Why are you unhappy and depressed?
I remember, as a young adult, hearing this term of “stress” for the first time… and not really knowing what it was.
Like our current trends of instant gratification and FOMO, stress was the hot trending topic.
I even remember watching a local news show documentary where this "new concept" of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was introduced.
LOL nowadays we need “trigger word warnings” on articles not to trigger people’s PTSD.
No one could really explain stress at the time, and I remember that making an impression on me.
Fast-forward 20 years later, and now everyone knows what stress is, along with depression and suicide - with some estimates stating that as many as 23% of the US population are on anti-depressants.
My how the world has changed.
As a former chronic sufferer of depression and suicide, along with epilepsy, which also causes mood fluctuations, I had also bought into the idea that these were medical issues, and that science had to have the answers.
This was chronic, inherent to my system, and I would always need help for it. A disease in other words.
And so I became addicted to believing I needed doctors and medicines to manage my disease.
But it never seemed to help.
I couldn’t break out of the cycle of depression… I’d get okay for a little while and then go crashing down again.
And so I really started investigating alternative routes, alternative healing, and while I got some relief, it wouldn’t last.
And so I got serious about sorting out my life through my spiritual journey, and I learned a lot along the way about what was making me depressed.
A few years later, I’m now in a place where stuff like that - and most illness in fact - can’t touch me. It certainly would not shake my peace of mind.
The good news? It’s possible for you to get there too.
The bad news? It’s going to require you relooking at every single aspect of your life - and accepting that it’s the life you’re choosing that is making you depressed.
You were born into this world, and while you have been offered the illusion of choice, the range of options available to you are limited by the accepted rules of the society in which we operate.
So, in plain english, there are things you think are ‘normal’, ‘everyday’ and ‘acceptable’, just because you grew up with them around you.
If you grew up in a mainstream Western culture, then monogamy is your norm. But if you’d grown up as a devout Muslim, or as a Mormon, having sister wives and polygyny would be your norm too.
One of the most disturbing recent examples I found was the Hampstead Kids Pizzagate interviews… these kids have been raised with Satanic and pedophilic practices by their father, and when you listen to them, they speak of being raped repeatedly by adults and drinking blood as if it were the most normal thing to do.
So many of the aspects of your life are driven by what you grew up thinking was normal - this is why you see cycles of patterns passed down along family lines: abusers breed abusers, alcoholics breed alcoholics, and the devout breed the devout.
So what are the areas, that you think of as normal, that are actually causing challenges for you?
Relationships of obligation
Relationships of obligation are the relationships you are born into.
These are relationships where the person has a title that denotes the expectation of the relationship, e.g. a mother should care for and love her children and want the best for them.
The moment you think mother, you have all these ideas of what a mom should be, should do, how she should act.
There are tons of these titles in our lives: parents, cousins, siblings, grandparents; and we add a couple along the way, in friend, lover/partner and child. Eventually also boss and employer.
What they all have in common is that there is expectation built into them - expectations of behavior, actions, words, etc.
This expectation comes from both sides, and in many cases the relationship devolves into nothing more than meeting the minimum requirements of the expectation, in order to maintain the relationship.
So you do the minimum you have to do in order to keep the relationship going, e.g. We HAVE TO go see my parents this weekend. It’s been so many weeks since we last saw them, or We HAVE TO go to my parents/siblings for Christmas this year, or I MUST call my sister.
This turns the relationship into a chore. And a chore is just another task you add to your to do list - the one that’s already putting so much pressure on you.
Relationships of proximity
Many of our relationships of obligation actually form because they are relationships of proximity - we are around the person and so get to know them, forming a bond because of the shared time and experience we have passed together.
School and work are great examples of this… you know everyone there, and CHOOSE your friends… but you are limited to the people who are available to choose from, the people sharing the same space as you regularly.
This turns the relationship selection into an interview style… you pick the 'best candidate for the job' out of what is available to you to choose from.
So again, you don’t quite land up with the relationship you want - and so you’re not completely committed to it.
Fitting in and editing
In essence, what this means is that majority of the relationships you have in your life are not relationships you would have chosen, and are not really with people you honestly relate to. And most of them feel like a chore.
But we do it anyway, because life is all about people.
And by that I mean, you need people to like you in order to ensure you can stay alive.
People need to open doors for you, take a chance on you, and you need a network around you because everything in the world is people - even sales for your business.
So you edit yourself to fit in - basically ALL THE TIME.
You’re never yourself completely, because the way to ensure survival is likability (read more at http://lifecoachestoolbox.com/index.php/what-is-the-system ).
So you shave off parts of yourself to be likable, to fit into the "good enough” relationships of obligation and proximity around you, to ensure you don’t become an outcast.
When you bring it all down to a nutshell, it’s about external validation - we’re looking for society and those around us to deem us “good enough” to be trusted in a relationship, with children, with a job.
The problem here is that external validation needs to be constantly coming at you in order for this strategy to work - so the moment you hit a rough patch, and that person no longer approves of you being around, and so does not validate your worth by engaging in a relationship with you, then you feel a failure.
Ditto on “I can’t find a job” - no company will externally validate my worth. This is where the pressure of interviews comes from - you want the external validation of acceptance.
Ditto on “I can’t find a relationship.” And even on “I can’t have a child” - I have not been found worthy enough by my own body to have this relationship I desire with a child. My body does not validate me as a mother and so society does not accept me.
So without even realizing it, you start training yourself to make sure you stay acceptable to everyone… but when you’re taking everyone’s needs into account, there’s only a small place of overlap.
And so you land up living in that overlap zone, doing the few baseline things that nobody can get offended at.
No wonder you feel stifled, stuck and trapped. And it’s even littler wonder that you have communication issues in your relationships.
Medicine and health
Often, instead of getting introspective and starting to look at the aspects of our lives that are causing us unhappiness, we turn to medicine.
Because depression is a disease.
There are two ways the medicine impacts you - and the first is that it makes you reliant on the medication. It becomes a crutch.
Most importantly it becomes a crutch because each medicine you take lands up creating symptoms that you need another medication to solve. And many of the medications are designed to make you physically reliant on them, so addiction genuinely occurs.
Or at least violent symptoms occur in your body, when you try to to STOP taking the medicine. See how that works?
The second addiction and problem that forms, is addiction to medical advice - as you participate more and more in medicine, you buy further into the idea that you HAVE TO listen to what your doctor says, despite what you feel or think inside of you.
Accept this idea for long enough, and you are going to believe that you are powerless to change your circumstance, and that what you are experiencing is beyond your control.
So you see your doctor for fifteen minutes every few weeks or months, get a medication and brief advice, and then you’re on your own again.
Come 3 AM, when you really need the hands on help and advice, the doctor is not around - and you feel powerless and incompetent to make any decisions for yourself.
When people feel powerless, hopeless and incompetent is when they are most likely to throw in the towel, and want to commit suicide.
You don’t know how to rest
Among the many things that our strange society has left us unequipped to do, resting is the most bizarre.
We are a culture that craves entertainment and the things of holidays and weekends - it’s all supposed to be about our rest time.
In fact, we live in one of the most advanced societies on earth, and living conditions around the globe are pretty much better than they’ve ever been in world history - and yet we have nearly a quarter of the population on medication for depression.
We aren’t taught how to rest.
You take time off, but you don’t stop thinking about the things of your life… your bills, your obligations, the expectations placed on you.
We fill our lives with distractions and ways of keeping ourselves busy, but we are never taught the skills required to actually manage our thoughts.
And so you often get back to work even more tired than when you left, because at least work is a meditative state that allows your body to rest.
This is why you feel better at the start of a weekend too probably, lol :)
Entertainment is a distraction
Speaking of distraction, the things you think of as entertainment are designed to distract you - not entertain you.
So while you’re engaging in that game, at the casino, at the movies or whatever, your mind is full and busy, and you feel completely immersed in the experience.
But immediately afterwards, as you step out of the place, and are left with your own thoughts again, the boredom and silence of your mind sets in, or your inner voice starts to run rampant again.
In that moment of contrast, you feel empty, and so your system looks for the most recent experience where you did not feel empty - and you crave another dose of your distraction fix.
You’re only going to sort out the stuff inside you by going into those quiet spaces in your mind, and hearing your inner voice. And each time you resist hearing it - by filling your mind with distraction - it only becomes harder for you to face it at all.
Eventually, in your rush to get away from all that pain inside you, you start turning to deeper forms of distraction - ones that occupy you for hours. Think drugs, triathlons, excessive exercise and yoga, obsessive dieting or workaholics.
Each time you go out and participate you get more addicted to the distraction, and more dependent on it - until the cost of maintaining it becomes an additional pressure to deal with.
The content you’re consuming TELLS YOU you’re depressed
I’m a content producer and I’ve been that for years, and so I’ve gotten to see what content people use and what they engage with - and I haven’t been surprised to see how much people love these little online tests and gadgets.
They also love click bait style, sound bite filled articles that leave little real time to go into any depth at all.
Thirdly you have the rise of personal growth and self help stuff, alongside the LGBTQ movements, female empowerment and the suicide and depression league out there spreading content.
Each of these aspects on their own is not a killer in itself, but combined they are a lethal weapon, and what they’ve resulted in is engineered articles and tools that are designed to convince you that you need help.
In order to understand that, you need to know that almost all of the tools and pieces you see out there are some sort of PR thing… designed to bring in or retain customers and readers.
So they play to your worst fears in the hope that you will click through. They pick symptoms designed to be a common baseline experience, because that way MORE PEOPLE will relate to their articles or use their tool.
The point of the article or piece is usually to keep you engaged with the platform, and then to drive business by showing the writer as an expert. The tools simply exist to harvest email addressees for mailing lists.
In life, you rarely come across people like me, experts in an area doing their own marketing and digital work. So for example, when I build a tool, I do the expert spiritual/healing side of it AND I work out the actual delivery mechanism in the digital sphere.
In most cases, in fact, the expert sits on one side, and then the digital experts (usually a team) sit on the other, and then they try to create a tool as a marketing gimmick that will attract the MOST email addresses to harvest.
The expert provides the info, and a writer makes it palatable…so a writer can write a “respected” piece by referencing a whole bunch of scientific research. But again, the topics they focus in on are the ones most likely to draw ongoing traffic to their website.
Most of the marketing and media you consume today is designed to speak to your fears, and generate some sort of emotional response in you. Even in “positive” lifestyle ads showing what you can be, the fear inherent is that you are not that, and will never achieve it.
And your mainstream media are the worst at catering content that will keep you distracted and focused, and give you incorrect messaging.
And often that messaging is packaged into sound bite style info so that you feel like you’re growing smarter, but are not forced to focus for very long.
All of this messaging is designed to make your mind slower, and to make you feel like you have an issue so that you keep coming back for more.
The content you’re consuming makes you depressed
Beyond that content, there is the rest of the content you’re consuming - and even fiction is FULL of the drama and chaos of life.
Nobody wants to watch a movie about a quiet hermit who lived a life of peace, calmly interacting with animals, slowly learning a few skills, and spending a lot of time in quiet contemplation.
So instead you watch a gory adventure or action film; a sexy romance, which of course requires a break up, because boys meets girl, it all goes well and they all live happily ever after doesn’t exactly make the greatest storyline does it?
Throw in a sinking passenger liner, one of the worst mass casualties we’ve had in history, the deaths of hundreds by drowning and hypothermia, a love that could never be, and then a love that ends a few weeks after meeting with the untimely death of the romantic hero… now you have Titanic - the greatest love story of our time.
You don’t watch a movie about the guy who calmly accepted his wife’s death and his lot in life, said a prayer of gratitude and moved on… but you’ll watch the movie about the tormented father who rips his family apart and commits murder, or even the tormented ghost that is still holding on, murdering people who had nothing to do with the torment that caused the hell that traps it on this plane.
You aren’t interested in the story of the mother no one knew about, who lost her child to sex trafficking, and quietly mourned her loss, never knowing the fate of her only beloved daughter. Because it was unremarkable.
But Liam Neeson blowing up half of Europe and taking down a veritable army of guys in a few foreign countries? That’ll do, donkey.
And you wonder why your lives are so filled with drama and chaos and torment?
It’s the ONLY excitement you know.
Heroes are always having a bad day. Have you ever noticed that?
So in order to have heroes who face stuff, you have to have demons and dragons for those heroes to face.
Combine this with the fact that you cannot distinguish between what you watch and reality ,and you have a cauldron of opportunity for your mind to look for ways to create drama in your life.
Think back to a horror movie you’ve watched… remember the fear that made your heart beat, your pulse quicken, your breath catch sharply as you got a fright, your palms sweat? That was your body reacting on a mental, emotional and physical level to the visual stimulus in front of you.
It didn’t matter that you were not actually living the movie - seeing it was enough for you to experience it as real.
When you see something, it anchors you in that experience - think of any dream. It always feels real when you are in it.
Whatever you see in other words creates the “reality” of the environment you are experiencing.
Sometimes this can feel so real that you can’t return to real life… like when you can’t snap out of a dream, or forget a movie.
So once you’re watching the movie, your body begins to “experience” that experience as real, and your mind adds that range of experiences to the continuous catalogue it is building in your mind.
Whenever you approach any experience, your mind looks back on every similar experience you’ve ever had, and chooses from all those responses, the best response for what you are facing. The best one you can see.
This is why experience makes you better at doing something - your mind has narrowed down the ways to approach it, and understood how to do it, enough times that you know the ‘best way’ to approach it now.
When you experience the ups and downs and highs and lows of the drama and chaos in television and movies, that also becomes part of your range of experience.
So when you are in your normal life, you will find yourself responding as your favorite character from your favorite show would, saying something they would say - especially if you watch the shows repeatedly, In fact, if you watch the shows ongoing or repeatedly, you even get a sense that these people are your friends, a real part of your life.
Eventually, you will not only draw on mannerisms from these shows, you will begin to draw on the emotional responses too… and the hero is ALWAYS having a bad day.
Each time you watch stuff that Hollywood feeds us, you are literally training yourself to create drama in your life, because it is what you have come to know as excitement and entertainment.
Nothing makes us more depressed than drama and chaos in our lives - we want everything to run smoothly and be happy and peaceful; have it be easy.
News is not real
In order to keep pace with our need for excitement and distraction, news has to have the sensationalism that movies do.
News channels have to compete with entertainment channels in order to keep your attention, because they make their monthly income the same way that all broadcasting services do - advertising revenue.
The simple rule is, the more people that watch a show, the more you can charge for the advert to be broadcast. Think of the big deal they make of Superbowl adverts, for example.
So news channels are having to up their game, and you even see it in smaller, private and alternative media, with stuff that we term “click bait” - thumbnails and article titles that actually have nothing to do with the content on the page, and are just designed to grab your attention.
Of course these places are finding out what rattles your cage and using that information to manipulate you into watching or clicking through.
Combined with the almost drug like effect spending large amounts of time on digital devices has, it is easy for you get addicted to certain news channels and media platforms that are designed to draw you in as their “primary target market”.
Doing a NEWS FAST was actually one of the first steps I took on my journey towards healing - and now my life is permanent news fast.
I go out and FIND media on alternative outlets - I seek for specific topics and pieces, and never just scroll or go to the front page of anything.
If there is a big piece of news, someone will let me know.
I’ve lived like this for about four years now, and it is one of the most powerful changes I ever made in my life.
You cannot be positive when all you hear all the time is bad news. And the media lives on bad news.
There’s an advertising piece of urban legend passed down when you study advertising, and it is about a day when the media decided to only run good news. Think it was back in the 60s. Sure someone will fill us in in the comments lol :)
Sales dropped to 25% that day - people were only interested in bad news.
If we want the media to change, we have to change the media we consume.
The Internet offers an incredible range of alternative media platforms and resources - get out there and find out what’s on offer.
The way to stay in the know in the information age is to be in charge of the content you consume - careful in your choices.
This is a difficult change at first, because it forces you to really think about what you want to consume next, but it is one I guarantee you will be happy you made.
Monthly payments and lifestyle
It really doesn’t matter what you do for a living anymore, everything seems to be reduced to making a monthly income… and month end always seems to be around the corner.
We’ve created this artificial of month end and it ties us to this idea of time, and we always seem to be moving from one month end and round of bill paying, to the next.
Likewise, once we’ve achieved something, say medical insurance, having to decide to go without it feels like a sacrifice or loss, which in many cases causes shame and guilt and doubt and vulnerability about our perceived lack.
Once we’ve achieved something, we feel that that’s where we should be and stay, and so when we need to make choices about how to cut back, we find it very difficult.
And our monthly expenses just seem to be growing and growing.
We are very likely the first generation in many, that will do worse than our parents did
So many are chasing the American dream, and our fear of missing out (FOMO), and instant gratification cultures, drive vast volumes of people to incur debt they really shouldn’t require, to keep up with the Joneses now - because patience is a long forgotten art.
We live in a 30-second instant gratification culture… fast foods, drive throughs, 24-hour delivery… I was horrified to see one of our major stores open on Christmas Day last year in fact.
When you are used to getting everything at the speed of light, then any delay you experience, in achieving any desire, will feel like a failure.
One of the worst habits that conscious manifestation and the Law of Attraction gave us was to set deadlines for goals - every time you get to a deadline and haven’t achieved it, you land up feeling like a failure.
Feel like a failure enough times and you will land up wanting to throw yourself off a cliff.
Patience and divine timing are lost arts, but well worth practicing if you want peace of mind.
Both of these will take time, and the self discipline of repeated practice, until you get them right.
You will fail miserably in the beginning, but keep going, because once you’ve seen enough ways not to do it, you will start to find ways to do it.
You will feel immensely frustrated along the way - use the frustration to inspire you and push you forward. Let it make you hungry to solve this puzzle.
A little bit of patience - and a lot LESS expectation - will make the world of difference in how you see your life.
And it’s surprisingly good training for learning how to properly relax.
Fear Of Missing Out - FOMO
The last sideswipe that modern culture throws at us is the fear of missing out… get it on credit! Why wait?
Because debt drains you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
I work with people all over the world, and the money thing is everywhere - and it impacts everybody in the same ways.
Whatever is worth having is worth waiting for, and you’ll enjoy it so much more when your inner voice is not running riot with worry and anxiety about how you are going to pay your bills, or find food for the rest of the month.
The money thing is real, and it’s hitting a lot of people - and a lot of people are committing suicide because of it.
You CAN miss out on the latest mobile phone or car, if it means that you don’t have to miss out on your life.
Yes, the purchase gives you instant gratification, but long term it only does more damage.