How do I know an article of this nature — one about dealing with depression consciously without the aid of pharmaceuticals — will be met with resistance? Because I myself once accounted for a sliver of the collective resistance that arises within depressed individuals when they read articles on depression that weave the complicated layers of depression into a canvas portraying the illusion that it is easy to overcome
that do anything but validate or even brush the surface of the stark reality of the crushing darkness depression sufferers endure, and, if taking antidepressants, especially the ones that boldly bash antidepressants. Unlike such articles, in the spirit of being real, I will refrain from telling you depression is easy to overcome. Rather, situation depending, it is a monster capable of turning previously perceived worst nightmares into newfound dreams.
Unlike such articles, I will also refrain from laying claim to assumptions on how necessary or unnecessary antidepressants are in your personal situation, as how harmful they may or may not be on a personal level is easily isolated from how unnecessary and harmful they have the potential to be on a large scale ( http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/12/09/how-synthetic-antidepressants-are-har ming-the-earth/ ) when depression consumes the mind. Like such articles, though, I certainly will not validate the depths of darkness chronic, debilitating depression is capable of imposing on a person. Not because I do not want to, but because I simply cannot.
There is no way to measure how deep the core of any given individual’s depression lies, rendering me unable to pretend or assume what helps one person struggling with depression will help every person struggling with depression. However, I am able to say I faced my own dark night of the soul, was p laced was placed on multiple antidepressants, which I eventually got off of when I realized they were not just subduing feelings of depression but were subduing all feelings. I then spent years groping my way through the hazy fog of chronic depression that seemingly has no origin, or distinctly identifiable reason for existing, much less any finish line.
Although it took a while, emerging from the dark depths of depression into the light of what it means to feel alive eventually faded from a mere fantasy into a daily reality. But, here’s the thing — I found the light on the other side of the darkness of depression to be
Could it be, when consciously endured and utilized productively, life sucking depression leads to an unimaginably ensouled and vibrant life? Perhaps you do not have to choose between living with crushing depression and numbing your feelings with pharmaceuticals. Perhaps there is a third choice, an invisible inner medication with the ability to lead you to uncharted territories within and, with time, actually spark a sense of immense gratitude within you towards your experiences with depression, causing you to see them more as opportunities than struggles. Many times, medications for depression prove to be overachievers at limiting the extent to which you feel depression — or anything else for that matter.
You cannot consistently refrain from ever feeling one emotion entirely, yet expect to feel all other ones entirely. You can never simply cut OFF your ability to feel something , such as depression, without in some way cutting off your ability to feel everything . The degree to which you are willing to experience any given feeling is in exact proportion with the degree to which you will experience all other feelings, willingly or not. Experiencing intense pain enables you to experience the ecstasy of life. Experiencing overwhelming despair brews a newfound gratitude for the happiness found in even the minutest of events and actions. Surely, there are many routes to transmuting darkness into light, suffering into joy, listlessness into productivity. Among them are the following:
View Your Dissatisfaction With Life As A Message From Your Inner Self
When an aspect of your life is not in alignment with your soul’s desires and your core beliefs and you continuously ignore it, your soul will often rise up in opposition and manifest itself as a debilitating condition such as depression, leaving you with no choice but to spend time in solitude. Isolation from debilitating depression demands you to explore every corner of inner turmoil, inevitably bringing to light the behaviors, actions, hobbies, or habits which are not in alignment with your fundamental beliefs. At first, isolation from depression may make you feel lonely and worsen depression. At some point, though, you will become so sick of hearing your own negative train of thoughts that even you cannot bear to listen to yourself. It is crucial to acknowledge this specific moment of darkness as a signal to transmute loneliness to solitude. In solitude, you begin to explore the deepest parts of your soul. When you become acquainted, or perhaps reacquainted, with your soul’s deepest desires and then take inventory of the details of your life to identify which ones are in conflict with these desires THEN you must take action and change the parts of your life causing conflict within. It may be you are unhappy with your mind numbing job that has stripped you of your appetite to explore, with a certain relationship in your life, with the way you are treating -or mistreating- yourself or others, or a myriad of other things. Whatever it is, inner child work via hypnosis, meditation, and journaling can help you identify it. Once you identify the root cause of conflict within, it is incredibly important to then take swift and immediate action to dissolve it. Otherwise, if you do not act, you risk worsening your depression by sending a message to your subconscious that although you know what is wrong and therefore what steps you need to take to take to begin healing, you do not think you are worth the effort to take them. Your subconscious is always eavesdropping on your thoughts, and responds accordingly.
Channel Negative Energy Into Creative Expression:
You are likely familiar with the stigma that artists are tortured, depressed souls. Of course, this is not true for every artist, but nonetheless many musicians, writers, painters, and other types of artists have long been known to draw their creative energy from deep within the murky waters of depression. Perhaps this is due to the fact that depressed people tend to ruminate over details of past experiences more so than the average individual. There are invisible dimensions of feelings in our day to day lives that we all feel, both good and bad. The average person dismisses lingering memories of the “bad” ones at their earliest convenience while creative, as well as depressed, individuals delve into them. For example, when a boss delivers a condescending lecture to the average person, they perhaps take it personal at first, but then shortly gloss it over as something small and vie to indefinitely leave the memory behind when they leave work at the end of the day.
A depressed person in the same situation is also likely to take their boss’ words personally at first; the only difference is they do not leave thoughts regarding the experience behind with the rest of their work at the end of the day. They take the memory home with them, dwell on it, analyze every aspect of the issue, rehash how every word that was said made them feel, and even how every word not said made them feel. A creative depressed person will then harness the negative energy of the experience into a work of art — a painting, a musical composition, a poem, or the beginning of a novel. This, well this makes for the most appealing of all types of art, because although most do not want to pay heed to the negative parts of life, or the parts that make them uneasy and secretly keep them up at night, they simultaneously cannot deny the existence of them and quietly yearn to feel less alone — and this is precisely what an artist who harnesses their dark energy creatively does. By molding words, stories, images, or music out of thin air, by creating tangible representations of the “somethingS” in life that most vehemently try to convince themselves are “nothing” out of fear of seeming crazy or different, they make others feel less alone.
When channeling depression creatively into artistic expression and sharing it with others, you not only feel less alone because others are connecting with your work ---signaling they too are experiencing emotions similar to your own--- but you are simultaneously aiding in a collective movement towards connection in a world where we too often tend to separate and isolate ourselves from one another, essentially giving others the same gift both them and your creative work gave to you.
You do not have to share creative work for it to be productive, though. There are many ways in which engaging in privately kept artistic expression can be productively used to harness the monumental flow of energy from depression into creative activity. For example, a research study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology showed journaling about upsetting experiences and aspects of your life for a mere 15 minutes a day for only three days boosts levels of happiness. 
Anyone who privately expresses themselves via a journal or similar means is likely to feel more comfortable exposing more about themselves, less hesitant to explore further depths within themselves, and more prone to free falling deeper into the wild waters of inner reflection and growth than when they know the creative work they are engaging in will be shared with others. Both private and public creative expression are productive ways to minimize, if not overcome, depression. When you engage in creative expression fully, you drop into a meditative trance-like state. Although you do not realize it at the time, your consciousness makes contact with the inner demons hiding in your subconscious while in this state. When you emerge from this creatively induced trance-like state, so do the inner conflicts you uncovered within it, allowing you to finally acknowledge them and make peace with them.
Other Ways To Use Depression Productively
Of course, there are many other productive activities that may heal or ease symptoms of depression. The above two seem to require more inner work than the others, thereby promoting long lasting change on a deep level. Other techniques and activities which may prove useful for using depression productively include:
● Increase your gratitude: Yes, using depression as a vehicle to increase your sense of gratitude sounds paradoxical, but it is nonetheless very possible when a conscious decision to do so is made. This in no way means sitting around and waiting for something to happen that you can grateful for. It means discovering all of the things you already have to be thankful for. Intentionally practicing gratitude even when you don’t actually feel grateful reprograms the brain to focus on positive aspects of life more than negative ones. Keeping gratitude journals ( http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/tips_for_keeping_a_gratitude _journal ) and engaging in gratitude meditations ( http://www.meditationoasis.com/podcast/listen-to-podcast/ ) are two excellent ways to do this.
● Improve your physical health: Not surprisingly, when it comes to physical and mental health, the two go hand in hand. Boosting physical health also boosts mental health. So, striving to spend more time in the sun, eat healthier, and exercise more are often beneficial for combating depression — and at the same time, you improve the longevity and virtually every other area of your life to some degree, even if small, too.
● Practice Mindfulness: Calming techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, hypnotherapy, and tai chi ease depression by helping you relax and clear your mind. Repetitively executing such techniques for depression does more than merely provide short term results like pharmaceutical antidepressants do (which, not to mention, often have harmful consequences in the long run), it also deeply instills a long lasting, life changing skill within you — a shift in consciousness, the ability to be more aware, more present, and ultimately more alive.