Grieve – then move onArts
“If we hesitate to swallow the bitter losses time inevitably brings us, we cannot enter fully into our humanity. Depression, boredom, neurosis, melancholia are all in differing degrees the refusal to accept loss, to mourn, and to begin again.”
Sam Keen: Inward Bound
There seem to be two basic schools of thought on the subject of depression. To over-simplify, many motivational experts believe that depression is an unnecessary distraction from pursuing your goals, while many psychological and spiritual counselors believe it can be a powerful signal from your subconscious that changes are needed. I think of it as depression of the ego versus depression of the soul.
Here’s one way of viewing your own depression: If it relates to fundamental questions of who you are and what you do, it might be depression of the soul, which should be carefully considered. If, on the other hand, the depression is related to how badly you think you’ve been treated or how hard you’re having to work, it’s probably depression of the ego, which should be transformed into more rational thinking.
Listen to depression of the soul. It could keep you from making a major career mistake. For example, if you find yourself getting depressed whenever you think about all those phone calls you’ve been meaning to make in your search for another job as an accountant, explore whether it’s merely laziness or fear (depression of the ego) or whether your heart is weeping at the prospect of another stint crunching numbers when it really longs to be working with children (depression of the soul).
Depression of the soul could also signal a deeper disturbance – a questioning of your secular, material life and a longing for a more meaningful Quest, a spiritual awakening. Depression of the soul can be anesthetized by finding a new job, putting money in the bank, and filling time with busy work and pleasant distractions. It can only be healed by an introspective and probably painful and lengthy inner searching process.
Don’t try to tough it out if depression or some other disorder is interfering with your career planning and job search. Seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist might help you maintain your objectivity and give you a new perspective. If your physician recommends anti-depressant medication, don’t reject the advice without careful thought and research. For some people, it can be like a tow truck that pulls a car out of a ditch, to be discontinued when the wheels are rolling again.
On the other hand, depression of the ego is often just a synonym for self-pity, for playing the role of the victim. If that’s what you’re experiencing – get over it.