The mind is a wonderful organism. When presented with information, the mind quickly scans it’s data bank. If the information doesn’t fit, the mind has a toolbag of resources called coping mechanisms. The mind also has built-in insulation and safety valves to prevent overload. When a person is faced with an existential crisis (situation which forces him to question core issues of existence), his mind goes into ‘safety’ mode while it processes the new information.
Certain defense mechanisms or coping skills come into play. Temporal, situational Depression is often used by the mind as a defense mechanism or coping skill. What’s that, you say? Depression is a defense mechanism? Very often, yes. Situational depression differs from clinical depression, which is pervasive. Clinically depressed people feel depression all the time, or very regularly, not just in response to crisis. Situational depression protect the mind by forcing it to shut down. Depression forces the body into hibernate mode.
When you’ve experienced any trauma, think back to how it felt. You may have felt nervous and intensely sensitized (panic attack, anxiety attack) or you felt lethargic and tired (depression). Either way, your body was sending a strong signal. Red alert! Possible intruder-prepare for attack. Dive! Dive! Dive!. By manufacturing feelings of depression, your body is forcing you into a retreat until you can marshal your forces and recover. Something your body perceives as a threat has invaded your conscience. Your body throws the limit switch, shuts off the gas, turns on the safety valve. The body turns the resources back on after the threat has passed.
In temporal, situational depression, it’s important to recognize that they are just coping and defense mechanisms. If you keep an open mind about the panic attack, anxiety attack or sense of depression, if you can look them in the face and recognize them for what they are, even you can feel some sense of gratitude to your higher power for creating these safety valves in you, you will be better able to manage them. Don’t pooh-pooh feelings of depression; look at depression realistically. Don’t be afraid of depression. Learn to pace yourself in a bout of depression. Breathe. Take it one baby step at a time. You can use them to identify potential areas of danger. You can use the depression as a time to take a break, to heal yourself.