Depression Might Not Be a Neurotic Emotion

Depression is agreeably one of the harder emotions to face. On top of the dull and aching pain, we often hit ourselves hard with a backlash of “secondary reactions” like punishment for not being able to make ourselves happy, or self-doubt for not being able to make it go away. Ironically—even though it feels better on the outside—it may not be in our best interests to make depression go away.

According to Tibetan Buddhist principles, depression is not one of the “neurotic” emotions. In fact, it is seen of as one of the deepest emotional states we might come to before reaching enlightenment. It can be an indicator that the ego is falling away. The world as we once perceived it is crashing—people are not who we made them out to be; having “this” or “that” isn’t as fulfilling as we thought; we’re growing older despite the belief we could fight it; life isn’t what we expected.

Agreed, the lifelessness and uncertainty that these realizations bring might wring us out to dry sometimes. But, from a spiritual perspective, depression is a good indication that we’re actually doing something right. I call it a “growth period”—we’re blowing through our mental constructs about what we once thought the world was.

A growth period can bring on depressed feelings and apathy. It’s the ego’s way of reacting to its own fall. When we’re not conscious to the spiritual growth and inner realizations within us that initiated the ego’s depression, we’ll likely invalidate ourselves, fight it, or try to stave off the depression in some way. Next time it hits, I wonder if there’s a way we can see depression as a validation of our hard work and inner light rather than a hindrance to it.

3 replies
  1. Judith
    Judith says:

    Love your blog Alison! This blog makes so much sense to me and certainly gives a person a positive outlook during a difficult time. I love what the Tibetan Buddhists believe and I agree. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  2. @Peta_de_Aztlan
    @Peta_de_Aztlan says:

    I will share this with my network. This is a healthy way of looking at depression. Sometimes I get depressed about the snail-pace of life, all the odds against global liberation and at times even wonder if I am just wasting my time and energy. Usually when I come out of it I am still faced with the same general situation, but find that it is better to fight back against evil and to submit to its negative influences. Thanks!


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