The Wisdom of Depression

A client recently shared that she was working a lot of hours on the very work she wanted to get away from. ‘The projects just keep coming so I can’t get away from them’, she shared. I can’t walk away from the work. ‘I feel like I’m getting further away from my creativity,’ she sighed. ‘It’s making me depressed.’ 

Yep. That’s right. That’s exactly what happens when we aren’t being who we really are. Period. The best thing any of us can do when that feeling of dark dread shows up is to get curious, to pay attention and then get down to creating our real strategy for movement from what’s taking us down, towards what really motivates us.

I’m very familiar with depression, and I’ve learned a lot from mine. Those days when I went to work feeling myself armored in clothing that didn’t feel like me, tucking my passions (and my emotions) away so I could do what I needed to do all day until I got back to what really mattered after work. I spent time visualizing my dream job, my dream working space, my dream clients and work days; I familiarized myself with how I would feel when I would do what I knew I had to do. This didn’t come all in one fell swoop…it actually all came together in a rather iterative process, culled over time, through conversations with myself and others, during trainings and commutes, writing sessions, walks and lots of meditation sessions. And then, of course, the timing of things had to be right, and certain pieces need to show up to make the picture complete and then….there it was. My right life. [And for full transparency, personally, I’ve done this several times to tweak my right life. It’s not a one and done kind of thing.]

You can do this too, but you need to listen to your wisdom, to your depression, your pain, your pleasure, your dream and know it’s all true. If you don’t listen to you, you won’t get your right fit.

Would you buy shoes that were two sizes too big or small, and insist walking around in them every day, all day? No, you wouldn’t, unless….unless someone else (or a bunch of people you thought you could trust) told you that this is the way it’s done and this is the way shoes should fit, that this is what everyone else does. I know it takes a lot of courage to look, to feel, and sometimes to really believe in those feelings and thoughts. A lot of people just complain. They complain to anyone who will listen. The bravery is in the getting busy with finding the way to do you.

Want to get brave? Here’s the plan.

  1. Listen to you. And then write down what you hear. Not the stuff that’s just your critical mind. You are more than your judgements. Go deeper than that mental chatter.
  2. Write down those ideal scenarios. Look at the obstacles and look at how to get around, through or over them.
  3. Find the right person or people, books or classes to help you be brave. This may take time but you can do it.
  4. Do it