That’s right. Befriending depression.
Does that sound odd to you? If so, you are not alone. Many people are trying their best to get as far away from their depression as they can. But running from depression sets up resistance and there is that old saying, “Whatever you resist, you are stuck with.”
I am going to suggest here that you try “befriending depression” to see what kind of results you get. If you find yourself resisting what is happening with you, why not give the “befriending depression” approach a try? By asking you to befriend your depression, I mean to actually embrace it, put your arm around it and welcome it like you would a long lost friend. Ask your depression if there is anything that it would like to tell you. Then listen as your depression speaks to you.
Listen and Hear What Your Depression Has to Say
Usually with depression, there is a message there FOR you, not against you; valuable information that you can use for your healing, growth and learning. So it is important that you ask it, as you would a friend, what it wants you to know, then LISTEN to what your depression has to tell you.
Recently, as I was listening to what my depression had to tell me, it took the form of a little boy who was simply wanting to tell me that he wanted to have more fun and to be loved just for who he was. When I finally heard him and responded in love and acceptance and told him that we will have more fun and “I do love you”, the depression suddenly lifted. This was the main message I needed to hear at that time.
The idea here is to create a safe place for yourself and your depression. Love yourself. Love your depression. Listen to what it wants to tell you. Communicate. Bring understanding to yourself and your situation and see if you find yourself viewing things differently than you did before.
Befriending Depression: Getting the Message That Makes the Shift
You will know when you get the message you are most needing to hear at this time, because you will experience a shift for the better in how you feel. You may find as you do this process that other voices will attempt to chime in and over-ride the voice that you really need to hear. In my case, several other voices chimed in first, one telling me that I needed to have more social life and another that I needed to get to work on the things that I said I was going to do pertaining to my practice, all of which was good advice at the time. But when I heard those voices and what they were telling me, no shift occurred. So I knew I needed to keep going until I got to the message that would actually result in the shift I was seeking.
The Value of Staying Neutral
It is so important as you do this process that you stay in a neutral, loving place with yourself and all that you are observing. You will find that if you move into judgment towards yourself for any reason, that you will effectively block the process and not experience the shift you were seeking. To move out of the judgment, simply forgive yourself for judging yourself, move back into that place of loving acceptance and continue on.
I encourage you to try this befriending depression approach and see what kind of results you get.
About Dan Kendrick
Dan Kendrick is a Psychotherapist who practices in Longmont, Colorado. Dan specializes in depression treatment, couples counseling and relationship counseling.