I just listened to this song, thanks to a friend’s post. I had such a sweet time of worship. Life can be so challenging. We feel overwhelmed and incapable. At times we wonder if we can make it one more step. The answer today is: Yes!
Posts Tagged With: answers for depression
For starters, guilt is not an emotion, it is a state of being. For the average person it may seem that I am splitting hairs, but for the therapy world, it’s helpful to know the difference. If you are sick, you don’t necessarily need to know that much about your body to describe it to your doctor; however, your doctor better know details about human anatomy and system functions in order to treat you. Emotions generally fall into four categories: joy, anger, sadness and fear. Notice guilt isn’t one of them, nor is shame, the paralyzing cousin of guilt. The common denominator of emotions and most states of being is they are all centered in your brain. Each is a result of thoughts. The thoughts are generally a reaction to an outside stimulus, either in the moment or any amount of time later.
Guilt is a function of our brain when we have done something wrong or something we perceive is wrong. This function helps shape us to move toward the common good rather than just benefitting ourselves. Guilt is imperative for the health of a community. A person with Antisocial Personality Disorder (Sociopath) sees himself as above the law in all respects. He does not feel guilt or remorse for his actions. Without guilt, we have an ‘It’s all about me” attitude. Every person has this attitude some of the time but those with Antisocial Personality Disorder have it in nearly all circumstances. This can be taught or it can be a malfunction of the brain; some people with Antisocial Personality Disorder are a result of their environment, some are a result of DNA and some are a result of a combination of both.
Guilt is often misunderstood. Some see it as bad, but it’s not. No more than the emotions of anger, sadness or fear. These functions of our brain help us live in community in a healthy way through being authentic and connecting with others. When we eliminate any one of them, we damage ourselves and healthy interactions. The movie, Inside Out portrayed this beautifully.
Your first action is to notice your guilt. Ask yourself some questions about it. What did I do that I am feeling guilty? What is the standard by which I am measuring my actions? Does this system make sense – is it in the best interest of both myself and the common good? What if someone else is telling you that you did something wrong, but you don’t see it that way? Find out what that person’s reasoning is. Is it for both the good of you and the common good or is it some arbitrary set of rules that don’t make any sense?
Next week I’ll continue this series with how to process your guilt in a healthy way that leads to restoration.
The very first post on this blog was an article I did not write. The woman setting up my social media outlets simply found an article that seemed informative to help me get things going. No harm intended and I actually appreciate her help. The article inspired one reader to share her critique of the article which got me to thinking: I’ll write my own view of depression. So here it goes.
Depression can be a bit of a slippery fish. Its origins vary from life experiences to physiological to even a combination of both. It can come and go without notice. It can hang on for interminably long periods of time. Sometimes it responds to medication and people report “getting their life back.” Sometimes the quest for the most effective drug can seem worse than the depression itself. There are people who find that “the power of positive thinking” actually helps. For others the mere thought of changing their perception of things catapults them into even deeper depression. There are no simple answers when it comes to depression.
Some may disagree with me. I have found in my life as a counselor that “always” and “never” have no place in the world of psychology. It seems there are more theories and therapeutic strategies than one can master in a lifetime. There are specialties that come just short of promising a cure. In this field, therapists are advised not to offer a cure because, as we all know, every person is unique and the reasons for their particular issue complicated by that fact. Not to mention that the brain, though far more understood now than in years past, posits a vast realm of mystery.
Therapists want to be able to free clients from the pain that cripples and paralyzes them. Most of us are in this field because we genuinely care about people and want to present what limited knowledge we have to improve their quality of life. In my experience, the one constant I can offer, is myself. My presence, my heart, my compassion and understanding. For my most profoundly depressed clients, that is the one thing that seems to help. Not overnight. There is talking and listening, and often there are tears. Sometimes there are skills involved and sometimes not. I encourage being gentle with yourself. Allowing the depression to be there. To understand it as a part of you but not necessarily as something that defines you. I can’t promise that these will “cure” depression. What I believe is that sometimes a portion of relief is found in someone sitting across from you confirming what you already know: there are no simple answers.