Depression and Mindfulness: Making Contact

Depression is the most isolating thing. It seems as though there were an invisible sheet of glass between you and other people. This sheet of glass comes, in fact, between you and the world itself, between you and your own experience. Everything is covered in a kind of fog, everything is wrong, tasteless, dull, not as it should be, an insurmountable task, a deep pointlessness.

Depression is the most isolating thing. It seems that no one has ever felt this way and that no one else could possibly understand. It seems impossible to make contact with anyone, as though there were an invisible sheet of glass between you and other people. This sheet of glass comes, in fact, between you and the world itself, between you and your own experience. Everything is covered in a kind of fog, everything is wrong, tasteless, dull, not as it should be, an insurmountable task, a deep pointlessness.

This is in fact one great generalisation that our minds are making. It’s a cloud, a cloak, which makes everything the same, levels everything out. Makes everything senseless. Faced with such a huge blanket judgement that has been thrown over everything, it is easy to just give up. This is how life is for me because I’m hopeless. Or, this is not me, it’s my disease, but I can’t tackle it alone, and no one can help me because they can’t reach me. Even if they can, the depression will be stronger.

The way I see it, similarly to mindfulness therapies of many kinds and some CBT methods, one way to escape, or fight, such a blanket generalisation, is to try our very best to discern the details. Just a few, at first, the specific character of just a couple of things in the day, which break through the sameness and aren’t interpreted immediately by our brains as “some other pointless thing”. At first there may only be a second’s grace in which to actually, clearly, see someone’s smiling face, or feel a moment of satisfaction after cleaning your teeth, or how much the dog likes it when you stroke him. Not only positive things, just real events, in all their difference and variety, shapes poking out from underneath the blanket of depression. Let’s grab hold of them and be aware of how they feel, smell, sound, taste. Our minds acquire the habit. What we are aware of, grows.

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