We first have to understand where the depression comes from. If you look at it as an illness, it makes you a patient, but if you look at it as something that you can come across in life at some point, it can be your friend.
Cerina Lim, Meditation Helper (2008– Present)
I’ve been working as a nurse for the past 13 years, and in one of those years, I have worked at the VIP ward that was for celebrities, politicians, and other socially renowned people. There was this one particular person that I remember because I regret that I couldn’t help her as much as I should have, being inexperienced at the time. She was a beautiful, successful businesswoman who had a handsome husband who was dedicated to her. It looked like her life was perfect – she had money, love, family, everything. However, she was diagnosed with depression. She was always envious of me. When I greeted her every morning with a smile and handed her the medication, she would say “I wish I could smile like you.” She said that she felt so painful that she had no hope, motivation, or passion for anything in life. I found it so unusual that she would say such a thing with a sad face when everything in her life seemed so perfect.
I’ve also met the CEO of a world-renowned company briefly when he was hospitalized, and he was also diagnosed with depression. To be honest, as a young and inexperienced nurse, I couldn’t wrap my head around why even the most successful people that everyone else envies can feel lonely and empty in their minds.
Some time went by and I too was struck with depression at a certain point. I had lived my life always doing my best and thought I was happy and doing well. I never thought it would happen to me. I was so shocked that I couldn't accept it. At that time, I had no motivation for anything and everything felt meaningless to me. It didn’t matter to me anymore that I had a lot of money, a loving family, nothing. I didn’t care about living, eating, washing, or anything else. I just felt like I was completely alone in this universe. From my medical knowledge as a nurse, I realized that I had severe depression and needed professional help.
Fortunately, at that time, I was in the beginning stage of practicing meditation for various reasons. Through meditation, I started looking at my depression for what it is and realized that my perspective about it can make all the difference. My medical knowledge has trained me to see depression as an illness; therefore, I became a patient to the illness. But when I observed my situation through meditation, I could see that I’ve come to this world as one of mankind, and was suffering from my human mind. Then I could see that anyone could get depressed – suddenly I felt at ease and was finally able to breathe. From that moment on, I started looking at my depression as an honest friend, who was telling me that I was having a hard time although I didn’t even realize it myself. And then I gave myself advice as a friend:
“I can see that you are going through something right now. That’s okay. If you don’t feel like it at the moment, you don’t have to do anything. No matter what other people might think, what you are feeling right now isn’t necessarily wrong. It doesn’t mean you’re different than everyone else or that you are weird, it’s something that can happen to anyone. Right now, that feeling of depression is telling you that you need some rest. It’s okay to take a step back and just watch other people walk ahead.”
“If you don’t feel like it, at least for a while, you don’t have to try to wash, laugh, or eat for others unless you want to, and it’s okay to just lie in bed all day long.”
Tears running down my face, and I felt like the universe was taking care of me. That it wasn’t me telling myself this, but the universe, which is where I come from and is my true hometown, was telling me this. Through reflecting on myself, I was able to discover my original nature and realize that the feeling of isolation is my perception. I no longer felt lonely.
There are times in life when we feel lost, not knowing where to go because we don’t know where we come from. Those are very lonely moments. Meditation has helped me to accept and embrace the fact that there will be times when I am in a struggle. Instead of being caught up with self-doubts, wondering ‘What’s wrong with me?’, I was able to open up my mind to people around me and get help from them. It made me become good friends with my life and be relaxed.