By Linda Jame, LCSW
The dignity of being human can include serious bouts of depression, where we notice that our life feels seriously out of balance. There is a sense that we have lost sight of our own vitality and purpose. Depression, however, does not mean that we are “sick,” as much as it means we may be coping with difficulties in such a way as to avoid feeling badly or dealing with problems. Often, in our attempt to not feel painful feelings, we avoid dealing with difficulties regarding our health, our relationships, our work, and our play. We avoid, withdraw, isolate, numb ourselves (through unhealthy behaviors), and paradoxically make ourselves feel worse.
Depression Inventory assessments are questionnaires designed to identify individuals who may be depressed. They also assist with defining the areas where individuals may be using avoidance in their lives. Avoidance means that rather than mindfully paying moment-to-moment nonjudgmental attention while choosing our daily actions we are living on autopilot. We are living our life in a rut because we believe it is easier that confronting situations. We are purposely choosing to avoid confronting and working with emotionally loaded problems whether this be related to health concerns, relationship problems, work problems, or social activities. Obviously, this withdrawal can lead to a very contracted experience of life.