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Friday, June 23, 2006

Fighting Depression

No, I am not talking about a few hours of de-motivation. I am talking about weeks and months of depression specially in the mid-life: when it's frequent to wake up in the morning and say, "yet another boring day!"

Some of you might not be able to relate to anything in this post. I feel glad for you. For others, let me tell you that I never thought it could happen to me. Yet, such has been my state for the last 4 years, and now I acknowledge that I feel helpless. There is nothing particularly wrong with me but there is nothing right either. A major part of this feeling has arisen from my quest for the truth. I have learnt to despise glamour and worldly success at the expense of others' suffering. But, combined with a few other issues of life, this quest had a side affect: I have lost interest in life.

A similar situation is reported by the author of The Power of Now. Though I dislike the book due to excessive repetition but some of the ideas are very much worth reading: When do you feel the happiest? Try to think for a moment. Perhaps, when you have put your headphones on and are listening to an excellent piece of music; or when you are listening to somebody you truly love/ respect; or when you are narrating some extra ordinary experience and people listen in pin drop silence. What's common in all these situations?

It's NOW which is the common element. In all these activities you forget the past and the future. You just concentrate on here and now.

I, for one, do too much self analysis. I have now realized that I have been over-ambitious, which in itself is not bad as long as you don't evaluate yourself too often. I was reading an article a few weeks ago and the author gave the example of a child: does a child evaluate himself thinking that if he doesn't learn to walk by the age of 18 months, he would be a complete failure? Certainly not. It's just that children know that they have to learn. They keep on trying without ever giving the "time factor" a thought. Whenever you lack something, time should be spent on improving things rather than creating a negative energy field around you.

Depression is caused by the feeling of being helpless: when you feel that you don't have control over your life. I was going through Joel's list of must reads and I came across Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death. I am looking forward to getting hold of this book. Till then, I have just three-points advice for myself:
  • Concentrate on NOW; it's the only time when you can do something to improve things
  • Improve and don't spend time on excessive evaluation; read Fire and Motion
  • It's OK to loose and not being the best; there are plenty of other things that are worth doing (as simple as teaching a child how to read and write) and they could make you equally happy

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