to share your experience with depression this way. It can be hard to understand and to share with others. As someone who has their own struggles I applaud you.
This is an insightful and wonderful piece. Thanks for sharing and reminding me to be kind today, you just never know what people are going through.
Guénon wrote a chapter called 'Misdeeds of Psychoanalysis' (maybe his version of a rant), saying how dangerous the 'profession' was because if they can't find their way to higher consciousness, they basically trap their patients in the same state of low consciousness that they are in. He called it a way down to total cultural dissolution by getting the patient to unearth their darkest subconscious without any knowledge of the SUPRAconscious to sterilise/integrate the horrors/guilt/pain/shadow found therein.
So- the patient then carries that unearthed subconscious mess for life. No wonder they are medicated. Meditation or medication- those are the options, but doctors (who used to be the priest class until the name 'doctor' came to mean 'falsified') automatically medicate. Self-medication like alcoholism etc. is one route which keeps one in the same negative holding pattern. (Spoken from experience.)
So this state that you mention, I knew it really well through my twenties and thirties & blamed the depressive state on my parents, my own failings and christianity. Obviously edumacayshin and fluoridation from birth didn't help but it all causes chaos in the psyche (soul).
Meditation is the answer because it vibes the chrism *up* the spine (which is the path of consciousness), which, in time, will result in 'satchitananda' = 'truth, consciousness and bliss'.
Scientifically, the chrism 'anoints' the pineal gland. After that trip (really feels like a trip), depression has no place. It simply goes for good. Alan Watts said 'We are the universe experiencing itself' and it's 100% true.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1316ySwE-M <<About chrism, spine and consciousness from a scientific pov. c. 25mins long
"Depression" as the set of forces (chemical, genetic, etc / Third-Person entities) is Real. But this is not really relevant, because Third-Person entities have no meaning/value to them inherently.
"Depression" as the series of Cognitive Sequences (i.e. "Phenomenology" / First-Person Experience) is only as Real as Cogitator chooses to Forego his Volition / Agency to said forces.
The one who chooses to do so... will inevitably Lose to the one who chooses to not forego Volition/Agency. This then is the crux of the matter.
A bit over a century ago, men of all ages Stormed Trenches amidst Machine Gun Fire, Gangrene Amputation of limbs, etc. INSPITE of Fear, Trembling, Panic, Despair, etc.
The Third-Person reality of all those things AND the onset + creeping in of the aforementioned First-Person series... did not make them yield. They "did it anyway" as one put it.
As the Third World War approaches; with some 800 million to 2 billion fatalities being all but certain... the time has come once more to... "do it anyway".
All those emotions, fears, despair, etc... all of that is real. However it is the Duty + Moral Obligation of Men everywhere to Get Hit by all that Vile, Filthy stuffy and still Soldier On.
Because the Alternative... is someone who reacts "just a few seconds tad bit later" in the Nuclear Hellscape... and that is just a synonym for "Really, Really Dead!"
Depression feels like an ever-present backdrop or reality (which the busyness of everyday life can often quell effectively) because 'it' is.
Beyond everything, there is some kind of ultimate reality. Reaching this place knowingly & intentionally - you perceive it as Nirvana. But it's also called 'Annihilation' - literal nothingness - no 'Self', no time - & therefore no future. You are One & nothing.
However - if you reach this place accidentally - you will perceive/receive it as 'depression'.
I think the corridor to higher Consciousness will also feel similar - as it will be a place of liminality with no sense of place or time - much like a real tunnel removes sense of place or motion (if the walls are smooth enough, or if it's dark).
I have no 'answer' or solution per se - but for me at least, this is what I think is going on. I personally find it to be further evidence of the literal awesomeness of what it means to be conscious.