Recent Figures provided by one of the major internet search engines indicated that more than 300 million people were looking for advice about remedies to combat depression. If more than a million individuals actually made proactive steps to find out what to do, the numbers of those who are feeling the same way, but are yet to act are probably considerably higher.
More people struggle with feelings of depression than is widely reported. Part of the reason for this is that depression is not a single event: it is a staged collapse, so the earlier stages generally go unreported – or unrecognised. Those who believe that depression is a disease have not understood it properly. There is no virus named Depression.
There are no deformed human cells called Depression. There are no cancerous blood groups named Depression. The complex relationship between human emotions and human intellect is the breeding ground where depression is fostered.
It is entirely possible to live and work effectively while battling with constant feelings of hopelessness: people do it everyday.
Some say that drugs can treat depression, but the real truth is that the drugs merely subdue the ability of those individuals who are affected by it to respond to what they are feeling. Is that perhaps why so many people who come off their ‘meds’ frequently revert to a deeply despondent state of mind..?
Drugs are easier to prescribe than hope, but are they more effective at eradicating feelings of depression?
Further proof that depression is an intellectual and emotional product can be found in its meaning. Depression is described in the dictionary as: the state of being disheartened, unhappy, sad, devoid of hope, miserable, or severely despondent. None of those descriptions are medical; therefore, none of them can genuinely be overcome by drugs – regardless of what the pharmaceutical conglomerates would have you to believe.
The use of the word: ‘state’ in the aforementioned dictionary definition, really caught my eye when I first saw it because it infers that depression is a place where people arrive at (knowingly or otherwise). The state of New York is a real place. The state of California is a real place. If you ask anyone who has spent any time there – they will assure you that the state of Depression is also a very real place.
There are many ‘states’ a person can arrive at easily; yet prove difficult to leave. Delusion, mediocrity, corruption, confusion, fear and depression are just a few, but there are many more. How does somebody arrive at this horrid place called Depression? Simply put: they get there one step at a time. Life’s journeys involve choosing roads that lead to prescribed destinations. In this regard, you must choose wisely.
Hope Road cannot lead to a state named Depression. Hope is also a state – and like any other state, its occupants arrive there and elect to stay there voluntarily. It is said that when your neighbour loses their job – that’s a recession. When you lose your job – that’s a depression!
Why do people who have suffered some kind of life trauma end up becoming depressed? They do so because the impact of the trauma damages their sense of wellbeing. They somehow drifted onto a slip road from Hope Highway and found themselves wandering aimlessly along Depression Avenue.
Very few people consciously choose to get depressed, but vast numbers of people choose to give up on hope. The surrender of hope is in its own pernicious way, the acceptance of an invitation to (potentially) take up residence in a state of Depression. Factories and offices are closing as sales subside. Firms are cutting back on staffing levels in order to save money – yet hope can never be made redundant.
Depression is a cruel trick of the mind: convincing people to give up – thus leaving them open to greater feelings of despondency.
Very few things can lift the human spirit like a renewed sense of hope and expectation. Promotions are harder to come by and workers now have to produce more output for (relatively) less pay. Some people are losing their jobs or the overtime they desperately needed to keep their heads above these fiscally troubled waters. The rent payment is late, the car payment is late, the gas and electricity payments are long overdue – yet somehow the bailiff always gets there early! Are these good reasons to get depressed?
No, not at all! At these very moments, hope does its best work – if given sufficient time. Hope reminds us of the prospects of better days. Hope assures us that we can make it back from a hellish detour if we just keep on believing. Depression is the place you arrive at if you run out of hope. Hope is a truly wonderful product. It costs nothing, even though it is utterly priceless.
Hope invigorates, rejuvenates, revitalises and reinstates continually, if permitted to work unfettered. Hope cannot be destroyed or put to death. It can be abandoned or rejected at any moment, but its rejection does not destroy it: even if those who discard it eventually pay a very heavy price for doing so.
Hope will never let you down, but depression can deter you from bouncing back after serious setbacks.
In these difficult economic times, hope is the one thing you cannot afford to lose. If you find yourself out of a job, hope will find you a better one. If you lose your present business due to adverse trading conditions; then hope will inspire you to start a more profitable one. If you lose your place in the current social pecking order, in due course, hope will provide you with an altogether superior standing in life.
Hope and depression cannot cohabit. The presence of one inhibits the freedom of the other to operate effectively. Hope is a form of logic, even if it is not in itself always logical. The same can be said of depression. Depression guides and directs the lives of those who surrender to it, although it makes no sense at all if you examine its methodology closely. Hope and depression are both self-replicating seeds, so ever-increasing yields are guaranteed.
Depression doesn’t just plague the lives of those who are held captive by it: despair also blights the existence of everybody that cares about them too. It is a form of psychological cancer: in that it is able to spread from one part of a person’s being to another, but cannot be vanquished by radiation or chemical concoctions because the only reliable and lasting remedy for depression is authentic hope. Hope rocks!
Hope is not a mystery (even if its workings sometimes appear mysterious). You don’t need a reason to hope because it exists within the boundaries of your own free will. Hope lives because you command it to live. It remains alive because you refuse to let it die. It remains strong: only because you steadfastly refuse to let your circumstances diminish hope’s life renewing power.
Hope exists beyond reason: which is precisely why it is so powerful. You don’t need a reason to hope, so there can never be a sufficiently good reason to stop hoping. Hope will never give up on you and will prevent you from giving up on yourself: especially when all others have written you off as a lost cause. Hope will focus your attention on what you can do, whereas depression insists on continuously reminding you of the things that remain beyond your reach. Hope does not pretend that today is not difficult to master: merely persuades you that you remain the master of your day if you refuse to bow to your problems.
Genuine hope doesn’t need a reason to exist, which is why it is so able to strengthen people – when giving up seems so much easier.
Hope does not deny the fact that you may take some blows to your finances, career prospects, some of your most prized relationships and ultimately your self-respect. Hope promises that you will become stronger and more resolute as a result of experiencing those things, even if you fail to understand (at the time) how such events could benefit you.
Somebody somewhere in the world today is desperately searching for a reason to go on living another day. ‘I should just end it all now: what’s the point in carrying on?’ – they wonder. They probably departed Hope Road a little while ago and failed to see the warning signs that Depression lay straight ahead. It can happen to anyone, at any time and for any reason, so just make sure that it never happens to you.
Hold on to hope with all of your heart, all of your mind and all of your strength; never letting it go – no matter what.
Hope is reason enough to live on. Hope is reason enough to expect more: regardless of whether you receive it or not. Hope is not a device to enable you to get more of what you want, but hope exists to keep you upright and uplifted, even when you have less than you need. Hope cannot be given, one person to another, but we can all remind each other of its life-enhancing attributes. We can all demonstrate the immense power of hope to others who may have lost their way: providing a tangible reference point to where their own personal recovery should begin. We cannot save others from terminal despair, but our example in holding fast to the wonder of hope may well encourage them to save themselves.
We do currently live in troubled times: there is no doubting that fact. But you must remain resolutely grounded in a state of hope. Hope is a real place, inhabited by real people who are dealing with real problems – each and every day. Hope is as real to you as you choose to make it. Hope does not promise to solve your problems – it assures you that solutions to your problems can be found – if you keep on striving.
Stand your ground. Reject any invitations to slip into a state of depression. Live your life with confident expectation. Live in a perpetual state of hope – a hope that prevails beyond reason.
© 2008 Errol Michael Henry, All Rights Reserved.