Master Your Melancholy
Is blue the new you? Or worse, does it feel like it’s always been there?
There’s a difference between feeling down and staring up from a pit of despair. This pit has more people in it than ever before, partly because the mental illness industry often prescribes pills not practical reasoning.
Let’s see what practical reasoning has to offer. Answer me one question:
Do you wish the world to be different than it is, because the world is burdensome as it is?
Before you feel that you have actually answered it, consider your life more fully. Each person is different. One person may wish to be tall because they are short, another seeks to be rich not poor, thin not obese, smart not challenged, loved not alone, hopeful not helpless, contented not regretful, motivated not unmotivated, confident not doubtful, inspired not lumbering, wistful not withdrawn, peaceful not provoked, and happy not unhappy. These are but a few of the possibilities, so dig deep and use your imagination.
When Rita really wants to be rich, but she is destitute and without hope of fulfilling her desire, she is poor not only financially, but in thought. When Pete packs groceries for a living, while looking back on his life and wishing he had been a pediatrician, Pete is in pain. When one aspect of your life after another fits this description, it begins to feel as though you are a prisoner to the world that should be, but is not. This is a form of voluntary slavery, though it certainly does not seem voluntary.
Please consider the question again, and tally up your life in terms of discrepancies between what is and the way you want things to be. If, at long last, you answered
Yes, you are philosophically depressed. In Stoicism, each item that remained in your list is a problem, but when this problem becomes deep-seated, it becomes a disease of the soul, if you will. It becomes a condition that I recommend that we talk through. There are ways out of impossible desires, away from pitting yourself against your own understanding of the world. Nobody enjoys jostling back and forth due to such mental conflicts.
The ancient Greeks used the word ἄχθος or achthos, meaning
burden. Today, some have translated αχθος as depression. Stoicism offers a philosophical approach to depression, which is therapy based purely on reason.
Depression is mental pain that results from mental conflicts between your understanding of the world and the way you desire the world to be, and when you perceive yourself to be burdened — which is to say, depressed.
Oftentimes, someone suffering from depression is burdened because of problems in meaning and purpose. After all, anyone who finds everything to be deeply meaningful does not dread their day; anyone with a clear purpose is not consumed by gloom. We will use only deductive reason to discover and destroy every vestige of dark thoughts. Without waivering, we will use Stoic therapy.
Stoicism is a practical philosophy of life. Lasting happiness is sought, and reason leads the way. In depression counseling, Stoic therapy will apply reason to your thoughts, to help you by giving you new perspectives that are full of hope and promise. Depressing thoughts that we would not normally consider to be problematic are demonstrated clearly and simply to be self-contradictory, and reason itself is used to guide the way to the good life. Reason paves the path to inner peace.
Yet, Stoicism goes beyond the call of duty because it does more than help with problems such as depression. Stoicism also coordinates every thought toward our rightful goal: to have lasting happiness. Hence, this philosophy remains practical long after the issue has been overcome.
We all understand that we live in a world in which
2 + 2 = 4, and that anyone desiring
2 + 2 = 7 is contradicting their understanding of the world. Likewise, Stoicism emphasizes that our desires have to be reigned in to be in accord with our understanding of nature. In the case of depression, there is a difference between the world as it is and the world as we would have it. Nature weighs you down, because the world as you would have it is conceptually impossible.
For example, depressed Celeste suffers due to a great many things, one of which is that her supposed friend does not appreciate her. Celeste desires a world in which she is appreciated in this case, yet this is not reality. This is not a question of whether it is appropriate for her friend to appreciate her, or whether or not others would desire the same world. Instead, it begins with an acceptance that
2 + 2 = 4, and that in this world, this person does not apparently appreciate her. We will explore this change in perspective, and what it means for you and your life.
More importantly, as your desires come closer to your understanding of nature, we will begin to explore where this consistent perspective leads, and it leads toward tranquility. It results in an examination of what we value in life, and how we seek the good life. Best of all, Stoic therapy does not stop at defeating depression, because it aims beyond acceptance of the world. It aims at lasting happiness, in rejoicing at the thought of what today may bring. And this is our ultimate goal: cultivating the happy and improved version of you. This version is in there, wondering how to get out, but our culture has not taught us how to use reason to achieve peace of mind, how to self-actualize. As you can see, Stoic therapy is the best therapy for depression.
Call Now to Master Your Melancholy — Before It Masters You
Please call Ron at (860) 960-6711 for a free phone consultation. Let’s discuss the specifics of your situation, and let me answer any questions you may have about depression therapy. I am available for texting or video calls (Duo or Skype), and also have an office in Farmington. Welcome to Stoic therapy.