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Depression Treatment: Metaphors for Seeing Depression as a Gift
It may seem Pollyannaish to view depression as a gift. The gift of depression is its ability to wake you up and make you do something different and change your life.
One time I saw a fly inside a car banging its head over and over again against a car window. It seemed as if it would injure itself as it repeatedly tried to escape the car by flying into the window, bouncing back and trying again. The irony was that the window on the other side of the car was open, and all it had to do was stop trying to move forward, turn around, and fly out the other side. Similarly, there are times when if you force yourself to try to move forward and overcome obstacles by sheer force of will you may cause yourself great injury, to no avail. There are times when the most effective strategy is to stop in your tracks and to contemplate your situation rather than bulldozing ahead. For example, if the fly had stopped and turned around, it might have noticed the other window offered an easy escape into freedom.
Depression, which often leads to a withdrawal of life energy from current life situations, may be a gift in reorienting you to finding an alternative strategy for your life’s problems. Unlike the fly, you can turn around and re-evaluate your situation.
When a plane flies across the country it is given a navigation system to help it stay on its flight path so it will get where it is supposed to go and so it will not interfere with other airplanes in flight. If the plane deviates even slightly off of its trajectory, the navigation system alerts the pilot and the corrective changes are made so that airplane stays on course. Similarly, depression can be a signal alerting you to the fact that you have gone off course.
About the Author: Lara Honos-Webb, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is author of The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths, the forthcoming Listening to Depression: How Understanding Your Pain Can Heal Your Life. Visit her website at www.visionarysoul.com.
Lara's blog: Listening to Depression