We are all so different from one another. I have been helping people for 30 years and have never met any two people who are even close to being the same. Billions of neurons communicating through a trillion receptors allow for significant differences. Differing life influences, from conception on, provide each of us a novel life path that, 'No man, or woman, has seen before!'
Why We are All so Different
People asked me, “How can you deal with depression day in and day out?” I assured them that I couldn’t. If I were doing this I would be depressed in no time. However, we all have the opportunity to share with others every day. A taxi cab driver talks to his or her 'fares', a teacher to the students and a factory worker with coworkers. As psychiatrists we are allowed the privilege to know those we serve, their life histories, who they care about and why. In the big picture, it doesn’t really matter how any of us are given to help those we serve. The love of life comes from the relationships we form while serving. When I worked at Ford Motor Company hanging left front cars doors. I thought to myself, “Whoever buys this car can be assured that someone leaning against this door will be safe.”
The truth is, there aren’t any two relationships that are alike, no two parents who parent alike and no two people who feel the same about their spiritual source. Each of us is unique, differing in many wonderful ways. Each of us is guided to encounter a little something different while on this earth. And…in each of us, there is a message we carry for those in this world with whom we take the time to form a relationship.
Varying Degrees of Major Depression
It is also true that depression can be very mild, meeting the minimum criteria for 2-3 weeks. Often this can be associated with a situational stress. Often this may respond to a variety of relatively simple strategies like getting more rest, eating better or learning effective strategies to deal with a life stress. On the other hand, depressive symptoms can hit our life like a tsunami for little to no apparent reason. This type of depression can be relentless and resistant to any number of treatment strategies. The person may be intelligent, well connected, and loved by all, with every human resource imaginable but often their depression rages on.
We often look at this world from the position of our own human experience. We assess life’s questions with whatever knowledge we have attained. When a person experiences a single mild ‘panic attack’ they may not fully comprehend the devastation someone else feels who has suffered continuous severe panic attacks for years. In the same manner, if a person has experienced a single mild form of situational depression, their understanding of someone with a long standing severe depression may be limited.
We have a number of human characteristics that, at times, seem not to serve us very well. A person who has never suffered major depression may question the veracity of the diagnosis or the suffering that a person with depressive symptoms experiences. These can cause suffering and here is when we begin to reach for something outside our usual understandings to find answers where none seem to exist. This reaching to really hear, understand and touch each other is where the Oneness Approach starts.