“I need help managing depression.”
When clients reach out to me for help with what they believe is depression, they usually open with some variation of the above statement. At face value, there’s nothing weird about that. I used to hear those words and nothing about them stood out to me. Now, I understand that they are signs of an underlying belief system that cages the spirit.
Why would someone want help managing depression? Why wouldn’t they just want it to be cured?
One reason could be that identifying with depression gives people comfort. It’s an excuse for falling short of one’s potential. An internal narrative about depression is a security blanket that shields us from the judgement of our own internal ideals and the terrifying question of who we would become if they lived in complete surrender to our purpose and potential.
But, setting that dynamic aside, there is another big reason that people don’t ask for a cure for depression:
Everyone says it’s incurable.
At the time I’m writing this, a quick Google search for “can depression be cured?” verifies this narrative.
From Healthline.com: “There’s no cure for depression, but you still have plenty of options for treatment, all of which can improve your symptoms and minimize their impact on your daily life.”
From Mental Health America: “There’s no cure for depression, but there are lots of effective treatments.”
From Medical News Today: “Depression is a lifelong mental health condition.”
Other sites simply sidestep this critical concern that anyone who is experiencing depression must wonder about, if they haven’t already lost hope: Will I ever not feel this way? My own education was no better. While I was in school, there was no mention of a cure for depression, not even a whisper. Instead, our learning was focused on coping with depression – a tragic state of imprisonment to which no one should be sentenced.
When I was struggling with serious depression in my 20s, my doctor and psychiatrist both informed me I would be depressed for life. I really wrestled with that assertion. Thank God that, in the end, I rejected it. No one who says depression is incurable ever says why. I’ve yet to hear a single argument for why depression should be regarded as a lifelong illness. Yet the majority of therapists believe it anyway. This is a sure sign of dogmatic thinking (although “thinking” might be giving too much credit).
Outside of exceedingly rare cases in which one actually has a “chemical imbalance” that is caused by a brain injury or and issue with the psychical developmental of the brain, depression is curable, and I’m living proof of that.
For those who experience depression: You might want to ask what part of your current identity relies on the belief that its incurable to survive. Next you might ask whether the benefit of that belief is worth the price you’re paying to have it.
The bad news is that if you’re not ready to let go of the belief that depression is incurable, know that you will never get a result that lies beyond the borders of that belief system.
The good news is that depression is curable.