Depression happens when our mind tells us that we are traveling in the wrong direction — there is a better way we can channel our life. Trying to go over our existing problems often will not help. The key is to look for our inner want.

Signs of depression

The most obvious sign of depression is a sad mood – sadness, loneliness, apathy. Depressed individuals are prone to crying. They have sleep problems – waking up early and being unable to fall back asleep or sleeping more than usual and still feeling constantly tired. Changes in appetite and weight may occur – they may lose their appetite and weight or eat more than usual and gain weight.

Additionally, it is possible to be depressed without experiencing the previous symptoms. Instead, physical complaints or manifestations of depression through alcohol or drug abuse may occur. Similarly, if a person always appears tired or bored with everything happening around them, depression may be underlying such appearance/behavior.

The key characteristic of depression is a change in the way a person thinks about themselves, their feelings, and actions. A depressed person perceives themselves in a negative way. They believe they are helpless and alone in the world. They are pessimistic about themselves, the world, and their future. They view themselves as losers and believe it will always be that way. They feel worthless and bad. They often experience feelings of guilt. They lose interest in what is happening around them and no longer find pleasure in activities they once enjoyed. They have difficulties making decisions or putting them into action.

What is the actual problem?

The problem lies in how a person interprets the situations they find themselves in. They misinterpret them. Thoughts that are usually not based on real facts arise. These negative thoughts can revolve around different themes. Some of them include:

Negative self-thinking – it occurs when comparing oneself to other people who appear more successful, intelligent, attractive, or capable.

Self-criticism or self-blame – the person blames themselves for everything bad that happens around them.

Negative interpretation of events – the person negatively reacts to situations that wouldn’t bother them when they are not depressed.

Negative expectations of the future – the person believes they will never be able to overcome feelings of sadness.

My obligations are too overwhelming – the person has the same number of responsibilities as before when they successfully managed them, but now they believe they are incapable of fulfilling them or that it will take much more time than usual.

What a person thinks about what is happening around them also affects how they feel. Consequently, because of negative thoughts, negative emotions arise. These negative emotions are based on thinking errors. These errors are related to the way a person thinks about themselves and evaluates the things happening to them. Therefore, a depressed person feels lonely and sad because they mistakenly believe they are inadequate.

Some typical thinking errors include: exaggeration (exaggerating problems and potential harm while underestimating their own abilities to solve them), overgeneralization (drawing generalized conclusions that emphasize the negative side, for example: “Nobody loves me,” “I am a failure”), ignoring the positive aspects (remembering only negative events or interpreting positive events as negative).

As can be noticed, these thoughts are automatic. This means they are not reached through rational and logical thinking, but they just pop into the mind and are more based on feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness than on the actual state of things. Although irrational, these thoughts seem probable now they come to mind. Also, the more we believe in them, the worse we feel.

Opening to love

Depression is the result of an illusion that the person is less worthy and undeserving of love. Carrying this illusion, they believe that they must suffer and endure. This way of thinking is a consequence of negative beliefs that the person has deeply ingrained in their internal system and with which they have identified. Through depression, the person unconsciously assumes an infantile position, a position free from responsibility and unable to move forward on their own. They accept the suffering which they have imposed upon themselves through negative thoughts, as part of their identity. However, it is important to know that this suffering is not something imposed by reality itself, but rather it is constructed from within. Therefore, a person with depression must delve into their own inner world, address the self-image they have formed, and become aware of their negative identifications, accepting them, and liberating themselves from them. Only through expanding awareness and freeing themselves from negative identifications can a person recognize their essential being, characterized by love.

That is why love is the true path to overcoming depression. In addition to the help that a therapist can provide, the support of close individuals and a partner is essential for liberation from depression. The person needs to be shown understanding, empathy, and acceptance. They should be encouraged not to suppress their negative emotions but to learn to express them.

Likewise, we all need to learn how to express our needs and desires regardless of our previous experiences. We all carry baggage from the past into new relationships. It is necessary to accept the experiences we have had, integrate them into our own structure, and draw lessons from them. The courage to engage in a relationship that results in a high degree of intimacy, closeness, and connection with a partner will be the path to resolving depression. We need to deepen our self-understanding, accept all aspects of our personality, so that we can later share them with our partner and, through satisfactory communication and mutual trust, build our relationship together.

Instead of solely focusing on our existing problems, it is important to look for our true inner desires and needs to channel our life in a more positive direction. This perspective is consistent with various forms of psychotherapy that emphasize the importance of exploring underlying issues to alleviate symptoms of depression and other mental health concerns.