Unpresent and Very, Very Depressed

Do you want a fantastic recipe for depression?

Spend all day trapped in your head being jostled from one thought to another without ever stopping to notice where you are and what’s actually happening Right Now.

Depression arises from a million and one factors, and most of these factors have more to do with the past or future than with where we are right now in the present.

If you are currently struggling with depression, then I’d be willing to wager that you could stand to cultivate your relationship with Right Now. Become more present and stop listening to the mental confusion that drags you back to the past and forward to the fearful future.

Depression as Disconnection

Depression is merely feedback that something is amiss.

In this series on the Roots of Depression, I’m tracing some of the many places from which depression springs.

One of the quickest ways to begin uprooting your Depression is for you to become fully focused on holding yourself in the present. Become fully committed to being wherever you are as fully as possible.

This is not easy. It is surprisingly hard, in fact.

The present is relentless–and the battle to remain in the present is always on.

However, the present is also all there is. Past is fiction. Future is fantasy. Your natural cure for depression lies, always, Right Now.

Techniques for Presencing

Your breath connects you to the present. Place your awareness on your breathing without altering its natural rhythm. Just watch it–you’re watching it in the present.

Your heartbeat connects you to the present. Observe the steady beat of your heart in your chest. Feel it pulsing within you. Your heartbeat drums its rhythm, always, in the present.

Look at whatever is in front of you. Just notice your surroundings. Don’t let your mind grab you and send you off into thoughts about what all the things you see mean. Just observe. Notice. Watch. You’re seeing all of this in the present.

Feel the sensations in your body. Feel your depression, if you’re feeling depressed right now. Feel the tightness in your chest, the pain in your neck, the glow of warmth all over that declares you’re alive. Your body dwells in the present. Stay with it and love it for guiding you back to Now.

Meditation can help you train yourself to remain more fully in the present.

Yoga can help you get your workout in while also developing your capacity for staying more and more fully in The Now.

When you’re with friends or family or co-workers or random people you’ve only just met, place all of your attention on them and noticing their movements, their contours, their eyes–be in the present with them and watch and see.

Depression is Hard, Brutal, Debilitating and Chronic

Sometimes, the problem with depression is that we’re taking it, and ourselves, too seriously.

Yes, depression is serious business. It causes people to suffer and, sometimes, resort to drastic measures to try and reduce that suffering.

However, there is an easier way out of the intractable prison of depression.

Open up to wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Be there fully. Invest all of yourself in this moment. Stop hiding from the world and start showing up with as much presence as you can manage.

Depression is a disease where past and future overtake presence. The antidote is more presence.

You will rarely hear this taught by therapists or psychiatrists. My encounters with psychiatrists, for some reason, always involved discussions of drugs and dosage.

What if your depression is a loud and clear clarion call from the center of your being out to that part of you that has fallen asleep at the wheel? Wake up, stay present and cultivate your capacity for observing whatever thoughts, feelings and experiences arise for you right now in the present.

It may not be sexy, but disconnection from the Now is absolutely one of the deepest Roots of Depression. Reestablish your presence ever more fully and watch how your depression responds.

8 Responses to Unpresent and Very, Very Depressed
  1. lara
    January 15, 2012 | 8:40 am

    i would just like to say thank you. im severly depressed right now and just reading a lot of your things on your site has made me feel better already and i have hope that i will get better thanks to you. thank you, so much.

    • Editor
      January 29, 2012 | 6:44 pm

      Hi Lara,

      Thank you for sharing your comment. I’m grateful to know that some of this stuff is proving helpful.

      Sometimes, it’s good just to know that there are other people out there going through similar things to what we’re going through. I have hope you’ll get better as well. Thank you again for stopping and sharing your comment. It means a lot.

  2. Christina
    February 6, 2012 | 4:29 pm

    I just happened upon your site the other day as I was searching for natural ways to deal with depression. I have been feeling tired, unmotivated, and just generally blah for a long time. It has seemed to get worse and worse. So I found your site and now I am slowing changing my eating habits and trying to figure this all out. Thank you for this site, it is so nice to not have to deal with high pressure pill talk and the focus on the all natural is a blessing. Thank you!!!

    • Editor
      February 11, 2012 | 4:08 am

      Hi Christina,

      Thank you for sharing this. The natural can indeed be a blessing–best of luck to you and keep us posted with how you’re doing.

  3. Patrick
    February 7, 2012 | 10:46 pm

    Wow! If any of this actually worked, depression wouldn’t even be a problem. Thanks for more worthless info. Diet and yoga?! If that cures you, you never had a problem to begin with.

    • Editor
      February 11, 2012 | 4:11 am

      Patrick, I respectfully disagree. Changing diet and following a steady and disciplined spiritual practice (whether yoga or something else) is in no way easy. Which is why most people eat rather poorly and don’t have a practice that they follow regularly over the long haul.

      What’s worked for me (and many others) may not work for you. And that’s okay. What has worked for you?

  4. maria
    March 10, 2012 | 3:30 pm

    Do u have any tips for manic depression? Any help would be very much appreciated. I don’t want to take medicine for the rest of my life. I have low self image

  5. Cheryl
    March 11, 2012 | 4:12 am

    I believe I’ve been somewhat depressed for the greater part of my life. However, discovering that my spouse has been unfaithful has cause my depression to worsen. Along with trying to live each day, those of you that are depressed know what a mean. If I didn’t breath on my own, it would be a bother sometimes. I have sought therapy, useless at least for me, I have prayed, I am taking St. John’s Wort, practicing yoga, watching my diet and limiting my wine intake. Some days life is not worth living, but I manage to make it through another day, not sure why I’m here or what my purpose is. I’ve never written this words for others to hear/read. It’s informative to know that I am not alone, but I am sadden to know that others feel or have felt the way I am feeling.
    I pray/hope for better days for all of us.

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