The one who is suffering from depression would avoid discussing the topic. Sometimes they are not even aware that they have become the victim of mental disease. Family and friends would notice some changes but they have not developed the maturity to deal with it. Suicide would be the extreme step but many are dying every day little by little in their mind. From their perspective, their whole life has gone up & down and they believe that everything will be over soon or it is already over. However, let me assure you that there is a way out. If you still have tiny little fight left in you, then I can show you the way to get out of it.
Over a period of time, I have been studying this unfortunate phenomenon and have come across many practices and philosophies. Many propagate practices that have helped them but I never found the basic fundamental on which these practices are built on until I became the student of Vedanta, a Vedantian. One thing that is helpful in both the spiritual and material world is turning the mind on mind. This is the way out of depression.
How Vaccine works scientifically – To explain this, let me explain to you how the vaccine works in children. Vaccines are made using the respective disease-causing virus or bacteria, but in a form that will not harm the child. Instead, the weakened, killed virus or bacteria prompts a baby’s immune system to develop antibodies against the disease. This process of creating antibodies is now stored in the memory of cells responsible for creating antibodies or immunity. Whenever your body come in the contact with the same virus, your immune system will start creating antibodies from the memory. Only this time it will be much faster.
I was amazed to learn this as I always thought that Vaccine would be some kind of miracle drug to create immunity but I never thought it would contain the bacteria responsible for such disease. The summary is that the same bacteria are being used to defeat the bacteria. Similarly, we can use the mind to defeat the mind. There is no other tool or a weapon strong enough to deal with depression than our own mind.
Three levels of thought creation – Depression is nothing but a series of negative thoughts. Once it starts then you lose the complete control of it. The idea is to stop the negative thoughts before it takes control of you. We need to attack negative thoughts in its weaker form. Let’s consider that there are three levels of thoughts. In the first level, due to some internal or external trigger, negative thoughts come on the surface. These thoughts could be past memories or it could be a reaction to any action.
In level three, these thoughts create multiple ripples and then a whole lot of similar negative thoughts take place in the mind. For, e.g. You hear a sad song which reminds you of someone breaking your trust or your heart. Now all the memories of that person start coming in your mind. You start thinking about how much pain that person gave you. You also start thinking on as what all you could have done but you didn’t do. You experience the feelings of immense guilt and pain at the same time. By the time you realize what is going inside, the situation has gone out of control.
The internal Vaccine – “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor Frankl.
It is difficult to take control of level 1 and level 3, but there is a space between these two levels and we can exercise restrain on this level 2. At this level, a negative thought is in a weaker form and we can take advantage of this situation. We need to train our mind to replace negative thoughts with positive ones at this level. Replacing with positive thoughts is like creating antibodies in the mind. Once you become pro in this, you have become immune to a great extent from any negative thoughts and depression.
This will require practice in the start. We will have to become conscious of what is going inside your mind. This is difficult in a chaotic situation or when there is a panic attack. What we need is a calm mind for certain moments and in those moments we can monitor thoughts. As a practice, relax your body and mind in the way you have been prescribed or you prefer. Take your attention inwards and just monitor all the thoughts. Don’t try to control or replace them yet.
Slowly the number of these thoughts will reduce. After a few days of practice try to identify which thought is creating negative emotions. Try to replace that thought with the one creating positive emotions. If possible, try to think completely unrelated to negative thought. For .e.g. If you identify a thought of past memory of your venture in which you faced a failure, then don’t think about success in other venture. There is a possibility that you might go back to the same thought of failure as you are thinking about all your ventures. Instead, think about a happy memory of vacation spent with family or friends.
At first, you will work on level 2 consciously, but over a period of time this will create strong mental impressions and it will become an automatic process. Basically you will create antibodies to fight depression. Please note that you should continue any treatment that is ongoing. Meditation is a great help in such a situation. This practice will enhance your overall experience of life. Even if we have not reached the stage of depression, we can still tame the devil before it possesses us.