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.

Now is the time.

A coworker just died. His wife died about a month ago. He was young. They were both young.

He had been not taking care of himself for the past year, ever since she got sick. His blood pressure was high. He drank a lot of sodas and ate a lot of breakfast sandwiches. He ate fast food. He never took time to exercise.

He said that he used to take care of himself, but that he just didn’t have time now.

Now it is too late.

Pointless. Pointless. Pointless.

Such a waste of a life.

Jeff Russell was a good man. He was kind, caring, and funny. He could do any impression. He brought cookies and snacks for us all the time. He was good with the patrons. He was easygoing. He didn’t gossip or badmouth anybody.

And he suffered. He was quiet about his pain and his loss. He didn’t know how to handle life after his wife died.

He laid down because he wasn’t feeling well, and he didn’t wake up. His family thinks it was a heart attack.

His heart stopped. It was broken. His sadness filled him up and drowned him, and he died.

Now is the time. There is no other time to eat well, to exercise, to take care of yourself. There is no other time to rest, relax, and process your feelings. Now. Or never.

You have to build up your flame, or it will go out. You, and nobody else, can do this. You must do this.

Tomorrow doesn’t exist. Today is all you have. Use it well.