THE BLOG
10/31/2016 10:11 pm ET Updated Nov 01, 2017

Depression as a Starting Point for Change

It takes guts to admit to yourself that things aren't going really well. It takes courage to talk to your nearest and dearest friends about the difficulties that you're going through. There is certain stigma in society, built upon the foundation of an egotistical thinking, which implies that having problems -- being depressed -- is a sign of weakness.

Research shows that in America, the main cause of stress in a household is associated with stress at the workplace. Dealing with lousy managers, lazy coworkers, and being exposed to a pressurizing environment will undoubtedly start to take a toll on you.

The world, in this regard, can certainly share a similar sentiment: we're living in the dark ages of economic and emotional stability, even equality for that matter.

Becoming an adult.

Although depression, anxiety, and social stigma exist during the period of adolescence, the aftermath starts to become visible only after a certain age, perhaps at a time in your life when you're being exposed to a larger number of adults who are not only dealing with their own stresses, but manage to provoke difficult emotions within yourself; all of which are associated with the things that have happened to you in the past.

It takes a certain determination to switch depression off, to use it as a tool for growth, rather than a tool for self-sabotage.

The answer lies in the question.

It's easy to numb your pain. It's easy to go out for drinks, to cry about your problems and then forget about them momentarily. It's easy to reinforce anger and sadness by rehashing the same experience in your mind a thousand times. It never did any good to me, so I can't image it doing any good for anyone else. Numbing pain is not the answer for finding a solution as to why you're depressed in the first place. If I learned anything from spending several years in lonely solitude, it's this: the answers to your depressive behaviors and patterns lie within you, not somewhere in the external world.

When you prepare dinner for yourself, and your family, why did you do it? Was it because you love them, or because it's something that needs to be done every single day as part of life? What if the core reason for doing it was the fact that humans need to feed their hunger, a quintessential part of the human life is to nourish the body with food. So, if you can find the core reason for needing food, can you not do the same for finding the ultimate reason for your depression?

Why am I depressed?

Just by asking a simple question, without judging yourself, it's possible to hear the underlying reason for why you're feeling a certain way. Whenever I'm going through a difficult time, that is my ultimate question to ask myself, because unless I do -- I find myself drifting away deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of an endless loop that starts to creep up on my awareness as some sort of a hatred machine for everything around me.

What to do with the answer.

You might be wondering, what's next? What comes next after getting the answer? It's simple, what comes next is internal change in how you approach your depressive behaviors, fears and anxieties about anything in the external world. It's unprecedented how many of us have become professional suppressors of our own emotions, yet all it takes is to bring awareness into that which is driving us crazy, and within that split moment things start to change immediately.

The ego begins to lose its grip over what has happened in the past, because you're starting to actively seek a solution, you're seeking the underlying root cause for the emotions that you're feeling.

During my teenage years, I developed the habit of being a bully. I bullied people because it was "fun", my close friends liked to do it as well, and I didn't really know any better. Then a few years later, I found myself on the other side of the coin, and became a target for others to bully me. At that time, things like karma or cause and effect never crossed my mind, but now in my mid-20's it is starting to make a lot more sense.

I had built this pitch-perfect picture in my mind of how another person should appear, and if he wasn't living up to those insane standards I was in the position to condemn him for not having the same luxuries as I did, of which I had very little regardless.

Pain stores itself in your body, your subconscious.

Our past experiences shape our present moment, the more we hold on to those experiences the less we get to experience of that which is already here in this moment. The more difficult our past experiences, and the less we invest to resolve emotions associated with them, the less joyful becomes the present moment. It's a time tested theory, yet we're still learning to navigate this concept for the purpose of becoming a better version of ourselves. In society today, it's hard to really take time for yourself to rejuvenate and heal, without having someone yell at the back of your mind that what you're doing is stupid, and pointless.

The irony lies in the fact that whoever does condemn you, for your humble choice to change, is likely to be dealing with emotional pain himself. My life changed completely at the age of 20, my old life had ran its course and I began to dedicate myself to mindfulness and meditation as a daily thing. It took my parents 3 years to accept that things have changed in my life, it has taken some of my friends to this day to learn how to let go of a version of me that is no longer there.

Yet, such is the journey of life. We, you, have the choice as to whether we want to hold onto things, or learn from them -- to accept the inevitable and push forward in a new direction.

Change will always start within.