Often we believe how to deal with depression is to change something externally, distract ourselves or analyse what we think is causing us to be depressed. There is nothing wrong with making external changes, but the quickest and most useful answer to how to deal with depression is to use the suffering to become more conscious and fully aware of what you are.
If you transcend the depression at this moment, you will be at peace and able to take any useful action if necessary. If no action can be taken, you will still be at peace - perhaps even more at peace - since there is nothing else you can do.
Depression can be useful to force you out of identification with any false sense of self linked to depression, so that you can experience deeper feelings of inner peace and freedom that will enhance your life in general.
If used correctly, depression is a teacher that burns up the illusions of yourself and takes you deeper into your true reality.
The Power Of Acceptance
How would you feel if you totally and completely accepted your current emotional state? If you are depressed, completely allow the feeling of depression to be there. Do not try to change it or to break free from it, just completely accept the emotions as if you have chosen that they be there.
Instant acceptance is one of the most powerful answers to how to deal with depression.
Really do this now, as an experiment. What happens to your sense of depression or suffering when you totally accept and allow your feelings to be?
When you accept your depression as if you have chosen to feel this way, suddenly there is a new energy that arises in you. You are no longer resisting and feeding the depression, but transmuting it into greater peace through your radical acceptance. Depression can not survive for long in a space of embracing acceptance.
Take the attitude of "I will no longer suffer. Therefore, I welcome and accept all that arises within me." Stay in this state, do not get sucked back into identification with resistance, do not believe that you are the depression itself.
You Are Not The Depression
How to deal with depression? Do not identify with it.
The feelings of depression are just emotions that have been invested with a sense of self, a sense of "I". This is what gives them power. To remove this identification and remove their power, you must be the awareness of the depression, and simply accept what arises.
As soon you experience your self as awareness of the depression, there is a gap between you (the observer) and the emotion. The depression may not suddenly dissolve, and may still carry a sense of "I", but simply remain as the pure awareness of it. The depression is arising within the space of awareness that you are, but it is not you. Remain as the awareness that does not judge or resist what arises within it.
Then accept what arises completely. Do not give your power away to these painful emotions and thoughts. Let them be, and remain as the space, the stillness that is untouched by pain, suffering or depression.
Amongst the changing emotions and thoughts that you experience, there is a stillness that is unchanged and unaffected. It can be perceived as the nothingness or emptiness surrounding thoughts and emotions. Give your attention to this unchanging space, rather than the changing things that arise within it.
Detect the silent emptiness surrounding your emotions and thoughts of depression - take comfort that this silent space remains unchanged and unmoved despite all of the unhappy feelings that may be arising within it. Remain as this untouched, untroubled space.
The moment you accept your feelings, you will no longer suffer. They will then disappear by themselves, as you are no longer feeding them through resistance and identification.
Do not decide whether or not the emotions should be present. Stop resisting or upsetting yourself that depression is there. The moment you totally accept your inner state, you will be free, whether depression is still there or not.
Don't Believe The Mind
Your mind may give you plenty of reasons and stories that seem to justify being depressed, sad or unhappy. Do not believe in these thoughts. As they arise, let them be, but do not give yourself to them. They arise and disappear by themselves, whilst you are constantly witnessing in silence.
The mind will always try to justify itself, to keep unhappiness and self-image alive. Be the witness of all of this. Stop believing in whatever the mind does. It is all an illusion.
Just A Story
Part of not believing the mind is not believing in the story that it throws up around the emotions of depression. The reason for someone's depression is usually backed up with a story of what is currently happening in their lives. The story carries a negative energy, and is believed in, which gives it strength.
See that it is just a story! Just a collection of thoughts in the head - that is all. When you see that what seems to be causing you most harm is a story created within your own mind - you will not be so troubled by depression. Take a step back from the story-generator that is your mind - it is just forming a story that could be told many other ways.
If you drop all the mental commentary and story telling, you will likely be left with a feeling of depression - perhaps a heaviness or a sadness. Feel these feelings fully without mentally labelling anything - just directly feel them. Then totally accept they are there as if you has chosen to feel them. See what happens.
Recognise The Futility
How has depression helped you? What useful purpose has it served? All depression does is maintain a false sense of self, tied to unhappiness, heaviness and suffering.
Can you see this clearly? Can you observe the depression within you and see that it is actually useless? That it only causes you to suffer? Can you be aware that something inside must enjoy feeling depressed? If you can, then remain observing in this way. As depression arises, do not take it seriously. You can even laugh at it, since you now realise how pointless it all is.
Something is producing depression inside you, somehow enjoying it, only serving to create suffering and to create a false self-image. Is this not strangely amusing? Do not get involved with the ridiculous emotions, just let them be and smile at their futility. They serve you no purpose, so give them no importance.
The observing consciousness that you are is already at peace, quiet and still. Infinite and indestructible, the silent awareness is your true nature and is the only constant thing in the universe - and it is who you are.
Thoughts, emotions, things, possessions, people, your body and personality all come and go, within your silent awareness. Remain only as this awareness, and let everything else come and go.
How To Deal With Depression Step-By-Step
How to deal with depression step by step:
1) Totally accept the feelings of depression as if you have chosen that they be there.
2) Do not run or hide from your feelings. Feel them fully from a place of unconditional acceptance
3) Be the awareness of the feelings, the surrounding space that is untouched by depression.
4) Then you will not care if the depression is there or not, you are already surrendered and at peace. Gradually or suddenly, the depression will dissolve.
How to deal with depression in this way may seem totally counter-intuitive or even crazy. Try the simple steps above as an experiment.
Ruthlessly accept your inner state at this moment only, and you will realise how to deal with depression effectively.