Why do people get depressed?

Feeling low and anxious is something everyone experiences at times. Suffering from depression is not the same thing. Depression leads to a loss of interest in things that would ordinarily give us pleasure. A frequent account is: “Playing with my children used to be a source of great joy for me. But now I go through the motions. I feel nothing. I am numb.“Everything feels a terrible struggle. Even the simplest of tasks that I used to enjoy doing” is another narrative.

It seems that there comes a time when our inner wisdom says: “enough! Something needs to change; but I don’t know what!” Bringing about change from this place is very difficult. A non-judgmental and compassionate guide can provide the safe harbour to take stock.

Whatever the apparent cause of our depression, in my experience, at the heart of all depression (other than pathological disorders) lies a search for meaning and life purpose- it’s a life not fully lived, craving something. As such, depression is not about wanting to give up- though it feels like it. It’s often a time of transformation. Going from a life that no longer serves us, to a life that is authentically ours.

Maybe we are in the wrong job or career. Maybe our various relationships need to be reassessed with a fresh perspective. And maybe we no longer want what we wanted in the past.

Instead of seeing depression as a disease, we can see it as a sign of health. That our system wants to heal from the past wounds and stop the associated pain and suffering. This requires us to attend to ourselves. We need to listen to the voices inside that have been ignored.