Forget Being Free of Depression - Start Living Now!
by Gillian Pearce
A friend once remarked I was a wonderful role model for how to live a great life despite suffering from depression. At the time, I was unable to see the value in that since, the ultimate goal is to be depression free - isn't it? Suffering from depression means we're flawed, right? It means there's something wrong with my life in which case, what is there to be proud of?
After several trips out of depression and then descending into the pit of despair over and over again I began to wonder whether or not I'd ever be completely free of depression and, more importantly, whether or not it really matters.
Nowadays I'm able to see that:
~ Suffering or not suffering from depression is not what's important
~ How I respond to what occurs in my life (including depression) is
Given that 75% of depression sufferers cycle back into depression at some point, it makes more sense to learn to enjoy your life despite depression rather than endlessly waiting for this wonderful time when you will never be depressed again.
The common model of depression and cure is based on an overly simplistic 2 phase model where: Phase I - You're Depressed - or - Phase II - You're Not Depressed
The ultimate aim is to get from I to II and stay there. Then you can live happily ever after.
There's a major flaw with this type of thinking however:
~ How do you know when it is time to live happily ever after?
~ How do you know for certain you are completely free of depression?
The reality is that we can never guarantee that we are or will be depression free.
Given this, I've devised a new strategy based on the following 3 phase model.
~ Phase I - Depressed
~ Phase II - Period of Remission
~ Phase III - Depression Free
At first sight this might appear discouraging. The thought of living your whole life with the spectre of depression is not a happy one. But I believe that the 3 phase model actually increases your chances of becoming Depression free. Notice how Phase II and Phase III look the same. Even, if you never get to Phase III, you can still have a wonderful life.
Finding yourself at Phase I is a backward experience if you're living according to the 2 stage model. While you are depression free you feel successful and positive. Slipping back into depression makes you feel you've failed again and thus adds to your depression.
However, finding yourself at Phase I in the 3 stage model is a positive experience. You have an opportunity to learn some more and move another step closer to being depression free in phase III. All you need to do is learn to handle the depression differently. Model 1 is Outcome driven. Model 2 is Process driven. And that difference is important. The key is to enjoy the process of your life as you work towards the outcome of being depression free - instead of waiting for the outcome before you can enjoy the process!
© Gillian Pearce
Gillian Pearce is a Personal and Business Coach and creator of the '7 Steps to a Depression Free Life' Coaching Program.