"Why do you stay in prison when the door is wide open? " -- Jalal ad-Din Rumi, Persian poet and mystic
Depression is not real. It is something that exists in people's minds. It can not be seen or touched or identified by sight or spirit in the real word. It's all in people's heads. Psychiatrists, in stereotypical attempts to make what they do look relevant, identify endless causes for depression, and for each cause there is an unnecessarily complex solution. My contention is that there is but one true cause, and it has to do with your centre.
I just feel sad. My career isn't going well. My kids don't talk to me. My dad was an alcoholic. I hate my job. I hate my life. I'm fat. I'm ugly. I don't have many friends. People don't like me ... are the sort of typical comments that we hear from the depressed. Nowhere in there is there a mention of other people. It's all about you.
As humans we get in this state of sadness over very real psychological issues and we think about them endlessly, feeding them and making them worse than they ever needed to be. This creates emotions and chemical reactions in the body that doctors diagnose as 'depression'.
Doctors see depression as a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes negative thoughts, but this is not actually the case. There are chemical imbalances, yes, but they are caused by negative thoughts, not the other way around. Doctors will prescribe you medication to correct the chemical imbalances, thinking it will therefore correct your thoughts. What you actually need is to correct your thoughts, and you will in turn correct your chemical imbalances. Think positive and you will feel positive.
Why in poor countries are reported rates of depression significantly less than in western countries? We have everything, they have nothing. You'd think that somebody who doesn't have food for their family would feel pretty fucking depressed, yet no, it's the western businessman with everything who feels depressed. The superficial reasons could be many, but ultimately it comes down to one thing: the poor man doesn't have the time to sit there thinking about himself. The poor man spends his time trying to feed himself and/or his family. This gives his daily life meaning, and it removes that infamous word 'I' from his thoughts.
If you're depressed my advice to you is to stop thinking about what you want, what you don't have or what others have. Focus on something greater than yourself, be happy for what you have and what you are and cherish it. Remove the word 'I' from your vocabulary and you will find a happiness that you haven't felt since you were a child.
Cherish the smallest moments that life offers, like sitting under a tree on a beautiful day, the breeze against your skin, with not a thought in the world. Remember that by focussing on yourself and your 'depression' you're making life harder on you and on those who love you. They have to deal with your self-inflicted bullshit the same way you do. It's not fair on you and it's not fair on them, and at the end of it all, when you do snap yourself out of it and 'suddenly' feel better, the truth will come to light. And that truth?
Your depression was all in your head. It wasn't real. You were never actually depressed. You were just being selfish. And if you refuse to admit that you were simply being selfish, then you still are.
Due to the response this article has received I have written a follow-up. You can read it here. I also recommend reading the comments below.