By Dr. Margaret Paul
When you feel anxious or depressed, do you try to get rid of these feelings, or do you learn from them?
Getting rid of anxiety and depression is big business - especially for the pharmaceutical companies. Drug sales for anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants are huge. This is very sad to me, because, while there are circumstances where these meds are medically called for, much of the time they are prescribed in an effort to simply get rid of our painful feelings. The problem with this is that it leaves us without the roadmap we need to navigate life in a loving, meaningful and joyful way.
Anxiety and depression have major information for us. Let's compare these feelings to the pain you would feel if you grabbed a hot pan with your bare hand or cut your finger slicing your veggies.
The physical pain of the hot pan or the knife cut is giving you important information. It's telling you to STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING! If you numbed your hand before grabbing the pan or cutting the veggies, you could badly burn your hand or badly injure your finger. We NEED these painful feelings to let us know when we are doing something that is harmful to us.
The same is true of anxiety and depression.
What might these feelings be telling you?
One of the main things they are telling you is that you are abandoning yourself in some way. There are many forms of self-abandonment that result in anxiety or depression:
- You might be abandoning yourself emotionally by ignoring your feelings, by judging yourself, by numbing out with addictions, and/or by making someone else responsible for your feelings. When you emotionally abandon yourself, your inner child feels just like an actual child who is consistently ignored, judged, or given to someone else to take care of him or her. The lack of inner love and compassion for yourself may result in stress, anxiety or depression.
- You might be abandoning yourself physically by eating too much sugar or by eating processed foods, foods that contain chemicals and pesticides - foods that are depleting you rather than nourishing your body. You may also be creating toxicity in your body with drugs. Toxic foods and drugs create toxic brains and the result can be anxiety or depression. There are numerous causes of depression and many of them can be traced back to food and drugs.
- You might be abandoning yourself financially by spending too much money and going into debt, or not having a good work ethic and jeopardizing your job. Living too close to the edge can cause stress, anxiety or depression.
- You might be abandoning yourself organizationally by keeping your place a mess, always being late, or not paying bills or taxes on time. This might be causing stress, anxiety or depression.
- You might be abandoning yourself relationally by giving yourself up - complying to avoid rejection or conflict. When you give yourself up, you are actually rejecting yourself, which can cause anxiety and/or depression. Or perhaps you are trying to control another with anger or blame due to making the other responsible for you - another form of self-abandonment. This, too, may cause anxiety and/or depression. Perhaps you go into resistance to being controlled by your partner or another person, which is another form of self-abandonment. When you are resisting, you are not doing what you want - you are just reactively resisting what another wants of you, which can also cause anxiety or depression.
- You might be abandoning yourself spiritually by closing your heart to the love, comfort, guidance and wisdom that is always here for each of us. When you shut your heart to love, you may feel empty and very alone inside, which can also cause anxiety or depression.
While this isn't by any means a complete list of what causes anxiety or depression, I hope it is evident to you that anxiety and depression have much to tell us when we are open to learning about how we are treating ourselves and what we are telling ourselves. By opening to learning from your stress, anxiety and depression, you can learn much about your false beliefs and the self-abandonment that these false beliefs may be fueling.
When you learn what you are doing, and then open to learning with your higher self about truth and loving action toward yourself, and you take the loving action, you might find that you feel a huge sense of relief. You might find that loving yourself rather than abandoning yourself alleviates your anxiety and depression.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process - recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com/ welcome and visit our website at http://www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.