By Dr. Joseph Lancaster
From my point of view, depression, like many mental health diagnoses, has a common theme: suffering due to a person’s ego (e.g., judgmental self) being too one-sided; imbalanced. Due to a person’s ego being too stuck with their point of view, the negative shadow side of one’s unconscious nature comes forth. The shadow side seizes the ego’s daily consciousness; spontaneously, and therefore, issues of surprise arise!
One of the ways we can talk about this shadowy condition is in the context of depression. This mental reality is unfortunate, but it leads us to ask and learn: What are depressive symptoms? What causes depression? How do we treat depression? Let’s discuss this unhealthy mental health condition below per the common questions most people ask:
What are the symptoms of depression?
A person can experience many symptoms of depression. Here is a list: sadness, lack of motivation, isolation, loss of pleasure, suicidality, insomnia, hypersomnia, poor concentration, indecisiveness, significant weight loss or weight gain, hopelessness, agitation, tearfulness, emptiness, and tiredness.
What is the number one cause of depression?
To answer this question—during an intake—I ask new patients: “Who are you?” Most people, who are incomplete, say, “I don’t know” or “I’m lost.” At best, a smaller number of people give the limited—incomplete—ego response, such as, “I’m a father, a teacher, a citizen.” My usual response is: “With all respect, you don’t know who you are, and therefore, you suffer.” I’ve never had a person disagree with me yet because I explain that being a father, citizen, etc., are only “roles” they play in life. These roles are essential but are merely masks and being internally shallow. This common type of person is not in touch with their inner divine wisdom, essence, depth, fullness, energy, etc., that’s needed to push their ego past their depressive state of mind, the incompleteness.
So, to answer the question, being mentally stuck, one-sided, imbalanced, or incomplete is the number one—lifetime cause—of a person’s depression.
How does one treat depression?
I treat depression, like other diagnoses, through a psycho-spiritual approach. After all, who can beat God? No one. So, what better option is there?
In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the symptoms of depression, for example, relate to several of the deadly sins/illusions within this famous poem, e.g., gluttony (excessive crying), wrath (suicide), sloth (lack of motivation). Dante, and his therapist, known as his guide, Virgil, treated his depression by gradually realizing the circle of life: renewal.
In this poem, renewal happens by Dante going through his ongoing process of therapy or path work, i.e., In Latin, known as the inferno, purgatorio, and then paradiso.
This ongoing process shows that life will have those times when one may feel like Dante in the inferno. Some may call these times: Hell or Hades. It’s a depressing place or state because it’s very gloomy.
So, how does one treat depression while being in the inferno of life? Through Gnostic Pneumatherapy, my Gnostic-Jungian approach of path work, one may learn not to have their ego or sense of self—over-identify—with the common concerns of life or remain stuck with the different personas they wear for others. Also, per this path work, the person will no longer feel lost, find themselves, and enlighten themselves to stop projecting their negativity upon others.
In other words, like Dante, one goes through Gnostic Pneumatherapy’s path work for self-discovery. Thus, the person goes through the inferno stage and eventually winds up in the state of purgatorio, one’s psychological refinement or purification. Dante made this transition successfully through the help of his spiritual guide, Virgil. There are many other positive transformations—like, going from sadness to happiness—while engaging in Gnostic Pneumatherapy’s path work of self-discovery. For example, people experience healing transformations of self-awareness through their dreams, visions, synchronicities, etc.
These healing experiences of enlightenment are important mirrors for people to know who they are. When that “Aha” experience happens, the person will gravitate, like Dante, toward the highest level of human consciousness, which is paradise!
There is no depressive state in paradise because conflict ceases to exist. This balanced state of mind comes when a person knows themself—in the truest sense—because they are one with the divine, i.e., they have become whole! The Bible speaks about this when it mentions God knowing a person before they were ever born. Going back to that oneness stage helps a person consciously be in paradise with God and the angels. Aren’t angels known for their joy? Joy is the opposite of depression, and one can integrate this powerful experience of paradise into their daily life. So, why not? Don’t you want to do your path work for complete and balanced selfhood, my angel?