How To Rise Above Pain And Depression
by Ruby Bayan
You made a mistake, so you curse yourself to the ground. Your partner had a change of heart, so you wallow in despair. You were hit by a setback, so you decidedly quit altogether. And that’s it. End of the world.
But look again. Life goes on.
One thing is definite, the past is gone. No one can relive it. As much as the happiness and the triumphs of the past are gone, so are the failures and the pain. All behind us. Dwelling on the pain and giving in to depression wastes the present and destroys all chances of building a better future.
So what do you do at the first sign of depression? Talk to a friend or loved one. Ask him or her if your priorities and perspectives are justified. Are they even rational? If they don’t seem to be, are your feelings normal? The important thing is for you to have someone to help you work the emotions through – someone who will understand that the pain is unbearable, but who will also help you realize that what’s done is done.
When you’ve aired your grief, reflect. Ask yourself, “What can I do so that I don’t make the same mistake?” or “What inner wisdom have I gained to guard myself from getting hurt again?” or “What should I be working on today to become a happier person?”
Bouts with pain and depression are tormenting experiences, compounded by fear and anger. Altogether, these negative forces can bear down and render the most optimistic person doubtful of his strengths and capabilities. The solution: positive thinking.
I have an old poster with a quote from Virgil, “They can because they think they can”. No amount of money, training, genetics, prayer, or persuasion can move a man to do something he thinks he can’t do. On the other hand, no one can dispute the adage, “If there’s a will, there’s a way”. Firm, positive commitments like “I will” and “I can”, instead of “I’ll try”, generate the energies required to make things happen.
If you can totally eradicate the negative adjectives (such as weak, slow, poor, ugly, fat, dependent, broke, sickly, stupid, afraid, messy) from your mind’s description of yourself, you can build a more enthusiastic, optimistic inner self which can lead you to happiness.
After you’ve convinced yourself that you're a winner, sit down and plot your course. Where exactly do you want to go? Yes, your goals in life. Goals give you a target to aim at – a future – a reason to get out of bed.
And the final ingredient: Faith. Have faith in yourself. Trust yourself to remain true to your feelings, steadfast in your desire to reach your goals, and determined to never settle for second best.
Believe in yourself. So that whatever life throws at you, you can catch it with strength of spirit and you can move on – wiser, happier, and more at peace with yourself.
[First published at Lifeline Magazine, 1999]