I have noticed that the signs of death and the symptoms of depression are very similar. I think that they are related. Perhaps depression is a sign of the soul leaving the body. Perhaps the cure for depression is to find ways to get the soul to stay in the body – for the soul to find delight by being corporal.
I’ve heard that our souls choose to be here – that we want to be in a body. Souls are able to see and hear, but they cannot smell, taste, or touch. They cannot enjoy anything that comes with being in a body. They can’t enjoy the feeling from working in the garden or winning a race. They cannot enjoy the taste of home-made zucchini bread. They cannot make someone smile by bringing them a present “just because”.
Let us look at the signs of death that are also some of the symptoms of depression – Loss of appetite. Excessive fatigue and sleep, and increased weakness. Mental confusion or disorientation. Social withdrawal.
Here is a list of what you can do to help a person who is dying – Talk with the person gently and calmly. Assure her that she is loved, and that you will remember her. Let her know that her life mattered. She needs to know that you will be able to go on without her.
This all sounds like it could also be used to help a person who is depressed too. We all need to feel connected and that we matter. We need to feel like what we do has meaning. When someone is depressed, they feel alone. They feel like they are not part of the community. Even if they are in a group of people they feel separate.
Turning this around can be as simple as getting the person to get involved. Make an investment of time to call the person, take them out, help them to be part of the community. Volunteering helps. Doing art helps. Joining a club helps. People have to feel like they matter.
When you are depressed, everything seems grey. Food doesn’t taste good. Music sounds flat. All sensations are muted. It is like being in a huge hole, and you don’t even have the energy to get out.
I’ve learned that when I feel depression creeping up, I realize that I’ve not been doing what I know feeds my soul. I think of the soul as being a flame, and it is important to keep it burning bright. Getting regular exercise and eating healthy foods helps. Making time to be with friends helps. Making art helps.
Notice how these things are the opposite of the dying process.
Work on being more active – physically and socially. Work on the appetite by eating healthy, tasty food. Be mindful of how much sleep you get. Create a schedule and stick to it. Keep your mind active – take up a hobby. Learn something new. You can combine some of these by teaching someone a skill you have.
Maybe I’ve got the cause and the effect backwards. Maybe the soul is trying to leave the body because it isn’t getting the nourishment it needs from that body. “Nourishment” means more than just vitamins and minerals. When we sit around all day doing nothing, have meaningless lives, or eat unhealthy food, we are damaging our bodies and then by extension – our souls. When we keep to ourselves and don’t make time to connect with the community by having friends or feeling like we belong or matter, we don’t need to be in a body.
Perhaps the soul is trying to leave the body because it feels like this body isn’t serving it. Turn that around by reengaging with the body.