Depression is like snot—it’s the result of a natural, physical reaction. You can’t think your way out of a runny nose and you can’t think your way out of depression. But just like a runny nose, depression doesn’t fall out of the sky. Whether external or internal, there’s always a trigger.
Sometimes you get a runny nose because it’s cold out. But get warm and that runny nose quickly disappears. Sometimes your runny nose results from a flu virus you picked up somewhere. Rest up and take care of your body for a couple of days and you’ll flush it out of your system. And then sometimes your runny nose is a symptom of a far more serious infection, like pneumonia, an infection deep in your body, and to get rid of it, you need to get yourself to the hospital and get medical attention as soon as you can.
Depression comes in all of these varieties, too, from the fleeting type, to the more serious type that requires medical attention.
There’s nothing wrong with depression. If you experience it, accept it. Don’t let snot ruin your life. But if you are experiencing depression, find the source. Taking anti-histamines can help get rid of a runny nose, but if you’ve got an infection, they’re only going to mask a more serious problem. The same goes for depression. Deal with the source.
The goal of Acceptance isn’t to get rid of depression, but a great by-product of Acceptance is that you’ll likely find it helps prevent many types of depression. We can be preventative about mental health. You don’t want to wait until you get a cold to put a coat on. Learning how to accept the world around you and the thoughts or images inside of your head is going to help reduce the amount of negativity in your life. You don’t do that by avoiding experiences you think are negative. You do that by accepting experiences as they are, without any labels.
Don’t yell at the clouds because you went outside without a coat on and now you’ve got a runny nose. You know it’s cold out. You know you can get depressed. Put your Acceptance coat on.
This is an excerpt from The Acceptance Field Guide by Mark Freeman, now available on Amazon and Smashwords.
This was an excerpt from The Acceptance Field Guide: Navigating anxiety and depression in an uncertain world, which explores how to practically apply the concepts of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy to overcome anxiety and compulsive behaviors in your daily life.
The Acceptance Field Guide is available for $2.99 on Amazon: www.amazon.com/Acceptance-Field-Guide-Navigating-ebook/dp/B006W950CG/