Depression and the art of Detachment

Perhaps the most painful part of depression is the feeling of detachment from life. The connection with your significant other(s) falls apart, the people you once felt closest to might as well be strangers. The feelings of intimacy, love and appreciation evaporate.

Your favorite foods, your favorite hobbies no longer give you pleasure; it seems as though your watching someone else play the piano or sip a dirty martini from a movie screen. The martini is especially hard.

I’ve found solace in more detachment.

It’s the sort of irony I’ve come to expect in something as absurd as mental illness, but it’s true nonetheless. I find myself constantly angry at the wall that prevents me from fully enjoying and living my life. I also find myself appreciating the ways in which I’ve adapted to these difficulties and one of the most powerful methods has been cultivating a compassionate yet detached awareness of my own experience.

This is very much a buddhist practice but these guys really know how to deal with suffering. Moving past it is pretty much the focus of this globe spanning millennia old religion. If you need buddha’s CV google the four noble truths or the eightfold path. I don’t have the space or time to get into it here.

Anyway the whole point is to observe yourself your mind and your surroundings, accessing a state of being in which you are the observer. Something that is beyond that which can be perceived.

The key to accessing this state for me is asking the simple, life altering question of “Who is perceiving this” “this” being anything and “who” being something to look around for. The journey is different for everyone but simple to engage in. For me it has been very powerful and usually results in deep and spontaneous laughter.