A Better Way to Counter Depression
Depression, according to recent statistics, is practically an epidemic, with over 70 million people suffering from its affects, such as a feeling of moroseness, uselessness, lack of energy, inability to sleep, and a poor attitude toward life in general, among other symptoms. Depression causes a pessimistic view of things. It also discourages enthusiasm and stifles one’s initiative. It may also produce despair and bring about sickness in the mind and body. It can make one resort to rash and thoughtless actions that a person may later regret. Much of the time such thoughts are completely unnecessary. Thus, it is imperative that we help cure depression so that people can live with more happiness, ingenuity, energy, and are thus able to reach a higher potential in life.
The reason for depression may be different for each person, and there are a variety of causes. So it must be analyzed and understood. So what can we do to help cure such an attitude, as long as it is not a biological problem?
Spiritually, there are many ways to help take care of this condition. So let us take a deeper look at this.
Causes of Depression:
Physical, Biological or Medical Factors
- There are physical factors such as digestive problems, diabetes, anaemia, or other diseases which cause discomfort. This will naturally cause a lacklustre mental disposition. Having parasites is another biological factor that will deplete a person of their energy and well-being.
- Sometimes the diet will also cause depression. There may be a lack of vitamins and proper nutrition. Or there may be too much of something, like sugar, which can also cause highs and lows in blood sugar levels which will certainly create changing mood shifts.
- There is also the depression that new mothers may feel right after giving birth to a child. The hormones are often quite imbalanced at that time and a new mother may feel a multitude of changing feelings about things.
- A weak nervous system, or overwork and tension are also causes of a depleted mental disposition. And a negative attitude itself can cause further digression in one’s outlook on life.
- It is often seen that something as simple as the weather or a cloudy day can cause melancholy and depression.
- One’s social status that may be viewed as unsatisfactory may also cause one to feel dejected.
- Sometimes a young girl in one ethnic group may be attracted to a boy from another group and then be very depressed and disappointed because such an arrangement would never be approved by the parents.
- Having a husband that forces the wife to be or remain alienated from their surroundings or from family and society will also cause loneliness and depression in such a woman. This is also found amongst certain ethnic groups or religions.
- Associating with other negative people or listening to music with dark lyrics or messages, will also cause a person to have a most negative outlook.
- Being a victim of a burglary or robbery, or losing everything in a fire, tornado, hurricane, or similar causes.
Psychological or Emotional Factors
- There may also be the recollection of bad habits or mistakes that we wish we could have corrected or had never done that still haunt our memory with guilt.
- Emotions that are aroused such as anger, revenge, jealousy, and envy will also affect a morbid state of mind.
- The inability to face difficulties or worries about the future can also bring depression. Unnecessary fear and anxiety will also cause despair.
- Other unknown causes such as curses that have been cast can affect one negatively.
- There are other subtle influences, such as ghostly beings, that may affect a person in the wrong way.
- Disappointment in, or the perceived neglect from, one’s spiritual master or religious organization that a person may belong to if things do not go well, can also cause deep scars and depression that can affect a person for years.
These are a few of the causes that may bring about a feeling of depression or misery in a person. And what is worse, if the depression is not remedied, then it can escalate to feelings of suicide. When a person in despair feels that all of their basic defences are broken and there is no one to turn to, nor can they find a comforting voice to console or support them, then they may conclude that there is no way out but through death. But it must be understood that suicide is never the end. And suicide, and the state of mind that one has to compel one to commit suicide, is never a way for progressing into the next realm. Death is never the final act. It only opens the door to additional challenges that must be met or endured, depending on how one leaves their body.
Suicide and Reactions that follows:
Depression is very common today, and almost everyone goes through it at some point in life. Many are not able to overcome this negative state of mind. They seek medical and psychiatric treatment, and in extreme cases even resort to suicide, thinking that such a step will solve all of their problems or allow them to escape from life.
All the Vedic scriptures and sages of the East and the West have vehemently condemned the act of suicide. They declare emphatically that absolutely nothing is solved or gained by getting rid of the physical body by force. On the other hand, the results of suicide are disastrous in the extreme.
Scientists and psychologists today, researching in psychic phenomena, have corroborated some of the teachings of the sages. The sages state that at the time when the soul is to depart from the body, the dying person sees, as on a cinema screen, all the actions done by him during the present lifetime, from childhood up to the moment of death. And from all these varied scenes, the most prominent one arrests and engages the soul’s attention, and the soul leaves the physical body in that state of consciousness.
If there is intense attachment to someone or something, then the soul will depart with that person’s image in mind. Intense hatred means that the hated person’s image will remain in the mind as the predominant thought or image at the time of death.
A person who had been strongly addicted to liquor and drugs will leave the body with thoughts of liquor and drugs, or the desire for more intoxication. Sometimes they leave the body while under the influence of intoxicants, which has a most regressive affect on entering the next realm. On the other hand, a person who had lived a pious and virtuous life, with thoughts of God, will depart from the body with thoughts of God. The last thoughts determine the conditions and nature of the next birth. This is what the sages have said about the phenomenon of death.
This argument seems reasonable because the last dominant thought in our mind at the time when we just drop off to sleep can often be the thought that dominates our mind the next morning. It is for this reason that we are advised to sing the Divine Names of God or hymns at the time of death in order to focus the attention of the dying person on holy and noble thoughts.
It is needless to add that if the soul departs from the body with thoughts of anger, hatred, jealousy, worry and fear, or in a state of great mental turmoil, then such thoughts and agitation will be carried over and immediately experienced in that realm also. In fact, this state of mind will help determine which realm we go to next. That is why sages say that suicide does not solve anything whatsoever. On the contrary, it makes the condition of the soul much worse.
They give an analogy to explain this truth. When we experience a nightmare during sleep, we wake up abruptly with a shock. But we feel a sense of relief at the same time, because the consciousness has rushed back to the refuge of the physical body. In suicide the soul does not have a physical body to return to as in the case of a nightmare. Hence, it undergoes great misery and suffering, perhaps more than during its sojourn in the physical body. Furthermore, it is said that such a soul has to roam about as a ghost for a long time contemplating his misfortune for the foolishness of killing himself. Plus, you also leave others, such as parents or your children and friends, in so much pain as you leave them behind to suffer your absence, losing you, wondering what went wrong. This is also your responsibility for which you are accountable.