Can Depression Sometimes Be Helpful
Isolation has Forced us to Face Ourselves
Depression is a known phenomenon; we know what it looks like and what it does to a life. But is not simple to say why it exists, because it is not one thing. There are many different reasons for depression to become a part of a person’s life, from a purely biological reaction to chemotherapy to feeling powerless in a cruel situation. We can call one of the depressions “Existential Depression”, because it forces us to examine our existence. This is real depression and is as devasting and as stuck as any other form, despite being fundamentally psychological.
No matter the trigger once low mood reaches a clinical level it is Clinical Depression and consumes the person’s whole world; mind and body.
Depression Becomes Part of You
If our lives are going in a direction that feeds us, allowing us to express fully who we are as well as allowing us to grow into our potential, then we continue without the need for depression. However, at times our life may instead be going in a direction that eats us: our path is causing us harm, limiting our growth or restricting our self-expression. We can feel this and are built to course correct, but what if we feel our life failing and we are not able to reroute and change our direction. This could be due to external restrictions: family frameworks, social expectations, limits in resources. On the other end of the spectrum, internal dams hold us firmly in place: beliefs that we are not capable, not deserving or even that there is something wrong with our very nature.
We Need to Change, But Can’t
This is when Existential Depression is activated to force a course correction, whether we want to or not.
Depression is a natural and functional response that encourages us to become more reflective, reclusive reducing external and social stimuli, focused on internal processes and acutely aware of the negative (what is not working). Our bigger picture and future thinking are shut down permitting nothing but a focus on what is wrong with the immediate situation.
Depression is dangerous when it gets stuck and there seems to be no way out, because it is by design our dark place. For all of its potential, this is not the place to stay for very long.