“Find meaning, lose depression.”

I had a very nice discussion with a kindred soul, who spent some time fighting depression.  When he got to the bottom of his rope, he had to make a decision, should he live or not, and the way he found his answer (which ended up being yes apparently!) was through finding his own personal meaning.

We have discussed how meaning is arbitrary, and looking at my own depressive episodes, I would tend to think that for many people depression comes due to a lack of passion for living.  Of course, this is obvious, but since we generally just title people as depressed, it doesn’t really help them solve their problem.  Depression is the outcome, but not the issue.  The real issue is that they need to find a reason for living.  Otherwise, to some extent they are already dead, which depression is a symptom of.

If you think about it, this makes sense, what is the opposite of the person who is displaying depressive symptoms?  Someone who is excited about life!  Someone with passion for whatever they find themselves doing!  And how does someone become passionate about something?  When they say to themselves, this is what I am here in this world to do.  That is what creates passion.  So depression and passion are the two ends of the same emotional continuum.

So I would propose a new type of therapy for depression, called Meaning Therapy.  In this therapy, the focus is figuring out what the individual wants to do in their life, but is holding themselves back from doing (probably fear!), and helping them achieve their own arbitrary goals – and find passion.  It might just be giving them options that they haven’t already thought of that they might find meaningful.

However, it is my belief that Meaning Therapy is probably the answer to depression in most cases.  The only issue is that I’m not sure who is asking the question.

P.S. If you have been reading my blog you know that I believe that meaning is really just a red herring.  I need to figure out how these two ideas fit together.


Leave a Reply