Climbing Out of Depression

Depression opens the door to beauty of some kind.”  James Hillman, psychologist


Curiosity, music and exercise are three of the smallest stepping-stones to help someone climb out of the grip of depression. Depression is often a dark pit of stuckness and it becomes a trap that appears to be impossible to leave behind, like gum stuck on a shoe. It’s important to decide this is not the truth. Every small step out of the pit matters. Perception is 9/10’s of reality. If you believe it’s impossible to change, you won’t. If you believe it’s a long journey and taking some small steps can be the beginning, it will.

Depression is a very huge obstacle to overcome. One of the smallest steps anyone can take is to find out what they might have some curiosity about. Curiosity is both small and huge at the same time. Depression is often overwhelming and it is curiosity that can give someone a toehold out.

Ways to restore your curiosity:

#1. Start small with noticing a sunny spot in your home. Drag a chair over to that spot and like a cat stretch and enjoy being in the sun in the present. This is an example of using your five senses to expand your sense of life in the moment.

2. Consider going back in time to when you were a child, remember what you were curious about. the stars in the sky, kite flying, or a visit to the zoo. These are small things that give a glimpse that life is woth living.

3. Buy the edition of the newspaper that tells you what’s going on (In Pittsburgh it’s the Thursday Weekender). Do any of the descriptions appeal to you about anything that’s going on?

4. Be curious about your disease. Read a book about depression and learn some new ways to think about your struggle, such as Feel Good Now by David Burns or Mind Over Mood by Padesky and Greenberger are only two suggestions. If you can change your beliefs you can change your life.

Music is another small step. Music does not require anything from you and it gives a lot. If you’re driving to work on Monday AM and dreading the week ahead, pop in some fun music to shift your mood.

Exercise may seem like a big step but it can begin with taking a walk. You can drive to a different neighborhood to walk somewhere different. The research says that exercise is very helpful to making people feel better.

Consider depression as a gift from the soul; that it is an invitation to be more creative with your life. James Hillman, who is quoted above, writes about this idea in his book The Blue Fire.

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