In our society Depression is seen as a business by the pharmaceutical companies and a pathology by Western medicine, something that is ‘wrong’. But could tens of millions of Depression sufferers all have something ‘wrong’ with them? Maybe they all actually have something ‘right’ with them?
In Chinese medicine depression is not something ‘wrong’ to be corrected. It is a state affiliated with the soul. It is a sign from Heaven to draw our attention to something urgent and important and it is usually connected to the need for fundamental change. From this angle in fact, not having depression would be ‘wrong’, as without it society would continue running into in a soulless rut. In my view the current epidemic of Depression in people of all ages could be seen as an opportunity to stop pursuing unsustainable and soul-destroying lives and wake-up to our individual destiny.
I’m not suggesting we don’t seek professional help for Depression, but that we look at the possibility that it could contain a seed of a tool for self-development. The pain and emptiness of my post-drug depression took me to the edge of suicide. I got to the stage where I had to avoid heights that I could jump from, and oncoming traffic – as both were temptations to die. But that state was so unbearable it also drove me to search for ways to live that made me feel good and that in turn allowed me to find my purpose. Without depression I wouldn’t have studied Chinese medicine or lectured, or written any books.