The connection between death and depression.

I was just thinking recently about how the signs of death and the symptoms of depression are very similar. I think that they are related. Perhaps depression is a sign of the soul leaving the body. Perhaps the cure for depression is to find ways to get the soul to stay in the body – for the soul to find delight by being corporal.

I’ve heard that our souls choose to be here – that we want to be in a body. Souls are able to see and hear, but they cannot smell, taste, or touch. They cannot enjoy anything that comes with being in a body. They can’t enjoy the feeling from working in the garden or winning a race. They cannot enjoy the taste of home-made zucchini bread. They cannot make someone smile by bringing them a present “just because”.

Let us look at the signs of death that are also some of the symptoms of depression.

— Loss of appetite

— Excessive fatigue and sleep, and increased weakness.

— Mental confusion or disorientation

— Social withdrawal

Here is what you do with a dying person – perhaps it could also be connected to a depressed person…
– -Talk with the person gently and calmly. Assure her that she is loved, and that you will remember her. Let her know that her life mattered. She needs to know that you will be able to go on without her.

We all need to feel connected and that we matter. We need to feel like what we do has meaning. When someone is depressed, they feel alone. They feel like they are not part of the community. Even if they are in a group of people they feel separate.

Turning this around can be as simple as getting the person to get involved. Make an investment of time to call the person, take them out, help them to be part of the community. Volunteering helps. Doing art helps. Joining a club helps. People have to feel like they matter.

When you are depressed, everything seems grey. Food doesn’t taste good. Music sounds flat. Nothing goes in like it should. It is like being in a huge hole, and you don’t even have the energy to get out.

I’ve learned that when I feel depression creeping up, I realize that I’ve not been doing what I know feeds my soul. I think of the soul as being a flame, and it is important to keep it burning bright.

Getting regular exercise and eating healthy foods helps. Making time to be with friends helps. Making art helps.

Notice how these things are the opposite of the dying process.

Work on being more active – physically and socially. Work on the appetite. Eat healthy, tasty food. Be mindful of how much sleep you get. Create a schedule and stick to it. Keep your mind active – take up a hobby. Learn something new. You can combine some of these by teaching someone a skill you have.

Maybe I’ve got the cause and the effect backwards. Maybe the soul is trying to leave the body because it isn’t getting the nourishment it needs from that body. “Nourishment” means more than just vitamins and minerals. When we sit around all day and when we eat bad food, we are damaging our bodies and then by extension – our souls. When we keep to ourselves and don’t make time to connect with the community by having friends or feeling like we belong or matter, we don’t need to be in a body.

Perhaps the soul is trying to leave the body because it feels like this body isn’t serving it.

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Plus one

You know how you’ll have a friend who you’ve known for many years and then she will get a boyfriend that you don’t like? Or worse yet, it is a spouse that you don’t like. So then you don’t want to spend any time with that friend, because she feels like she has to bring her boyfriend or spouse along to every single thing that you two normally did just together. I think the same thing about people’s children as well.

These are all their “plus one” relationships. They are invited to the party, and they bring someone extra that you don’t know. You haven’t really agreed to them being there, but you have to go on trust. Except it isn’t a party, it is a relationship between friends.

I want to have a relationship with just that person, not the significant other and not their child. To me, it shouldn’t be a package deal. Sometimes I luck out and the s/o or the child is very pleasant. But more often than not the opposite is true. The s/o is self-centered or abusive, and the child is, well, a child. Children can’t help being annoying when they are young. They can’t help being loud and interrupting all the time. That is just part of the nature of young children.

Sometimes you might try to arrange the gatherings when you know that the child is with his other parent. I know a lady who will invite her friend out for seafood – knowing that her husband is allergic to shellfish. This way just the two of them can be together.

Sometimes adding a s/o or a child to the mix signals the end of a relationship. Sometimes it is because people get too busy to spend time with friends. But sometimes it is because they don’t realize that their friends didn’t sign up for the s/o or the child. They’ll try to drag them along, and then nobody is happy.

Having a relationship with someone is like a contract. We agree on how we will be together as friends. We agree that we’ll call or write or visit a certain amount of times with each other to keep the relationship going. We agree that we’ll share each other’s good times and bad. But when you add a significant other or a child, it adds a whole other person to the contract. Everything has to get renegotiated, and rarely do people even talk about this. They seem to think of it as “Love me, love my partner or child” and it isn’t always that way. Just because I like you doesn’t mean I like who you live with.

Sometimes partners are abusive. Sometimes children are unruly. Sometimes the problem isn’t just dealing with the abusive or unruly other person that is suddenly in the mix, it is dealing with your feelings about this new and unpleasant person in your friend’s life.

You love your friend, and you don’t want to see her hurt. You can tell that this guy is bad for her. You can tell she’s totally inept at parenting. Watching her with these people hurts, because you know she is in for a lot of pain.

So some of the problem is about how you feel with this “plus one” added to the party. Some of it is about how it changes or destroys the relationship you had with your friend. Some of it is about how you feel bad for her, living with such difficult people.